The Rolling Stone speaks of inconvenient truths

The editorial board of the Charlotte News and Observer and Raleigh’s News and Observer penned the following editorial yesterday regarding one of the state of North Carolina’s more extreme new Congressional representatives called “New, troubling questions about Madison Cawthorn and Jan. 6.” The editorial speaks to some interesting findings from an unusual political source, The Rolling Stone. I am sure when Cawthorn sings that famous song about getting his picture on the cover, he was not envisioning this. Here part of the piece with a link to the full editorial below.

“Followers of former President Donald Trump have found one conspiracy theory they don’t like: That some Republican members of Congress may have had deeper roles in plans and events that led to the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. One reason they don’t like it is that — unlike the bizarre theories of QAnon, the baseless notions of rampant voter fraud and suspicions about COVID vaccines — the concern that members of Congress may have had a hand in efforts to overturn the election appears to be backed by evidence. Rolling Stone reported on Sunday that two organizers of the Jan. 6 protests have told congressional investigators that ‘multiple members of Congress were intimately involved in planning both Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss and the Jan. 6 events that turned violent.’

Rolling Stone said the organizers, speaking anonymously, named seven Republican members of Congress who joined, either directly or through their staffers, in the effort to overturn the election. Republican North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn was among those named. Cawthorn spokesman Luke Ball dismissed the report on Monday, saying, “These anonymous accusations are complete garbage. Neither the congressman nor his staff had advance knowledge of what transpired at the Capitol on January 6th or participated in any alleged ‘planning process.’

That Cawthorn was named is hardly a surprise. He spoke at the Jan. 6 rally near the White House where he said, ‘The Democrats, with all the fraud they have done in this election, the Republicans, hiding and not fighting, they are trying to silence your voice.’ Since then, Cawthorn has suggested that another contested election may require taking up arms. ‘When tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes your duty,’ he told a Republican group. Cawthorn’s remarks are not the only embarrassment for North Carolina.

The Rolling Stone report also suggests deep involvement in the Jan. 6 events by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, a former Republican congressman who preceded Cawthorn in North Carolina’s 11th District. And then there is the shameless behavior of Republican members of the state’s congressional delegation, who opposed formation of the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 events. Republican links to the Capitol attack are not limited to Republicans in Washington. ProPublica reported last week that at least two Republican members of the North Carolina General Assembly are members of the Oath Keepers, a militant group whose members were among the instigators of the Jan. 6 violence….

...Elected officials like Cawthorn are not simply zealots or cranks. They are the start of what could become an anti-democratic wave that would have a white and wealthy minority preside over the nation against the popular will.

The Rolling Stone report adds new urgency to the work of the House select committee investigating who and what drove the events of Jan. 6, and what must be done to end the smoldering danger to our democracy. Even one of the organizers of the Jan. 6 rally now realizes that urgency. They told Rolling Stone: ‘The reason I’m talking to the committee and the reason it’s so important is that — despite Republicans refusing to participate … this commission’s all we got as far as being able to uncover the truth about what happened at the Capitol that day. It’s clear that a lot of bad actors set out to cause chaos.’ Now the committee must uncover who those bad actors are — and how many of them are from North Carolina.”

The Rolling Stone is not the first publication who has raised this issue. I read just following the insurrection on January 6, that several of the insurrectionists had visited the capitol building as guests of various Congressional representatives. Why? It should be noted that Cawthorn filled Mark Meadows seat when the latter became Chief of Staff for the former president, so why are those two mentioned above in the report?

I have spoken to about a couple hundred members of staff of US representatives and senators. Almost all have been civil and cordial. When I spoke with one of Cawthorn’s staff about him taking the opportunity as a younger member of Congress to help the party be more truthful and forthright with citizens following some of the rhetoric he said noted above, I was told that he came down hard on the insurrection, which I was puzzled by. If he did, it was drowned out by his other words. I will let you be the judge from reading the above.

As an independent and former Republican (and long ago Democrat) voter, we must get to the bottom of the January 6 insurrection. It was a heinous act in our history and it matters not which party did it. We cannot have citizens invading the capitol building. If the former president is as culpable as he appears with his Big Lie, invitation and instigation, then we must get to the bottom of it. The fact that one party does not want to get to the bottom of it speaks volumes.

Yet, what that party fails to realize is when someone defames the office, the party must be zealous in criticizing that person or all of them get tainted. That is a lesson the Catholic Church failed to heed.

