Tell me why?

The chorus to the popular Beatles’ song “Tell me why?” goes:

“Tell me why you cried
And why you lied to me
Tell me why you cried
And why you lied to me”

I have been a broken record on the need to ask more “why” questions of politicians. In so doing, maybe their “undergarments of untruths” might begin to show from beneath their outer appearances. And, if they evade answering, ask it again. Politicians do not want their lying to be discovered. Plus, some lie so much, they don’t know where the truth stops and the lies begin.

Here are few questions to help bare those undergarments of untruths.

  • Why did the new Republican majority in the US House vote to defund a recent request to increase funding to the IRS on the very same day (per CNN) that “Allen Weisselberg, former President Donald Trump’s long-time chief financial officer, was sentenced by a New York judge to five months in jail for his role in a decade-long tax fraud scheme after testifying as the state’s witness against the Trump Organization.” No one likes the IRS, but they perform a needed function and this request was to make improvements and restore funding that the previous president took away. I believe his name is Trump, and his organization will be sentenced later in the week.
  • Why do Republicans only care about the deficit when a Democrat is in the White House? And, why is that same former president making hay over the debt and deficit when he did absolutely nothing about it for four years. In fact, he made it about $2 trillion worse with his tax cut that mainly benefitted the wealthy and corporations per the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Republicans touted this tax cut would pay for itself, but that line of thinking has been horse excrement for a very long time and still is. Democrats could be much better at addressing the debt and deficit, but they are better at it than Republicans.
  • Why do people follow so-called leaders who have the most shallow of egos? Whether their name is Kim Jung-Un, Jair Bolsonaro, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump et al, why do these supposed strong acting men act like babies when they don’t get their way? Jung-Un’s bio reads like a Greek God’s citing all of his Olympian conquests and successes. It may even say his excrement has no odor. Neither Bolsonaro and Trump can tolerate losing which shows abysmal failure of fortitude. And, Putin has screwed up royally with his Ukraine invasion and continues to add gasoline to the fire rather admit such.
  • Why are books being banned when people can easily download them from online sources? (Note: This question is courtesy of our friend Scottie’s blog). There is an old line if you want to get more people to read or watch something, ban it. My favorite banning story was I believe espoused by Senator Ted Cruz. Cruz wanted to ban “Fahrenheit 451” which is a book about banning and burning books, with the title indicative of the temperature at which a book would burn. Ironically, Cruz once did a fillibuster by reading “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss on the floor of the Senate. This fossil fuel proponent was reading a book about protecting the environment.
  • Why does anyone follow some of the inane and mean-spirited acting people who are now in the halls of legislature, including the US Congress? Gerrymandering has created safe districts where people who should not be in these positions can find themselves elected, as so few people vote in primaries. These folks are rather overt in their comments and actions and it should cause a lot of head scratching. I want civil discourse with folks using actual facts when they are doing our business. So, we should ask these folks to explain themselves when they denigrate opponents and untruthfully opine. Direct questions like do you really believe that or you just saying it would help?

Maybe we should change the lyrics to “Tell me why you MAKE me cry and why you lie to me?”


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These things should matter folks

As an old fart who tries to do the right thing, there are things occurring in the land of politics that should not sit well with any of us, regardless of party or country. I am writing this as some constituents of the resume padding Representative-elect George Santos from New York are not too troubled by his overt lying.

In short, they should be bothered. If he lied about his resume, he will lie about anything. Plus, when you lie about your credentials, you expose yourself to blackmail to coerce action on the behalf of the extortionist. Santos should be at the very least censured by the Congressional ethics committee. Yet, since he lied to get in, I would not seat him and ask the district to hold another vote. It matters not whether he is a member of the Republican, Democrat, Green, Blue of Chartreuse party. We deserve better.

It reminds me of retired Senator John Kyl, who when caught by a reporter in another lie, he said something like it is your fault for taking what I said as the truth. In other words, it is your fault I am lying. As my non-cursing, pious administrative assistant used to say when she was really upset, “Bad word, bad word.”

We deserve the truth. It was not always this way. Representative Charles Rangel, a long time Democrat politician was censured by the House in 2010 for some financial games playing. Even Senator and future presidential candidate, John McCain was censured by the Senate for getting too involved with shady Savings and Loan executive who was part of the S&L crisis in the late 1980s. Both Rangel and McCain deserved the censures, but it should be added that both had long and productive careers in the Capitol, overcoming the censures.

And, in one of the most brazen failures of trust, former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, once one of the country’s most powerful politicians and at the time a lobbyist, was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for a financial crime related to sexual abuse of high school wrestlers he coached decades ago.

