A Letter, A Letter! I Wrote A Letter!

Mr. Kevin McCarthy

2468 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, D.C.  20515

Dear Mr. McCarthy,

I am writing to you today to make a few suggestions, since you and your party seem a bit lost at the moment.  You have appointed people to committees they know nothing about and have set up investigations into … nothing that that should be considered to be any business of the U.S. House of Representatives.  So, I have a few suggestions for things you guys can investigate or do, so at the end of your short two-year tenure, at least you’ll have something to show for your time in office.

  • In 2021, Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of the former guy, received a check from Saudi Arabia in the amount of $2 billion. We the People would like to know what under-the-table deal led to this mega payment.
  • We the People would also like to see you continue the excellent work that was done by the House January 6th They did a great job, but their work was cut short when a new House of Representatives took over, and there is still much to be learned about who, precisely, played a role in the multiple efforts to rob We the People of our voices, our votes.
  • While I realize you have a very slim majority and need every vote you can score, I think you would earn a bit of respect if you did the right thing and removed George Santos from your number. Yes, he will likely be replaced by a Democrat, but you will know that you did the right thing.  You will have a clear conscience, at least on this one issue.  I fully believe that Mr. Santos has a serious mental health problem, and while I empathise with that, the United States Congress is no place for a pathological liar.
  • We the People would like to see you and your ‘team’ extend an olive branch across the aisle. In theory, at least, you all work for the same employer … WE THE PEOPLE!  All this idle chatter about shutting down the Internal Revenue Service and replacing the income tax with a “consumption tax” of 30% on every single thing we purchase is bullshit, and you know that all too well.  You’re supposed to be looking out for our interests, not stabbing us in the back!
  • The debt ceiling is not a weapon for you to use to get publicity … it is important that we stay on top of our financial obligations, both foreign and domestic.  Fully half of your party do not even understand the difference between the debt ceiling, the budget, the national debt, and the deficit.  I sometime wonder if you understand the difference?  At any rate, if you cannot work together with your Democratic partners to avoid a catastrophe, then … you really aren’t any sort of a leader at all, are you?
  • I really think you need to re-think some of the committee appointments you have made. For example … Marge Greene on the Homeland Security Committee???  What were you thinking?  She is a supporter of domestic terrorism!!!  15 of the 21 Republicans you placed on the Oversight Committee voted to overturn the election results and 14 of 18 Republicans you placed on the Judiciary Committee, including Jim Jordan himself, also voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election.  These people voted to put duct tape across the mouths of more than 81 million people, including myself!  They voted, basically, to replace democracy with autocracy, to take away our Constitutional right to have a voice in our government!  And YOU put them on some of the most important committees in the House?
  • And last, but not least, forget about Hunter Biden’s laptop … A) It isn’t a matter for Congress. Hunter Biden is a private citizen.  B) Nobody cares.  And speaking of such things … I understand you’re planning to ‘investigate’ the leak in the Supreme Court of the Dobbs decision.  Don’t bother.  A) It was likely Justice Samuel Alito, B) Nobody cares, and C) We the People had every right to know how the Court would be voting on Dobbs, for it was a decision that took away the rights of fully 50% of the population of this nation, including mine!

Overall, Mr. McCarthy, I really think you need to go off on your own this weekend, to a cabin somewhere in the woods, no television, no cell phone, no laptop, and take a long hard look inside yourself, have a nice long chat with your conscience, if you still have one.  You are not working in the best interests of this nation and its people, and I honestly believe you are smart enough to know that.  I hope you can find your conscience and listen to the voices telling you, reminding you, that you work for the people of this nation, that you owe US, not the Republican Party, not the extremists, not the racists, but the 330 million people who live in this country.

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison, citizen, taxpayer, voter

Homeland Terror

I keep hoping to wake up from the nightmare that is defined by the current U.S. House of Representatives, but so far no luck. The House “leader” has placed the most UNqualified candidates in positions on committees that he could find, and they are indulging their fantasies with “investigations” that they know are bogus, that will have no effect other than to turn the House into a three-ring circus! And we pay these arseholes for this! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Clay Jones of Claytoonz fame has written an excellent piece about a couple of these unqualified clowns sitting on committees. For the record, I fully agree with all he says. Thank you, Clay!

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Let’s make one thing clear. What happened on January 6, 2021, was a terrorist attack against our country.

