Tag Archives: Republicans

A Plague on Both Your Houses?


People, and this includes some of my liberal friends, are always saying that the dysfunction in Washington right now can be laid at the feet of both parties. They believe that Democrats and Republicans are equally to blame for the partisanship and obstruction, for the enormous gap between the wealthy and the rest of us. And, of course, they are right, or in a way they are right. Money is far too important in Washington. It talks louder than we the people who can’t afford to make our voices heard because we cannot amass enough money to turn up the volume. We do need to deal with the outsized influences of special interests with lots of bucks, of Wall Street and the banks, and of big business.

However the Republicans have introduced another whole level of political drama that we must deal with first. Republicans have gone off the rails, off the deep end, delusional, and are aggressively pursuing reactionary policies that will hardly take America into a prosperous future. Democrats have been slow to counter the outrageous activities of the Republicans. Democrats have been shy, hanging back. They want to pretend that regular order still pertains in Washington. They are stodgy, self-conscious and do not want to match the operatic tone of the GOP (or the Biblical Old Testament tone either). That may be all to the good. Watching the full opera treatment play out in Washington might be too much for everyone.

However, we the people need to understand that, although our elected Congressmen in both parties are too involved with amassing personal wealth and a power base that will give them staying power and clout, the impasse we are presently in cannot be attributed equally to both parties. Both parties are not trying to rewrite the Constitution. Both parties are not trying to make it more difficult to vote. Both parties are not trying to overturn 50 year old court rulings that offered new hope to many beleaguered women. Both parties are not trying to privatize everything. And both parties are not trying to bring back a brand of Federalism that lost the debate the first time it was hotly contested in the 1780’s.

My point is that before we can deal with the greedy we need to deal with the nutty. This is what us lefties are trying to say to our families and our neighbors who support the GOP no matter how insane their actions.

There is a word that describes the things some Republicans have been saying and that word is fascism. I did not want to be the first person to use this politically and emotionally charged word in relation to the Republican candidates for the Presidency of our nation but last night on TV someone (sorry I don’t remember who) brought up this term which has not really been used much since Mussolini rose to power in Italy. Go over the definition carefully and see if it does or does not fit current circumstances. This definition was offered by Google.

noun: fascism; noun: Fascism; plural noun: Fascisms

  1. an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.
synonyms: authoritarianism, totalitarianism, dictatorship, despotism, autocracy; More

Nazism, rightism;

nationalism, xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism;

jingoism, isolationism;

neofascism, neo-Nazism

“a film depicting the rise of fascism in the 1930s”

  • (in general use) extreme right-wing, authoritarian, or intolerant views or practice.

So when we have people like Donald Trump saying that he will register all Muslims and keep certain mosques under surveillance and he will send any Syrian refugees that come to America straight back to Syria he is pandering to the xenophobia in us in order to get us to elect him. And his actions are fascist.

We also have the Republican candidates who would like to turn America into an Evangelical Christian theocracy. So when we hear Ted Cruz, this guy who supposedly channels our forefathers, say that we should accept only Christians from Syria we should hear a crowd behind him loudly whispering “fascist”, “fascist”, “fascist”, because what he is advocating is certainly not the Democracy our founders designed. But we don’t hear any great outcry. Our media bends over backwards to fairly represent the policies of both political parties. And Americans just keep watching FOX News, which barely qualifies as a news channel. (Stop watching FOX News!)

So let me say once again that in terms of setting priorities we need to get rid of the nuts in Washington before we can tackle the greed that is distorting our government. Both threaten our Democracy but the extremists have only recently taken over the top spot on that priority list (just since Obama took office). They seem able to say any old un-American thing and still maintain their popularity. This is why we need to elect a Democratic President in 2016. Sadly, the left may have entered the fray too late in the game. There is no way in which I accept the claim some people repeat again and again that both parties contribute equally to the recent dysfunction in Washington.

By Nancy Brisson

(graphic from time.com)

If Only

The Republicans are always bemoaning Obama’s foreign policy. He’s weak, he’s feckless; Obama’s policies are making America lose its gravitas in the world. Republicans blame the entire chaos in the Middle East and beyond on Obama. Last Sunday, Chris Christie said that Obama is hurting America so much with his foreign policy that he should be removed from office.

