Close The Road From Senate To Oval Office?

There are a few conservative journalists who speak with a rational, intellectual voice and George Will is among them.  He left the Republican Party in 2016, for reasons that should be obvious to us all.  In his latest piece, he suggests we need a constitutional amendment to bar senators from ever running for president.  I’m not sure that I agree completely with him, for if our presidents don’t come from the Senate, then where?  But, he makes some valid and interesting points, and it does often seem that members of Congress spend more time campaigning for their next job than they spend doing their current job. Take a look and see what you think …


Amend the Constitution to bar senators from the presidency

By George F. Will, 27 April 2022

To conserve the reverence it needs and deserves, the Constitution should be amended rarely and reluctantly. There is, however, an amendment that would instantly improve the legislative and executive branches. It would read: “No senator or former senator shall be eligible to be president.”

Seventeen presidents were previously senators. Seven of them – Harding, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Obama, Biden — became senators after 1913, when the 17th Amendment took the selection of senators away from state legislatures. The federal government’s growth, and the national media’s focus on Washington, has increased the prominence of senators eager for prominence, although it often is the prominence of a ship’s figurehead — decorative, not functional. As president-centric government has waxed, the Senate has waned, becoming increasingly a theater of performative behaviors by senators who are decreasingly interested in legislating, and are increasingly preoccupied with using social media for self-promotion.

In Jonathan Haidt’s recent essay for the Atlantic, “Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid,” the New York University social psychologist says social media users by the millions have become comfortable and adept at “putting on performances” for strangers. So have too many senators. Haidt says social media elicits “our most moralistic and least reflective selves,” fueling the “twitchy and explosive spread of anger.”

The Founders feared such incitements, long before social media arrived.

Politicians, and especially senators with presidential ambitions and time on their hands, use social media to practice what Alexander Hamilton deplored (in Federalist 68) as “the little arts of popularity.” Such senators, like millions of Americans, use social media to express and encourage anger about this and that. Anger, like other popular pleasures, can be addictive, particularly if it supplies the default vocabulary for social media.

Today, the gruesome possibility of a 2024 Biden-Trump rematch underscores a Hamilton misjudgment: He said in Federalist 68 there is a “constant probability” of presidents “pre-eminent for ability and virtue.” Banning senators from the presidency would increase the probability of having senators who are interested in being senators, and would increase the probability of avoiding:

Presidents who have never run anything larger than a Senate office. Who have confused striking poses — in the Capitol, on Twitter — with governing. Who have delegated legislative powers to the executive — for example, who have passed sentiment-affirmations masquerading as laws: Hurray for education and the environment; the executive branch shall fill in the details.

And who have been comfortable running the government on continuing resolutions (at existing funding levels) because Congress is incapable of budgeting. There have been 128 CRs in the previous 25 fiscal years — 41 since 2012. Why look for presidents among senators, who have made irresponsibility routine?

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee debate on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court on April 4. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The 328 senators of the previous 50 years have illustrated the tyranny of the bell-shaped curve: a few of them dreadful, a few excellent, most mediocre. Although Josh Hawley, Missouri’s freshman Republican, might not be worse than all the other 327, he exemplifies the worst about would-be presidents incubated in the Senate. Arriving there in January 2019, he hit the ground running — away from the Senate. Twenty-four months later, he was the principal catalyst of the attempted nullification of the presidential election preceding the one that he hopes will elevate him. Nimbly clambering aboard every passing bandwagon that can carry him to the Fox News greenroom, he treats the Senate as a mere steppingstone for his ascent to an office commensurate with his estimate of his talents.

The constitutional equilibrium of checks and balances depends on a rivalrous relationship between the executive branch and houses of Congress that are mutually jealous of their powers. “The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place,” and government will be controlled by “this policy of supplying, by opposite and rival interests, the defect of better motives” (James Madison, Federalist 51).

This institutional architecture has, however, been largely vitiated by party loyalties: Congressional members of the president’s party behave as his subservient teammates; members of the opposing party act as reflexive opposers. This changes the role of the House, whose members are generally not so telegenic and are more regimented, less than it does the role of the Senate, which degenerates into an arena of gestures, hence an incubator of would-be presidents.

One of today’s exemplary senators, Mitt Romney, surely is such partly because, his presidential ambitions retired, he nevertheless wants to be a senator. Were all persons with presidential ambitions deterred from becoming senators, this probably would improve the caliber of senators, and of presidents, and the equilibrium between the political branches.

Good Grief Snarky Snippets

There are more ‘good grief, Charlie Brown’ moments in the news these days than I can shake a stick at!  That must mean it’s time for an angst-relieving (or angst-inducing, whichever way you look at it) snarky snippets post, eh?


