Ron Johnson Pulls A Lyndon Johnson And Tells The Truth, Both Men Recorded

The front page of the Wisconsin State Journal on Wednesday, September 1st, was not only an account of the latest news to be reported. Above the fold on the front page was also a reminder as to why duplicity is never a good quality to be found in our elected officials.

Reporter Riley Vetterkind wrote that Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson recently said: “there’s nothing obviously skewed about the results” of the 2020 presidential election in the Badger State.

The weight of that remark from Johnson made to Lauren Windsor, who posed as a conservative when speaking to the Senator is most important. She recorded the conversation as executive producer of the liberal political web show The Undercurrent, and also runs Project Veritas Exposed, an effort to unveil the work of Project Veritas, a conservative organization that has secretly recorded Democrats and liberals.

Within hours after the close of presidential balloting across our nation in November 2020, a concerted effort started so to create a climate where a final and decisive outcome, within the minds of some voters, was not possible. There has never been such an unseemly display before in our country where the continuous peaceful handing off of presidential power was attempted to be thwarted.

The all-out attempt to delude and utterly confuse a sizable segment of Donald Trump’s conservative base into believing that chicanery and out-right illegal actions had prevented Trump from prevailing remains the darkest hours of his term. Those actions still pose a danger to the country.

To undermine a legally and unambiguous victory to the winner of the 2020 election remains a dangerous dagger to the heart of our democracy. Overtly adding doubt and fomenting chaos when an election is over erodes the faith in elections that must be retained by the citizenry.

Yet that is precisely what Ron Johnson did.

Johnson has elevated theories that have cast doubt on the election’s results.

In December, after Trump’s campaign had lost its Wisconsin election lawsuits in both state and federal courts, Johnson held a hearing where he invited one of the president’s lawyers, Jim Troupis, to testify. Troupis proceeded to assert the same theories that had been rejected in multiple courts.

Troupis testified that “more than 200,000” Wisconsin residents did not vote legally in Wisconsin, a number that included more than 170,000 residents who voted early at their local clerk’s office using a form that had been in place for more than a decade. Troupis himself was among those voters.

The duplicity can be then proved in Johnson’s recorded comments to Windsor.

“There’s nothing obviously skewed about the results,” Johnson told the woman. “There isn’t. Collectively, Republicans got 1.661 million votes, 51,000 votes more than Trump got. Trump lost by 20,000. If Trump got all the Republicans, if all the Republicans voted for Trump the way they voted for the Assembly candidates … he would have won. He didn’t get 51,000 votes that other Republicans got. And that’s why he lost.”

When I read the newspaper article I thought of another Johnson who talked publicly to the nation with one set of words, and then privately, also in a recording, had a much different view on the topic of the day.

President Lyndon Johnson was determined not to lose Vietnam on his watch to the communists. He made it clear to the nation he was going to be committed to victory. But in private Johnson was honest and knew he playing a losing game with the lives of the Marines he was then sending to South East Asia.

On Feb. 26, 1965, when Johnson orders his secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, to launch Operation Rolling Thunder, which will drop more bombs on the North Vietnamese than on all of Europe in World War II, he is melancholy. “Now we’re off to bombing these people,” he says. “We’re over that hurdle. I don’t think anything is going to be as bad as losing, and I don’t see any way of winning.”

A week later, when he decides to send Marine battalions to Vietnam, Johnson gloomily tells Senate Armed Services chairman Richard Russell, “The great trouble I’m under [is that] a man can fight if he can see daylight down the road somewhere. But there ain’t no daylight in Vietnam. There’s not a bit.”

I realize we ask a lot of any elected official. We want them to respond with helpful advice concerning constituent problems, support our views on the complex issues of the day, and arrive on time for the summer parades in our communities. We know that these men and women are human, and make mistakes.

But there is no way to rationalize away or pretend otherwise when it comes to the unconscionable way Johnson has played so loose and fast with one of the essential threads of the fabric which binds our democracy together. Being forthright and honest is a virtue that we try to impart to our children. It is certainly one that we must demand when it comes to a United States Senator.

