Sunday morning rain coming down

It is a rainy Sunday reminding me of the Kris Kristofferson song lyric. While his song is more on lament, the metaphor is good. Here are few thoughts to kick around:

– it appears a debt ceiling agreement has been reached between the president and speaker, but still has to get passed. The frustration is the continual last minute chicken playing that goes on instead of serious bipartisan discussion with data. We are nowhere near solving our debt problem. The debt ceiling is to allow us to pay for borrowing we have already spent.

– the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been so fraudulent, his own party approved by a significant majority, his impeachment. With Representative George Santos being charged with a crime of fraud, even the US House has not censured Santos, so Texas Republicans at least acted to say enough is enough.

– apparently, the former president may have been even more fraudulent with the classified documents he removed from the White House. Adding to his other court convictions and pending charges for election meddling and maybe seditious actions around the insurrection, why this person is even being considered for president is beyond me.

– finally, you only get one time to make a first impression, but Florida Governor Ron DeSantis could ill-afford a poor roll out of his campaign given his other problems. He now needs to recover from a hole he is in. This is not unlike the ACA roll out which was botched through poor web-design that Obama should have made sure of beforehand given its importance. The ACA got better, but it had to overcome an unforced error.

As an old boss told me once, he is like a big umbrella to keep the s**t from raining down on us from the corporate bosses. We need our leaders to do their job with seriousness of purpose and get their umbrellas out. They could begin with not creating their own mess.

Interesting election result in my hometown in Florida

As noted in an Associated Press article called “Florida: blow to DeSantis as Democrat wins Jacksonville mayor’s race – Donna Deegan becomes city’s first female mayor by beating Daniel Davis, Republican backed by hard-right governor,” the following two paragraphs tell the story.

“In a major electoral upset on Tuesday, voters in Jacksonville elected their first female mayor, defeating a Republican backed by business leaders and endorsed by Ron DeSantis, the state governor and prospective presidential candidate.

Jacksonville is the most populous Florida city, with about 950,000 residents. Donna Deegan, a Democrat, earned 52% of the vote, beating Daniel Davis. About 217,000 people voted, a turnout of 33%.”

In the same browser feed it was noted that Governor DeSantis refused to acknowledge that Donald Trump lost the last election. Well someone better tell Fox News that as they are somehow missing over $1 billion after settling two defamation lawsuits, with one pending for another $2.7 billion. They also have those indicting emails that said several key Fox News personnel knew they were gaslighting their viewers perpetuating Trump’s Big Lie.

The story reminds me of a cheating husband with lipstick on his collar and a perfumed aroma who tells his wife to ignore the evidence as he really did not cheat on her. When a party requires the mainstream candidates to gaslight, then that is prime facie evidence that anything else they say should be take with large doses of salt. We need a conservative voice in this country, but one that obligates leaders to lie is not it.

The truth will set you free

As an old fart, I have gleaned several truths over the years listening to and reading the words of people much smarter than me. Here are just a few of those truths, at least per this editor of information.

A great leader is one who defers more credit to others and accepts more blame even when it is undue. Think of this when you hear a notorious former president (or any elected official for that matter) take credit and blame others on a routine basis. Bad leaders use too many “I” and “me” words to define success. “I, alone, can solve our problems” was uttered before the presidential election in 2016 at the GOP convention, but that is as much narcissistic as it untrue.

Telling your creditors you can’t pay your bills is not part of productive strategy to balance your budget. If the US does not raise its debt ceiling, it is very poor stewardship and tells our creditors we are bad risk. Legislators who say it is not poor stewardship are very much mistaken. Let’s pay our creditors, then have serious discussion around changes to increase revenue AND cut spending.

Lying and embellishing is not foreign to politicians. Yet, lying pretty much about everything is beyond the pale. George Santos, Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis have achieved a greater level of deceitfulness than others. Santos has emulated the two older people and has created both a fake history and allegedly acted criminally. We deserve better than this. What he has not learned as well is how to be smug when called out on lying.

