No delusions – poor governance in action

In case you had any delusions that the new majority in the US House would offer up good governance, please note:

– Returning Congress representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar have been seated on Committees by Speaker Kevin McCarthy, after being removed in the last Congress for their inflammatory and inane remarks. When I think of Greene and Gosar, the words reasonable and collaborative are not top of mind.

– New Congressman George Santos, the one with the highly fabricated resume, will be seated on two Committees by Speaker McCarthy. Instead of advocating for his being censured or even removed, Santos gets two Committee assignments. I guess the Speaker holds lying in higher regard than most people. Either that or he needed his vote to remain Speaker and will put up with anything.

– Numerous bills have been proposed to restrict voting. As an independent voter, the greater problem in America is not enough people voting. So, these bills are the opposite of what is needed, in my simple view. It is highly disappointing that people have been led to believe that there is a huge voter fraud problem. There is not. Yet Republicans seized on this issue because the former president has too shallow an ego to admit he lost and they must have cheated him.

I have stayed away from a key policy difference which is how to go about reducing first our deficit and debt. Once again, the Republicans have pretended to care about the deficit when not in the White House by trying to alter our credit limit not our pocketbook cash flow. The expenditures have already been made, so we need more money and less outflow. The last time our debt limit was held hostage by Senator Ted Cruz, he would later go on to vote for a tax reduction to increase the debt by about $2 trillion, so he obviously did not care that much about it.

I have called the Speaker again to share my disappointment with the three committee assignments. We need serious-minded people to discuss our issues and possible solutions in a serious manner. These three folks have not shown an ability to do that. As for the voting restrictions, if you have to manage turn out to win, then maybe it is your message.


Saturday in the Park – a few musings for a walk

With all due respect to the band Chicago, one of their most popular songs is the theme for today’s potpourri of topics – Saturday in the Park. So, put on some good walking shoes, add a pair of sunglasses and let’s go for a stroll in the park. A jacket might be required.

After a seemingly endless number of votes, the US Congress has a new Speaker of the House. Sadly, to get elected he chose to make concessions to the most strident group of elected officials, rather than work with the Democrats who will be needed to get the people’s work done.

Unfortunately, this independent and former Republican voter does not hold the new Speaker in high regard as he has missed so many opportunities to be a leader. As one example, he made a great speech laying the blame for the insurrection at the feet of the former president, but then proceeded to erase what he said when called to Mar-a-Lago. I am not a huge fan of Nancy Pelosi, but this is a noticeable step down and this concerns me as the focus over the next two years will not be on productive matters in my view per the stated goals of the caucus.

On a positive note, I was glad to see Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Joe Biden make a joint appearance at a bridge in Kentucky that will be improved by the infrastructure legislation. We need more of this show of bipartisanship in our country. Kudos to both the infrastructure investment and collaboration.

I read where the outgoing president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro trashed their version of the White House on his way out. Given his expected temper tantrum over the election results, following the lead of the former US president’s, it was not a surprise to read what he did following the election.

Leaders need to live up to the role they have been elected to serve. In a democracy, they serve us. They need to tell us the truth and to work together to do serve our needs. Governance is hard enough when they do those things, but nigh impossible when they don’t.

Dimwitted is not a compliment

In an article in Raw Story by Tom Boggioni, he highlights the take of a conservative publication on the chaos in the Republican side of Congress as they attempt to choose a lead person. The article is called “‘Dimwitted’ Republicans buried by Wall Street Journal over post-midterm chaos” and can be linked to below. Here are few unflattering comments from the piece.

“In a blistering opinion piece from the Wall Street Journal on Saturday morning, the editorial board hammered House Republicans for turning their takeover of the House in the midterms election into a circus as members battle over who will be the new Speaker…

As the WSJ editors point out, there is little difference in the policies espoused by McCarthy and his detractors and the battle is not only a waste of time but evidence that the House Republicans are bound and determined to screw up their success at becoming the House majority.

In a word, the editors called un-named GOP House members ‘dimwitted.‘”

At the heart of this chaos is a large group that want to take the party further down the rabbit hole into appeasing an “Alice in Wonderland” base of voters where truths are lies and lies are truth. And, as I have noted before, the former president does an admirable job at playing the role of Queen of Hearts. “Off with his head!” he can be heard shouting to critics.

The others are comprised of a sadly diminishing number of more moderate Republicans and those in between who have long tried to play a game of appeasing both ends, appearing more moderate, while kowtowing to whatever the base has been told to believe by the former president and his lingering sycophants.

Mind you, Democrats are often the group that forms a circular firing squad as they air their debates, but whether one likes Nancy Pelosi or not, the retiring speaker is very good at counting votes and getting things done. The last Republican Speaker who did that was John Boehner, but he got pushed out when he crossed the aisle to many times to add a few Democrats to votes to get something bipartisan passed. The more strident GOP folks did not like that. They would rather beat on their chest and not do anything than dare pass something that some opinion host may say is bipartisan.

