And Furthermore…

I am convinced that the biggest problem America faces– the reason we can’t solve or even address the other multiple problems that grow worse each day they are ignored–is the GOP. 

Permit me to share some observations that support that thesis.

Paul Krugman–Nobel winning economist and opinion writer for the New York Times —took on the “reliably awful” Ted Cruz and his anti-gun-legislation GOP cohort, including Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, whose “solution” involved locking school doors rather than controlling firearms. (Patrick has obviously never talked to a Fire Marshall..) As Krugman and literally hundreds of others remind us,

Mass shootings are very rare outside the United States. Why are they so common here? Not, according to the U.S. right, because we’re a nation where a disturbed 18-year-old can easily buy military-grade weapons and body armor. No, says Patrick, it’s because “We’re a coarse society.”

I know it’s a hopeless effort to say this, but imagine the reaction if a prominent liberal politician were to declare that the reason the United States has a severe social problem that doesn’t exist elsewhere is that Americans are bad people. We’d never hear the end of it. But when a Republican says it, it barely makes a ripple….

What distinguishes us is that it’s so easy for people who aren’t nice to arm themselves to the teeth.

What also distinguishes us are outmoded rules of governance that allow representatives of a minority of citizens to block action supported by the majority. (Recent polling by Pew and others tells us that ninety percent of Americans want stricter gun regulations, especially more stringent background checks.)

It isn’t just gun safety. Republican senators routinely object to pretty much anything proposed by the majority or by the Biden Administration. I get absolutely livid when people complain that “Biden isn’t doing anything.” These are people who clearly have no idea how easy it is for Republicans to block administrative measures. One recent example, reported by Daily Kos:

When Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) came to the floor Wednesday afternoon to ask for unanimous consent to approve Dr. Shereef Elnahal to serve as the Veterans Affairs deputy secretary for health and Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) objected, Tester blew, telling Scott: “You want to talk about why the American people think the United States Senate is dysfunctional? The senator from Florida could look in the mirror.”

Elnahal had impeccable credentials–he’s currently the chief executive officer of University Hospital in Newark. Furthermore, he’d had a hearing in the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and been approved unanimously.  As Tester pointed out, the need to have the position filled is urgent. “The VA is continuing to battle the impact of COVID-19 pandemic with veterans cases, hospitalizations, and death on the rise again, and VA staff are dealing with burnout and increasing turnover in our VA system.” The job hasn’t had a Senate-confirmed person in it since January 2017.

And what was Scott’s objection? Well, we don’t know, because he refused to say. (Of course, Elnahal is brown…) But under Senate rules, and thanks to the Memorial Day recess,  his objection will delay a vote until sometime in late June.

And don’t get me started on the filibuster…..

As Jamelle Bouie recently wrote in the New York Times,

I am thinking about the ways that narrow, destructive factions can capture the counter-majoritarian institutions of the American system for their own ends. I am thinking of how they can then use the levers of government to impose their vision of society and civil life against the will of the majority. And I am thinking of this in the context of guns, gun violence and the successful movement, thus far, to make the United States an armed society.

Two weeks ago, a gunman killed 10 people at a grocery store in Buffalo. Three days ago, a gunman killed 21 people, including 19 children, at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Although there has been, in the wake of both atrocities, the requisite call for new gun control laws, no one believes that Congress will actually do much of anything to address gun violence or reduce the odds of gun massacres. The reason is that the Republican Party does not want to. And with the legislative filibuster still in place (preserved, as it has been for the past year, by at least two Democratic senators), Senate Republicans have all the votes they need to stop a bill — any bill — from passing.

I am old enough to remember when Republicans and Democrats had good-faith, substantive disagreements about the proper way to address national problems. Those days are long gone–and so is the time when currently-obsolete Senate rules and procedures served any legitimate legislative purpose.

Go re-read Pastor Pavlovitz’ warning. And help get out the vote.


  1. There is no such thing as ‘good faith’ in the Republican party. Hasn’t been since McCarthy et al.

  2. “I am old enough to remember when Republicans and Democrats had good-faith, substantive disagreements about the proper way to address national problems.”

