Open Letter To All Republicans In Congress

Dear Sir or Madam,

Never in my 70 years have I been as disgusted with the Republican Party as I am today.  You have taken politics to an all time low, completely disregarding the will of the people and the best interests of the nation.  Your only goal seems to be to take over the nation and hand the reins of power to a cruel and evil dictator.

Note that your party is in the minority, both in Congress and in the nation, yet rather than trying to develop policies that would help people and thereby attract new members, you push people away with your hateful, guttersnipe rhetoric.  One example, Margie Greene, the QAnon conspiracy theorist who sits in the House of Representatives.  Just since returning from her Twitter ban, she has said that she will personally spend money to ensure that every one of the 19 senators who voted for the infrastructure bill will face a primary candidate next year.  Why?  Only because they worked across the aisle in an attempt to do their jobs.  And then, she claimed that she is drawing up impeachment papers against President Biden … no reason given.

And speaking of the infrastructure bill, there’s Ron Johnson who tells us that he hasn’t even read it and doesn’t plan to … he just knows he plans not to vote for it no matter what is or isn’t in it.  This is obstructionism to the nth degree.

Politics is a career intended to be peopled by educated people who understand how government works and who are dedicated to the principles enumerated in the U.S. Constitution.  Instead, what we get from your side of the aisle is gibberish that makes less sense than a kindergarten child on the playground.  Those of us who have even a basic knowledge of the Constitution and understand a bit about how government is supposed to work are appalled by your actions of the last decade or so, and especially the past year.

We elect you to act in our best interests, to put our welfare ahead of your own personal wealth and lust for power, but thus far you have not done that.  We elect you, then pay you a fair salary, and in return we expect you to show up for work every day, to read every bill you are asked to consider, to give those bills due consideration, debate them, and then make a decision based on whether this bill will be good for the nation and its people.  That’s really all we ask of you!  We don’t ask you to flit about the country holding rallies in which to spew a message of hate.  We don’t ask you to visit the former guy to help him work up his campaign strategy for the next election that is more than three years away.  In fact, that is a conflict of interest and We the People would be well within our rights to call for the resignation of those who have done so.  We don’t ask you to tweet condemnation of every single thing the president says or does – that’s not in your job description.

We the People are your employers, not Mitch McConnell, not Kevin McCarthy, and for damn sure not Donald Trump!

In 1854, your party was founded for a very noble purpose:  to stop the spread of slavery.  Throughout the years, the Republican Party has made some positive contributions to this nation.  But today?  You contribute only to the angst of the people who need help, who need you to put on your grown-up underwear and step up to the plate, do the right thing.  You have an opportunity to make vast improvements in the Republican Party, but instead you are more concerned about increasing your own power and wealthy at the expense of the very people to whom you owe your jobs.

For far too long now, the Republican Party, once known as the Grand Old Party, has been the “party of ‘no’”, the obstructionist party with no relevant goals or policies other than to naysay any legislation that is proposed by the Democratic Party.  Well, guess what … at least they have ideas!

It is time for the Republican Party to reassess their values, to step back and ask yourselves exactly what are you contributing besides chaos?  With all the challenges that face us today, I would think this would be the time to set partisan politics, greed and arrogance aside and work toward fixing the problems, toward making this a safer, more equal nation.  Instead, you are doing the exact opposite.

Think about it.

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison, independent voter, taxpayer, citizen

Hell No, They Won’t Go …

Last night I read that a number of House Republicans are protesting the mandate that Congressional aides and visitors must wear masks, as per the U.S. Capitol Police.  Of course they are … that is all they do, is object to anything and everything. They are much like the annoying, obnoxious lawyer who jumps up and dramatically yells “Objection, your Honour” every time the prosecution calls a witness or asks a question.  I have referred to the GOP more than once as “The party of ‘No’” and this just proves my point.

