Deny, Discredit, Disinform, Diffuse and Defray – a reprise from 2014

The following post was written almost seven years ago, before the former president walked down the escalator to announce his candidacy. He showed how to manipulate these five D’s, but his albatross was he could not control the one guy at the toggle. So, he often gets in his own way and the way of his helpers.

The five D’s. As a now 55-year-old man, I have witnessed over time the aggressively managed handling of criticism whether it is in politics or in big business. In my view, the defense could be summed up in the following order – Deny, Discredit, Disinform, Diffuse and Defray – where you keep drawing lines in the sand as you retreat. With each D and line drawn, you want to see if that will stave off the criticism.

The fossil fuel and petro-chemical industries have been deploying these tactics for decades, as what they do for a living is not easy and has a history of impacting the health and welfare of humans and the environment. When you add money on top of these approaches, it takes an Erin Brockovich to make any headway against them. Yet, what people fail to realize is these five D’s are an aggressive risk management strategy.

But, the approach is definitely not limited to big business. Vladimir Putin is probably the best games player around. He knows your weaknesses and hot buttons, so he has and continues to use these approaches. In the US, politicians value and pay dearly for spin doctors like Karl Rove, who in essence are paid liars. Their job is perfume any pig that comes their client’s way. However, most politicians who have won more than one election become increasingly artful in these defense tactics – Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, Obama and the Bushes – all could be considered good at these approaches. With Nixon, the lies caught up with him as he taped himself. He only resigned once the courts ordered him to release the tapes that showed he was not only paranoid, but ran a burglary and disinformation ring out of the White House.

First, when criticism is made against what you do or have done, you deny it aggressively. That is absolutely not true will be words usually spoken. Note, with false claims, denial does not mean the accuser is correct as that is part of the defense strategy under discredit. Putin claims that Ukraine is fascist, but you really cannot call Ukraine fascist if they are trying to have democratic elections. The toxic fracking slickwater is not getting into people’s water supply, is a good example of denial. The NSA is not spying on Americans is another one.

Second, when the denial ceases to work, the discredit strategy begins. Sometimes, the discrediting comes with the denial. The Putin example is a good one. The global warming is a hoax is a prime example, where the fossil fuel industry through its public relations engine wanted to paint Al Gore and all of his imperfections as the reason why global warming was not happening. He lives in large mansion and is using this as a publicity stunt. Name calling or branding people comes part and parcel. Using terms like Hitler, Apartheid or Stalin to paint something you dislike is a common tactic. I have often been called an Environmentalist, which I am, but the term is used to smear me because it is meant to construe that I do not care about jobs. The fact that there are tens of thousands of jobs in solar energy in my own state and they are growing in number, seems to get overlooked as unimportant.

Third, if denials and discrediting don’t work, disinform. This probably frustrates me most, as it is a very common tactic on partisan news shows, to spin the truth, overlook the issues or just lie. I tell people often and write on this blog and emails for people to stop watching Fox news and its counterpart, MSNBC. Your are better off watching no news as the spins can be so severe that you are not informed –  you have been propagandized. The real truths include: Global warming is not a hoax. Fracking is not perfectly safe. Creationism is not science. Voter fraud is virtually non-existent. Business is not inherently bad, but needs governance. Protecting our environment costs us less in the long run. While there are a few abusers, people on food stamps are not gaming the system.

Fourth, if we are still in trouble, the next line in the sand is to diffuse. This is a measured  mea culpa which allows some concessions, but does so on your terms. You have already thought through beforehand what would be an acceptable position to come to, when the avalanche of truth gets too big. You have done some internal investigations and found there is some truth in what we are being accused of, so we will fix it. You are right, climate change is real, so we are going to focus on natural gas, as it burns cleaner than coal. The data breach is bigger than we first imagined, so we are doing the following. We are only getting Metadata and not listening to your phone calls and reading your emails.