Josh Hawley’s mug on a mug

Junior Senator Josh Hawley from the ‘show-me’ state of Missouri, has taken the respectability of his position to yet another all-time low.  Perhaps you remember Mr. Hawley’s blatant support of the insurrectionists who attacked the Capitol on January 6th, 2021, as he walked by and gave them a smile, a wave, and a ‘fist pump.’  Well, today he is turning that hateful symbol into profit … for himself!

The mug shown above can be yours for only $20, the profits going to Mr. Hawley himself, of course! Hawley claims that this cup is his way of “owning the libs,” whatever the hell that means, and that proceeds from the sales of the mug will provide him with some much-needed campaign cash. Oh, and the bottom of the mug …

If you wish to support ignorance and treason, if you wish to continue to allow stupidity and greed to rule the U.S. Senate, then by all means be sure to order yours today!!!


A bridge too far?  No, a man too rich!

I have concluded that I despise Jeff Bezos!  In fact, I am currently looking for better options than Amazon so that I can stop helping the ignoble Mr. B stomp on everyone else in his quest to show off his billions in wealth!

The latest is that he has had a huge yacht … 417 feet long … built by a Dutch firm in Rotterdam.  Trouble is, the yacht is so bloody big that they can’t get it out to sea, for it won’t fit under the historic Koningshaven Bridge.  But never fear … Bezos has the solution!  Dismantle the bridge! 🙄 I mean, no way should Mr. Bezos have to put on his thinking cap and figure out how to take the 310-foot-high yacht apart then put it back together after passing under the bridge, right?  So instead, because Bezos threw the weight of his money around 💰, the City of Rotterdam has agreed to remove the middle section of the bridge to accommodate the world’s most wealthy man.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

The move is controversial because the steel bridge has a long history and is now a national monument. It previously went through a major renovation which saw it out of action from 2014 to 2017, when officials said it would not be dismantled again.  The bridge will be put back to rights after Bezos gets his boat out, but still …

Bezos may have more money than anyone else in the world, but when it comes to values, conscience, compassion, etc., he is among the poorest in the world, for he is devoid of all.


A murderer sues his victim’s family???

The murderer is none other than George Zimmerman, the ‘man’ who murdered a young teenager simply for being … Black.  I’m sure most of you remember the story from February 2012, ten years ago.  Trayvon Martin was leaving a convenience store in a predominantly white neighborhood where he was staying with friends.  Mr. Zimmerman was a member of the local neighborhood watch program and determined that as a Black person, Trayvon had no legitimate reason for existing in that neighborhood, so he attacked and murdered him.

Zimmerman did not go to prison and has continued to live his life free as a bird, but apparently that was not sufficient for him.  He filed a lawsuit against Trayvon Martin’s parents, their lawyer, two of Trayvon’s friends, and Harper Collins Publishers who had published a book written by Trayvon’s parents about the 2013 case against George Zimmerman.  Zimmerman claims they tried to “destroy his good will and reputation in the community.”  🙄 What ‘good will and reputation’ … he has none … he’s a murderer!

Thankfully the judge in the case had the good sense to throw it out saying that Zimmerman had failed to show “any fraudulent representation” and said any further arguments in the case would be futile.


Methinks there’s more to this than meets the eye …

Mazars USA, the accounting firm that has previously handled the Trump Organization’s financial records and tax returns, has parted way with Trump & Co.  In a letter to the Trump Organization on February 9th, the accounting firm notified the company of its decision and disclosed that it could no longer stand behind annual financial statements it prepared for Trump & Co.  They further advised the Trump Organization to inform anyone who had gotten the documents not to use them when assessing the financial health of the company and the ex-president.  Mazar’s General Counsel, William Kelly, wrote …

“While we have not concluded that the various financial statements, as a whole, contain material discrepancies, based upon the totality of the circumstances, we believe our advice to you to no longer rely upon those financial statements is appropriate.”

What does this mean for the ongoing investigations in New York?  It’s too early to say, but if justice is served, it will cause the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and New York Attorney General Letitia James to take an even closer look at the finances of the company, particularly their asset valuation and taxes.  However, I’m hesitant to predict anything at this point, for we have all seen how Trump is notorious for evading the laws that apply to everyone else and seems to truly be Teflon-coated.

The Good, The Bad, And The … Funny!

I vaguely remember the days, back before the year 2016, when I went to bed at night feeling safe and secure.  I can almost remember the days when I didn’t automatically associate the word “Republican” with hatred, racism, greed, cruelty, cheating, lying, and obnoxious.  Ahhhhh … those were the good ol’ days!  Long story short, I have more snark built up since my last snippets post, so … let me share just a few with you!


Kiran Ahuja has a new job!