History shows what happens when duplicity replaces honesty and candor.

And so it goes.

Nixon Was A Piker Compared To Trump, Our Grandparents Would Agree

As we head to the August anniversary of the resignation of President Richard Nixon comes a news story this morning showing how much more criminal and outlandish were the actions of Donald Trump following his 2020 election loss. While the 37th president had his own list of unconstitutional behavior, nothing compares to what we read about today about the 45th person to reside in the White House.

Trump pressed top Justice Department officials late last year to declare that the election was corrupt even though they had found no instances of widespread fraud, so that he and his allies in Congress could use the assertion to try to overturn the results, according to new documents provided to lawmakers and obtained by The New York Times.

The exchange unfolded during a phone call on Dec. 27 in which Mr. Trump pressed the acting attorney general at the time, Jeffrey A. Rosen, and his deputy, Richard P. Donoghue, on voter fraud claims that the department had disproved. Mr. Donoghue warned that the department had no power to change the outcome of the election. Mr. Trump replied that he did not expect that, according to notes Mr. Donoghue took memorializing the conversation.

“Just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me” and to congressional allies, Mr. Donoghue wrote in summarizing Mr. Trump’s response.

It goes without saying that that the least we should expect, and demand from any person who is elected president is that the leader has a basic regard for democracy. While there are sure to be policy differences with a wide segment of the nation the citizenry should never need to fear that a would-be dictator has taken over the White House.

I recall when watching the television news at times with my Grandma there would be comments made that Grandpa did not care for Nixon. I think about Herman and wonder, with all that he heard about Watergate, what he would have to say about what Trump has done to our politics. His world of Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and Lyndon Johnson would then find a very hard time squaring with the attempt made by Trump to steal a national election.

Why I place this current story into the context of sitting in the living room and watching the news on a larger console set is that my grandparents–and yours too–were not tempered with what I term normalization fatigue. What we have witnessed over the past five years has in some respects deadened our senses and reactions to the complete outrageousness of Trump’s action. In essence, today’s news of an attempted stolen election by the loser of the national balloting is not overly surprising.

The outrage and sincere anger from past generations will be greeted today with ‘that sounds like Trump’ and we move to the next story. The national news tonight will no doubt lead with COVID, wildfires, and Olympic coverage.

What is happening to our democracy, and the willingness to marginalize it among a troubling segment of the nation, are the type of events that our grandparents would have been not only watching, but demanding a resolution so as to never, ever happen again. They may not speak in the way I write, of Trump’s seditious attempts to cancel democracy, but they would know it in their bodies and minds.

Too many today have no regard for the foundations of our democracy, were never adequately taught in school about civics and so today will pick up their handheld device and think the latest news about the Green Bay Packers is what matters.

Grandpa knew better.

Voting Restrictions Are Republican Revenge For Losing White House, Senate Elections

We knew it would come to this. There was no doubt the deep-seated voting conspiracy theories within the Republican Party following the 2020 November election would morph into needless and absurd attempts to curtail the will of the electorate. What the party could not do at the ballot box with their candidates they will try to achieve by manipulating the process of voting going forward.

What needs to be stated at the front end of this post is obvious. Many of the proposed changes by Republicans to how a person can cast a ballot–in those states where far-right elected officials hold sway–are doing so with the full array of data to solidly prove their allegations of fraud are bogus. There is no evidence the GOP can produce to support their partisan and purely deluded allegations. On the flip side, however, there are audits upon more audits to prove fair and process-driven state elections were conducted in the nation.

What galls so many Americans is the refusal of Republicans to agree that in our democracy it means every eligible person has the right to cast a ballot and to do so without being placed in a position where multi-hour lines need to be traversed to do so, or voting in conditions where the health of the citizen is placed in jeopardy. We live in 2021 and with history and common sense as a guide means the GOP should be able to discern the altered needs of voters. This past year many of us actually followed the science and advice from medical professionals and cast ballots from our home. We should not be penalized for being smart and safe.

