The sleaziest of campaigns – per Max Boot, respected journalist

An editorial piece today in The Washington Post by Max Boot is worth the read. It is entitled “Opinions | Trump may be running the sleaziest presidential campaign ever.” A link is below. Here are few select paragraphs, but please read the entire piece.

“I’m old enough to remember when the Republican Party was known as the “party of ideas.” That was in the 1980s. Since then it has become the party of pseudo-scandals…

Since then, the Republican Party, in cahoots with media partners such as Fox ‘News’ and Rush Limbaugh, has manufactured one pseudo-scandal after another: Vince Foster’s suicide, Whitewater, Mena airportJohn Kerry’s Swift Boat service, Barack Obama’s birth certificate, the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s emails, among others.

The process has been turbocharged under President Trump, who is even more ruthless and unscrupulous than (Newt) Gingrich. The former reality-TV star won the 2016 election by defaming a former secretary of state and first lady as “Crooked Hillary” and demanding that she be locked up for unspecified offenses. Now he is trying to run the same playbook on Joe Biden.

Trump got himself impeached by trying to blackmail Ukrainian officials into accusing Biden and his son Hunter of wrongdoing. That didn’t stop Trump’s attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, from working with shady Ukrainian contacts — including a lawmaker described as a Russian agent by Trump’s own Treasury Department — to produce dirt on Biden. Until recently, this had resulted in a few audiotapes of interest only to One America News Network. Our Democracy in Peril: A series on the damage Trump has caused — and the danger he would pose in a second term

Then Giuliani turned over to the New York Post the supposed contents of a laptop supposedly belonging to Hunter. The alleged emails have never been authenticated, and the New York Times revealed that the New York Post’s own journalists had so little faith in the story that the lead reporter refused to put his name on an article he had written. The Washington Post reported that Trump’s own national security adviser told him that ‘any information Giuliani brought back from Ukraine should be considered contaminated by Russia,’ and more than 50 former intelligence officers warned that the emails have ‘all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.'”

The party of “pseudo-scandals.” The “sleaziest” campaign. It should be noted Republican pollster Frank Lunz has noted these attacks on Hunter Biden are not the way to go. Lunz said Trump is so far behind Biden, people just do not care.

I care. Calling anything the president does as “sleazy” or “sleaziest” is not a bridge too far. The president has operated in this manner well before his presidency and that is without diving into his alleged sexual misconduct from over twenty women. Some may be surprised that Trump has operated in corrupt, deceitful and sleazy manner as president, but I am not. On occasion, he may go lower than I think he is capable of, but to say I am surprised is the wrong reaction.

We deserve a truthful, decent, empathetic and even-tempered president. I would use none of those attributes to define the incumbent And, that makes me sad.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/opinions-trump-may-be-running-the-sleaziest-presidential-campaign-ever/ar-BB1alX3r?ocid=msedgdhp

Vetting – why it is important

This is a word that is often used without people fully understanding what it means. It has several definitions, but the vetting I am referring to means the following:

“the process of investigating someone thoroughly, especially in order to ensure that they are suitable for a job requiring secrecy, loyalty, or trustworthiness.”

One of my major concerns throughout the incumbent president’s regime has been the Senate abdicating its oversight role over the White House on appointments or the lack thereof. I could also share my greater concern over removing Inspectors General or people who testified under oath, but that is something I have covered before.

The Senate is supposed to sign off on candidates nominated by the president for a number of high level positions. They also must go through additional background checks. One of the tactics the president has used to avoid scrutiny is to appoint temporary replacements that serve beyond a few months – this has been highlighted as a risk by those Inspectors Generals.

It has become even more important as the president has overseen a White House with the most turnover ever. It is in a constant state of flux. One of the reasons is the president values loyalty over competence. So, when someone does not genuflect enough or serve his needs, the person is removed. As Thomas Wells, a long time Trump attorney, wrote before the 2016 election, if you are on Trump’s good side, don’t get used to it.

Then, you have those who are just tired of working for a mercurial and untrustworthy man. From the 750 hours of interview Bob Woodward conducted for his book “Fear,” the president wants people to be scared of him. So, they walk on eggshells around him. Having been in business for over 34 years, that is a horrible business management model. You want good people who know their job and tell you what they think, regardless of how you react to it.

Yet, why I am raising this now is the president and his cronies are pulling out attacks on Hunter Biden using his father’s name to illegally garner favor. This story has been investigated and no wrongdoing has been found, but the latest efforts have been categorized by US Intelligence as Russian propaganda.