Fifth, if this fails, then we need to defray. We need to settle claims as quickly and expeditiously as possible. We must avoid class action suits. We need to divide and conquer. Pay people a pretty penny, but limit the number of pennies and limit the number of hands. No one goes to jail. We just pay out of expenses what we have already accrued when the problem first reared its head. Or, let’s recall every car that has any minor defect now. This will be far cheaper than the potential lawsuit.

The five D’s. Next time criticism is flying toward someone or some entity, watch how the issue is handled. Usually, the higher the revenue stream potential, the more aggressive the defense. The truth is usually further away from the speaker with the most to gain financially. Not always, but often enough.

This is a big effing deal

The swearing in of Joe Biden as the 46th president is a huge deal. We can return to more normalcy in governance as he tries to unite us. But, let me set that aside and say the inauguration of Kamala Harris as vice-president is a big effing deal.

Seeing a woman sworn in as vice president is a long time over due for a country that touts democracy. Other democracies have preceded us with a woman being president, prime minister or chancellor. Angela Merkel, Jacinda Arden, Indira Ghandi, Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May all come to mind.

Harris is not just breaking the ceiling as a woman, which is a big effing deal by itself. She is the first African-American, the first Asian-American, and part of the first multiracial couple and family to occupy the home of the vice-president. She is uniquely American, as representative of our melting pot as one can get.

But, as a man, let me attempt to address this walk-in-the-shoes moment and what it means. My wife wore pearl earrings to honor Harris’ alma mater as she watched. And, she was crying after Harris was sworn in. A man does not realize how a woman feels to be treated in an overbearing way. Or, to be condescended to. Or to be belittled. Or, to be sexually harassed or even assaulted.

Sheryl Sandberg wrote the excellent book “Lean in,” which tells women to lean into opportunity or push back. It was and is a great title in that men are very skilled at leaning in. There is a line, I think from this book, that says a man with lesser skill sets will often feel more qualified for a job than a woman with more skill sets.

Then, we must layer into Harris’ make-up the fact she is a multiracial woman of color. In an interview on CBS Sunday Morning, she noted she has been told “no” at every step of the ladder. Then, she smiled and said “I eat ‘no’ for breakfast.” That embodies Sandberg’s theme. Just think of all of the young women and young women of color she will influence going forward. Be a leader, be a scientist, be an engineer, be a doctor….don’t accept no as a reason you cannot.

This is a big effing deal. I wish her, Joe Biden and their families and staffs the greatest of success. We need them to succeed in uniting us.

If you still think the election was rigged…

The following email was sent to the distribution list of North Carolina State Senator Jeff Jackson, a Democrat. I have found Jackson to be a very reasonable voice in today’s times. This email is an exemplar of his approach.

“Last week I sent an email that bluntly stated:

‘The election was not rigged. The elected officials saying otherwise are being intentionally dishonest.’

And I got a lot of replies from people saying, “Are you SURE it wasn’t rigged? How do you know? Where’s the proof? I heard that it was, so maybe we should look into that.”

Ok, so let me double back for a minute.

If you honestly aren’t sure whether or not the election was rigged, the best way I know to address that is to provide a wide variety of sources on the subject.

So here are 44 sources – a number of them supporters of the president – for you to consider.

In my view, if you genuinely believe that the election may have been stolen, you owe it to yourself to at least check your beliefs against what you see below.

(And if, upon review, you determine that the evidence does not support a conclusion that the election was rigged, the next step would be to cast a skeptical eye toward the sources that repeatedly tried to convince you otherwise.)

‘But Jeff, why should I believe anything you say?’

Don’t. Check the sources.

‘But Jeff, these sources are all corrupt and lying and should be ignored!’

Ok – but just know that when people accuse you of believing a conspiracy theory, this is why.

It’s because – in the face of an immense number of fact checks, Republican judges, and Republican elected officials – you’re not willing to consider the possibility that you may have been misled.

That’s conspiracy theory territory, and you should just know that going in.

For everyone else, feel free to share this and let’s see if we can reach a few people. (If you’d prefer to share in article form, you can do that here.)

