GOP and Trump – a letter to the editor

My newpaper ran an edited version of my letter to the editor today. Here it is for your review, edit and use, if you so choose.

“The former president is continuing his Big Lie that the election was stolen from him. It’s a claim he has been very unsuccessful in proving, losing all of his recounts, audits and reviews and winning only one court case out of 65 or so.

Some of his funders have asked for their money back feeling they were misled. Sadly, so were the folks who felt emboldened to storm the Capitol to overturn the election. More than a few will go to jail, rightfully so.

It is past time for Republican leaders to follow the political courage of folks like U.S. Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger and tell the former president to ‘man-up, you lost.’

The Republican Party needs to right this ship and stop listening to Trump and his sycophants.”

Why I left the Republican Party

I made the following comment on Jeff’s blog which asked the question why would someone vote Republican? I have made some edits for clarity.

When I left the GOP around 2008 to become an independent, I had three principal reasons:

-the stance on climate change
-the unhealthy embrace with evangelicals and NRA
-the greater propensity to make things up

Republicans would typically see the last one and say both sides lie and they are right. But, it is not a normal distribution, being more heavily weighted to the right. And, in the age of Trump it has only gotten worse. I can argue policy with Democrats, but with Republicans I have to correct their misinformation (and sometimes disinformation).

I said this about ten years ago, but most Republicans are voting against their economic interests and have no idea they are. Poverty is not restricted to urban areas nor is it restricted to non-white voters, with more people in poverty being white. As an example, if the ACA was done away with, Republican voters would be harmed in great numbers. A picture pairing two sets of GOP voters speaks volumes. Note the picture refers to a wealthy GOP donor thanking the less wealthy and educated GOP voter who has been lured in by a values proposition.

And, what I find funny is the GOP is making such a big deal out of election protections based on the Big Lie perpetuated by Trump and his sycophants. Looking back to the Voter ID and gerrymandering bills that got passed in state legislatures since 2010, the GOP cheats far more than the Democrats do, although they both are prone to game the system. I have witnessed this first-hand in North Carolina with laws that were deemed unconstitutional and then rewritten to a retreating line in the sand level of acceptable cheating.

Yet, the issues that concern me are not getting enough airplay, as the focus is on perceived value propositions. If people are concerned about climate change, please do not vote Republican. If people are concerned with civil rights, please do not vote Republican. If people are concerned with healthcare access, please do not vote Republican. If people are concerned about voting rights, please do not vote Republican. If people are concerned with the environment, please do not vote Republican.

My former party used to tout being the party of values, law and order and fiscal responsibility. They do not check any of these boxes anymore. Lying is not a value. Rationalizing an insurrection caused by a Republican president is not lawful. And, increasing the debt and deficit just as much as Democrats do is hypocritical. But, in short, when the truth tellers are vilified and the liars are aggrandized in the party, that shows the party is untethered to the truth.

Democrats are not perfect, but I do not see the same level of lying and malevolence as I do under the GOP. Until the party leaders are told the truth matters and held to account, this won’t change. We must make them rethink this. Some of my Democrat friends disagree with this statement, but we do need a viable Republican party. What we don’t need is whatever this thing masquerading as the Republican party is. Truth must matter.

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.

Letter to columnist George Will

George Will is one of the patriarchs of conservative leaning columnists. While I do not agree with much of what he says in terms of degree, he is worth reading (and listening to) to get an informed view of conservative thought. In his recent editorial where he speaks of Donald Trump running again, he notes Chris Christie will be there to compete against him.

Yet, one of the things I take issue with conservative columnists rehashing the Trump term as president is they shortchange the length and breadth of his poor decisions and leadership to contrast the few good things he did for conservatives. Here is my letter to Mr. Will.

“Thanks for your recent editorial. As an independent and former Republican, I must confess my concern when Trump’s presidency is boiled down to a few good things he did for conservatives vs. his terrible behavior. It overlooks a great deal of policy and execution failures in my view.

His mishandling of the pandemic is high up on the list, where he endangered many Americans, including his most ardent base and more died as a result.

His roll out of the first travel ban was so botched it had to be pulled in two days. It served as a metaphor for other failures of his “chaotic and incompetent White House” as conservative pundit David Brooks called it. There is a reason his White House had the most turnover.

His transactional focus on dealing with other countries spit in the face of relationships built over time. These  relationships make us safer and, per the Nash Equilibrium, make the global economy better, including ours. Plus, tariffs hurt the consumers and disrupt established supply chains.

Announcing the exit from the Paris Climate Change Accord came the day after Exxon Mobil shareholders voted to require management to inform them on actions to combat climate change. We must be at this table and I am delighted Biden got us back in.

These are just four examples. His enfant terrible behavior is only a small part of why he should not be president. Then, there are the seditious and deceitful actions which should not be overlooked. It bothers me greatly my old party is rationalizing and white washing his bogus election fraud claims and the January 6 insurrection.

His running again concerns me greatly, as he could win again. What my Republican friends need to realize, he should not be allowed to be in a position of power ever again. Bob Dole, Jack Kemp, Ronald Reagan, et al he is not.”

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.

Thursday Thimblefuls of Thoughts

It is supposed to be a rainy, cold day here. So, it is a good day to wander with my thoughts, since I cannot wander outside. Here a few thimblefuls of thoughts on this Thursday. Please be forewarned, these thoughts and $3.00 will get you a cup of regular coffee.

I sure hope Democrats will learn a lesson from the Virginia election results. They should have seen it coming, but continued to fail to act. The bickering by Democrats in the US Congress led to their still not passing the three month overdue infrastructure bill and a tandem piece of legislation that would actually help Americans. I pleaded with the Speaker and two other representatives to get something done. The Americans expected them to pass something, but they still have not. It is akin to a circular firing squad.

