Point of View Columns

The Republican Party of 2023 – The Misadventure Continues

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The early days of 2023 can give rise to the belief that we are now living in the twilight zone where the year never ends and it is now December 41, 2022. Indeed, the drama and chaos that churned through much of last year continues unabated. Consider some of the following recent events and you can decide for yourself:

Early Days of the Republican Rule of the House of Representatives: If the clown car crash derby which was disguised as the Republican members of Congress selecting Kevin McCarthy as Speaker is indication, there be a malevolent set of initiatives designed to establish a very real and malevolent minority rule in this country.

While the total of Republicans in the House does not represent the majority of Americans, and the Crazy Caucus (Gaetz, Boebert, Jordan, etc.) represent a minority of a minority within the Republican Party, their claim that the American people elected them to change America by dismantling a flawed system (with nothing to replace it) rings false and untrue.

Their diabolical strategy includes a) defunding the Internal Revenue Service b) limiting the work of the House Ethics Committee and c) an impossible commitment to a balanced federal budget even if that results in this country defaulting on the national debt causing the entire world economy to collapse is what is a thinly disguised plan to weaken many of the institutions of this already imperfect country.

 The United States of Gun, Cont’d: Earlier this week in Virginia, a six-year old boy brought a pistol from his home and into his classroom and then shot his teacher. While the teacher does not appear to have suffered a fatal wound, it is only by the grace of God that she is not dead. And this incident reveals the literal daily danger that all Americans face in the United States of Gun due to the insane proliferation of these weapons in every city, town and village.

As has been noted before in Point of View, there are approximately 330 million Americans in this country and over 400 million guns. There are more gun deaths per capita than in any country in the world except Yemen – which happens to be in the midst of a civil war.

Yet there appears to be no end to the acceptance of this carnage and even modest controls on the ownership of these increasingly lethal weapons is not even possible in the face of the phalanx of the National Rifle Association and the lobbyists for gun manufacturers. In effect the NRA and gun manufacturers are holding this country hostage, while killing hostages every day.

A true definition of insanity.

Republican Attendance at the Memorial for Fallen Defenders of the Capitol on 1.6.21 = 1: Sadly, this is not a misprint. On January 6th of this year members of Congress sought to honor the twelve Capitol Police officers who died in defense of the Capitol and all the members of Congress during the insurrectionist riot of January 6th of the year 2021.

Every Democrat and Independent member of the House and Senate stood on the steps of the Capitol who lost their lives due to the machinations of Donald Trump and his allies, some of whom are in Congress at this very moment. Only one (1) Republican had the respect for the dead and could overcome any partisan debate for at least a few minutes of respectful silence.

The absent Republicans showed their disdain for law enforcement and their inhuman insensitivity for the families of these dead officers.

Shame is not a word strong enough to describe their behavior.

The Incredible Shrinking Trump: All reliable reports indicate that Donald Trump is shrinking before our very eyes. He did not even have enough influence to get his own crazies in the Republican Congressional Caucus support his candidate for Speaker until 15 separate votes were taken. And then only after concessions that make McCarthy a virtually toothless temporary Speaker.

One is reminded of Edward G. Robinson’s classic line in the 1930 movie “Little Caesar”, “Mother of God, is this the end of Rico?”

Could be Trump, could be.

Jair Bolsonaro is the Trump of the Tropics: During his presidency of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro was described as the Trump of the Tropics for his strikingly similar tactics of consistent lying, defying the laws and governing traditions of his country and always, always attacking anyone who opposed his.

Following the Trump Playbook, he started to cast doubt on the 2022 presidential election saying that the only way that he could lose would be due to voter fraud engineered by his opponents. Sound familiar?

Bolsonaro did lose. Bolsonaro did claim that there was voter fraud. Bolsonaro did facilitate a grudging transition to his successor Lula da Silva. And Bolsonaro did not attend the inauguration of his successor, instead choosing to vacation in Florida.

Sound familiar?

But then Bolsonaro threw away Trump playbook. He clearly planned an assault on the Capitol in Brasilia intended to bring about the collapse of the new presidential regime. All this while he was 3,795 miles away eating fried chicken (photos confirm this). Allowing Bolsonaro to claim that he was not complicit – although no one believes it. But he did not leave his fingerprints all over the insurrection as did one Donald Trump.

Perhaps Trump should think about following the Bolsonaro Playbooks.

Last Words from Negrodamus: George Santos is actually the love child of the late Greg Allman and Cher, adopted by Nazi sympathizers in Brazil who were disguised as Jews.

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Point of View Columns

The Republican Party of 2023 – Apocalypse Now

There was the hope that 2023 would be better than 2022, if only because it wasn’t going to be 2022. Leave it to our Republican brothers and sisters to dump the cold water of madness on those nascent embers of hope.

As this column is being written, the House Republicans are making history, and not the good kind. For the first time in 100 years the majority party in the House has been unable to elect a Speaker after six votes and counting. The constitutional machinery of the United States is sufficiently complex so that the entire Congress can do no legislative work whatsoever until a Speaker of the House of Representatives has been chosen.