Read more at: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/article255267771.html#storylink=cpy

Focus on the issue not the blame

News and opinion shows spend far too much time on who is to blame and much less on the issue at hand. The issues are what matters, not who did or failed to do something. Just to throw a few things for your consumption.

In the US, both political parties have screwed up in Afghanistan dating back at least to the 1980s. By my count that includes four Republican presidents and three Democrat presidents. Because of our lack of homework and understanding, the US diminishing its involvement has led to the Taliban gaining a foothold in the 1990s and returning to power in 2021. The only time it was more stable was when we were there even in small numbers. I fully understand the desire to leave, but leaving totally will not help with stability in that country.

The issue with COVID and the Delta variant are hospitals are being overrun by patients. Too many are not vaccinated or taking sufficient precautions. For some governors and state legislatures to go out of their way to deny public health measures is beyond poor stewardship. These incumbents in leadership positions are trying to win political points by gambling with people’s lives. I find this abhorrent. And, it continues. If you know someone who is not vaccinated, the best advice you can give them is please speak with your doctor. Two outspoken COVID naysayers died in the last two weeks, one a legislator and one a conservative radio host. And, yesterday, a woman released from the hospital for COVID treatment went home to find her husband dead from COVID.

It was good to see nine attorneys representing the former president get sanctioned in a Michigan court for the frivolous lawsuit on election fraud in that state. The attorneys have been ordered to pay court costs for the two separate lawsuits and their actions have been referred to the state Bar Association. The law license of Rudy Giuliani has been suspended in New York state and Washington, DC as he faces two court cases, one for defamation against Dominion Voting Systems. And, we should not forget the US Attorney General for the past president was fired for telling his boss in front of others the election fraud claims were BS, using the actual word. Believing the former president is truly a fool’s errand.

In 2021, we have seen more of what climate change scientists have been warning us about. About ten years ago, I read a report conducted with Mercer Investment Consulting, the largest pension trust managers in the world, the World Economic Forum and various universities and think tanks. These trustees were worried about climate change costing multiple tens of trillions in US dollars due to larger and more wildfires, longer droughts, stalled weather systems on top of the rising sea levels causing coastal degradation and more intense hurricanes. Since then, our fresh water is also a worsening concern. This week, I saw piece on the risks due to climate change published in an insurance industry report regarding company and people’s assets in harm’s way. These are financial people who are concerned about financial risk. If that does not wake up well-funded naysayers, then maybe nothing will. By the way, I feel the numbers bandied around ten years ago are on the low side.

That is enough for today. Let me know your thoughts.

Yet another Republican legislator speaks the truth about the former president

David Brennan of Newsweek penned the following article called “Arizona Republican Paul Boyer Says Donald Trump ‘Started an Insurrection’ Amid Election Spat,” which continues a steady trickle of Republicans speaking out against the former president.

Arizona State Sen. Paul Boyer has hit back at former President Donald Trump, with whom the Republican lawmaker is engaged in an online spat over the latter’s continued false claims of electoral fraud and peddling of conspiracy theories.

Boyer is among the Arizona Republicans calling on the state GOP to end its election audit in Maricopa County, an investigation that Boyer and others say is increasingly reliant on debunked conspiracy theories.

Trump released a statement on Thursday dismissing Boyer as a ‘RINO’—a Republican In Name Only—and accusing the state senator of “doing everything in his power to hold up the damning Forensic Audit of Maricopa County which has been taking place over the last 90 days.

It is good to see an increasing, but still small number of Republicans call the former president out for his untruthful and seditious words and actions. As no surprise, the former president struck back with his customary name-calling. RINOs has been his new label as now, it is not just Democrats, Independents and the media pushing back on him. Republicans are so doing. But, there is truly only one constant in this equation.

Arizona Republican Paul Boyer Says Donald Trump ‘Started an Insurrection’ Amid Election Spat (msn.com)

Loneliness defines the fight against disinformation in one’s tribe

In an article by Jeremy Peters of The New York Times called “One Republican’s Lonely Fight Against a Flood of Disinformation,” it is very lonely in the world of truth seekers in the GOP. Former Republican Congressman Denver Riggleman openly condemned the conspiracy parrots that had taken over his party led by the deceitful former president and it cost him is job. He was one of the seventeen Republicans who voted to impeach or convict the former president on his seditious incitement of an insurrection.

