The next presidential election is in just under 20 months, but you’d think it was next week if you looked at the news! 90% of the front page stories have the ‘T-word’ or the ‘DeS-word’ and an alien just dropping in from another universe would be forgiven for thinking the United States is a looney bin! I tried to avoid every story that was, indirectly or directly, about the election and the two top Republican contenders, which left me only with news of China’s President Xi’s visit to Russia for a photo op. Okay, so let’s just have a few of the political cartoons I’ve been collecting for this afternoon, as I really don’t feel up to digging any deeper to try to find some actual news.
Tag Archives: George Santos
Sunday Morning Political Humour
I thought a good way to start out this Sunday morning would be with a few of the week’s most spot-on political cartoons, followed by a humorous monologue by one of my favourites, Seth Meyers. I’ll get back to you later with the serious stuff, but for now, have a few chuckles with your morning coffee or tea …
A few nights ago I stumbled across this video of one of my favourite comedians, Seth Meyers …
“Verdant canopy of lies” – resume inflation is growing
Lies, lies, and still more lies. There is a very real danger in the recent spate of lies by our elected officials, the very people to whom we entrust our lives. When we become inured to all the lies, when we come to EXPECT politicians to lie about anything and everything including who or what they are, then we no longer vote based on qualifications, but rather on personality. That, my friends, is dangerous, as we saw so clearly in the 2016 election. Keith’s post today highlights a few of the many lies that have been told by politicos recently and addresses the issue of trust. Thank you, Keith, for this timely post.
Jack Shafer of Politico wrote the following opinion piece earlier this week that should concern each of us called “Opinion | The George Santos Caucus Is Growing – Resume inflation on Capitol Hill is getting out of hand.” Here is the first few paragraphs, with a link to the article below.
“The verdant canopy of lies tended by Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) requires no summary here. They’re so thick and leafy that they now block the sun from the forest floor. But he’s not the only freshman member who struggles when self-reporting. According to a recent Washington Post investigation, Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) can’t keep her ethnicity straight, claims to have grown up destitute and neglected when she didn’t, and appears to have incorrectly portrayed herself as the victim of a home invasion. (Luna has contested the Post story and won one correction and a clarification.) Meanwhile, Rep. Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.) has…
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A Loss Of Decency?
Ask yourself this: Has society become more cruel, less compassionate? Has decency been forgotten, shame a thing of the past? Robert Reich gives us just a few recent examples of how public perception has changed over the past decade or so …
The death of shame
What do Marjorie Taylor Greene, George Santos, Jared Kushner, Elon Musk, and Donald Trump have in common?
14 February 2023
At President Biden’s State of the Union address last week, Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene repeatedly yelled “Liar!,” Tennessee Republican Rep. Andy Ogles shouted, “It’s your fault!,” and another Republican yelled “Bullshit!”
Fourteen years ago, Republican Rep. Joe Wilson was formally rebuked by the whole House after shouting “you lie” at Obama.
Yet now, anything goes.
Meanwhile, Rep. George Santos remains in Congress despite mounting revelations of outright lies, fabrications, and shady deals that years ago would have sent a member of Congress packing.
We’ve also just learned about Jared Kushner’s quid pro quo with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).
As Middle East adviser to his father-in-law, Kushner gave MBS everything he wanted — Trump’s first trip abroad, permission to blockade Qatar, a pass on imprisoning leading Saudi citizens until they paid him billions and another on killing and dismembering journalist Jamal Khashoggi (as Trump later put it, “I saved his [MbS’s] ass.”).
Then, after Kushner left the White House, MBS reciprocated by putting $2 billion from the sovereign wealth fund he chaired into Kushner’s private equity company.
Where’s the shame?
Elon Musk’s concern about the dwindling number of people seeing his tweets prompted the zillionaire to convene a group of engineers last Tuesday to discover why his engagement numbers were tanking. When one of the company’s two remaining principal engineers explained it was likely due to waning public interest in Musk’s antics, Musk fired the engineer.
We used to call such behavior shameless. Now, it’s just what the rich and powerful do.
Shame once reenforced social norms. Through most of human history, survival depended on extended families, clans, and tribes. To be shamed and ostracized for violating the common good often meant death.
Charles Darwin, in his book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, thought shame may have evolved as a way to maintain social trust necessary for the survival of a group and, therefore, of its members.
In a 2012 paper, psychologists Matthew Feinberg and Dacher Keltner and sociologist Robb Willer found evidence that shame and embarrassment function as a kind of “nonverbal apology” for having done something that violates social norms. A display of embarrassment shows others that the embarrassed person is still aware of the group’s expectations and is still committed to the group’s well-being.