It might not work, but we should at least try.

– Sen. Jeff Jackson

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

44 Sources


1. “Disputing Trump, Barr says no widespread election fraud” – AP
https://apnews.com/…/barr-no-widespread-election-fraud-b1f1…

2. “Trump’s claims of vote rigging are all wrong” – AP
https://apnews.com/…/election-2020-ap-fact-check-joe-biden-…

3. “First Statewide Audit of paper ballots in Georgia upholds results of Presidential race” – Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger (R)
https://sos.ga.gov/…/historic_first_statewide_audit_of_pape…

4. “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.” – Elections Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council & The Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Executive Committees
https://www.cisa.gov/…/joint-statement-elections-infrastruc…

5.“The minimal number of criminal investigations that have so far come out of the November vote further reinforce the absence of sweeping vote fraud schemes.” – Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/bdbe541c-42de-11eb-b0e4-0f…

6. “In a remarkable show of near-unanimity across the nation’s judiciary, at least 86 judges — ranging from jurists serving at the lowest levels of state court systems to members of the United States Supreme Court — rejected at least one post-election lawsuit filed by Trump or his supporters.” – Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/e3a57224-3a72-11eb-98c4-25…

7. “It’s Official: The Election Was Secure” – Brennan Center for Justice
https://www.brennancenter.org/…/its-official-election-was-s…

8. “As former Republican Members of Congress who swore an oath to the Constitution, we believe the statements by President Trump alleging fraud in the election are efforts to undermine the legitimacy of the election and are unacceptable” – Letter from ***31 Former Republican Members of Congress***
https://thehill.com/…/525161-former-gop-lawmakers-call-on-t…

9. “To win, Mr. Trump must prove systemic fraud, with illegal votes in the tens of thousands. There is no evidence of that so far.” – Karl Rove, Wall Street Journal
https://www.wsj.com/…/this-election-result-wont-be-overturn…

10. “U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann — a Republican and Federalist Society member in central Pennsylvania — compared the campaign’s legal arguments to ‘Frankenstein’s Monster,’ concluding that Trump’s team offered only ‘speculative accusations,’ not proof of rampant corruption.” – AP News
https://apnews.com/…/election-2020-donald-trump-pennsylvani…

And you can read the case for yourself here: https://www.pamd.uscourts.gov/si…/pamd/files/20-2078_202.pdf

11. “A sitting president undermining our political process & questioning the legality of the voices of countless Americans without evidence is not only dangerous & wrong, it undermines the very foundation this nation was built upon. Every American should have his or her vote counted.” – Will Hurd (R), Representative of Texas’s 23rd District
https://thehill.com/…/524738-republicans-rebuke-trump-over-…

12. “STOP spreading debunked misinformation…This is getting insane” – Adam Kinzinger (R), Republican Representative of Illinois’s 16th District
https://twitter.com/RepKinzinger/status/1324503564891414528…

13. “The scheme by members of Congress to reject the certification of the presidential election makes a mockery of our system and who we are as Americans.” – Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R)
https://www.chicagotribune.com/…/ct-republican-senators-ele…

14. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) Shoots Down Trump Legal Team’s ‘Rigged Election’ Claims: “Absolutely Outrageous” – Fox News
https://radio.foxnews.com/…/sen-joni-ernst-r-ia-shoots-dow…/

15. “[The president] is wrong to say that the election was rigged, corrupt or stolen — doing so damages the cause of freedom here and around the world, weakens the institutions that lie at the foundation of the Republic, and recklessly inflames destruction and dangerous passions.” – Sen. Mitt Romney (R), Utah
https://twitter.com/MittRomney/status/1324763757105602561…

16. “President Trump’s legal team has not presented evidence of the massive fraud which would have had to be present to overturn the election. I voted for President Trump but Joe Biden won.” – Sen. Bill Cassidy (R), Louisiana
https://twitter.com/SenBillCass…/status/1331013512605405184…

