A few more hoaxes

Recently, I wrote about “If everything is a hoax, what is real?” Yet, the person who claims everything critical against him is a hoax, is one of the biggest purveyors of hoaxes and fake news. Here are a couple of things to think about, both old and new:

– Trump says he started with a $1 million loan from his father. The real story is his father transferred over $400 million to his son before he died through a variety of means to escape estate taxes.

– Trump started his political persona on Fox by perpetuating a later refuted conspiracy that President Obama was not born in the US. After finally fessing up, he did what he often does and blamed Hillary Clinton.

– Trump said the India prime minister asked him to broker a peace deal between India and Pakistan over the territory of Kashmir announced while the Pakistan prime minister was visiting. Within the hour, the India prime minister said no such request was made. The White House was eerily silent after this unforced error.

– Trump has repeatedly said the Mueller investigation was a witch hunt, yet over 30 people were indicted and some have gone to jail. The report also did not exonerate Trump of obstruction of justice, noted several places where the president lied and revealed an overall sloppy and inviting relationship with Russia. I have said the Russians did not need to collude, as the Trump campaign was easy pickings for use. With that said, the report noted if they dug deeper, they may have found more as files had been erased.

– Trump continues to say he did nothing wrong with the Ukraine, but the evidence is to the contrary. But, one key question to ask is if the call with the Ukraine president was “so perfect,” why did White House staff try to bury it?

There are so many more examples we could note, but that will get the conversation started. As an independent voter who has been a member of both parties, it matters not what party is in the White House – this behavior is not right and it certainly is not presidential.

PS – Interesting to note the Republican governor of Vermont has endorsed Republican presidential candidate Bill Weld, former governor of Massachusetts. This is no hoax or fake news. Now, why would he do that?

“Truth is not the goal”

After media pressure, Facebook closed down a fake news site in North Carolina. As reported in The Charlotte Observer in an article called “Facebook takes down NC Facebook page with fake news” by Zachary Eanes, after a few months of publishing fake news and garnering 50,000 followers, the site was closed. A person contacted by the reporter said the following in response:

“‘Truth is not the goal’ behind the stories shared. ‘Getting Trump reelected is the ultimate goal.'”

That line is worth rereading. In essence, the truth does not matter. I have been echoing the premise the Republican party can no longer claim to be the “law and order” party as too many of its leaders have aided and abetted the corrupt and deceitful actions of the president. And, it can no longer claim to be a party of truth, the decline in truthfulness having started long ago, but made worse by the deceitful actions and words of the president.

It should be noted the site included a number of articles pushed by Russian disinformation sources. This is on top of a radio station in Iowa, which appears legitimate, but is using the Russian sputnik radio feeds for sources of disinformation. There is a reason Trump and Russia want you to believe Ukraine did all the election meddling. Trump wants Russia’s help again.

Let me be brutally frank. The biggest purveyor of fake news is the guy who says those words the most. His name is Donald Trump. Taking the president at his word is a fool’s errand.

A fable about a mistreated woman

Once upon a time, there was a woman who represented her employer in client relations. She had been doing her job well for about thirty years and was now working to assist a growing, but fragile client.

Unbeknownst to her, her boss’ boss had been told she was not doing what he wanted, which was actually corrupt. She stood in the way of her boss’ boss accomplishing is illicit task. The big boss even hired an attorney to dig up dirt and bad mouth her to the client and others.

Sadly, her boss did nothing to support her. He actually participated in the process. Her long time good service did not matter. When the bad-mouthing hit the press, she was chagrined.

She was eventually fired. Yet, what puzzled her is why did they not just fire her? They did not need to drag her name through the mud. They could have simply replaced her.

This is not a fable. The woman’s name is Marie Yovanovitch and she was the US ambassador to Ukraine. Her boss is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his boss is Donald Trump. The attorney is Rudy Giuliani.

Let’s set all the machinations aside. Of course, the president has the right to fire anyone. But, why did he have to run down Yovanovitch’s name and sully her reputation? That is a damn shame. It also speaks volumes about the relative character of those involved.

Pandora’s Box – abbreviated version

Below is a abbreviated version of my recent post on opening Pandora’s Box. I shortened it to send to my local newspaper. Please feel free to adapt and use. I feel the Pandora’s Box metaphor is apt.

“Republican Senators may now be fully opening Pandora’s Box, since they acquitted the US president with no formal admonishment. They may not ever get a chance to put the president back in the box. I believe the evidence is pretty compelling that the president is every bit as guilty and more. Sadly, he has dragged others into his mess, as is his modus operandi.

What they are missing because of fear and blind allegiance is this is the point of reckoning where they could have saved their own party and our democracy. We are not a kingdom. As an independent and former GOP and Democrat voter, I do not care what party is represented in the White House. But, when the incumbent dishonors the position to the point where 63% of Europeans do not trust him, trusting Putin and Xi more, what does that tell you? Taking the US president at his word is fool’s errand.”