As an independent voter, I would love to see a more moderate Republican House speaker. Kevin McCarthy’s actions are far from trustworthy in my view and the party needs to find more veracity. They could start by trying to pass laws that will help people rather than begin a series of “beat-up on appointed enemies’ investigations” to bloody the other side’s chances. But, we are likely to end up with McCarthy which will hinder good governance and reveal a party that only Lewis Carroll could imagine through his looking glass.

Those are the views of a former Republican and Democrat who has been an unaffiliated voter for about fifteen years.

A few odds and ends this Friday before Thanksgiving

A few odds and ends on this Friday before Thanksgiving.

– I think Representative Liz Cheney should be a candidate for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for her political courage to hold the former president accountable for his role in the insurrection on the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021. My guess is Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy will win the nod given his bravery and leadership in standing up to another autocratic individual, but I wanted to mention Cheney.

– I saw where the Republican Party will spend most of its time with its House majority doing endless hearings to discredit people, rather than performing actual governance. This is a waste of taxpayer money and does not serve the American people very well. Sadly, my former party has not voted on a platform, so what it stands for is a good question.

– Republicans like to point out the hearing on the former president as a “what-about-defense,” but that involves an insurrection against the Capitol building endangering incumbents of all stripes. Getting to the bottom of the former president’s culpability on that is a matter of national security and must be done. Republicans made a huge mistake by choosing not to be involved in this process, with the exceptions of Cheney and Adam Kinzinger.

– There is irony that the new Speaker will be Kevin McCarthy under this mission. He would have been Speaker instead of Paul Ryan after John Boehner retired a few years ago, but he blabbed in an interview the real purpose of the endless Benghazi hearings were to discredit Hillary Clinton not get at the truth. So, Republicans had to replace him with Ryan. It is not appropriate to use taxpayers’ dollars for political reasons and this was an obvious example.

-I saw where Nancy Pelosi will be stepping down from Democrat leadership in the House in January. To be frank, I have never been a huge fan of Pelosi’s as she tends to grandstand, but she is nonetheless a very effective Speaker of the House. She does have a knack for getting things done. So, she deserves respect for that.

-Finally, in one of the most bizarre campaign speeches, candidate Herschel Walker when off on a long tangent about werewolves and vampires. Not only did it not make much sense, but why on earth would you talk about that analogy in the middle of telling folks you have credibility? To be honest, it reminds me of a 2010 New Jersey senate candidate named Christine O’Donnell who felt the need to do a TV commercial saying “she was not a witch” as a past issue arose where she claimed such.

Since, Halloween is behind us, we can put away all the werewolf, vampire and witch costumes. And, now we can move on to Thanksgiving. Safe travels all.

We need leaders to calm the tensions

Yesterday, yet another example of why we need civil discourse and leaders to emphasize it, occurred when an assailant broke into Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home and injured her husband, Paul. Whether someone disagrees with Pelosi’s views or even does not like Pelosi, there is no call for such action. Full stop. To be honest, I am not a huge fan of Pelosi’s, but do respect her experience and capability.

Most of my phone calls and emails over the last two weeks to elected officials is to get them to help lower the temperature in our country. I even made a few phone calls to some of the biggest culprits who throw gasoline on fires stoking more tension. The calls before then, were more pleas to act to denounce those who are continuing to fuel The Big Lie.

Yet, leaders are not being listened to by those who need to clean out their ears. The few truth tellers in the Republican Party are vilified and threatened for daring to call out the former president who has been well documented for what he has done his entire life – act in a routinely untruthful manner

To me, two of the people in leadership positions in the Republican party need to speak up and denounce such behavior. We can disagree with one another without threatening or harming people. The first is Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell. Sadly, McConnell has long been overtly skilled as a politician and with the former president has tried to play both ends against the middle. He calls him out to a point, but does not want to anger the MAGA base too much. Yet, he can at the very least say important things like I noted in the bold sentence above.

The other person is House Minority Kevin McCarthy. After saying the right things immediately following the January 6 insurrection against the Capitol, he was summoned to Mar-a-Lago and apparently read the riot act. Since then, he has been the most obsequious of sycophants daring not rile the anger of the former president. My guess is he was told if he wanted to be speaker after the mid-terms, he better play ball. I say this as McCarthy has abstained from being the leader our country and his party needs him to be.

So, if I were in one of these posts for a day, I might say the following.

-Folks, it is OK for us to disagree with the policies of our opponents, but to attack people is a non-starter. We must not conduct, promote or tolerate violence on an opposing candidate official We need to treat them the same way, we would want our candidates and incumbents treated.

-And, it is long past time to bury this election fraud BS propagated by the former president and his allies. Donald Trump lost the election and to say otherwise, is simply unproven lies. Too many people have been hurt, killed and jailed by believing this BS. It simply is not true and the former president knows it, which makes it even worse.

Of course, that is what a leader might say.