    Read Ira Shapiro’s “The Last Great Senate.” Today, you’ll think it’s a work of fantasy.

  3. I strongly agree. They do not participate in rational, reasonable discussion required by the U.S. Constitution, a republic, and a democracy. They want to believe whatever they want to believe and foist it on the rest of us. And when we challenge their faith-based approach to life, they dismiss science and reality. I don’t like Democrats either, but at least they are understandable and don’t use Nazi propaganda techniques in their politics.

  4. Now, don’t be too hard on the GOP; there is plenty of blame for both crony-capitalist political parties.

    All these culture wars and social distractions are intended to distract you from the economic shit heading our way. Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, told his top investors that we are facing an “economic hurricane that we’ve never experienced.”

    I would call it a tsunami, but the devastation is coming — all the negative consequences of our poor choices over the years. Call it karma.

    The worst part is the MIC still wants to pick a fight with China which will make it even worse, and we’re sending longer-range missiles to Ukraine. That should help the Defense Industry, at least.

    The media and politicians will be looking for scapegoats because they’ll never accept responsibility for their decisions to make it all possible. They just did as they were told.

    Grab your ankles because this one is going to hurt! 😉

  5. How can we continue to call ourselves the best country in the world when we continue to purvey the bully on the playground act towards each other. If not already, we are truly going to be the laughing stock of the world, especially if we re-elect a certain buffoon as our president. If that happens, just call us a Russian territory.

    I am so sick of the infighting among us. When will good sense and reason revisit all of our elected officials at every level ?

  6. Several things:
    1. Dan Patrick is the worst ever politician Texas has ever produced. What comes out of the sewer he calls a mouth is what the ranchers, oil people and insurance people there tell him to say.
    2. Correction: The Republicans lost their moral and ethical compass the day after Lincoln was shot. They almost instantly became the wholly-owned subsidiary of corporate/banking America.
    3. Believe it or not, but the gun lobby “only” needs to spend less than $3 million per year to own the Republicans in Congress. Moscow Mitch, of course, gets paid by the Russian oligarchs who bought him for the purpose of building factories in Kentucky. What a guy! It shouldn’t surprise anyone that McConnell is also fundamentally corrupt.
    4. It seems we are seeing the end game for our democratic republic. The cheapness of the legalized bribery (Citizens United v. FEC) would probably shock even Karl Marx who predicted the fall of capitalism by the very infighting, corruption, greed and stupidity we see today.
    5. Todd’s “whatabout-ism” continues to be the laugh line for this blog.
    6. IF THE MAJORITY DOESN’T FLOOD THE POLLS IN NOVEMBER, WE ARE LOST. Even Merritt Garland’s investigations will be blocked by Republican idiots like McConnell, Scott, Rubio, Cruz, Hawley, and the “democrat” Joe Manchin.

  7. Good morning Todd!


    Oh, it’s coming. And, you are so right! When it gets here, people are going to wish for the way it was today. Because today is going to be the good old days.

    With every passing cycle, and I mean political cycle or season or whatever, society gets more tenuous, it’s disintegrating at a rapid pace. When we have the collapse financially not just the United states, but, globally, because everything so interlinked, it’s going to be very difficult for anyone to recover from that.

    I remember several years back always mentioning if it’s time, it’s time! Well, if it’s time, it’s time! Folks don’t like to hear that, but, if you’re being honest with yourself, does government have any answers? Scripture says that they will be pulled into this conflagration of insanity like having hooks in their jaws.

    To me, it seems like they have hooks in their jaws, like they used to do in the days of ancient slavery, where they would actually use nose rings or put hooks into the Jaws of their captives. They would not resist, because of the pain, and they would be drawn wherever their captors took them.

    That’s why scripture used that phrase. So, does it look like these people are rational? Does it look like government is rational? Does it even look like people are responsible for their own actions? Every single individual is not going to be irrational, but there’s enough irrationality and it’s getting worse by the Day! Therefore no natural solution to any problem. No compassion and no empathy!