17. “Republican Sen. Pat Toomey calls Trump’s campaign to overturn Pennsylvania election ‘completely unacceptable’” – The Philadelphia Inquirer
https://fusion.inquirer.com/…/pat-toomey-pennsylvania-elect…

18. “Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer (R) says widespread voter fraud not proven in 2020 election” – KETV
https://www.ketv.com/…/i-will-uphold-my-oath-nebra…/35132772#

19. “Former GOP election law attorney says widespread voter fraud doesn’t exist” – Fox Denver
https://kdvr.com/…/former-gop-election-law-attorney-says-w…/

20. “There is not and has not been any credible evidence of significant fraud in the 2020 election” – Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/there-is-not-has-not-been…/

21. “Georgia election: Trump voter fraud claims and others fact-checked” – BBC
https://www.bbc.com/news/55561877

22. “Trump’s made-up claims of fake Georgia votes” – AP News
https://apnews.com/…/ap-fact-check-donald-trump-georgia-ele…

23. “Fact-checking Trump’s false claims about Pennsylvania’s election before his supporters attacked the Capitol” – The Philadelphia Inquirer
https://fusion.inquirer.com/…/trump-washington-rally-pennsy…

24. “Trump tweet wrongly suggests there were defects with Michigan voting machines” – Detroit Free Press
https://www.freep.com/…/trump-fact-check-defect…/3902951001/

25. “The Times Called Officials In Every State: No Evidence of Voter Fraud” – New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/…/…/10/us/politics/voting-fraud.html

26. “A Georgia Election official debunked Trump’s claims of voter fraud point by point” – New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/…/politics/trump-georgia-election-f…

27. “Pennsylvania pours cold water on Trump’s voter fraud claims” – The Guardian
https://www.theguardian.com/…/first-thing-pennsylvania-pour…

28. “Here’s the reality behind Trump’s claims about mail voting” – AP
https://apnews.com/…/virus-outbreak-joe-biden-election-2020…

29. “2020 election ‘most secure in American history,’ federal election security officials say” – Fox News
https://www.foxnews.com/…/2020-election-secure-history-fede…

30. “Presidential Election ‘Most Secure’ In History, Top Security Experts At DHS Say” – HuffPost
https://www.huffpost.com/…/2020-election-most-secure-dhs_n_…

31. “Fired director of U.S. cyber agency Chris Krebs explains why President Trump’s claims of election interference are false” – 60 Minutes, CBS
https://www.cbsnews.com/…/election-results-security-chris-…/

32. “Trump’s own officials say 2020 was America’s most secure election in history” – Vox
https://www.vox.com/…/2020-elections-most-secure-dhs-cisa-k…

33. “Governor Wolf, officials say Pennsylvania had a fair and secure election” – MSN
https://www.msn.com/…/governor-wolf-officials-s…/ar-BB1cwXYG

34. “No, Dominion voting machines did not delete Trump votes.” – New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/…/no-dominion-voting-machines-did-n…

35. “Georgia officials rebutted Trump’s claim that Dominion voting machines failed in ‘Republican strongholds.’” – NYT
https://www.nytimes.com/…/05/us/polit…/dominion-georgia.html

36. “Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt (R) went on CNN and said the presidential election wasn’t ‘rigged’” – Springfield News Leader
https://www.news-leader.com/…/missouri-senator-…/3910497001/

37. “Sen. Cornyn (R) says he’s seen no evidence of voter fraud” – The Daily Sentinel
https://www.dailysentinel.com/…/article_c1250852-0687-5d3b-…

38. “No evidence shows Biden benefitted from voter fraud, South Dakota Senator John Thune (R) says” – Argus Leader
https://www.argusleader.com/…/thune-no-evidence…/6190130002/

39. Georgia official Raffensperger: “We had safe, secure, honest elections” – 60 Minutes, CBS News
https://www.cbsnews.com/…/georgia-official-raffensperger-w…/

40. “Fact-Checking the Congressional Debate on Ratifying the Election Results” – NYT
https://www.nytimes.com/…/fact-check-electoral-certification

