That RINO label

I forwarded the following letter to the editor of my newspaper. I think they will likely pass as they published another one in the last thirty days. But, I wanted my fellow bloggers to see it.

As a former Republican and Democrat, I have long observed politicians and pseudo-news personalities who use labels and name calling don’t usually have much of an argument. They use labels like RINO as a short cut to denigrate an opposing argument to sway those who do not care to know the truth. So, when I hear RINO, it actually makes me look further at the target’s argument.

We need a viable Republican Party, but it bothers me greatly the truth tellers in the party are vilified, receive death threats and are called RINOs, while the recurring liars (Trump, Cawthorn, Greene, DeSantis, Gosar, Jordan, e.g.) are exalted. Our country is at odds with itself, because a person with a shallow ego cannot be man enough to accept defeat and too many feel they must facilitate his subterfuge to garner support.

From the desk of Heather Cox Richardson on seditious actions

A friend sent me the most recent post from Heather Cox Richardson, whom I know some of my readers have cited as well. This post relates to the ongoing investigation of seditious actions that includes a number of Republicans in Congress. It should be noted at least one of these names was offered by House minority leader Kevin McCarthy for the House Select Committee, which were declined by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, because you can’t have that kind of conflict of interest on the committee. Let me just bluntly say, being against seditious actions should be Governance 101, regardless of party. Full stop.

“Late last night, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol filed a motion asking a judge to put an end to the attempts of Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows to stonewall the committee. Meadows has tried to avoid talking to the committee or providing it with documents, using a number of different arguments that essentially try to establish that the U.S. president cannot be held accountable by Congress. The committee’s motion carefully explains why those arguments are wrong.

To support their belief that the Congress has the right and responsibility to investigate the circumstances of the January 6 insurrection—a correct understanding of our governmental system, in my view—the committee gave the judge almost 250 pages of evidence.

Included was some of the material I’ve been waiting for: a list of members of Congress who participated in planning to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

We have heard a lot about independent lawyers and members of the executive branch who were willing to try to keep Trump in office. We have also heard about people at the state level. But while there has been plenty of speculation about what members of Congress were involved, we had little to go on.

We knew that both former energy secretary Rick Perry of Texas and Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) had texted with Meadows about possible avenues for overturning the election. We knew that Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO) had recorded videos before the insurrection that suggested they supported it. We had an odd statement from Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on January 5 saying that he, not then–vice president Mike Pence, would count the certified electoral ballots the next day. We had Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) allegedly saying to Jordan on January 6, “Get away from me. You f**ing did this.”

But the January 6th committee has just given us a bigger—although not the whole, yet—picture.

In last night’s filed motion was part of the testimony to the committee from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former special assistant to the president and the chief of staff. When asked which members of Congress were involved in calls about overturning the election—including calls saying such efforts were illegal—Hutchinson named Representatives Greene, Jordan, Boebert, Scott Perry (R-PA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Jody Hice (R-GA), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), and Debbie Lesko (R-AZ).

The heart of this group was the “Freedom Caucus,” which was organized in 2015 to move the Republican Party farther to the right. Its first chair was Jim Jordan; its second was Mark Meadows. Its third was Andy Biggs. Mick Mulvaney, who would go on to Trump’s White House, and Ron DeSantis, who is now governor of Florida, were key organizers.

Let’s be clear: the people working to keep Trump in office by overturning the will of the people were trying to destroy our democracy. Not one of them, or any of those who plotted with them, called out the illegal attempt to destroy our government.

To what end did they seek to overthrow our democracy?

The current Republican Party has two wings: one eager to get rid of any regulation of business, and one that wants to get rid of the civil rights protections that the Supreme Court and Congress began to put into place in the 1950s. Business regulation is actually quite popular in the U.S., so to build a political following, in the 1980s, leaders of the anti-regulation wing of the Republican Party promised racists and the religious right that they would stomp out the civil rights legislation that since the 1950s has tried to make all Americans equal before the law.

But even this marriage has not been enough to win elections, since most Americans like business regulation and the protection of things like the right to use birth control. So, to put its vision into place, the Republican Party has now abandoned democracy. Its leaders have concluded that any Democratic victory is illegitimate, even if voters have clearly chosen a Democrat, as they did with Biden in 2020, by more than 7 million votes.