The Republican members of Congress, with few exceptions, are parrots, repeating their chants over and over again, never speaking with intellect, never saying anything of substance.  It’s just a continual chant of “Hell no, we won’t go”Hell no, they won’t support the right of We the People, the taxpayers who pay their bloated salaries, to vote.  Hell no, they won’t support taking care of the people of this nation who have suffered financially and otherwise during this ongoing pandemic.  Hell no, they won’t tell their constituents to get the vaccine so that this nation might someday rise above the ashes of COVID.  Hell no, they won’t encourage people to wear a mask in order to protect themselves and others, for they won’t even wear a mask themselves.  Hell no, they won’t vote for an increase in the minimum wage such that every working person is at the very least above the poverty level.  Hell no, they don’t want an investigation into the attempted coup on January 6th because they are ALL complicit to one extent or another.  Hell no, the Republicans DO NOT CARE ONE WHIT for the people of this country.

I am sick and tired of listening to Kevin McCarthy telling lies that he knows are lies, as he tries to worm his way into the heart of only one person … the former guy.  I am fed up to the gills with Jim Jordan and his rolled up blue sleeves and yellow necktie (does the ‘man’ not own any other clothing?) as he continues to push back, without cause, against every single thing that President Biden and his administration are trying to do for We the People!  I literally feel nauseous every time I see the newbies like Margie Greene, Matt Gaetz, Josh Hawley, and Lauren Boebert pretend to be viable members of our legislative body, while at the same time toting guns into the Capitol, supporting conspiracy theories, and killing their own constituents by lying to them.

And what is being done to stop the madness?  Nothing.  Talk, talk, talk, and more talk on Capitol Hill, and nothing changes.  But it isn’t only the politicians … what the hell are We the People doing?  Nothing.  The anti-vaxxers are in the streets screeching about their ‘god-given’ right to refuse the vaccine, to refuse to wear a mask, but where are the protests about our constitutionally mandated voting rights being taken away?  The 2nd Amendment supporters are vocal enough, but where are the rest of us, those of us who believe that our right to safety is more important than their right to their killing machines?  Understand that I include myself in this conversation, for I’m not out protesting loudly, either, but merely sitting in my kitchen office writing a blog, occasionally writing to members of Congress to express my displeasure, and lying awake nights cursing at the ceiling.  We are, it seems, the silent majority.  Meanwhile, the Republicans are being heard loud and clear, killing whatever is left of this nation.  The Founding Fathers would not be proud of what we have become.

A few nights ago a friend left the following comment on one of my posts:

“And so America ends, not with a bang, but with a whimper. A voice from beneath the rubble, ‘I really didn’t mean to kill America. I just wanted to hear myself talk.’”

And you know what?  He’s not wrong.

Just Two Snarky Snippets

I could write at least 50 snarky snippets tonight, for my mood is dark, but in the interest of not steaming up my glasses any more than they already are, I’ll settle for two …


Bye-Bye Mr. Saul

Sometimes you have to look at things and just laugh.  Take, for example, the case of this man …

Andrew Saul was the Trump-appointed Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, fired on Friday by President Joe Biden.  First, Saul was asked to resign … a request which he refused.  Then, left with no other choice, the President terminated his employment.  You’re still waiting for the funny part, right?  The funny part is that Saul refuses to leave!  He claims his term lasts until January 2025, that he is “term-protected”, and he plans to be at work on Monday morning.  In the words of the late, great Forest Gump … “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Typically, the position of head of an independent agency such as the U.S. Postal Service or the Social Security Administration is protected from a change in administration, but in this case, both a recent Supreme Court ruling, followed by a Justice Department memo affirmed the President’s authority to terminate Mr. Saul’s employment.  According to a statement issued by the White House …

“Since taking office, Commissioner Saul has undermined and politicized Social Security disability benefits, terminated the agency’s telework policy that was utilized by up to 25 percent of the agency’s workforce, not repaired SSA’s relationships with relevant Federal employee unions including in the context of COVID-19 workplace safety planning, reduced due process protections for benefits appeals hearings, and taken other actions that run contrary to the mission of the agency and the President’s policy agenda.”