On Tuesday, the Senate voted on President Biden’s nominee for the Office of Personnel Management, Kiran Ahuja.  Ultimately Ms. Ahuja, a civil rights lawyer and veteran of the Obama administration, was confirmed, but only after Vice-President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote, because not one single Republican was willing to vote to confirm her.  Why?  Well, for one thing she is an Indian-born immigrant.  According to Josh Hawley – you remember him, the guy who did a fist pump in a show of solidarity with the terrorists who attacked the Capitol on January 6th

“I’m concerned that as the federal government’s H.R. director, Ms. Ahuja could use her platform to promote radical ideologies that seek to divide rather than unite the American people. She could bring critical race theory back into federal government training.”

GASP!!!  She could … require sensitivity training by those who make hiring decisions for the federal government!  Oh, wouldn’t it be awful to teach people that it is wrong to discriminate!  She could actually insist that hiring decisions be based on the skill level of the applicants rather than the colour of their skin!

Apparently, the congressional Republicans want an all-white cabinet, and the difficulty of Ms. Ahuja’s appointment was not the first sign of trouble.

Shortly after taking office, President Biden nominated Neera Tanden to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  Ms. Tanden is also Indian American, and this time, Biden pulled her nomination once Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (yes, he of filibuster and voter suppression fame) made it clear he would not vote to confirm her.  However last month, the President appointed her to be a senior White House advisor, a position for which no senate confirmation is necessary.  Take that, Republicans … and Republican wannabe Manchin!

And then, there was Deb Haaland, a Native American who was chosen to be Secretary of the Interior, a department that has a long history of being used as a tool of oppression against America’s Indigenous peoples.  Ms. Haaland was ultimately confirmed in March, but only after being grilled at length as Republicans tried to paint her as a radical.  Said Republican Senator Steve Daines from Montana …

“I’m deeply concerned with the congresswoman’s support on several radical issues that will hurt Montana, our way of life, our jobs and rural America.”

Um, Mr. Daines … the population of Montana is less than 1% of the population of this country … put that in your pipe and smoke it.

I am very thrilled that the Biden cabinet looks much different than that of the former guy, that there is diversity and qualified people with experience making the everyday decisions that affect our lives.  I sincerely hope that I never see the day when there is a Republican president and a Republican majority in the Senate again, for all this progress would likely be undone within a matter of a few weeks.


But there was a big, bright spot today!

Judge Peter A. Cahill sentenced former police officer Derek Chauvin to 22.5 years for the murder of George Floyd.  This sentence will not bring Mr. Floyd back to life, but … it is consequential, and I am very pleased.  This is very nearly the longest sentence any police officer has received in this country for unnecessary killing in the line of duty and it is long past due.  It is, to the best of my knowledge, the longest sentence given to an officer for the murder of an unarmed Black person.

Shortly after reading the sentence from the bench, Judge Cahill issued a 22-page memorandum about his decision, writing, “Part of the mission of the Minneapolis Police Department is to give citizens ‘voice and respect.’” But Mr. Chauvin, the judge wrote, had instead “treated Mr. Floyd without respect and denied him the dignity owed to all human beings and which he certainly would have extended to a friend or neighbor.”

The maximum sentence possible would have been 40 years, and the presumptive sentence would have been 12.5 years.  I think the main thing to take away from this sentencing is that it sends a strong message to police officers that the blanket concept of ‘qualified immunity’ isn’t going to protect you when you use excessive force, that times are changing and police, just like anybody else, can be held accountable for their actions.

In the end, Judge Cahill said two “aggravating factors” had affected his decision to sentence Mr. Chauvin to more than 22 years: Mr. Chauvin had acted with particular cruelty, the judge said, and had abused his authority as an officer of the law.  This needs to become the rule, not the exception!  Mr. Chauvin, who is currently 45 years of age, will likely be eligible for parole after serving 2/3 of his sentence, or in about 15 years.


For the People … yeah, right

I am still furious over the Senate Republicans’ unanimous vote to deny even debate on the For the People Act that would have ensured our rights to vote, despite nearly every state in the nation attempting to suppress that right.  But yesterday, there was a glimmer of hope.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Friday that the U.S. Justice Department is suing the state of Georgia over its new voting law, saying that the controversial measure is intended to restrict ballot access to Black voters.  In his news conference yesterday, AG Garland said …

“Our complaint alleges that recent changes to Georgia’s election laws were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of Black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.”

Thumbs up to the Attorney General!  👍 👍

The bill, SB202, has already passed the Georgia State Legislature and been signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp.  In effect, it makes sweeping changes to the state’s absentee voting rules, adds new voter identification mandates and nearly cuts in half the amount of time for voters to request a mail-in ballot.  It also outlaws passing out food or drinks to voters within 150 feet of a polling place or too close to voters waiting in line.