But, here is what puzzles me. Donald Trump’s daughter and son-in-law work in the White House with no official jobs. I do not know if they are paid. But, I do know they were not vetted by the Senate, yet are doing work a vetted person would be doing. In fact, Kushner was denied security clearance for six months for not being forthcoming about financial interests. Plus, the CIA said Kushner was a security risk as he was shopping around for someone to pay off a $1.2 billion loan balloon payment, which has now been paid.

This should be concerning. Plus, one of my beefs about the Ukraine extortion story last summer that led to Trump’s impeachment is why is Rudy Giuliani running a shadow diplomacy effort, at odds with the efforts of others, without being vetted by the Senate? This concerns me as Giuliani still is playing some kind of role in further of his earlier efforts. Since helping New York city respond to 9-11, Rudy has fallen precipitously to a cartoon character.

Even Trump does not care to vet people. He once told reporters its was their job to help him vet the candidate. No sir, it is your job to pick a vetted candidate. It makes you look bad and wastes America’s time when you pick an unworthy candidate. A good example is he picked his own doctor to run the VA, which has multiple businesses and hundreds of thousands employees. You need someone who can run a complex organization. The doctor withdrew his name.

Vetting is crucial. The Senate has dropped the ball big time, in my view. We are not an autocracy. These are some of the many reasons why I say the current incumbent is the most corrupt and deceitful president in my lifetime. Sadly, there are more reasons to say this.

Retired Republican Judge chooses country over party

The following are excerpts from an article written by retired North Carolina Judge Robert Orr, in response to an editorial by a regional conservative columnist who tends to rationalize the abhorrent behavior of the US president. His latest editorial concerned how never-Trump Republicans are being used by Democrats. The rebuttal editorial in Monday’s The Charlotte Observer by Judge Orr is called “Memo to J. Peder Zane: We ‘Never Trumpers’ have chosen country over party.” A link is below.

“Across the country Republicans, former Republicans who’ve left the party and conservative leaning voters have simply been sickened by the unethical, disgraceful and harmful conduct of Trump. As Trump now aggressively lies about voting by mail alternatives in the upcoming election, he refuses to acknowledge the fundamental concept of the peaceful transfer of power after an election. It’s overt threats to the underpinnings of our democratic system like that, that result in so many Republicans and former Republicans making the decision to support Joe Biden – not Trump.

Another delusional statement in Zane’s piece contends that Trump’s involvement with Russia and Russian interference in the 2016 election was a “hoax.” I suppose ‘Mr. Conservative’ Zane is one of those who doesn’t believe our intelligence agencies or the recent Senate Foreign Affairs Committee report with (Republican NC Senator) Richard Burr as chair calling out Trump world’s knee-deep involvement with Putin and his cronies.

The rhetorical question Zane ask of Martin and those of us who have worked building the Republican Party over the years is how we could allow ourselves to ‘be used’ by Democrats in opposing Trump? The legions of Republicans in North Carolina and around the country who have rejected the hate-filled Tweets, trampling of constitutional principles and gross incompetence of Donald Trump can give you more answers than space allows.”

I will say Zane is not incorrect that the words of these anti-Trump Republicans, like The Lincoln Project, Republicans for the Rule of Law, Republican Voters against Trump, former Republican intelligence officials against Trump, etc., are being used. They are being used to tell the pro-Trump folks it is not just Democrats and the media that supposedly “hate Trump” using the president and his sycophants’ own words.

As Judge Orr points out, these are big boys and girls and they have decided this president lacks empathy, decency, competency and ethics. They needed no help in coming to that on target conclusion.

https://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/article246173145.html

Letter to my Senator – regarding his support of the president’s corrupt and deceitful actions

Senator, I recognize you are desperate as your opponent is a very good candidate. But, this independent voter is embarrassed by your fawning over a president who I feel is the most corrupt and deceitful president in my lifetime, including Richard Nixon.

It is truly frightening and disgraceful to see the president of the United States go out of his way to throw doubt on the election process. It is further shameful that you have supported this effort. I left the GOP around twelve years ago. What it has become under this president and his sycophants is sad and scary. The GOP used to stand for something, yet it now stands for whatever this person in the White House says.

I recognize his base will lap up what you are doing, but neither of you are deserving of reelection in my mind. Sadly, you might win, as people truly do not pay attention. It goes without saying I will be voting for Joe Biden, who will at least try to unite us, and Cal Cunningham.

Take it to the bank – Trump will sue to prevent losing the election

In a Politico article by Anita Kumar called “Trump readies thousands of attorneys for election fight,” it documents what many fear the US president will do to avoid losing an election. The first four paragraphs tell you all you need to know, but the whole article can be linked to below.