41. Arizona Supreme Court upholds election challenge dismissal: “In all, eight lawsuits challenging Biden’s Arizona win have failed.”
https://apnews.com/…/election-2020-joe-biden-donald-trump-a…

42. Fact check: After hand count audits of the vast majority of the ballots in the state, no evidence for claims Arizona’s results were marred by fraud – NBC News https://www.nbcnews.com/…/electoral-college-ce…/ncrd1253058…

And you can see the hand count results for yourself here: https://azsos.gov/…/2020-general-election-hand-count-results

43. “Arizona’s GOP AG rejects voter fraud claims” – Axios
https://www.axios.com/arizona-republican-ag-rejects-voter-f…

44. From a presidential commission to Trump-nominated judges, here’s who has rebuked Trump’s voter fraud claims – Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/…/01/03/voter-fraud/

Dr. Fiona Hill cautions all on civil unrest fomented by the outgoing president

Dr. Fiona Hill is one of the most credible public servants who risked a great deal by testifying of her concerns regarding the coercion of Ukraine to benefit the president.* In an article called “Former Trump official Fiona Hill: ‘President’s actions have put us on the brink of civil war'” by Justine Coleman of The Hill, she cautions of more civil unrest. Here are a few paragraphs along with a link below.

Former Trump National Security Council member Fiona Hill on Monday said that President Trump’s ‘actions have put us on the brink of civil war’ after pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol last week.

Hill, who served as the senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council, called the Capitol raid a “coup” in a Politico op-ed, saying that a coup does not need to be a ‘sudden, violent seizure of power involving clandestine plots and military takeovers.

‘Trump disguised what he was doing by operating in plain sight, talking openly about his intent,’ she said. ‘He normalized his actions so people would accept them. I’ve been studying authoritarian regimes for three decades, and I know the signs of a coup when I see them.’

The former Trump official said Trump’s efforts to stay in power during his presidency amounted to a ‘self-coup’ that was ultimately unsuccessful. But she noted ‘the bad news is that his supporters still believe the false narrative’ that the president won reelection after he and other Republicans have promoted unfounded claims that widespread voter fraud led to his loss.

Trump has not repudiated it, nor have the House and Senate Republicans who voted against the Electoral College results, she wrote. ‘Millions of people still think the election was stolen. They still support Trump the person, not the Republican Party, and many are prepared to take further action on his behalf.

‘As in the case of other coup attempts, the president’s actions have put us on the brink of civil war,’ Hill continued. ‘Trump did not overturn the election results, but, just as he intended, he disrupted the peaceful democratic transition of executive power.’

Her voice is one of experience and reason. She needs to be listened to by all, but especially Republicans in position of leadership.

Former Trump official Fiona Hill: ‘President’s actions have put us on the brink of civil war’ (msn.com)

*Per Wikpedia, Fiona Hill is a British-American foreign affairs specialist and academic. She is a former official at the U.S. National Security Council specializing in Russian and European affairs. She was a witness in the November 2019 House hearings regarding the impeachment of President Trump. A PhD in history from Harvard University, she is currently a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

“Trial by combat” speech will haunt Rudy Giuliani – and it should

In a Newsweek article posted today called “Bar Association Launches Probe Into Disqualifying Rudy Giuliani After ‘Trial by Combat’ Speech” by Alexandra Garrett, Giuliani will be facing much needed scrutiny over his role in inciting violence last Wednesday. This follows his active role in pushing frivolous lawsuits and unsupported claims of voter fraud over the last two months.

Per the article, the following paragraphs will sum up the issues at hand. A link to the full article is below.

“The New York State Bar Association launched an inquiry into disqualifying Rudy Giuliani‘s membership on Monday. The probe from NYSBA President Scott M. Karson came after Giuliani’s ‘trial by combat’ speech was made hours before Wednesday’s deadly attack on the Capitol.

‘We must address the root cause of this abhorrent incident, the blame for which lies first and foremost with President Donald Trump,’ said Susan DeSantis, the NYSBA’s chief communications strategist, in a Monday release.