    It also gives rise to the insane and psychopaths that end up in positions of power, they want to further along the destruction. But what’s coming, there will be no solution for. And it will be a radically different situation mankind has to deal with on a global scale.

    If you just take a step back and take a look, has there been any rationality at all? Nothing is rational. Everyone is paralyzed with some sort of fear. The inmates are running the asylum. When I mentioned, martial law to fix some of this stuff? People say oh no no no, well, I guarantee you, if it doesn’t happen that way, there will be no hope! Because there absolutely is no ability to agree on anything, therefore everything will be paralyzed as the ship sinks into the deepest depths of the ocean.

    Drastic times need drastic measures! But is there any one person or one group willing to take that step? I would say the answer is an emphatic no! But, the most likely scenario, is the lunatics are aware and willing to use extreme measures to make sure society is torn apart and disjointed like a chicken in the stew pot.

  8. I will never understand why Ds want to get rid of the filibuster, especially on the eve of the Republicans taking control of the Senate.

    When Trump took office in 2017, Republicans had majorities in both houses of Congress. What stopped Trump from doing whatever he wanted? The filibuster. Well, that and he was completely incompetent, but mostly the filibuster.

    I agree with Sheila, but let’s not forgot the Ds deserve blame too. Instead of taking the half loaf and declaring victory, they often insist on the whole loaf and end up getting nothing. Biden had a great win on infrastructure, but that was marred by liberals in his party insisting it be tethered to the much more unpopular “Build Back Better” bill. The Democrats could easily get an increased in the $7.25 minimum wage, but they won’t take $12, they want $15 an hour or nothing. So, they end up with nothing. (FYI, I am not an advocate for a minimum wage – which my economics education says is counterproductive – just pointing out the D’s absurd legislative strategy.)

    Maybe the worst example which hasn’t gotten enough press is that there is currently a bipartisan group of Senators and House members who are ready to amend the Electoral Count Act to ensure Trump can’t steal the 2020 election like he tried to do (through the counting and certification process). Who is thwarting those efforts? “Progressives” in Congress who insist that they won’t go along with amending the ECA unless they get all the federal voting changes they want. It’s the most asinine, suicidal approach to politics I’ve ever seen.

  9. Good morning Vernon Turner!

    There’s a lot of whataboutism to go around for sure isn’t there? I think that particular ethos will not make a difference one way or the other, don’t you?

    Doesn’t this seem like an apocalyptic novel? It’s like a slow motion train crash on fast Forward!

    Think about when you first started writing Vern, I would venture to say, you probably couldn’t have made up most of the stuff that’s actually happening now.

    I hope for the sake of humanity that I’m not correct on this assessment, but, my studying regimen and my faith tell me otherwise!

  10. We don’t need gun control, we need gun elimination. There is no reason for automatic weapons. And stop falling for the red herring of mental health. We will never get a handle on mental health. The issue is Prohibiting guns.

  11. John Sorg,

    I started writing an op-ed column for two newspapers in 2008. What I saw was the utter viscousness of the GOP toward President Obama BEFORE he lifted his hand off the Bible. In subsequent years I DID write columns that predicted today’s monstrosity of government(s). I wrote three books that were primarily compendia of those columns: “The Voter’s Guide to National Salvation”. “Killing the Dream: America’s Flirtation With Third-World Status”. “Racing to the Brink: The End Game for Race and Capitalism”. I’ve recently looked back into those books and found many references to what is happening today. BUT I only sold about 100 books – combined – so nobody of any influence saw the coming holocaust from me either.

    I’m not surprised that my books didn’t sell. I don’t have a Pulitzer like Krugman, but he and I have been saying the same things for years. If we don’t learn from our past errors we are doomed to repeat them…but the kicker is that the “repeat” is usually and order of magnitude worse than the original sin.