I am continually amazed at the lengths to which Republicans will go to thwart the political process and game the system so they win elections, not by the strength of their issues, but by the cunning game they play before elections. If not aggressive gerrymandering that has contorted lines for districts that stain credibility they are hatching plans for voting laws that disproportionately affect Black and Latino voters in negative ways.

Oh, Republicans do love their games. After allowing their party to be hijacked and played by Donald Trump they are now so empty of policy ideas with which to broaden their base they instead are going for the dank, dark basement. As such, they are weaponizing Trump’s insane fabrications from last November to justify their actions from coast to coast. Forget about fostering policy ideas akin to how former congressman Jack Kemp once labored! Let’s just make it harder for ‘those people’ to vote.

No one on my side of this issue wants anyone other than eligible citizens to cast a ballot. But that does not mean delivering sealed ballots of people who cannot, or in a pandemic do not want to go to a polling place (that includes my husband and me) changes the validity of my ballot choice. I am truly angered by the notion being promoted by Republicans that a level playing field during elections is a competitive disadvantage for the ones who run weak candidates.

And so it goes.

Magnitude Of Moment Demands We Learn Lessons With Second Trump Impeachment Trial

We are living in a national moment that hundreds of years from now people will study and reflect on regarding how we did our jobs as citizens and caretakers of our democratic republic. We are engaged with only the fourth presidential impeachment trial in history, and the first time a president was impeached twice and sent to trial in the senate. I am not expecting a conviction verdict in the Republican-controlled Senate, but that does not mean the rest of the nation can not learn the lessons that present themselves. On that score, it is vital that our nation pay attention in the days to come and grasp the fragile nature of our democracy when determined ones wish to undermine and destroy it.

I do not subscribe to the view this impeachment trial would impede the work of the nation when it comes to a COVID-relief package or starting the work on immigration policy. Rather, I argue the trial is also the work of our time, and in fact, a priority. When a president seeks to undermine the legitimacy of the election process, the outcome of the counted ballots and urges and foments insurrection there absolutely needs to be a national response.

I realize that for a long time our society views most things in 30-minute segments, akin to a sitcom where all the loose ends are wrapped up by the bottom of the hour. The attention span of people dwindles but the gravity of the issues that present themselves do not. I am aware that most Americans have decided on Trump’s guilt as polling data continues to show a majority saying Trump should be convicted and barred from holding office again. But there is still more of the nation that needs to be brought into the light and educated about the attempted coup on our national capitol, as well as the weeks leading up to that awful day when death and mayhem were unleashed by Trump supporters.

The fact that impeachment is not an ordinary event underscores the gravity of the matter and why we should pay heed. For such an event to occur means a president behaved so recklessly, dangerously, and in Trump’s case, we can also rightly argue outrageously, that the trial now underway not only has merit, but also powerful evidence for a finding of conviction. (Forget for the moment that Trump failed to learn anything from his first impeachment.)

Any reading of our history will demonstrate the high degree of scandal during the presidencies of Ulysses Grant and Warren Harding. But there is nothing in the past that mirrors that total lack of regard for the Constitution or political institutions such as what we witnessed from Donald Trump. Without doubt, the most historically corrupt period in our history.

While many Republican senators and, sadly, a sizable swath of that party’s base ignore the substance of the charge being pressed—a president citing insurrection–the rest of the citizenry must watch, listen, and find a national bond and commitment to work at strengthening the foundation of our democracy.

Trump’s lawyers will treat the nation as if we all are of the mental aptitude of the ones who voted so rashly in 2016. They will try to spin their limp legal theory that every time Trump lied about the election results and recklessly urged his followers to “fight like hell” that was nothing more than a president exercising his free speech rights under the First Amendment. Well, from the desk of this blogger I can assure my readers that inciting lawlessness and violence is not protected speech.

The madness that was unleashed on the 6th must not be viewed as just another episode in our political narrative. It was not! We have seen in the 21st century how a lie repeated again and again had dire consequences. Telling Americans that Iraq had a role in 9/11 was more than a lie, it then turned into an international calamity when we invaded and toppled their government. Similarly, the lies Trump told and pressed over and over resulted in his base going bat-crap crazy.