These voter suppression tactics, while aimed largely at Blacks, will also negatively impact Hispanics, working mothers, the elderly, college students, and the poor.  I sincerely hope that the Justice Departments case wins the day, thereby sending messages to other states, but my best guess is that more lawsuits will be required.

Y’know … We the People have a lot of rights per the U.S. Constitution, but I think perhaps there is none more important than our right to vote, to have a voice in our government.


Late night host/comedian Stephen Colbert talked a bit about the travesty of justice regarding the For the People Act, as well as a number of other issues I’ve written about recently, and his monologue actually brought a laugh gurgling up from my throat, so I hope you’ll check it out and maybe you’ll laugh too!

They Walk Among Us …

Some days I wake up and wonder if I dreamed all the lunacy that is part of the United States today.  And then I pick up my phone, check the news, and … nope, not a dream, just a horrible reality.  And then I wish I could just stay in bed, not ever get up again.  I have a feeling that the founders of this nation would be deeply ashamed of some of the people who inhabit it today.  More than a few times I’ve thought perhaps we would have been better off to remain under British rule, for obviously we are not capable of self-governance today.  Just a few examples …


Unfit

Marge Green, aka Marjorie Taylor Greene, ought to be sent back home to Georgia until she can learn to act as an adult.  She seems to believe that the way to get her point across is to run after people shrieking like a banshee.  I mentioned once before that back in 2019, before she was erroneously elected to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, she ran after young David Hogg, a teen survivor of the Parkland school shootings, screaming questions at him and ultimately calling him a coward.  Hogg, more mature than Greene, kept walking and did not acknowledge her harassment, later saying “I was told growing up, it’s just better not to respond to bullies and just walk away.”  Which proves that at 19, he was more mature than Ms. Greene is today at 46.

The latest is that yesterday, Ms. Greene did the exact same thing to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, familiarly known as AOC.  Representative Ocasio-Cortez left the committee chamber slightly ahead of Greene, and Greene began shouting at her, yelling her name, and when AOC did not slow down or turn around, Greene became belligerent, speeding up and screeching that AOC was supporting terrorists (she specified that she was referring to Black Lives Matter), and screaming …

“You don’t care about the American people. Why do you support terrorists and antifa?”

Members of Congress are not going to always agree, they will have differences of opinion, and we always hope they will find common ground for compromise.  But this behaviour on the part of Marge Greene is simply unacceptable.  This is not professional, it is disrespectful, rude, and borders on criminal harassment.  I read an article last night that called Ms. Greene’s behaviour “extreme anti-leftist”.  No, it is not … it is juvenile, it is disrespectful, it is immature and the sign of a mind that is incapable of coherent thought.  Greene has never been qualified for her position and I suspect the people in her district in Georgia thought they were being funny when they elected her, but there is nothing funny about this – Greene is a threat and a danger to this nation.  GET.  HER.  OUT.


Lunatic

If you look up L. Lin Wood on Wikipedia, the first line tells you most of what you need to know:

“Lucian Lincoln “Lin” Wood Jr. (born October 19, 1952) is an American attorney and conspiracy theorist.”

Among his most famous conspiracy theories to date is that of The Big Lie, as Wood claims, despite mounds of evidence to the contrary, that “Trump had won the election with 70% of the vote, and that a secret cabal of international communists, Chinese intelligence, and Republican officials had contrived to steal the election from Trump.”

On Tuesday, Wood stood in front of a crowd in South Carolina and said …

“Donald J. Trump has never conceded…because he won the [2020] election. So be cool—it’s all going to be good in time. Donald J. Trump is still the guy the military will call for the code if they need a first strike. Joe Biden is not the President of the United States.”

Somebody needs to lock this man away before he causes irreparable harm to his family and himself!  Perhaps he and Marge Greene could share a padded room together!

He went on to say that Trump secretly invoked the Insurrection Act of 1807 before leaving office and can begin “cleaning things up” in the United States whensoever he desires. Per Wood, Trump will be the instrument of “God” when he does so.

No, Lin, the military will not call on the former guy for a nuclear code, and in fact, the former guy doesn’t have access to the nuclear codes anymore!  And if he is an ‘instrument of god’, then your god is evil incarnate!  Surely people aren’t so stupid as to fall for this bullshit?  And no, your former guy is naught more than an instrument of a deranged set of minds, people who cannot separate fact from fantasy.


Murderers

On January 6th, thousands of white supremacist and other potential murderers stormed the Capitol as the Congress prepared to certify the election results of 2020.  They erected a noose outside the Capitol, they went in chanting “Hang Mike Pence”, and it was later said they planned to drive all members of Congress into the underground tunnels and gas them to death.  These are the facts.

On Wednesday, a number of people testified about that day before Congress, including Representative Andrew Clyde from the state of Georgia, who said …

“Let me be clear, there was no insurrection. You would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.”

