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

A coverup of treason?

‘”Coverup of treason’: Trump-appointed IG, facing investigation, was aware of missing Secret Service and DHS texts far earlier” by David Badash of Alternet is a blaring headline I saw across my browser feed. A few paragraphs tell the story, with a link to the full article below.

“The Dept. of Homeland Security scandal is growing larger, with its embattled Inspector General increasingly appearing to be at the center of what one noted political scientist is calling a ‘coverup of treason.’

DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, appointed by then-President Donald Trump in 2019, was aware of Secret Service agents’ deleted text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021, and deleted texts from top Homeland Security officials, months earlier than first disclosed, according to reports from CNN and The Washington Post.

‘Earlier this month, Secret Service officials told congressional committees that DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, the department’s independent watchdog, was aware that texts had been erased in December 2021,’ CNN reports. ‘But sources tell CNN, the Secret Service had notified Cuffari’s office of missing text messages in May 2021, seven months earlier.’

That means that four months after the January 6 insurrection the Dept. of Homeland Security knew Secret Service agents’ text messages, from the day before and day of the attack on the U.S. Capitol, were missing and did not inform Congress or the National Archives, which is required by law to retain those records.”

There are several observations to be made here. First, what forced President Richard Nixon to resign and sent forty-eight (per Wikipedia) others to jail as much as the Watergate crimes committed was the coverup. Second, members of the Secret Service have been acting very inconsistently since the testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson on the former president Donald Trump trying to grab the steering wheel in anger when told he could not go to the Capitol building as it was not safe. Third, what several fellow bloggers and I have discussed from well before the insurrection and bogus election fraud claims, is what happens beneath the surface of Donald Trump’s world is likely far worse than actually known.

The last statement is indeed opinion, but it has been his history to market and merchandise himself, so a great deal of his energy and effort is to protect his brand name when he screws up. Of course, he his loathe to admit he makes mistakes, per his five biographers. This is why he has a fixer, one of whom testified under oath that “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con-artist and he is cheat.”

And, quite often, others are taken down as his foils and suffer the consequences. His nickname is “Teflon Don” for a reason. Blame others to escape culpability. Right now, his last Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows is in the cross hairs, but maybe he will throw Joseph Cuffari under the bus as well.

Finally, what frightens current and departing sycophants of Donald Trump is what lies beneath the surface. They have no idea what they will have to defend tomorrow or the next week or the next month. And, what is more frightening are these sins and crimes have already been committed, so it is a matter of discovery not committal.

Tuesday Truisms

Rather than focus on a song title like “Ruby Tuesday,” “Tuesday Afternoon” or “Tuesday’s gone with the wind,” I thought I would stick to a short and sweet title – Tuesday Truisms. In no particular order are few truths to digest this Tuesday.

People wonder why drug prices in America are so much larger than in other countries. A key reason is quite simple. Other countries do not allow the pricing of Research and Development (R&D) in the cost of the drug. So, Americans pay for a huge share of the R&D costs. This is a key reason why the industry fights against the US government negotiating prices for Medicare.

When the recent testimony and findings of the House Select Committee are reviewed, just set aside the culpability on the planning and execution of the insurrection for a minute. There are two truisms that are clearly evident that need to be loudly stated. First, the insurrection does not happen if Donald Trump is not president. Full stop. This statement needs no further explanation and truly speaks on its own. Second, Donald Trump did not lift a finger after being pleaded with for 187 minutes to help elected officials and stop the attack on the Capitol. Security details were talking with the Vice President not the person who could have cooled the jets of the seditionists. Full stop. Then you can factor in his role in the planning and execution which does not look good either.

Oh, Boris. We will miss you when you are gone. A sure sign that Boris was not up for the task of British Prime Minister was evident when the Brexit marketing team to get people to vote for such did not want Boris or Nigel involved in the planning. That spoke volumes to me. So, knowing Brexit was not going to go well from the outset, then pairing it up with Boris to lead the way, it was not a recipe of success. The British people deserve better. They deserve the truth and truth tellers.

Speaking of the truth and truth tellers, please ask yourself why people who know they are going to be vilified for saying something, say it anyway. Names like Cassidy Hutchinson, Fiona Hill, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger should be remembered well for their courage and upholding the constitution. Yet, if you mention their names in MAGA circles, you will get a different response. Some would rather believe the likes of not very credible sources like Greene, Gosar, Jordan, Trump, Giuliani, Bannon, Stone, McCarthy, Hannity, Carlson, Ingraham, et al. By the way one person who was on this list, Mr. Cawthorn, who did not win reelection, is in more legal troubles being accused of using campaign funds for personal benefit.

As for what is happening in Ukraine, the story is hard to follow given the eagerness for both sides to claim success. I start from a position of not believing much of what Vladimir Putin says given his bent and training to misinform and disinform. There is a reason Trump admires him so. Yet, that does not mean Russia is not inflicting damage. So, Ukraine continues to make this fight linger on and in several areas have withstood the Russian offensive. To me, you need to look past the bluster of Putin. He cannot afford to make this fight go on too much longer and he certainly cannot afford to attack a lot of other countriies. That would be economically and militarily suicidal in my view. Yet, what he has accomplished is galvanize other countries against him and make him even more of a pariah.