Four centuries ago, public shaming included scarlet A’s. “Ignominy is universally acknowledged to be a worse punishment than death,” wrote Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence who also sought to put an end to public stocks and whipping posts.
A more recent version of public shaming occurred in 1954 when Joseph Welch, then chief council for the U.S. Army, stood up to Sen. Joseph McCarthy before a nationwide television audience. During a hearing in which McCarthy accused the army of harboring communists, McCarthy attacked one of Welch’s young assistants for having once belonged to the National Lawyers Guild, which McCarthy considered a communist front.
Welch responded: “Until this moment, Senator, I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness …. Have you no sense of decency, sir?” Millions of Americans watching the proceedings from their living rooms saw McCarthy as the dangerous bully he was. By shaming him, Welch shamed America for having tolerated McCarthy and the communist witch hunt he was leading. It was the beginning of the end of McCarthy’s reign of terror.
But today, shamelessness has gained a certain elan. Audacity, insolence, and impudence are welcomed. Irreverence is celebrated. We hoot when someone gives society the bird. Many Americans love Donald Trump’s loutishness.
Meanwhile, instead of being directed at behavior that undermines the common good, shame is now often deployed against people who don’t fit in. Social media unleashes torrents of invective on people who do little more than say something silly or look different or are socially inept. Shaming like this can cause a sensitive teenager to take his or her life.
Why are those who violate social norms now treated like Wild West outlaw heroes, while those who are different are ridiculed? Why are bullies now applauded while those at the margin are ostracized?
Filosofa Growls …
Forgive me, but I’m on a bit of a rant today, as you’ll see in just a minute. WHERE is the common sense in this country??? It sure as hell isn’t in our House of Representatives, and apparently not in our Judicial system, either.
At least three House Republicans this week began wearing pins in the shape of an assault weapon on their clothing. Representatives George Santos of New York, Anna Paulina Luna of Florida, and Andrew Clyde of Georgia were all caught on camera wearing the pins, leading some to express outrage.
Representative Jimmy Gomez, a Democrat from California, was among the first to circulate images of the two Republicans wearing the pins.
“Where are these assault weapon pins coming from? Who is passing these out?”
Aaron Fritschner, the Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director for Representative Don Beyer of Virginia, captured an image of Congressman Clyde wearing the pin on his tie.
One of the members wearing the pins, Congresswoman Luna, on Wednesday also participated in a House Natural Resources panel debate to push back on Democrats’ attempt to ban firearms inside the Committee’s hearing room.
She tweeted later, “The same Democrats who are voting to send firearms to Ukraine are telling me I can’t carry one.”
The House Chambers may seem like a battleground, but I challenge Ms. Luna to go to Kyiv, live on the streets for 24 hours, and then tell me she doesn’t see a difference. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
I am first of all amazed by the utter stupidity, but this … this is a slap in the face to the families of the children killed in the Uvalde school shooting last year. It is a slap in the face to the Parkland parents, the Sandy Hook parents, to every family who has lost a child to gun violence! It is a slap in the face to this nation and its people!!! These members of Congress no longer even pretend to respect the people of this nation … they no longer deserve to serve in our legislative body! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
And speaking of guns and Congress …
A group of U.S. Senate Democrats introduced legislation on Thursday directing the Federal Trade Commission to create rules banning the marketing of firearms to children, including the JR-15, which I wrote about a while back.
The bill has slim chance of becoming law as Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, have largely opposed additional gun control measures, consistently arguing they infringe on the right to keep and bear arms enshrined in the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. To which I say … BULLSHIT!!!
It is reprehensible that we even have to make laws banning the marketing of guns to children, and even more so that the majority will block such a commonsense law! The leading cause of childhood death in the United States is no longer disease or auto accidents … it is GUNS!!!! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
And STILL speaking of guns …
There is a federal law that prohibits those who are under a restraining order due to domestic violence charges from owning a gun. Makes sense, yes? If a man couldn’t control his temper enough to keep himself from beating his wife or children, then we don’t want him to have a gun, right? Well, guess what, folks? Judge Cory Wilson, of the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals, ruled that the federal law is unconstitutional!
Paving the way for this really lousy decision was the Supreme Court ruling last year in the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v Bruen whereby the Court ruled that New York’s law requiring a license to carry concealed weapons in public places is unconstitutional. This opened the door for what will likely be attempts to overturn what little gun legislation exists at the federal level, and states are already jumping on the bandwagon — within two weeks after the Supreme Court decision, the state of Maryland suspended a similar state law. Others will follow suit.