NO, YOU ONE-MAN FREAKSHOW!!!  No, nobody with a conscience and a brain would have thought that was a “normal tourist visit”.  There was a noose.  There were 140 police officers injured.  There were guns.  There was violence.  There were five people killed that very day.  There was a noose.  There was death and destruction.  These were jackfaces who had been encouraged by the asshole of a then-president to destroy the normal processes of law and silence our voices, overturn our election where WE THE PEOPLE voted for sanity, for compassion, for a president who had a fucking brain and the capability to speak in complete sentences!

The Republican Party can go down in flames for all that I care.  Mr. Andrew Clyde can hang himself in his own noose for all I care.  They are a lot of hypocritical jackasses and I hope they every one get what they deserve!


And speaking of those who attempted to commit treason on that fateful day … I loved this Randy Rainbow clip about none other than the empty-headed Josh Hawley …

Looking Forward Doesn’t Mean Forgetting The Past

The attacks on Congress and the Capitol on January 6th of this year are destined to become a notable part of the ongoing history of this nation.  We rely on the media to help us find answers to the ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions, but instead the press, whose independence we cherish and protect, is turning a blind eye, has moved on without delving too deeply for answers.  The GOP prefers to simply ‘move on’ and the press is giving in to them, it seems.  Robert Reich’s piece in The Guardian yesterday speaks to this issue …


Republicans tried to overturn the election. We can’t just forget that

Robert Reich

Americans like to look forward but the effects of Trump’s lies about Covid and the 6 January insurrection are still with us

America prefers to look forward rather than back. We’re a land of second acts. We move on.

This can be a strength. We don’t get bogged down in outmoded traditions, old grudges, obsolete ways of thinking. We constantly reinvent. We love innovation and disruption.

The downside is a tendency toward collective amnesia about what we’ve been through, and a corresponding reluctance to do anything about it or hold anyone accountable.

Now, with Covid receding and the economy starting to rebound – and the 2020 election and the attack on the Capitol behind us – the future looks bright.

But at the risk of being the skunk at the picnic, let me remind you: we have lost more than 580,000 people to Covid-19. One big reason that number is so high is our former president lied about the virus and ordered his administration to minimize its danger.

Donald Trump also lied about the results of the last election. And then – you remember, don’t you? – he tried to overturn the results.

Trump twisted the arms of state election officials. He held a rally to stop Congress from certifying the election, followed by the violent attack on the Capitol. Five people died. Senators and representatives could have been slaughtered.

Several Republican members of Congress encouraged the attempted coup by joining him in the big lie and refusing to certify the election.

This was just over four months ago, yet we seem to be doing everything we can to blot it out of our memory.

Last Tuesday, the Washington Post hosted a live video chat with the Missouri Republican senator Josh Hawley, a ringleader in the attempt to overturn the results of the election. Hawley had even made a fist-pump gesture toward the mob at the Capitol before the attack.

But the Post billed the interview as being about Hawley’s new book on the “tyranny of big tech”. It even posted a biography of Hawley that made no mention of Hawley’s sedition, referring instead to his supposed reputation “for taking on the big and the powerful to protect Missouri workers” and as “a fierce defender of the constitution”.

Last week, CBS This Morning interviewed the Florida Republican Rick Scott, another of the senators who tried to overturn the election by not certifying the results. But there was no mention of his sedition. The CBS interviewer confined his questions to Biden’s spending plans, which Scott unsurprisingly opposed.

Senators Ted Cruz and Ron Johnson and the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, also repeatedly appear on major news programs without being questioned about their attempts to undo the results of the election.

What possible excuse is there for booking them if they have not publicly retracted their election lies? If they must appear, they should be asked if they continue to deny the election results and precisely why.

Pretending nothing happened promotes America’s amnesia, which invites more attempts to distort the truth.

On Monday, Trump issued a “proclamation” seeking to co-opt the language of those criticizing his falsehoods. “The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as the BIG LIE!” he wrote, repeating his claims that the 2020 election was stolen and that President Biden is illegitimate. Most Republican voters believe him.

Trump’s big lie is being used by Republican state legislatures to justify new laws that restrict voting. On Thursday, hours after Florida installed new voting restrictions, Texas’s Republican-led legislature pushed ahead with its own bill that would make it one of the hardest states in which to cast a ballot.

The Republican-controlled Arizona senate is mounting a private recount of the 2020 presidential election results in Maricopa county – farming out 2.1m ballots to GOP partisans, including at least one who participated in the 6 January raid on the Capitol.

The Republican party is about to purge one of its leaders, the Wyoming representative Liz Cheney, for telling the truth.

It is natural to want to put all this unpleasantness behind us. We are finally turning the corner on the pandemic and the economy. Why look back to the trauma of the 2020 election?