It was an insurrection by white nationalists to overturn a free democratic election and install an unelected dictator. It was a coup attempt.

It was an attack designed to stop the certification of the election, a duty mandated on Congress by the United States Constitution.

The people who did this are terrorists. Ashli Babbitt, who was killed during the attack, was a terrorist.

This was an attack on the United States of America. It was not a protest. It wasn’t just a bunch of tourists. It was a terrorist attack that was instigated by conspiracy theories and the lie that Donald Trump won the 2020 election and it was stolen from him by Joe Biden, Democrats, and a Deep State. One of the biggest advocates for this lie and assault on our…

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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.

musingsofanoldfart

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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Members Of Congress Walk Free

While I was pleased to see the January 6th committee issue recommendations on four counts of criminality for Donald Trump (see Keith’s post for an excellent summation), I must admit to being a bit disappointed on one front.  The committee did make recommendations that four members of Congress should be investigated by the House Ethics Committee, not for their roles in the January 6th attempted coup, but for refusing to testify before the committee.  Numerous members of Congress did, in fact, participate in the attempts to overturn the election and silence the voices of the majority, and personally I consider it a slap in the face to We the People that they are to be allowed to keep their seats in Congress with no accountability for their actions.  Philip Bump, writing for The Washington Post, summed it up well …


Trump’s Jan. 6 enablers in Congress can now exhale

Philip Bump

20 December 2022

The House select committee investigating the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, concluded its work on Monday, releasing part of its report on its findings and a clutch of referrals to the Justice Department for possible criminal investigation. It also released a less explosive set of recommendations: that four members of Congress should be investigated by the House Ethics Committee for failing to comply with the committee’s inquiry.

With that, the door apparently closed on one of the most titillating aspects of the riot, that members of Congress might have been somehow directly involved in the day’s violence. But the door also seems to have closed on another aspect of the post-election period: accountability for members of Congress who eagerly worked to assist Donald Trump’s effort to retain power despite his election loss.

That group had already sidestepped one mechanism for accountability. As The Washington Post reported last week, nearly every member of the House who voted in opposition to recognizing electors from Arizona or Pennsylvania in the hours after the riot — trying to effect through their votes what the mob had been trying to achieve through force — were reelected in last month’s midterm elections. In fact, there’s no obvious evidence that they suffered any political effect for their participation in the effort to block those electors.

But not all of those members of Congress were equivalently invested in preserving Trump’s power. A smaller group, generally closer to the caucus’s rightmost fringe, worked directly with outside groups on promoting the idea that the 2020 election had been stolen and worked with the White House on boosting Trump’s bid to derail his election loss.

Reporting from Talking Points Memo indicates that more than 30 Republican members of Congress communicated with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to offer moral or structural support for Trump’s effort. They passed along unfounded claims of fraud, sent messages of encouragement to the president or, at times, called for a more forceful response to block Joe Biden’s inauguration. In many cases, those legislators were also amplifying false claims about the election to their supporters.

On Nov. 4, 2020, the day after the election, the Twitter account of Rep.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) was flagged 19 times for sharing false or baseless claims about the election results. She continued to make similar claims in the months that followed; she continues to do so to this day. Greene also participated in a briefing at the White House about the election results (despite not yet serving in Congress) on Dec. 21, 2020, along with a number of other House Republicans including Reps. Mo Brooks (Ala.), Brian Babin (Tex.), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Paul A. Gosar (Ariz.), Andy Harris (Md.), Jody Hice (Ga.), Scott Perry (Pa.) and Jim Jordan (Ohio).

Organizers had planned a series of events centered on Jan. 6 in the weeks before the Capitol riot. One, scheduled for Capitol Hill just as the counting of electoral votes began on that day, was put together by fringe activists working under the “Stop the Steal” banner. The lead organizer, Ali Alexander, identified Greene as a friend who was engaged in trying to prevent Biden’s inauguration.

He also claimed that Biggs, Brooks and Gosar had been involved in planning his event. Alexander is not a trustworthy source of information, and the Capitol Hill rally never materialized as planned. (Greene denied involvement in planning an event, as did Biggs and Brooks. Gosar has not addressed the claim.) A potential lineup of speakers submitted with the group’s permit application, though, lists Greene, Gosar, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) and others as speakers. Another organizer of the combined event program for the day (including Trump’s speech) offered a similar list of elected officials as having participated in the discussions: Biggs, Boebert, Brooks, Gosar and Rep.-elect Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.).