A few Wednesday wanderings

It is a good day to go for a hike and see where I may wander. I am thinking of the JRR Tolkien line “Not all those who wander are lost.” Although, sometimes I feel I am lost in a country that has lost its compass. Here are a few thoughts to ponder while I wander.

I read that Senator Rand Paul read the name of the whistleblower in the senate yesterday. I left Paul a message after I read this. The gist is to tell him I have applauded him when he has been bipartisan and when he has shown political courage to push back on the president. I defend his right to do what he thinks is best. But, reading the name of the whistleblower on the floor of the senate is extremely poor form. It places someone in danger. We protect whistleblowers for a reason. Plus, I watched a parade of honorable diplomats testify under oath and at great risk of their concerns over Ukraine’s fledgling democracy and what they believe Trump did to use them for personal gain.

I saw where the president’s approval rating has increased to 49% under one poll with an average of 43.6% This shows me two things. People are not paying attention as they are told to look the other way. It also tells me the economy is propping up Trump’s numbers more than they should be. I have said for ten years, the president gets too much credit and too much blame for the economy. I am glad it continues at a pretty good clip, but it has been so doing for going on 128 consecutive months, and Trump has only been president for going on 37 months.

From the testimony I have seen and read, the obstruction of justice by the president and the refusal to seek the truth, I feel the president is guilty as charged. Another reason to know this is he is saying he is not, but his excuses keep changing. I have long grown weary of weak-kneed GOP sycophants rationalize the toddler’s tantrums and truancy. In my view, these folks put loyalty to this imposter king ahead of loyalty to the constitution. And, people need to know this. Fortunately, there is even a Republican group spending money to shed light on this poor stewardship.

Those are the three thoughts of the day. Have a great rest of the week.

Republican Joe Walsh on Trump

The following are excerpts from an op-ed written by Republican Joe Walsh, who is running against Donald Trump. I fully recognize he is adversarial to Trump as a candidate, but this is one of two people who are saying Trump does not and should not represent the GOP or America. The quotes speak for themselves.

“Donald Trump has visited Iowa fewer than five days since he took office, but tonight, four days ahead of the Republican Caucuses, he’ll descend upon Des Moines for one of those grandstanding rallies that have become his trademark: A spectacle long on self-indulgent bravado and lies, and short on substance and unity.

In typical form, the President will leave as quickly as he comes, spending just a couple of hours in Iowa campaigning for his reelection. He’ll listen to no one, he won’t engage in dialogue with any student, parent, or senior citizen, and he won’t take a question from one single Iowa voter. He never does. He’ll bask in himself on stage, and then he’ll get out of Dodge. One more reminder that Donald Trump doesn’t care about the hardworking people of Iowa. He cares only about Donald Trump.

I believe our country is strong enough to turn the page on these last four years if we rise up and act, but I fear for our country if we are forced to endure four more years of Trump.

I’m exhausted by this President, a narcissist who makes everyday about himself. Our country deserves a President focused on our country’s pressing issues, like our falling-apart infrastructure, broken healthcare system and rapidly changing workforce. Most of all, we deserve to have a president who is capable of basic human decency.”

I find it of interest, Walsh saying he is “exhausted” by the president. Many use the same term or its sister “wearied” in defining the impact of this president. What I find interesting is the lengths the GOP and its leadership have gone to squelch dissent in their party to avoid making the president look bad. No witnesses must be called. Fox News airing the Democrats case with no audio. Walsh and Bill Weld cannot get on certain states’ primaries. Last time I checked, this was supposed to be a democracy.

Witnesses would help – draft plea to Senators and press

In addition to hearing from John Bolton, it would also be interesting to hear why Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats submitted his resignation on July 28, 2019 and why his well-respected right hand Sue Gordon was forced out in August, 2019. The timing of their departures is concerning and reinforces my concerns over the heightened national security risk by the alleged White House actions in Ukraine.

This independent and former GOP voter would also like to hear from Rudy Giuliani, Mick Mulvaney, Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence and his aide whose testimony was denied. We need to get to the bottom of this regardless of whose party is in the White House.

We cannot have a president acting the way the incumbent does and is alleged of doing. The nonpartisan GAO determined the withholding aid to Ukraine is illegal. Plus, 63% of Europeans find the US president untrustworthy, a worse ranking than that of Vladimir Putin and Xi Jingpeng. What does that say about us if we did not hold the president to account?

Parnas evidence, GAO assessment on Ukraine funding and Yovanovitch intimidation

As the Donald J. Trump impeachment trial started out with the serious and sober presentation of the articles of impeachment and swearing in by the Chief Justice, two news bullets of the last two days are shaping the trial. With the evidence from Lev Parnas, who is one of Rudy Giuliani’s henchmen, and his interview that notes “of course Trump knew” what Parnas was up to, coupled with the non-partisan GAO stating Trump’s withholding of funding of Ukraine broke the law, the president and those close to him have questions to answer.