And, almost all of those Republicans have been censured by the so-called state leadership of the Republican party. That is a sad statement in and of itself. The folks who risk much to call out those who risk so little are the ones being called on the carpet. As two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof noted in defining the contrast in the retirement of Senator Rob Portman and the rise of Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, “When a party loses a statesman and gains a kook, that’s a bad omen.”

Here is the opening paragraph from the attached article:

“It was Oct. 2, on the floor of the House of Representatives, and he rose as one of only two Republicans in the chamber to speak in favor of a resolution denouncing QAnon. Mr. Riggleman, a freshman congressman from Virginia, had his own personal experiences with fringe ideas, both as a target of them and as a curious observer of the power they hold over true believers. He saw a dangerous movement becoming more intertwined with his party, and worried that it was only growing thanks to words of encouragement from President Donald J. Trump.”

There is not more that needs to be said. The fact the former president was not only parroting, but promoting these lies from conspiracy sites is telling as he is not known for being very truthful. Frankly, I expect this kind of behavior from the former president. What bothers me most is his sycophants who push these lies forward.

One Republican’s Lonely Fight Against a Flood of Disinformation (msn.com)

Cause and Effect – two short paragraphs from former president’s last defense secretary

Two short paragraphs. Cause and effect. The former president’s defense secretary sees the former president’s role in the insurrection clearly. And, this is without addressing the lies for two months on unsupported wide-scale election fraud.

In the article called “Chris Miller, defense secretary on Jan. 6, sees ’cause and effect’ between Trump’s words and Capitol riot,” by William Cummings, USA TODAY, here are those two paragraphs:

“Former acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller said the crowd of Trump’s supporters would not have descended on the U.S. Capitol if the president had not delivered a speech just before the riot in which he decried the presidential election as ‘stolen.’ Repeating baseless claims of election fraud he first made even before voting began, Trump alleged that a ‘criminal enterprise’ involving Democrats, the news media and complicit Republicans had robbed him of victory, though he offered no evidence to support the existence of such a vast conspiracy. 

‘Would anybody have marched on the Capitol, and tried to overrun the Capitol, without the president’s speech? I think it’s pretty much definitive that wouldn’t have happened,’ Miller told “Vice on Showtime” in an interview that aired Thursday.”

The whole article can be read with the link below. The former president was impeached for these actions. Ten Republican Representatives voted to impeach and have been censured and threatened by their state party leaders. Seven Republican Senators voted to convict and have also been censured and threatened. 

The former president acted seditiously causing an insurrection against a branch of government, yet the truth tellers are vilified, not the traitor. What is wrong with that picture?

Chris Miller, defense secretary on Jan. 6, sees ’cause and effect’ between Trump’s words and Capitol riot (msn.com)

Seven heroes with political courage was not enough

The former president was not convicted of high crimes and misdemeanors by the Senate with the votes falling short of the needed two-thirds. But, please note that 57 Senators voted for conviction of the former president, with only 43 voting no. That means seven Republican Senators voted on the right side of history in this independent and former Republican voter’s view.

Those seven deserve high praise for their courage as they will get push back and even death threats for voting their conscience. And, they knew that beforehand.

These seven members of the Republican caucus are as follows:

Richard Burr of North Carolina

Bill Cassidy of Louisiana

Susan Collins of Maine

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska

Mitt Romney of Utah

Ben Sasse of Nebraska

Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania

Whether you agree with their policy decisions, please acknowledge their political courage. Representative Liz Cheney from Wyoming almost lost a key leadership role in the House Republican caucus because she was one of ten Republicans to vote to impeach the former president. And, as evidence of her grit, she told Chris Wallace on Fox this past Sunday, that the former president has been lying to Republicans.

I have sent thank you notes to these ten Republican representatives and now seven senators for their courage. I encourage you to do the same, as they will certainly hear from the vindictive former president and his sycophants.

It should be noted the former president’s legal troubles will continue as he is being investigated for trying to coerce an official in Georgia to alter the outcome of that election. Note, this is after two recounts proved he lost. And, he has some financial issues he is dealing with in courts in New York.

In the view of this former Republican and independent, just because the former president did not get convicted, does not mean he is innocent. What is sad, some of those who voted to acquit know this and told reporters off the record they are glad this footage is getting out.

