Tag Archives: U.S. Congress

Hypocrisy in Action

I’ve often noted that conservatives can be incredible hypocrites.  For years they said no divorcee would be elected to the presidency.  Then they got Ronald Reagan, the nation’s first divorced Chief Executive, whose wife was the nation’s first divorced First Lady.  They dubbed Bill Clinton a draft dodger and condemned him for protesting against the Vietnam War while he was in college.  Then they elected George W. Bush who earned a comfortable spot in the Texas National Guard in 1968 and failed to complete his tenure.  They also elected Dick Cheney who claimed he had “other priorities” during the 1960s.

Conservative hypocrisy has reared its bigoted head once again – this time in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.  Republican Senators Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, Rick Scott and Tommy Tuberville submitted the correspondence to Garland complaining about what they perceive to be a double standard in punishment by the U.S. Department of Justice against the January 6 Capitol Hill rioters.  In contrast, they declare, many of the various protestors to the George Floyd killing who became violent haven’t met the same degree of discipline.

In part, the letter states:

“DOJ’s (U.S. Department of Justice) apparent unwillingness to punish these individuals who allegedly committed crimes during the spring and summer 2020 protests stands in stark contrast to the harsher treatment of the individuals charged in connection with the January 6, 2021 breach of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. To date, DOJ has charged 510 individuals stemming from Capitol breach.  DOJ maintains and updates a webpage that lists the defendants charged with crimes committed at the Capitol. This database includes information such as the defendant’s name, charge(s), case number, case documents, location of arrest, case status, and informs readers when the entry was last updated.  No such database exists for alleged perpetrators of crimes associated with the spring and summer 2020 protests.  It is unclear whether any defendants charged with crimes in connection with the Capitol breach have received deferred resolution agreements.”

Please.  Spare me the anxiety.

The five angry White male senators don’t seem to understand the difference in the two events.  While some of the Floyd protestors devolved into rioting and vandalism, the original intent was to demonstrate against police violence; a recurring dilemma in the U.S.  The intent of the Capitol Hill rioters, however, was to disrupt congressional business and kill someone – most notably Vice-President Mike Pence.

Conservatives have warned about threats to national security posed by Islamic vigilantes and illegal immigrants for as long as I can remember.  But, these weren’t the people who stormed Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021, as Pence oversaw certification of the 2020 presidential election.  The rioters were mostly White people – many of them former military and/or law enforcement – from across the country who felt their dear leader, Donald Trump, had been cheated out of a second term by a corrupt electoral system.  I can almost hear Al Gore and Hillary Clinton laughing.

But I don’t recall bands of angry liberals storming Capitol Hill in January 2001, demanding Al Gore be lynched.  I also don’t remember seeing similar renegades bursting into Capitol Hill in January 2017, calling for Joe Biden’s head.  And it’s obvious to most of us with more than half a brain that the 2000 and 2016 presidential elections were fraudulent.  Yet conservatives denounced anyone voicing their disdain to those two events as whiners and sore losers.  We were justified, though, in protesting.  But we never got violent.  No one smashed windows, kicked in doors and hollered for blood to be spilled.  Neither Al Gore nor Hillary Clinton stood before angry supporters, urging for violent retribution against Congress.

It’s ironic, however, that Merrick Garland is in a leadership position.  Five years ago President Obama nominated him to replace Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court.  Republicans – who held a majority in the Senate – refused to grant Garland the decency of a fair hearing.  Yet, they rushed through the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett last year, following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Again – hypocrisy in action.

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Best Quotes of the Week – May 29, 2021

“The bills, which seek to abolish critical race theory, were more important than expanding Medicaid; maintaining federal unemployment benefits; enlisting more Texans to get COVID-19 vaccinations; or overhauling the state’s electric power grid.  The bills are also part of a backlash against growing efforts to bring more accuracy and inclusion to historical texts and a wider movement to whitewash U.S. history.  Old, racist approaches to education are new again.”

Elaine Ayala, columnist for the San Antonio Express-News, on the Texas Legislature’s ill-timed ban of discussions of racism in Texas classrooms

“Some people have no shame.”

President Joe Biden, criticizing Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-TX) and other Republicans who opposed his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, but are now taking credit for it

“I think the perception is on the part of the public that the January 6 Commission just trying to get to the truth of what happened, and that Republicans would be seen as not wanting to let the truth come out.  I don’t believe that’s what’s the motivation, but I think that’s the perception.”

Sen. Mitt Romney, about the reluctance of his fellow Republicans to support a bipartisan commission to study the actual causes of the January 6 Capital Hill riots

“What are you afraid of?”

Sen. Chuck Schumer, after Senate Republicans blocked a bipartisan commission intended to study the actual causes of the January 6 Capital Hill riots

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Funniest Image of the Week – May 1, 2021

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) appeared to doze off during President Biden’s State of the Union address Wednesday evening; prompting him later to tell FOX News, “Joe is deliberately being boring, but the substance of what he’s saying is radical.”

I know the feeling, Ted.  I used to get sleepy during long meetings at work.  It happens, and I feel your “pain”.  Now stop playing the victim and get your fat ass to work!  The nation is still in crisis!

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Photo of the Week – May 1, 2021

President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union address to Congress is notable for a historic first in the U.S.: Vice-President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stood behind him.  There’s an old saying – behind every great man is a woman.  In this case, I guess it’s two women!  Although I can’t say if Biden is a great man – yet.  Regardless, I look forward to the day when an image like this is no major news event.

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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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