Republicans say that Obama should have never backed down from that red line in Syria. If only he did not back down then Assad would already be gone. This is just a theory of course, even though they say it as if it were fact. There is no proof that this is true and in fact, since it is a hypothetical, it cannot be proved. Assad is stubbornly large and in charge, willing to let refugees from his entrenched and unpopular regime flood first his neighbors in the Middle East and now Europe. He has the backing of Putin and everyone is trying to avoid an all-out war with Putin, because he seems to want one so badly.

Republicans say, if only Obama had not pulled all our troops out of Iraq. They are trying to sell the idea that Obama, even more so than Bush, made the mess in the Middle East and the formation of ISIL is therefore also Obama’s fault. (They love this twisted reasoning that makes my brain feel like a pretzel.) Some people seem to be buying this but the rest of us have longer memories.

As we watched the same American troops serve duty after duty in Iraq (and Afghanistan), as we watched how IED’s were depriving generations of men and women of the limbs they were born with, as we got better and better at manufacturing futuristic prostheses and all-terrain wheel chairs, we came to believe that the human costs were too great and the rewards too small. People knew there were different sects in these ancient lands but they underestimated the bad feelings that had been pent up over the decades, along with the social hierarchies that defined the pecking order of the various sects. Our troops were stretched too thin and regrouping was a good strategy.

If we had stayed in Iraq we would have been reviled as imperialists, heretics, occupiers, all old labels we were trying to shake off. Once Bush unleashed all of this, the whole struggle became our business only in the sense that we need to contain it.

If only we had stayed in Afghanistan, the GOP opines, then we would not have allowed the Taliban to come back in. Forget that we only went in to get Al Qaeda and Bin Laden. Forget that, although the Taliban is anathema to people who love human rights and freedom, beating back the Taliban was actually a different fight than the one that originally sucked us into Afghanistan. And as much as we gained ground and beat back the Taliban, as much as we don’t want to see our hard-won victories undone and the risks that our soldiers took disappear into this rocky land as if they never accomplished anything good for the people of Afghanistan, we don’t want to be occupiers, and how long could we stay in Afghanistan among hostile people who had asked us to leave.

If only the Iran Nuclear Agreement was better, Republicans say. Obama gave away all America’s power. Being diplomatic with these people won’t fly critics say. If will only make us appear weak and if they think we are weak they will find ways to exploit that weakness. But there is so much hostility and competition among nations. Why are these times turning into such a flash point with everything in turmoil at the same time?

It sounds reassuring to build up our military, perhaps to reinstate the draft if we can’t find enough volunteers. It sounds like security to build up our navy and our air force, to stock pile weapons, to be the toughest nation on the globe. Perhaps we think we need to fight fear with fear – bring back the Cold War only bigger, colder. The more militaristic we get though, the more militaristic are ‘enemies’ get. If only Republicans understood de-escalation, diplomacy, defusing confrontation. If we presented a united front to try to do that deescalating hostilities thing we might find strength and perhaps even respect from that.

The Republicans may have their if-onlys – but I have my own too. I think mine make more sense on a tiny planet with 7 billion+ people that feels, right now, like it is on the verge of apocalypse.

By Nancy Brisson

What If?

We will never get to see what the results of Obama and the Democratic Party’s liberal agenda would have been if the obstructionists in the Republican Party did not hold the Democrats back. One area where this is true is in the health of America’s economy. We will never see if loosening up on the budget a bit would have allowed business to come back even better than it has since the recession, because the Republicans insisted that the budget needed to be cut and threatened to shut down government unless it was cut. So we see what semi-austerity allowed, but we can’t go back and take that other pathway and see what would have resulted from a little spending, not go-wild spending but careful injections of cash. They might have acted like those cortisone shots people get for their arthritis, but we will never know. Instead we got The Sequester, which as far as I can see has had no positive effects on our economy.

We could have experimented with raising taxes on the wealthiest people and, since corporations are now people, on corporations, and although we did get rid of the Bush tax cuts this just brought back the status quo and was not enough to cause a change in our economy. Would higher taxes have been a shot in the arm our economy needed or would these taxes have made the business climate in America worse as the GOP informed us they would. Since these things are predictions and since the variables we might have examined never included any appreciable tax increases we will never know if America might have done even better in the Obama years than it did.