Former speechwriter for George W. Bush David Frum wrote in 2018: “If conservatives become convinced that they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will reject democracy.” And here we are.

As if to illustrate this point, news broke today that a North Carolina official threatened to fire an elections official unless she gave him access to the county’s vote tabulators. The news agency Reuters noted that this threat was only one of more than 900 instances of intimidation of election officials in what has become commonplace after the 2020 election.

It appears that elected officials of the Republican Party are willing to overturn a legitimate Democratic victory in order to guarantee that only a Republican can hold office. That means a one-party state, which will be overseen by a single, powerful individual. And the last 59 days in Ukraine have illustrated exactly what that kind of a system means.

Standing against that authoritarianism, Democratic president Joe Biden is trying to reassure Americans that democracy works. He insisted on using the government to support ordinary Americans rather than the wealthy, and in his first year in office, poverty in the United States declined, with lower-income Americans gaining more than at any time since the “War on Poverty” in the 1960s. Lower-income workers have more job opportunities than they have had for 30 years, and they are making more money. They have on average 50% more money in the bank than they did when the pandemic hit.

Biden’s insistence on investing in Americans meant that by the end of his first year, the U.S. had created 6.6 million jobs, the strongest record of any president since record keeping began in 1939. By the beginning of April, the economy had added 7.9 million jobs, and unemployment was close to a 50-year low at 3.6%. Meanwhile, the deficit is dropping: we should carve $1.3 trillion off it this year.

Biden’s deliberate reshaping of the American government to work for ordinary Americans again, regulating business and using the federal government to enforce equal rights, so threatens modern Republicans that they are willing to destroy our country rather than allow voters to keep people like Biden in power.

I do not believe that a majority of Americans want a dictatorship in which a favored few become billionaires while the rest of us live without the civil rights that have been our norm since the 1950s, and no voting rights to enable us to change our lot.

Tonight, news broke that Democrats in Utah have voted to back Independent candidate Evan McMullin for senator rather than run their own candidate. McMullin is trying to unseat Republican Senator Mike Lee, whose texts to Meadows as they conspired to overturn the election have lately drawn headlines. Democrats are gambling that there are enough Democrats, Independents, and anti-Trump Republicans in Utah to send Lee packing.”

Flag pins, anthems and sedition

About ten years and two presidents ago, a guy named Barack Obama was vilified for his temerity for not wearing a US flag pin. How dare he his critics resounded?

About five years and one president ago, a guy named Donald Trump made huge deal about the sacrilegious actions of Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem as he protested the maltreatment of African-Americans. As a result of his notorierty, Kaepernick remains unemployed even though he led his team to the Super Bowl.

Less than two years ago, the then president claims the 2020 election was actually won by him and it was stolen from him, even though he cannot prove his claims in courts of law (winning one case out of about 65), recounts, reviews and audits. At this person’s impetus, he invites “true patriots” to Washington to force the hand of Congress and declare him the victor. These folks storm the Capitol and some people end up dead. Then he backs away when he realizes the havoc he has wrought and hides seven and half hours of phone calls on that horrible day in America.

If this were a multiple-choice test, the question would be find the seditious action from these three examples. And, you do not even need to know the seditious action was perpetrated by someone well known and documented as unable to consistently tell the truth.

A few apt comments from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

I had read the Republican National Committee was lamenting its decision to censure Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for speaking the truth against the standard talking points of the RNC. Several Republican Senators pushed back on the decision, as well as the stance on the January 6 insurrection.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has added his pushback as reported by CNN. McConnell said:

“The issue is whether or not the RNC should be sort of singling out members of our party who may have different views from the majority. That’s not the job of the RNC.”

McConnell wasn’t done. As for the events of January 6, 2021, which the resolution condemning Cheney and Kinzinger had described as “legitimate political discourse,” the Kentucky Republican was similarly blunt.

“We all were here; we saw what happened,” said McConnell. “It was a violent insurrection for the purpose of trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election from one administration to the next. That’s what it was.”

McConnell’s comments are on the side of the angels, although he could have been a little less political with his first pushback. While I do not agree with much of what Reps. Cheney and Kinzinger say from a policy standpoint, I do applaud their political courage and willingness to speak the truth about what happened before, during and after January 6.