As for the Republicans, while their party is adrift, untethered to truthfulness and lawfulness, their choice not to participate in the governance process in Washington does not seem to hurt them. What concerns me is the members of the party do not seem to care that untruthfulness and unlawfulness are key tenets.

And, it is not just rationalizing the untruthful and seditious actions of the former president. Critical Race Theory has been invented as a name-calling hammer that most people don’t know what it is, but have been told it is bad. As a white suburban mother said, it just teaches kids the truthful history, that bad things have been done by those in power to disenfranchised people – always has. But, the conservative leaders and opinion hosts have been beating a drum about how dare people teach that white people did some bad things in our past. This white washing of history has been a planned effort to woo votes.

It saddens me how ill-informed Americans are on the whole about issues, history, economics, etc. I have written several times that we are “The United States of Entertainment.” Most people spend time focusing on sports and entertainment news. If we do read or watch news, we tend to get it from sources who are telling us what we want to see or hear. Or, worse we will get it from someone on social media, where false stories are routed six times more often than real news per a media analyst. This is why Facebook did not change their model, as they made more money letting falsehoods flow more quickly.

We have serious issues that are not being dealt with or discussed. And, some are at a burning platform stage, pun intended. Climate change is hurting us now, so we must act. This is no longer a future issue. More and intense wildfires, more sunny day flooding in coastal towns, more stalled weather patterns, more damaging hurricanes with higher sea levels are all predicted events (per Climate change scientists) that are happening with greater frequency.

Voting and civil rights are under attack in the US and in other paces. The fear of the other sells. Lies sell. The former president knows this which has been his modus operandi for decades. Voting and civil rights have been under attack for several years, but they have been heightened by the staged and planned Big Lie by the former president that he was cheated out of the election, which he still cannot prove. He lost because he got fewer votes, but is not adult enough to admit it. As his niece Mary said before the election, her uncle will “burn it all down to avoid losing the election.”

Then there is naysaying of COVID vaccines that continues to get promoted that keeps us from moving full steam ahead. And, that debt and deficit will not fix itself, especially when we have to spend to improve and fix our infrastructure. Finally, we must be more civil to one another. We can disagree without being disagreeable. Listen to understand not to respond.

What frustrates this independent and former member of both major parties, is what I said above is overtly obvious if people would just read or watch multiple news outlets. I have said many times, it is hard enough to govern with facts and the truth, but when we govern off lies, it is nigh impossible. We must get our legislators to focus on doing their jobs, not just keeping their jobs. When they don’t, we are the people who get hurt.

Republican attorney calls Trump a firefighter who is also an arsonist

In an article called “Top Republican Lawyer Says Trump ‘Setting a Fire’ With ‘Destructive’ Election Fraud Claims” by Jason Lemon in Newsweek, the claims of election fraud by the former president are compared to starting a fire. Here are the introductory paragraphs, with a link to the article below.

“A prominent Republican lawyer accused former President Donald Trump of ‘setting a fire’ with his false election fraud claims, describing the baseless allegations as “destructive” to democracy.

Attorney Ben Ginsburg is well-known for representing the GOP and various political campaigns of Republican candidates for decades. The lawyer served as national counsel for former President George W. Bush‘s 2000 and 2004 campaigns and was a central figure in the contentious 2000 election recount in Florida that inevitably put Bush in the White House.

However, Ginsburg has pushed back against Trump’s claims about the 2020 presidential election, issuing a dire assessment in remarks to The Guardian published on Saturday.

What we’ve seen has been different from anything in my experience, because Donald Trump has made an assertion about our elections being fraudulent and the results rigged,’ the Republican lawyer said. ‘I know from my 38 years of conducting election-day operations that that simply is not true, there is no evidence for it. What Donald Trump is saying is destructive to the democracy at its very foundations.’

Over the past many months, I have tried to share the concerns about the former president from the voices of several Republicans and former Republicans. One would think over time that the fact the former president is not very truthful or responsible would seep in to more folks. But, the greatest talent of the former president is to get his fans to ignore criticism of him. It has long been called fake news or the source just does not like him. For some reason, this sales schtick works.

It troubles me that 60% of Republicans believe the election was stolen from the former president. And, I read just today 30% of Republicans think violence is the answer. Really? Let me be candid. Our democracy is in jeopardy because a person with an enormous and shallow ego cannot tolerate the fact he lost. That is not leadership, that is a hissy fit. I knew he would lie and sue to win the election. I did not expect sycophants to out number the truth tellers in the Republican party as they do or that the former president would resort to inciting seditious actions.

Please pay attention to the fact the former president cannot prove in court that election fraud occurred losing well over sixty cases, winning one small case in PA. Please pay attention that he cannot overturn the results based on numerous audits and recounts. And, many of the judges and election officials are Republicans. The former president lost because he got fewer votes. It is that simple.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/top-republican-lawyer-says-trump-setting-a-fire-with-destructive-election-fraud-claims/ar-AAQ8seu?ocid=msedgntp

Dr. Fiona Hill cautions all on civil unrest fomented by the outgoing president (a needed repeat from this mid-January, 2021 post)

The following post was written about a week after the insurrection instigated by the former president to try and overturn the results of the 2020 election. Dr. Fiona Hill* spoke on PBS Newshour last night and offered that because the former president is so ego-maniacal, he is very susceptible to manipulation. She also said earlier this week, if Trump were to be reelected, our democracy would be over. The former president responded with his usual name calling defense, which is his way of discounting very credible critics like Hill.

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.