Tag Archives: MAGA

Compromise = good government

All right, folks, we are witnessing in real time the impact that good government can bring us.

One aspect of good government — in a representative democracy — is that compromise is essential. So, with that we have an agreement in principle to fend off the threat of our nation defaulting on payments to which it is obligated.

It came down to two men, President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, haggling, needling, cajoling and compromising to reach this agreement.

“Everybody won’t like what is the end of the agreement … on both sides,” McCarthy said Saturday morning. “But … at the end of the day I think people should see what that product is before people vote on it.”

McCarthy is going to make the details of the agreement available to House members for 72 hours before casting a vote slated for Wednesday.

Progressives are unhappy. So are conservatives. These are the hardliners on both ends who refuse to accept compromise as an essential element of good government.

I haven’t seen the details of the bill, so I won’t comment on the finished product. My focus with this post is on the method that Joe Biden and Kevin McCarthy used to reach this point.

Defaulting on our debt obligations is a non-starter. Both men said so. They proceeded from that point. Default would have produced a catastrophe.

The deal that Biden and McCarthy have reached is good for the next two years. It takes this whole issue off the campaign table for 2024. It is an agreement that in a more perfect world should have been reached without the drama that led to this point.

In the end, good government has won the day.


House acts with stunning efficiency; impeaches Paxton

Just like that, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is out of a job. It might be temporary, or … it could be a permanent removal.

The Texas House of Representatives voted today — overwhelmingly, I must add — to impeach Paxton, a move that removes him from his daily duties as the state’s chief law enforcer.

The vote to accept all 20 articles of impeachment was 121-23, with two members abstaining from a vote.

Wow, man! It’s just the third such impeachment in all of Texas’s history.

I have to say the testimony I heard today — and I didn’t settle in for all of it — had me wondering if the House of Reps would be able to do its job. Some House members argued that the body had too little time to hear all the evidence; they argued for a postponement to hear everything the House General Investigation Committee heard.

Well, at the end, Speaker Dade Phelan announced the vote. It wasn’t even close!

I had wondered in an earlier blog post about whether the Texas Republican legislative caucus would have the courage to impeach a fellow GOPer, or whether it would cower the way congressional Rs did when faced with impeaching a Republican POTUS.

I am so very happy to report that the Texas GOP legislative delegation is made of stern stuff. Most of them went along with the Investigation Committee recommendation to impeach Paxton.

The guy has disgraced his office, the state and those within his party. He has been under felony indictment for securities fraud since he took office. The FBI has been examining other complaints against him. To top it all off, the AG has asked Texas taxpayers to foot the bill on a $3.3 million settlement he reached with lawyers he fired after they blew the whistle on what they allege is extensive criminal behavior.

Uh, Mr. AG? I don’t want to pay a nickel.

Now the attorney general will take his seat in the peanut gallery and wait for a Senate trial that ought to commence fairly soon. The Legislature will adjourn early next week. The Senate will sit as jurors in a trial to determine whether to remove Paxton permanently.

None of this could have happened to a more deserving individual.


Good government works?

The deal to increase the federal debt ceiling that appears to be in the works between President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is likely to be a triumph of center-left and right principles of good government.

Those principles will have won out over the extremists on both ends of the political spectrum. The far lefties don’t want any cuts in any discretionary domestic spending, while the far righties want to gut everything in sight.

Just to be clear, I will continue to place the bulk of the blame on this nonsense on the far right, the MAGA cult, those who refuse to govern via compromise. They are wedded to this notion of getting and keeping attention and ignoring the compromise that is essential to governing in a representative democracy.

President Biden brings decades of experience as a good-government Democrat to the table. He has given a little here and there and, to his credit, Speaker McCarthy appears also to have budged a bit from the precipice that the MAGA cult forced on him when he was elected the Man of the House at the start of the year.

If the MAGA types reject whatever debt ceiling deal emerges from Biden and McCarthy’s time together, they will be on the record as opposing the principles of good government that should be the rule rather than the exception.

Indeed, that we are having this discussion at all is a symptom of the perversion that has infected the process. This simply is a product of a Democratic president dealing with a Republican House majority that is dominated — strange as it looks — by a minority cabal of kooks who want simply to be heard and who don’t give a damn about being constructive partners in building a government that works for all Americans.