Quite simply the attack on the Capitol building would not have happened if Trump were not president

Sometimes, the simplest comment can say so much. Yesterday, on the talk show “The View,” attorney Sunny Hostin said the above title. The attack on the Capitol building on January 6 would not have happened had the president not been Donald J. Trump. And, now seven people are dead and others might have been, except for the bravery of those to escort legislators out of harm’s way.

Two major comments needs to be stated clearly. First, the argument that Republican Senators are using to prevent a vote from occurring that the trial is unconstitutional does not hold water. In essence, it says a president can commit the most vile crime against the country as long as he does it right before he or she leaves office.

Second, the fact is the former president did commit a vile act two weeks before leaving office, staging and inciting an insurrection on another branch of government. Words matter. Lies matter. The former president’s egomaniacal nature prevents him from accepting he lost the election. He staged this action for many months before the election, so what he did following it was predictable and predicted.

What happened was shameful for our country. What happened could have been even worse. And, what happened was provoked and incited by the enfant terrible acting former president. In your best toddler’s voice, say out loud the words of the president. “I didn’t lose. I won by a lot. It was stolen from me.”

The former president needs to be convicted because he is guilty as charged. This would not have happened if he was not in the equation. This would not have happened if the former president was not a big baby who cannot take losing. Seven people are dead because of Trump. His VP Mike Pence could have been. The Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi could have been. And, anyone in business attire could have been.

A final thought for Republican Senators is a vote to acquit does not serve the former Republican, now Trump party well. It puts those Senators and the Trump party on the wrong side of history. The vote to acquit is not defensible as Senator Rand Paul found out when Fox News host Chris Wallace grilled him on it.

There is a truism I have observed over the years about the former president. If you fly to close to Donald Trump, you will get burned.

Argue facts or process

This week will be the second impeachment trial in the Senate for the now former president. And, it will the second trial with a pre-ordained outcome. Sixty-seven Senators need to vote to convict the former president, but with forty-five Republicans voting that the trial should not be held, the outcome is already known. The former president will likely get 55 or so votes to convict him, but short of the necessary total, so he will be acquitted.

Yet, as with the first trial, being acquitted does not mean he is innocent. In fact, based on the testimony from the first House impeachment case, in the view of many, he is guilty of extorting Ukraine for personal gain. But, the Senate trial called no witnesses with Republican leadership calling it a sham, a witch hunt. To be frank, many honorable diplomats and staff testified at great risk over their concerns knowing the inevitable – they would lose their jobs. But, they did it anyway. Why?

Now, since the case is overwhelming against the former president, the forty-five Republican Senators are arguing process, saying that you should not try a person out of office. Many experts disagree with this statement and it should be noted, the former president was impeached by the House while being president. But, this is an age old legal tactic. If the facts favor your case, argue the facts; if the facts do not favor your case, argue against the process. If neither do, then game the system. In the first trial, no witnesses were called.

The former president continues to harp on a planned and staged fraudulent claim of voter fraud going back six months before the election. He defamed the mail-in process, hobbled the post office, he pushed Republican led state legislators to restrict the mail-in process, his campaign hired 1,000 attorneys around the country and he told his voters to vote in person knowing those votes would be counted first. And, with pockets of minor fraud examples, real or contrived by conspiracy-minded sources, he now believes his own BS, which is not unusual for him. Yet, 59 out of 60 judges do not, nor do election officials or the US AG.

So, he fueled the idea of voter fraud and the election was stolen from him, an action which was predicted four years ago by his five biographers. I am not prescient, but after reading about the 1,000 attorneys, I wrote in September that the former president will sue to avoid losing. The now former president invited zealous fans to Washington on January 6 to disrupt the electoral college confirmation. He then revved the groups up with a speech (with others) and pointed them at the capitol building. To say, as he and his sycophants have, that he had no hand in the violence is just untrue. As his niece Mary wrote, her uncle will burn it all down to avoid losing.

The facts played out right in front of us. This former president acted in a seditious manner inciting an insurrection. Yes, he will be acquitted, but he is by no means innocent.

Representative Adam Kinzinger: GOP colleagues have thanked me for speaking out against Trump

In an article by Jordan Williams of The Hill called “Kinzinger: GOP colleagues have thanked me for speaking out against Trump,” it is revealed that, silently, Representative Adam Kinzinger has more support for his speaking out against the seditious acts of the former president. The Illinois Republican has served ten years following his Air Force service. So, he took two oaths to our constitution.

A few paragraphs follow, with a link to the entire article below.

“Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) says some of his GOP colleagues have thanked him for speaking out against former President Trump over the past few weeks.

Kinzinger, a staunch critic of Trump, was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him for inciting the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol that led to five deaths and over 100 arrests.

‘Well, there’s been backlash, you know. … Within the party base, there’s some, of course you know, as we’d expect. There’s also been a whole lot of outpouring from people that [said] ‘thanks for saying it,” he said on ‘The View’ on Wednesday. ‘I’ve heard it, even amongst my colleagues: ‘Thanks for speaking up.”

‘What it comes down to is maybe there’s backlash and maybe there’s not. But putting your career on the line when we’re going out and asking young people to be willing to fight and die to defend this country – being willing to give your career up to defend that same cause, that fidelity to the Constitution, is a small price to pay,’ he added.”

Kinzinger and Representative Liz Cheney are getting a lot of backlash from the MAGA base. Let me add a couple of thoughts for seasoning. First, Kinzinger served in the military, while the former president did not. As a result, Kinzinger swore to defend the constitution long before being elected to represent Illinois. Second, it takes a lot of courage to stand up against a vindictive person who keeps lists of people who oppose him and punishes them.*

Yet, like Cheney and the other eight Republican House members who voted to impeach the former president (while he was still president), he is getting a full measure of backlash of people who believe the well-documented untruthful former president. Oaths matter. Should not Kinzinger get more respectful consideration of his position? If someone gets vilified for kneeling during the national anthem, should not someone who fought for that flag get a modicum of credit?

*This assertion comes from two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Bob Woodward’s book “Fear” which quotes a Republican representative who saw such a list on the former president’s desk.

Kinzinger: GOP colleagues have thanked me for speaking out against Trump (msn.com)

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Truthteller ridiculed more than conspiracy parrot

Truthtellers are not of great value to the Republican party. It seems an allegiance to parroting inane conspiracy theories has more currency. In support of this contention, Jason Lemon of Newsweek wrote the following piece “Chris Wallace Calls Out Republicans for ‘More Visible Outrage’ at Cheney Than at Greene” which incredulously frames how low the new Trump party had fallen. “Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace called out Republican lawmakers for showing ‘more visible outrage’ at GOP Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming for voting to impeach former President Donald Trump than at Georgia’s freshman GOP Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene‘s promotion of bizarre conspiracy theories. Some pro-Trump Republicans in the House of Representatives have called for Cheney’s removal from her No. 3 leadership position as chair of the House Republican Conference following her January 13 impeachment vote. Meanwhile, few GOP lawmakers have expressed public outrage following multiple reports on Greene’s past promotion of unfounded conspiracy theories and support for violence against fellow lawmakers on social media.  ‘You’ve got a situation right now where there is more visible outrage inside the GOP over Liz Cheney, a member of [Republican] leadership voting to impeach the [former] president over—rather than some of these wild conspiracy theories being espoused by Marjorie Taylor Greene,’ Wallace pointed out during his show Sunday. He suggested that Republicans should take action against Greene and asked whether she should potentially be expelled from Congress or removed from committees.  ‘What are their options here?’ Wallace asked panelist Susan Page, the Washington bureau chief for USA Today. ‘I think it tells you a lot about where the Republican Party is right now,’ Page responded. GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy plans to have a meeting with Greene regarding her incendiary social media posts and bizarre claims. ‘These comments are deeply disturbing and Leader McCarthy plans to have a conversation with the Congresswoman about them,’ Mark Bednar, a spokesperson for McCarthy, told Axios last week. Representative Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican who joined the nine other House Republicans in voting to impeach Trump, said Sunday that he’d support removing Greene from committee assignments, but he pushed back against expelling her from Congress altogether.”  Note, Senator Mitch McConnell aired some comments this morning calling Greene a “cancer” on the Republican party. McConnell’s comments are welcome, but they are somewhat forced being this late with respect to Greene. And, he was too calculating in any criticism of the former president when Trump parroted inane conspiracy theories along with his usual lies. I read McConnell took the former president’s election fraud claims not seriously, as a vacuum was left by Republicans refusing to call out the former president. Quite simply, when you do not stand up to a bully or let lies stand without pushback, the bullying and lying will continue. Rep. Liz Cheney and others did, but they are being vilified by the mob. Guess what – the former president continues to do both. Chris Wallace Calls Out Republicans for ‘More Visible Outrage’ at Cheney Than at Greene (msn.com)