Nowadays, politics is so tribal, fellow members of the tribe rally around the accused shouting a slew of “what-about” retorts. This is the only way to explain the continuous support of the one of most prolific untruthful people ever to serve in the White House. As I was reading yesterday about people having been sentenced, being sentenced, scheduled to be sentenced and likely to be charged for their role in the insurrection, it reminded me that these folks believed the Big Lie spoon fed by the former president about his bogus election fraud claims. But, if they looked at history, they would have seen a trail of people who harmed their reputations chasing a fool’s errand off of one of Trump’s lies.

Richard Nixon lied to us on multiple occasions, not just with Watergate, which was his Waterloo. He and three preceding presidents, LBJ, JFK and Dwight Eisenhower, misled Americans about the war in Vietnam, knowing full well it was not winnable. They each continued the war and more Americans and Vietnamese had to die to save face. This is what the Supreme Court case about the Pentagon Papers was all about. Sadly, none were ever punished for this as the first three were dead by the time it was revealed in the press. Nixon would go onto lie about running a burglary ring from the White House and resigning before he was removed from office. The Watergate Hearings were American governance at its finest, holding a president accountable for his crimes.

Let me repeat, the truth matters. If a politician cannot tell the truth, they need to rethink the oath they swore allegiance to. And, if they still cannot tell the truth, they need to resign. Governing is hard enough with facts and truth, but nigh impossible without it. And, as noted with the Pentagon Papers, sometimes people die because of not telling the truth. Or, as with following Nixon or Trump, some people may end up in jail.

May 35 and December 37 – two fictitious dates for real events – a needed reprise

June 4 in China is the anniversary of a horrible event when the Chinese government forcibly put down a protest in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Yet, few know about it in China. Seeing a young man stare down a tank in the square is the most memorable occurrence. But, China has done its best to erase this event from their history arresting some protestors in Hong Kong a few years ago who tried to honor the memory of those who died that day..

I have written before about May 35 which is a real reference to an imaginary date. Per the attached article in the New York Times, it is a reference to what happened in Tiananmen Square in China on June 4, 1989, which has been expunged from Chinese history, including internet search references to that date. So, to make sure the Chinese kids remember this protest which was brutally squashed by the Chinese army, historians established a May 35 web link.*

In America, too many sycophants in the Republican Party are doing their best to erase further discussion of the insurrection incited by the former president on January 6. In their minds, we cannot have people thinking the former president’s lies about election fraud, his invitation of zealous members of his base to Washington, and his winding them up and pointing them at the Capitol building had anything to do with people storming the Capitol.

So, to make sure we don’t forget this heinous day in our country, nor the former president’s role and continuing untruthfulness about election fraud, maybe we should start calling it December 37 like the enterprising Chinese people did to avoid the memory being erased.

People died at these events. Elected officials of all stripes were put in danger. We owe it to them to remember who caused the insurrection that day. We cannot do anything about China’s delete key, but we can remind folks here that January 6 would not have happened if the former president did not have such a fragile ego and could not accept the fact he lost the election. Or, as his niece said in November, her Uncle cannot handle failure, so he will burn it all down to avoid losing the election.

May 35 and December 37. Bad days in China and the US. People in leadership need to be held accountable. People have gone to jail or have been fined for their actions that day in the US. But, we need to hold accountable the so-called leaders who caused this and let it go on, including the former president. Many Republicans have testified under oath and at great risk of the former president and other people’s roles. His defenders have not made their comments under oath. Why is that? To me, we cannot punish the bad actors without punishing those who greased the skids for them.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/24/opinion/global/24iht-june24-ihtmag-hua-28.html?_r=0eal

Tiananmen Square incident | Summary, Details, & Facts | Britannica

At some point we need good governance

There is an old adage which goes something like when your opposition is damaging its own mission, don’t stand in their way. For over five years, I have shared my concerns with my Republican representatives in Congress and State legislature that rationalizing the untruthfulness and bullying antics of the former president is not a good path forward. I often asked what will it take for you to realize that something must be done?

Yet, here we are two years after the former president invited and incited a seditious action against a branch of government and there are still elected followers that believe what he says. Call me crazy, but his misdeeds are overt, yet the gaslighting that he and his sycophants have done have put up a powerful barrier to the truth.

Right now, the party of Trump is revealing their confusion and conflict. One editorialist termed it a “circular firing squad.” I am sure some resolution in the US House will be achieved, but what will it look like? As an independent and former Republican and Democrat, my hope is a the more rational Republicans who have not yet been run off can work with the Democrats to vote in a moderate Speaker of the House.