A short post with long meaning

It should be noted the GOP House leadership wants to remove the thirteen Republicans from committee positions because they voted for the infrastructure bill that most Americans want and will benefit from. Plus, it was passed on a bipartisan basis in the Senate with nineteen Republican votes, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who called it a “godsend” for his state of Kentucky.

Yet, these same “leaders” have been silent on condemning the actions of one of their representatives, Paul Gosar of Arizona, who once again has embarrassed their party and defamed his position. He sent an anime with his avatar beheading the avatar of that of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. That is immoral in my view and certainly well beneath the dignity of the office. But, tell me what does it say the GOP House leadership values by comparing these two stories?

I was just noting to our blogging friend Joy that Democrat Speaker Tip O’Neill and Republican President Ronald Reagan often disagreed, but both loved their country. They also were good friends. At the end of the day, with a drink in hand, one would call the other to toast the end of another day. This excerpt is courtesy of the book “Tip and the Gipper, ” as Reagan played the “Gipper” in a movie.

Voting for something that you feel is right should not be hindered by tribal politics. And, we can all do a better job at civil discourse. Elected officials should lead the way on civil discourse, not be among our worst practitioners. Just because we disagree with someone does not mean we should take his or her head-off, terrible pun meant to show how dangerous Gosar’s actions are regardless of party.

As an independent, I disagree with some positions AOC has taken, but that is OK, as I agree with some as well. What I cannot tolerate is the malicious and untruthful of actions of representatives like Gosar. I cannot not even get around to looking at their positions, as their actions are so dishonorable We Americans deserve better than this. So, do the people of Arizona. Full stop.

Note on essential commission on January 6 insurrection

I posted the following on several Republican Senator websites, as well as that of my GOP Congressman. Please feel free to use and adapt.

As a former Republican and now independent voter, the fall of my former party is concerning as well as embarrassing. To long tout being a party of law and order and now support a lawless insurrection that not only threatened you and your staff’s lives, but ended up killing five people and contributing to the deaths of two more, is beyond me.

We have a former president who continues to be untruthful about wide-spread election fraud, a stance he planned several months before the election and was highly predictable. What I did not anticipate is how much support he has received from his sycophants who won’t tell him the truth. I also did not anticipate how miserably his legal attempts would fail, going down as one of the worst investments of money winning only one small court case, while losing well over 60.

But, what bothers me even more is the former president set the stage with his lies for the insurrection, invited the more zealous members of his base to DC and then pointed them at the Capitol building. If they had found the white haired Vice President, he may have been another victim, as this former president painted a target on his back.

To be frank, this former president must be held accountable regardless of his party. We cannot have a coup attempt on one branch by another. Full stop. Please support the investigation into this atrocious event in our country’s history. We owe it to those who died, plus we citizens who crave good governance.

Just a few words to save you and me some sanity

I have written before my browser feed seems to be like a gossip column with the he said/ she said stuff that goes on as news. Rather than spend time on issues, we spend far too much time on things of little consequence. The reporters share some culpability, but the political and entertainment news makers share most of the blame.

So, here are a few rules of the road to help both your and my sanity.

  • If a politician is adding little or no value with his or her comments, ignore him or her. I see so much BS being spewed out of the mouths of elected officials, it is embarrassing. Names like McCarthy, Trump, Cruz, Cuomo, Gohmert, Gaetz, Greene, Graham, Johnson, et all are having a very hard time uttering truthful comments. Ignore them if they cannot add value. Just because their followers may believe their BS, does not mean we have to.
  • Ignore the comments that come from entertainment hosts disguised as news people. Fox defended in court one of its nighttime hosts saying he was not a news person, but an entertainer. So, Fox argued successfully his comments should not be considered news and are not subject to defamation scrutiny. This is the “no one should take what he says seriously argument,” which is hypocritical because that is why the person is on the air. Carlson, Hannity, Ingraham, O’Donnell et al are entertainers. And, the truth is not a consistent guest on the shows of too many.
  • With that said, we should not knock too many entertainers, as some comedians have reported news far more accurately than some news sources. But John Oliver, Trevor Noah and Jon Stewart never claimed to be news people. Yet, each have received acclaim for the veracity of their news reporting used in their comedy shows. The work they did on tele-evangelists, property seizure, voter id laws, punitive court costs, beauty pageants, conspiracy parrots, etc. were excellent.
  • Truth. We need this more than ever. Yet, too many have devalued its use. When the truth is deemed superfluous, the lies flow even more. And, organizations and followers take on the personality of their leader. The head of the Republican party is known as a very untruthful person. So, it is not a surprise conservative pundit David Brooks said a week ago, “To be a leader in the Republican Party means you have to lie.” This does not give a hall pass to Democrats, as they need to be as truthful as possible. The lying is far more prevalent on the right, but it is not absent on the left.

That is enough for now. Seek out the truth tellers. Ask questions and listen to the answers. But, it is more than OK to ignore those who are not only not in the ballpark, but are not in the same city as the truth.