Let’s start with the reality that George Santos may actually be sworn in as a member of the US House of Representatives.  Elected as a Republican, Santos built a campaign by inventing himself as a character.  He did not graduate from Baruch College nor NYU, nor did he work at Goldman Sachs or Citigroup.  The “charity” he founded never registered (?) with the IRS nor filed a 990.  There is no record of his making $750,000 last year nor any proof of his $5 million dollar asset base.  His grandparents were not Holocaust survivors (they were born as Catholics in Brazil), his mother is not Jewish, and the only thing he can claim that makes him “Jew-ish” might be the fact that he (and millions of other New Yorkers) occasionally eats a bagel with a shmear.

It has been well more than a week so since these revelations and, while the Dems are howling, the vast majority of Republicans are silent.  In particular, the man who wants to be speaker (and is, after 15 ballots and god knows how much ass kissing) is dead silent. Why the silence?  Because his Rep count advantage is razor thin and the Republicans worry about defections. 

As if we needed another nail in the coffin that holds the current House Republicans’ moral, ethical, and constitutional values.  What bullshit.  What hypocrisy.  The logical end to their win-at-any-cost strategy.

The newly nearly decapitated Speaker of the House, Mr. Kevin McCarthy, has now lost 14 times before perservering in his attempt to become Speaker of the House.  The 20-odd Republicans making up the Freedom Caucus have extracted almost all the concessions that you can think of, including his testicles.  It may be that they extracted a promise to put the country in default by not approving an increase in the government borrowing limit.  A US default would, in addition to making us look ungovernable, crash the markets, increase interest rates, damage if not destroy the US dollar as a measure of stability, and otherwise fuck everything up.  That is exactly what the Freedom Caucus wants – to tear down the Federal Government.

Which brings us to Rev. Warnock’s victory over Mr. Walker in the Georgia Senate runoff election.  Out of over 3.5 million votes cast, Rev. Warnock beat Mr. Walker by a little over 95,000 votes, or 2.7% of the total.  That means that over 1.7 million Georgians voted for Herschel Walker.  WTF?  Walker was/is a horrible candidate.  He has admitted to mental illness, has fathered God knows how many children out of wedlock and paid for other women he has impregnated to abort those pregnancies, and has real trouble articulating a complete thought.  But rather than vote for a man of the cloth who happens to be a Democrat, 1.7 million Georgians said to themselves, “nope, I am going with Herschel Walker, at least he’s a Republican.” 

Much of the press clamored that the runoff election proved that Georgia was a “purple” state.  I disagree just a bit.  Had the Republicans run a reasonably decent candidate (not pushed by Trump, able to speak in complete sentences, and an upright citizen) Warnock might have been in real trouble. SMDH

In order to pass the appropriation for the Department of Defense, Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his merry band of COVID skeptics forced the Dems into capitulating on the Military Covid Vaccine Mandate.  This was accomplished despite total opposition from the Pentagon.  McCarthy said “We just posted it — we just won.  And think of everything else we can do if we are ready to go on January 3rd.” 

This is winning.  Wait, what?  Endangering our military readiness and our troops health is winning?  These are the fucking Republicans.  They are supposed to be uber-pro-military, right? (pun intended).   Proof positive that McCarthy will kiss any ass that comes with a potential vote from the extreme right (if in doubt see #2 above)    The nutjobs on the right already own this guy.  Yup, not protecting our serving men and women from Covid is way more important as a rights issue than is protecting their health.  Same assholes who vote against funding Veterans’ Affairs.  With the Republicans threatening our military readiness, their investigation of the FBI, the idiotic continuation of the Dunham investigation, it is hard for me to consider the Republicans as the party of “law and order”.  In fact, I think they have somehow reincarnated Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley who, during the riots at the 1968 Democratic Convention said “Gentlemen, let’s get the thing straight once and for all. The policeman isn’t there to create disorder.  The policeman is there to preserve disorder.”  How prescient.

