Juneteenth Is Now Official, But …

Tomorrow is Juneteeth.  If you don’t know what Juneteenth is, please visit my post from last year to refresh your memory.  In short, Juneteenth is “a holiday celebrated on 19 June to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people in the US. The holiday was first celebrated in Texas, where on that date in 1865, in the aftermath of the Civil War, slaves were declared free under the terms of the 1862 Emancipation Proclamation.”  But in this, the era of extreme racism in government, police, and society, it is much, much more than that.

I was so moved that I was speechless, a rarity for me, when President Biden signed a bill, the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, into law yesterday declaring that June 19th is, from this point forward in the United States, a federal holiday.  The bill landed on the President’s desk despite some 14 members of the House of Representatives who objected.  Yes, my friends, 14 people who We the People elected to federal office, to the United States Congress, are still so blinded by bigotry that they refused to honour the day that, at least on paper, Black people won the right to be free and equal in the eyes of this nation.

Those 14 representatives are …

  1. Mo Brooks (Alabama)
  2. Andy Biggs (Arizona)
  3. Andrew Clyde (Georgia)
  4. Scott DesJarlais (Tennessee)
  5. Paul Gosar (Arizona)
  6. Ronnie Jackson (Texas)
  7. Doug LaMalfa (California)
  8. Thomas Massie (Kentucky)
  9. Tom McClintock (California)
  10. Ralph Norman (South Carolina)
  11. Mike Rogers (Alabama)
  12. Matt Rosendale (Montana)
  13. Chip Roy (Texas)
  14. Tom Tiffany (Wisconsin)

Remember their names, for these are some of the most racist, bigoted representatives in the United States Congress today.  Also note that ten of the fourteen are from states SOUTH of the Mason-Dixon line … states that fought on the side of the Confederacy trying to preserve slavery just 150 years ago.

There seem to have been two schools of ‘thought’ (and I use that term loosely) among these fourteen as to why they do not support this bill.  Some said it was because of the bill’s name as ‘Independence Day’, and others objected … believe it or not … to federal workers getting yet another paid holiday!  Remember that members of Congress get numerous, lengthy paid holidays each year, far in excess of what the average worker gets.  A few of the more ignominious comments …

  • “Juneteenth is more debunked Critical Race Theory in action.” – Paul Gosar
  • “… I do not support more days off for federal employees.” – Ronny Jackson
  • “Naming this day ‘National Independence Day’ would create confusion and push Americans to pick one of those two days as their independence day based on their racial identity.” – Thomas Massie
  • “I don’t believe it’s healthy to reach into the dead past, revive its most malevolent conflicts and reintroduce them into our age.” – Tom McClintock
  • This isn’t an effort to commemorate emancipation, it’s very clearly tied to the larger hard-left agenda to enshrine the racial history of this country as the prime aspect of our national story.” – Matt Rosendale
  • “… needlessly divides our nation on a matter that should instead bring us together by creating a separate Independence Day based on the color of one’s skin.” – Chip Roy

Apparently Mr. McClintock and Mr. Rosendale do not believe in that old adage that if we forget the lessons of history, we are destined to repeat it.  And Mr. Roy must have his head buried in the sand if he doesn’t realize that this nation is already hopelessly divided on matters of race, among other issues.  What a bunch of narrow-minded bigots these 14 white males are, with no sense of history, no sense of humanity, only their own belief in their white supremacy.  Folks, please, vote these jerks out next year … our very lives depend on it.

Filosofa Is Snarking … AGAIN!

