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Monday, December 09, 2019

Tag: house republicans

#EndorseThis: Randy Rainbow Raps The Unspeakable New House Speaker

What better target for the first Randy Rainbow song parody of 2023 than Kevin McCarthy? Reworking "Master of the House" from Les Miserables offers the perfect opportunity to spoof the Speaker as a "Cunning little chap/ Covetous, conservative and full of crap" -- plus a few other choice insults -- before moving on to lampoon his claque, from Margie Greene to George Santos.

As the bumper sticker says, OMG GOP WTF.

PS: Randy's 2022 CD is a Grammy nominee for best comedy album -- so watch for him on the awards show.

Speaker of the House - Randy Rainbow Song Parody youtu.be


No Comparison: The Biden And Trump Classified Documents Cases

Stay tuned for more coverage of this and other political stories. Buying a subscription would certainly help out as I post more of these screeds.

I’m getting a creepy feeling this subject is going to be talked about all year and into the next, making it prime meat as a campaign issue against President Joe Biden if he decides to run for reelection. And there is more: Be forewarned that the fairness doctrine doesn’t apply in politics.

Today, the Republican-led House Oversight Committee wrote to the White House and asked for the visitor logs for Biden’s house in Wilmington, Delaware. "Without a list of individuals who have visited his residence, the American people will never know who had access to these highly sensitive documents," Rep. James Comer (R-KY) wrote to White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain.

Take a deep breath before you read the next sentence. No, the House Republican chairman of the Oversight Committee didn’t send an equivalent letter to former president Donald Trump, asking for visitor logs for Mar-a-Lago. Can you imagine? They would have to send a box truck for the Mar-a-Lago logs, with all the weddings and fund raisers and Christmas and New Years celebrations held there every year.

As the New York Times proved in an excellent interactive photo piece a couple of months ago, there were not one, but two entrances to the Mar-a-Lago ballroom that had direct access to the stairway above it, at the top of which was Trump’s office, from which many of the most sensitive classified documents were recovered by the FBI during their August search of the property. There would also have to be a list of the many, many employees of caterers and staff of Mar-a-Lago who had access not only to the ballroom, but to the storage room in the basement where the chairs for events in the ballroom were stored. As we know, Trump kept classified documents in the basement storage room where there was no lock until the Department of Justice demanded that one be installed in June of last year.

Asked on a CNN Sunday morning show why he hadn’t requested visitor logs from Trump for his club/hotel/residence, Mar-a-Lago, Comer replied, "I don't feel like we need to spend a whole lot of time because the Democrats have done that for the past six years.”

So, there you have it: This is the way what must now be referred to as the Trump/Biden classified documents cases will play out between now and November of 2024. Remember all the excuses the Trump people and Republicans made for the presence of hundreds of classified documents recovered by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago? Oh, the documents ended up there because of the chaotic packing-up of Trump’s White House in the final days before January 20, 2021. It’s just a simple disagreement with the National Archives. Trump wasn’t aware of what was down there in some musty storage room in Mar-a-Lago! That was handled by underlings.

And of course, they argued that everybody did it, meaning that every president accidentally took classified documents from the White House when they left office.

That one stings a little, given the recent drip-drip-drip of stories about classified documents turning up in Biden’s garage (locked, he pointed out the other day) stored alongside his vintage Corvette.

James Sauber, one of the White House counsels, announced last week that “a small number” of classified documents had been found among Biden’s papers at the Penn Biden Center think tank in Washington. Then more classified documents were found at Biden’s home in Delaware. On Saturday, the White House said that five more pages of classified documents were found at Biden’s Delaware residence. In each case, the documents were reported to the National Archives (NARA), which sent people to retrieve them.

I hardly have to remind you what happened in the case of the Trump documents, but here it goes: NARA began to seek documents it thought had been taken by Trump from the White House back in mid-2021. Trump stiff-armed them until the NARA officials informed his lawyers that the agency was turning the case over to the Department of Justice. Suddenly, in January of 2022, Trump turned over 13 boxes of documents to the NARA, which found classified documents among them.

