Tag Archives: U.S. Congress

Don’t You Understand? They’re Victims!

“The Devil made me do it!”

Flip Wilson

You have to understand something about the people who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6.  They’re not entirely responsible for their actions.  They had merely responded to the words of their newly-formed deity, Donald Trump.  In the hours leading up to the siege, Trump had infused them with idea that he had been wronged by the voting process; that the 2020 elections had been manipulated by covert gangs of leftist forces determined to enforce abortions and gun confiscations upon helpless, red-blooded, bible-carrying Christian American citizens to ensure his loss.  He was a victim, Trump maintained, and vicariously so were his minions.

CHARGE!!!!!!!!!

Thus, the Trumpians had been victimized by the same queer-loving renegades and they were justified in storming the Capitol, tearing through offices, screaming like children told to come in for dinner, threatening others because they got their feelings hurt – all while dressed like ghosts of the Civil War and refugees from a Comic-Con conference gone wrong.

Please!

The Capitol Hill warriors are no more victims of enraged rhetoric than porn stars are of poor script-writing.  For years conservatives have proclaimed the tenets of individual freedom and personal responsibility.  They declared such values in reactive angst to a welfare society and relentless victimhood proclamations.

They loathed when non-White people bemoaned centuries of Euro-colonial oppression and systemic racism.  They rolled their eyes at the thought of women hollering about sexual harassment in the workplace and on college campuses.  They snickered at queer folks complaining of innate homophobia on the job and in school.

Then the U.S. Congress met on January 6, 2021 to certify Joe Biden as the winner of last year’s presidential contest, and – as Dante Alighieri once wrote – all hell broke loose.

The Trumpian crowd became maddened by the process and felt they had no other recourse but to subvert that constitutional mechanism in the most violent manner possible.  Their voices and votes had been ignored and they had to stop the madness.

So, in the name of Ronald Reagan, where the hell was all that talk of personal responsibility?  Where were the people to take ownership of themselves and their actions?  In other words, why do the Capitol Hill rioters suddenly see themselves as victims of…well, anything?!

They all sound like a bunch of – oh, God!  A bunch of minorities, women and queers!  Pass the rifle and heaven forbid!  Now these “victims” have placed themselves in the same category as tree-loving, pot-smoking, Muslim-loving liberals!

What’s going to happen next?  The magnetic poles will switch sides – like communist traitors – and life as we know will extinguish itself?

Again – please!

I personally don’t care to hear the anguished state of mind of these mentally- challenged pencil-dick and cavern-cunt imps.  What happened with last year’s presidential elections is something known as democracy.  It’s the sustenance upon which civilized societies survive.  We cannot exist without it.  The goons who stormed the Capitol three weeks ago didn’t fall victim to the verbiage of Donald Trump; they were victims of their own damned stupidity.  If they truly were swayed by Trumpian oratory, they are as gullible as a child believing in Santa Claus.  They roared into that building because what was left of their brain cells had perished in the swamp of their own hysteria.

It’s just so incredibly interesting that these right-wing extremists who wrap themselves in the American flag and cry freedom – while waving the loser traitorous Confederate flag – are suddenly helpless and violated.  They couldn’t help themselves.  Their faux president told them to do it.

The reality is quite simple: they’re violent and they’re stupid.  But they aren’t victims.

Flip Wilson on “The Ed Sullivan Show” January 11, 1970

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Blood Sporting

Tom Freeman’s painting of the August 24, 1814 burning of the White House by British troops during the War of 1812. (White House Historical Association)

In the fall of 1989, the world watched the Soviet Union begin to crumble, as its various satellites in Eastern Europe started breaking free from the decades-long grip of the terrorist state.  The seminal moment came in November when the Berlin Wall was torn down, and the democratic west joined with the communist east to form the New Germany.  That edifice had been both literal and ideological; a true line between freedom and tyranny.

A month later came another equally stunning and even more sanguineous event; one that gained plenty of international attention, but seems to have faded into history.  Shortly before Christmas gangs of angry Romanians stormed the central palace and captured President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena.  The duo was subjected to a trial and sentenced to death; afterwards they were garroted.  Their demise was similar to that of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and his mistress, as World War II came to an end.  Bands of anti-fascist citizens captured them after ambushing their convoy and rushed them through a trial, before stringing them up like wild animals.