But we cannot put it behind us. Trump’s big lie and all that it has provoked are still with us. If we forget what has occurred, the trauma will return, perhaps in even more terrifying form.

Being a Jerk now a Prerequisite for Republican Presidential Nomination

Our friend Jeff has written the post I’ve been pondering, and done it far better than I could have. The Republican Party, the GOP who prides themselves on being “The Party of Lincoln” are failing to live up to that grandeur … not only failing, but they have become the Party of Losers and Liars … and whiners. They no longer have a platform or an ideology, just negativity toward anything the Democrats try to accomplish, and toward the people of this country. Good post … thanks Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

Apparently, being a first-class jerk is a prerequisite for being the front-runner in Republican presidential politics. According to many in the media, current Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sits atop the leaderboard. The real question, though, is why would that be?

Why would a guy who constantly criticizes the media, whines about anti-conservative bias, and flaunts a no mask policy in the middle of a pandemic, be a Republican voter’s first choice to run for the most powerful office in the world?

We’re left to conclude that it’s because most Republican voters kind of like their candidate to be an asshole. They want him or her to be mean to the media. They love it when someone talks tough and owns the libs daily. Oh, and if you have spoken openly about the fallacy of wearing a mask or shutting down economies to slow down the spread of the worst pandemic…

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Where Are We With Biden’s Cabinet Nominees?

Last week I fully intended to write a post about the status of Joe Biden’s cabinet nominees — who has been confirmed, who hasn’t, etc., but as often happens, my best-laid plans go astray.  This morning I logged on and one of the first things I saw was that TokyoSand has done an assessment and also added some enlightening information, so … again, why re-invent the wheel when she’s done such an excellent job of it?  Thank you, TS!

A quick rundown on President Biden’s Cabinet nominees. Who has been confirmed, who has been approved but not yet received a vote, and who is still stuck in committee.

Between a slow transition thanks to the feet dragging of the previous administration, the second impeachment trial, and then the negotiations to get the American Rescue Plan (COVID relief bill) passed — (pausing to celebrate that achievement!!!) — the Senate has gotten fairly behind getting all of President Biden’s Cabinet positions confirmed.

Normally, a month into a President’s first term, the average is to have about 84% of the Cabinet confirmed. (source) But with Biden, we’ve only seen 13 out of the 23 confirmed, which is only 56%. That said, his Cabinet is already shaping up to be the most diverse in our nation’s history.

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Lookin’ Good, Merrick Garland!

Merrick-GarlandYesterday was the first of the two-day confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland, President Biden’s choice to head the Department of Justice.  I have felt for weeks that Garland would be confirmed by the Senate, for he is both liked and respected by those on both sides of the aisle.  According to an article in The Washington Post …

“… there was little acrimony and many Democrats and Republicans on the panel appeared to treat his confirmation almost as a foregone conclusion.”

Several Republicans seem certain that Garland will be confirmed …

“I believe so. There were people that weren’t totally satisfied with his answers, but i didn’t hear anybody get really irritated. … For the most part, he answered pretty well.” – Senator Chuck Grassley (republican) from Iowa

“That certainly seems likely. I thought he did fine. It was frustrating in that he answered very few questions. He approached it more like a judicial nominee dodging every question.” – Senator Ted Cruz (republican) from Texas

“Judge Garland is about as sure a bet as you can have in the Congress these days that he will be confirmed. He has navigated these questions with extraordinary adroitness and aplomb.” – Senator Richard Blumenthal (democrat) from Connecticut

To be sure, there were contentious lines of questioning, especially from the likes of Senator John Neeley Kennedy, a republican from Louisiana, and the ignoble Josh Hawley who cheered the attackers on January 6th, and did everything in his power to try to overturn our votes on that day.  But, Garland remained cool and his answers brought no rebuttal.  For example, Hawley arrogantly twirled his pencil while attempting to goad Garland into a conversation on defunding the police, and on what constitutes ‘domestic terrorism’.

Garland, who prosecuted the Oklahoma City bombing perpetrators before becoming a federal judge,  looked Hawley straight in the eye and responded …

“As you no doubt know, President Biden has said he does not support defunding the police, and neither do I. We saw how difficult the lives of police officers were in the body-cam videos we saw when they were defending the Capitol.  The use of violence or threats of violence in an attempt to disrupt democratic processes.  So an attack on a courthouse while in operation trying to prevent judges from deciding cases, that plainly is domestic extremism, domestic terrorism.”