Just once I would like to wake up with a smile instead of a scowl on my face.  Just once I would like to get through an entire day without referring to certain of our ‘public servants’ as the scum of the earth pusilánime bastardos tirón con cara!  I thought that once we rid ourselves of the maniacal former guy, life would settle, but it seems that certain elements (whose salaries we pay) are determined to kill us with either ulcers or heart failure!  Hence I am still the Queen of Snark as my dear friend Ellen calls me, forever writing snarky snippets …


If you can’t trust the judge …

In my Sunday post titled “We Have Met The Enemy” I wrote about U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez who had struck down California’s 30+ year ban on assault weapons, comparing the AR-15 to a Swiss army knife.   There are a few extra details to that story, one that stands out for being a boldfaced lie.  In his 90-page opinion on this case, Benitez wrote …

“The evidence described so far proves that the ‘harm’ of an assault rifle being used in a mass shooting is an infinitesimally rare event. More people have died from the Covid-19 vaccine than mass shootings in California.”

Not, mind you, that more people have died from the disease, but that more people have died from the vaccine, which to put it bluntly, is NOT TRUE!  Such claims often come with citations to back them up, but Benitez offers none, probably because there isn’t one.  It’s bad enough that for the past four years we have had a president who lied to us at every turn, every day.  It’s bad enough that we cannot trust the people we send to Congress to be honest.  But when a f*cking federal judge out and out lies, then I’ve had ENOUGH!

A bit of history on Judge Benitez

When Benitez was nominated in 2003 by then-President George W. Bush, the American Bar Association deemed him ‘not qualified’.  California lawyer Richard M. Macias, writing for the committee, said …

“All too frequently, while on the bench, Judge Benitez is arrogant, pompous, condescending, impatient, short-tempered, rude, insulting, bullying, unnecessarily mean, and altogether lacking in people skills.”

The California Attorney General has promised to appeal Benitez’ ruling, and I hope the state wins on appeal.  But we do not need judges like Benitez!  We need judges who are fair and even-tempered … Benitez is neither of those things.


Dr. Fauci is NOT the enemy!

Dr. Anthony Fauci has dedicated his life to medical science and to the people of this nation.  In return, he is being vilified, his ouster from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), an institute within the National Institute of Health (NIH), is being called for by numerous members of Congress, including my own ignoble representative Warren Davidson.  Why?  Because as a result of a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA), Dr. Fauci’s emails have been made public.  Okay, no big deal … except that there are certain people in this country who would rather create a conspiracy theory by taking statements out of context and making up crap to try to eviscerate Dr. Fauci.

Among those are the right-wing conspiracy-based television networks such as Fox, OANN, and Newsmax, but also certain members of Congress such as Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and others … you might notice it is all on the Republican side, for they are the ones who simply cannot resist a good bedtime story with either a wicked witch or an evil wolf!

These networks and their ‘guests’ have concocted a brand-new conspiracy theory that almost tops Margie Greene’s fake story about space lasers setting last year’s California wildfires.  The newest one is that Dr. Fauci and President Barack Obama approved and funded a program whereby the coronavirus (Covid-19) was deliberately engineered to infect people.  To what end they haven’t said, but you know that the fools on the right side of the aisle in Congress have jumped right onto this bandwagon!  Hawley, Cruz, Rubio, Davidson and others who are a bit intellectually deficient have called for Fauci to be fired immediately but wait … it gets even worse.

Don Junior … you remember him, the hanger-on eldest son that Trump never much liked … has decided now that Fauci might be murdered … and he f*cking laughed about it!  Now, every damn Trump supporter in this country owns at least a few guns, probably assault rifles among their collection.  And you know damn good and well that at least a few of them will take Junior’s words to heart, take it as a ‘call to action’, so to speak.

Dr. Fauci is 80 years old, has served this nation valiantly, and even put up with Trump throughout the first year of the pandemic … a feat that should earn him a medal of valour!  I have the utmost respect for and trust in Dr. Fauci, unlike those congressional boobs who wouldn’t know a virus if it smacked them upside the head.  If anything happens to Dr. Fauci, I will personally contribute to his family to help with the lawsuit that they will no doubt bring against Junior and the members of Congress who lied so abominably.


And speaking of brainless Republican lawmakers …

… There’s Mo Brooks, representative in the U.S. Congress from the state of … you guessed it … Alabama.  Alabama and Mississippi are the two most backwater states in the nation, so it should come as no surprise that Mr. Brooks and his wife aren’t heavy in the intellect department.