I imagine the mobs who invaded the U.S. Capitol building this past Wednesday felt equally aggrieved and outraged by what they perceived to be an unfair presidential election.  Spurred on by the vitriolic rhetoric of their dear leader, Donald Trump, they amassed in Washington from all over the country and launched their angry assault.  In behavior similar to that of developing countries, these renegades overwhelmed Capitol Hill police and managed to enter the arena where lawmakers had convened just moments earlier.

That January 6 was a critical day.  That’s when elected officials gathered to certify that Joe Biden had won the U.S. presidency two months ago and would be sworn into office as the nation’s 46th president on January 20.  The gangs of right-wing ideologues who disrupted that stately process demanded otherwise.

This is the first time since 1814 that the U.S. Capitol had been invaded.  And that was in the midst of the War of 1812; during the early days of the American republic.  Great Britain was still trying to regain control of its former colony and succeeded in burning down the capitol.  That was over 200 years ago.  Last Wednesday came during a war of ideology and political differences.

I have never seen anything like it in my life.  Indeed, it is something more emblematic of nations around the world struggling through the growing pains of a new democracy or any new regime change.  It’s similar to what happened in Cuba on New Year’s Day 1959, when Fidel Castro led a ragtag band of rebels into the presidential palace in Havana to overthrow the brutal dictator Fulgencio Batista.  Like Ceausescu and Mussolini, Batista had held onto power for many years through bloodshed and terrorism.  He suppressed free speech and sought to annihilate anyone who dared to disagree with him.  Unlike Ceausescu and Mussolini, however, Batista was able to leave Cuba and live out his life in peaceful exile – and wealth – in Spain.

The people who stormed into the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday aren’t freedom-loving patriots.  They’re domestic terrorists; redneck hooligans supported and agitated by a psychopathic narcissist who didn’t fairly win the U.S. presidency in 2016.  They weren’t the least bit upset over the blatantly fraudulent elections of that year and 2000.

For decades conservatives have lobbed conspiracy theories about mobs of left-wing anarchists swarming into American homes to seize firearms and bibles and force everyone to love Muslims and queer people.  That has never happened.  It didn’t happen after the raucous turmoil of the 2000 presidential elections and it didn’t happen four years ago.  As upset as liberals were then, groups of enraged tree-loving abortionists and pot-smokers didn’t invade Washington and trash lawmakers’ offices.  The biggest threat came from within the bastions of conservatism.

I hope devout Trumpists are happy with themselves.

One Capitol Hill police officer, Brian D. Sicknick, has now succumbed to his injuries.  Four protesters also died; one of them shot to death.  I’m saddened by Sicknick’s death, but I don’t give a damn about the others.  Like people who drink alcohol heavily their entire lives and develop cirrhosis, they brought this upon themselves.  The Capitol Hill police chief has resigned, and – as of this writing – nearly 20 people have been arrested in connection with Wednesday’s mayhem.  Insurrection is a federal offense, and treason is technically punishable by death.  The legal machinations over this debacle will play out for years.

And Donald Trump will go down in history as a president who fomented a riot and placated the rioters.

The nation will move forward, as time does – whether anyone on the far left or far right like it or not.  The spirit of a truly democratic society can’t be quashed.  It never has and it never will.

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Video of the Week – June 26, 2020

As pathetic and delusional as he is colorful and right-wing, U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert made another spectacle of himself this week, as he tried to drown out critics of U.S. Attorney General William Barr during a hearing by repeatedly tapping his desk.

“If there are no rules about when people can talk, there’s no rules about when you can make noise,” Gohmert insisted after Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Georgia, asked the chairman to order the sergeant-at-arms to end the disruption by removing him.

Aside from his grammatical infraction and toddleresque antics, Gohmert is one reason why even many Texans avoid traveling to or through East Texas.

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Tweet of the Week – December 20, 2019

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

– Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), in response to the ‘Conservative Squad’.

The ‘Conservative Squad’ is a quartet of Republican congressional candidates – Michelle Fischbach of Minnesota; Nancy Mace of South Carolina; Jessica Taylor of Alabama; and Beth Van Duyne of Texas – who claim they are the answer to four Democratic women in Congress known as the ‘Squad’: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Ohio.

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Trauma Nation

“Never let yourself be persuaded that any one great man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America.  When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower

From a political standpoint, this has not been a good week for the United States.  On Wednesday, the 18th, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump.  Trump now holds the dubious distinction of being only the third Chief Executive to be recommended for removal from office.  As much as I personally despise our Russian-elected president, I’d rather see him voted out of office next November than be forcibly removed.  It would be the single strongest message to Trump and his band of right-wing sycophants that their extremist ideology is of no use to the American populace.

