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

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Being silent is not enough – a reprise from last January

Last year about this time, I wrote this plea to leaders in the Republican Party. As an independent and former Republican (and Democrat earlier), this message still holds true, although major strides were made last year. In the mid-terms, Democracy held serve as many of the election deniers were defeated at the polls. We saw some significant pieces of legislation occur on a bipartisan basis, which is the way it should be. We also saw the business of the former president found guilty of tax fraud by a jury, which means it was not a witch hunt as any formal criticism is often called.

Finally, we saw the House Select Committee hear sworn testimony from a significant number of Republicans under oath who shared their concerns over the former president’s seditious words and actions leading up to, on and after January 6, 2021. It should be noted those who criticized these Republicans were not under oath when they did so. Again, if this was a witch hunt, why did these Republicans risk a great deal by testifying?

*************

The courageous few Republicans who are among the truth tellers in their party are strong in principle, but seem to be standing alone or in small groupings way too often. For their truth telling, they are knowingly vilified and some even receive death threats by fans of the former president. Yet, they do it anyway.

Most of the elected officials in the party are keenly aware that Congresswoman Liz Cheney’s question of is the Republican party going to be the party of truth or party of Trump a more than fair question. Yet, they have chosen to be silent. In essence, they are saying to themselves “Don’t poke the bear.” They want to avoid being highlighted by the former president and his bullying and untruthful bent, whose followers will join in the fray.

This spineless tactic is not new. Back in the heyday of the Communist witch hunts and Senator Joe McCarthy, the populist candidate had a huge following. The Republican even rivaled the popularity of President Dwight Eisenhower. From Jon Meacham’s book “The Soul of America,” the historian points out Eisenhower detested McCarthy for his baseless claims that he frequently made up on the spot. Yet, Ike would not publicly demean McCarthy for his claims, only to offer mild comments from time to time.

He and the other Republicans tolerated McCarthy. They remained silent. It was not until the most respected TV journalist Edward R. Murrow exposed McCarthy for what he was that his impact began to ebb. But, the impact of McCarthy’s baseless accusations lingered on for years. The famous question asked by a senior Army official of McCarthy, “Have you no sense of decency, sir?” could be asked of the most recent former president, another populist who tends to make baseless claims.

I encourage all of you who agree with the purpose of this post, to consistently let elected Republican and other officials know you appreciate their political courage for pushing back on the incessant and well-documented untruthful actions and words of the former president. And, let your Republican Senators, Congress person, and GOP leaders know you are concerned about this untruthful path the party has taken. The GOP has lost any veritas it had left. I even let them know how much I admire the courage of the truth tellers and it is a shame they are getting death threats.

The accusations of sedition toward the former president tend to focus more on what he failed to do last January 6. In my view as an Independent and former Republican voter, his consistent baseless claims of election fraud, which he has tried to prove and failed miserably in courts, audits and recounts, are what greased the skids for what happened on January 6.

As his niece said, “My uncle will burn it all down to avoid losing the election.” I knew he would act this way, but what makes me more frustrated are the sycophants who publicly cover for his Big Lie and the too silent many in party leadership who are letting him do it. And, what they fail to realize based on previous history and current actions, the former president will throw them under the bus in a New York minute, even placing them in physical danger with targets on their backs if they do not play ball with him.

Moving on from the election – a letter to editor

I forwarded the following letter to my newspaper editor. Hopefully, they will publish it. I also forwarded it to some folks in an email. Please feel free to adapt and use.

As an independent voter and former member of both parties, it was good to see a significant number of election deniers and Trump sycophants defeated in the elections last week. While a few got elected in, the voters seemed to be saying enough of that storytelling and let’s move on.

I do feel the Republican Party needs to get back on track and move away from those who feel they must lie to curry favor with the former president. We need a conservative voice in our country and the current vintage of the GOP is not it. They could begin with cutting the lines to the anchor of the former president’s deceitful and allegedly seditious behavior. They could cut a few lines to his sycophants as well.