DeSantis added that ‘the president did not act alone’ and said that Giuliani, his personal attorney, addressed the crowd at the Stop the Steal rally hours before the riot and was also partly to blame.

During his speech, Giuliani reiterated baseless claims that widespread election fraud affected the outcome of the presidential election. He also said Trump supporters should fight the results.

‘Over the next 10 days, we get to see the machines that are crooked, the ballots that are fraudulent. If we’re wrong, we will be made fools of, but if we’re right a lot of them will go to jail,’ said Giuliani. ‘Let’s have trial by combat.'”

Shortly after these comments, the Capitol Building was stormed endangering many, including the domestic terrorists. And, now five people are dead, including a police officer. Make no mistake. The outgoing president lied to these people, invited them to Washington, revved them up and then “sicced” them onto the Capitol like attack dogs. It should be noted the Capitol included his supporters.

Giuliani is culpable as well. He has gone from being America’s Mayor after 9/11 to a punchline in a joke to criminal incitement. The fall has been both embarrassing as well as troubling. A lesson that is not heeded by more than a few, if you fly too close to the outgoing president, you will get burned.

To be frank, I think Giuliani should be arrested for his role. The outgoing president may be beyond arrest, but he needs to also be held accountable through removal or forced resignation.

Bar Association Launches Probe Into Disqualifying Rudy Giuliani After ‘Trial by Combat’ Speech (msn.com)

Irrational and unproven claims by Congressmen Gohmert and Brooks

The following is a letter to the editor I forwarded to my newspaper. Please feel free to edit and use.

As an independent and former GOP voter, I am puzzled and frustrated by the insistence of followers of the outgoing president, such as Congressmen Louie Gohmert and Mo Brooks, that the election was stolen. The fact the outgoing president has claimed fraud is not a surprise as it was predictable and staged for months. What he did not plan on was losing 59 out of 60 court cases, many ruled on by Republican judges, nor the push back from election officials, secretaries of state and governors (many of whom are Republican).

To me, the oath to the constitution takes precedence over a loyalty to a president. I believe these irrational and vastly unproven claims are detrimental to our democracy and betray the will of the voters. If these folks caught this bus, like the chasing canine, what are they going to do with it? Our democracy, in essence, would be over.

Even Rupert Murdoch has turned sour on the outgoing president

In an article by Keith Griffith of the Dailymail.com called “New York Post turns on Trump in scathing front-page editorial,” even Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper has soured on the outgoing president. Here are the first four paragraphs from the article:

“The New York Post’s editorial board, which has long supported President Donald Trump, has blasted his longshot attempts to overturn the election in a scathing editorial.

The Post, which endorsed Trump in 2016 and 2020, issued the blistering rebuke in a front-page editorial for Monday’s edition, calling his continued election fraud claims a ‘dark charade’.

The blaring front-page ‘wood,’ as it is known in tabloid parlance, pleaded for Trump to ‘stop the insanity’ and told him bluntly: ‘You lost the election.’ 

The editorial said Trump was ‘cheering for an undemocratic coup’ with his call for Republicans in Congress to prevent the certification of the Electoral College vote on January 6.

It should be noted this is the outgoing president’s favorite newspaper, of course, until now. A link to the article in the Daily Mail is below. It should be noted that huge Trump fan Fox celebrity Geraldo Rivera said yesterday that Trump was acting like “an entitled frat boy.”

The outgoing president has lost 59 out of 60 court cases, many presided over by Republican judges. And, now his campaign is facing a defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting systems, along with his attorneys and several media personalities who have been doing an on air backstroke to avoid litigation.

Maybe the funds Trump is collecting will be needed not to sue, but to defend Trump and his campaign in lawsuits. As he has learned, the other side can sue as well.

