Tag Archives: House of Representatives

Congress Cashes In While Country Crashes

4 Oct

dimeI need to thank my friend Sarah B. for some of the research done here. If you are not outraged with the GOP/Tea Party, you are not paying attention. There is a great economic and emotional cost to this government shutdown–the brunt of the cost is being paid by the workers, the middle class, and lower classes of the country.  While millions of Americans in the United States are having to go without a salary and resources, John Boehner , Ted Cruz, and all the others drinking the Kool Aid are GETTING PAID while they devastate the country.  It is difficult to believe there is not a sad and disgusting thread of racism as part of what is motivating the Teahadists.

Let us look specifically at just some of the direct costs of this horrific behavior:

Furloughed Employees:

  • Over 800,000 Federal employees have been furloughed and will not be paid.

Head Start:

  • Up to 19,000 children are unable to attend head start programs, depriving them of early childhood educational opportunities and leaving their parents scrambling for childcare.

Cancer Patients Turned Away:

  • Cancer patients trying to enroll in clinical trials at NIH have been turned away until the shutdown ends.

No Flu Outbreak Monitoring:

  • Monitoring of Flu outbreaks nationwide has been crippled, with only cursory examinations and no “in-depth” investigations of potential outbreaks.

Assistance for low-income families comes to a halt:

  • The WIC program, which provides food assistance to families with children, has shut down. Some states are not accepting new applicants, and other states are running on reserves which will last mere days.

Colorado Springs:

  • Over 18% of the workforce in Colorado Springs, CO (55,000 workers) are on furlough and won’t be paid.

Highway Investigations:

  • Incidents like the deadly bus crash in Tennessee cannot be investigated because the staff at the National Traffic Safety Board are furloughed.

As of today, the cost of the Shutdown is now well over 1 Billion Dollars and all because a bunch of wealthy congressmen (who have full health care and are still collecting a salary) want to get rid of the much-needed Affordable Care Act, which they are calling Obamacare.

Here is where the GOP/Teahadists need to catch a clue and pay attention.  The Affordable Care Act is a huge success in just four days.  Millions of people are enrolling and for many this is the first time they have had health insurance in years. Enrollment is so vigorous that it is crashing web servers.  Now tell me again why the Affordable Care Act is a bad thing?

As programs continue to shut down when their existing funding ceases, the crazed militants in the House speak about the situation out of both sides of their Tea-holes. While many Republican members of the House laugh and call the situation “fun” and “the best part of my job,” others bemoan aspects of the shutdown that inconvenience them. (Yes, Rep. Neugebauer (R, TX), who publicly shouted down a park ranger who wouldn’t let him into a closed memorial, we’re talking to you.)

While it is great to see the President and the Democrats united in standing up to this bullying, the impact on the country is horrific. How long will the so-called “moderate” and “rational” Republicans be cowed by the fringes of their party? Until enough members of the House agree to do their jobs, the most vulnerable citizens of our country will continue to suffer.  Sadly, Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell (two Madhatters) were caught on mic with their despicable behavior.  Click here to see them.

Women’s History Month 2013: Nancy Pelosi

25 Mar

Nancy-PelosiToday we honor and celebrate a powerful and effective leader who provides a great example for women everywhere. Nancy Pelosi was born in Baltimore in 1940 and has politics in her blood. She received a B.A. in political science from Trinity College, where she met her husband. They moved to New York and then to San Francisco, where she quickly established herself in local Democratic politics.

She entered national politics in 1987 when she was elected to the House of Representatives, a hand-picked successor to the outgoing Representative, Sala Burton. Although her district number has changed, she has held the seat for a quarter century, making her one of the most senior members of Congress. She quickly rose through the ranks, assuming various leadership positions, culminating in her term as the 60th Speaker of the House in 2003.

Known for her adroit collaborative skills and her indomitable spirit, she is considered one of the most effective Speakers in history. As Vice President Biden has observed

If you ever want a partner to get anything important done, call Nancy Pelosi.

That effectiveness was very threatening to the petulant old white boys club in the GOP, who have demonized her for decades. Pelosi is quite gracious about the personal impact, but very concerned about the larger message.