The DOJ stayed involved and sent a subpoena for classified documents to Trump in May. Trump’s lawyers responded in June, turning over an envelope containing several classified documents to representatives of the DOJ at that time. They also had one of Trump’s lawyers – who worked for his Super PAC – sign a statement saying the documents were recovered during a diligent search of Mar-a-Lago. It didn’t amount to a sworn statement that they had turned over all the classified documents Trump had, but it was close.

The DOJ developed information, apparently from employees in Mar-a-Lago, that there were more documents stored there, and in August executed a search warrant. They recovered 13,000 more documents from the basement storage room. Among those and other documents from Trump’s office were 113 more classified documents. The DOJ started calling Trump employees before a Washington D.C. grand jury. It turned out that several of those employees had lawyers paid for by organizations run by Trump, such as his Super PAC. Several of the Trump employees took the Fifth Amendment during their grand jury testimony.

Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Jack Smith, who was serving as a war crimes prosecutor at the Court of International Justice at the Hague, as special prosecutor. He took over the documents investigation and has issued new subpoenas for more testimony about the documents case, as well as the investigation of Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Now a second special prosecutor, Robert Hur, has been appointed to investigate the Biden classified documents. Biden’s lawyers have announced that they are fully cooperating with the investigation. In contrast, Trump filed suit in a Florida federal court last year to stop the use of the classified documents in the DOJ investigation, delaying the investigation for several months while the case wound its way not once, but twice, through the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Finally, the 11th Circuit threw out Trump’s lawsuit. The “special master” process that had been ordered to go through all 13,000 of the seized documents was ended and the documents – all of them, classified and unclassified – were returned to the DOJ for their investigation.

So, you get the picture: Trump took thousands of documents from the White House on purpose and fought tooth and nail for two years to keep them and to stymie both the NARA and the DOJ. Biden took a small number of classified documents with him when he left the vice presidency – we don’t know the number, but it’s more than ten – and immediately turned them over to the National Archives and is cooperating with the DOJ and the special prosecutor appointed to investigate the case.

You can depend on House Republicans to continue to make a big deal about the Biden classified documents while pooh-poohing what Trump did. What else is new? It’s who they are, and it’s who Trump is, but it’s going to be a pain in the collective ass of the Democratic Party. House Republicans are writing letters and making requests now, but they will follow up with subpoenas – the same kind of subpoenas that multiple Trump witnesses either avoided or completely refused to comply with – Hi, Steve Bannon! – and we’ll hear about every single one of them, no matter what they end up proving – Hi! Benghazi Committee!

I hate to say this but watch this space. We’re only halfway through January. It’s promising to be a very, very long year.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Please consider subscribing to Lucian Truscott Newsletter, from which this is reprinted with permission.

Poll: Majority Of Santos' Long Island Constituents Want Him To Resign

A poll released late last week found that a majority of New York Republican Rep. George Santos' constituents want him to resign, following revelations that the freshman lawmaker lied about nearly his entire biography.

The survey, conducted by Public Policy Polling, found that 60 percent of voters in New York's Third Congressional District want Santos to resign, including 38 percent of Republicans.

Voters were most concerned about Santos' lies about his religious affiliation and the manner in which his mother died, the poll found. Santos said he was Jewish, which he isn't, and claimed his mother died in the 9/11 terror attack, but she didn't. The poll found 77 percent of voters are concerned about the 9/11 lie, while 72 percent of voters are concerned about his lie about being Jewish.

Since the new Congress convened on January 3, Santos has been seen running from reporters on Capitol Hill who ask him about his litany of lies about his background. These include Santos' claims that he worked for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup; graduated from New York University and Baruch College; lost employees in the mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in 2016; and was a landlord who owned multiple properties. In reality, none of those things are true.

Lies Santos has told have continued to surface since the New York Times first broke the story of his fabricated background in December. According to a video posted to Twitter on January 11 by The Recount political website, Nassau County Republican Party chair Joseph Cairo said: "[Santos] told me, I remember specifically, 'I'm into sports a little bit,' that he was a star on the Baruch volleyball team and that they won the league championship. What can I tell you?"

The New York Times reported that Cairo said: "He’s disgraced the House of Representatives, and we do not consider him one of our congresspeople. Today, on behalf of the Nassau County Republican Committee, I am calling for his immediate resignation."

Santos, however, has been adamant that he will stay in office, telling reporters who were gathered outside his congressional office on Thursday: “I will not resign. I will be continuing to hold my office, elected by the people.”