Lindsey Graham, who would not allow Garland’s hearing to take place earlier this month, reared his typically ugly head, quizzed Garland on whether he thought James Comey, who was fired by the former guy early in his administration, was a good FBI Director.  Garland calmly replied that the question was not useful and that he didn’t intend to get into critiquing other directors.  Then Graham responded churlishly with …

“Well, you’ve been very political, and appropriately so, at times. I just find it pretty stunning that you can’t say, in my view, that he was a terrible FBI director.”

However, at the end of the day, Lindsey told Garland, “I think you’re a very good pick for this job.”  Even Senator Kennedy, one of the more obnoxious among republican senators, said “You’ll be a good attorney general.”

Perhaps Garland’s most powerful statement, at least in my eyes, was when he said …

“I am not the president’s lawyer, I am the United States’ lawyer.”

Quite the contrast from previous Attorney General William Barr who saw himself and the entire Department of Justice as tools at the former guy’s disposal.

No doubt there will be some Republicans who will oppose the nomination, likely Tom Cotton, Mike Lee, and Josh Hawley among them, but the general consensus is that Garland will win senate confirmation when the vote is taken on March 1st.  Score one for justice.

The Price For Perfidy

Actions have consequences, and there is a price to pay for lying and cheating.  Some members of the Republican Party are learning that lesson the hard way.

According to an article in The Washington Post

The 147 Republican lawmakers who opposed certification of the presidential election this month have lost the support of many of their largest corporate backers — but not all of them.

The Washington Post contacted the 30 companies that gave the most money to election-objecting lawmakers’ campaigns through political action committees. Two-thirds, or 20 of the firms, said they have pledged to suspend some or all payments from their PACs.

Meanwhile, 10 companies said only that they would review their political giving or did not commit to take any action as a result of this month’s events.

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The split between company responses shows how U.S. executives are still grappling with the recent political bloodshed and its ripple effects across the corporate landscape. The attempted insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6 led to calls for companies and wealthy donors to disavow support for lawmakers who continue to propagate dangerous myths about the election and has prompted a broader rethinking of the role of PAC giving among the nation’s top companies.

And remember ol’ Josh Hawley who attempted to overturn the election and even egged on the terrorists who invaded the Capitol with murder on their minds?

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It seems that Hawley had a big fund-raiser planned for the weekend of February 12-15.  The event was to be held at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando, Florida, and was billed as a “fun-filled, family-friendly Orlando weekend event”.  Tickets were being sold for between $1,000 to $5,000, depending on the size of the group.

But Loews said that the fund-raiser had been called off after the deadly riot at the Capitol, which many Democrats and Republicans have blamed in part on Mr. Hawley and other members of his party who supported Trump’s efforts to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s victory.

“We are horrified and opposed to the events at the Capitol and all who supported and incited the actions. In light of those events and for the safety of our guests and team members, we have informed the host of the Feb. fund-raiser that it will no longer be held at Loews Hotels.”

But that wasn’t the only blow Mr. Hawley suffered as a result of his actions.  Apparently he has written a book titled, “The Tyranny of Big Tech” that was scheduled to be published by Simon & Schuster in June.  Simon & Schuster have now canceled the publication, saying …

“We did not come to this decision lightly. As a publisher it will always be our mission to amplify a variety of voices and viewpoints: At the same time we take seriously our larger public responsibility as citizens, and cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat.”

Hawley responded by calling the decision ‘Orwellian’ and threatening a lawsuit.

So yes, consequences do have actions even for people in high-ranking government positions.  I applaud those companies that have the fortitude to do the right thing, to hold these ignoble members of Congress to account for their actions, and I hope more will do the same.  We need to take a closer look at the companies with whom we do business, find out who they give their money to, and boycott those who put profit so far ahead of people that they are endangering the nation.


Just one other thing …

My jaw dropped all the way to the floor this morning when I read something that Senator Mitch McConnell said …

“The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people. And they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like.”

ryan-mcconnellIs this the same Mitch McConnell who has been licking Trump’s boots for the last four years?  The same Mitch McConnell who opposed President Obama at almost every turn, including his Supreme Court nomination?  Okay … where is the real Mitch McConnell???  Think … Invasion of the Body Snatchers … or perhaps he’s had a lobotomy?  Or somebody else lent him their conscience for a brief period?

I guess that since Trump now has less than 24 hours in office, McConnell isn’t afraid of the repercussions any longer.  Mitch McConnell, even though he will no longer be the Senate Majority Leader, has quite a bit of influence over the other Senate Republicans, so my hope is that his words, his views, will translate into a conviction in the impeachment trial.

And some have asked me, “why bother?” with the impeachment trial, since Trump will be out of office in 21 hours anyway.  Well, the primary reason for the ‘bother’ is that if Trump is convicted on the impeachment charge, he will never again be able to hold public office.  No run for president in 2024.  This is important, for he damn near destroyed this country over the last four years and we cannot have another four years of him … ever!

