Tag Archives: U.S. Congress

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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