The sooner they do this, the better it will be for our country and their party.

Please do something to aid our democracy

The following is a paraphrase of a comment I posted on Jill’s post where she cites the excellent piece on concerns of our democracy by Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner (see link below).

Truth tellers have little voice in the Republican party as they call out those who don’t speak the truth. Quite frankly, the former president has four legitimate crimes where he could be indicted and lose as the cases are good – seditious activities leading up to and on January 6, meddling in the election in Georgia, taking classified documents to his home exposing them to theft (that may be kind), and financial fraud at his companies. He already has a civil case against him on the last one and it should be noted the prosecutors declined to settle the case as it is strong. Note to Trump sycophants – these are not witch hunts. It is just his usual effort to distract you from his wrongdoings.

People who take Trump at his word are on a fool’s errand. Too many who have flown too close to the Trump sun have had their reputations burned. The happiest people in America are those who declined invitations to work for Donald Trump. The second happiest are their spouses. I have long believed that what lied beneath the surface is far worse than we could have imagined. Several books by insiders corroborate many of these concerns.

Our elected Republican officials need to grow a backbone and speak out against this effort to support voter and civil rights suppression to enable seditious actors like Donald Trump to win. Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, et al are on the side of the angels. I ask each of us to write and call their legislators asking them to act. Then, do it again. I also encourage all Republicans to vote against anyone who advocates for the Big Lie or the former president. These folks are lying and in the wrong and are harming not only the GOP, but America. Democrats are not perfect, but they at least are focusing on real issues rather than self-promoted wedge issues that don’t matter a whole lot.

Needed truths are long overdue

The following is a letter I sent to my newspaper for publishing. It will likely get passed over as I think it is too soon since the last one was printed, but please feel free to adapt and use. By the way, I posted a variation of this on my Senators and Congressman’s websites.

It is long time past due for elected Republican leaders to step up and speak needed truths. Otherwise, my former party will continue down a perilous path destroying any remaining veritas and gravitas. The former president’s Big Lie needs to be squelched now before the country becomes further divided. He also needs to be charged for his seditious actions which endangered members of Congress and our democracy. And, his misappropriation of confidential classified documents has put us in danger.

Right now, I am in disbelief that elected officials continue to forget their oath. We need them to be better than they are being. The truth matters. I am quite disillusioned in the Republican Party. Democrats are far from perfect, but I can argue policy emphasis with them. With the Republican Party members, I find myself arguing the truth versus whatever it is being espoused by too many in the party.

What I have observed in this campaign season, while all politicians embellish the truth and lie to some extent, with many Republican candidates the truth is not even a consideration, as when one believes a Big Lie, small truths are easy to ignore. I watch some commercials and say that is not true or that is long reach. The lies are that obvious to this independent and former Republican voter.

Trump will be indicted. The GOP should cut him loose (Charlotte Observer editorial)

An interesting editorial by Gene Nichol*, a law professor at the University of North Carolina, called “Trump will be indicted. The GOP should cut him loose now” is a must read. Here are a few paragraphs, with a link to the full piece below.

“The handwriting is now, at the least, on the wall. I know a lot of Tar Heels don’t want to hear this — but Donald Trump is, in the months ahead, going to be indicted. His lawbreaking is so habitual, so overt, so pervasive, so foundational, and so rule-of-law decimating, that it simply won’t be possible for the Department of Justice and law enforcement officials in Georgia and, likely, New York, to ignore it. Perhaps Trump couldn’t help himself. Maybe it’s like his lying — a lifelong, all-consuming practice. He can’t shake it. Or even try. Old dog. Old tricks. He’s the don, not just The Donald.