Will he end up in cuffs and leg irons?

When I hear this chatter from a former president’s lawyers that the ex-POTUS could serve time in prison, my thoughts turn immediately to a friend I haven’t seen in more than two decades.

His name is Peter and he lives in Australia. He has been saying ever since the crap hit the fan on the former president that he truly envisions the sight of the former president being hauled away in handcuffs and leg irons.

That he committed such egregious crimes as president and as an immediate past president that the feds will have no choice but to indict him, put him on trial and then, if convicted, haul his overfed backside off to the slammer.

Peter and I communicate often, discussing the affairs of our respective governments. I concede openly that he is more dialed in to what’s happening here than I am with what is occurring in Canberra. Indeed, the stakes involving the former president would send shock waves worldwide if he is convicted of felonies.

For us, the notion of sending an ex-POTUS to prison is all but anathema. For those around the world, in other democratic nations, it’s happened already.

France has imprisoned a former president; so has Peru. Other leaders of less-free governments have faced criminal charges and have served time as well.

Such a thing would be unfathomable — in many Americans’ eyes — if the criminal defendant is a former president of the United States.

Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a hard-nosed seasoned prosecutor to take over the twin probes involving Donald Trump’s role in the 1/6 assault on our government and the squirreling away of classified documents he took from the White House as he was preparing to leave office.

The smart money seems to suggest that the special counsel, Jack Smith, has wrapped up his documents investigation. He is going to indict the ex-president soon on serious federal charges that could — if he’s convicted — put the ex-POTUS behind bars possibly for the rest of his life. I mean, he is 76 years of age.

What’s more, none of this involves the state prosecutors’ investigations into his trying to overturn election results in Georgia and his indictment on charges that he misspent campaign funds to keep a porn star quiet about a fling she alleges the two of them had in 2006.

I hope my friend reads this blog. So, to him I want to say: It looks more possible than ever that your wish well could come true.


See ya in the slammer, Stewart Rhodes

Stewart Rhodes, the North Texan who helped mastermind the 1/6 insurrection, is now going to get to spend 18 years in federal prison.

How many ways can I say I applaud the sentence that came from the federal judge?

Rhodes remains defiant, of course! He calls himself a “political prisoner” even though a jury convicted him of seditious conspiracy. Let us look at what sedition entails.

It is to “incite rebellion” against the government. Which is what occurred on 1/6. Rhodes, a one-time lawyer, is the founder of the Oath Keepers organization, a right-wing mob of goons who believe that Donald Trump should have remained president even though he lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden.

The Oath Keepers, led by Rhodes, sought to engineer a coup on 1/6. They failed.

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes gets 18 years for Jan. 6 seditious conspiracy – POLITICO

Eighteen years in the slammer is a long time. My fond hope is that Rhodes serves every damn bit of it. Rhodes is the latest 1/6 ringleader to be held accountable for his disgraceful behavior on that day.

I’ll leave it to the presiding judge to put a cap on this commentary: “You, sir, present an ongoing threat and a peril to this country, to the republic and to the very fabric of our democracy,” said U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta, who described Rhodes as a uniquely powerful threat to democracy on 1/6. “You are smart, you are compelling, and you are charismatic. Frankly, that is what makes you dangerous.”

Lock him up!


Mr. Speaker, for whom do you work?

Kevin McCarthy clearly needs a lesson on public service, because the House speaker is listening to the wrong “bosses” as he digs in against efforts to raise the national debt ceiling.

Mr. House Speaker, you work for the people of south-central California, who sent you to Congress to do their bidding, not the bidding of the MAGA crowd that is pulling your strings.

McCarthy appears to be resisting President Biden’s effort to reach common ground because the MAGA cabal that comprises the vocal minority within the GOP House caucus is demanding it of him.

What will happen, then, if the nation defaults? If it fails to pay its debts by the June 1 drop-dead date established by the Treasury Department?

A lot of folks in McCarthy’s home district are going to go without Social Security or military benefit checks, they will watch their mortgage interest rates skyrocket, they will lose their jobs.

Do you think that will piss a lot of ’em off?

The House once had a Republican leader named Eric Cantor of Virginia who listened too closely to the GOP leadership and didn’t listen enough to those who sent him to Congress. Cantor ended up getting booted out of Congress when the GOP primary voters cast their ballots for someone else. Cantor was deemed out of touch with the home folks.