We could have experimented with some basic gun regulations like registrations of all gun sales with records retained for use by law enforcement. We could have done this for perhaps five years and we would already know the results by now. Did shooters still continue to target people who are either captive in public spaces as in the case of schools or are congregating socially in public places as malls, movie theaters, and churches? But an obdurate group of extremists has managed to convince Americans that President Obama is just waiting to take away all their guns and turn himself into President-for-Life Obama, crushing our 2nd Amendment rights forever. We will be the new Cuba. This is nonsense. Are the perpetrators really frightened (I doubt it) or are they just trying to have their way with the American people regardless of who the President is. (Much more likely)

What about infrastructure? If Obama had been allowed to begin a few infrastructure projects (not Keystone) would that have brought up the employment numbers? Would it have helped move more people into a comfortable financial condition? We have no idea. We did not get to find out.

So when you hear the Republicans blame Obama for America’s slow economic recovery, unless you are totally hypnotized by FOX News and have to get your right wing fix every day, then you must admit that there is some truth to the things I have just talked about. Perhaps instead of saving America by refusing to give Obama (and the American people) a decent allowance the Republicans are actually responsible for some of the atrophy in the America economy. Why would you trust people who want to get rid of the Federal government to mess with the Federal Budget? How small do you want your government to be? These folks still want to end all social programs including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and they have already made a start on this in their home states. So why would we elect a Republican President and hand them the whole kit and caboodle when we have already been following their policies by default and they have not been working. Think it through and you might agree with some of this.

By Nancy Brisson

Why Would Anyone Be a Republican?

Somedays it seems that there are so many things to say about the GOP that it is impossible to pick just one. When I hear the ridiculous, tone deaf things Republicans say I can’t believe that anyone claims an affiliation with this particular party.

It is not just because Ben Carson says that the students in Oregon should have attacked that gunman en masse and that if they did attack then the gunman would probably be able to shoot only the first person to oppose him. We all know what this is – it is blame the victim.

If we should all be ready to attack an armed person at any moment then I think we need to be like Israel and require everyone to serve a stint in the military. That way we will be trained in combat, our reflexes will be quick, and we will be skilled in the correct approach to disarming an armed person intent on taking us out.

Carson, not yet sure he had made his point, continued on to say that he would rather see someone riddled with bullets than give up his guns. Who was ever actually offered that choice? Do we all get a chance to answer? Is he actually saying that he would rather see people shot to death than give up his guns? This is not in the context of a revolution, it is in the context of a massacre. He is not Patrick Henry saying ‘give me liberty or give me death.’ He is saying I will never give up my guns to protect your son or daughter from being senselessly slaughtered. No one has asked for your guns Ben Carson. We have asked for your commonsense as a fellow citizen and a responsible and well-educated adult. But we wish we did have the guns that the shooter took to classrooms in Oregon, Sandy Hook, Columbine and more.

Our clothing is not designed to make carrying guns easy or stylish. Will we all buy gun belts with holsters and learn how to twirl our six-shooters? We will have to put fashion designer on notice about this new style. Do the comments made by Ben Carson fall into the category of ridiculous, or in the tone deaf one? I pick both.

Next we get the news that a new committee will be formed in Congress to investigate Planned Parenthood. Americans do not react. They just keep texting one another and sharing cute jokes on Facebook and I do these things too. But these men are using our money to hound poor women and take away their health services and they are using sneaky tactics to close down all the centers where any woman can get an abortion, in their own state at the very least; but their true target is the entire nation.

I’m surprised they don’t offer a deal. If you liberals give up abortion rights we’ll be quiet about same-sex marriage. But they cannot be quiet about either because their religion won’t let them.

We don’t need a committee to investigate Planned Parenthood. Isn’t there any way to stop these guys? Isn’t anyone angry about the atavistic bombardment of women by these reactionary males trying to prove their alpha male bona fides? Or if not isn’t anyone at least angry about our tax dollars being spent to form another committee we don’t need.

Few people speak up. Do they like what the Republicans are saying and doing or is it that they have no desire to be an activist? Ours is a country which relies on us to govern (of the people, by the people, for the people). Sometimes we need to let our representatives know when we are displeased. If you don’t want to march or carry a sign at least you can sign a petition online or drop an email to your Congressperson. All their email addresses are available online.

I could go on and list more ways the GOP ticked me off this week but, for now, enough. You’ll be happy to know there will be more later.