And when the indictments come, what’s going to happen? Sadly, we know this too. Trump has opened his mind, or at least his mouth. He told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that ‘the people of the United States won’t stand for it.’ Filing charges against him would lead to ‘problems in this country, the likes of which we’ve never seen before.’…

Perhaps you think I overstate the peril. (I get that sometimes.) But do these various folks described above actually think that the other 60% or so of Americans will simply cower in the corner, surrendering their human rights and our nation’s long-declared meaning, because the MAGA coalition may be fueled by hatred and replete with arms? I wouldn’t bet on it.

There’s a lot more courage and commitment out here in the rest of the land than the Trumpists imagine. They make the same mistake Putin made about Ukraine. Democracy has its steel. Even if it’s hard to arouse. Won’t it be easier, even if unnerving, for the Republican Party to turn Trump loose now, than it will be after he again summons the gun thugs?

As the niece of the losing former president said after the 2020 election result was finalized, “her uncle will burn it all down to avoid losing the election.” Yes, his ego is that shallow that he cannot admit defeat. He was told by attorney Roy Cohn, his mentor per his many biographies, “to never apologize and sue everyone.” Doing the math, I calculated that Trump averaged 1 1/2 lawsuits per week during his business career before the 2016 election.

To be frank, telling the truth is not top of mind when thinking to define the losing former president. Nor is playing fair, treating people with dignity and grace, or consistently acting in a legal manner. As Michael Cohen, his attorney and longtime fixer of all his problems, said under oath, “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con-artist and he is a cheat.” It interested me that Cohen had sent out over 500 cease and desist letters to people and institutions threatening them into silence on any known Trump transgression.

Whether he is actually charged beyond the financial fraud civil charges for his company in New York, which the Attorney General refused to settle as she has a good case, remains to be seen. But, in my opinion, he needs to be.

Beyond his untruthfulness and bullying, the losing former president appears to be guilty of the alleged seditious actions against the United States. He appears to be guilty of allegedly taking classified documents, exposing secrets to foreign adversaries (note a Chinese national with cyberware in her possession was arrested at Mar-a-Lago a couple of years ago). And, he may be charged for election tampering in the State of Georgia.

At the barest of minimums, our country is more at odds with itself because we have a former president who is not man enough to admit he lost an election. I am very tired of his sycophants perpetuating this Big Lie. It is noted the wife of SCOTUS member Clarence Thomas testified to the January 6 House Select Committee and still voiced the Big Lie. The House members defined her testimony as “deranged.”

Folks, quite simply, whether Donald Trump can win in 2024 is beside the point. We were dumb enough as a country to elect him in 2016 and we are dumb enough to do it again. But, what we need to understand is he should not serve as president as we should not have a traitor at the helm. Because if a traitor leads us, all bets are off.

*Note: Contributing columnist Gene Nichol is the Boyd Tinsley Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina.

Read more at: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/article266413511.html#storylink=cpy

Reinforcement of why a person left the GOP

The following is an interesting article that furthers the message of my previous and earlier posts over my concerns for the Republican party called “I left the GOP because it seemed to be losing it way. Last week convinced me I was right” by Kurt Bardella of NBC News.

Here are few excerpts from the piece. The full article can be linked to below.

“I don’t think I’ve recently experienced a span of days that quite so neatly captures the difference between being a Democrat and being a Republican in today’s America.

Last week began with the GOP’s wannabe standard-bearer, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, using human beings as political props for a craven publicity stunt designed to stoke right-wing outrage toward migrants.

Then, the current Republican Party standard-bearer found himself in even more legal hot water after the New York attorney general’s lawsuit alleging Trump and his eldest children committed fraud. (This happened on the same day that a court-appointed special master called Trump’s bluff and ordered him to back up the conspiracy theory that the FBI planted evidence at Mar-a-Lago.)

The week concluded with House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy releasing a self-proclaimed “agenda” that is long on talking points but short on actual specifics. It further cements the Republican Party’s complete withdrawal from the public policy arena, leaving the GOP completely detached from the tangible challenges of today and the growing threats of tomorrow….