It didn’t bother me, I figured they thought I was effective and therefore they had to take me down. What does concern me about it is that women that we want to be involved in politics, women who have options to do other things and we say, ‘Come over here and do this!’ And they’re saying, ‘No, I don’t want to subject myself to that. Why would I do that? I have a great life, I have plenty of opportunities.’ So what I’ve said is that if you lower the role of money in politics and you increase the level of civility, you will have more women running for office, elected to office, and that would be a very wholesome thing for our country.

What a perfect observation! Sadly, we see both men and women vilifying our Nancy.  I am often caught off guard at women committing lateral oppressions and internalizing misogyny, but when they act on this internalized misogyny, they become hypocrites of the first degree.

Nancy Pelosi is the highest-ranking politician in U.S. history. Of the 200 nations in the world, 50 have had elected women leaders and 22 do today. Why are we so far behind? Even with a record number of women in the Senate, there are still only 20, perpetuating a male-dominated discourse and allowing the GOP War on Women to proceed as diatribe, even when it fails as policy.

Minority Leader Pelosi takes heart from the great diversity in the current Democratic caucus in the House, however. Laughing at the recent GOP rebranding efforts and outreach to women, she offers some simple advice.

I think respect would be a good place to start. We are fortunate in our House Democratic caucus — women, minorities, LGBT community members make up a majority of the caucus. We don’t need anybody to teach us how to speak to women, Hispanics, blacks, because that’s who we are. And not only do they have a seat at the table, they have a seat at the head of the table, because over half of our chairmen-to-be, our senior Democrats — people who would be chair if we were the majority — are women and minorities.

That’s a great place to start. Let’s hope her great example does inspire the next generation of women to enter politics and help keep positive change moving.  Let us hope that Pelosi keeps working to ensure that all voices are invited to the table of power and thus working to lift marginalization and oppression.

Bigot of the Week Award: November 30, U.S. House Leadership

30 Nov

Bigots of the Week

Rumor has it that elephants never forget. It seems like the lumbering mastodon of the GOP never learns. In this month’s historic elections, American voters sent the most diverse group to Congress ever. Record numbers of women, African Americans, Latinos, LGB Americans, and other minorities are represented. So what did Speaker Boehner (R – is for Racist) do? He appointed all white men to be chairs of the House committees.

That’s right, there isn’t a minority heading even a small committee. You’d think an overgrown, tearful Oompaloompa like Boehner would be more sensitive, but apparently not.

Now, to be fair, there just aren’t that many minorities in the Republican House caucus, so the choices are limited (and usually creepy). After an election where the GOP got slapped down for its misogyny, racism, and homophobia, however, you’d think they would have made an effort. Maybe they could have borrowed one of Mitt Romney’s binders to find someone.

I can only think of one explanation. Since Romneybot 2012 cost the party the White House, maybe they are compensating by displaying their own white House. What do you think?

A dishonorable mention goes to Dr. Oz for thinking that it is acceptable to offer “reparative therapy” tips on his show.  Shame on you Dr. Oz!

Romney/Ryan: A Tale Of Taxes and Obstructionists…

17 Sep

This is a sad but accurate tale of of hypocrisy, homophobia, misogyny, class war, and racism.  Oh, where to start? Let us start with the lies and hypocrisy of taxes.  Romney still refuses to make public his tax returns (should raise a red flag there people) while demanding that his vice-presidential candidate make public his tax returns for the last ten years — this type of hypocrisy and lack of transparency are NOT presidential material.

The economy: I grow ever weary of the blatant lies spewed from the venomous mouths of Romney and Rand, oops, I meant Ryan, regarding the economy.  More hypocrisy.  Ryan and the ever tearful Boehner are the architects of the obstructionist movement, blocking every jobs bill proposed by President Obama. The GOP continue to engage in a class war by categorically refusing to raise taxes on the wealthiest of Americans, while proposing to cut social programs such as medicare. (Sorry Granny, but you got to work until you drop.)

Repealing Civil Rights: The Tea Party/Republicans have devolved so significantly that they are now running on a platform that vows to repeal people’s civil rights — how does this not sicken the American people? As though it was not bad enough that Republican males want to own all vaginas, now they are talking about “legitimate rape,” how does this not terrify all of us?  How is this less government control? How is it less government control and fiscally sound to repeal the civil rights of the LGBTQ community and spend taxpayer dollars on defending DOMA?  How is it smaller government to police women and demand control of women’s bodies?