By Nancy Brisson

Lawlessness and the 2016 Election

During the recent Republican debate the candidates paraded their lawlessness for all to see. But they have actually been acting above the law throughout the entire Obama Presidency. They don’t like the 10th Amendment, or they do but they don’t like that is no longer purely adhered to, so they meddle in state politics with their legislative power group ALEC writing actual laws for state legislatures to pass. They have already used new campaign finance rulings to allow big money donors to get Republicans elected to state legislatures in about thirty states so that ALEC finds easy backing for its special interest legislation. Are we supposed to think that this is the American way?

They have convinced some Americans that Obama hates the 2nd Amendment and wants to take away their guns, while they allow anti-government militias to form and offer a version of vigilante “justice”. We saw the Oath Keepers appearing at the face-off between the Bureau of Land Management and rancher Cliven Bundy who let his cattle graze on Federal land for decades without paying the fees that other ranchers paid. We saw the Oath Keepers again, so intimidating, walking the streets of Ferguson one year after the death of Michael Brown as if they had a right to be there and enforce order when there is a flawed but functional police force already present in Ferguson.

Republicans have never accepted Roe v Wade, and I know they are sincere in their beliefs that they need to defend unborn babies, and not women. But Roe v Wade is the law of the land. Since when do we only have to obey laws we agree with? Republicans seem to feel that when the Supreme Court does not agree with their take on an issue then the court is acting as a political body rather than a judicial body. It has never been entirely possible to appoint justices that are not at all political. But since Americas do not seem to elect the same party term after term, the court’s politics has stayed in a kind of balance. When decisions go with the GOP take on issues as in the case of Citizen’s United, Democrats may want to overturn a law they find un-America, but they accept that ruling as law and they don’t suggest that we overthrow the entire Supreme Court.

Republicans, on the other hand, take every opportunity to challenge laws they don’t like by means that actually skirt the law and sometimes go over the line between what is legal and what is technically not so legal. The days when pro-life activists actually murdered abortion providers may have receded for now but only because tricky local laws like trap laws have proven less problematic and more effective. Trap laws write medical standards for abortion clinics that are deliberately set so high that clinics have to close because they cannot comply. These laws are in no way medically necessary. They do allow local governments to break the Federal law without fear of being labelled as criminals and they have been so effective that in west Texas there are no clinics (or maybe one is left) where poor women can get an abortion without having to travel sometimes impossible distances. The only threat to this practice is the courts, but the local courts are also stuffed with conservatives.

Republicans want to rewrite the 14th Amendment. They want to make it clear that only babies born to “legal” Americans can become citizens. In that way they can end the practice of pregnant foreigners who come to America on purpose to provide their offspring with American citizenship documents and all of the benefits that are available to citizens (the non-PC “anchor babies). (Some say this is not even a huge number of people, sort of like the numbers of illegal votes and voters.)

It became clear with the events surrounding Kim Davis (the clerk who would not allow any marriages because she could not, in all conscience, allow same-sex marriages) and, in fact, with the reactions of Republicans to the very action by the Supreme Court that made same-sex marriage legal in all American states that Republicans, who are often convinced that same-sex relationships are abominations, are incensed by the actions of the Supreme Court. These people, fierce advocates of state’s rights, perhaps because the Federal government is too far ahead of the curve in terms of national policy, feel that they are being persecuted for their evangelical religious beliefs and are claiming that the court is not supposed to pass laws.

However, the court did follow proper procedure. The Supremes did not assign themselves this issue and then rule on it. Some state passed a law which others in that state fought and then they appealed to the highest court to settle which law would stand. The Supreme Court decided to take that case and before the decisions was made everyone held their breath. It was clear that one side would be unhappy with the outcome depending on what it might be. Once the court takes a case it is obligated to make a ruling and that ruling carries the force of Federal law. Since the court’s agreement was not the outcome Republicans wanted they now complain that the court is partisan and needs to be disbanded and replaced by a new system as designed by Republicans.

These things all might seem childish. “If I can’t have my way I will take my toys and go home”. Except that each one of these folks has submitted their application to be our next President. The campaigns and the debates can be considered our screening process, our interviews. Who will we hire?

These Republican candidates who claim to revere our Constitution seem to be unable to accept where it has taken us and now they want to go back to fundamentals and start over with exactly what our forefathers wrote (as interpreted by the GOP) (except the slave parts, I assume). It seems to me impossible for 21st century Americans to get inside the personas of our 18th -19th century forefathers. The entire cultural milieu in which the colonists swam was too different. Anyone who claims s/he is able to channel the founders is either lying or has gone off the deep end.