Republican National Committee censures truth tellers

It is bad enough the Republican National Committee (RNC) decided not to have a 2020 platform codified at their last presidential convention. This means we don’t know what my old party officially stands for. Yesterday, the RNC decided to censure the two truth tellers in the party (Rep. Liz Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger) courageous enough to say we must hold the former president and others accountable for the January 6 insurrection.

In my view, this officially puts a dagger in the Republican Party. It has been this way for a while, but the official censure says the party is adrift untethered to the truth and lawfulness. When the truth tellers are vilified and liars aggrandized it says all one needs to know.

Ironically, this latest censure is occurring because the truth is coming out. I read a piece recently that noted the GOP realizes it messed up by not taking the January 6 commission more seriously. As more participants are sentenced and others start telling the truth, the former president loses even more credibility with his fraudulent claims. In fact, former Vice President Mike Pence responded yesterday to his former boss’ latest claims that he could have over-turned the election.

In an interview that appeared on ABC News, Pence said “President Trump is wrong. … I had no right to overturn the election. The presidency belongs to the American people, and the American people alone. And frankly there is almost no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president.”

So, I guess the RNC will now censure Pence for telling the truth. Of course, they may need to censure Asa Hutchinson, the GOP leader of the National Governors Association who said the former president should not be president again. Or, maybe they should censure former Attorney General William Barr who said directly to the former president, his claims of election fraud are “bull**it” before Barr was fired by said president. Of course, they are on a small but growing list of Republicans who feel there are fewer repercussions to call out the former president for his lies and seditious activities.

Truth be told, the former president had his day in court and has lost all but one of about 65 court cases, a pretty abysmal track record. He has also lost every recount, every audit, and every review. He cannot lose any more than he has. In fact, some funders of his court cases want their money back as they felt misled, while several attorneys, including Rudy Giuliani have had their law license suspended. So, why does his base still believe his BS, as Barr called it.

We need a viable Republican party, but at this point if leaders continue to not only remain silent, but censure the ones with courage to tell the hard truths, maybe this version should expire and a new and more sane version can start up. It is hard enough to solve problems when we look at facts and truth, but much harder when we have to put up with this BS from the RNC and former president.

Republican Leader of National Governors Association says ‘Trump should not lead country again’

While it has been like watching a ship turn in a harbor, the Republican admonitions of the candidacy of the latest former president are slowly piling up. Since Donald Trump’s efforts to incite, invite and inspire the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol last January 6 to secure his status as president, I have long felt he was done as a political candidate. I still do.

Yet, after initial backlash against him by Republicans, too many have backslid and have tried to whitewash what happened in an Oz-like fashion. Now, there is more than a trickle occurring where admonishing the former president’s candidacy is not the kiss of death in Republican worlds as it once was. The other day, I posted a well-articulated letter to the editor from a woman who called herself a “sane conservative” who said she has no candidate, the former president lost the election and referenced the GOP as not living up to its ideals.

In an article called “Donald Trump should not lead the country again, says the Republican leader of the National Governors Association” by Nicole Gaudiano of Business Insider, the following negative endorsement is revealed.

“The Republican chairman of the National Governors Association said on Saturday that Donald Trump should not lead Republicans or the country again.

‘I do not believe Trump is the one to lead our party and our country again, as president,’ Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson told Insider on the sidelines of the NGA Winter Meeting in Washington, DC.

Insider asked Hutchinson whether he wants Trump to run following a video that recently surfaced in which Trump declares on the golf course that he is ‘the 45th and the 47th’ president.

Asked who should lead instead, Hutchinson said ‘that’s what the election is all about.’

The reason I am highlighting these negative endorsements of Trump is the wrong question is being asked by Republicans. It should not be whether Trump could win again? The question is how can someone vote for a president who not only consistently lies to and bullies people, but has betrayed his country and was so incompetent and controlling in his pandemic response, doctors, epidemiologists and data scientists in and out of government had to be secretive as they bandied together to get information out about the disease?

Taking the former president at his word is not only a fool’s errand, it is dangerous to the lives of people.