I am genuinely asking here, what is it about the Romney/Ryan ticket that is appealing? Perhaps it has something to do with this rare moment of honest insight from Rick (the ‘P’ is silent) Santorum at the ironically named Values Voter Summit:

We will never have the elite, smart people on our side.

I am truly nonplused. Or is that repulsed?  When did Republicans start to take such pride in ignorance? I have been desperately trying to understand people voting for Romney, for there are a handful of people that I love dearly who are casting their ballots for this duo.  How do I not take it personally as a gay man that I have friends and family voting for bigots that are working to repeal my civil rights, who assert I am less than human?

Number 3 Bigot of the Year Award 2011: The Ruling Class

30 Dec

Number 3 Bigot of 2011

The Ruling Class or what is now better known as the 1% of Americans who control both the power and distribution of wealth in the United States received many nominations.  I think Sara, a regular TSM reader, put it best when she said:

…the U.S. Ruling Class, which upholds and promotes white, male heterosexual patriarchy throughout the world — at the point of a gun where it can get away with it and with pious proclamations of patriotism and self-righteousness at home. Shamelessly!

I will add to what Sara said and talk more specifically about the distribution of wealth and power in the United States and disproportionality.

ONE % of the population controls 47% of the net financial wealth of the country; the next 19% control another 44% of the wealth, which leaves 80% of the population of the country to try and get a share of the only 9% remaining wealth and resources available–not exactly a wise distribution of power.

The grossly disproportionate distribution of wealth aligns directly to the distribution of power. It is not a great surprise that the 1% is composed of mostly white, heterosexual men who identify as Christian. What is sad is that this 1% is clearly out of touch with at least 80% of the population of the country.  What is worse, is that there is a growing trend of much of the 80% voting against their best interest, due to fear rooted in religion.

It is not a big surprise that our current House of Representatives is composed primarily of the top 2% that hold wealth and power and continue to vote against women’s rights, LGBT rights, immigration rights, and yet call themselves patriots.  The currently Republican-controlled House of Representatives also put up barriers for average Americans by trying to block President Obama’s payroll tax cuts.  These are the same group of avarice that threw temper tantrums to protect the Bush tax cuts for the top 2% of Americans and demanded full health care–damn the rest of Americans who cannot afford health insurance.

The Ruling Class should be known as the class of  “I have mine–I don’t give a damn about anyone else,” now that is the American way!  It is easy to see why the Ruling Class in the United States earns the #3 Bigot of the Year Award for 2011.

Flashback to 2010:The Number 3 Bigot of 2010 was shared by NOM and Iowa Voters.

The Bullies in America’s Backyard

10 Apr

The Bullies in our Backyard

Since the GOP took control of the House in November, we have seen first-hand what a group of bullies looks like, be it the fake-and-bake tan of John Boehner, the frog-like “patriotic” face of Newt Gingrich, or the used car salesman face of Darrell Issa.

That Bully (GOP) Attack Plan:  First, the Republicans demand that the Bush tax cut be extended to wealthier Americans for two more years, at a cost of more than $60 billion. (I wonder who will help pay for these tax cuts?)

Second: Blackmail seems to work well for these folks: “Either slash close to 40 billion dollars from the budget or we will shut the Federal Government down.”  The close to 40 billion means CRUSHING social services to those that most need it, crushing Planned Parenthood and attacking women’s health (thus causing an increase on the over-burdened healthcare system), attempting to eliminate NPR (keep them stupid and keep them voting Republican).

Third: Listen to Paul Ryan and screw senior citizens by crushing Medicare and Food Stamps to give even more big tax cuts to the rich.

Fourth: Get rid of the bi-partisan health care plan passed before the midterm elections. Who cares about those that don’t have health insurance.  If they were not born wealthy then there must be something wrong with them.

Fifth: Let’s spend taxpayer money in this time of a budget crisis to defend discrimination and make sure those homos can’t have marriage equality–we all know marriage equality would make Republicans appear in droves to divorce court, that is the power we have as homos, bwhahahahaha!

Of course the list goes on and on and yet I see no new jobs, nor do I see anything that helps or protects the American people. Click here to see an article that talks about how the GOP is holding the nation hostage.

