Cause and Effect – two short paragraphs from former president’s last defense secretary

Two short paragraphs. Cause and effect. The former president’s defense secretary sees the former president’s role in the insurrection clearly. And, this is without addressing the lies for two months on unsupported wide-scale election fraud.

In the article called “Chris Miller, defense secretary on Jan. 6, sees ’cause and effect’ between Trump’s words and Capitol riot,” by William Cummings, USA TODAY, here are those two paragraphs:

“Former acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller said the crowd of Trump’s supporters would not have descended on the U.S. Capitol if the president had not delivered a speech just before the riot in which he decried the presidential election as ‘stolen.’ Repeating baseless claims of election fraud he first made even before voting began, Trump alleged that a ‘criminal enterprise’ involving Democrats, the news media and complicit Republicans had robbed him of victory, though he offered no evidence to support the existence of such a vast conspiracy. 

‘Would anybody have marched on the Capitol, and tried to overrun the Capitol, without the president’s speech? I think it’s pretty much definitive that wouldn’t have happened,’ Miller told “Vice on Showtime” in an interview that aired Thursday.”

The whole article can be read with the link below. The former president was impeached for these actions. Ten Republican Representatives voted to impeach and have been censured and threatened by their state party leaders. Seven Republican Senators voted to convict and have also been censured and threatened. 

The former president acted seditiously causing an insurrection against a branch of government, yet the truth tellers are vilified, not the traitor. What is wrong with that picture?

Chris Miller, defense secretary on Jan. 6, sees ’cause and effect’ between Trump’s words and Capitol riot (msn.com)

Yet another Republican Senator will not seek reelection

Republican Senator Roy Blunt from Missouri has joined Senator Rob Portman of Ohio in choosing not to run for reelection. Both could be viewed as more “statesmen-like” in a caucus who has misplaced that definition. Blunt’s own words are telling, as gleaned from the article called: “This GOP senator slammed Trumpism on his way out the door,” by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large. Here a few paragraphs:

“Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt said something on Monday — following his surprise retirement announcement — that is worth paying attention to as we continue to monitor the control that former President Donald Trump continues to exert over his party.

‘I think the country in the last decade or so has sort of fallen off the edge, with too many politicians saying, ‘If you vote for me I’ll never compromise on anything,’ and the failure to do that — that’s a philosophy that particularly does not work in a democracy. We’ve seen too much of it in our politics today at all levels, and rather than spending a lot of time saying what I’d never do, I’d spend more time saying what I’d try to do and be willing to move as far in the direction of that goal as you possibly could rather than saying, ‘I’ll never do this.’

Blunt is arguing that the Trump-led push for total purity to principle — or, more accurately, utter fealty to whatever the former President decides he thinks that day — makes for a miserable political existence. (And left unsaid but heavily implied: a very long stay in the minority in Washington.) Who Blunt is talking about in that quote doesn’t require too much reading between the lines to figure out.

There’s no question that the fear of a Trump-backed challenger in his 2022 reelection race played into Blunt’s decision. Ditto Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who previously shocked the political world with his retirement announcement last month.

Here’s what Portman said about that decision:

“I don’t think any Senate office has been more successful in getting things done, but honestly, it has gotten harder and harder to break through the partisan gridlock and make progress on substantive policy, and that has contributed to my decision.”

Sadly, to this independent voter, seeing the Trump party, which has replaced the Republican Party, embrace conspiracy-minded parroting along with outright lying is disturbing. But, don’t take my word for it. Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof wrote a piece about Portman’s retirement saying the GOP is losing a statesman and replacing him with a kook, referencing one of the more notorious new GOP Representatives. Blunt would be on the statesman side.

This GOP senator slammed Trumpism on his way out the door (msn.com)

Exodus of Republicans

In an article yesterday by Jason Lange and Andy Sullivan of Reuters called “Analysis: Exodus of Republican voters tired of Trump could push party further right,” the departures away from the now Trump party are growing. Here are a few paragraphs, with a link to the article below.

A surge of Republicans quitting the party to renounce Donald Trump after the deadly Capitol riot could hurt moderates in next year’s primaries, adding a capstone to Trump’s legacy as president: A potentially lasting rightward push on the party.

More than 68,000 Republicans have left the party in recent weeks in Florida, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, crucial states for Democrats’ hopes of keeping control of Congress in the mid-term elections in 2022, state voter data shows. That’s about three times the roughly 23,000 Democrats who left their party in the same states over the same time period.