Mo was one of Trump’s biggest boot-lickers, and when it became clear that Trump had lost the 2020 election ‘bigly’, Mo was among the first to jump on that “voter fraud” bandwagon.  Brooks was the first member of Congress to announce his objection to the certification of the Electoral College results on January 6th and harshly criticized other Republicans in Congress for not aiding him in his efforts to overturn the election.

Well … over the weekend, Mr. Brooks was served with notice of a lawsuit filed by U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell of California, charging Brooks with ‘instigating violence’.  In part, the complaint by Swalwell reads …

“The peaceful transfer of power is a sacrament of American democracy. Donald Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr., his advisor Rudy Giuliani, and Congressman Mo Brooks, together with many others, defiled that sacrament through a campaign of lies and incendiary rhetoric which led to the sacking of the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.”

Swalwell’s legal team had had difficulty serving Brooks and hired a private investigator to give him the papers, according to court filings.  Mo wasn’t home when the investigator showed up with papers in hand, so he left the papers with Mo’s wife, Martha.  Apparently, ol’ Mo wasn’t too happy ‘bout that and is going batshit crazy, claiming on Twitter …

“Well, Swalwell FINALLY did his job, served complaint (on my WIFE). HORRIBLE Swalwell’s team committed a CRIME by unlawfully sneaking INTO MY HOUSE & accosting my wife!”

Whoa, dude!  Accosting her?  Sneaking in?  I think not.  Long story short, nobody broke into Mo’s house or accosted his wife … why would they?

Mo & Wifey

Since the U.S. Senate, coerced by Mitch McConnell, has denied We the People the right to an investigation to determine exactly WHO was involved on the attack on our Congress on January 6th and in what capacity, We the People, at least those of us with functional brains, will support Eric Swalwell and others who are trying to get to the bottom of January 6thWe the People want (and have a Constitutional right) to know who helped fund and incite the attacks, we want to rid ourselves of the vermin still residing in the Capitol.  We know that Mo Brooks is one of the worst offenders and it is only right that he answer for his role in the events of that horrific day.

A Response …

Yesterday morning I contacted my Republican representative, Warren Davis and Republican senator, Rob Portman, sending both the following short email …

As a representative of the district (state) in which I live and pay taxes, I expect you to support the will of the people.  Joe Biden won the office of president on November 3rd in a fair and honest election.  Donald Trump’s claims of voter fraud are lies and are in themselves fraudulent.  Joe Biden will take the Oath of Office on 20 January, and I fully expect you, Mr. Davidson (Mr. Portman), to vote to certify the electoral results on Wednesday.  If you do not, then you are trying to undermine democratic processes and take away the people’s right to choose their leaders.  Think about that and think about your responsibility to We the People.

Just as I call out these same people when they act in ways that are unconscionable, I thought it only fair to commend them when they do their job and actually represent We the People.  I share a portion of the response I received later that afternoon from Senator Portman …

In accordance with the Constitution and federal law, the Electoral College cast their votes for President on December 14, 2020. I think we need to respect this process the Founding Fathers established, and we must respect the will of the voters.

The orderly transfer of power is a hallmark of our democracy, and although I supported President Trump, the Electoral College vote makes clear that Joe Biden is now President-Elect.

The presidential election was contentious and hard fought. Roughly half of America was bound to be disappointed with the outcome. My hope is that all of us, as Americans, regardless of who we supported in the campaign, will be willing to accept the result because a thorough process was followed, and the final vote count was clear.

Our country faces serious challenges, from the public health and economic crises brought on by COVID-19, to an epidemic of drug addiction, to our growing national security threats. To solve these problems, we need to come together and rise above the dysfunction in Washington. I know if we work together, we can deliver results and make a real difference in the lives of Ohioans and all Americans.