By this time next year, there may be NO gun restrictions in U.S. law. Nothing should surprise us anymore. There is something intrinsically wrong in a country who values the right to own a killing machine more than it values the right to live. And you want to know the real irony here? Most of those who whine about their “god-given right” to own a gun, are the same ones who call themselves “pro-life”. Again … BULLSHIT!!! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
A Few Thoughts
Just a few of my thoughts on this Saturday afternoon …
I think the people of District 3 in New York should have the opportunity to recall George Santos and force a special election. The man they thought they were voting for, after all, does not exist. Mr. Santos, or whatever his name actually is, built his reputation on a tower of lies … a very high tower, as it were. And now, that tower is crumbling and should by any logical thought, be brought down before it does significant damage. However, by the terms set forth in the U.S. Constitution, a member of the House can only be removed by a 2/3 majority vote in the House … or death. With the current panic by Republicans over losing so much as one seat of their paper-thin majority, that is beyond unlikely. Remember when the former guy said he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and not suffer any repercussions? Well, apparently that also applies to George Santos and any other House Republicans.
Apparently, the committee name “House Intelligence Committee” is a misnomer, for Republican House Leader McCarthy has ejected the only two members who actually had any … intelligence, that is. Yep, the arsehole refused to allow two very intelligent and qualified Democrats, Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff, to serve on the ‘Intelligence’ Committee. Both have previously served on the committee, and Adam Schiff, notably, has led the Intelligence Committee for the past four years!
McCarthy did not diss Schiff and Swalwell because they weren’t qualified – he dissed them in retaliation for the times that some of his choices were not chosen for various committees, such as when Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t allow the two Jims – Jordan and Banks – to serve on the January 6th investigative committee because both had played a role in the insurrection. Or the time that the Democratic-led House stripped Marge Greene and Paul Gosar, two radical conspiracy theorists, from their committee assignments. Or perhaps, as Adam Schiff says …
“His objection seems to be that I was the lead impeachment manager in Donald Trump’s first impeachment, and that we held him accountable for withholding hundreds of millions of dollars of military aid from Ukraine. So he is now, I think, carrying the dirty water for the former president in trying to remove me from the intel committee.”
Whatever the reason, he is denying two of the House members with the most experience a seat on an important committee, one that is crucial to the security of the nation, for reasons that make no sense to a rational mind.
Remember, folks, it’s not about good governance, it’s not about what’s best for the nation and its people, it’s not about justice or truth, it’s only about power and wealth for the few. Full stop. Let us hope that in November 2024, people will vote more conscientiously, will actually put thought into their vote rather than simply voting along party lines or for the loudest voice.
And now, let’s lighten the mood with a few ‘toons, shall we?
No delusions – poor governance in action
The U.S. House of Representatives is supposed to be “the people’s” branch of Congress, but today it is anything but. The goals of about half the members of the House do not align with the goal of a government that is “… of the people, by the people, for the people.” Check out what our friend Keith has to say about the House and responsible governance.
In case you had any delusions that the new majority in the US House would offer up good governance, please note:
– Returning Congress representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar have been seated on Committees by Speaker Kevin McCarthy, after being removed in the last Congress for their inflammatory and inane remarks. When I think of Greene and Gosar, the words reasonable and collaborative are not top of mind.
– New Congressman George Santos, the one with the highly fabricated resume, will be seated on two Committees by Speaker McCarthy. Instead of advocating for his being censured or even removed, Santos gets two Committee assignments. I guess the Speaker holds lying in higher regard than most people. Either that or he needed his vote to remain Speaker and will put up with anything.
– Numerous bills have been proposed to restrict voting. As an independent voter, the greater problem…
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I am not mistaken, I was misquoted (a reprise)
Today, our friend Keith reprised a post from ten years ago that brings to mind the quote, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Thank you, Keith, for this walk down memory lane and the reminder that lying politicians is nothing new (although I do think George Santos gets the grand prize for the biggest lies!)
George Santos is not the first politician to be caught in a lie. I wrote the following in 2013, before the age of Trump. You can tell as if it was written later, examples of his untruthfulness would be hard not to include.
On our way to school this morning, my son and daughter were arguing over who said what. My son told his sister that she is acting like a politician and uttered, “I am not mistaken, I was misquoted.” I almost ran off the road it was so funny. It reminds me that you cannot hide from your comments in this day and age. They may be taken out of context, but they have been recorded somewhere, so you cannot disown them.
Last year, Charles Barkley, the former basketball player and current sports analyst, got some flack for what appeared in his book. His classic response was he…
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So, Where Do We Go From Here?
As he so often does, Robert Hubbell has done an excellent job of summarizing the events of last week in the U.S. House of Representatives and what the coming weeks/months might bring.