Snarky Snippets Is Baaaaaaack …

I tried to do something humorous for this morning’s post, for my last several posts have been either rants or introspective critiques and I thought it was time to ‘lighten up’.  However, try as I might, it just didn’t work.  But I had no trouble whatsoever finding my inner snarky self … that is, apparently, the real me!


Censure???

The late Senator John McCain’s wife, Cindy McCain, has been ‘censured’ by the Maricopa County (Arizona) Republican Committee.  Why?  Because of her support for “leftist causes” like gay marriage, larger government and “others that run counter to Republican values.”  And also because she “failed” to support conservative candidates and has “supported globalist policies and candidates,” including Democrats such as President-elect Joe Biden.

Incredible, is it not?  I wasn’t quite sure what, in a case like this where the person being ‘censured’ holds no political office, what it even means to be censured.  Turns out, it means pretty much nothing.  According to Wikipedia …

“Censure is a formal, and public, group condemnation of an individual, often a group member, whose actions run counter to the group’s acceptable standards for individual behavior. … Like a reprimand, a censure does not remove a member from their office so they retain their title, stature, and power to vote.”

In response to the censure, Ms. McCain said on Twitter “I am a proud lifelong Republican and will continue to support candidates who put country over party and stand for the rule of law.”  Like her husband, Ms. McCain is a person of character … much more so than the buffoons who decided to censure her.  This is yet another example of the bigotry that has become the foundation of the Republican Party in the 21st century.


‘Patriot’???

More times than I can count in the past few days, I have heard the domestic terrorists who attacked the Capitol on Wednesday referred to as “patriots”.  Hearing this is like hearing fingernails running across a chalkboard … it sets my teeth on edge.

NOBODY who harms others and attempts to undermine or overthrow their own government can possibly be called a patriot.  Period.  A patriot is somebody who cares enough about their country to defend it against enemies, not someone who blatantly attempts to destroy their country from within!

John McCain was a patriot, President Barack Obama is a patriot, Senator Bobby Kennedy was a patriot, as were Martin Luther King and the late Representative John Lewis.  These thugs …

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… are not patriots, they are homegrown, domestic terrorists.  They are racists and homophobes.  They are fools, idiots and buffoons.  They are ignorant rednecks … but they are the furthest thing from a ‘patriot’.

Rather than defend their country, what they did, and what they are still planning to do, is to take away the will of the majority of people in this nation and impose their own brand of anarchy based on bigotry, based on racism and hatred.  No, folks, these are insurgents, they are domestic terrorists, every bit as dangerous as members of al Qaeda, and even less intelligent.  Do not make them heroes … call them what they are … the enemies of the United States.


Idiocy has a price …

In January 2019, Senator Josh Hawley, then 39 years old, took his seat in Congress for the first time as the Senator from Missouri.  It was likely the first and last time.  Hawley wanted to be the maverick, the one who gave voice to Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was somehow ‘stolen’ from him, was ‘rigged’, and so Hawley made great show of announcing that he would object to the electoral votes last Wednesday when Congress met to formally certify the electoral votes that declared Joe Biden the next president of the United States.

Yep, ol’ Josh was pretty proud of his sycophancy, pleased to be standing up for the voice of the electoral loser, thought he might even overturn the voice of the people.  And when terrorists gathered outside the Capitol building on Wednesday morning, Josh wasn’t concerned, in fact he waved and smiled, even gave them what I’ve come to think of as the Trumpian equivalent of the Nazi salute …

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And then the shit hit the fan.  Those terrorists Josh thought he was bonding with stormed the Capitol building, disrupted the proceedings, caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, and left 5 people dead.  And Hawley became an overnight pariah.  Former Republican Senator John Danforth, Hawley’s political mentor and a fellow Yale Law School graduate, stated that supporting Hawley in his Senate bid and his prior state attorney general role was the “worst mistake I ever made in my life”.

David Humphreys, who with his mother and sister donated more than $6 million to Hawley’s campaigns, called for Hawley to be censured, having “revealed himself as a political opportunist willing to subvert the Constitution and the ideals of the nation he swore to uphold.”  Hawley has since faced bipartisan calls for his resignation, to which he has responded that he “will never apologize”.  But in all likelihood, his political career is as dead as the fish we had for dinner last night.

Apparently ol’ Josh had written a book … “The Tyranny of Big Tech” … that was scheduled to be published in June by Simon & Schuster.  That has since been canceled, according to Simon & Schuster …

“We did not come to this decision lightly.  As a publisher it will always be our mission to amplify a variety of voices and viewpoints: At the same time we take seriously our larger public responsibility as citizens, and cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat.”

Fortunately for him, Hawley’s net worth is estimated at $1.1 million, so he won’t have to worry about finding a job as a dishwasher or truck driver anytime soon.