In short, Biden spent the week defending freedom and democracy on the world stage, while his predecessor defended himself from allegations of fraud and claims that he may have compromised national security. Republican governors plotted to fly human pawns to Martha’s Vineyard, while Democratic governors unveiled measures to combat the climate crisis. And Republicans in Congress unveiled a “commitment” agenda that just blames Biden and Democrats, while a global community of philanthropists announced specific action items to alleviate poverty, improve health care and economic development and tackle other systemic inequities.”

As a former Republican (and Democrat) and now Independent voter, my reasons for leaving the GOP about fourteen years ago could be summed up in their tendency to make things up. Both parties are untruthful and exaggerate, but it is not a normal distribution. I find myself arguing policy with Democrats, but arguing what is real with Republicans.

Per the above, what Governors Desantis, Abbott, and Ducey did with migrants from Venezuela is extremely poor form and they deserve all the negative push back they get. And, those supporters who echo that it is OK, need to really think about what is happening here as it is not very Christian like to screw people like this.

As for the losing former president, it will not surprise me to see him wind up in jail for his seditious actions. His untruthful and bullying nature and shallow ego are finally catching up with him, deservedly so. And, it is long past due for his sycophants to remember which country they live in. Wearing a flag pin and hugging a flag at an ultra-conservative rally are merely window-dressing just as holding a bible as a prop when you speak makes you no more a Christian.

It is hard enough to govern with facts and truth. It is nigh impossible to do so when you govern off lies. If our politicians cannot be in the ballpark of the truth, they need to step down. We need them to shoot straight with us.

Truth be told

The following is another letter I forwarded to a few newspapers. Let’s see if one will print it. Please feel free to adapt and use.

As a former Republican and now independent voter, it saddens me that to be a legitimate Republican, one has to endorse untruthful pronouncements by the losing former president and his sycophants. I don’t mind people espousing conservative ideas, but I do expect them to be truthful. Governing is hard enough when using facts, but nigh impossible when making decisions off lies.

Truth be told, I expected this behavior from the former president as that has long been his modus operandi, but what I am frustrated by is his sycophants who perpetuate untruths, even when they know they are lies. The former president lost the election and cannot prove otherwise even after spending a lot of other people’s money to do so. He also instigated an insurrection against Congress putting people in danger. And, that does not include his mishandling of classified information and alleged financial fraud at his company.

We deserve better than those who are purposefully lying to us, regardless of party. Full stop.

A simple question

A simple question for elected officials in my old party – the Republican Party. What will you have to defend tomorrow, next week, next month…next year? And, will it be from an old, alleged crime or a new one. I have been asking this question of GOP officials for over four years now. There is always a new or newly discovered Trump alleged crime or some form of deceit that surfaces.

Accountability. Responsibility. Truth. These are words that are lacking these days to define the Republican party. Democrats are not perfect, but they are at least talking and doing something about issues of import. Yes, Dems stretch the truth, but it is not even close to the level of mainstream deceit that is required by the GOP. Seeing Sarah Palin claim election fraud yesterday was as predictable as the nose on my face. I told my wife last week that Palin will claim fraud at some point and I am not that prescient.

I also knew Donald Trump would claim election fraud and contest the election two months before he did as he had hired 1,000 attorneys and defamed and tried to hobble the mail in process. I wrote a post in September 2020 to that effect. Senator Bernie Sanders told a late-night TV audience in October 2020 with eerie accuracy what Trump would do the next month with the election claiming foul. It did not take a crystal ball to see this coming.

What I cannot figure out is why people buy Trump’s false bravado when he accepts accountability for nothing? I see a very shallow and weak-minded acting person who cannot admit he lost or made a mistake. What saddens me more are the sycophants who buy into and sell his bogus claims when they have to know better. Senators Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham, et al routinely shame themselves falling over to defend this untruthful bullying and seditious acting person. These are Senators who should be leaders not fawners.