As an independent and former Republican voter, I have been asking Senators for some time to call witnesses as we need to get to the bottom of this. I want to hear from Messers. Bolton, Pompeo, Giuliani, and Pence among others. Rep. Adam Schiff noted nine witnesses that Trump denied access to obstructing Congress. Having watched these honorable diplomats and public servants testify under oath and at great risk, having watched Rep. Devin Nunes not recuse himself from the questioning since his name shows up in the dirt gathering, and seeing the president’s people try to hide the “perfect phone call” from view, I have concerns about the president as a national security risk.

I am also concerned about the treatment to defame and intimidate an honorable diplomat named Marie Yovanovitch as she would not play ball with the Giuiliani and Trump narrative. This is beyond bad behavior and could be criminal. But, there is one thing I am very clear of as he did it out in the open – the president obstructed Congress. How any reasonable person could say otherwise is beyond me. We are not a kingdom – we are a Republic with three equal branches of government.

Politico published the attached piece called “Parnas and Ukraine bombshells jolt impeachment trial” yesterday. Please click the link below and read the article. It is important. It is up to Americans to demand the Senate to remember their oaths to the Constitution and that oath they just took with the Chief Justice.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/parnas-and-ukraine-aid-bombshells-jolt-impeachment-trial/ar-BBZ1PJl?ocid=spartandhp

There is a reason the US president does not want people reading evidence

In an editorial by Neal Katyal and Joshua Geltzer yesterday in The Washington Post called “Lev Parnas and Rudy Giuliani have demolished Trump’s claims of innocence” (see link below), it lays bare false reasons of the US president using strong-arm tactics in Ukraine. Per the editorial:

“Americans who have been wondering why President Trump has taken the extraordinary step of trying to block every document from being released to Congress in his impeachment inquiry need wonder no longer. The new documents released Tuesday evening by the House Intelligence Committee were devastating to Trump’s continuing — if shifting — defense of his Ukraine extortion scandal, just days before his impeachment trial is likely to begin in the Senate. These new documents demolish at least three key defenses to which Trump and his allies have been clinging: that he was really fighting corruption when he pressured Ukraine on matters related to the Biden family; that Hunter Biden should be called as a witness at the Senate impeachment trial; and that there’s no need for a real, honest-to-goodness trial in the Senate.

The most basic principles of constitutional law require relevant information, including documents and executive branch witnesses, to be turned over to Congress in an impeachment proceeding. Particularly because sitting presidents cannot be indicted, impeachment is the only immediate remedy we the people have against a lawless president. For that remedy to have any teeth, relevant information has to be provided. That’s why President James Polk said that, during impeachment, Congress could ‘penetrate into the most secret recesses of the Executive Departments … command the attendance of any and every agent of the Government, and compel them to produce all papers, public or private, official or unofficial.’ No president, not even Richard Nixon, thought he could just say ‘no’ to impeachment. That’s why the House added Article II to Trump’s impeachment: ‘Obstruction of Congress.’ It was a response to an unprecedented attempt by a president to hide the truth.

The documents released Tuesday show what Trump has been so afraid of. For starters, they prove that his already-eyebrow-raising claim to have been fighting corruption in Ukraine was bogus. Notes taken by Lev Parnas — who is an associate of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and is now facing federal criminal charges — show what his and Giuliani’s mission was when they got in touch with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: “get Zalensky to Announce that the Biden case will Be Investigated.” Look hard at the real goal here: not to prompt an investigation of Hunter Biden, but to score an announcement of a Biden investigation. Pursuing an announcement, rather than an investigation, makes sense only if Trump’s objective was to dirty the reputation of Joe Biden, a leading political rival.”

There is not much to add as this article and the above three paragraphs speak volumes. In a nutshell, it is yet one more example of why taking Donald J. Trump at his word is a fool’s errand. It is also is more evidence as to why Trump is the most corrupt and untruthful president in my lifetime, including Richard Nixon, who incorrectly said he was not a crook.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/opinion/opinions-lev-parnas-and-rudy-giuliani-have-demolished-trumps-claims-of-innocence/ar-BBYYE1P?ocid=spartandhp

The obvious answer

The US president wants people to testify in a Senate trial, but not those who may know more about what he did. Yesterday, he tweeted he wanted Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff to testify.

The answer is obvious. Pelosi should say “I will gladly testify if you will as well, Mr. president.” And, Schiff could say “I will gladly testify if Rudy Giuliani or John Bolton will.”

To be frank, I would like to see the following people testify in addition to Trump, Giuliani and Bolton, given their knowledge of what was happening:

– Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
– Vice President Mike Pence
– Pence’s aide he keeps blocking from testifying
– Former White House Counsel Don McGahn
– Former Dir of Intelligence Dan Coates
– Former Deputy Director Sue Gordon

The departure over Coates and Gordon is not mentioned, but their being asked to leave happened around the time Bolton left and before the public awareness of the infamous phone call.

Call me crazy, but I find it interesting that McConnell does not want people to testify. And, per his history, the president is the last person that should testify given his untruthful bent.