Vladimir Putin still wins the prize for untruthfulness. What has been difficult for him is the Ukraine invasion has gone so poorly for Russia, he cannot cover-up his lying. The word is getting out, sometimes within 24 hours that he was lying the day before. Ukraine is achieving success. So, it is hard to maintain a lie, when the evidence is shown in real time. The problem is coming clean will have to be a part of his exit strategy. He will need to say folks, this is not working, so we need to exit Ukraine.

Each of us lied about something in our lives. To say you have not is not being honest with yourself. One thing you must do is not believe your own BS. The first step in coming clean is to admit to yourself you lied or weren’t as truthful as you should have been. Here is a good example – having been in management and consulted with HR, everyone thinks they are a better than average employee. But, that is not possible. The only way to improve is to recognize your shortcomings.

This is one of the challenges for our former president as we often debate if he knows he lies as much as he does as he tells so many sometimes repeatedly. I am reminded of the CBS reporter who finally got tired of a routine misstatement about a law he said he passed and told him you know that law was passed before you became president? He did not know.

We need as much truth as possible from our elected officials. I try hard not to refer to many elected officials as “leaders” as just because they are in a position of leadership, does not make them a leader. Telling the truth will set them apart from the others and free them to walk down the better path.

When will they ever learn?

Quoting the key line from Pete Seeger’s “Where have all the flowers gone?” made famous by Peter, Paul and Mary, “when will they ever learn?”

Seeing the former president bask in the glow of his CNN Town Hall, where he regurgitated a seemingly endless list of untruthful statements, I thought of this line as his base of fans lapped it up. When will they ever learn?

Lying routinely is not very becoming of a president. Repeating the lies as a mantra is even worse as some lies are making the record album skip as it wears out. When will they ever learn?

What makes all of this so farcical and sad is his lying is overt and relentless. He lies so much he does not where the truth stops and the lying begins. Even when the truth works in his favor, he has to dress it up more to assume credit.

One of the interesting byproducts of the Town Hall is while he will be appealing the verdict on his sexual assault liability of $5 million, E. Jean Carroll is considering suing him again for defamation with his Town Hall remarks. When will they ever learn?

In the next few months, Donald Trump will likely be indicted for election meddling in Georgia. With eight Trump enablers agreeing to deals with the prosecutor, a very strong case looks even stronger. He, of course, will denounce the indictment as politically motivated, even a witch-hunt, which is ironic as that is precisely what he did with his meddling.

And, my hope is he will be held accountable for his role in the insurrection on January 6, 2021 against Congress. Quite simply, that insurrection would not have happened if Donald Trump was not president.

While all of this is happening, Fox News will likely settle another defamation case with another voting system company. This would be the third settlement around gaslighting their audience perpetuating Trump’s Big Lie.

I have been saying for over two years that Donald Trump’s political career is over, but it will take awhile for his party to realize that. It is happening much more slowly than I hoped, but he does not have enough fingers to plug the holes in this dyke.

Quite simply, we are more divided as a county because a man-child with a shallow ego cannot admit he lost an election. As his niece Mary said, her uncle will burn it all down to avoid losing the election. His followers need to open their eyes and see the gas can and matches he is holding. When will they ever learn?

Thursday throwaways

The week is nearing its end as we head toward Mother’s Day. Here are a few throwaway remarks on this Thursday. In no particular order:

-Note to CNN, if you have a Town Hall with Donald Trump make sure you have an audience that represents America. Watching Trump lie with impunity is not a Town Hall I want to watch. To continue to tell the same election was stolen BS after the $1 billion plus and counting penance for gaslighting by Fox News is just stuff we no longer need to hear.

-Note to House Republican leadership, you should have avoided putting newly arrested George Santos on two committees. This future train wreck was very visible back in January when he was sworn in. The wisest course would have been to not seat him pending further investigation, but placing him on committees exposed the rest of the country to his deceptive ways.