Santos later told reporters who asked him for his reaction to members of his own party calling for his resignation, "If 142 people ask for me to resign, I'll resign." Reporter Nancy Vu tweeted later that Santos had meant 142,000 and had said: "That’s the vote count I got to get elected. When all 142,000 of them tell me, I’ll go."

The Times reported that Reps. Anthony D’Esposito, Nick LaLota, Nick Langworthy, and Brandon Williams, four Republican members of New York's congressional delegation, had said it was time for Santos to go.

They were joined by another New York Republican House member, Mike Lawler, who told reporters: "I think he needs to seriously consider whether or not he can actually do the job effectively. And right now, it's pretty clear he can’t."

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has not called on Santos to resign, and told reporters Thursday: "Well, what I find is that voters have elected George Santos. If there is a concern he will go through ethics. If there is something that is found, he will be dealt with in that manner. But they have a voice in this process."

If Santos were to resign, he would leave open a competitive seat in the Third Congressional District, the loss of which would reduce McCarthy's already thin House majority. President Joe Biden carried the district by eight points in 2020.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

GOP Calls Santos Lies An 'Internal' Issue But Democrats File Ethics Complaint

Two Democratic Members of Congress on Tuesday walked over to the House office of Rep. George Santos (R-NY) to notify their fellow New Yorker they have filed an official complaint against him with the House Ethics Committee, alleging violations of the Ethics in Government Act.

Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY) and Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) in a letter to the bipartisan Ethics Committee say Santos violated federal law “by failing to file timely, accurate, and complete financial disclosure reports as required by law. The Act was designed to ‘preserve and promote the integrity of public officials and institutions.'”

“Over the past several weeks, extensive public reporting – as well as Santos’s own admissions – have shown that Mr. Santos misled voters in his District about his ethnicity, his religion, his education, and his employment and professional history, among other things,” they add.

Alleging Santos’ financial disclosures are “sparse and perplexing,” the two Democrats say, “it is apparent that he did not file timely disclosure reports for his most recent campaign.”

“Moreover,” they add, “his own public statements have contradicted some information included in the 2022 financial disclosure and confirmed that the 2022 financial disclosure failed to disclose other required information.”

The ethics complaint comes just hours after House Republican Majority Leaders refused to state if they would take any official action against Santos, who some hoped would not be seated given his massive alleged lies.

Monday night, when asked how he planned to handle the Santos disaster, Speaker McCarthy told CNN’s Manu Raju, “You know how I handle internal stuff, I handle it internally. I’m sure, at times, I’ll come tell you.”

CBS News’ Kathryn Watson reports that “Scalise says the Santos matter is being handled ‘internally’ and they’re going to sit down and talk to him.”

“Well you saw him seated last week,” Scalise told Watson, she tweeted. “There were no challenges to that. This is something that’s being handled internally. Obviously there were concerns about what we had heard. & so we’re gonna have to sit down and talk to him about it. & that’s something we’re gonna deal with…”

The allegations against Santos are wide and some may be criminal.

When asked why they were filing the complaint, Congressman Torres replied, “When you violate House Ethics you should be held accountable.”

Rep. Goldman, who before being elected served as lead majority counsel during the first impeachment of then-president Donald Trump, blasted Speaker Kevin McCarthy and House Republican Majority Leader Steve Scalise.

They “adopted him as one of their own and in fact, George Santos cast the deciding vote for Kevin McCarthy so that he can become Speaker of the House, so they have wrapped their arms around him,” he said.

“We’ve seen no indication that they have done anything to rebuke him or handle it internally,” Goldman added, surprised after reports noted leadership had said it was an internal matter. “This is the first time you’ve been hearing that. So we, Congressman Torres and I, feel it’s incredibly important to make sure that the integrity of the House and the integrity of its members are put front first and foremost.”

Read a portion of the complaint against Santos and videos of Reps. Goldman and Torres delivering the complaint, below or at this link.



Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Welcome To The Dead On Arrival Congress, Where Rhetoric Is All That Matters

I’m going to be reporting on everything these Republican goofs do for the next two years. To help me cover their lying, scheming asses, you can buy a subscription right here.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has successfully navigated its way into its performative normative future by winning its first two votes. They passed the Kevin McCarthy Defenestration Act, otherwise known as the House rules, and they passed “The Family and Small Business Protection Act," otherwise known as the We Hate Taxes Act.