Compared to the Republicans who stayed put, those who fled were more concentrated in the left-leaning counties around big cities, which political analysts said suggested moderate Republicans could be leading the defections.

If the exodus is sustained, it will be to the advantage of candidates in the Republican Party’s nomination contests who espouse views that play well with its Trump-supporting base but not with a broader electorate.

That could make it harder for Republican candidates to beat Democrats in November, said Morris Fiorina, a political scientist at Stanford University.

‘If these voters are leaving the party permanently, it’s really bad news for Republicans, Fiorina said.

Most of the defectors switched to having no party affiliation or joined a minor political party, though many registered as Democrats, according to publicly available voter registration data that is regularly updated by states….

Diana Hepner, 76, a retired attorney in Florida’s Nassau County near Jacksonville, described herself as a fiscal conservative who was turned off by Trump’s rhetoric.

‘I hung in there with the Republican Party thinking we could get past the elements Trump brought,’ she said. ‘Jan. 6 was the straw that broke the camel’s back.’

Hepner, who joined the Democratic Party, hopes she can be a centrist influence on its nomination contests.

The above should be a clarion call to those who now call the Trump party home. Yet, these calls and others made by Republicans pushing back on the seditious former president, have been largely written off by the MAGA base. At some point, there must be reckoning.

While I firmly believe the former president’s political career is over, his influence will remain. As long as the party base buys into the conspiracy and lies he (and his sycophants) peddles, he will have a voice. As I have noted before, the best thing to do about the former president is to ignore him.

Analysis: Exodus of Republican voters tired of Trump could push party further right (msn.com)

Censuring Republicans who voted to impeach or convict – a sample letter to the editor

I sent the following letter to my local newspaper after seeing that the North Carolina state Republican Party may censure Senator Richard Burr for voting to convict the seditious former president. This follows on similar votes executed or planned in other states to censure the likes of Representative Liz Cheney, Senator Ben Sasse, Senator Pat Toomey and Senator Bill Cassidy and maybe the others. Please feel free to adapt and use. I hope they print it.

Two thoughts pop into my head about the state Republican parties that are censuring Republicans who voted to impeach or convict the seditious former president. Each time they take aim at one of them, it gives them the chance to repeat their resolve into why the former president is a traitor. Which leads me to my second thought. Being a traitor and causing the death of now seven people by consistently lying and inciting an insurrection is not worth censuring, but telling said traitor they do not approve of that behavior is. There is something terribly wrong with this picture. Burr, Cheney, Murkowski, et al are the real heroes who knew beforehand they would get backlash, yet did it anyway.

Seven heroes with political courage was not enough

The former president was not convicted of high crimes and misdemeanors by the Senate with the votes falling short of the needed two-thirds. But, please note that 57 Senators voted for conviction of the former president, with only 43 voting no. That means seven Republican Senators voted on the right side of history in this independent and former Republican voter’s view.

Those seven deserve high praise for their courage as they will get push back and even death threats for voting their conscience. And, they knew that beforehand.

These seven members of the Republican caucus are as follows:

Richard Burr of North Carolina

Bill Cassidy of Louisiana

Susan Collins of Maine

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska

Mitt Romney of Utah

Ben Sasse of Nebraska

Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania

Whether you agree with their policy decisions, please acknowledge their political courage. Representative Liz Cheney from Wyoming almost lost a key leadership role in the House Republican caucus because she was one of ten Republicans to vote to impeach the former president. And, as evidence of her grit, she told Chris Wallace on Fox this past Sunday, that the former president has been lying to Republicans.

I have sent thank you notes to these ten Republican representatives and now seven senators for their courage. I encourage you to do the same, as they will certainly hear from the vindictive former president and his sycophants.

It should be noted the former president’s legal troubles will continue as he is being investigated for trying to coerce an official in Georgia to alter the outcome of that election. Note, this is after two recounts proved he lost. And, he has some financial issues he is dealing with in courts in New York.

In the view of this former Republican and independent, just because the former president did not get convicted, does not mean he is innocent. What is sad, some of those who voted to acquit know this and told reporters off the record they are glad this footage is getting out.