Though I quite often disagree with Senator Portman, I greatly appreciate his views on the election certification, and he has gained a bit of respect in my eyes.  Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Ron Johnson, Marsha Blackburn and many others could take a lesson from Senator Portman.  As of this writing, I have not had a response from Warren Davidson, which is fairly typical … perhaps he only responds to favourable comments.

Time For The Silent Majority To Speak — LOUDLY

This morning it was announced that Senator Josh Hawley from Missouri will contest the votes of the Electoral College when the U.S. Congress meets on January 6th to certify those votes.  I am outraged.  How can a ‘man’ who took an oath to protect and uphold the U.S. Constitution attempt to deny the people of this nation the right to choose their president?  The following is the email I sent to Mr. Hawley early this afternoon …

You, Mr. Hawley, are in breach of your oath to protect and uphold the U.S. Constitution.  WE THE PEOPLE have spoken.  We voted, fairly and honestly, for our next president to be President-elect Joe Biden.  We are sick and damn tired of the buffoon who has occupied the Oval Office for the past four years and we need a government that functions, a president who cares about the nation and its people, not about his own personal whims.  For you to contest our votes, to take away our right to choose our leader, is simply unconscionable.  You better think long and hard about what you’re doing, for you will face the consequences of your actions.  At noon on January 20th, Joe Biden WILL become the next president of the United States, else there will no longer BE a United States.

Hawley’s reasoning, or so he claims, is that “some states, particularly Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own state election laws.”  What he refers to are the accommodations, such as postal voting, that were made by the states in order to enable more people to vote in light of the pandemic, a scourge made far worse than it needed to be by the very lying, bungling person Hawley and others are attempting to keep in the highest office of the land.  There was no criminal activity, no voter fraud, just people voting from the safety of their home rather than being exposed to a deadly virus while standing in line at the polls for hours.

What Mr. Hawley is doing, as well as what Representatives Mo Brooks and Louie Gohmert are doing in their efforts to silence the will of the people, is not only unconscionable, but is against the Constitution, is against the law of the land.  I believe with 99% certainty that their efforts will fail, but the efforts themselves are criminal, are acts of sedition.  Not only that, but they are keeping us all on pins and needles, keeping us from being able to enjoy this holiday season, costing us sleep and our health, just so they can play these foolish games with our lives!

Our friend Keith wrote an excellent letter to several newspapers regarding ‘Representatives’ Brooks and Gohmert’s efforts to change the outcome, to rob us of our voices. Keith has kindly given us permission to alter as needed and use his letter … I strongly suggest we all take him up on that offer, for if enough of us make ourselves heard, make it clear that we will not stand for this circus the GOP is putting on, perhaps others will follow suit.  These people do not deserve their seats in Congress, for they do not represent the people of this nation, they only pander to the whims of the madman who has destroyed much of what was once good about this country.

The United States was founded on the notion of “government of the people, by the people, for the people”, as President Abraham Lincoln so famously noted in his Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863.  Hawley, Gohmert, Brooks and others are attempting to take “the people” out of that equation. It is time for We the People to rise up, to make our voices heard so loudly and clearly that we override those of the fools in Washington who are lining their own pockets while draining ours.

Time To Raise The Bar

The qualifications for becoming a U.S. senator are:

  • Must be at least 30 years of age
  • Must be a U.S. citizen for at least 9 years
  • Must reside in the state he/she would represent

The qualifications for becoming a U.S. representative are:

  • Must be at least 25 years of age
  • Must be a U.S. citizen for at least 7 years
  • Must reside in the state he/she would represent

You will notice there are no educational requirements, no IQ requirements, no need to prove competency or fitness for office.  Founding Father James Madison of Virginia wrote that …

“Under these reasonable limitations, the door of this part of the federal government is open to merit of every description, whether native or adoptive, whether young or old, and without regard to poverty or wealth, or to any particular profession of religious faith.”

Perhaps, knowing what we know today, we would write that a bit differently …

“Under these skimpy limitations, the door of this part of the federal government is open to every man or woman with or without intellect, with or without conscience, and with sufficient wealth to live in a manner far above those people he represents such that he or she will never understand their needs.”

