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Thu, Jun

McCarthy’s Cross

VOICES

ACCORDING TO LIZ - What is happening to California’s Kevin McCarthy on the surface may appear to be what happened to the Senate Democrats. 

However, his concessions to the fringe elements in his own party in order to be elected Speaker of the House could have far, far worse implications for the government and the country. 

While Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema held up and eviscerated important legislation, they had no support within the Senate to advance extreme agendas.

The McCarthy Congress will be another example of a very small minority calling the shots but this time proactively. Not only because they can, but because they are crazy enough to risk the economic future of the country and hundreds of millions of Americans on the size of their d*8ks, oops, egos. 

They will investigate law enforcement and national security agencies to reshape our laws – and not for the benefit of Joe Q Public – and protect Trump and other treasonous participants of the Jan 6 riot. They will try to impeach Biden in an act of pure vindictiveness. 

That the House Republicans' first order of business was to eviscerate the Office of Congressional Ethics, thus protecting their numbers complicit in the conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election. 

Along with sliding out from holding the ethically-challenged George Santos and Jim Jordan accountable for their felonious conduct, and granting those whose nefarious behavior has yet to be revealed what amounts to a get-out-of-jail-free card. 

While these sleezeballs continue to drain pay and benefits from our tax dollars, they are further entrenching other corrupt politicians who can evade responsibility for misconduct and persist in passing laws to protect their personal interests. Including slashing IRS funding for pursuing well-heeled miscreants with shady tax lawyers such as… can’t think of anyone, can you? 

In another their first acts as the majority, House Republicans on Monday approved a rules package that will dramatically hinder the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent body tasked with investigating complaints about sitting lawmakers. 

Yesterday, the wingnuts took aim at over half the adults in our society by introducing a resolution to condemn acts of violence against "crisis pregnancy centers." Doesn’t sound so repressive until you understand that they are referring to facilities where women and girls are coerced to NOT seek termination of their pregnancy even when economically, medically or psychologically essential out of seeking abortions. 

This resolution pointedly does not cover abortion clinics which have been the target of decades of murders, arson and bombing not to mention constant harassment of providers and the clients to whom they provide services. 

Such divisiveness will only further sanction targeted violence by the growing number of irrational extremists created by our late but not lamented Prez. 

A second proposal is politically-motivated outright intimidation of medical staff and their patients if they don’t save the fetus in a late-term abortion. Even in the most liberal of times, late-term abortions were used to save the mother’s life due or if what existed in utero would never be viable on its own if brought to term. 

Both are nutcase scenarios designed to extort the crazies and send them into the streets. Doesn’t the new House have enough serious issues to address? 

Furthermore, whipped along by the MAGA extremists, the narrow Republican majority has set out to slash federal spending for Social Security, Medicare, and other key government programs while leaving the bloated Pentagon budget intact. 

It seems like the focus of the rabble now captained by California Kevin is to pursue a debt ceiling showdown to leverage spending cuts to sow chaos in the country and around the world. Defaulting on American debt obligations would almost certainly trigger a global financial crisis. 

Ultraconservative gun-toting real estate mogul and Representative from South Carolina Ralph Norman, who begrudgingly voted for McCarthy, had previously demanded: “Is he willing to shut the government down rather than raise the debt ceiling? That’s a nonnegotiable item.” 

Like its predecessor, the Tea Party movement, this Republican Congress is less about good government and more about anarchy. 

In aiding this mission, they have used their narrow majority to create a new committee tasked with dissecting actions by the Biden government they claim sought to silence conservative voices harkens back to another McCarthy, Senator Joseph, who instigated the witch hunt against those whose political beliefs he opposed, calling them communists and claiming that they had infiltrated the government, American universities and the film industry as Soviet spies. 

Joe McCarthy is best remembered as the architect of accusations, both reckless, and unsubstantiated, against the patriotism of his political opponents. Does the United States really deserve McCarthyism, Part II? 

And, given that any number of those “conservative voices” were not innocents caught up in one man’s vengeful campaign but had actually called for the overthrow of the legitimately elected government or were spouting lies that put people at risk, this committee is just one more nail in the cross Captain Kevin will have to bear trying to oversee the greased pigs of his own party. 

To reach a majority in any vote, House Republicans must now rely on their right-wing faction, giving it unprecedented leverage. The results will be unmitigated gridlock and inaction at a time when the country needs to be a real leader in an increasingly dangerous world. 

In the wake of the 2011 debt-ceiling crisis instigated by Republicans lawmakers intent on gutting social programs, the Obama government eventually caved to a series of cuts detrimental to the country and which did not take the ongoing threat of future action by the fiscal constraint hawks off the table. 

The current House Republicans have raised the flag against what they claim is excessive government spending while the beleaguered Democrats have no choice but to push back. A stalemate will mean that the government will shut down, halting or slowing functions like the payment of military salaries, environmental protections, food inspections, management of the National Parks… and the administration of Social Security and veterans benefits. 

Here in Los Angeles we elected some controversially progressive people but each has more common sense to address working in reality than all the ultraconservative Republicans put together. 

And, although our City Councilmembers make $40,000 more in base salary than a member of the House of Representatives in D.C., remember there are 435 of them at $174,000 per year… which comes to over $75 million not counting benefits or staff costs. Which makes what our 15 around the horseshoe pull down seem pretty paltry in comparison. 

If these Republicans really want to cut government and save on discretionary expenses, all that they have to do is halve the Pentagon’s budget. 

Instead, under the instigation of Steve Bannon and his star pupil Matt Gaetz, they are sallying forth to hurt their fellow Americans who depend on the government to get by – retirees, children, the disabled, single mothers, the unemployed. 

They want to eviscerate the laws that protect us from corporations dumping poisonous chemicals, from poorly manufactured and maintained engines spewing pollution, from agribusinesses dumping chemicals into our rivers and lakes, from doctors breaking the law, from the purveyors of fentanyl-laced pills.                                               

More to the point, what will McCarthy and the Republican House do if there is another Jan 6 insurrection, or even the lesser crimes such as were perpetrated in Brasilia by Bolsonero’s supporters? 

And what can McCarthy do at all having bought the House leadership by hoisting the cross of the party’s ultra-right-wingers onto his shoulders? 

(Liz Amsden is a contributor to CityWatch and an activist from Northeast Los Angeles with opinions on much of what goes on in our lives. She has written extensively on the City's budget and services as well as her many other interests and passions. In her real life she works on budgets for film and television where fiction can rarely be as strange as the truth of living in today's world.)