Three former Republican Senators say the former president should face accountability

The following opinion was written by three former Republican Senators, David Durenberger, Larry Pressler and Gordon Humphrey as reported by CNN called “3 former GOP senators: Trump should not escape accountability on a technicality” Most of the opinion can be found below, but a link follows at the bottom.

“Former president Donald Trump incited an insurrection and has faced little consequence for it so far. As such, senators must take on their constitutional duty to sit as impartial jurors in the impeachment trial, regardless of any lingering concerns — unfounded we believe — that the process is unconstitutional.

When the House of Representatives voted to impeach then-President Trump on January 13, by a bipartisan vote of 232 to 197, those voting to impeach knew it was unlikely that the Senate would be able to hold a full trial before Trump left office. However, both Democratic and Republican members of Congress understood that no president, regardless of political party, should be let off the hook for inciting an insurrection against a coequal branch of government, especially as it was convening to conduct its constitutional duty in certifying the Electoral College count.

These members recognized that both Trump’s urgings to protesters to “fight like hell” before the Capitol was breached, and his lack of meaningful action during the six hours it took to restore order, were unacceptable — and that he needed to be held accountable. House members rose to the occasion, honoring their oath and respecting the process despite the unfavorable calendar. It’s time for the Senate to do the same.

The consequence of not holding a trial because a president has left office would send the message that any official in government could escape accountability simply by committing impeachable offenses just before the end of their term.

An impeachment trial isn’t just about removal from office — which in this case we acknowledge is moot. Rather, the trial offers Congress the ability to hold a president accountable for his actions and can lead to a vote on the disqualification from holding federal office again. To put it simply, the impeachment process could signal that officials cannot repeat Trump’s misdeeds in the future without facing serious consequences.

This is why, as former Republican senators, we were disappointed and worried by the 45 Republican senators who voted in favor of a point of order challenging the trial’s constitutionality after being sworn in to “do impartial justice.” Congress should not shirk its duty to act as a check on abuse of power from the executive branch.

And we aren’t alone. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service writes that, ‘most scholars who have closely examined the question have concluded that Congress has authority to extend the impeachment process to officials who are no longer in office.’ Moreover, more than 150 legal scholars across the political spectrum recently signed an open letter concluding, ‘that the Constitution permits the impeachment, conviction, and disqualification of former officers, including presidents.’ The letter included the co-founder and other members of the conservative legal group, the Federalist Society.”

There is truly not much to add to this. I concur with its conclusions and reasons therefor.

3 former GOP senators: Trump should not escape accountability on a technicality (Opinion) (msn.com)

Argue facts or process

This week will be the second impeachment trial in the Senate for the now former president. And, it will the second trial with a pre-ordained outcome. Sixty-seven Senators need to vote to convict the former president, but with forty-five Republicans voting that the trial should not be held, the outcome is already known. The former president will likely get 55 or so votes to convict him, but short of the necessary total, so he will be acquitted.

Yet, as with the first trial, being acquitted does not mean he is innocent. In fact, based on the testimony from the first House impeachment case, in the view of many, he is guilty of extorting Ukraine for personal gain. But, the Senate trial called no witnesses with Republican leadership calling it a sham, a witch hunt. To be frank, many honorable diplomats and staff testified at great risk over their concerns knowing the inevitable – they would lose their jobs. But, they did it anyway. Why?

Now, since the case is overwhelming against the former president, the forty-five Republican Senators are arguing process, saying that you should not try a person out of office. Many experts disagree with this statement and it should be noted, the former president was impeached by the House while being president. But, this is an age old legal tactic. If the facts favor your case, argue the facts; if the facts do not favor your case, argue against the process. If neither do, then game the system. In the first trial, no witnesses were called.

The former president continues to harp on a planned and staged fraudulent claim of voter fraud going back six months before the election. He defamed the mail-in process, hobbled the post office, he pushed Republican led state legislators to restrict the mail-in process, his campaign hired 1,000 attorneys around the country and he told his voters to vote in person knowing those votes would be counted first. And, with pockets of minor fraud examples, real or contrived by conspiracy-minded sources, he now believes his own BS, which is not unusual for him. Yet, 59 out of 60 judges do not, nor do election officials or the US AG.