Big whoop. The new House rules allow Kevin to wield his gavel unless and until five of the Freedom Caucus decide to take that freedom away from him by invoking their new powers to vacate the chair – aka, fire the Speaker – on a motion that can now be made by a single member. Our boy Kev isn’t merely walking on eggshells, he’s dog-paddling through raging rapids trying to keep himself from going down the 100-foot falls that he can see lying straight ahead.

Then they made good on their promise to cut the money for the 80,000 or so new IRS employees scheduled to be hired over the next decade, funding for which was built into the Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden late last year. Republicans brought back the so-called “Holman rule,” a provision dating to the 19th Century which allows the House to amend spending bills at will, cutting out stuff they don’t like (new money for the IRS), also allowing them to terminate federal employee positions they oppose, such as the 80,000 or so new IRS employees funded by the passage of last year’s spending bill.

That little legislative jewel is dead on arrival in the Democrat-controlled Senate, not to mention if it were ever to reach the president’s desk.

But who cares! They’re out there in the halls of Congress this morning giving interviews before any microphone they can find bragging about firing the 87,000 new IRS “agents” they claim will be hired over the next decade. A bald-faced lie, naturally: The Treasury Department has said that the money in the Inflation Reduction Act will be used mainly to hire customer service representatives, computer scientists, and to replace the 52,000 IRS employees who are scheduled to retire over the next six or seven years.

Only a small percentage of the new employees will be serving as IRS agents, but you won’t be hearing that from Marjorie Taylor Greene or any of her MAGA compatriots. They’re out there claiming they’re saving middle class Americans from being audited, when the truth is, none of the money appropriated for the IRS will be spent on enforcement of IRS rules on families making less than $400,000 a year. According to The Hill, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, an appointee of Donald Trump, sent a letter to the Senate last August stating “that the funds from the legislation would be used to up examination of large corporations and high-net-worth individuals.”

But try finding that bothersome little detail escaping the lips of a Republican member of Congress.

The White House announced that President Biden woul veto the bill passed yesterday by the House if it somehow accidentally ends up on his desk: “With their first economic legislation of the new Congress, House Republicans are making clear that their top economic priority is to allow the rich and multi-billion dollar corporations to skip out on their taxes, while making life harder for ordinary, middle-class families that pay the taxes they owe.”

Meanwhile, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which analyzes any spending legislation with respect to its possible effect on the deficit, announced yesterday that, if it were to become law, the Republican bill would lead to increases in the deficit over the next decade of $114 billion by reducing tax revenue by an estimated $186 billion.

So, every time a Republican member of the House opens his or her mouth and starts yapping about the deficit, a reporter on Capitol Hill should ask them about the more than $100 billion they just advocated adding to the deficit.

If I were a Capitol Hill reporter, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for an answer, however. With a Democratic Senate and a Democrat in the Oval Office, exactly nothing the House passes on a party-line vote over the next two years will become law. Everything the Republican House says and does will be performative, from Jim Jordan’s Judiciary subcommittee that is supposed to investigate “the weaponization of the federal government” to any sort of tax cuts they might be contemplating. The 118th Congress won’t be about legislating and laws but rather about rhetoric, pure and simple.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Please consider subscribing to Lucian Truscott Newsletter, from which this is reprinted with permission.

Topping GOP Agenda: Legislate Their Hoaxes -- And Protect The Rich

After a tumultuous start to the 118th Congress — which slogged to life after GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) relinquished the bulk of his powers to the extremist right of his conference in exchange for the speaker's gavel — House Republicans are finally ready to get down to business, according to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).

Their first order of business, the congresswoman tweeted over the weekend, is to “Repeal the 87,000 IRS Army!”

McCarthy had said pretty much the same in his victory speech as the House’s new Speaker, acquiring the gavel after 15 rounds of voting over four days, the first time in a century a Speaker failed to emerge after one ballot.

“But when we come back,” McCarthy said, as the House adjourned until 5 pm Monday, “We will repeal the funding for 87,000 IRS agents,” drawing thunderous applause from the Republican side of the aisle. “We believe government should be to help you, not go after you,” he added.