While issues related to a possible recession, climate change, the war in Ukraine, racial division, immigration impasse, pandemic (both present and possible) and crime are in the forefront of the American consciousness, ten to twenty right wing of the right-wing Republicans have chosen to bring one branch of the American government to a virtual stand still in order to enforce their mandates of the minority of the minority of Republicans on the entire institution.

Those mandates include:

  • A special committee to consider defunding the Federal Bureau of Investigation (this while domestic white right-wing terrorism is a greater mortal danger to the nation than it has been over the last century and a half.  
  • Impeachment proceedings against the Secretary of Homeland Security as if he is responsible for three decades of any truly useful immigration reform.
  • Even in the wake of the most violent assault against the Capitol since the War of 1812, all magnetometers and other weapons detection systems should be removed from the Capitol and the adjacent Legislative Office Buildings (I am not making this up).
  • Even though over one million Americans have died from COVID-19, and with other variants arriving from around the planet on a daily basis, the removal of all vaccine and mask mandates for all Capitol personnel.
  • A commitment by Kevin McCarthy to lead a shutdown of the United States government should there be a move to increase the debt ceiling which, if it went into effect, could cause the virtual collapse of the global economy – really.
  • A demand that any one member of the House Republican caucus can demand an immediate vote of no confidence in the Speaker virtually insuring that literally no work will be done that benefits an American.

This move towards nihilism can be said to have begun during the reign of Wild Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House in 1995. Why it would seem to be a good idea to deconstruct the government that has resulted in the largest and most successful economy in the world is beyond understanding.

What can be understood is that lurking just below the surface of the beast is the desire to deconstruct those aspects of government that provide social services, protect the environment and add have only just begun to address the root causes of institutional racism in this country.

What can be understood that this particular brand of Republicans absolutely supports the reduction of voting rights, especially for Black and Latino populations.

What can be understood is that if the right wing of the right wing has its way the rights of women to an abortion will one day just be a memory contained in banned history books.

Finally, what must be understood is that the current cabal in the Republican Caucus is tacitly supported by scores of Representatives who already are in denial of the 2020 election results and would gladly accede to a type “gentle authoritarianism” from which this nation will not easily recover.

The sirens may not be loud enough just yet, but the current Republican cabal represents a clear and present danger to democracy, however flawed it may be today, and it behooves all of us to do more than pay attention.

It is past time to act.

The Last Word from NegrodamusHe now predicts that George Santos is contemplating a sex change so that he can claim gender bias in the face of the tsunami of state, federal and international investigations and charges that are headed his way.

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Point of View Columns

-America – Land of the Gun and Home of the Dead

Before you read any further a courtesy is extended – if you believe that the right to own any kind of gun more important than the right to live, you should probably stop right now as this column is not an effort to try to convince anyone when it comes to the Second Amendment.

As you are reading this, the grieving families of the 19 children and two adults killed in Texas are trying to make sense of a universe that is now turned upside down and inside out in an unimaginable vortex of grief and pain.

And as you are reading this there are people like Texas Senator Ted Cruz who actually said that the best public policy strategy in the wake of this schoolhouse massacre would be to have more armed guards in the schoolhouse. After all, what could possibly go wrong with having even more guns in schoolhouses across this blood-soaked nation?

It should be quite clear by now that this nation is on a course that can only be described as suicidal. There is literally no other nation in the world which has the frequency of random murders by gun. These are murders with no particular ideological or religious motive because, in a bizarre and twisted way those killing make some kind of sense as opposed to someone walking into a church or a school or a synagogue or a supermarket killing anyone and everyone with no apparent reason.

There has been a lot written and said about so-called American exceptionalism but the uncomfortable truth is that among the league of developed nations the United States is first in deaths by gun violence, first in private gun ownership, first in maternal death rates, first in incarceration rates and last in national health care policy. The uncomfortable truth is that too many Americans are okay with that as long as certain preconditions are met.

Preconditions like white privilege, preconditions like a predatory economic system that rewards greed and punishes anyone who does not grasp and grab for a living. Preconditions like living in a country with a Constitution that institutionalized minority rule in the very first draft of the document – and minority rule works in the country to this very day, if you are a part of the white privileged minority.

It should also be known that those preconditions also include making some people without privilege feel good about themselves because of belief in the false idols of gun ownership, gender bias and gender dominance and a sad version of religious freedom that debases the spiritual beliefs and freedoms of others.

The massacre in Uvalde will be repeated as sure there will be unprecedented wildfires in the American forest and as sure as we will continue to see once in a century weather storms for the rest of our lives.

And I am sure that my seer and guide to the future, Negrodamus, will certainly predict that, by this time next week all of the hollow thoughts and prayers for the victims of this latest massacre will dissipate like the music of that mythical band going over the hill.

And then the gun lobby addicts posing as senators and representatives, men and women who have already sold their soul to the merchants of death, will look to make the American people believe that the right to own a machine gun is more important than the right of a ten-year-old little girl or little boy to dream and see their dreams come true.

America is exceptional indeed.

But not in a good way.

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