Stop trying to keep your job and start doing your job

Too many legislators and elected incumbents focus on trying to keep their job rather than doing their job. As a result, things do not get done, as every issue becomes a wedge issue rather than one that needs to be solved. I have grown long past weary on this lack of leadership and stewardship.

In my career, I have consulted on and actually been a part of several mergers between organizations, both for-profit and non-profit entities. Effective mergers require due diligence, planning and diplomacy. It should not surprise people, but the majority of mergers fail to be as accretive to the cumulative value of the two separate entities as first envisioned. Some actually are dilutive to that combined value – in other words, they fail.

One of the reasons is people involved tend to focus on keeping their jobs or getting good money to leave. They get overly protective of the way their organization does things, even if they do not know why they do it that way. They worry about keeping their job and less about doing their job. One of my favorite examples is two incumbents in a merger zealously vied for the same job verbally undercutting the efforts of the other. The boss decided to hire neither one of them as both showed their true colors.

Politicians in Washington and other capitols around the world and country tend to do this. They are failing to do their jobs and work together to solve problems. If the other side has an idea, its veracity is less important than the fact it must be defeated as the other side raised it. The fact that neither side owns all of the good ideas and both sides own some bad ones should make a difference.

These people in leadership positions are supposed to solve problems, not bark like a a junkyard dog at the other side. We citizens must insist they work together. Name callers need to be criticized and asked what they do not like about the other side’s ideas. If you do not like something, tell us what you propose and avoid barking at the other side? That serves little purpose and it certainly is not governance or rebuttal argument.

We must tell people in leadership positions to stop trying to keep your job and start doing your job. You owe it to us to do so. If you cannot do this, then resign – it matters not what party you belong to. You could start by stop spending 1/3 of your time or more fundraising and use that time to do the people’s work.

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.

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)

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

Former Republican Senator on Debate Commission chastises Trump for claiming unfairness

Per a MSN news summary of an op-ed in The Washington Post, “former Sen. John Danforth (R-Mo.), a member of the board of directors for the Commission on Presidential Debates, ripped President Trump for accusing the nonpartisan organization for being biased against him.

Danforth declared Trump’s ‘attack on the debate commission is an attack on the election itself‘ while warning the president that he was doing ‘incalculable‘ damage.

Danforth made his argument in a Washington Post op-ed Tuesday despite what he described as ‘a strict vow of silence regarding my personal feelings about the current presidential campaign.

His op-ed focused on Trump’s criticisms of the debate moderators. Thursday’s debate is set to be moderated by NBC’s Kristen Welker, and the first debate was moderated by Fox News’s Chris Wallace.”

Note, the accusations of unfair treatment is a long time tactic of Donald Trump predating his run for presidency. It is part of the narcissist’s playbook called projection, where the narcissist will accuse others of what he or she is doing as a defense mechanism.

Why do I say that? Trump has been cheating for many months, actually years, about the 2020 election. He has purposefully discredited the US intelligence findings that Russia helped him win in 2016. It should be noted that just two months ago, the Republican led Senate Intelligence Committee published their report saying there was routine contact between Paul Manafort, the campaign manager for 4 1/2 months, and a Russian official.

This year, we have seen the president appoint someone to lead the US Postal Service who has weakened their efforts (until they were ceased), who has gone out of his way to riducule the mail-in voting process that even Republicans say works well and suggest his more ardent base go watch the polls.

I thought I would never see a president of United States do the opposite of what a leader would do which is protect the voting process. By itself, this is a metaphor into the fragile ego and deceitful nature of this person.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/ex-gop-senator-on-debate-commission-blasts-trump-s-bias-accusations-warns-of-incalculable-damage/ar-BB1afVwg?ocid=msedgdhp

Threat to our own country – short letter to the editor

I sent this in to my local paper. If you like this, please feel free to adapt and use. Fingers crossed on whether they print it.

As an Independent and former GOP voter, the untruthful and bullying bents of the president are bothersome. His mishandling of COVID-19 which continues has harmed Americans. But, seeing a US president make several efforts to derail confidence in the voting process and endorse white supremacists are beyond the pale. The FBI arrested thirteen people plotting to kidnap the Michigan governor and these groups are emboldened by this president’s lack of criticism and tongue-in-cheek support. I truly never thought I would see a US president be a threat to our own country. Taking this president at his word is not only a fool’s errand, it is dangerous.

PS – Different subject, which I covered recently. This morning’s opening remarks by Senator Lindsey Graham to discredit the ACA made me ill they were so misleading. In short, he said the ACA is not working for South Carolinians as more money goes to three states. He did not say SC did NOT expand Medicaid, so that money goes elsewhere. And, he did NOT say, that more premiums subsidies go to three states as they have larger populations and, of course, get more subsidies. They also pay more taxes. This is an example of misleading people and why folks like Graham and Trump need to be voted out.