New York Post turns on Trump in scathing front-page editorial (msn.com)

May 2021 rid of us of the party guest who won’t leave

I would imagine many of us have had parties where a guest or guests do not pick up on the signs that it is time for them to go home. I feel this way about a certain guest in the this white building in Washington DC. It is time for him to go back home, whichever one he chooses to frequent.

He is not reading the signs very well. The guest and his friends have been told 59 times by judges that his claim to stay is inappropriate. In fact, the one judge that agreed with him, only gave him a partial victory changing the votes of a couple of hundred people.

The guest has asked several of the counters to count again and again. For some reason the counters keep coming up with the same story that it is time for the guest to leave.

The day after Christmas, the guest claimed everyone from the Supreme Court to the FBI to the Justice Department to Republican Senators are incompetent. I find this word choice amusing as conservative pundit David Brooks defined the guest’s administration as “equal parts chaos and incompetence.” Plus, losing 59 out of 60 court cases in not a measure of competence, or truthtelling..

I also find it it telling that the most corrupt and deceitful guest in said white building has been pardoning very corrupt people at a rampant rate. Apparently, corrupt behavior is an admiral quality. Republican Senator Ben Sasse referred to the guest’s pardoning process as “rotten to the core.”

It is time for this guest to leave. Like three day old fish, over welcome guests need to be thrown.out. This guest has grown quite smelly. He is not supposed to leave until next month, but I think he needs to start packing to acknowledge that he will. And, as Fox News supporter Geraldo Riviera said yesterday, the outgoing president is acting like an “entitled frat boy.”

“Focus on the problem, people”

After watching our elected officials, yet again, wait to the last minute to do something, I was not surprised things fell apart. That is one of the easiest predictions that could be made. I am certain they will regather and do something, but it will be a lesser result. I also learned the Biden transition team and Department of Defense are having a spitting contest over who said what about getting together on transition issues. Really, folks?

Quoting a classic line from Gene Kranz, the mission control director for NASA, who was played by Ed Harris in the movie “Apollo 13,” “focus on the problem, people.” Apollo 13 was a successful failure. The NASA team had to pull out all the stops to get their three astronauts home from an aborted mission due to an explosion when the reserve oxygen tanks were started.

Witnessing a state of mayhem when the news came down, Kranz quieted every one with these words. Focus on the problem, people. He added he wanted answers not blame. He insisted we are not going to lose these men on my watch. Work the problem. That was the recurring theme as challenge after challenge surfaced.

I think of this when groups of people begin yelling at each other rather than solving the problem at hand. The real problem, not some made up one used to get elected or postured because it sounded good or made them look smart. Organizations are infested with people who have ideas, even good ones, but don’t get up out of their chair to go do them. They fear backlash for saying or doing something stupid.

The movie had two segments that were said to have really happened. First, they needed to vent air from one exhaust hole that was round from the spacecraft to another that was square in the lunar module. It was a square peg in a round hole exercise. The team on the ground had to figure this out with the parts on board and communicate with the three on board.

Second, the spacecraft had to come back to earth without exceeding 22 amps (I think that was the number). So, the reserve astronaut, Ken Mattingly, was gotten out of bed to help them figure this out in the working model craft. Mattingly was shelved because they thought he had the measles. Things had to be switched on in the right order or the amps would be exceeded and the electronics would shut down. When handed a flashlight, he said only give me things they have on board.

Focus on the problem, people. I do not care whose fault it is. Work the problem. That is what you are paid to do and what we need you to do.

Note: Per Wikipedia, Eugene Francis “Gene” Kranz is an American aerospace engineer, a former fighter pilot, and a retired NASA Flight Director and manager. Kranz served as NASA’s second Chief Flight Director, directing missions of the Gemini and Apollo programs, including the first lunar landing mission, Apollo 11. He is best known for directing the successful efforts by the Mission Control team to save the crew of Apollo 13, and was later portrayed in the major motion picture of the same name by actor Ed Harris. He is also noted for his close-cut flattop hairstyle and the dapper “mission” vests of different styles and materials made by his wife, Marta Kranz, for his Flight Director missions.

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)