“A year before President Donald Trump alarmed Americans with talk of disputing elections last week, his team started building a massive legal network to do just that.

Dozens of lawyers from three major law firms have been hired. Thousands of volunteer attorneys and poll watchers across the country have been recruited. Republicans are preparing pre-written legal pleadings that can be hurried to the courthouse the day after the election, as wrangling begins over close results and a crush of mail-in ballots. Attorneys from non-battleground states, including California, New York and Illinois, are being dispatched to more competitive areas and trained on local election laws.

A 20-person team of lawyers oversees the strategy, which is mainly focused on the election process in the 17 key states the Trump campaign is targeting, like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.

In total, it means the Republican Party will have thousands of people on hand to shape every element of voting — both on Election Day and in the days after.”

Let me be frank. Donald Trump has known for some time he is trailing in the election. When the Democrats nominated Joe Biden, that was his worst fear. He knows he is underwater on public satisfaction with his job, so he has to game the system. His modus operandi is to use whatever means necessary to win. And, do not be surprised by anything he does to try to win, because his fragile ego cannot handle criticism or losing.

So, Trump began an unheard of and unsupported effort to claim mail-in votes would be fraudulent, even though Republicans have disagreed with him on that point. Yet, I have noticed Republicans who are in tough campaigns are echoing some of the president’s rhetoric on this. That is shameful. My educated guess is he will get some of his base to make it look like fraud is occurring (or they may just do it on their own, as winning is everything).

So, if he is ahead election night with many uncounted mail-in votes, he will sue to stop or disrupt the count. Or maybe he will just drag it out to make it look like something fishy is going on. The impact on other elections is very secondary to his winning. The impact on our country’s democratic process is irrelevant. He has already shown that process does not matter.

If this sounds cynical, let me add that Donald Trump, per his biographers, was mentored by famous attorney Roy Cohn. Cohn was an advisor to Senator Joseph McCarthy, of the communist witch hunt fame, so we know truth is not a valued attribute of his. Cohn advised the young Trump of two major themes – never apologize and sue everyone. By the time of the 2016 election, Trump was measured as having over 4,000 lawsuits, which averages out to about 1 1/2 per week of his adult life. Litigious does not do justice to describing Trump’s modus operandi. He would sue big and little people and businesses to avoid paying them for services.

So, take it to the bank, Trump will sue to avoid losing. The Democrats need to be prepared for this, but there is one way to make the plan fail. Go to the polls en masse and vote this most corrupt and deceitful president in my lifetime out of office. Trump needs to be soundly defeated to make it not worth his while. People in all of the battleground states need to vote to oust him. And, we all need to make sure he goes away come January.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-has-spent-a-year-building-a-legal-network-to-fight-the-election/ar-BB19te2n?ocid=uxbndlbing

Note to Tucker Carlson

After reading another vignette from Fox opinion host Tucker Carlson, I posted the following brief note on his website. Recognizing this note will do nothing more than make me feel better, I felt it important to remind him that there are groups of Republicans who do not hold the president in very high regard and do not want him to be reelected.

I am an independent and former GOP voter. I applaud the efforts of Republican Voters against Trump, Republicans for the Rule of Law and The Lincoln Project. With 152,000 American deaths due to COVID-19, the president’s misinformation troubles me still. Plus, he has added fuel to the fire on racial injustice when we need a leader to galvanize Americans. General James Mattis was correct when he said this president does not even try to unite us. And, that is unfortunate and sad. Joe Biden is not perfect, but he will work to unite us, which is what we sorely need at this point. Those are my two cents as a former Republican.

While I did not send the attached post published by Jill regarding an op-ed by Stuart Stevens, yet another Republican who is against Trump’s reelection, I think it supplements the message to Mr. Carlson.

The Voice Of Reason — From A Republican

He approves this message

Although we try to mute most campaign commercials, some do sneak through. When the president comes on at the end of a highly dubious commercial saying “I’m Donald Trump and I approve this message,” it really does not have the impact he thinks it might.

Now, Trump fanatics will trust his word as the gospel truth. Most people, though, do not feel that way. They realize the president has a hard time with that truth thing. The Washington Post has tracked more than 20,000 lies uttered or tweeted by the president.

So, when the president says he approves of this message, it really does not add gravatas. It actually makes you look closer. One commercial the president approves says Joe Biden supports the defunding of police. Yet, this claim was refuted in real time during an interview between Chris Wallace and the president.