I must confess it does not trouble me too much that Kevin McCarthy cannot garner enough votes. However, it troubles me even more that more extreme folks like Jim Jordan are being bandied about. I am leery of such an untruthful person as Jordan being in charge after watching him the last several years and being aware of his lying at Ohio State University that allowed other wrestlers to be sexually assaulted by a groping doctor.

We citizens deserve better than we are getting. Democrats are imperfect, but at least they are focusing on policy issues and are concerned about a former president who acted seditiously. Many Republicans agree with that concern and some even testified under oath, but too many are scared to go on record and shut down the election denial that is still being discussed along with exaggerated and contrived issues. The truth is needed. Civilized debate and collaboration are needed.

Please join me in holding legislators accountable and demanding they tell us the truth and work together.

A few more musings before year-end

To me, a few good things have happened and are happening this year to get us back between the white lines on the highway. In no particular order:

  • Jair Bolsonaro lost his bid for reelection in Brazil. As expected, he is pulling a Trump saying the election was stolen from him, but everyone else, including party leadership, are moving on. “But, I won by a huge margin,” he can be heard saying in Portuguese to the departing caravan of people.
  • Boris Johnson was shown the door in the UK as Prime Minister. The only good thing about Johnson’s tenure is he got to oversee the Brexit mess he helped create before succumbing to a series of unforced errors, as they like to say in tennis.
  • Not to be outdone, I was told before she was appointed by the Tories as new Prime Minister, that Liz Truss was not the best of replacements. She proved the author of this concern correct, lasting only 45 days in a mistake-filled tenure.
  • In Australia, apparently climate change, environmental concerns and paid child leave are important as Conservatives who passed on these issues, were swept out of office over the summer with the new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese taking the oath. Between the wildfires and depleting barrier reef, rising temperatures is not a friend to the country/ continent.
  • In Ukraine, Vladimir Putin is realizing what happens when someone stands up to a bully. Volodymyr Zelenskyy has shown what leadership looks like, while Putin has shown what autocratic rule looks like. Fortunately, Russians are starting to see what the world sees and his days may be numbered.
  • And, at long last, with the Tax Fraud conviction by a jury of the Trump Organization and the investigation and released Executive Summary by the House Select Committee, the former president is starting to get his come-uppance as he truly spirals out of control blasting anyone who dares criticize him or not genuflect enough. Plus, there are other legal matters in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Mar-a-Lago that he needs to contend with.
  • Joe Biden is far from perfect, but he has shown that things can get accomplished to help the greater good. I am very pleased the Respect for Marriage Act, some gun governance and an infrastructure and climate change bill were passed. Sadly, neither party seems to care about the debt and deficit, so some poor soul will have to get the blame for doing what is needed – raising revenue and cutting expenses – as the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Deficit Reduction Plan concluded, when the debt was about 1/4 the total it is now.

Have a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas. Stay warm and travel safe.

Mitch McConnell says it bluntly about the insurrection

In the wake of the House Select Committee referring four counts of criminal charges to the Department of Justice on the latest former president for his role in the January 6 insurrection and obstruction of justice thereafter, the brief words of Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell are compelling. In a piece called “McConnell on Jan. 6 criminal referral of Trump: ‘Entire nation knows who is responsible for that day’” by Alexander Bolton of The Hill, McConnell says the following.

“’The entire nation knows who is responsible for that day. Beyond that, I don’t have any immediate observations,’ McConnell said in a statement reacting to the House panel voting to refer four criminal charges against Trump to prosecutors in connection to his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

I applaud the work of the House Select Committee and the vast testimony of many Republicans who told the truth under oath over the concerns and criticisms of the former president’s role. It should be noted the sycophants and allies of the former president, including the person himself, are condemning the actions of the Committee without being under oath. Steve Bannon went to jail for ignoring a subpoena and four Republican Congress members, including Kevin McCarthy and Jim Jordan, were including in referrals for Ethics violations for doing the same. If they were so adamant, why not testify?

I have long been a supporter that action like this is needed. I also believe the Department of Justice should follow the recommendations and bring charges against the former president. We cannot and should not allow him to not be held accountable for his role in sedition against the US government. He must answer for his actions. And, from what I have read, his obstruction of justice to coerce several of the Republicans who testified to change their story is also telling.

To this independent and former Republican and Democrat voter, this is a great day for our democracy as it shows that even presidents are not above the law. And, for those who claim that the Committee was hyperpolitical, please note that Kevin McCarthy had recommended two people for the Committee out of his five that were persons of interest in the insurrection. When they were turrned down by the Speaker, McCarthy made a huge error in judgement and pulled all five. To the Speaker’s credit, she asked to two truth seeking Republicans – Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger – to serve on the Committee.