  12. Yesterday Stephen Smith brought to our attention the Preamble of the Constitution. I’ve been thinking about those words and their meaning ever since.
    That Preamble laid out the objectives of the new country…what it was about… what it wanted to be. If we are honest with ourselves we must admit that we have fallen short of those goals, and in some cases, we have abandoned those ideals.
    “Perfect union”? The country today is not split… it is shattered.
    “Establish justice”? For whom? The rich? The powerful? Certainly not the victims of Wall Street and the gun manufacturers.
    “Insure domestic tranquility”? Not for school children, church- goers, and grocery shoppers in Buffalo.
    “Provide for the common defense”? Not against abortion vigilantly justice in Texas?
    “Promote the general welfare”? Except for immigrants and people of color.
    “Secure the blessings of Liberty”? But not the liberty of making reproductive choices about your own body.
    The founding fathers must be weeping.

  13. We can’t have effective government because Republican entertainers have convinced a minority of voters to support a tiny few of our capitalist aristocrats who don’t like to pay taxes.

  14. “Tap root cause” – (repeat, repeat…) MEism/MYtribeism. There are no standards, no ethics. If you can win, you do…the ends justify any means. Ain’t freedom from religion, community, decency great! Whoo!

  15. Paul, I can guarantee that, if Mitch McConnell wants something to pass in the Senate, it will pass. When he had the majority, he simply changed the rules, temporarily, of course. It only takes a simple majority to change the rules and there’s not a single Senator on that side of the aisle who would dare to think of pulling a Manchin on Mitch.

  16. You can call it “scorched earth’ or “starve the beast” or any other name, but the bottom line is that the Republicans have determined that refusing the Democrats support on even the smallest task will give them total power in the end. They just need to be patient. THAT’S why Scott wouldn’t approve Elnahal. Does it hurt their constituents? Yes, but their constituents fully support the do-nothings as long as they can “own the libs” and blame Biden. Thanks to FOX, their feet are just as encased in concrete as their representatives in Congress.

    And big business is in cahoots with them. I’m sorry but there is no “law” of supply and demand. Pricing is a choice. Over and over, business has proven that they can’t be trusted to do the right thing. Greed rules. Hate regulation and want the Democrats out of the way? Raise prices. Check out oil profits if you don’t believe me.

    Do I sound paranoid? Guilty as charged.

  17. Theresa is 100% correct in her comments today; the problem lies in the fact that the Preamble, the Constitution and the Amendments were established for the UNITED States. We are no longer united as a nation of thinking people. We often refer to the former Republican party which was an acceptable political organization, even with the expected disagreements, we could count on them to debate issues and work to find solutions to all issues. President Barack Obama’s book, “The Audacity Of Hope” was the hope that we could once again sit TOGETHER at the bargaining table to resolve issues foreign and domestic. As Sheila stated in the blog; Scott refused to state why he refused to approve Dr. Elnahal as deputy secretary for Veterans Affairs. Just as McConnell refused ever to say why he refused to hold required hearings on nominees from President Obama, Clarence Thomas doesn’t list reasons why he makes his decisions, and the list goes on; merely because they said so can be their only reason.

    “And Furthermore…” I am sick of all of them and their unreasonable nonreasons for decisions, actions, lack of action and silence while ignoring their Oath of Office; rendering the entire Republican party as separate from the United States.

    I am getting ready to head to the Kroger supermarket at East 10th Street and Shortridge Road; please pray that all of the shoppers and myself, will return home safely. We no longer have that guarantee living under the dark cloud of the Republicans. Thank you!

  18. Vernon, for us to call ourselves “the best country in the world” has long been a form of self-deception. We are filled with bigotry
    that impacts everything from the survival of black fetuses, children, and much more, to the crazed rantings of the monstrously
    religious. We happily support the largest prison population in the world, and the biggest military industrial complex the in the world,
    and so on…london…and on.
    John, your point #6 is of equally monstrous importance!
    We soooooooo need to clear the way for ridding ourselves of the filibuster!
    I am a bit hopeful that if SCOTUSdoes do away with Roe, that that will energize the massive voting that John refers to.
    Yes, the GOP is the problem, and the initials aptly stand for Grifters of Politics!

