A disgusting lack of leadership

The following are the views of a former Republican and now Independent voter. I did not vote for the former president either time and remain puzzled why people would vote for such a well-documented untruthful, egomaniacal bully.

On Friday, I read that Senator Mitch McConnell would support the seditious former president if he were the 2024 presidential nominee. Note, this is after McConnell denounced the former president for his role in the insurrection against a branch of government, which of course, put McConnell and his colleagues in danger. And, unsurprisingly, Mr. McConnell chose not to vote to convict the former president before he admitted said person was guilty.

This is a disgusting lack of leadership in a country that needs this party to help offer some form leadership. But, as of this writing, people who voted as leaders to impeach or convict the seditious former president, have been vilified, censured and threatened. Yet, these seventeen folks knew this going in and voted to impeach or convict anyway. That is leadership. What Messers. McConnell, Graham, Hawley, Paul, Cruz, McCarthy, Scalise, Gaetz, Gohmert, et al have done is cowardice and sycophancy to someone who almost caused their deaths.

Reading McConnell’s statement in support of a traitor is seditious in its own right, in my view. This former president planned and staged a big lie about rampant election fraud. And, too many Republican so-called leaders were silent. The former president set the stage for the insurrection through his lies, that even his Attorney General labeled as “bulls**t” before he was fired for so saying. Republican election officials and judges even pushed back on the former president’s lies, yet they also got death threats.

Our country needs two viable political parties or more. Yet, we need the people in leadership positions in these parties to be leaders and not sycophants. The seditious former president is the most corrupt and deceitful president in my lifetime including Richard Nixon. I have been pleading with Republican Senators for three years asking what will it take to hold this former president accountable. Apparently, even traitorism does not qualify.

The former president was right when he said he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and it would not matter. What he did not say is he would hand the gun to McConnell and blame him. Our country deserves better than this.

Exodus of Republicans

In an article yesterday by Jason Lange and Andy Sullivan of Reuters called “Analysis: Exodus of Republican voters tired of Trump could push party further right,” the departures away from the now Trump party are growing. Here are a few paragraphs, with a link to the article below.

A surge of Republicans quitting the party to renounce Donald Trump after the deadly Capitol riot could hurt moderates in next year’s primaries, adding a capstone to Trump’s legacy as president: A potentially lasting rightward push on the party.

More than 68,000 Republicans have left the party in recent weeks in Florida, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, crucial states for Democrats’ hopes of keeping control of Congress in the mid-term elections in 2022, state voter data shows. That’s about three times the roughly 23,000 Democrats who left their party in the same states over the same time period.

Compared to the Republicans who stayed put, those who fled were more concentrated in the left-leaning counties around big cities, which political analysts said suggested moderate Republicans could be leading the defections.

If the exodus is sustained, it will be to the advantage of candidates in the Republican Party’s nomination contests who espouse views that play well with its Trump-supporting base but not with a broader electorate.

That could make it harder for Republican candidates to beat Democrats in November, said Morris Fiorina, a political scientist at Stanford University.

‘If these voters are leaving the party permanently, it’s really bad news for Republicans, Fiorina said.

Most of the defectors switched to having no party affiliation or joined a minor political party, though many registered as Democrats, according to publicly available voter registration data that is regularly updated by states….

Diana Hepner, 76, a retired attorney in Florida’s Nassau County near Jacksonville, described herself as a fiscal conservative who was turned off by Trump’s rhetoric.

‘I hung in there with the Republican Party thinking we could get past the elements Trump brought,’ she said. ‘Jan. 6 was the straw that broke the camel’s back.’

Hepner, who joined the Democratic Party, hopes she can be a centrist influence on its nomination contests.

The above should be a clarion call to those who now call the Trump party home. Yet, these calls and others made by Republicans pushing back on the seditious former president, have been largely written off by the MAGA base. At some point, there must be reckoning.

While I firmly believe the former president’s political career is over, his influence will remain. As long as the party base buys into the conspiracy and lies he (and his sycophants) peddles, he will have a voice. As I have noted before, the best thing to do about the former president is to ignore him.

