A letter to a conservative editorialist who says we just don’t like Trump

As an independent and former Republican (in fairness, I was a Democrat for a few years after college), I am bemused at how Trump supporters are dismissive of people’s criticisms because they just don’t like him. That does not give him a hall pass to be untruthful, be a bully, name call critics, or act in a corrupt manner.

What I find telling is conservative groups like “Republicans for the Rule of Law,” “Checks and Balances,” and “Christianity Today” who have called out this president for impeachment for his abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Plus, the Mueller report, which I read, has several examples of obstruction of justice and lying.

But, we also should heed the voices of respected Conservative voices like George Will, David Brooks, Michael Gerson, Eric Erickson, Ross Douthat et al, who have shared concerns about the president.

Donald Trump got elected because he is a great salesman. He got folks to look more at his opponents’ imperfections than his own. He is acting as president no differently than he ran his business. As Thomas Wells, an attorney who worked for Trump, wrote before the election, “Donald Trump lies every day, even about things of no consequence.” And, we should not forget the words of Michael Cohen under oath, “Donald Trump is racist, he is a con artist and he is a cheat.”

So, excuse me if I take the word of a parade of dutiful, honorable public servants who courageously testified under oath of their concerns about the president’s actions rather than a president known to be less than truthful.

Do I like Donald Trump? Not really, but it is mainly due to how weary I am of his tendency to lie, demean, bully and make too many things about himself. I also have concerns about his acting like an autocrat and treating our treasured allied relationships like transactions.

I personally find Donald Trump the most corrupt and dishonest president in my lifetime, and that includes Richard Nixon.

I am sorry to push back on you, but I am frustrated with the ongoing rationalization of this incumbent. My question to you is the same one I ask of our Senators. What will you have to defend next week, next month, and next year?

Monday morning you sure look fine

“Monday morning you sure look fine, but Friday I got travelin’ on my mind,” sang Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac. Happy Monday everyone.

Of course, if I wanted to be downcast with the morning drizzle, I could have focused on Karen Carpenter’s “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” So, let’s conclude a double negative is s positive and make it a great day.

Here are a few random thoughts for the week:

– Whether you love or hate Speaker Nancy Pelosi, she is a worthy nemesis of the US president. She issued an open invitation to the president saying if you think you are being unfairly treated in the impeachment hearings, come testify. Inviting someone who has a hard time with the truth, would be sight to behold under oath.

– Speaking of the untruthful one, after intimidating in real time one witness while sending a message to others on Friday, the president called one of Mike Pence staff members a “never Trumper” for testifying behind closed doors that the phone call with Ukraine president (which she listened on) was very concerning. So, as is his want, Trump labeled her as enemy of him, even though she works for his VP.

– Please check out the yesterday’s interview between Chris Wallace, the best journalist at Fox, and GOP Congressman Steve Scalise. Wallace grills Scalise for the purposeful white washing of the impeachment hearings being done by Republicans. Wallace has noted like other viewers that these witnesses are honorable and credible public servants.

– This week will be even more telling as others testify. Whitewashing will continue, but we need to get back to that “oath” thing. Both Michael Cohen (Trump’s attorney fixer) and Roger Stone (self-professed dirty trickster) have been convicted of lying under oath to Congress.

Let me close with this question. If someone is a self-professed dirty trickster, is that a public confession of “trust me at your own peril?”

A few quotes from Conservatives need wider coverage

As an independent voter, having been a member of both parties, I seek to find the truth and facts beneath the politics. The tribal nature requires its bellringers to denounce any criticism or facts that get in the way of their winning. The US president does this frequently with his claims of fake news when he does not like what is being said.

What concerns me is we have a president who has a modus operandi of heretofore questionable and dubious behavior to further his personal cause. Yet, the claims of fake news heightened by the narrative it is Democrats that are behind this. What I have observed is an increasing number of conservative voices who are exhibiting greater courage to speak out against actions and words of this president.

Here are a few that resonate with me:

Elsa Alcala, a former Texas judge, decided to leave the Republican party this summer, alienated by Trump’s  latest attacks on Democratic representatives of color, three of whom were born in the United States. “Even accepting that Trump has had some successes (and I believe these are few), at his core, his ideology is racism,” the 55-year-old retired judge wrote Monday in a Facebook post. “To me, nothing positive about him could absolve him of his rotten core,” as reported by The Washington Post.

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, a long-time defender of whistleblowers and a staunch ally of President Donald Trump, pushed back Tuesday against the president’s call to identify the person who filed a complaint about his July phone call with the Ukrainian president. “This person appears to have followed the whistleblower protection laws and ought to be heard out and protected. We should always work to respect whistleblowers’ requests for confidentiality,” the senior senator from Iowa said in a news release as reported by USA Today.

Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois noted in response to the president retweeting a comment by an evangelical minister that a civil war would result if he was impeached. “I have visited nations ravaged by civil war,” the Illinois lawmaker tweeted. “I have never imagined such a quote to be repeated by a President. This is beyond repugnant,” as reported by USA Today.

Chris Truax, legal advisor to Republicans for the Rule of Law noted last week, “Republicans in Congress must condemn this behavior without reservation. It is no longer about whether Republicans believe President Trump or whether they support his policies. It’s about whether they support his admitted abuse of power and his efforts to secure a foreign government’s help in an American election,” said in a statement to Huffington Post.

Nebraska Republican State Senator John McCollister, wrote in an email sent to his supporters, “The Republican Party is enabling white supremacists in our country. As a lifelong Republican, it pains me to say this, but it’s true. I of course am not suggesting that all Republicans are white supremacists, nor am I saying that the average Republican is even racist.”

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire during Congressional testimony said “I want to stress I believe the whistleblower and the inspector general have acted in good faith throughout.” Maguire also agreed with Texas Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro’s assertion that the whistleblower’s complaint is “remarkably consistent” with the transcript released by the Trump administration. “I would say that the whistleblower’s complaint is in alignment with what was released by the president yesterday,” Maguire said as reported by Fortune.

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace called out “astonishing” and “deeply misleading” spin from President Donald Trump’s defenders over the whistleblower complaint on his contacts with Ukraine. He also criticized White House advisor Stephen Miller in an interview for Miller’s “obfuscation of the truth.”

Former National Economic Advisor Gary Cohn confessed to two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Bob Woodward in his book “Fear,” saying Trump is a “prodigious liar.”

Former Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen said the following under oath to a Congressional committee, “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con-artist and he is a cheat.”

I am a fiscally conservative and social progressive voter. This is why I have been a member of both parties. I do not mind people being more conservative or progressive than me on issues. What I do care about is focusing on facts and truth.

I share these comments as there has been a purposeful reaction to distract from the truth to protect this president by his supporters. This is in part due to the media reporting everything the president does or says that is not accurate or appropriate. I wish they would focus more on the big lies as we have become inured (and even weary) to the unending inappropriate tweets and comments. Obstructing justice and abusing powers is a big thing.

He doesn’t think he did anything wrong

He doesn’t think he did anything wrong. And, that is a part of the recurring problem. The US president thinks nothing of trading something to a country for dirt on an opponent. He did it before and will do it again until Congress says it is not OK.

But, that is not the only problem among the recurring equations. He sees nothing wrong with making money off the presidency. It is unethical and, at times, illegal. People feel obligated to stay at Trump facilities to curry his favor. He need not order it to happen, he just creates an environment that people feel they need to do it.

He thinks nothing of lying recurringly. He lies everyday, even when he does not have to. In fact, with about 1,000 days in office and over 12,000 lies per The Washington Post, that averages to 12 per day. While that seems a little high, it is closer to being correct than Fox host Stuart Varney’s zero estimate.

We should recall the words of his long-time attorney and fixer of Trump missteps. Michal Cohen said under oath, “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con-artist and he is a cheat.” Maybe it is because he has gotten away with it all of his life, that Trump feels he can continue with impunity.

Two quotes of many from abroad on racist remarks

As an Independent and former Republican voter, I applaud the courage of Republican legislators who have pushed back on the US president’s dog whistle racist comments. It takes courage to call your leader on the carpet for his remarks. But, I find of interest the many condemnations from abroad who are calling out the president’s remarks. Here are two: *

“Trump’s racism is sickening. Any European politician who fails to condemn this has questions to answer & should be ashamed of themselves.” – Guy Verhofstadt, Belgian politician and member of the European Parliament.

“The President of the United States telling elected politicians — or any other Americans for that matter — to ‘go back’ to other countries is not OK, and diplomatic politeness should not stop us saying so, loudly and clearly.” – Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland

The dog whistle reference is important as the president refuses to apologize and says his remarks are not racist. This is old school racism where someone can use code words that have racist intent. But, don’t take my word for it, Michael Cohen, the president’s long time attorney and fixer said the following under oath. “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con artist and he is a cheat.” And, if that were not enough, Trump settled two court cases where he admitted to discriminatory rental practices against African-Americans. Unfortunately, the president has a history of racist comments and practices.

Our leaders must honor our ideals and condemn these racist remarks. Each of us carries that responsibility as well. But, we need our leaders to be our better angels, not our worst. When we are being critical of actions, we need to focus on actions, not traits. One can be critical of actions by Israel without being anti-Semitic, just as people can be critical of actions by America without being anti-American.