A wealthy former women’s apparel executive and prominent Republican donor, Saul, 74 — who served on the board of a conservative think tank that has called for cuts to Social Security benefits — had overseen one of the biggest operations in the federal government since his 2019 Senate confirmation. The Social Security Administration pays out more than $1 trillion a year to about 64 million beneficiaries (yours truly is one of those), who include seniors, the disabled and low-income Americans.

Now what in this man’s past qualified him to head the Social Security Administration … selling clothes to women somehow doesn’t get it in my mind!  And to add insult to injury, he was known for calling for cuts in Social Security!  I spent a lifetime paying into Social Security so that now, in my post-employment days, I could have a bit of income — not enough to live on, but it helps.  I’ll be damned if I want some bozo who sold panties and bras for a living controlling my hard-earned retirement income!

Much like the aforementioned DeJoy, Saul was not initially hired to promote and enhance the work of the agency he was charged with overseeing, but rather was tasked with that agency’s destruction.  I hope that on Monday Mr. Saul finds his computer access cut off, Metro Police waiting to escort him off the property, and his paycheck stopped.  Oh … Saul’s response to his firing?

“I quite frankly feel I’m doing an excellent job there.”  🤣🤣🤣

I hope Louis DeJoy is next.


CPAC Again???

There is yet another Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) taking place in Dallas this weekend.  No wonder the Republican Party hasn’t got the time to actually do their jobs, for they are always busy preparing for and attending these ‘conferences’ where nothing is ever accomplished except tooting their own horns and airing their grievances.

The ‘star’ of the show on Friday seems to have been Representative Madison Cawthorn, a genuine nutcase from the word ‘go’.  He has a theory about President Biden’s plan to have volunteers go door-to-door offering information and assistance to people about the COVID vaccine.  Says ol’ Madison …

“Think about the mechanisms they would have to build to be able to actually execute that massive of a thing.  And then think about what those mechanisms could be used for. They could then go door to door and take your guns. They could go door to door and take your Bibles.”

If only.  I honestly don’t know where the Republican Party finds these nuts … they must be shaking the trees really hard.

Governance??? I Think Not!

If you step back for a minute or two … take a few deep breaths and ponder the news stories of the past week … you cannot help but conclude that this nation is in one heck of a mess, thanks almost exclusively to the Republican Party, formerly known as the GOP that once stood for ‘Grand’ Old Party.  Never in my 70 years have I seen so much blatant corruption, so much complete disregard for the well-being of this nation and its people as I’m seeing today.  It’s easy to get so wrapped up in a single story, or a few particular stories, that you literally cannot see the forest for the trees, but once you step back and look from a distance, you cannot help being horrified at the bloody mess we are in.

Just a few examples …

  • Republicans have attempted to shift the blame for the January 6th attempted insurrection/coup to such groups as Black Lives Matter and Antifa, neither of which were on the scene, neither of which would be caught dead wearing the maga gear and painted bodies that the insurrectionists wore.
  • One freshman House member, also a follower of the conspiracy theory group QAnon, continually compares the mask mandate and push to get the nation vaccinated with Hitler and the Holocaust!
  • Not one single Republican voted for the American Rescue Plan Act, aka the Coronavirus Relief Bill in March, however they have all been more than willing to take credit when they are among their constituents.
  • The entire Republican Party has defended the filibuster … an outdated act that has been used more often than not to protect white supremacy.
  • The Republicans in Congress have done their level best to attempt to stifle any bipartisan investigation into the events and origins of January 6th, and even members of Congress who were frightened for their lives and condemned the insurrectionists on that day, have now claimed it was nothing more than a few tourists.
  • The majority of Republicans still claim to believe the Big Lie, despite every shred of evidence supporting President Biden’s win in November 2020.