Analysis: Exodus of Republican voters tired of Trump could push party further right (msn.com)

Censuring Republicans who voted to impeach or convict – a sample letter to the editor

I sent the following letter to my local newspaper after seeing that the North Carolina state Republican Party may censure Senator Richard Burr for voting to convict the seditious former president. This follows on similar votes executed or planned in other states to censure the likes of Representative Liz Cheney, Senator Ben Sasse, Senator Pat Toomey and Senator Bill Cassidy and maybe the others. Please feel free to adapt and use. I hope they print it.

Two thoughts pop into my head about the state Republican parties that are censuring Republicans who voted to impeach or convict the seditious former president. Each time they take aim at one of them, it gives them the chance to repeat their resolve into why the former president is a traitor. Which leads me to my second thought. Being a traitor and causing the death of now seven people by consistently lying and inciting an insurrection is not worth censuring, but telling said traitor they do not approve of that behavior is. There is something terribly wrong with this picture. Burr, Cheney, Murkowski, et al are the real heroes who knew beforehand they would get backlash, yet did it anyway.

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.

Former ambassador under Trump says the former president has no future in the GOP

Nikki Haley, the former United Nations ambassador appointed by the former president, rebukes her former boss in a very public manner. To me, the number of folks who are realizing it is more than OK to call out the deceitful former president is starting to pick up steam, irrespective of what happens in the impeachment trial.

Here are a few paragraphs from a piece called “Nikki Haley criticizes Trump and says he has no future in the GOP” by Veronica Stracqualursi of CNN. The full article can be linked to below.

“Former US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley directly criticized former President Donald Trump for his involvement stoking the US Capitol riot in a new interview, a notable condemnation from someone who is widely viewed as harboring presidential hopes in a party that is still in thrall to Trump.

‘We need to acknowledge he let us down,’ she told Politico magazine in an interview published Friday. ‘He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again.’

Haley has often attempted to walk a fine line between allying herself with Trump — who remains a hugely popular figure within the party — while distancing herself enough to appeal to his Republican and moderate critics. She notably left his administration in 2018 on good terms with Trump, a contrast to many other officials who have publicly fallen out with their former boss.

In the Politico piece, Haley expressed anger over Trump’s treatment of former Vice President Mike Pence on January 6 and said she hasn’t spoken with Trump since then. Trump attacked Pence on Twitter that day for doing his duty of presiding over Congress’ counting of the Electoral College votes, as the mob of supporters broke into the Capitol hoping to stop the certification, some of whom chanted death threats against Pence.

‘When I tell you I’m angry, it’s an understatement,’ Haley told Politico. ‘Mike has been nothing but loyal to that man. He’s been nothing but a good friend of that man. … I am so disappointed in the fact that [despite] the loyalty and friendship he had with Mike Pence, that he would do that to him. Like, I’m disgusted by it.'”

To me, these words are relevant, but tardy. I feel there has been a calculation weighing the efficacy of finally condemning the former president. I think it follows on the courage of folks like Representatives.Liz Cheney, Adam KInzinger and the other eight Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, as well as Senators like Ben Sasse, Mitt Romney and a few others who voted to hear the impeachment trial.

Nonetheless, what Haley is saying is powerful. It also reveals we are beyond the tipping point on the former president. It is OK to speak the truth and call him on the carpet for his deceit and sedition. Stick a fork in him, he is done.

Nikki Haley criticizes Trump and says he has no future in the GOP (msn.com)

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.

Three former Republican Senators say the former president should face accountability

The following opinion was written by three former Republican Senators, David Durenberger, Larry Pressler and Gordon Humphrey as reported by CNN called “3 former GOP senators: Trump should not escape accountability on a technicality” Most of the opinion can be found below, but a link follows at the bottom.

“Former president Donald Trump incited an insurrection and has faced little consequence for it so far. As such, senators must take on their constitutional duty to sit as impartial jurors in the impeachment trial, regardless of any lingering concerns — unfounded we believe — that the process is unconstitutional.

When the House of Representatives voted to impeach then-President Trump on January 13, by a bipartisan vote of 232 to 197, those voting to impeach knew it was unlikely that the Senate would be able to hold a full trial before Trump left office. However, both Democratic and Republican members of Congress understood that no president, regardless of political party, should be let off the hook for inciting an insurrection against a coequal branch of government, especially as it was convening to conduct its constitutional duty in certifying the Electoral College count.