The former president likes to claim all organized criticism of his illicit behavior is a “witch hunt.” Well, if it is, then he must be a witch, because he does a lot of bad things and usually gets away with it. We cannot let it happen this time. Quite simply, the insurrection of the Capitol does not happen if there is anyone else in the White House. Full stop.

A few SWAGs for 2023

For people who have been in business, a term that gets floated around by accountants and controllers is WAG, which is short for Wild Ass Guess. Now, a SWAG has more perceived veracity as it comes from an experienced source or uses a little bit of data. It stands for a Sophisticated Wild Ass Guess.

Not that I am experienced, but I do try to pay attention to reputable news sources. So, with this in mind, here are a few self-anointed SWAGs for what may happen in 2023. After reading them, you may say these are just WAGs, as they have little sophistication involved. That is more than OK, but please feel free to share with me your thoughts.

With supply troubles continuing and the inability for some industries to keep a full labor force, my guess is inflation will remain with us throughout the year. Everything seems to cost more. And, it should be noted that there are some companies who are taking advantage of uncertainty, by adding premiums to their prices. This is a form of price-gouging that I hope customers witness and act upon when they can.

We may have certain regions of the world that will see some recession. Our friends in the UK will continue to see recessive woes from Brexit, as they were forewarned of even before the vote. And, Ukraine continues to be compromised on its ability to provide the same level of food production given the Russian invasion. Of course, the invasion also impacts Russia’s distribution of oil and natural gas to others. Given Russia’s economic woes, invading Ukraine continues to appear to be a monetary drain.

The Republican party in the US will continue to find it difficult to corral its elected officials into a common purpose. There are too many strident thinkers who got elected over the last few years due to surgical gerrymandering and support of the wishes of a strident base of voters beholden to the former president. While Trump will eventually become even less relevant this year, Trumpism will survive but it will likely never be confused with good governance.

I believe the GOP leaders in the House will make a huge mistake if they start doing a series of non-important investigations. But, it won’t stop that train. They like to point to the January 6 Insurrection House Committee as a reason, but this one was important as it was trying to look into the insurrection on the Capitol building fueled by the former president. The GOP leadership made a huge mistake by not offering people who would be good candidates for the Committee. At least two of the nominated GOP folks had conflicts of interest as they were persons of interest.

Trump will become increasingly irrelevant over 2023. He will be an embodiment of the Shakespeare quote as he fumes and fusses as people pay him less attention.

“Life … is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

My guess is in an attempt to garner more attention, he will threaten to run as an independent. Some Republicans will fear him doing that as he would take the party down with him, but I think the right response to that is “knock yourself out.” He needs money to run and funders want to back a winner. Funders will see that they have a better chance without him, so he will fume and fuss some more.

And, that may be the easiest prediction of them all. The former president will do a lot of fuming and fussing in 2023.

Fox Business Host and former Trump ally speaks hard truths

In an article called “Fox Business Host Drops Hard Truths In Trump-Bashing Segment” by Josephine Harvey of HuffPost, a previous huge fan of the former president takes off the gloves to again criticize him. Here are a few paragraphs with a link to the article at the end of the post.

“Fox Business host Stuart Varney has again gone after Donald Trump for dragging down the Republican Party.

Varney ― a former Trump ally who once insisted the then-president had never told the American people a lie ― devoted a segment Tuesday to criticizing Trump for backing dud candidates in the recent midterms. He also took issue with Trump’s attempt to take back remarks he made over the weekend calling for parts of the Constitution to be terminated to accommodate his desire to be re-installed as president.

‘He was talking about terminating parts of the Constitution. That plays right into the Democrats’ hands,’ Varney said. ‘He’s trying to walk it back today but the damage has been done.’

…To cap it off, Varney quoted from a Wall Street Journal editorial that warned Republicans they’ll effectively be ‘terminating’ the GOP should they choose Trump as their nominee for president in 2024. 

Varney has repeatedly criticized Trump in recent weeks. After Trump announced his intention to run in 2024, Varney said the speech lacked some of the ‘old magic.’ He has also accused Trump of ‘dragging the Republican Party into the mud’ with his attacks on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, his potential rival for the party’s nomination.”

I do not disagree with Barney’s comments of late. However, I would take strong issue with his earlier statement that Trump does not lie. To the contrary, he has long been a well-documented untruthful person by numerous sources and people in the know. Further, the guy Varney is now criticizing is the same guy he has always been – a thin-skinned ego maniacal person who lashes out with name-calling when criticized or unsuccessful. As his niece Mary famously said, “My uncle will burn it all down to avoid losing the election.”