And those are just a few.  But what set me off tonight was a Republican House member Charles Eugene Roy, aka Chip Roy.  This ‘man’ has been in Congress since January 2019 which, in my book, is about 30 months too long!  Roy is a Republican and a Texan who served as chief of staff to Senator Ted Cruz, which should tell you most of what you need to know.  He’s done a number of stupid things since taking office, but the one I focus on today is a statement caught on tape in which he said …

“Nobody knows what anybody’s gonna do right now. That’s the thing, this is the problem. I actually say, ‘Thank the Lord, 18 more months of chaos and the inability to get stuff done.’ That’s what we want.  Honestly, right now, for the next 18 months, our job is to do everything we can to slow all of that down to get to December of 2022, and then get in there and lead. I do not apologize one bit for pushing back against the leftist mob that seeks to destroy America from within. I am proud of this country, not embarrassed by it and I will obstruct the agenda of those that are with everything I’ve got.”

There is not a doubt in my mind that Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy and a host of other congressional Republicans have said the exact same thing, but just didn’t happen to get caught on tape.  So this, my friends, is the Republican Party platform:  obstruct and obfuscate.  Ensure that President Biden gets no legislation passed.  Ensure that the Democrats’ policies are dead on arrival.  Ensure that the people of this nation get no benefit from such things as an increase in the minimum wage, infrastructure repairs & renovations, lower prescription prices, gun regulations that will save lives, expanded early childhood education, environmental regulations to counter climate change, or any other damn thing that might help We the People, that might make this nation a better place for us all!  This isn’t governance, this is game playing … with our LIVES!

Chip Roy should give back the $435,000 that he has thus far been paid as a member of the House of Representatives, for he represents NONE of us!  Frankly, we should demand a return of his salary and a few hundred others who have done not one damn thing for this country other than stir up trouble, encourage racism, and take bribes in the form of campaign donations from rich corporations.

I’ve noted on more than one occasion that the Republican Party does not appear to have a platform, no policies, no ideology other than to obstruct and criticize the Democrats.  Mr. Roy’s words simply support what I’ve said … there IS NO policy, there is NOTHING of substance within the Republican Party.  They are, as I’ve also said, the party of “NO” and nothing more.  The only thing they seem to stand for is turning this nation from what was once a democratic republic into an autocratic plutocracy, and they’re doing a damn fine job of it!  Voter suppression seems to be at the top of their list, for unless they suppress our votes, the votes of women, of the poor, of Blacks and Hispanics, they don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of winning an election.  So, nearly every single state in the nation is pushing through voter suppression laws and last week the Supreme Court effectively tore down the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and gave the ignominious Republican Party a ‘thumbs up’.

Democrats damn well better get their act together and come up with some truly great humanitarian policies and some equally great candidates for office.  Only one seat in the Senate and 5 seats in the House of Representatives must be flipped in order to give the Republicans a majority in both chambers of Congress.  WE CANNOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN!

We Will NOT Forget!

Y’know … if someone breaks into my home or place of business, causes massive damage, and threatens my life, I am going to find that person or persons and they are going to pay a hefty price.  It’s that simple.  No, I’m not going to say, “Oh well, no harm done, it was just a normal day.”  No, I’m not going to say, “Oh well, what’s done is done and now I need to just move on with my life.”  No, I am going to say, “Let’s find the sons of bitches that did this and make sure they never see the light of day again except from behind steel bars, never have the opportunity to do this to somebody else again.”  For at the end of the day, criminals who are not captured, not punished, not even pursued, gain strength, gain momentum and confidence, and their next crime – make no mistake, there will be a next one – will be even more heinous than the last.

Yes, of course I am referring to the attacks on Congress and the Capitol on January 6th, attacks that were fully intended to overthrow our votes and what democratic foundations remain in our government.  Now, you may say that more than 500 people have been arrested in connection with the attack, but I would argue those people, for the most part, were pawns.  They were masses of largely uneducated, ignorant people who were looking for a fight, who had been riled into a feeding frenzy by others in positions of power.  Yes, they should pay for their crimes, for their participation with both prison time and fines, but the people I want to see arrested and made to pay most are those who had any role, no matter how small, in masterminding the plot.

Thus far, even before the House investigation has begun, before the FBI or Department of Justice have completed their investigation, we know of certain key people who were involved, including Rudy Giuliani, Michael Flynn, Don Junior, Ali Alexander and others who met on January 5th at the Willard Hotel in D.C. to coordinate and work out the final details.  Why are they walking around free?  Lock ‘em up!!!