Today, there are 249 Republicans in Congress, and of those, only 26 … barely 10% … are willing to acknowledge the proven fact that Joe Biden won the November election.  On Wednesday, Trump posted a 46-minute video Wednesday evening in which he wrongly claimed he had defeated Biden and leveled wild and unsubstantiated allegations of “corrupt forces” who stole the outcome from the sitting president.  The next day, The Washington Post surveyed all 249 Republicans in the House and Senate, and here are the results …

WaPo-chart

Click here for a full listing of how each senator or representative responded.

The silence is deafening, don’t you think?  The two who claim that Donald Trump actually won the election are Mo Brooks  from Alabama and Louie Gohmert  from Texas, both of whom have been on my radar in the past for their abominable actions as representatives in Congress.

In 1787, when the requirements for office were first written, few people had college educations, few had experience in government, so it made sense to set a low bar for those seeking office.  The goal was to elect people who cared about the country, who would work to make our government one that was “by the people, of the people, and for the people.”  But times have changed … dramatically!  The goal is still the same, but the means of achieving the goal have become far more complex than they were 233 years ago.  We have failed to keep up with the times in many ways, and today the requirements for office in both the executive and legislative branches are pitifully inadequate.

That so few members of the Republican Party are willing to put the best interests of the country ahead of their own is simply unconscionable and in my book is grounds for impeachment.  They certainly have the right to their own personal beliefs, but they have an obligation to uphold their oath of office, which they have long since abandoned.

The damage that is being done to our country by their refusal to accept the results of this election will last for decades.  In essence, they are saying that our election process is null and void, that you cannot trust it, and that our votes do not matter.  WHY are they doing this?  For their own self-interest.  Except for the nutcases like Brooks and Gohmert – both of whom should have been impeached long ago – the majority of those who are silent on the outcome of the election are afraid … afraid of Donald Trump.

Only a handful support Trump’s goal of overturning the election results, of silencing our voices, but the silence of the 200+ who refuse to admit Biden’s victory are complicit by their silence.  I’ve heard people say that the Democrats refused to accept Trump’s election in 2016, but the morning after media outlets called Trump the winner, Hillary Clinton conceded and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer spoke by phone with Trump. Schumer issued a statement shortly thereafter congratulating the president-elect and calling for Americans to “come together.”  A stark contrast to the GOP response today!

Largely because of the refusal to publicly acknowledge the election results, some 77% of the republican voters now believe that the election was ‘rigged’, was ‘stolen’ from Donald Trump, and that Joe Biden is not the legitimate winner.  We don’t know yet what results this will have on our society, but an intelligent person can guess.  Violence in the streets?  A refusal to abide by anything Biden says?  Increased racial violence?  Or worse?

ryan-mcconnellThere will be no dearth of long-term effects, as well.  The people of this nation, led by the assholes in Congress, are destroying themselves.  When asked about the election results, if he accepted Joe Biden as the President-elect, Mitch McConnell replied …

“The future will take care of itself.”

How profound … NOT!  McConnell is only the lead jackass, and the rest of the braying donkeys are following his lead.  Where they are leading this nation is not a good place.  Government exists for the people … all the people.  The majority of the people spoke loud and clear on November 3rd … we are tired of an autocrat calling the shots, disregarding our very lives, and we want a return to a government that works for us … ALL of us, not only those who are wealthy or powerful.  We expect our elected senators and representatives to REPRESENT us, not to disregard our voices and pander to a madman who is destroying this nation.

I plan to write a letter to the major newspapers in my state to voice my objection to the lack of conscience being exhibited by my elected officials.  I don’t know if it will do any good, but I have to try.  Meanwhile, I think it is time to revise the eligibility requirements for members of Congress, and while we’re at it, for the president … it’s time we raise the bar, for right now the bar is lying on the ground.