-Note to Democrat and Republican leadership – DO NOT DEFAULT on America’s debts. That is beyond poor stewardship and borders on malfeasance. And, it certainly is not a conservative principle. Find a way to get it done and then talk in greater detail about doing things to reduce the debt and deficit. You could start with listening to the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

-Don’t forget your mothers. Unfortunately, our two are gone, but we will remember them well. We will do something for my wife and mother of our three adult children, but it will be a more somber day. I used to call my mother at 7 pm every day when she went into a memory long term care facility, so I would think of her calling for months after she passed.

Have a great rest of your week and weekend.

Note to a wayward Republican Senator

Senator, I saw your comments condemning the process that found Donald Trump liable for sexual assault of E. Jean Carroll. While it is not a criminal trial verdict, he will have to make some sort of financial restitution to Ms. Carroll.

Your comments are unfortunate as they denigrate the efforts of a jury to hold the former president accountable. Not only has he confessed in his own words to other sexual assaults such as grabbing women by their private parts with impunity and his bent for walking in on partially clothed Miss Universe and Miss USA contestants because he sponsored the pageant, his company was found guilty of tax fraud last summer and he had to repay his foundation for using it for his personal reasons a few years ago.

Later this summer, he will likely be legitimately charged for election meddling in Georgia and he may be charged for seditious actions around the January 6 insurrection which endangered your life and that of others. If they were successful, you might not be around to receive this note.

As a former Republican and now independent voter, please refrain from commenting on a process that you have nothing to do with. Note, I would have considered voting for you in 2016 if you had won, if you conducted yourself like you used to. But, this version is not someone I could support.

Please help the GOP find its footing and hold the former president to account. It should not be lost on people that Fox News is out over $1 billion for gaslighting on behalf of the former president with $2.7 billion pending. People who lie for the former president do not fare very well.

Someone needs to sell more pillows

Fox News was not the only entity who is having to pay penance for its defamation of Dominion Voting Systems claiming they cheated Donald Trump out of winning the 2020 election. They probably should have read their internal emails where more than a few folks wrote they did not support Trump’s election fraud tale. $787.5 million is a lot of penance.

On a related humorous note, Mike Lindell, the My Pillow CEO, was ordered today to pay a software expert $5 million after reneging on a commitment to pay anyone that much who could disprove his data that Donald Trump won the 2020 election. The software expert was able to show Lindell’s data was not even from the 2020 election and demanded payment. A judge agreed and so ordered Lindell to pay up.

Of course, Lindell has bigger problems as Dominion Voting Systems also sued him for defamation seeking damages of 1.3 billion. Lindell may need to sell a few more pillows so he can sleep better.

By the way, they should have paid attention to Christopher Krebs, the head of election security that Donald Trump fired in November, 2020 after Krebs said the election was the most secure in our history of presidential elections. Krebs noted the systems left an auditable trail. This is a key reason Trump lost every recount, review and audit and all but one out of about 65 or so court cases.

If they did, both Fox News and Lindell could have saved some money.

Fox News defamation penance of $787.5 million

Per an article by Matt Taylor in Politico, called “Fox News reaches $787.5 million settlement in Dominion’s defamation lawsuit” the pseudo news network tried to avoid further embarrassment and minimize loss. The first few paragraphs tell the story:

“WILMINGTON, Del. — Fox News agreed to pay $787.5 million to Dominion Voting Systems to settle a defamation lawsuit over false elections claims, Dominion’s lawyers said Tuesday.

The voting machine company accused the conservative network of deliberately spreading bogus conspiracy theories about its products after the 2020 election in a bid to win back viewers. Dominion’s lawsuit had asked for $1.6 billion in damages before the two sides reached the last-minute settlement after a jury had been selected and as the trial was about to begin.

Dominion’s lawsuit said that Fox personnel from the C Suite to the production floor panicked about losing viewers to rivals like Newsmax — and began knowingly spreading lies about its products flipping votes from Trump to Biden. The falsehoods, spread by disgraced attorneys like Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, also suggested the company was tied to Hugo Chavez and that it had bribed officials in Georgia, among other claims.