The Republicans would like this to just go away, would like to sweep it under their proverbial very dirty carpet, but we will not forget!  We will not let the “American” public forget!  You may get sick and tired of reading about this on Filosofa’s Word, and for that I apologize, but this is too important not to keep up the momentum, to keep it fresh in the minds of the people of this country all the way up through November 8th, 2022 – the date of the mid-term elections when members of Congress, some of whom are guilty of having a role in plotting or encouraging the insurrection, will be seeking votes in the mid-term elections. The media must also do its job and keep the pressure up on those investigating, must keep the events of that day fresh in the minds of the public.

Josh Hawley, representative from the “show-me” state of Missouri;  Lauren Boebert, representative from the state of Colorado; Margie Greene, representative from Georgia; Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader from the state of California; Paul Gosar, representative from the state of Arizona;  Louie Gohmert, representative from the state of Texas – all these people must surely be under investigation for their roles, no matter how seemingly insignificant, in the attempted overthrow of the 2020 election and by extension, our very foundation.

How can we simply forget about what happened and what might have been had it not been for the poor planning of the fools who stormed the Capitol, and the actions of the Capitol Police and others?  How can we simply shrug our shoulders and move on?  If somebody attempted to murder your daughter, would you forget about it?  No, and neither can we forget that many ‘somebodies’ tried to murder our nation.   No, this is not an exaggeration … had the insurgents accomplished what they set out to do, President Biden would not likely be sitting in the Oval Office today, certain key legislators would likely be dead, and this nation would likely be under strict martial law.

So no, Kevin McCarthy, Mitch McConnell … we will not forget!  We will not sit down and shut up!  We the People demand answers!  We demand that we receive a full briefing of every single person who had any involvement at any level!  As we said after 9/11:  We Will NOT Forget!

Is the GOP Inherently Corrupt?

Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters has written a thoughtful, brief analysis of how the GOP went from being “The Party of Lincoln” to being the party of obstruction and conspiracy theories. While we can see how the GOP came to be frequently referred to as the GQP (Goofy QAnon Party), the question now is … will this be the end of the party, or is this only the beginning of a party that prefers fascism over democracy? Thanks, Jeff, for this excellent post!

On The Fence Voters


Inherent — existing in something as a permanent, essential, or characteristic attribute.

No, the disgraced 45th president of the United States was not the cause of the corruption that infects today’s iteration of the GOP. He was merely a cancerous symptom of a deep dive into the throws of corrupt behavior that’s been part of this party for decades now.

If we’re lucky, he’ll be the final nail in the coffin by which the party begins to moderate their views and act like they want to participate in our democracy the way our Founding Fathers expected. If not, we may be looking at an America most of us would never have thought possible — the authoritarian march to fascism. We’re not there yet, but it’s getting pretty damn close.

Again, though, it didn’t start with Trump. This once-proud party, the one that can claim Abraham Lincoln and Dwight Eisenhower as one of their own…

View original post 1,480 more words

Open Letter To Every Republican Senator

Dear Republican Senator …

YOU had the unique opportunity to pass legislation that would have protected mine and others’ right to vote for the foreseeable future, and you stupidly passed up that opportunity for reasons that are completely incomprehensible to me and my fellow citizens.

When you took that Oath of Office and swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution, did you think it was a joke?  Did you think you were just saying words that had no meaning, that carried no responsibility?  Why did you even run for office if you had no intention of acting in the best interests of the nation and the people who live here, who work their asses off to survive and pay their taxes so that you can be paid every month?  It appears to me that you did not run for office because you wanted to help this nation or the people, but only so you could take donations from wealthy corporations to feather your own nest.

You, Senator, do not deserve the position you hold, the office you occupy.  The people who you have caused grievous harm to are people like me … the elderly, college students, Black and Hispanic people, and single working mothers.