A Damn Shame

The Electoral College will meet in just ten days to cast their votes, per the popular vote in their states, for the next president of the United States.  Joe Biden has, as I’m sure you know by now, won 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232 … so there should be no question, right?  But, you need to know that there are a few shenanigans by people who are attempting to override the will of the people and keep Donald Trump firmly planted in the Oval Office.  Do I think this will work?  No … but I do think we need to be aware, and once again contact our elected officials to make sure they understand that we will not put up with having our voices erased.

Although the Electoral College will meet on December 14th and presumably the electors will vote in good faith, representing the will of the people, there is still one final step in the process.  Congress must certify the Electoral College vote.  Trump has, thus far, lost all but one of his lawsuits, and that one resulted in a negligible difference, especially as compared to the 40 he has lost.  So, his last best hope is for Congress to challenge the results of the Electoral College.  Typically, this wouldn’t be a concern, but this year is like no other in our history.

An obscure 1887 law called the Electoral Count Act, and several subsequent updates, spell out the process, setting January 6th after a presidential election as the official certification date and outlining vague, unnecessarily complex procedures. On that day, the House and Senate meet in a joint session at 1 p.m. — just three days after the newly constituted Congress is sworn in. One of their first orders of business is to pass judgment on the Electoral College vote.

If a single House member and a single senator join forces, they can object to entire slates of presidential electors. They must do so in writing and provide an explanation.  If they do, the House and Senate must retreat to their chambers and debate the outcome for up to two hours before voting on the matter. Each state’s electors are certified separately, meaning lawmakers bent on challenging the results have multiple chances to force lengthy delays.  If the Democrat-run House and GOP-controlled Senate disagree? That outcome has never been tested before, so we are in uncharted waters here.

Why do I bring this up now?  Because at least a few republican members of Congress are trying to rally support for such a challenge.  Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama has been telling colleagues and allies that he plans to challenge the Electoral College votes when Congress officially certifies Joe Biden’s victory on January 6th, as long as a Senate Republican joins him in the long-shot effort.

“In my judgment, if only lawful votes by eligible American citizens were cast, Donald Trump won the Electoral College by a significant margin, and Congress’s certification should reflect that. This election was stolen by the socialists engaging in extraordinary voter fraud and election theft measures.”

Methinks Mr. Brooks has been drinking a bit too much of the Trumpade.  But, he is not alone … the ignoble Matt Gaetz, representative from Florida, unconscionable Warren Davidson from Ohio, and newly-elected Marjorie Taylor Greene, the QAnon follower/promoter, have all said they would seriously consider challenging the certification of the Electoral College.  So, all that’s left is a republican senator to jump on board … is it so hard to believe that Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul, or Lindsey Graham might decide to play along?  They certainly haven’t shown any integrity thus far …

Even so, I think the odds of such a challenge succeeding are slim-to-none, however it is in our best interest to keep an eye open, for there are those who would deny the voice of the people, would instead opt for a government that does not consider the will or best interests of the people.  These are uncharted waters … this entire election and post-election period has been unprecedented in the history of this country. We can be forgiven for not having much trust in the system operating as it was originally intended … as it has for the past 233 years.  Corruption seems to be the name of the republican game and … the only thing I trust them to do is lie, cheat, and steal.

I don’t think the framers of the Constitution nor the people who fought for our freedom ever intended it to be like this.  It’s a sad statement that we cannot trust the people we elected and whose salary we work hard to pay.  Most people work hard all their lives and pay their taxes without question, so that we can support the lifestyles of these people in Congress, most all of whom are independently wealthy beyond our wildest imagination, and half of whom would throw us under the wheels of a bus if it suited their interest.  A damn shame.

Beyond Bad Manners …

Given the abysmal hate speech that is so frequently engaged in by Donald Trump, I should not be surprised to see that others in the Republican Party are following suit.  Values, kindness, tolerance are all principles that few in the party have managed to maintain in this Trump-era.  But the latest, to me, qualifies as an all-time low.