* Note: I want to give Jill Dennison a shout out as the source of the two quotes.

 

 

Stable genius

A few quotes to ponder:

“I am a stable genius,” said Donald J. Trump on several occasions, most recently after he threw a tantrum to abruptly end a meeting to discuss infrastructure.

“You have been telling me you are a genius since you were seventeen. In all the time I have known you, I still don’t know what you mean,” sang Steely Dan in “Reeling in the Years.”

“We were out-prepared,” testified former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson under oath to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as he described a meeting between Putin and Trump.

More colorfully, Tillerson commented while Secretary of State after the President changed his mind again, “He is a f**king moron.”

Testifying under oath to a House Committee, Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer said “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con-man and a he is a cheat.”

“You will have to do a deal with the European Union,” said German Chancelor Angela Merkel eleven times in one sitting to Trump until it finally sank in he could not do a trade deal just with Germany.

“Donald Trump lies every day even about things of no consequence,” said former Trump attorney Thomas Wells.

Finally, former National Economic Advisor Gary Cohn said after witnessing the President lie about what he said to the Australian Prime Minister, “He is a prodigious liar.”

Lastly, at 60 years-old, I am hard pressed to recall a very smart person bragging on how smart he or she is. These folks need not brag.

I could go on, but that will give you a sense. The title of this post depict two words that are not top of mind to me to define the US President – stable or genius.

Senator are you sure you want to poke the bear?

Senator Lindsey Graham is the new Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. In his view, now that the Mueller report absolves President Trump of concerns over collusion, he wants to have his committee investigate those who accused the President. Really? Are you sure you want to poke that bear? Do you want hard-working, reputable FBI and CIA people under oath again testifying why they had legitimate concerns about Trump and Russia? Just as a reminder, you do know the President has a very hard time with the truth?

Let’s start with a quick recap. We have yet to see the Mueller report which, per Fox News is 700 pages long. We have only had a very brief summary. We should also note it was reported yesterday by several sources the Mueller grand jury is still quite active and we should be hearing more on that front, especially from the Southern District of New York. Here is what the dueling versions of the Senate Intelligence Committee said last month per NBC News:

“After two years and 200 interviews, the Senate Intelligence Committee is approaching the end of its investigation into the 2016 election, having uncovered no direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to both Democrats and Republicans on the committee.

But investigators disagree along party lines when it comes to the implications of a pattern of contacts they have documented between Trump associates and Russians — contacts that occurred before, during and after Russian intelligence operatives were seeking to help Donald Trump by leaking hacked Democratic emails and attacking his opponent, Hillary Clinton, on social media.

‘If we write a report based upon the facts that we have, then we don’t have anything that would suggest there was collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia,’ said Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in an interview with CBS News last week.

Burr was careful to note that more facts may yet be uncovered, but he also made clear that the investigation was nearing an end.
‘We know we’re getting to the bottom of the barrel because there’re not new questions that we’re searching for answers to,’ Burr said.

One Democratic aide told NBC News that while the Democrats do not contest Burr’s statements, they believe it lacks context. The aide said, ‘We were never going to find a contract signed in blood saying, ‘Hey Vlad, we’re going to collude.” However: But they also made clear they haven’t found proof of their worst fear: That the president formed a corrupt pact with Russia to offer sanctions relief or other favorable treatment in return for Russian help in the election.

After it recently emerged in court documents that Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort shared campaign polling data with a man the FBI says is linked to Russian intelligence, [Ranking Democrat Mark] Warner called that the most persuasive evidence yet of coordination.
‘This appears as the closest we’ve seen yet to real, live, actual collusion,’ he said on CNN.”

What Senator Graham has lost sight of is the number of people close to the President that have pleaded guilty or been found to have of lying to the FBI or perpetuating fraud. Roger Stone still stands trial. What the Senator has lost sight of is Mueller also indicted dozens of Russians for interference with our election. What the Senator has lost sight of his Michael Flynn was speaking with the Russians about sanctions relief before taking office and lied about it. What the Senator has lost sight of is the active grand jury, post report that has its eyes on things like campaign fraud, using the positions for personal gain, misusing charitable donations, etc.

Or, maybe he has not forgotten this and the strategy is a ploy to perpetuate that the Deep State is against Trump, as he portrays. The fact Trump lies more than he does not is irrelevant. It is too bad Graham’s friend Senator John McCain is not alive, as he would slap Graham upside his head for his sycophantic behavior.

But, back to my question. Do you really want to poke the bear? Republicans tried to paint Michael Cohen as a liar, but he quite believably uttered these words. The President is a “racist, he is a liar and he is a cheat.”