The IRS army claim is, of course, a hoax that has been debunked multiple times, according to a fact check by the New York Times. In an op-ed for Yahoo Finance, the former IRS commissioner, Charles P. Rettig, lambasted the “outright false suggestions” surrounding the IRS’s duties.

“The bottom line is this,” Rettig said, “[IRS funds] are absolutely not about increasing audit scrutiny on small business or middle-income Americans.”

He added, “Our investment is designed around a Treasury directive that audit rates do not rise relative to recent years for households making under $400,000.”

The Times noted that of the IRS’s 79,000 employees, only 8,000 peruse tax filings. 13,000 employees are customer support staff, answering phone calls, while 10,000 file mail and transcribe data.

Yet, Greene, McCarthy, and a legion of Republicans have obstinately pushed the false narrative while turning a blind eye to the House Ways and Means Committee’s bombshell report that the IRS had for two years failed to conduct a routine and compulsory audit of former President Trump’s federal tax returns while he was in the White House.

“This is only the beginning of the great things we are going to do,” Greene added in her tweet.

Indeed, recently added to the U.S. House website — and listed as “Text of Bills for the Week of Jan. 9, 2023” — was an array of performative legislation the House Republicans promised to bring to the floor, including bills to “[express] the sense of Congress condemning the recent attacks on pro-life facilities” and “[establish] a Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.”


The latter — led by the House Judiciary Committee, overseen by Trump ally Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) — is a politically-charged House GOP investigation into the law enforcement agencies Republicans once vowed to back, not backstab, unconditionally.

“We will use the power of the purse and the power of the SUBPOENA to get the job done,” tweeted the Judiciary Committee, whose new chairman, Jordan, only months ago refused to cooperate with a congressional investigation and defied a House committee’s subpoena.

Before any of the GOP’s controversial bills can grace the floor for a vote, its caucus must vote on their rules package, which has already seen some opposition within the red caucus.


In McCarthy's Pyrrhic Triumph, The Real Winner Is The 'Eff 'Em Caucus'

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I had a last line about the election of Kevin McCarthy that didn’t survive the final edit: “The word pyrrhic comes to mind.” McCarthy’s take-every-humiliating-hit-and-wear-them-down climb (or is it descent?) to the speakership is the very definition of the word: His “victory” was achieved at too great a cost to be worth anything to the victor.

We’re already getting a hint of just how fleeting his victory might be. Politico headlined, “The clock starts ticking on McCarthy’s speakership,” calling him “speaker in name only” because of the concessions he made to the right wing of his party in the House. For the first time in history, the Speaker won’t control the all-powerful Rules Committee, on which will sit three of the shut-down caucus members who caused his 15-ballot humiliation last week. They could get together with Democrats on the committee and kill any bill they don’t like. The power to control the floor of the House of Representatives lies in what doesn’t reach the floor for a vote, rather than what does.

The most interesting take I’ve seen on last week’s clusterfuck in the House arrived in the unlikely pages of the Wall Street Journal, which pointed out in an otherwise standard wrap up on the deals McCarthy made with his right-wing that “The full list of concessions hasn’t been released publicly and may never be.” That seems to me to be the hidden key to the whole thing. We know that he yielded to Freedom Caucus demands that a single representative will be able to make a motion to “vacate the chair,” essentially firing the Speaker if the motion carries.

And we know McCarthy promised to make any increase in the debt ceiling dependent on equivalent spending cuts, which puts a stake through the whole reason you have to raise the debt ceiling in the first place. Remember, the rise in the debt ceiling isn’t on new debt, it’s to pay off debts already incurred by previous spending.

There were some noises made by the Loon Caucus that McCarthy had committed to attacking in some unmentioned fashion so-called “wokeness” in the military. OMG! They’re teaching diversity training at West Point! That the U.S. military contends on a daily basis with a workforce that is probably the most diverse of any major organization in the country was not mentioned, of course. McCarthy apparently just gave the go-ahead to scream about wokeness at top volume, because they’re never going to be able to do anything about it, whatever the hell wokeness is.