 

That, folks, was U.S. Representative Mo Brooks from Alabama. And yes, he stooped so low as to attempt to profit by using the tragic shooting of his fellow congressman, Representative Steve Scalise, in his political advertisement.  When I heard he had done this, my jaw dropped and my first thought was, “are there no limits?  Is there no shame?”  And the answer to those questions, of course, is “no”. Wondering if perhaps I was simply being overly sensitive, I went in search of the reactions of others.

“The day of the shooting, while waiting at the hospital, I avoided the news/audio/video as much as possible. This makes my stomach turn.” – Brett Horton, Scalise’s chief of staff

“I guess some people have their own ideas about what’s appropriate.” – Chris Bond, spokesman for Scalise

I expected outrage from some of Brooks’ fellow members of Congress, but I found none.  I guess I should not be surprised at this point, to find them all either completely lacking a conscience or else too lacking cojones to say what they think.  But the outrage from the public was what I expected …

 

When asked if he would consider removing the ad, in light of the criticism, Brooks responded …

“The truth is always appropriate. It’s one thing to talk about defense of the Second Amendment, it’s another thing to have lived through an assassination attempt and to reaffirm your commitment to the Second Amendment right to bear arms.”

Brooks is currently running to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions.

Let us also remember that Mo Brooks was the one who, earlier this month, said of the Senate health care bill, “My understanding is that it will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool. That helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy.”

You know … Trump & Co., along with some number of republicans have eschewed ‘political correctness’ and Trump himself has said, “I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. I’ve been challenged by so many people and I don’t, frankly, have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time, either.”  I see political correctness as nothing more or less than politeness.  We are all well aware that Trump has neither the inclination nor, I believe, the ability to speak rationally, to speak with kindness and compassion.  His supporters have chosen to not only accept that character flaw, but to embrace it.  But why does that mean that the rest of the GOP must follow suit?

In my opinion, every member of Congress needs to speak out against Mr. Brooks’ terribly poor taste, poor judgment, his downright cruelty.  If they do not, then they are as guilty as he.  And to the good people of Alabama:  If you do not stand against this man, if you elect him to the Senate, then you get what you deserve.  Sadly, you also subject the rest of the nation to it.

They Just Don’t Get It …

I had not planned to address the ridiculous piece of health ‘care’ legislation under consideration by the Senate again just yet, but my hackles were raised this morning by a story in Think Progress about the new party line floating around on Capitol Hill.  The headline read:

Republicans Argue Anyone Who Loses Coverage Under Trumpcare Really Doesn’t Want It

According to the article, this is the ‘talking point’ these days in the halls of Congress.  The philosophy being that once the mandate to purchase insurance is gone, some people will simply choose not to have insurance.  With reductions in coverage, higher rates, and state’s ability to choose not to cover pre-existing conditions and essential services, the Congressional Budget Office estimates some 22 million people will not be able to afford adequate coverage. The Republicans in Congress seem unable or unwilling to understand how those of us without 7-digit bank accounts live. Let us take a look at a few of the more egregious statements members of Congress have made recently:

  • Just this morning, a reporter accused Senator John Cornyn from Texas of not caring that 22 million people would lose their coverage. His response?  “Not lose, choose. People will buy what they value.”

  • On Sunday, Marc Short, Trump’s director of legislative affairs claimed, “That’s not losing, that’s choosing.”

  • Last month, Speaker of the House, Paul Ryans, said, “So it’s not that people are getting pushed off a plan. It’s that people will choose not to buy something they don’t like or want.”

  • Back in March, former Representative Jason Chaffetz made this statement: “And you know what? Americans have choices, and they’ve gotta make a choice. And so maybe rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest in their own health care. They’ve gotta make those decisions themselves.”

And the worst one of all came from Representative Mo Brooks from Alabama …

  • “My understanding is that it will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool. That helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy.”