I sincerely hope that one way or another, you are forced out of the United States Senate and soon, for you have let the people of this country down, you have been derelict in your duties, and you are a greedy, racist person who I have lost any respect I once had for.  I do not respect you or any of your republican cohorts in the United States Congress.  You failed miserably today, and you have no excuse … not a single one of you even voted to debate the bill!  Do you really hate the people you represent that much such that you will not even spend a few hours considering protecting our rights?

I expect a reply to this letter … it is the very least that you can do, since you have robbed me of my constitutional rights and made me wish I lived anywhere but this ‘shithole country.’

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison – citizen, taxpayer, VOTER

A View From The Front Lines

Yesterday I came across an article written by journalist Dan Rather … you all remember him, right?  While the piece was written two months ago, in early April, it is as relevant today as it was then.  I ask that you read it and think about it for a minute or two.  This is rather a follow up to this morning’s post where I shared the view of Charles M. Blow on bipartisanship, but it also extends a portion of the blame, rightly I believe, to the press.  Mr. Rather’s words come from experience and they are thought-worthy.


The Press and the Party of No

Dan Rather and Steady Team

The Biden Administration is finding a familiar answer to everything it is trying to do from the Republicans on Capitol Hill. It is the same answer that Biden saw up close when he was Vice President in the last Democratic administration. No matter the issue or the topic, it seems that when it comes to legislating around the challenges that face this country, the Republican answer is simple, unequivocal, cynical, and final: No. 

Many have commented, myself included, on how broken and dangerous this system has become. I believe the American experiment in self government works best when it has two strong, principled political parties who come to the table with well-formed and well-intentioned solutions to the challenges of the nation. This has been demonstrated repeatedly throughout our history, and I have seen good ideas and good candidates come from both parties. I have supported Democrats and Republicans with my vote. And, however it may appear at any given time, as a reporter I try to pull no punches, play no favorites in covering the parties. What is happening now isn’t about policy it’s about whether we can have a functional government. 

There has always been a place for obstruction in politics. Sometimes it’s a matter of principle. Sometimes it’s a negotiating position. Sometimes it’s a seeking of momentum leading into an election cycle. But that an entire political party would stand in lock step trying to undermine an entire presidency just because that president was from a different party? Well not even Newt Gingrich tried that. It has been the scorched-earth political tactics pioneered by Mitch McConnell – power for power’s sake, norms and comity shattered, the needs of the country be damned.

All of this discussion leads to questions over the filibuster, voting patterns, gerrymandering, and all sorts of ugly histories around race, power, and representation in Congress. It is obvious that the Founding Fathers, despite their faults, intended to set up a system of government that had the power to solve problems. That’s why they did away with the Articles of Confederation. But now we have many members of Congress whose entire reason for being there is to gum up a system designed for action. They are showboats promoting a nihilistic brand that threatens the well-being of our nation and makes a mockery of the idea that we have a legislature. 

One sign of how broken this system is: even when Republicans held both houses of Congress and the White House in the first two years of President Trump’s administration, they passed almost no bills that addressed problems even they claimed to care about. The perpetual “Infrastructure Week,” turned onto a joke of inactivity – infrastructure “weak.” It appears that the modern Republican party can’t get to “Yes” on anything other than judges and tax cuts. I think part of the reason for this is that a lot of what the party believes at its elite levels is so unpopular that they dare not actually pass bills that give unfettered power to rapacious business interests. They would rather save that for executive actions and the guise of “de-regulation.” There is a lot more to say on this topic, and I plan to return to it later, but in the meantime, I think an understated component of this “politics of no” dynamic is the way the press covers it. 

When I first went to Washington as a reporter, to cover the White House in the Johnson Administration, it was in the immediate wake of the Kennedy assassination. We had no way of knowing that the new president would usher in one of the most consequential flurries of domestic legislation in American history. Johnson was of course a master of the Senate, and the old (to be candid, often ugly) ways in which power could be leveraged. But he was focused on results, and he got them on everything from civil rights to health care to education to the arts. 