But the impeachment process hints at a failure in our national leadership and puts the institution of voting into question.  As the oldest continually-functioning democracy in the world, the U.S. has always been a beacon of freedom; our constitution an enviable guide to how a nation should operate.  Our right to vote is a core element of our very national existence.  It’s the heart of our democratic soul.  The president of the United States is often deemed the leader of the Free World.  That other elected officials would seek to oust him from that pinnacle slashes at our democratic heart.

I’m old enough to remember Watergate.  Even people who considered themselves staunch conservatives had to concede that President Richard Nixon was as crooked and devious as his detractors made him out to be.  On the night Nixon announced his resignation, millions of Americans tuned into the live broadcast.  Afterwards there was no sense of real jubilation.  As the nation inched closer to its bicentennial, most people – including my parents – felt sad.  When Nixon left the White House, the transition of the office occurred at the tip of a pen, instead of the barrel of a gun.  After all, we didn’t live in a third-world society.  No tanks, no bombs and no bloodshed.  Still, Americans asked, how did we get to this point?

I definitely recall the Clinton impeachment fiasco.  My brain and body became flush with anger at the self-righteousness of the Republicans Party.  They had done everything to undermine Bill Clinton’s presidency – even before he won the Democratic Party’s formal nomination.  And they failed.  Their bloodthirsty overreach extended shamelessly to the president’s secretary and the mother of the woman who kept that infamous blue dress.  They paid the price for their arrogance in the November 1998 midterm elections.  They lost their super-majority in both houses of Congress.  Conversely, the Democrats gained seats; the first time the same party as the president attained positions in the House and the Senate in a midterm election since 1942.

And now, here we are – for the second time some twenty years – at the threshold of usurping the leader of the Free World.  How did we get to this point?  As I wrote in an essay two years ago, impeachment should not be taken lightly.  Neither politicians nor average citizens should become obsessed with it.  A sanguineous mindset traumatizes the national soul.

With the term “impeached” now added to the title of President, Donald Trump’s place in political history has been secured – unpleasantly and distastefully carved into the American psyche.  He cannot escape it.  Deny it, yes, as his narcissistic persona is already doing.  But – like the sky – it’s ubiquitous and unmalleable.

How painful for this nation.

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Retro Quote – Elijah E. Cummings

“My life is based on pain, passion, and purpose.”

–  Elijah E.Cummings, U.S. Congressman from Maryland who died unexpectedly on October 17

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Impeach Them All!

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Our elected officials have led the American people to the cliff’s edge – and have pushed.  We’re headed into the abyss of recession, and the pathetic bastards don’t care.  Their salaries and health care are assured.  The rest of us get reamed.  Now, don’t get me wrong!  I like being screwed like most anyone else – if I’m enjoying it.  But, I’m not enjoying this!  Neither is most every other American.

This has been going on since…oh, I’d say January 20, 2009, when President Obama took office.  The Republican Party made it a point from the moment that half-blooded Negro won the 2008 election that they’d do everything in their power to undermine his presidency.  Not help to hemorrhage the country’s increasing unemployment; not stop the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; not start rebuilding the nation’s aging infrastructure; not find out who all was responsible for the banking and housing crises that led to the economic downturn in the first place.  No, their goal was simple: destroy Obama.  For their part, the Democrats replied in their usual conciliatory tone; bowing to the GOP over expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts.  They and Obama relented, lest unemployment insurance lapse in 2011.  Obama collectively – and rightfully – deemed the rest of us a “hostage.”  I dubbed him a wimp for caving to John Boehner and Mitch McConnell.

Now, angry that Obama won last month, the GOP is even more determined to destroy him – and take the rest of the country down, too.  If we look at this entire imbroglio in the same context as a business, Congress would be in bankruptcy.  Wherever I’ve worked anyone who didn’t cooperate with their constituents and strive to achieve the common goals set forth by management ended up contacting the unemployment office.  In other words, they got fired!  They were told to pack up and head out.  I’ve never known a place that allowed people to squabble and not accomplish anything.

Until now.

Congress is the exception.  They’ve always made themselves the exception.  Its members, of course, don’t have to worry about their respective financial futures.  They haven’t had to exhaust their 401K’s and empty their savings like I have in the two years since I got laid off from an engineering firm.  Their health care is secured.  They don’t have to worry about a proverbial “donut hole” like my parents and scrounge through their medications.  They have their own bank where they’re allowed to overdraw their checking accounts and not pay any fees.  Congress lives in its own glass bubble; separate from the rest of us – the people who elected them – and devoid of reality.