As too many in our nation watch one sitcom end, and another begin, so too does their ability to look at the bizarre and totally unacceptable capitol riot but shake it off as another headline replaces it. Except that in the real world the grave consequences of not meeting this moment in time with justice and firmness will only allow for a degree of tolerance so to allow it to happen again.

In our national story there has never been a more clear and vivid example as to the utter betrayal by a president to the oath of office. Never before has the very foundation of our nation been so at peril. Republicans may take a knee to their cult god, but the rest of the nation needs to hear every word of the trial and feel every slam that our nation absorbed during the coup attempt, and then vow to meet this moment in time with a deeper resolve to stand up for our national values and common ideals.

And so it goes.

Friday Night Smile: Lou ‘Haircolorist’ Dobbs Jettisoned As Lawsuit Strikes Fox ‘News’

It was the warm ray of sunshine that landed at the end of a terribly cold day.

Fox News Media sent out a notice that Lou Dobbs will no longer be fomenting nonsense on their network. Fret not my readers, as there are still many others on Fox that bury facts and conjure up conspiracy theories, so the easily swayed in the nation still have some programming just for them. But as for Dobbs, who has had more hair coloring over the years than any other guy on national television, he has been benched.

The reason for his release is, of course, though FOX is loathe to openly state it, due to a billion-dollar lawsuit over false claims about the integrity of the 2020 election. And front and center to the conspiracy programing is hair-tinted Dobbs.

That little ole $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit has forced one of the slimiest agitators off the network. Who can forget this piece of human trash promoting the lies that President Obama was not born an American citizen? Or rejected the scientific consensus on climate change. Or found problems with Black men, brown-skinned workers, and Muslims.

Dobbs was not just your ordinary pusher of false information…he was the business network’s highest-rated host. Smartmatic, a voting software company that was the subject of several false claims made on Fox News and Fox Business now has the network by the teeth;, akin to a nature program where a lion has the gazelle by the throat, while shaking and ripping into the tender regions of the network. The lawsuit named Mr. Haircolorist Dobbs as an individual defendant, along with two other Fox anchors, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro.

Trust me when saying there will be wine cork popping at our home when Pirro finds the door hitting her on the way out, too. When it comes to dreadful, she is the epitome of the word. But when it comes to Fox there are just so many who fit the definition. Where does one start?

For now, all we can say to Dobbs is what we have wanted to say for many, many years.

Wisconsin Republicans Must Fight For (d)emocratic Institutions

The headlines over the weekend in Wisconsin were focused on football. As such, many residents likely did not read, or hear about the news story which appeared above the fold in the Wisconsin State Journal. When reporters followed up on the claim made by some elected Republicans that there were “thousands of complaints” of election fraud in our state something else was discovered.

The majority of them, however, were mass-generated form letters making nonspecific claims about alleged irregularities, a right-wing fraud-finding effort and a clip from Fox’s Sean Hannity show. Others implored Republican lawmakers to overturn an election they were convinced was rigged, even though local, state and national officials have confirmed its integrity.

Electoral fiction, and dangerously so, was fomented and stirred to alarming degrees in our state, and country. This threat was one the Founding Fathers had concerns about as they had read Aristotle and were aware of the danger a demagogue could pose to a nation. What our founders could not have foreseen, however, was the degree to which a legislative branch would slip in furthering that demagogue’s lie.

It was truly sad that some members of the majority party in the statehouse were talking about the numbers of their constituents who were demanding to have an investigation into voter fraud, and also thinking they needed to call for accountability and integrity to be returned to counting ballots. The fact is those constituents would not have been demanding anything had Donald Trump and the party faithful not spun the big lie that the election was stolen. That logical reasoning, however, never garners an adequate response from the pot stirrers.

For instance, I have wondered how the election for the top office was supposedly so fraudulently gained in our state but the wins by the Republican members of the state legislature were so properly balloted and counted? The total disregard for common sense by some in the legislature, and more importantly the lack of their civic-mindedness, has left our political institutions undermined.