As far as I am concerned, these folks are in rebellion. They cannot accept the rule of law as it exists. They cannot take the time to go through the proper channels to change the law. They are on the edge of treason and they sound increasingly desperate These GOP rebels have basically stopped governance as we know it for seven years now, not to mention their more formal government shutdowns and shutdown threats. If they don’t get their way now, in this 2016 election, what will they do? If you were the boss of a stable company (country) would you hire anyone who has acted like an insurrectionist? I would be happy if their application would find a permanent home in that old circular file. You may think that treason and insurrectionist are too strong and these words may turn you off but you must admit that these Republicans have certainly been disruptive and that they would like to disrupt even more if they win the Presidency.

By Nancy Brisson

Is God Running on the Republican Ticket in 2016

The Republicans have the Democrats going up against God in the 2016 election. How is that a fair fight? They seem to be convinced that they have read the Book, they have studied the Book, and they know God’s will. In fact they are so confident that they are God’s messengers in America that they believe that anyone who argues with them is Godless, a nonbeliever.

We are astonished as we see Muslim nations trying to live out a literal interpretation of the Koran. We perceive the Koran as being out-of-step with a world that is populated by over 7 billion people. We cannot see how the people in 2015 could live by rules written in ancient times and for a desert people.

However, isn’t it true that Fundamentalists in America expect us to do the exact same thing? They expect us to live out a literal interpretation of the Bible, which was also written in ancient times and for a desert people. The Jewish people also, in orthodoxy, live as if the world is unchanged since well before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. (There is, in fact, no truly literal interpretation of any of the books that are sacred to any of these faiths. All contain passages that are open to more than one meaning and all have been studied by religious scholars for centuries.)

As the Evangelicals would have it America is on the path to losing its religion. Our moral fiber is being tested and we are definitely being found wanting (yes, I’m quoting A Knight’s Tale). The Bible tells us that homosexual love is wrong, they say; it tells us that gender differences are mistakes that one must battle in one’s soul. I’m not sure where the Bible says this, as many commenters say that the Bible does not address these issues directly, although in the Old Testament, God did wipe out Sodom and Gomorrah. Was it ever made clear what kinds of sins were being committed in these two places?

Perhaps Evangelicals can ignore science, but I (and many others) cannot. There is evidence in people’s genes that we are born as we are born. Do Evangelicals believe that birth is a gift from God? Do they believe that God makes mistakes? Does he have lots of “oops” moments? Evangelicals do not put their faith in science. So how do they explain the evidence before their eyes that some people cannot change to match a norm that we have perhaps outgrown. Will God wreak his vengeance on us because love won?

Can a culture be moral even though it decides to separate religion and government? Evangelicals seem to believe that it cannot. I don’t believe the true issue is necessarily about religion. It is really about freedom. Are we just as free to make bad choices as we are to make good ones? Should our love of freedom force us to tolerate things like hate speech? What if, at some future moment, people define ordinary speech as hateful? If we curtail freedom of speech to try to shut up negative messages will those laws turn around some day to deny us the right to say things we now perceive as positive speech? If we allow Evangelicals to decide what is moral and what is not, then what happens to our freedom? What happens to our equality?

Republicans are angry about many things that are not about religion also. But the issues around women’s health and those around gender and marriage freedom are the two issues where they invoke God and morality.

Morality has to do with how we treat each other. Isn’t it enough to follow The Golden Rule (Do unto others as you would have others do unto you)? Do we require a religious moral leader at the helm of America making laws based on the Bible (or someone’s interpretation of the Bible)? In so many ways America is still a moral nation. We do strive to consider equality. We do strive to understand and respect differences. We do try to legislate fairness to the best of our abilities in any given moment.

Are there strains present in modern culture which test our moral behavior? Why are our children bullies in our schools? Why don’t children have more tolerance for our differences? Is it because they were just born and are therefore closer to knowing God’s will in these matters? Or is it just that they are little magnets who pick up on how those around them feel and then, because they have no filters yet, sometimes use what they have learned to hurt other children? Our children should not be teaching us; it is our job to teach them the values that help keep society civil.