Mr. Brooks’ comment is so deplorable that it causes one to question his mental acuity.  Let’s face it, most of us have some form of pre-existing condition, whether it is diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, or something more serious such as a heart condition or cancer. His suggestion that those of us with pre-existing conditions are in this situation because we don’t “lead good lives” is a crock of very stinky stuff.  Brooks is in line for Filosofa’s Idiot of the Week award soon. Mr. Brooks is from Alabama, as is Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions … maybe that explains a lot.

The prevailing attitude, however, is of greater overall concern than the ignorant comment of Mr. Brooks.  It is further proof, as if we needed any, that some of our elected representatives, particularly those of the Republican Party it would seem, are so far removed from the people they are supposed to represent, that they might as well be living in another universe.

If the costs for health insurance rise, as they will do with reduced subsidies, higher costs for certain people, such as those with pre-existing conditions, and reduced benefits, it will not be a matter of “choice”.  Or rather, the “choice” will be between putting food on the table, or buying health insurance.  A choice between paying the rent in order to avoid being homeless, or buying health insurance.  It is NOT a question of buying an i-phone rather than health insurance, and anyone who thinks it is, does not deserve to be sitting in Congress!

The chart below* reflects the average net worth of members of Congress.  I think it goes a long way toward explaining why our elected representatives do not understand how those of us in middle and lower income brackets need to make purchasing decisions!

   

 

U.S. Senate U.S. House of Representatives
Year # of Senate Reports Senate Average Year # of House Reports House Average
2011 112 $14,013,596 2011 512 $6,594,859
2010 116 $13,224,333 2010 525 $5,992,869
2009 116 $13,229,651 2009 536 $5,106,476
2008 110 $13,835,333 2008 490 $4,719,554
2007 106 $17,170,451 2007 497 $5,661,643
2006 107 $14,106,027 2006 487 $5,071,549
2005 101 $14,553,612 2005 441 $4,511,705
2004 105 $14,455,289 2004 475 $4,243,935

Not surprisingly, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is among the 10 wealthiest senators with an estimated net worth of $22,841,026.

While I do not pretend to have all the answers for having a Congress that can at least begin to relate to the needs of their constituents, not only in health care, but in all areas, I see a few changes that might have a positive effect.

  • Term limits – I have discussed this before. I once was against term limits, thinking that if a senator or representative was good, we would want to keep them as long as possible, and if they were not good, the democratic process would weed them out quickly enough.  Turns out, this is not the case, as in this day and age elections are bought by PACs, lobbyists, and large corporations.  So, term limits must be seriously considered.
  • Gifts to members of Congress – I would propose a moratorium on all gifts to members of Congress, monetary or otherwise. A gift in this case is not a gift, but to put it bluntly, a bribe.  Almost every Republican in both the Senate and the House received monetary gifts from the NRA in 2016, ranging from $250 to $11,900.  Not huge sums, admittedly, but suggestive of an expected ‘return on investment’ nonetheless.  Insurance companies and other large corporations also contribute ‘gifts’ to members, especially during election years.  Even if there were no strings attached, there is room for speculation.
  • Congressional healthcare – Since members of Congress believe the plan they are proposing is such a great plan, they, too, should be able to take advantage of it! It hardly seems fair that We The People should have this wonderful plan, while our elected representatives are stuck with the one they receive as part of their fringe benefits, whereby the federal government subsidizes approximately 72% of their health care costs.

Ultimately the responsibility to hold members of Congress accountable for their rhetoric and actions rests with We The People.  We must stop being influenced in election years by rhetoric and flashy ads sponsored by corporations and PACs whose interest is far different than our own.  We must say to the Mitch McConnells and the Paul Ryans, “You know what?  You did not go to bat for me over health care, so you are not going back to Washington next year.” And then we need to vote for people who have, perhaps a little less wealth and a lot more conscience.  Until we do our homework, research issues and the candidate’s views on those issues, until we all vote and vote responsibly, nothing will change.  Think about it.

* Https://ballotpedia.org/Net_worth_of_United_States_Senators_and_Representatives