I know it sounds overly naive to ask the mature and well-meaning members of the Republican Party to assert themselves and speak for statewide and national purposes. But we all have to make that our call, and trust party elders will respond. There can be no squishy words or rhetoric that resembles swiss-cheese. There must be forthright statements from grounded party members that the election was not stolen, and nefarious efforts were not used in securing the election of President Biden. There must be strong words about the durability and fairness of our election systems.

Though the transition to a new White House administration is over, the threats to democracy from the lies about the election outcome remain powerfully strong. It is the duty of the party that created the damage to aid in repairing our institutional foundations. That is not a partisan jab, as I know right here in Madison there are conservatives who would disagree with me on policy galore, but who agree that the larger national need to our nation is paramount.

Pushing the groundless allegations, and regurgitating them day upon day in the echo chamber of talk radio and Fox News has created a mass audience that believes it is time to already create primaries for the GOP congressional elections, which are nearly two years away. With ample evidence that demonstrates the harm that has been created following Election Day 2020, is it not time for the Republican leaders in our state to stand up and call for a commitment to facts about what happened? If we can not have truth stated loudly and without any hesitation about the recent election what does that say about our democratic institutions going forward?

This is the time for leadership.

Democracy Prevails: Powerful Front Pages Of Newspapers Of Joe Biden, Kamala Harris Inauguration

With a search nationwide of the front-pages of the morning newspapers, I have selected a wide swath, each with its own tone and emphasis which provides the first historical account of the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris. There is no missing the point of turning a page ( no pun intended) from the past four years of crude and nasty to historic and democratic….and also Democratic! Enjoy this slice of Inauguration Day from our nation’s newspapers!

GOP Senator Concedes Racism In Trump’s Election Fraud Hoax, Place From Which To Grow

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

When someone steps up and owns a share of a self-generated problem of the day they need to be favorably mentioned. That is what Republican Oklahoma Senator James Lankford is receiving today after he openly apologized to Black Tulsans for his involvement in falling for Donald Trump’s delusional questioning of the election results. Lankford stated that he knows his actions offended black voters in his state.

The senator acknowledged that his actions “caused a firestorm of suspicion among many of my friends, particularly in Black communities around the state. I was completely blindsided, but I also found a blind spot.”

It would only be natural for a wide swath of my readers to say that his comments are among the phoniest and self-serving lines from a politician who had to be fully aware of the hoax he was perpetuating and the damage he was causing to not only his voters but the nation as a whole. After all, one could argue his voice and actions concerning election results in key battleground states–of which Wisconsin was one–and where large African American populations resided could not have been so hard for him to see and understand. Lankford, after all, was not born this past year.

But I have a different perspective based on his forthright move and attempt to own his deeds, while asking for Black voters to give him another chance. Part of my reasoning is that I have often called out the Republican Party to made a better stand on the issues of importance to Black Americans. So when there is clear evidence that a GOP senator is making that move I feel a need to see it as a positive development. At this point in our national affairs we need to reach out for any hopeful signs.

There is no doubt Black voters have every reason to be angry given that Trump kept spouting that their voices mattered but when he lost the election he turned around and threw those same voters under the bus for his autocratic desires. The Republicans aggressively targeted ballots cast in heavily Black cities such as Philadelphia, Detroit, Atlanta and Milwaukee while arguing that these Democratic strongholds were rife with fraudulent ballots. Lankford played his cards in like fashion with others in his party.

So it was the moral thing for the Oklahoma Senator to come out and admit a racial “blind spot” in how he conducted himself. Black voters in his state should take the next step and accept his words and then start the long-overdue dialogue that is key to bridging the differences and misconceptions that result in a too heavily divided nation.

Black voters know, and history shows how narrow is the degree between “illegal votes” being the buzzwords now and how “illegal voters” were the sad fact in our land only 50 years ago. That is why the acknowledgment from Lankford matters, and for the sake of our nation should be accepted as a place from which to build upon within his state.

Who knows, it may even aid in a national conversation the GOP must have with Black Americans.