  19. The “real” news is worse than your fears.

    -GOP turnout for the ’22 elections is already much larger than the DEMS. Their redistricting has minimized most “competitive” districts for the House. NO ONE is predicting that the DEMs will hold the house.

    – GOP turnout for the ’22 elections is already much larger than the DEMS. The Senate could go, as well.

    – The DEMs have zero “bench” for a ’24 presidential candidate. Again they are talking about Bernie, Kamala, Elizabeth, Pete, Amy – HA HA.

  20. I do not agree with Paul that Republicans will retake the Senate, or with Democratic effort and the upcoming Supreme Court decision, the House. There is no Republican Party with which Democrats can sit down and debate the issues of the day because that “party” has become a mere gathering place for Kochs, Alecs, Christian Nationalists, Trumpers , political opportunists, et al. who daily spew out hatred for Democrats, blacks, women, immigrants et al., a “party” which in reality is not a party since they have neither a platform nor a set of guiding principles to guide them through today’s dangerous shoals of inflation, Ukraine, gun slaughters, Taiwan, looming environmental disaster, voter suppression etc.

    Truth be told we do not have the luxury of such internal or external brawls but are having them anyway, a reckless choice by all the warring parties which only offers a continuing brawl rather than solutions to such brawls both within and without our borders. Is diplomacy by some on both sides available as a means of returning to debate and compromise in the political process? Time and circumstance will tell.

  21. Teresa Bowers,

    You have to look at when that preamble was written. When that preamble was written, slavery was legal, slaves were considered 3/5 human! Women did not have the right to vote, they were just used to further the man’s heredity. Or the man’s legacy! Even poor white men didn’t have the right to vote, it was just the wealthy land and slave owners who could vote. So, when the preamble was written, this was the world that it was referring to. It never said anywhere, that everyone who no matter who they were or what sex, or even religion, were going to be equal. There were Muslims/Abrahamists in this country before there were Catholics! The wealthy white men is what the preamble was referring to. Not people of color, not women, not immigrants which most of they themselves were anyway. And, let’s not forget the natives in this country, they had bounties on their head, their land stolen, native women and children butchered like farm animals! So, what did the preamble refer to? The United States and Britain were responsible for eugenics! To sterilize people of color or immigrants or other of the poorest in society. So, where do you think the Germans got most of their ideas for Liebensrum (from the American manifest destiny), Eugenics and the superiority of the white race, Aryans! Which, hilariously, we’re not white anyway, they were from the Indus River region in India! Go figure lol.

    Some with foresight actually saw the future either by research or historical trends, but what’s coming, like Todd said, like Vernon said, like Lester said, and like JP Morgan’s president said, this is going to be unlike anything in history. The only thing I would suggest, everyone should do their research completely before they’re unable to. And then make up your own mind on what you need to do! As free moral agents, everyone has the freedom to do that, at least in this particular moment. Unfortunately, most people will put their faith into what has gotten us to this point today. And that definitely is a non-starter, also, a recipe for failure! As Vern brought out in his books and such, humanity is not very capable of forward thinking. And that’s just the fact of the matter. Those who have managed to be forward thinkers are largely ignored until the toilet flushes!

  22. E-mail from a friend; NBA game is on for tonight, $40,000 seats in first 2 rows, $3,500 for the nosebleed section. This is part of what is wrong with this country today.

  23. Yep, JoAnn!

    And yet, does anybody really notice? The analogy of the frog in the pot? I’ve mentioned that before. But as prophecy dictates, when it all comes crashing down, besides being great angst among the people, things will still be going on as if nothing was wrong. It says that people will be marrying and being given in marriage, buying and selling, and conducting business. So, it’s going to go from an insane representation of normal to apocalyptic chaos.

    True, history is cyclical, and you definitely can tell the pattern of History, but those cycles or within the cycles is change. With the advancement of human capability, the intensity of failure and disruption increases until there are no more cycles.

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