There was a brief mention on MSNBC that McCarthy had made some kind of deal to go after food stamps, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Then that particular concession disappeared from the radar screen as the punditocracy put their focus on the thing they all agreed represented just how low McCarthy was willing to go to make himself Speaker – his life-long dream, they kept reminding us – because the “vacate” deal made him “weak.”

Going after food for poor people is one of the unwritten deals mentioned by the Wall Street Journal that we’ll never see, and it gives us a glimpse of what was really behind the drive for power by the right-wing in the House. In 2017, about 40 million Americans were recipients in some fashion of food assistance. Of that number, 49 percent had children under the age of 17, and 55 percent of those were single parents (read: mothers). Fifteen percent of households receiving food benefits had elderly residents; 20 percent were disabled; the average gross income for households receiving assistance was $731; the average net income was $336, indicating that those needing food assistance appeared to be paying one hell of a lot more in federal, state, and local taxes than He Who Will Not Be Named.

For some reason unknown to me, Republicans – and not just conservative Republicans -- are bothered by the fact that the federal government is giving stuff away to people they don’t like. That it is in the form of food that goes into their stomachs matters not. They think all those people earning $731 a month just need to work harder. Get out of that wheelchair or nursing home bed and go to work! That’s what right-wing Republicans want. If they can’t work, fuck ’em. They don’t eat.

Some political pundit famously wrote about Trump that for him, “cruelty is the point.” He or she was correct about the man, but cruelty was baked into the conservative model of politics in this country long before the Man With a Tequila Sunrise On His Head came on the scene. These assholes have been after welfare and food stamps and housing assistance and any other program that benefits poor people since Goldwater ran for president, and arguably, long before that. The Republican Party of the 1940’s and 1950’s had a goal of shutting down Social Security, you will recall.

And as soon as Medicare raised its head, it, too, was targeted for closure – and not just by the far right. The Republican Party has put this shit in their platform. How many votes did the Republican-led House of Representatives take to shut down Obamacare? In 2017, Newsweek reported that they had found “at least 70 Republican-led attempts to repeal, modify or otherwise curb the Affordable Care Act since its inception as law on March 23, 2010.” Newsweek went on to note that nearly every attempt to defund or otherwise get rid of Obamacare included provisions to defund Planned Parenthood, too.

So, you get the picture. Poor people need to eat? Fuck them. Poor women need reproductive heath care that might include pap smears, early-pregnancy check-ups, and other non-abortion care? Fuck them, too. That the people making use of Planned Parenthood health care are our mothers and sisters and girlfriends and wives and grandmothers, well, they’re not us, so fuck ’em.

Everyone seemed to agree last week that the fight in the House over the Speakership was about power, and they really got into the power dynamics of the procedural shit McCarthy caved on and how weak it made him. But nobody was asking what they’re going to do with the power they were fighting over now that they’ve got it. This is what these people are really up to. They want power, and what they want to use it for is to hurt people.

It hurts people when they scream about Critical Race Theory and ban teaching the truth about slavery and the Civil War and ban books that talk about sexuality that isn’t like theirs. It hurts people when you cut taxes on wealthy people so they can pay $750 for one year’s taxes, or zero dollars, while poor or middle-class people pay considerable percentages of their income. It hurts people when you deny them health care by disallowing the increases in Medicaid enrollment made possible by the Affordable Care Act. It hurts people, and kills people, when you sit around in the well of the House on your cellphones sneaking drinks in the “cloakroom” while freezing temperatures and violent storms rage across the country with poor people in their path.

Kevin McCarthy’s victory in the early hours of Saturday morning may have been pyrrhic, but the losses that he and his Fuck ’em Caucus will render against the American people will be all too real.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Please consider subscribing to Lucian Truscott Newsletter, from which this is reprinted with permission.


House Republicans Learn The Steep Cost Of Having No Shame

Stay tuned — there’s more schadenfreude to come.

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If anyone is having less fun as a congressional Rep.-elect than Kevin McCarthy, I don’t know who that might be.

Oh, wait a minute…found one. I just caught a glimpse of George Santos, or Anthony Devolder, or whatever he’s calling himself today. We should call him Congressman Alone With His Phone if they ever get around to swearing in the 118th Congress. It’s hard to stand out as a pathetic figure among the Republicans in this House, who include Lauren “I’ve Got More Guns Than You Do” Boebert, Matt “Keep Your Teenage Daughters Away From Me Please” Gaetz, and the Two Goofs from Arizona, Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar --- but somehow George-Anthony “Yeah! That’s The Ticket!” Devolder-Santos manages it with a level of self-pity that rises to new heights with every breath that escapes his lungs.