(In the immediate aftermath of the Capitol riot, there was an enormous amount of attention paid to tours of the Capitol complex given by Republican legislators in the days before the riot. There’s no evidence that this was nefarious; it appears to have been primarily a function of unlucky timing.)

These details, though, distract from the broader effort to bolster Trump’s rhetoric. The post-election period offered Republican leaders a choice: build political capital with right-wing voters by siding with Trump’s obviously false and baseless claims of fraud or challenge the sitting president’s rhetoric — including by refusing to amplify it. The elected officials listed above had no qualms about sharing misinformation about the election. In fact, their messages to Meadows often indicate that they may actually have believed the quickly debunked claims they were spreading. Even on Jan. 6 itself, Greene and at least one other elected Republican tried to blame the riot on the political left.

While we talk about the House select committee as being focused on the Capitol riot, the committee’s work covered much of the post-election effort by Trump to retain power. The preliminary report released on Monday explores not only the immediate triggers for the riot but also other parallel efforts by Trump and his allies to keep him in office.

Which makes the committee’s limited condemnations of other elected officials more notable. Despite those legislators having been actively involved in the broader effort and serving in positions that require an oath of fealty to the Constitution, the committee offered only formal objections over the failure of four legislators — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Biggs, Jordan and Perry — to comply with the committee’s requests for information. Instead of doing so, several of them were explicit in casting the committee as illegitimate or partisan, intentionally weakening the potency of the committee’s work.

It’s unlikely that the Ethics Committee will offer much of a slap on the wrist, if any, particularly since that bipartisan committee will soon be chaired by a Republican. Those members of the House who amplified Trump’s false claims, worked to assist with his efforts to retain power, voted to block electors from Arizona and Pennsylvania and then blocked or minimized the investigation undertaken by their colleagues will simply continue to serve in Congress.

On Jan. 3, they will once again take a sworn oath to defend the Constitution, as they did on the same day two years prior.

I’ve Been Pondering …

I’ve been pondering what seems like the recent ‘normalization’ of such things as anti-Semitism, Naziism, racism, political corruption, disrespect, and lies.  At first, there is horror, then as it bombards the news, disgust that morphs to mild disgust that ultimately ends up with “meh”.  It is human nature that the more we are inundated with something, the more commonplace it starts to become, until eventually we have accepted it without really thinking about it.

In May, a school shooting took the lives of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, and the nation was in shock.  Stunned.  The same month, a shooting in a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, took the lives of ten people.  More shock.  Both of these events were headline news … for a while … and then they faded … and now, they are largely forgotten, replaced by other dramas and traumas, of which there are plenty to choose from.

Trump’s dinner with two anti-Semites and Hitler apologists, Kanye West and Nick Fuentes, aroused anger and horror, but after days of reporting on it, it seems to be losing its fervor. Says Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), “In an early time you would call a serious person with aspirations for highest office, meeting with a Nazi, disqualifying. Now it is simply ill-advised. That’s a sign of where we are.”

When the Access Hollywood video of Donald Trump talking about how it is okay to physically attack women if you’re famous, because “they let you”, there was horror and outrage, but after it was heard and discussed for days, by the time election day rolled around it had become a joke, just “locker room talk”, they said.  We moved past it, and thus it was not the horrendous thing that it really was, but rather became something of an acceptable ‘norm’.

Two years ago, most of us were up in arms over the voter restrictions that were being put into place willy nilly by the states, restrictive laws that would disenfranchise millions of Black voters, college voters, single-mom voters, and poor voters.  When was the last time you heard anything much about voting rights?  We became inured, accepted that we didn’t have the power to change the new laws, shrugged our shoulders and went on about our business.

Last week, Marge Greene, a U.S. Representative from Georgia, speaking of the insurrection and attempted coup on January 6th 2021 said, “And I will tell you something, if Steve Bannon and I had organized that, we would have won. Not to mention, it would’ve been armed.”  I, and many others, undoubtedly even some Republicans, were stunned by that remark.  She is saying that she would have seen more violence, more devastation, and a bloody coup, would have silenced the voices of We the People, and she’s … proud of that???  It is an affront to the people of this country, the people who pay her $174,000 per year.  We should be calling for her immediate expulsion from Congress, but have you heard of such a call?  How long until her remarks fade into the background and become just another ill-conceived remark by a politician?