Does killing people over and over in video game rooms inure our young people to killing or make them insensitive to the idea that when you die you are dead, forever, the end. Do young people have enough judgement, especially given the effect of video killings, to be trusted with guns? Should blind people have guns? The Bible doesn’t help us here; it does not clearly spell out who should own a gun, because there were no guns when the Bible was written.

Republicans want some religion back in our nation. They want us to declare ourselves a Christian nation and they believe this would be fine with our forefathers because everyone in America in colonial times belonged to a sect of Christianity. They want to legislate morality and they want to legislate genetics. Where do our ideals of freedom and equality fit into their view of America’s future? These changes in our culture are not necessarily easy for any of us, but they are consistent with what we believe as Americans and these beliefs are the very things we love most about America.

Republicans don’t want to take back America. They want to rule America and they are staking the claim that God is on their side. How far are we willing to let them go?

By Nancy Brisson

Our Daenerys Targaryen

I love Bernie Sanders, but I’m a girl and I want us to have a girl for President. We have to break this particular “glass ceiling” and we need to do it now. Hillary is the woman who is most prepared to lead America at this particular moment in time. We are in a gender runt. Even women seem unable to accept that a woman could run America.

Bernie Sanders would make a great President but he is definitely not female. If he wins, Hillary can’t and then how long will we have to wait. Gender should not be an issue in electing the American President yet unless we break the male dominance now we may not break with tradition in my lifetime.

Of course if Hillary is considered truly incompetent to lead America then she should not get to be our President regardless of her gender. Fortunately, Hillary has a resume that suggests that she is more than qualified to be our President.

Our Presidents never govern alone anyway. As we have seen clearly in recent years Congress can act as a check on a President. In fact we have watched a Congress that interpreted checks and balances to mean blockades. If President Obama overstepped his powers (which I do not believe he did) Congress has definitely overstepped theirs. If both Parties had acted equally to control the President’s executive powers that might read as appropriate, but to have one Party (the Party out of executive power), erect an ersatz wall against the exercise of the executive and to, in fact, execute what appears to be a plot against the executive power. This does not read as appropriate at all.

If the Republicans don’t win, if Hillary wins, will obstruction continue for four more years at least? Will Hillary be able to buck the obstruction which has become the way Congress conducts itself.

Well, we already have the NRA getting their way through mad intimidation tactics (in the sense of insane) and we have the climate deniers using this same tactic to halt actions designed to counteract climate change. We have Grover Norquist, large and in-charge, and the hot and stubborn tea party and Republicans in Congress, all digging in and winning by turning into immoveable objects. This may not make you nervous, but it makes me very nervous. It smacks of anything but democracy.

Hillary seems mild and too light-hearted to handle these people, but I’m not sure Bernie Sanders is tough enough either. I’m not sure if any Democrat is. But Hillary is up. She’s the next metal marble in the chute of the pinball machine that has become our government. She’s up next to beat back the right wing beasts or tame them from dragons into pussycats. Perhaps she is our Daenerys Targaryen.

Therefore it is Hillary for me even though I would normally be torn between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Since we really need a Democrat to win this one, and the outcome is anything but certain, and many people continue to “dis” Hillary, I will do what I have in the end.

By Nancy Brisson



Deals That Are Not Deals

let's deal

It used to be that when a deal was done in Congress each side gave a little so that each side won something and lost something. It was not always pretty. There were terrible arguments. Enemies were made. But compromises were arrived at. The way the Republicans try to do deals lately (whether they have a majority or not) would be laughable if it weren’t so maddening, so impossible, and so sad.

Republicans write legislation with a really bitter pill and a slightly less bitter pill and then they present it as if it were a gift-wrapped package instead of a flaming bag of poo. Or they might attach a poison pill to a bill that has bipartisan appeal and then Democrats have to vote against something they really want in order to avoid something really toxic. The recent bill against human trafficking was a bill that had bipartisan appeal and is the kind of law that usually makes us proud that Americans care about human rights. But the Hyde Amendment got tucked into the human trafficking bill so that Republicans could be sure to remind us that no federal funds can be spent on abortion (which is legal by the way) even for a victim of human trafficking. The bill gave with one hand and took away with the other. Republicans knew all along that the Democrats would not vote for this bill with the Hyde amendment attached. They hoped the Democrats wouldn’t notice.