We have serious concerns in our country and we need people in leadership positions to tell us the truth. That usually is the opposite of whatever the president or his sycophants say.

Tell me why (an underused question)

The Beatles sang, “Tell me why…., you cry and why you lie to me.” Why? A question we do not ask enough, especially of those who need it asked again and again. I witness politicians, business leaders, experts and regular people like us say things as if they are fact, but the comments are merely opinion or conjecture. And, in the case of one person in particular, any comment is likely untrue.

So, here are a few why questions.

– Why does a person who claims things that run contrary to his narrative are a hoax, actually made money off hoax strategies? We have heard words like Climate change hoax, Russian hoax, Ukrainian hoax, Coronavirus hoax, etc. from this person, but he made a lot of money off selling his name to developers for projects he had nothing to do with. The name was supposed to bring in more customers under the perception of quality. That is a hoax perpetrated on the unsuspecting buyer.

– Why would the White House change how data is reported on COVID-19 cases and deaths circumventing the CDC reporting? If you control the data, you can control the narrative, maybe?

– Why are sycophants of the president going further with their CYA efforts at this point? Congresswoman Liz Cheney sided with Dr. Anthony Fauci and the usual suspects in the House want her to step down as a Republican leader as a result. They want Republican legislators to be all in for this candidate regardless of the veracity of his narrative.

– Why has the Vice President, a self-professed devoted Christian man and husband, decided his reputation can be thrown out the window as he lies for the his boss? I think it was in Bob Woodward’s book “Fear,” based on 750 hours of interviews that noted how disappointed Republican leaders are in Pence not corralling the president more. Of course, why did they not do it?

– Why are British folks surprised about the lack of interest in pursuing then (and now), purported Russian involvement in the Brexit vote? A weaker EU is a help to Russia. Of course, Putin had his fingerprints on this issue, just as he had a hand on the 2016 US presidential election. Putin is a KGB trained expert on disinformation – social media is nirvana to him – so his use of such to gain advantage is not a surprise.

– Why do leaders try to rewrite history, even when it occurred just a few months ago? Governors who opened up their economies too early are saying how could they have known the pandemic could get worse? The president says often he did not say things he is recorded saying. He said the coronavirus was a hoax at one of his pep rallies at the end of February, the night of the first official US COVID-19 death. Note to these folks – the uptick in COVID-19 is not a surprise. Don’t act like it is and try not to make the same mistakes.

– Why are people surprised when a famous person, like Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, et al, get COVID-19 after being in very public settings with no masks or social distancing? I read there has been an uptick in cases in Tulsa after a recent presidential pep rally. I do not wish COVID-19 on anyone, but these cases are not a surprise.

– Why would one of the president’s people let him be interviewed one-on-one with Fox News Chris Wallace, one the more studious and tenacious interviewers around? In real time, Wallace corrected the president on several untruthful statements such as regarding the lowest death rate in the world on COVID-19 (not even close) and Biden supporting defunding of the police (not true as per his policy statements). The president was heavily perspiring not just because it was hot. He was thinking why am I here? In short, someone thought it was a good idea to put a president who does not command many facts in an interview with someone who does.

That is all for now. What are some of your why questions?

When you hear the president claim hoax, dig deeper

Five biographers have noted long ago, the president has a problem with the truth. I often use the quote of Thomas Wells, an attorney that worked for Trump, who wrote in 2016, “Donald Trump lies every day, even about things of no consequence.” So, when Donald Trump claims something is hoax, dig deeper.

The Russian bounty story has now been called a hoax by the president, created by the media and Democrats. These words eerily track the words he uttered repeatedly about COVID-19 as late as February 28. Ironically, that was the night of the first official American death from COVID-19. This hoax has now killed over 127,000 Americans and the misinformation continues.

The Russian investigation was a called a hoax, but The Mueller Report, did not exonerate Trump noting he likely obstructed justice, had a campaign with too many unusual contacts with Russians and he was untruthful on more than a few occasions. And, this so-called hoax sent several folks to jail.

The Ukraine arm-twisting for personal gain was called a hoax, but we saw a parade of duty-bound and honorable public servants testify under oath at great risk over their concerns. These folks knew they would likely be fired by a well-known vindictive person. This led to his impeachment by the House. It should be noted former National Security Advisor John Bolton, in his book “The room where it happened,” corroborated the testimony of Dr. Fiona Hill, who was one of the more impactful testifiers.

The hoax term has been pulled out of the holster on several occasions on other mistakes or misstatements made by this president both here and abroad. Often, he adds a heavy dose of ridicule to those who dare ask him a tough question. Sadly, what his ardent followers fail to realize is the problem is the person crying “hoax.”