Then, as the Nixon years began, I was there reporting on tides of power that were very different from before. But still, there was positive activity on Capitol Hill. Nixon, as we would come to learn, was driven by such hatred of his political opponents (and those he perceived as hostile in the press) that he would drive his own fortune into ruin. But even with that mindset, he was able to accomplish a great deal by working with Democrats–and principled Republicans– in Congress. And when it was time for him to go, the response was bipartisan as well. 

Now, it is easy to glorify the past. These Congresses that “worked” also worked to perpetuate systems of government and society that were unjust and unequal. Some of the horse-trading that was done back then bartered basic rights and societal provisions that we would recoil at today. And those who served in these Congresses were far less representative of the full diversity of the nation. All that said, if the spirit of action that drove them existed today, I suspect our progress on racial justice, voting, guns, the environment, education, and many other big issues would be far more robust. For starters, it would exist. 

And that brings me back to the press. It is impossible and I would argue irresponsible to try to cover Washington as we did in earlier eras. Every story, every reporting angle, must begin with the understanding that one of the two political parties doesn’t try, at least on the national level, to legislate solutions to our problems. The burden for asking why we don’t have bipartisanship to solve major problems shouldn’t be primarily on those making the legislative proposals. Negotiating doesn’t mean saying “no” and walking away. It means offering counter solutions or ideas. It means acting in the best interests of the nation, not in scoring political advantage often at the expense of those in need. [emphasis added]

I understand it is difficult for reporters to cover politics in this manner. Contrary to the politically-motivated attacks on the press, I do believe most reporters try to be as fair as they can. They are loathe to be seen as tools for particular political ends. But this instinct is being weaponized by those who want to break government, and the American system more generally. We have seen from those who delegitimize a fair election and seek to suppress the vote that they are eager to create scapegoats in the press for reporting on these outrages. And they are poised to do the same if they are called out as the party of no. 

But our hope is that journalists do not bend to the pressure. Rather than take every new issue or bill as a separate case, I would respectfully encourage my peers in the press to do more digging into the general systemic dysfunction. For example, when interviewing members of Congress don’t treat their opposition to the issue of moment as separate to their oppositions in the past – including to recognizing the results of the last presidential election. 

The optimist in me believes that the majority of the American public would like a government that works to solve problems. This does not mean giving up one’s own beliefs. And there are issues on which you will never find compromise. We need different approaches to battle in the marketplace of ideas. None of us has a monopoly on wisdom. Far from it. But for this system to work you need to be able to get to “Yes” on some things. You need to have a system that functions. And when that isn’t happening, when our political process is being crippled by cynical actors who have learned they can keep a grip on power by blowing up the government and then blaming failure on their political foes, we need to report on this reality. It is a story of incredible importance and in many ways the future of our nation is resting on getting it told.

—Dan

A Growl-Worthy Story

When I read Nicholas Kristof’s column yesterday evening, I found myself growling.  Republicans in this country need to put their money where their mouth is.  Talk is cheap, and actions speak louder than words! By their actions, the Republican Party is proving that all their talk about supporting families is just that … talk.  Take a look at Kristof’s column and I think you’ll be growling by the midpoint.


Turning Child Care Into a New Cold War

By Nicholas Kristof

Opinion Columnist

June 5, 2021

For a country brimming with “pro-family” politicians, the United States sure is a tough place to raise a family.

We Americans like to think “We’re No. 1,” but one recent study found that the United States was the second worst out of 35 industrialized countries as a place for families. We ranked behind Bulgaria. Behind Chile.

Now we have a historic chance to support children and families, for President Biden’s American Families Plan proposes programs such as high-quality day care and pre-K that are routine elsewhere in the world. You might think that the “pro-family” Republican Party would be eager to translate platitudes into practical help. But you’d be wrong.

“You know who else liked universal day care?” tweeted Senator Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican. She cited the old Soviet Union, apparently suggesting that there is something Communist about day care, and falsely claimed that participation would be mandatory under the Biden plan.

J.D. Vance, author of “Hillbilly Elegy,” warned, “‘Universal day care’ is class war against normal people.” Senator Tim Scott, a South Carolina Republican, denounced efforts “to put Washington even more in the middle of your life, from the cradle to college.” Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, railed at “lefty social engineering.”