Admittedly, the Democrats almost didn’t notice. They should have read the bill way before they did. However, we have no clue about when the Hyde Amendment snuck its way into the trafficking bill.  Now Republicans are ticked off. Their ploy did not work. They blame the Democrats, but I think we can all see how the GOP took a calculated risk and lost.

In a snit about not getting their Hyde Amendment past the Democrats they now threaten to, one more time, postpone their approval for Loretta Lynch to take the place of the current Attorney General, Eric Holder, who they don’t even like. They have a hostage and she is their last one so they have to make sure to use her to their best advantage. But Loretta Lynch is very well qualified to be AG and has done nothing to deserve the treatment she has received from the GOP. They are using Loretta Lynch to punish Obama for everything he has ever done or ever will do as President, apparently.

Now that the trafficking bill vote is done, Congress is moving on to the budget. The GOP is offering the exact same Paul Ryan budget (perhaps with minor tweaks) that supposedly balances the U. S. budget in ten years but leaves America with no social safety net. They are very much aware of the fact that Democrats have basic ideological differences with the Ryan budget. They are very much aware that economists feel the Paul Ryan budget numbers offer an austerity that will not provide economic growth in America. Economists tell us that this budget will worsen the economic inequality gap between the wealthy and the rest of us. The only increase in the GOP budget is in the area of defense where experts have said increases are not needed.

Republicans do not plan to abandon the Sequester which is scheduled to continue taking its bite out of the lives of those who are already at the bottom of the economic heap. The Republicans know that Democrats cannot approve this budget. They do not agree that the meanness of this budget is necessary and they do not subscribe to the theory that ending social programs will force people to lift themselves up. Democrats do not believe that government is useless and that private business will provide all the services that our government once provided. We will stop paying as many taxes but will pay private businesses to provide services like health care for seniors and education. We will be like the miners who have to buy everything from the company store owned by our employers. And we want to do that because it worked so well the first time around?

What good will it do to balance the budget in ten years if we do so by cutting everything that makes America a great country for “we the people”. This budget deal is not a deal. The GOP offers only “our way or the highway”. They offer straight up Republican ideology. There is no bargaining room here. Either you accept the beliefs and policies of the GOP or they will take us over another cliff. (Actually we have to wait to find out what threat they’ll use this time.) The only brake we have right now is that the GOP does not want to show how much they favor the wealthy and how much all their plans rely on the supposed (but never real) advantages of “trickle-down economics” before they win the election and get control of all three branches of government in 2016. Once Americas get a load of this budget in action they will never vote for the Republicans.

By Nancy Brisson

<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>

47 Ronin Loose in America

47 ronin2

Everyone is shocked by the letter that 47 Republican Senators sent to Iran and it was a truly outrageous act. It was not bad just because it broke with protocol but it also went against our Constitution and, according to the Logan Act, this action may be punishable by fines or jail time. This letter to Iran also took what until now have been internal American political schisms and took them global.

The GOP is a party that is frightened by everything. They believe immigrants will overrun America. “Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile”, is their unspoken mantra.

They believe that terrorists are planning to flood across our southern borders.

They believe that the Federal government is out of control and needs to be much, much smaller which means good-bye to programs that help poor moms have healthy babies, good-bye to programs that make sure poor families can feed their children, good-bye to programs that take care of people with mental disorders or physical disabilities and good riddance to programs that keep the elderly from poverty. Good-bye public pensions, good-bye unions; we don’t need public employees. Their fear here (they claim) is that they are creating citizens with permanent dependencies.

The UN plan to help us save energy and stop sending too much CO2 into our atmosphere, Agenda 21, makes them crazy because it offers steps that would be “imposed” by an agency outside our government. To the GOP this plan reeks of communism or socialism or all of the bad “isms” rolled into one. It is obviously a plot to allow the UN to end our democracy.

They are so afraid of climate change and the steps they would have to take to ameliorate it that they cannot even admit it exists.

They believe their immortal souls will burn in Hell unless American becomes a Christian nation and stops sinning.

They are certain that one or more of the secretive, hostile nations around the world will make or have already made nuclear weapons (which is highly likely because once a technology enters the world it always proliferates) and that we will either have to fight a nuclear war or become subjects of a totalitarian regime that will turn us all into slaves or kill us.