These members recognized that both Trump’s urgings to protesters to “fight like hell” before the Capitol was breached, and his lack of meaningful action during the six hours it took to restore order, were unacceptable — and that he needed to be held accountable. House members rose to the occasion, honoring their oath and respecting the process despite the unfavorable calendar. It’s time for the Senate to do the same.

The consequence of not holding a trial because a president has left office would send the message that any official in government could escape accountability simply by committing impeachable offenses just before the end of their term.

An impeachment trial isn’t just about removal from office — which in this case we acknowledge is moot. Rather, the trial offers Congress the ability to hold a president accountable for his actions and can lead to a vote on the disqualification from holding federal office again. To put it simply, the impeachment process could signal that officials cannot repeat Trump’s misdeeds in the future without facing serious consequences.

This is why, as former Republican senators, we were disappointed and worried by the 45 Republican senators who voted in favor of a point of order challenging the trial’s constitutionality after being sworn in to “do impartial justice.” Congress should not shirk its duty to act as a check on abuse of power from the executive branch.

And we aren’t alone. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service writes that, ‘most scholars who have closely examined the question have concluded that Congress has authority to extend the impeachment process to officials who are no longer in office.’ Moreover, more than 150 legal scholars across the political spectrum recently signed an open letter concluding, ‘that the Constitution permits the impeachment, conviction, and disqualification of former officers, including presidents.’ The letter included the co-founder and other members of the conservative legal group, the Federalist Society.”

There is truly not much to add to this. I concur with its conclusions and reasons therefor.

3 former GOP senators: Trump should not escape accountability on a technicality (Opinion) (msn.com)

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.

Deny, Discredit, Disinform, Diffuse and Defray – a reprise from 2014

The following post was written almost seven years ago, before the former president walked down the escalator to announce his candidacy. He showed how to manipulate these five D’s, but his albatross was he could not control the one guy at the toggle. So, he often gets in his own way and the way of his helpers.

The five D’s. As a now 55-year-old man, I have witnessed over time the aggressively managed handling of criticism whether it is in politics or in big business. In my view, the defense could be summed up in the following order – Deny, Discredit, Disinform, Diffuse and Defray – where you keep drawing lines in the sand as you retreat. With each D and line drawn, you want to see if that will stave off the criticism.

The fossil fuel and petro-chemical industries have been deploying these tactics for decades, as what they do for a living is not easy and has a history of impacting the health and welfare of humans and the environment. When you add money on top of these approaches, it takes an Erin Brockovich to make any headway against them. Yet, what people fail to realize is these five D’s are an aggressive risk management strategy.

But, the approach is definitely not limited to big business. Vladimir Putin is probably the best games player around. He knows your weaknesses and hot buttons, so he has and continues to use these approaches. In the US, politicians value and pay dearly for spin doctors like Karl Rove, who in essence are paid liars. Their job is perfume any pig that comes their client’s way. However, most politicians who have won more than one election become increasingly artful in these defense tactics – Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, Obama and the Bushes – all could be considered good at these approaches. With Nixon, the lies caught up with him as he taped himself. He only resigned once the courts ordered him to release the tapes that showed he was not only paranoid, but ran a burglary and disinformation ring out of the White House.

First, when criticism is made against what you do or have done, you deny it aggressively. That is absolutely not true will be words usually spoken. Note, with false claims, denial does not mean the accuser is correct as that is part of the defense strategy under discredit. Putin claims that Ukraine is fascist, but you really cannot call Ukraine fascist if they are trying to have democratic elections. The toxic fracking slickwater is not getting into people’s water supply, is a good example of denial. The NSA is not spying on Americans is another one.

Second, when the denial ceases to work, the discredit strategy begins. Sometimes, the discrediting comes with the denial. The Putin example is a good one. The global warming is a hoax is a prime example, where the fossil fuel industry through its public relations engine wanted to paint Al Gore and all of his imperfections as the reason why global warming was not happening. He lives in large mansion and is using this as a publicity stunt. Name calling or branding people comes part and parcel. Using terms like Hitler, Apartheid or Stalin to paint something you dislike is a common tactic. I have often been called an Environmentalist, which I am, but the term is used to smear me because it is meant to construe that I do not care about jobs. The fact that there are tens of thousands of jobs in solar energy in my own state and they are growing in number, seems to get overlooked as unimportant.