Any party that has to rely on groups like QAnon, InfoWars and opinion personalities to white wash what is happening or has happened deserves every bit of scrutiny it gets. And, what they should be doing is paying attention to those Republicans testifying under oath or taking risks to speak out against the lies and fraud committed by the former president. That is courage. Now, why would they stick their necks out when they know so many want to chop them off? Dems should not listen to their opinion hosts either, but the GOP has found some dark corners of disinformation that have been pulled into social media for discussion.

Biden is not perfect and critics try to use his imperfections as “what-about” responses, but I have never seen anything like what we are seeing now with the Republican party that conservative pundit Michael Gerson says is “in decay.” MAGA fans like to say Trump is being treated so unfairly. I would say the press reports on too many of his shortcomings, faults, and deceptions. They have made us numb reporting on non-important stuff, that we lose sight of the major concerns. The press has normalized his unaccountable and deceitful behavior.

Yet, Trump has brought all of this on himself with his inability to tell the truth with any degree of frequency and his bullying and firing of naysayers and critics who have concerns. “They just don’t like me” is a child’s response. What I don’t like is an elected leader lying to me, who takes credit for all good and blames others for all bad, who bullies people on a routine basis, and who appears to have acted seditiously toward the efforts of the United States. The fact he may have classified material including nuclear information is simply wrong on so many levels.

We need a viable conservative party, but what we have now is not it. Accountability. Responsibility. Truth. They could start there. They could also start by doing the opposite of what the former president says to do. Listen to the ones who are getting vilified for telling the truth, instead.

Former Vice President goes all out against Trump in support of his daughter

I have noted before I disagree with many of the policy positions of Representative Liz Cheney, but I do admire her political courage and remembering her oath to the constitution. Sadly, because she is telling people the emperor has no clothes, she is trailing in her race for reelection. I actually hold her father in less regard, as I believe he served his own interests more as Vice President than our country’s. Yet, I do have to say he is being a good father for taking on the wanna-be-emperor and his allies with hard truths they need to hear.

In an article by Paul Steinhauser of Fox News called “Trump blasted by Dick Cheney as former vice president stars in his daughter’s latest ad,” the former Vice President does not mince words in his defense of his daughter Representative Liz Cheney. Here are a few highlights or lowlights, one could say.

“Former Vice President Dick Cheney calls former President Donald Trump a ‘coward’ and argues that Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming is ‘fearless,’ as he stars in the latest ad released by his daughter’s re-election campaign.

‘In our nation’s 246-year history, there has never been an individual who is a greater threat to our republic than Donald Trump. He tried to steal the last election using lies and violence to keep himself in power after the voters had rejected him,’ the elder Cheney says in the ad, which the younger Cheney started running on Thursday, a week and a half before she faces a Trump-endorsed challenger in the Republican congressional primary Wyoming’s single congressional seat.

‘He is a coward. A real man wouldn’t lie to his supporters. He lost his election and he lost big. I know it, he knows it and deep down I think most Republicans know it,’ the former vice president claims, as he points to Trump’s repeated unproven claims that his 2020 election loss to President Biden was due to massive voter fraud.

Liz Cheney was the most senior of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump on a charge of inciting the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. Capitol. The attack was waged by right-wing extremists and other Trump supporters who aimed to disrupt congressional certification of Biden’s Electoral College victory in the 2020 election.”

While I am not a fan of name-calling, I agree with everything the elder Cheney said. This message needs to be heralded by many more Republicans, although more and more are starting to speak out. All of these folks are, of course, discredited as RINOs, Republicans in Name Only, for a key reason. If they admit they are true, then all of those candidates who are running on a platform built in Donald Trump’s sand of lies, will see their campaigns crumble. What these folks fail to realize is it should crumble.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/trump-blasted-dick-cheney-former-vice-president-stars-daughters-latest-ad