But it’s not like McCarthy and his party aren’t getting what’s coming to them, because they didn’t just stand by while a pack of crazies ran for office and took over their party, they actively encouraged them. Donald Trump weaponized shamelessness, and Republican after Republican did exactly what he did: They lied every time they opened their mouths. Devolder-Santos isn’t an exception to the Republican rule. He is the rule. Trump taught him you could lie about anything and get away with it, so he took his example and ran with it.

So did countless others, beginning with the 147 Republican members of the House who voted not to accept the electoral certificates of Arizona and Pennsylvania. With broken glass still scattered on the floor of the Capitol building and repairmen working on the damage done to the Senate chamber and the Speaker’s offices, a large majority of the Republicans who were only hours before cowering in basement rooms and behind the protections afforded them from being bused to Ft. McNair, showed with their votes to overturn the election that they had no shame.

They’re still in the House, most of them, and they’re participating in this disaster for the country – not to mention for their party – like kids who brought the football to the playground and are threatening to take it home unless the others agree to play by their rules.

As the House went into the sixth ballot, the D.C. Punditry Establishment were in agreement that McCarthy doesn’t have a plan to break the gridlock brought on by the Insurrection Caucus in his party, but I think they’re not giving him credit for the steel in his butt as he sits there taking one hit after another in full view of his wife and kids and friends and the very, very few others who matter to him at this point in his miserable life.

This is a man whose politics since he came into office way back in 2007 have been me-me-me-me-me right from the get-go. He is showing us on an hour-by-hour basis how badly he has wanted to be Speaker of the House as he sits there stony-faced taking hit after hit from the likes of Boebert and Gaetz and the rest of them. Not even his groveling before the Hermit of Mar a Lago has helped. Trump announced publicly yesterday that the Republicans in the House should back McCarthy and vote him in as Speaker. Didn’t have much effect, as the pundits on MSNBC have somehow found a way to describe the 20 votes against McCarthy today as worse than the 20 votes against him yesterday.

It's hard to find the words to describe the level of humiliation McCarthy and the Republican Party are subjecting themselves to for a second day. It didn’t humiliate them to look around the House chamber and see the fruits of their shamelessness – Marjorie Taylor Greene proudly standing by her anti-Semitic idiocy about Jewish space lasers; and Paul Gosar, who gave the keynote address to the America First Political Action Conference hosted by neo-Nazi and white supremacist Nick Fuentes; and Andy Biggs, who was one of 14 Republicans who voted against making Juneteenth a national holiday. I could go on, but the gridlocked House chamber is packed with these half-wits. The fact that the only one they shun is their lying sack of shit representative from Long Island speaks volumes. You can cozy up to Holocaust deniers and racists, but woe be unto you if you lie about working for Goldman Sachs!

The operative emotion on the Democratic side is outright joy. They’re looking across the aisle at the 15 Republicans who flipped Democratic districts, including the six from New York who won their races in districts carried by Biden in 2020, and the Democrats are rubbing their hands together with glee. This Republican clusterfuck is writing 2024 TV ads for them. They know they’re going to be taking back the House in two years, probably with a more comfortable margin than they had for the last two years.

In fact, this Republican melt-down is starting to look like a blinking sign that the Democrats will take back the House in 2024 and hold it for a while. If Republicans do even half the shit they’re promising, like shutting down the government by refusing to raise the debt limit or negotiate a budget that can get through both houses, their party won’t see a majority in the lower chamber until their base of voters finally gets tired enough of the bullshit to expel some of these loons and put people who will govern in their place.

In the meantime, McCarthy is paying the price for his party’s embrace of shamelessness. His career is probably over, and there will be more Republican careers that will perish with him over this display of childish pique. Member after member, in nominating McCarthy again and again, has proudly said it's “the people’s house.” They’re right, insofar as the people they’re talking about are the childish brats who voted them into office. The thing they’re going to relearn if they ever knew it in the first place as this plays out is that brats don’t always get their way, and that time is coming.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

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