Third, if denials and discrediting don’t work, disinform. This probably frustrates me most, as it is a very common tactic on partisan news shows, to spin the truth, overlook the issues or just lie. I tell people often and write on this blog and emails for people to stop watching Fox news and its counterpart, MSNBC. Your are better off watching no news as the spins can be so severe that you are not informed –  you have been propagandized. The real truths include: Global warming is not a hoax. Fracking is not perfectly safe. Creationism is not science. Voter fraud is virtually non-existent. Business is not inherently bad, but needs governance. Protecting our environment costs us less in the long run. While there are a few abusers, people on food stamps are not gaming the system.

Fourth, if we are still in trouble, the next line in the sand is to diffuse. This is a measured  mea culpa which allows some concessions, but does so on your terms. You have already thought through beforehand what would be an acceptable position to come to, when the avalanche of truth gets too big. You have done some internal investigations and found there is some truth in what we are being accused of, so we will fix it. You are right, climate change is real, so we are going to focus on natural gas, as it burns cleaner than coal. The data breach is bigger than we first imagined, so we are doing the following. We are only getting Metadata and not listening to your phone calls and reading your emails.

Fifth, if this fails, then we need to defray. We need to settle claims as quickly and expeditiously as possible. We must avoid class action suits. We need to divide and conquer. Pay people a pretty penny, but limit the number of pennies and limit the number of hands. No one goes to jail. We just pay out of expenses what we have already accrued when the problem first reared its head. Or, let’s recall every car that has any minor defect now. This will be far cheaper than the potential lawsuit.

The five D’s. Next time criticism is flying toward someone or some entity, watch how the issue is handled. Usually, the higher the revenue stream potential, the more aggressive the defense. The truth is usually further away from the speaker with the most to gain financially. Not always, but often enough.

Friday fan-fiction?

Fan-fiction is a common term used to define people who have written variations or new stories off their favorite movie series – Harry Potter, Star Wars, Star Trek, etc. The fans who write and read these stories are often a self-governing group who offers passionate feedback, good or bad. Sometimes, with so many directors of a movie series, the loyalty to the mission of the characters is better served by these fans, than a director. Even an author can fail to fully understand the history, as well as these passionate fans.

I am reminded of the Stephen King book and movie called “Misery.” The plot is about an author who is tired of writing a successful series about a female character whose name is “Misery,” so he dramatically kills her off. Sadly, for him he has been “kept” by a woman who is a huge fan of the series, after the author is injured in a car crash. She nurses him back to health, until she gets the final book. When she learns he has killed Misery off, she goes berserk and hobbles him, so he cannot leave. She forces him to write a new book that brings Misery back to life.

The fan-fiction concept reminds me of the cult-like following of the former president and his sycophants. The niece of the former president noted her uncle lies so much he starts to believe his own BS. I have witnessed this over the last five years, as well. What happens is the lies are heavily flavored and reiterated by a conspiracy minded group of people and pseudo-news sycophants. So, the lies get wind beneath their wings from the vast fan-fiction and soar ever longer.

Yesterday, one of those conspiracy parrots was formally removed from the House education committee, Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene. Eleven Republicans joined the Democrats in the censure vote, after Republican leaders failed to address her ongoing fan-fiction which included threats of the Speaker. She has espoused many fan-fictions, but let me highlight two.

Ms. Greene believes a wealthy Jewish cadre is causing the wildfires using lasers from space. The creativity of this fiction is only exceeded by disbelief that a grown woman would actually buy into this. The other is a repeat of old fiction that Alex Jones got in trouble for. Sandy Hook’s school shooting which killed twenty children and seven staff was all a hoax. Jones lost a lawsuit and an appeal for mental anguish he caused with his fiction on the families of the survivors and was ordered to pay restitution.

But, let me take the source of this fan fiction one step further. Jones is a salesperson and he is not only selling conspiracy theories, he is pushing product. His “Infowars” show spends a lot of time selling products, more so than the fiction, but the two are often related. After telling us how there was a Democrat scheme to infect the water system with a sexual neutering chemical, the next day, Jones began pushing his own product to protect you from such chemicals. This is fear tactics at their worst – scare you and sell you a product to protect you. The old term is “snake oil salesman.”:

Fan-fiction is entertaining to the passionate fans. But, please remember the key second word – fiction. The former president claims fake news, when the real news paints him in the appropriate light. Yet, what his fans do not realize, the biggest purveyor of fiction is the person they follow.