The loyal opposition!
January 9, 2023
After the painful spectacle of Kevin McCarthy’s election as Speaker late Friday, I opened the Comments section to all readers to allow them to express their feelings about the confluence of the January 6th anniversary and McCarthy’s corrupt bargain to become Speaker. Several hundred readers took the opportunity to express themselves. Understandably, feelings of upset, anger, disappointment, and dejection were more common than usual from readers of this newsletter. While there is much to discuss regarding what McCarthy’s election as Speaker portends for America, those details will unfold over time (and may shift in the coming days). I want to start my discussion with the emotional reaction to McCarthy’s pathetic victory and our mission as “the loyal opposition” over the next two years.
It is reasonable for people to feel upset and angry over McCarthy’s victory. He is unfit to serve in Congress, let alone serve as its leader. Indeed, he is peculiarly unfit to be Speaker because he participated in the assault on Congress on January 6th by spreading the Big Lie and voting in favor of baseless objections to electors from Arizona and Pennsylvania. (McCarthy has since lied about his votes to overturn the election. See Talking Points Memo, McCarthy Falsely Denies Voting To Overturn Election Results.) And, of course, he was the first major politician to make a pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago to begin the rehabilitation of Trump only a week after those killed in Trump’s insurrection were buried.
But all of this we already knew. McCarthy’s late-night victory felt like a slap in the face, even though it was based on humiliating groveling before the bottom feeders in Congress and a betrayal of the American people. After fifteen rounds of votes, McCarthy should have slithered out of the House. Instead, he acted like a conquering hero as GOP members chanted “USA, USA!” only moments after saying he could not be trusted to be Speaker. That moment of celebration by a grotesque caricature of a corrupt politician harkens back to the accidental election of singularly unfit Donald Trump to be president.
For some, McCarthy’s election was a replay of election night 2016. One reader (CC), wrote the following in the Comments section:
“Now many of us have PTSD from the first act of Kevin’s Circus, The Clown Show, that just ended in the House of Representatives. It is reminiscent of The Trump Show. But we’ve been through this situation before, and we know how to handle it. We need to stop inundating our nervous systems by listening to constant reporting about the same problems from different sources every day.
I’m not minimizing what we are facing. We’re all sick of having to fight the ugly underbelly of our country. But we don’t need to tackle the next few years all at once. And we really have no idea what tremendous things we will be able to achieve to counter this current set of dangers. We need to take it one day at a time.
We also need to protect our nervous systems from the overwhelming barrage of dung that will be flung from the monkeys in Kevin’s Circus. They will lie constantly. They always do. Expect it.
We fought back against them once. I would have felt a lot better during the four years of the “Trump administration” if I’d known how successfully Americans would fight back against these unimaginable horrors to “right the ship of state.” We have no guarantee, but we need to believe we can do it again instead of sinking into despair, which is easy to do.”
I agree with CC on all counts. We have every reason to be concerned about what McCarthy and the GOP will attempt to do over the next two years—but we are in a position of strength and should act accordingly. (More on that in a moment.) Even so, I acknowledge that it is almost as painful to watch McCarthy thumping his chest after a historic humiliation as it is to listen to Trump bloviate and lie with apparent immunity from Mar-a-Lago.
I am confident we will contain, outmaneuver, and defeat McCarthy over the next two years. But we can’t control the toxic mixture of gratuitous meanness, pomposity, and ignorance that passes for “politics” in the GOP. In the last forty-eight hours, McCarthy has failed to condemn any of the following: (a) George Santos’s use of a “white supremacist” hand gesture from the House floor, (b) a crude and offensive tweet by a freshman GOP member from Florida who tried to connect the Speaker’s gavel to the attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband, (c) Trump’s claim over the weekend that Ashli Babbitt is a “true patriot”, and (d) the attack on the Brazilian Senate and presidential palace by supporters of defeated former President Bolsonaro.
As reader CC said, we must “expect it” from McCarthy and his gang, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept it. Indeed, our task as members of the loyal opposition is to make McCarthy et al. own every debased, depraved, selfish, corrupt, and ignorant statement made by the reprobates to whom McCarthy has surrendered his manhood. And they are about to start an endless stream of such statements without a moment of reflection on the fact that Americans rejected MAGA extremism in 2022.
With all of that as background, let’s take a moment to put Friday’s events in perspective.
They have McCarthy. We have Jeffries. We win—every time.