Celebrating Women’s History Month: March 19

19 Mar

My Lunch with Cecile

Today I would like to honor and pay tribute to Cecile Richards. I must confess that before I fell in love with Cecile Richards, I was in love with her mother, Ann Richards, former Governor of Texas.  I remember weeping in the car listening to Morning Edition on NPR as I learned of Governor Richards passing. Obviously, we know now that NPR’s Morning Edition is nothing less than a terrorist plot to educate Americans!

I had the great honor of meeting and talking with Cecile Richards at a Planned Parenthood luncheon a year ago. We did talk about her late mother, Texas, and issues around social justice. Cecile thanked me for supporting Planned Parenthood and we talked about the problem of overarching misogyny and patriarchy. She thanked me for seeing the connection between homophobia and misogyny. I remember thinking how gracious she was and how kind. Her dedication to women’s health is tireless. I can only think about how proud her mom must have been of our Cecile. I also have to thank her for allowing me to be a little star struck and for taking a picture with me.

I am just simply amazed at how compassionate and loving she is able to be while being attacked by John (must have been hatched) Boehner and the House of Representatives. I can work myself up into a lather regarding the systematic attack on women and have to take inspiration from Cecile to remain calm, yet passionate and dedicated. I don’t think Planned Parenthood could have a better President. Here is my little soap box moment: Yes, I am strongly pro-choice and believe that a woman should be allowed to govern her own body, but LEST WE FORGET, Planned Parenthood is also about WOMEN’S HEALTH! Planned Parenthood offers counseling, pap smears, STD/HIV testing to myriad women that can’t afford any other resource. Can anyone imagine how this national conversation would go if someone were to try and control Boehner’s health: “You will not be allowed a prostate exam.”  Yeah, that would go over real well.  This soap box moment was brought to you by an outraged citizen and if you are not outraged by this attack on women, you are not paying attention. On behalf of Americans for social justice, I thank you, Cecile.

Celebrating Women’s History Month: March 9

9 Mar

Honoring Graciela Olivarez

Today I would like to honor and pay tribute to Graciela Olivarez. Olivarez was the first Latina to graduate from Notre Dame Law School. Olivarez is probably best known for her work in the area of civil rights and her advocacy for the poor–John Boehner could learn a great deal from Olivarez’ legacy. In 1977, Jimmy Carter appointed her the director of the Community Services Administration, becoming the highest-ranking Latina woman in the Carter administration. Olivarez worked with the Choate Foundation in Phoenix, where she focused on finding solutions to poverty and educational needs of Mexican-American children.  Sadly, we need many more voices like Olivarez right now to address the exponentially growing poor and homeless populations.  Where are the voices of social justice in the House of Representatives?

Celebrating Women’s History Month: March 7

7 Mar

Honoring Tammy Baldwin

Today I would like to honor and pay tribute to Representative Tammy Baldwin.  Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin, was the first openly gay/lesbian non-incumbent to win office. Baldwin was and is a strong supporter of the Equal Pay Act.  Baldwin has been very vocal about her support for the protection of women from rape and violence. Baldwin has shown great courage in speaking for the protection of women’s health and women’s bodies, including a woman’s right to govern her own body. She sponsored the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program Reauthorization Act of 2007, which helped low-income, underinsured and uninsured women pay for cervical and breast cancer-related medical services–she is probably not popular with our John Boehner. Brava, to Tammy Baldwin working to make the world a better place for all.

Hero of the Week Award: March 4

4 Mar

Hero of the Week

In a letter to John (I hate women, blacks, the poor, and gays) Boehner, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand once again proves to be the voice of reason and the voice looking out for American citizens. Senator Gillibrand’s letter to Boehner earns her this week’s HWA, (Not her first hero award on this blog).  Here is an excerpt of this intelligent and brilliant letter:

Dear Mr. Speaker, In a letter to you last week, the Attorney General advised that the Administration has concluded that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional and therefore will cease to defend the statute in pending litigation. It is in the best interests of taxpayers and the constitution for you to refrain from appointing special counsel to defend this law. A decision to appoint special counsel would be an unnecessary cost to taxpayers, and would detract from our shared goal of cutting wasteful spending and creating jobs.

Not only does she demonstrate great leadership by upholding the constitution (not a document well revered by the right wing), but she is also demonstrating fiscal responsibility, something the GOP purports to be good at–Oy! Don’t get me started on that one. Brava, to our Senator Gillibrand. Click here for the full article.

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