A conservative pundit calls it what it is

In an article in Raw Story by Tom Boggioni called “Trump finally committed ‘political suicide’ with his latest ‘stupid’ comments: conservative,” he notes the comments of conservative David Strom about the double-down statements of the former president on terminating the constitution so he can regain power.

“In a column for the highly conservative Hot Air, Republican speechwriter David Strom expressed his disgust at Donald Trump’s call for ‘the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution‘ because he thinks the 2020 election was stolen from him.

As Strom sees it, the former president — whom he believes has previously flirted with destroying his political career — finally committed ‘political suicide’ and will never recover.

Writing, ‘It’s like a social science experiment with 350 million participants. Researchers are asking: just how batsh!t crazy does a person have to be to lose 95% of their fans? For some reason, Trump has decided to participate as the experimental subject,’ Strom added, ‘There are several obvious things about Trump’s statement that are simply politically stupid. Like, really really stupid. Assuming there were no legal or ethical barriers to either calling a new election or suspending the Constitution (stay with me here, I know that is insane!), it is still politically stupid.'”

Dating back to the day after the January 6, 2021 insurrection, I have felt the former president’s political career was over. I still think that. But, I also knew it would take many Republicans and eventually some of his MAGA supporters time to realize that was the case. To be frank, the biggest death knell had less to do with the latest inane, untruthful or mean-spirited comment or action of the former president, but more to do with the failure of his shadow to provide more wins in the mid-terms. His presence actually was unhelpful to more than it helped.

Yet, just prior and since those elections, the former president has gone further off the reservation with his comments and actions, the above reference being one of them. And for him to think having dinner with two well-known antisemitic and conspiracy parroting people is just as crazy as the above reference to bat excrement to define his desires to terminate the constitution. For him to say he did not know these folks were bad news is just a crock, as he should have known if he didn’t. Yet, in my view he is being untruthful as he most often is with his remarks.

I actually like David Strom as I find he has tended to articulate his opinions in a well-thought out manner, even when I do not agree with them. I think this latest reference to the former president is revealing how people are tired of being too polite and should call the actions of the former president what they really are. Per his niece and other sources, the former president does not like being called a “loser,” so I am pretty confident he will not care for his actions being called “stupid” or “bat-sh*t crazy.”

As the blooms continues to fall of the Trump rose, we will witness further melt-downs. The surest sign of the dying blooms is the greater license for elected Republicans to criticize his actions. These frequency of these comments has significantly increased and will likely increase even more.

I’m a loser

From the minds of Lennon and McCartney, as sung by The Beatles, here is the final stanza and chorus of “I’m a loser:”

What have I done to deserve such a fate?
I realize I have left it too late
And so it’s true pride comes before a fall
I’m telling you so that you won’t lose all

I’m a loser, and I lost someone who’s near to me
I’m a loser, and I’m not what I appear to be
.”

Although this song is about missed opportunity with continuing love, I think of the chorus when I read or hear the recurring use of the term “loser” as counterargument by an adult male in his 70s who once was president of the United States. Quite often, when someone is critical of the actions, words or behavior of the former president, the counterargument is the childlike retort of “He’s a loser.”

Per the several biographers of the former president as well as his psychologist niece Mary, the worst thing one can be in the eyes of the former president is a loser. So, he reserves this retort as his most vehement backlash to criticism.

Forget that having a dinner meeting with a known white supremacist does not rank as the most intelligent of ideas, some critics of the said move have been called “losers.”

Forget that in several studies that tariffs fail to achieve the intended objectives just as they did here, critics are losers.

Forget that he was told his bogus election fraud claims were BS by his own Attorney General, he is a loser that must be fired.

Forget that taking classified documents to an unsecure location is not the wisest of moves, those who are investigating him are losers.

Forget that using his Foundation as a piggy bank and being ordered by a judge to repay the money, terminate it and distribute the funds to charities, the judge is a loser for so ordering.

Forget that hiring unscrupulous people like Roger Stone, Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani and acting surprised when they screw up, these hires are the losers not the person who hired them.

Why do people accept name-calling as argument time and time again? I almost expect the words “I am rubber and you are glue, what you say bounces off of me and sticks to you,” to come out of the former president’s mouth. Maybe he name calls as he self-professes to not like to read. His staff said his briefing summaries have to be short and include photos. So, he may not have a lot of ideas to counter with as he chooses not to know them.

Call me crazy, I just want a leader who can articulate a few why’s and how’s along with the what’s and when’s. Maybe I am just a loser who wants to know more.