One of the dilemmas is the problem goes beyond the lying. Per two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Bob Woodward’s book “Fear,” which is based on 750 recorded interview hours, the president does not invest the time to read briefings. This is not new, as his short attention span matches his short fuse, also prevalent in this and other books about the Trump White House. He does not read and his staff is scared of his volatile temper. On the Russian bounty issue, he said he was not briefed, because he didn’t do his work.

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Trump is unfit for the role he is in, saying “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try.” A GOP legislator named Shawn Lemmonds (former local mayor and state house representative) who is helping organize an alternative Republican convention of anti-Trumpers said today in The Charlotte Observer, “he considers the ‘Trump cult’ the biggest threat to the country since World War II and the biggest threat to the party since Nixon.”

In essence, the US president has a job he is unsuited for and does not care to learn. If he would tweet less, he may have more time to read what we need him to know. As Former Secretary of Labor (and advisor to two Democrat and one Republican president), Robert Reich noted “Trump is a clear and present danger to America and the world.” Sadly, that is not is hoax.

Dear Republican Senator

As an independent and former Republican (and Democrat) voter, I try to read and watch several validated news sources. They are validated, as they try to get it right and print retractions when they don’t. I also try to use an independent lens to see politicians for their good and bad actions and stances, regardless of party. Am I biased? Of course, we all are. But, my greater bias is favoring the truthtellers as I do not cotton to being obviously lied to by our elected officials.

That is why your support of this reckless president is troubling. It troubles me that he is so cavalier with the truth, that maybe, he does not know when the truth stops and the marketing schtick begins. But, this is not news, as five biographers of the president have noted he has a problem with the truth. And, the Mueller report (which I read) validated several untruths made by the president and did not exonerate him of obstruction of justice.

But, you know this, because I would worry about you more if you did not. Yet, it bothers me to see Senators seemingly support tribal loyalty over our constitution. You can say that you do not do that, but I can read how seemingly rational people bend over backwards to defend the indefensible.

Instead of looking to say those who investigated this corrupt and deceitful president somehow did not do it pristinely, it would be better to pay attention to that parade of honorable diplomats who testified under oath and at great risk of their concerns over the president’s actions in Ukraine. Now, the Republican Senate can pretend that all that did not happen, but these folks knew the president is highly vindictive, but testified anyway. Some have lost their jobs and received death threats, yet they still did it,

Rather than focus on whitewashing history, I would prefer the Senate to spend time focusing on the issues of today. COVID-19 deaths in the US are now in excess of 115,000. That is 27% of the global death total, but we have only 5% of the global population. And, as we have opened up the country more, too many have been too rash with their actions and COVID-19 is on the rise again. Frankly, this is not a surprise. The summer heat dampens the spread, but too many folks in close proximity, especially indoors, does the opposite.

The other issue is the ongoing racial injustice that is being shown to our black citizens. This new Jim Crow era is seeing greater degrees of incarceration for blacks than for whites for the same crimes and blacks being treated differently and more aggressively by police. I recognize the police have a hard job, but they need to better police their own. Every group has bad apples and even good police make poor decisions in the face of fear. We must do better at this. It is well-past time.

The current president has not helped on these two issues and it concerns me. We missed six weeks of planning on COVID-19, where we could have taken some steps instead of calling it a hoax and naysaying it as late as February 28, ironically the date of the first US death (now we exceed 115,000 just over three months later). Instead of being the leader we needed, the president decided to follow his modus operandi of misinformation, which continues to this day. As for the racial injustice, while I applaud the bipartisan sentencing reform of many months ago, the president has not been one to ease the tensions of the whole nation. We need him to be president for all, not just his more strident base of voters.

So, I ask you to set aside doing the president’s bidding and serve the American people. I will be joining conservatives George Will, Colin Powell, Republican Voters Against Trump and The Lincoln Project and voting for former Vice President Joe Biden in the fall. Biden will endeavor to bring our country together and restore our global reputation which has fallen precipitously per the foreign press and leaders. I fully recognize Biden is not perfect, but he is a decent and empathetic person, which are two traits conservative David Brooks says the president lacks. Right now, very few trust the US as our president is untrustworthy. The obvious question is why would they?

That is what I think. It truly saddens me to have to say this about our president. Please join with me in making this the final term of this president. Our country so desperately needs you to help make that happen. I realize it may endanger your reelection (but it may help) but you frankly missed the chance to remove him when you could have and fully opened Pandora’s Box.