Dominion said its brand was sullied and its employees harassed to no end by MAGA diehards, and sought $1.6 billion in damages before the dramatic settlement.”

The following is a letter I forwarded to the opinion pages of my newspaper. Please feel free to adapt and use.

I read with much satisfaction that Fox News has agreed to pay penance totaling $787.5 million for its defamation of Dominion Voting Systems. The only downside is the foregone greater public scrutiny Fox News would have received if the case was tried regarding gaslighting its viewers to support the bogus election fraud claims of the former president, which on-air hosts, producers and owner admitted they knew were false in emails.
This is on top of a recent $250 million settlement for defamation of a Venezuela man and a pending trial for defamation with another voting system for $2.7 billion. With these emails, other facts and alleged withholding of evidence, my guess is Fox will settle that case, as well.

Fox decided to lie to their viewers because of money for advertising revenue. They knew they were lying. Not only does Fox owe its viewers the truth, they owe other Americans it as well. And, sadly people who worked for Dominion received death threats from those who believed Fox and Trump’s BS.

Fox earned this scrutiny. We should all remember how they harmed their audience and our country. The same goes for others who still tout the former president’s bogus election fraud claims so says this independent and former Republican voter.

Fox News accused of withholding evidence from Judge in defamation lawsuit

An article in Business Insider by Charles Davis called “Ex-Fox News producer claims the company withheld damning recordings of Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell that could help Dominion’s defamation lawsuit” continues to add paint to the picture unflattering to Fox News. Much of the Dominion Voting Systems defamation case against Fox News comes out of the footage and emails of Fox.

Yet, as this article reveals, Fox News may have not been as forthcoming with their information. Here are a few excerpts with a link to the article below.

“A former Fox News producer who last month sued the company for discrimination is now accusing her ex-employer of failing to turn over audio recordings of conversations with leading 2020 election deniers that could hurt its defense in the Dominion defamation case.

In an amended complaint filed Tuesday in Delaware, attorneys for Abby Grossberg, who worked as a producer for Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and Maria Bartiromo, say that their client has recordings and transcripts of conversations with Trump campaign attorneys Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and others that were conducted in the wake of the 2020 election — and which, in some cases, show that they knew the claims they were making about a rigged vote were not supported by evidence.”

This is on top of the mountain information released including emails from known on-air personalities, producers and owners revealing Fox News knew Donald Trump was lying about the election fraud but chose to gaslight its viewers anyway. They did this for market share meaning more money.

Fox has settled another defamation lawsuit with a Venezuela man who was accused of bizarre and inane allegations of election interference. My guess is Fox is working diligently to settle the Dominion Voting Systems case, which has charges totaling $1.6 billion. Dominion may not settle as their case presents itself from the Fox archives.

Gaslighting is the apt term for Fox News as it is more sinister than lying. The network purposefully tried to disinform their audience for financial gain. And, from the movie “Gaslight” that is an apt definition. If you have seen the movie, maybe the jewels Fox News seek are woven into the fabric of Donald Trump’s suit. In any case, let’s just unplug Fox News and other gaslighting news outlets and politicians.

Letter to the editor – 34 more counts and still counting

I sent the following letter to my newspaper editor. Please feel free to adapt and use.

People who continue to believe the former president can do no wrong after being charged with 34 counts of fraudulent behavior by a Grand Jury, should be reminded his company and CFO were convicted last summer for tax fraud and penalized $1.6 million. While president, he settled a court case for misusing donated funds from the Trump Foundation having to repay $1.6 million before it was terminated and monies distributed to charities with no one named Trump permitted to oversee that process.

In the months ahead, he is looking at a potential Grand Jury indictment for alleged election meddling in Georgia and may face additional indictments for alleged mishandling of classified documents and alleged seditious actions around the January 6 insurrection.

As an independent and former Republican voter, the former president must be held accountable for any illicit actions. To not do so would be political. No one is above the law. Full stop.