Please remember a few things

On the anniversary of a horrendous day in America which occurred last year, we need to remember a few common sensical things. We can never let this happen again, especially when it appears a few lawmakers aided and abetted the efforts of the insurrectionists out of loyalty to a former president who has a well-documented history of being less than truthful.

  • when people who are in the know tell you not to look at the man behind the curtain, make darn sure you look behind the curtain.
  • when people who are decrying the investigative House committee is a sham, please remember two very important things – the same people voted down a proposed independent commission and nominated at least two people to be on the committee who are actually suspects in aiding and abetting the efforts, which at best is conflict of interest.
  • when people have gone out of their way to tell you what happened did not happen that way, in essence saying don’t believe your own eyes then you should be skeptical of those efforts.
  • when people who beat on their chest about law and order belittle the Capitol police force who testified under oath and at great consternation, what does that say?
  • when people seemingly ignore the former president’s inability to prove his false election claims after over 65 court cases (winning one small one in PA) and losing several recounts, reviews and audits in spite of all of his financial resources, you think these conspiracy minded people may begin to realize the REAL CONSPIRACY is being propagated on them by the former president of the United States.

As an old fart who once was a Republican and Democrat and is now an Independent voter, I am an American first. Our democracy is being further threatened because a seventy-year old person is pitching a hissy fit because his fragile ego cannot take losing. It truly is that simple. His niece Mary said her uncle “will burn it all down to avoid losing the election.” She said this just after the election and well before January 6, 2021.

We need a healthy dose of political courage in this country, especially in the Republican party. They must stop vilifying the truth tellers and start being critical of those who are not shooting straight with us. Republican Congresspersons Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, Pete Meier, et al are getting death threats, yet are still speaking up. Why is that?

Most people I know do not like being lied to. Please ask more questions of sources and think about the statements above. What happened on January 6 started well before that date and we need to see that clearly to stop it from happening again.

Being silent is not enough

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.

Former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows voted in contempt of Congress (letter to the editor)

Earlier this week, the US House followed the recommendation of the House Select Committee to vote to hold Mark Meadows in contempt for defying a subpoena. My newspaper ran my letter to the editor this morning on my sentiments as an Independent and former Republican voter.

“Meadows vote

As an independent and former Republican voter, it is disappointing that only two GOP House members voted to hold former chief of staff Mark Meadows in contempt for defying a subpoena concerning the Jan. 6 insurrection.

It matters not which tribe people represent, we Americans must get to the bottom of what happened on that horrible day in our history when members of Congress from both parties were in danger and other people died in the protest.

Those who are blocking the House select committee’s efforts are trying to mask what happened. Regardless of culpability, we cannot have people blowing off subpoenas made by Congress. It sets a horrible precedent for governance.”

Please feel free to modify and use if you agree with my sentiments.

Let’s boil it down

When the tribal politics gets so bad, that members of your tribe are shamed when they dare support something that will help Americans, that is not something to be proud of.

When a few members of your tribe threaten or condone violence on people that do not agree with their position, regardless of its veracity, that is not something to be proud of.

When the more senior elected officials of that tribe are silent when members do the above things, that is not something to be proud of.

When followers of the tribe must knowingly support something more than a few know is not true, because the de facto head of the tribe says it is, that is not something to be proud of.

When a major media source of that tribe allows one of its talk show hosts to actively support the white washing of a seditious act that appears to include the efforts of the de facto head, that is not something to be proud of.

When conspiracy minded people are fed conspiracies, they fail to realize the greatest irony – they are the targets of a conspiracy themselves to get them to believe something is not true; being fooled is something not to be proud of.

What the tribal leadership fails to realize is they must be more active in condemning the actions that are not appropriate. When the incumbent dishonors the position, he or she must be censure or removed. Otherwise, it is tacit support of the action.

Volkswagen, Enron, Adelphia, Tyco, et al all failed to realize this. The Catholic Church, Penn State University, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, US Women’s Olympic Gymnastics team leaders, the Youth football program in Great Britain, et al all failed to realize this. So did the PTL Club and Boy Scouts of America.and those two organizations no longer exist as a result.

These entities worked zealously to cover up and protect their brands. Yet, the best step they could have taken was the obvious one. Admit mistakes and rectify the problem with zeal. It tells the world, we do not stand for this. There are bad apples in any group. Just don’t let them spoil the whole bunch.