That is all I have for now. Have a great week.

Fox News political analyst Bret Baier adds to Trump criticism

An article in Business Insider by Mia Jankowicz called “Fox News anchor Bret Baier slams Trump, saying January 6 hearings made him look ‘horrific'” adds to the editorials criticizing the former president from conservative publications such as The Wall Street Journal and New York Post, also owned by Rupert Murdoch.

Here are a few paragraphs, with a link to the article below.

“Baier said that the hearings highlighting criticism by former Trump supporters and members of his administration — such as former Deputy National Security Adviser Matthew Pottinger and former Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Matthews — was especially persuasive.

‘All of these people who have been testifying at one point or another wanted Trump to win,’ Baier said. ‘They served under his leadership. They wanted him to be a success.’

Whether it changes the view of Republican voters is another matter, Baier said.

‘The charges are that it’s just not balanced,’ he said, in reference to the ongoing criticism that the hearings are one-sided. (A congressional committee hearing is supposed to publicize already-established findings, and Republican leaders boycotted involvement in the committee.)*

Baier also called for more information on exactly what Trump said about mobilizing the National Guard in advance of the riot. If Trump had taken such action, Baier said, ‘it kind squelches or downplays the thought that he wanted this insurrection.'”

Unlike the opinion entertainment hosts, such as Hannity, Ingraham, Carlson, et al, that still echo support of the former president, Baier is part of Fox News’ news organization. It should be noted that even Fox News management threw Carlson under the bus in a defamation trial noting what he says should not be considered as news.

People have asked if these criticisms are making a difference? From what I read they are, but those questioning are correct that it is likely not reaching the hardcore MAGA fans. One thing Trump is good at is marketing and people close to him have noted he realizes he is screwed. He should be as the only person who is largely responsible for all of this is the guy looking back at the former president when he shaves.

*Note: Republicans who offer this criticism should note that at least two of the representatives offered up by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy were people of interest in the investigation. They were denied by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, rightfully so. McCarthy then pulled the rest of the nominees. Yet, Pelosi did appoint two Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger who have performed well on the committee.

Conservative Wall Street Journal headline: “The President Who Stood Still on Jan. 6”

In a RawStory piece on a recent The Wall Street Journal editorial, “Donald Trump has lost the confidence of both of the major newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.” The RawStory piece is called “‘Incitement by silence’: Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers blister Trump after J6 hearings” and can be linked to below.

Under the headline, “The President Who Stood Still on Jan. 6,” The Wall Street Journal editorial board harshly criticized the former president.

‘No matter your views of the Jan. 6 special committee, the facts it is laying out in hearings are sobering. The most horrifying to date came Thursday in a hearing on President Trump’s conduct as the riot raged and he sat watching TV, posting inflammatory tweets and refusing to send help,’ the editorial board wrote.

‘The committee’s critics are right that it lacks political balance,’ the newspaper wrote. ‘Still, the brute facts remain: Mr. Trump took an oath to defend the Constitution, and he had a duty as Commander in Chief to protect the Capitol from a mob attacking it in his name. He refused. He didn’t call the military to send help. He didn’t call Mr. Pence to check on the safety of his loyal VP. Instead he fed the mob’s anger and let the riot play out.’

The editorial concluded, ‘Character is revealed in a crisis, and Mr. Pence passed his Jan. 6 trial. Mr. Trump utterly failed his.'”

There is really not much more to say except this is the paragon of conservative leaning publications in America and many of the folks who have testified under oath are, in fact, Republicans. Now, why would these folks do that, especially knowing they would be vilified by the former president and his sycophants?

Disturbing survey result – we cannot condone violence

I read yesterday of two alarming results from a University of California survey of 9,000 people. 1 in 5 said violence to promote a political cause would be appropriate and 7% said they would be willing to kill someone toward that goal. Really? Have we sunk that low believing the divisive rhetoric of too many that so many would commit capital offenses for a politician’s gain?

The majority of these folks have felt empowered by the former president to be more public. I guess all the folks who are pleading guilty or being convicted for an insurrection on our Capitol building at the behest of the former president are not evidence enough that this is a poor path forward. Maybe when the former president is charged with sedition for his apparently more active role in the insurrection these folks will be given pause.

And, just because the right has its extremists who are promoting violence and even death, that does not give any extremists on the left a hall pass to do the same. Civil discourse and peaceful protest are more than fine. Violence is not the answer, unless your question is when can I go to jail?

One of America’s key tenets is the peaceful transition of power. We are more divided than before because a former president’s ego is so fragile, he cannot admit he lost and per his niece will “burn it all down to avoid losing an election.” It is only our democracy – we must hold it dear and ignore those sycophants who are aiding and abetting the bogus claims of the former president. I was delighted to see a bipartisan Senate bill pass to better protect the electoral process to prevent a demagogue from trying what the former president did – an insurrection.

Taking the former president at his word is a fool’s errand. Listening to his allies and sycophants who are holding cans of white paint to whitewash history is also such. But, so is taking the word of so-called leaders of any movement that condones and promotes violence. That is inane. It is also criminal. If your group promotes this, find the door before it is too late.