The Speaker’s election defined two men: Kevin McCarthy and Hakeem Jeffries. McCarthy is exposed as weak, corrupt, and desperate. He was humiliated on the House floor, begging for votes from Matt Gaetz and Lauren Boebert. It simply doesn’t get more pathetic than that. Conversely, the Democratic caucus unanimously supported Hakeem Jeffries through fifteen rounds of votes. And then the two men spoke—and the differences could not be more pronounced. McCarthy read his speech like the uncomfortable politician whose skill is in the back room, not the podium. Hakeem Jeffries gave an inspiring, lyrical, passionate speech that worth is watching in its entirety: Watch House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ historic first speech (Start at 4:15 mark).
When it comes time to communicate competing visions of our future to anxious Americans, Hakeem Jeffries will win every time. We should feel great about that fact.
Hubbell continues to talk about the promised/threatened ‘investigations’ and the debt ceiling threat, but the entire newsletter is too long for this post, so I hope that you’ll take a couple of minutes to pop over there and read the rest!
The New Kid In The Party?
A good governor … and here I am using the term more expansively to include all government decision-makers from state legislators all the way up through the U.S. Congress and even the president … will make every decision based on what is best for the country and for its people – ALL its people, not just white people or male people or Christian people or straight people. They will sometimes err because they will rarely, if ever, have all the facts upon which to base their decisions, but they will be guided in making decisions by the facts they do have, and their conscience reminding them of their responsibility to the people of the nation. Federal officials must remember that while they were elected by the people from their state or district, their decisions, their votes and their actions affect every individual within the country, thus they should act accordingly.
I believe there are some in our government who actually do just this, make decisions based on what seems at the time to be in the best interests of the people … ALL the people. Unfortunately, however, there are more than a few who make their decisions on the basis of what’s in it for them, of their own quest for power, for re-election, for financial gain. Now, I won’t deny there are some on both sides of the aisle who have forgotten their responsibility, but over the last decade, the Republican Party, aka the GOP, appears to no longer care about either the country or the people. They have sacrificed integrity. Their forefathers must surely be doing that proverbial “rolling over in their grave” thing.
I could point to so many, such as Marge Greene who was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives despite being a follower of QAnon, despite believing that Jewish space lasers (hint, in case any Republicans are reading this, there ain’t no such thing as Jewish space lasers) started the California wildfires. Or the pistol-totin’ barhop, Lauren Boebert who proudly put a photo of all her children holding big guns on her Christmas cards. And then, there’s Kevin McCarthy, vying to be the next Speaker of the House, whose only platform is revenge against any and all liberal democratic policies and those of us who support those policies. But for now, I want to focus on one incoming member of the House, a person who will be seated in the House of Representatives next Tuesday, a person who has broken the boundaries of dishonesty: George Santos.
I wrote about Santos just over a week ago, after the New York Times published a laundry list of the lies he has told … everything from his heritage to his education to his work history to his family to his criminal record to his financial situation … and more! Last week, a day or two before Christmas, Santos was confronted about his lies and said he would talk about it all ‘next week’ … next week now being this week. Well, he did. He admitted to most of his lies, claimed the felony convictions against him for theft in Brazil were false, but the documentation proves the lie. Did he ‘come clean’ with humility and shame? Nope … just stated as a matter of fact that yes, he lied, but that he still has every intention of taking his seat in the House of Representatives next Tuesday! The unmitigated gall left me speechless, but only for a moment.
This is a new low even for the Republican Party and if, in fact, they allow him to be seated in the House on Tuesday, it will be the most definitive statement yet that there is no conscience, no morals, no values, and no integrity within the Republican Party. One lie of any substance would have disqualified any Democratic candidate, but Mr. Santos told lies about every single aspect of his entire 34 years!!! I imagine there are some Republicans who are wishing they could crawl under a rock right about now – Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney – but the rest seem to be scratching their heads and wondering how to get this out of the news, how to make it disappear. Not a single word from the otherwise garrulous Kevin McCarthy … funny that.
This is, for the Republicans, as bad a nightmare as the former guy, an egomaniac, planning to run for the Oval Office again. I would pity the Republicans, but … they brought this mess on themselves when they first began letting unqualified circus clowns run for office. It seems to me that a person who cannot even be relied upon to tell the truth about where he went to college (he didn’t), property he claims to own (but doesn’t), where he has worked, his ancestry, his criminal past, where he lives, cannot possibly be trusted to be an honest lawmaker! I thought Herschel Walker told some mighty big lies, but Santos even makes him look like an amateur. Santos is right up there with the former guy, who wouldn’t recognize the truth if it smacked him upside the head! This is NOT what this nation needs … lawmakers who cannot ever be trusted, whose words and actions must always, always be fact-checked! But alas, this is the new GOP – which, by the way, no longer stands for “Grand Old Party”, but rather for “Gaslight Or Perjure.”