Mr. Speaker, you had better pay attention to who is going to feel the harm of a national default on our debt.


DeSantis: new nice guy?

I keep hearing these stories about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis seeking to increase his likability factor as he prepares to run for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2024.

Good luck with that one, governor.

The “nice guy” DeSantis has declared war on the Disney Corp., the largest employer in his state and the home of the nicest people — and fictional characters — on this Earth.

I’ve been to two of Disney’s properties three times. I went to Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., twice, the first time as a teenager and the second time as a young parent with two rambunctious sons. My wife and I rode every ride we could in 1982, until our boys literally couldn’t go any more.

My wife and I ventured to Walt Disney World much later; our boys had moved out and we were on our own. It was a different experience than Disneyland, given that the Orlando, Fla., exhibit is much larger.

They both had plenty in common. Chief among was the niceness we felt, from Mickey, Minnie and Donald to the staffers who sold us tickets to all the rides. That and the cleanliness of both places.

Why does the Florida governor want to pick a fight with the merchants of niceness? All he’s doing is affirming his reputation as an a**hole.


They aren’t ‘patriots’

Long ago, I grew weary of the right-wing fanatics, white supremacists, MAGA adherents and others of their ilk declaring themselves to be “patriots.”

They are nothing of the sort.

A patriot would understand that this nation came into being as a result of those seeking to build a nation on the basis of civil liberties. That the United States would comprise individuals of varied backgrounds, orientations, races, ethnicities and that everyone is entitled the same liberties.

Now, it is understood that the founders’ work needed some improvements along the way. They allowed slavery to stand; they didn’t grant Black Americans the same civil liberties as the rest of the country; women had to wait until the 1920s to get the right to vote.

But the Constitution was amended to fix those — and other — shortcomings.

Here we are, well into the 21st century, and we are being treated daily to news reports of white supremacists proclaiming themselves to be patriots.

They sicken me.


GOP goes phony on budget concern

Congressional Republicans’ phony concern over federal government standing would be laughable if the consequences of their stubbornness in lifting the debt ceiling weren’t so catastrophic.

Let us remember this fact. When Donald Trump sought to raise the national debt ceiling during his term as POTUS, Republicans went along with their Democratic colleagues. No questions asked. Not a single concern raised about spending, the national debt, the annual budget deficit … all of which grew during Trump’s time in office.

Trump lost the 2020 election to a Democrat. Now the MAGA crowd in Congress who controls the agenda in the House of Representatives has become all worked up over spending. Now they want to cut spending dramatically before lifting that debt ceiling.

To his credit, President Biden isn’t swallowing all the bait whole, although he appears willing to give up some of the high ground he has staked in this standoff with the GOP caucus.

The president has proposed a budget that reduces the budget deficit, bites into the national debt and meets many of the GOP’s demands for “fiscal responsibility.” He also wants to force the mega-rich to pay more in taxes. Is Joe Biden seeking to make billionaires less than rich? Hardly. They will continue to be richer than God.

All of this posturing, though, appears to be for show. The MAGA crowd is not interested in governing. It is interested instead in making a spectacle of themselves and of the Constitution they took an oath to “defend and protect.”

Thus, we see House GOP leadership marching to the cadence the MAGA cabal is calling.

I will hold on to my sincere belief that there will not be a default on our national debt. The consequence of any of this is just too dire to fathom.


Why the hoodie and shorts?

I have spoken in the past about the value of decorum in public life and service, which prompts me to offer a brief comment on the criticism being leveled at a freshman U.S. senator from Pennsylvania.

Democrat John Fetterman stood before a microphone the other day in the presence of his colleagues … while wearing a hoodie and shorts. The other guys were dressed in their customary dark suits, slacks and ties.

Conservatives, quite naturally, jumped all over Fetterman over his, um, attire. They make a good point.

Fetterman has recovered from a stroke. He said he’s been treated for depression. He also says he’s cured and is feeling “great.”

Therefore, I do not understand why a grown man, a sitting U.S. senator, cannot dress himself appropriately while representing his constituents and speaking to the rest of the nation about important public policy matters.

What in the world gives with this guy?