In Idaho, a Republican state representative, Charlie Shepherd, explained that he was against a day care measure because “that makes it easier or more convenient for mothers to come out of the home and let others raise their child.” He later apologized because his remarks “sounded” sexist.

This is sad because the G.O.P. is right to hail the importance of family. Having loving, supportive parents who read to children, hug them and help them with homework — that’s crucial for kids. One University of Minnesota study found that maternal attachment at age 3 was a better predictor of high school graduation than I.Q.

So Republicans are correct that healthy families make a healthy nation. Democrats sometimes are too reluctant to acknowledge the toll of dysfunctional families, for fear of blaming the poor for their poverty, but it’s difficult to have a serious conversation about improving opportunity and equity in the United States without acknowledging the complicated problems in many homes.

Some eight million American children — roughly one in eight — live with a parent with a substance abuse problem. Millions more live in a household with domestic violence. Others are latchkey kids who look after younger siblings because parents are working and no day care is affordable.

Families desperately need help. In other countries, they get it. In the United States, they get empty homilies about the importance of family.

As a poorer nation in World War II, the United States could afford to operate an excellent day care program to enable moms and dads to hold jobs in the war economy. A follow-up study found that children in that wartime day care went on to enjoy higher high school and college graduation rates and earned more money as adults.

As of 2019, only 34 percent of American 4-year-olds attended state-funded preschool, and an important new study underscores why America needs national high-quality pre-K. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Boston offered public programs for 4-year-olds but couldn’t meet demand, so a lottery was used to determine which children to accept.

Scholars have now found that the long-term effects of this random assignment were enormous. Children who had been accepted into pre-K were 18 percent more likely to enter college on time. They were more likely to graduate from high school and get better SAT scores, and were less likely to be incarcerated while in high school and disciplined as often. Effects were particularly strong for boys.

This new study is part of an enormous body of research showing that the greatest leverage we have to help people may be early in life, as brains are developing.

Skeptics say early childhood programs are expensive. Sure — but poorer countries can afford them. And educational failure and juvenile delinquency are even more costly, and also undermine American competitiveness around the world.

Senators say they care about crime. Well, here’s a way to reduce juvenile crime: Offer high-quality pre-K. They say they want to help young people attend college. So back the Biden plan for pre-K. In other words, this isn’t spending, but high-return investment.

It’s odd that Republicans perceive early childhood programs as a Democratic plot. One of the best states for early childhood programs is Republican Oklahoma, and Oklahomans don’t see pre-K as Communist but as common sense: If you don’t invest in children at the front end, you pay at the back end.

Biden’s effort to slash child poverty and create systems for day care and pre-K could be historic. It’s the most important policy issue of 2021. These initiatives would do for children and families what Social Security and Medicare did for the elderly.

So, please, Republicans, come to your senses: Helping children isn’t the first step to Communism. It’s a step to strengthening America’s families, and thus to strengthening America.

Yet Another Way Republicans Are Squashing Democracy

I was almost finished writing a post for this afternoon when this one by TokyoSand over at Political Charge caught my eye, and it is on a topic that is too important not to share.  Please take a minute or two to read her entire post about another way in which the Republican Party is working to rob us of a voice in our government.  Thank you once again, TS!

Restricting access to voting is one obvious way Republicans are making America less democratic, but they are also working behind the scenes to eliminate another way regular citizens can get their voices heard.

Because we are a representative democracy, the most obvious way to get our values and voices heard in our federal or state government is by electing politicians who hold our same values. But there’s another tool we have that lets us practice direct democracy — yes, a way to get something done that doesn’t require our politicians writing and passing a bill.

It’s the ballot initiative process.

Initiatives are when citizens propose a new law by collecting enough signatures and then putting it on the ballot so voters can make the final decision. Ballot initiatives are how grassroots groups got minimum wage increased in Arkansas and Missouri, and how Arizona and Montana legalized recreational marijuana, despite strong Republican majorities in those state legislatures.

Please read the rest of the post!