But, therein lies the key – we elected them.  We are their employers.  And, since they refuse to do as we instructed, I therefore propose we terminate them.  Every single one of them.  Just fire the whole lot of them and hire some new employees.  From President Obama whose backbone never seemed to have much lead all the way down to every “Tea Party” candidate who give trailer park residents a bad name.  Get rid of them!  They’re not doing the job we told them to do.  They have failed on every level.  I’ve voted Democrat most of my life – including twice for Obama – but, I’m not prejudiced.  Everyone there in Washington needs to go.  If Enron and Bear Stearns could lay off thousands of employees because the companies screwed up, we can certainly terminate every member of Congress for flat out refusing to do their jobs.  I mean, who the hell wants to keep employees like that anyway?  No business can succeed with that kind of staff!

So, as we fly off that “cliff” and head into the New Year, who’s with me on this mass impeachment?  We can work together on this!

Image courtesy I-Clipart.

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Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), left, with his father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). A study found the younger Paul’s oratory to be at an eighth-grade level. Photo courtesy Ed Reinke, Associated Press / October 2, 2010)

As if we don’t have any more reason to loathe our Congressional representatives, along comes this Los Angeles Times report that proves how pathetic they’ve become.  The nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation claims that the degree of discourse in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives has dropped one full grade – down to the sophomore level.  High school sophomore, that is.  So, if you call these people sophomoric, you’re not being disrespectful; you’re just being honest.  I feel vindicated!

“Congress is changing as an institution, and what you see is more and more members gearing their speeches as sound bites or YouTube clips,” said Lee Drutman, a senior fellow at the Sunlight Foundation.  “You can [hark] back to a golden age of Congress when members quoted Shakespeare on the floor and really engaged in debate and talked to each other and tried to reason back and forth.”

The report came out last week.

Consider Everett M. Dirksen, the legendary Republican senator from Illinois, who defended a civil rights bill in 1964 by paraphrasing 19th century French writer Victor Hugo: “Stronger than all the armies is an idea whose time has come.”

But, in an analysis of floor debates over the last several years, the study found that newer lawmakers tended to speak at a lower grade level than the veterans of congressional speechifying.  And political moderates among both Republicans and Democrats tended to carry on at a higher grade level than those more partisan liberals or conservatives.

Thus, it should be no surprise that the lawmakers at the bottom of the list, speaking at the lowest grade level, are among the most ardent tea party Republicans in the freshman class.  Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, Rep. Robert Woodall of Georgia and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky were the bottom three – all speaking at about an eighth-grade level, the study found.

On the surface, I know this is ripe for mockery and a plethora of “Saturday Night Live” skits.  But, if you consider the important role our elected officials play in the formation of national and foreign policies, then it actually becomes disturbing.  There’s a sharp difference between speaking in a palatable vernacular and just talking stupid.  That the relatively neophyte “Tea Party” has already had such a dramatic impact on both houses of Congress and elected individuals who can’t even form complete sentences also says a lot about the American electorate.

If you’ve ever listened to President George W. Bush or half-term Alaska governor Sarah Palin, then you know some folks not only can’t, but shouldn’t speak publicly.  Yet, both those clowns appealed to a wide range of people and made into high-ranking positions of power.  With his frequent verbal stumbles, Bush made the U.S. the laughing stock of the world.  Here we are – the richest, most powerful nation on the planet – and we had a Chief Executive who couldn’t even pronounce the word “nuclear.”  I think Sarah Palin only made it into the governor’s mansion because there weren’t enough people in Alaska to vote otherwise.  The largest state in the Union (geographically) has a population smaller than the city of Dallas.  But, when she said “refudiate” in a 2010 interview and then compared herself to William Shakespeare, I’m sure it made even Alaskans cringe.

Has it really gotten that bad?  I knew reading and writing skills among our grade and high school students have been dropping for years – much to the chagrin of, well, no one in Congress who seem more concerned with gay marriage and Obama’s birth certificate.  But, if adults can’t speak properly in public, why should kids?  Why criticize the younger generations for being so obsessed with cell phones and video games?  It’s really kind of frightening to realize any one of those kids could be sitting in the Oval Office and many others will be in Congress – all trying to balance budgets and pass laws.  What are they going to do?  Communicate via Twitter?  I’m afraid that’s where we’re headed, but I still hate to think that’ll be the case.

In the meantime, I’ll keep reading, writing and speaking out publicly about the issues that matter most to me.  Besides, I feel an obligation to refute all that stupidity coming out of Washington.

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