There was a time when all of the above things and more would have been the political death of the person involved, but today we express outrage for a day or two, maybe even a week, then move on to the next abomination, for there is always another looming right around the corner. By the time the next election rolls around, we don’t even remember the horrid things they did, so we send them right back to Congress again … and again. We have become inured to it, for one can only remain outraged for so long and over so many things.  Our senses are bombarded and pretty soon things that might have led us to write to our members of Congress and demand something be done, now only cause us to roll our eyes and “move along now, nothing to see here.”

Is it, then, any wonder that the word “gaslighting” is Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year for 2022?  The word, defined as “The act or practice of grossly misleading someone, especially for one’s own advantage,” or “psychological manipulation of a person usually over an extended period of time that causes the victim to question the validity of their own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories…” experienced a 1,740% increase in lookups in 2022 alone.  We the People, the common, ordinary, average Joes that keep this nation running, are being manipulated for the purpose of expanding the power and wealth of a few.  Was this what he had in mind when the former guy said he would “make America great again”?

What Do You Want: Governance Or A Show?

There are many policy and ideological differences between the two major political parties in the U.S., but as I was reading an article yesterday, one came to me that I had not thought of before:  Democrats in Congress take lawmaking seriously, while for Republicans it is a game, a show.  Republican voters seem to require a circus … the most ludicrous, most outrageous and loudest candidate wins with the Republican voters.  Democratic voters, on the other hand, prefer old school staid, nose-to-the-grindstone politicians who they can trust to make laws that benefit the nation and its people.  Don’t believe me?  Let’s take a look at one issue that exemplifies what I just stated … the impeachment of Joe Biden et al.

Already, even without a majority in either House or Senate, knowing their efforts would come to naught, numerous impeachment resolutions have been filed against President Biden, the first one coming less than 24 hours after he took his oath of office on 20 January 2021.  That one, House Resolution #57,   was filed by mad dog Marge Greene, claiming that the President had committed “abuse of power by enabling bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors.”  Wow … all that within less than a day of taking office!  Actually, she was referencing his time four years prior as Vice President, conjecturing something mysterious about his son, Hunter, and more of the right-wing conspiracy theories she’s picked up from her QAnon buddies and from watching the likes of Tucker Carlson over at Fox ‘News’.

Since that first resolution, there have been at least 8 more resolutions to impeach President Biden, and also one introduced by mad dog Greene’s best buddy, pistol mama Lauren Boebert, to impeach Vice President Kamala Harris!  And oh the irony here, but one of the bullet points in Boebert’s attempt to impeach Harris is that the Vice President “neglected her duties as Vice President by failing to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Biden from office due to his clear inability to effectively and competently handle his duties as Commander in Chief.”  Say WHAT???  Boebert wants to impeach the Vice President because she didn’t invoke the 25th Amendment?  OH THE IRONY!

None … not a single one … of these resolutions will lead to actual impeachment, for the Republicans don’t have the votes to get them through now, and in January when the next Congress is seated, these resolutions will all expire.  It’s not serious legislative work … it’s all for show, my friends.  The people whose salary YOU pay, wasted precious time and resources playing games that they knew had no actual meaning. They can then go back to their districts and yell and puff out their chests and say, “I wrote a resolution to impeach the President!” and their supporters will whistle, applaud, and cheer.  It is not governance, it is a circus.

And what should we look forward to come next year?  More of the same crap.  Already, they are gathering their resources, consulting with the Heritage Foundation, a Conservative ‘think tank’, and plotting ‘strategy’, such as it is.  They not only plan to impeach President Biden and Kamala Harris, but also Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.  I seriously doubt they will be successful, and even if they are, I would not expect the Senate to convict and expel any of these from their positions, but these faux impeachments, along with other of their clownish antics, will keep this nation in perpetual turmoil for the next two years, which may well be the goal of the soulless Republican Party.

  • Democrats talk about enhanced voting rights; Republicans talk about impeaching the President
  • Democrats talk about expansion of renewable energy sources to help save life on Planet Earth; Republicans talk about impeaching the Attorney General
  • Democrats talk about gun regulations to cut down on violent crime; Republicans talk about impeaching the Vice-President
  • Democrats talk about human rights – LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, etc.; Republicans talk about impeaching the Secretary of Homeland Security

Do you begin to see a pattern here?  Once again, my friends, repeat after me:  Republicans do not want governance, they want a show.  Vote for them and that is all you’ll get … a horror show.