So, he fueled the idea of voter fraud and the election was stolen from him, an action which was predicted four years ago by his five biographers. I am not prescient, but after reading about the 1,000 attorneys, I wrote in September that the former president will sue to avoid losing. The now former president invited zealous fans to Washington on January 6 to disrupt the electoral college confirmation. He then revved the groups up with a speech (with others) and pointed them at the capitol building. To say, as he and his sycophants have, that he had no hand in the violence is just untrue. As his niece Mary wrote, her uncle will burn it all down to avoid losing.

The facts played out right in front of us. This former president acted in a seditious manner inciting an insurrection. Yes, he will be acquitted, but he is by no means innocent.

Letter I sent to my newspaper today – my heart is broken to see so-called leaders not be such

Please feel free to use the following and adapt as appropriate.

My heart is broken to see our country stoop so low. The outgoing president’s ongoing untruthful claims the election was fraudulent is predictable, as he planned and staged these actions for six months prior to the election and it is in keeping with his well-documented untruthfulness. Yet, what frustrates me more is seeing elected officials not stand up to tyrannical statements with some even aiding and abetting what conservative paper The New York Post called “an undemocratic coup.” Many Republican election officials, judges, governors and Secretaries of State and the US Attorney General and cybersecurity official ruled the election was fair and proper, many at great personal risk. Mr. Trump you lost the election. You lost the recounts and you lost 59 out of 60 court cases. For the sake of the country, we need you to be an adult and admit you did.

What if they caught the bus?

One of the thoughts I have been having lately around the fraudulent claims of the outgoing president and his sycophants about voter fraud, is the following, “what if they caught the bus?” This is an old line about a dog chasing a vehicle, like a bus, begging the question, what would the dog do if he or she caught it?

Ken Paxton, the Attorney General in the state of Texas has been joined by seventeen other Attorney Generals on a case without much merit and standing. It is expected the US Supreme Court will kick it out and not hear it, but stranger things have happened. Here is what was said in n article this morning:

“Texas’s own senior GOP senator, John Cornyn, said, ‘I frankly struggle to understand the legal theory‘ behind it. Jeb Bush responded by saying there was no theory and predicted that the court would reject it out of hand. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) even went so far Thursday as to suggest it was a ‘PR stunt rather than a lawsuit‘ and that (the Texas Attorney General) Ken Paxton (R) might be merely seeking a Trump pardon for his personal legal problems.”*

But what if this last ditch effort worked and for some reason, the current president remained in office. In essence, what if they caught the bus? Then, democracy in America would be over. We would be an autocracy. The will of the people in votes would be overturned. Using the president’s niece, Mary’s comments, her uncle will “burn it all down” to avoid losing. His ego is that shallow. He must burn it down to keep his little precious ego in tact.

I wish I did not have to write this. Truly. But, only 60% of Americans view Biden’s win as legitimate. That floored me. That is the power of a person known for lying who has told his base that everyone else is lying. The silent Senators coupled with the some who have been outspoken have left a vacuum that has been filled with conspiracy theory fans and a president who simply cannot admit he lost the election. Make no mistake – this is weakness.

What the outgoing president is doing is predicted and predictable. He has staged this fraud for about six months. I wrote a post in September after reading about the 1,000 attorneys the Trump campaign hired called, “Take it to the bank, the president will sue to avoid losing the election.” Or, just watch Senator Bernie Sanders on the Jimmy Kimmel Show in October who, with eerie accuracy, summarized what Trump would do come election.

What is lost on this conspiracy spreaders – Trump, Giuliani, Hannity, Limbaugh, Ingraham, etc. – is the Trump campaign and supporters have lost 49 court cases, by my count, winning only one. And, to add insult to injury, many of the judges are Republican and some are Trump appointees. SCOTUS refused to hear a Pennsylvania court case from some Republican legislators – simply saying “no” with no known dissents.

So, my question to these sycophants – what happens if they catch this bus? People who support the president said he has a right to sue and ask for recounts. He has done that and he still lost. What he wants to do is do a recount until the count turns his way. What I would add is 60% of Americans think their vote is important. So, if this bus is caught, it will end up very ugly for America.

Let me close with a final comment I often use – it is a fool’s errand to take Donald Trump at his word. Are you listening Trump sycophants?

*Note: From a Newsweek article by Jason Lemon called “GOP Senator Ben Sasse Suggests Texas AG Looking for Trump Pardon With SCOTUS Lawsuit” A link to the article is below:

GOP Senator Ben Sasse Suggests Texas AG Looking for Trump Pardon With SCOTUS Lawsuit (msn.com)