It is true that we all fear these things to some extent. The future seems a bit more unsettling than it did in the Jetsons. Obviously any or all of these things could happen, although some are more likely than others. The world seems to be chaotic and to be possibly teetering on the edge of several equally scary abysses. We seem to have lost a stability and certainty that we have always possessed until now. Perhaps this is just what it feels like to live in a pivotal age.

But one wonders (well I wonder) if all these fears are as strong as professed or if there could possibly be a bit of theater at work here designed to provide a rationale (however bogus) for obstruction. If these Republicans are truly as freaked out by real change in the world then they are definitely not the folks to help us pick our way through the chaos to more settled times.

I have been arguing for some time that there are Republicans bent on sedition; on a sort of “Jesus take the Wheel” tear with the GOP providing the “hands” for Jesus. They have been putting in place a plan that will give the GOP control of all three branches of the Federal government in the same way they have taken over in a number of states.

I wonder why the Democrats and the media seem so clueless. Even now Hillary Clinton gets more flak about her email than those 47 Republicans get for breaking an act of Congress. Either we’re like those dogs who forget what they are doing every time someone yells “squirrel” or Democrats and the media are trying to avoid a crisis in America by down-playing Republican activities so that our government comes out of this strife intact.

If Democrats act like what is happening is just a touch more serious than things that have happened at other moments in history then we can avoid a breach that cannot be healed. Their explanations do soothe what is possibly my paranoia for a bit but this all just seems a little more concentrated, organized and extreme than previous party hostilities. It does seem odd to me that the rather serious lapse in constitutionality by these 47 Senators will die down quite quickly and that there will be no repercussions.

Those 47 ronin who abandoned their samurai lords in Japan had better reasons for their outlaw behavior and yet they were hunted down and had to fight for their lives. They may have found a new incarnation in Japan as “superheroes” but I don’t think that will be the case with our 47 “ronin”. I don’t expect our 47 outlaws to commit seppuku but somehow head/s should roll. I think that, given there are so few pushbacks, these “outlaws” will probably find new ways to pursue their program of obstruction.

This is the view from the cheap seats.

By Nancy Brisson

<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>

Republicans Hurt Our Image Abroad


Republicans were on Meet the Press again this Sunday bemoaning how America’s image has slipped around the globe and blaming this slippage on Obama and his weak, waffling foreign policy and his inability to govern at home. But we must consider that it is all too possible that the world’s treatment of Obama merely reflects the Republican treatment of Obama. Obama is not that hateful or that unusual, but the Republican Party acts like he is the apotheosis of everything contemptible and lawless.

We have all heard that decisions were taken as soon as President Obama won office to obstruct him in every way and we can see that Republicans have not wavered from this vow.


It is not Obama who has hurt America’s status in the world; it is the disrespect of the GOP which has poisoned and tarnished America’s image by refusing to accept Obama as their President and by refusing to govern (not to mention the harmful foreign policy decisions made during the Bush administration).

The Republicans have to find a way to overcome the failures of the Bush years (no wonder they keep waving the Reagan flag). They need to find a way to make us forget the ways they bullied America into fighting in Iraq with fear mongering and lies, the way they refused to regulate the housing sector even when it was obvious that sensible regulations were being ignored, the way the Bush years ended in a terrible Recession. The Republicans have carried on a six year dialogue to make us doubt that any of these things actually happened. They have twisted logic to lead us to conclude that Obama, who arrived on the scene after these events occurred, was responsible for these failures. (Here I smack my palm against my forehead because I cannot get my head around this time traveling perversion of the cause and effect phenomenon.)

It is Obama’s patient attempts to include the wishes of the constituents of both parties that have made him look as if he is willing to be bullied again and again by Republicans and that there will be no consequences for their bad behavior (their possibly illegal behavior). Fortunately for America, Obama does not want to end the two-party system or end regular order. So, in fact the Republicans have been rewarded by gaining more power (again, so counterintuitive that I have trouble grasping it).

Obama does not want to dismantle our Democracy in order to take on these renegades. The renegades, the toxic GOP, are perfectly willing to dismantle our Democracy in order to discredit President Obama who has been more and more isolated by having to stay within the system to keep the GOP in check.

It is obvious to me that Republican tactics to give no quarter to our President are the very things that are hurting the world’s perceptions of America and not any actions by our President. However, I feel as isolated as Obama most of the time. It seems that most of America does not agree with me.

By Nancy Brisson

<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>