Here is a link to piece I wrote two weeks ago.

https://musingsofanoldfart.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/just-a-quick-refresher-on-the-aca-animosity-in-the-republican-party/

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

The pandemic risk is exponential, not arithmetic

I read today in The Charlotte Observer the president called the North Carolina governor asking for full opening of the Republican National Convention (RNC) with no social distancing or masks required. Think about this. He has the nomination. He just needs the delegates to vote on it. Yet, he is advocating the gathering of Republicans which heighten the risk by people who believe him when he says these protocols are not needed.

Pandemics work exponentially, not arithmetically. Let’s just say 0.5% of the people at the RNC get infected. That is 250 people who expose people serving food, ushering, securing, guiding them around Charlotte. That is 250 people who take the risk back to their communities to expose their families, friends and communities. On February 28, a night the president still called the Coronavirus a hoax, we had the first recorded American death due to COVID-19. We now are passed 105,000 on May 31, three months later. The question to ask is it worth 250 people infected in late August, that will cause a much large number of deaths come the day of the election?

I want Trump supporters to realize the risk the president is placing on the Republican party and others just so he can hear applause at the RNC. Yet, many citizens are smarter than this president and other politicians. While masks being worn by Democrats and Independents exceed 80%, 58% of Republicans are wearing masks, which means more are than are not. So, if this convention occurs without limits, will they come? If they do have the RNC, just maybe only the delegates and a few supporters actually show up; that would help the exposure immensely, but not rid ourselves of it.

Let me update a few ratios in closing. As of today, the US has 5% of the global population and 28% of the COVID-19 deaths. Thinking we solved this problem is a huge mistake in overconfidence and is yet more evidence of misinformation to gloss over the problem. Those US deaths tally 105,000 and counting as of May 31. Remember, we just crossed 100,000 last week. The summer weather will help, but we must keep our social distancing, keep good hand washing hygiene, wear masks in stores, in spite of what some influencers may tell you. It is only your and your family’s health we are talking about.

Half a dozen heroes to think about

My wife and I watched the movie “Harriet” on Friday about the American hero Harriet Tubman. She helped over 300 slaves find their way to freedom. Her courage, tenacity, faith and smarts are highly commendable. The movie is excellent and quite moving.

It got me thiking about a few other heroes. Let me mention three more historical heroes who need more notoriety, before I close with two current ones who deserve the shout out.

I have written before about Alan Turing, the father of modern day computing. He led a team that cracked the Nazi Enigma code used in secret transmissions. Allied Commander General Dwight Eisenhower said Turing and his team helped shorten the war by two years and save 750,000 lives. Sadly, Turing had to hide the fact he was gay and was later imprisoned after his sexual preferences were discovered. What if they had discovered he was gay in 1940 rather than 1950? Would those 750,000 people have died?

Two men who should get more acclaim are Elliott Richardson and William Ruckelshaus. What did they do? In October, 1973, they refused in succession to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox at the direction of President Richard Nixon and were themselves fired. This was the beginning of the end of the Nixon presidency. Nixon called the Watergate investigation a “witch hunt” and said repeatedly “I am not a crook.” He was wrong on both counts. It wasn’t and he was.

A current hero is only sixteen years old, Greta Thunberg, the climate change activist from Sweden. She has inspired tens of millions kids, teens and adults in urging the need for more climate change action. I find her candor and can-do attitude refreshing. She has gotten the attention of legislators, but they need to act. We are behind where we need to be.

The other current hero is former US ambassador to Ukraine, Maria Yovanovitch. She was the first to testify to the House impeachment committees. Her political courage and respect for the US constitution is enviable. Her testimony led others to also brave testimony, especially in light of a vindictive president who they reiterated abused his powers. I cannot emphasize their courage enough, as more than a few Republican legislators feel the same but are not as courageous and fear the wrath of the president and his base.

Going against the grain in the face of adversity should be valued. Tubman freed herself and traversed over one hundred miles alone. Then she went back at great personal risk and freed more people. I applaud her and these other five people. We all should.

Support the impeachment process

The following is a variation of a letter I forwarded to my US legislators. Please feel free to adapt and use.
**************

Seeing the parade of diplomats and senior staff members testifying under oath regarding their consistent concerns over the president’s abuse of power is telling. They are exhibiting political courage with the knowledge they are up against a vindictive person. We should applaud their heroism and heed their concerns.

As an independent and former Republican voter, I strongly support formalizing the impeachment process. We must get to the bottom of this. Having read the Mueller Report, the president’s credibility is poor.