Headline:  “AOC is Being Investigated By the House Ethics Committee.”  Do we know why?  No?  Not one iota.  However, the odds favor the reality that this investigation will be as meaningful as others demanded for Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), to wit:  the American Accountability Foundation previously requested that the Office of Congressional Ethics open an investigation into Ocasio-Cortez for “accepting an impermissible gift to attend the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala…” The group wrote in its September 2021 complaint, “Specifically, we believe Representative Ocasio-Cortez has violated clause 5 of Rule XXV of the Rules of the House of Representatives (commonly known as the Gift Rule) by accepting admission to the Met Gala, an event whose per seat costs is reported to range from $35,000 to $50,000, without having a permissible exemption to allow the acceptance of the lavish gift.” Right, attending a Charity event for free is an ethical violation and considered a “lavish gift?”  Oh, yeah, the ethics watchdog Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust also called for a review of Ocasio-Cortez’s Met Gala attendance at that time.  Maybe because she wore a red dress that had “Tax The Rich” emblazoned on it.  PS – it should be no surprise that both of these groups are right-wing biased and take dark money support.  I am no fan of AOC, in fact quite the opposite.  But this is utterly ridiculous.

This is what “free speech” now means?  Ick.  YGTBFKM.

The Senate and House have passed,  and the President has signed the Respect for Marriage Act.  It is “a glorious triumph of love and freedom,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), quoting the gay-rights activist Edith Windsor in comparing marriage to magic.  “This legislation honors that magic, protecting it from bigoted extremism, defending the inviolability of the same-sex and interracial marriages.”

And yet, to achieve bipartisan support for this bill, an amendment guaranteeing “religious liberty” had to be added.  That amendment is intended to allow individuals and businesses to discriminate against same-sex and inter-racial couples if it is “against their religious beliefs.”   Excuse me but does that mean that I can stop paying taxes because that is against my religious beliefs, or prosecute someone for wearing a cotton/wool blend article of clothing, or force a widow to marry her dead husband’s brother, or kill someone because “God commanded” it  because those actions are within my “religious” beliefs?  Not to mention things like genital mutilation of women, forced conversion, and other delights.

Let me be clear.  If it is impermissible to discriminate against African Americans, women, other religious groups, etc. in insurance, real estate, banking, retailing, and many other activities, why is it OK if someone is gay?  For hundreds of years, pastors, priests, and ministers preached that the descendants of Ham were inferior to white European people.  That was part of their religious beliefs.  Those beliefs are now despised, discredited, and, if acted upon, illegal today.  Serving gay people is no different. 

This is a damn slippery slope.  And now we have weaponized such things as cake-baking, photography, and clothing design.  We already let pharmacists refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control and Plan B drugs.  What’s next, allowing an ER doctor to refuse to save the life of a gay person?  Will an anti-vaxxer pharmacist be allowed to refuse to vaccinate?  Today, at least on occasion, we prosecute will parents who will not get treatment for their children regardless of religious beliefs. Tell me, please, why would we treat any other service provider with more descretion than parents? Because that confuses the hell out of me.

This new definition of “religious liberty” is total bullshit.  It is truly FUBAR.  When your actions actively discriminate on the basis of sexual identity or sexual preference or can cause harm to others, it is not a question of religious liberty.  You cannot impose your whack-a-doodle belief system on others.  You believe the world is flat and 6,000 years old.  Fine.  Early man had dinosaurs as pets. OK, if you insist. You believe the end-times are approaching.  OK by me.  You believe eating pork is outlawed by God.  Well, alright then, do not eat pork.  But when you make breaking the sabbath, or being gay, or teaching what really happened in our history a crime, you have crossed the line. You have every right to believe what you wish as long as it does not impact others. 

The unfortunate truth is that the people promoting this nonsense want to tell you what to do.  They want their medieval attitudes and religious principles to apply to everyone.  Everyone, that is, other than themselves and the politicians they support.

That’s enough for now. 

* Merriam-Webster.com ; wordnik.com

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