The term “the lunatics are in charge of the asylum” is meant to indicate that those in charge are less competent than those they are supposed to be taking care of. Nothing can be more true than today’s Republican Party where incompetence and misdirection have replaced any semblance of taking part in the day-to-day functions necessary for an operating government.
We are living an Orwellian nightmare where up is down, war is peace and wrong is right. We have members of Congress catering to the whims of conspiracy theorists, holding investigations into the very acts they committed by blaming the other side, supporting a potential presidential candidate who is facing multiple indictments and tried to take the office by force and a Supreme Court devoid of ethics, and refusing to be held as they reverse 50 years of precedent they swore to uphold.
Yes, the lunatics are truly in charge of the asylum.
It IS About the Guns
An old saying goes, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.” With the lunatics in charge of the asylum, this is true every time there is a mass casualty shooting. They offer thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims, claim it isn’t the time to discuss stricter gun control measures and blame mental health issues for the incidents.
They claim the Second Amendment prevents them from denying access to an endless supply of firearms; that doing so would deny law abiding citizens from exercising their constitutional rights. This is even the case when states try to impose stricter age requirements on the purchase of certain firearms. Courts recently invalidated a law that raised the age requirements for these purchases from 18 to 21. They reasoned that, since 18-year-olds are allowed to serve in the military, they should be allowed access to these lethal weapons. They conveniently ignore the fact that the military operates under a separate system of justice, where cases are tried by a military tribunal and not criminal courts.
Mental health is a valid explanation for a shooter’s actions, but shouldn’t wanting multiple firearms be a sign of mental illness? And if mental health is such a concern, why do the states with the most lax gun laws also reduce funding for the mentally ill?
Guns don’t kill people, people kill people is a popular mantra among gun enthusiasts. They blame violence on the music they listen to. They claim people become desensitized to violence due to video games or violent television shows or movies. They blame the internet for radicalizing certain individuals.
The problem with these excuses is that, if someone is so easily manipulated by such things, it’s highly probable they already possessed violent tendencies.
Every time there is a school shooting, there is the predictable cry to harden schools by beefing up security or arming teachers. It’s highly doubtful that any teacher entered the profession with the thought, “Cool. Now I get to carry a gun”. Besides, arming teachers makes it more likely they could be mistaken for an active shooter.
These same lawmakers are siphoning vital funding for public schools through vouchers and charter schools. So, where is the money for increasing school security supposed to come from?
So long as the lunatics are in charge of the asylum, and beholden to their financial masters, the NRA, there can never be any reasonable gun control measures. People, including school children, will continue to die and the lunatics will continue to spout their useless platitudes. As bodies pile up, they will cry about their Second Amendment, “God given” rights, calling themselves law abiding citizens since, until a trigger is pulled, they have yet to commit a crime under the perverse interpretation of the Constitution.
They say that politics makes for strange bedfellows. Such is the case with Republicans, particularly those in the House of Representatives. With Republicans holding a narrow majority, it took no less than 15 tries for Kevin McCarthy to garner enough votes to gain the coveted speakership. In order to do this, he had to make a devil’s bargain with the most extreme elements of his party.
McCarthy has refused to release the exact details of this fiendish agreement, but one component obviously involved QAnon kook Marjorie Taylor Greene, who stood by McCarthy’s side and was the first to congratulate him when he finally corralled enough support, thanks in part to a spineless Matt Gaetz voting Present rather than casting a favorable vote for the current speaker.
As an obvious reward for her support, Greene was allowed to preside over a session of the House. Seeing her with the speaker’s gavel is reminiscent of putting a fox in charge of the henhouse. While nothing eventful occurred during her session, the symbolism is frightening. Giving an obviously unhinged member of Congress such a high-profile position, even temporarily, validates her insane theories.
Another part of the agreement involved reappointing Greene to committee assignments. She had been stripped of those when Democrats held the majority for her vile rhetoric threatening Democratic leaders, including supporting the execution of prominent Democrats. She went as far as saying then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi deserved a bullet to the head.
Greene took advantage of the spotlight granted her by her reappointment by screaming at DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, calling him a liar. In a rare rebuke, the Republican head of the committee chastised Greene and had her remarks stricken from the record. He also prohibited Greene from making any further remarks during the hearing. And in an even more shocking development, Greene issued a rare apology for her comments, excusing her remarks by claiming she was new to committees and hadn’t yet learned the rules of decorum.
Speaking of inmates, Greene took her show on the road to visit those currently incarcerated while awaiting trial, or serving out their sentences, for their part in the January 6th insurrection. Greene decried the deplorable conditions they were in and declared them political prisoners, completely ignoring their efforts to forcefully overthrow the government on that fateful date.
While not implicitly stated, another part of McCarthy’s deal with the devil involved turning of videotapes of the January 6th attack to right wing media, in particular now disgraced commentator Tucker Carlson. Carlson used this access to release a selectively edited, highly distorted version of the events of that day, depicting the insurrectionists as the peaceful tourists many Republicans were pushing as an alternative to the violent insurrection.
Strange bedfellows indeed.
Investigate, Investigate, Investigate
Conducting investigations is a role that Congress has assumed almost since its inception. While it’s primary function, according to the Constitution, is to make laws, it has also taken on the responsibility of conducting investigations into a variety of issues resulting in numerous committees, some standing, and others formed for a specific purpose.
Congressional committees were initially formed to ensure specific legislation was being enacted by the states properly, hence the Congressional Oversight Committee. The advent of televised committee hearings sometimes resulted in members of Congress using their positions as a way of seeking attention, as well as to show their constituents they were doing the job they were supposed to be doing.
Sometimes committees run amok, such as the infamous House on UnAmerican Activities Committee headed by Wisconsin Senator Eugene McCarthy. His infamous Red Scare, as a means of routing out Communists in prominent positions, gave rise to the modern version of a Witch Hunt. This resulted in many being blacklisted, causing them to lose their careers and their reputations simply by the virtue of having their name uttered in relation to the investigation.
The term Witch Hunt has been applied by Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans to any investigation involving their alleged involvement in various questionable activities. Apparently, they lack the ability to use a thesaurus because they have applied the term to everything from the Mueller investigation to the Mar a Lago classified documents scandal.
Yet, under the current Republican majority, the House is determined to launch investigation after investigation into any alleged wrongdoing by President Biden, including their relentless pursuit of his son, Hunter, in an effort to smear the president. Such matters are typically handled by the courts, but Republicans have decided to engage in their own Quixotic quest to find some sort of tenuous connection between the alleged wrongdoings of the president’s son and Joe Biden, himself. Yet, the mere mention of Hunter Biden is enough to make Republican conspiracy theorists salivate like a rabid dog.
The younger Biden is currently being investigated for income tax evasion while Republicans claim to have found bank statements that indicate payments from China and Romania while the elder Biden was Vice President. While providing no direct link, they are saying the people should be able to infer there is some connection.
Guilt by inference? That’s a new one!
Then there is the committee investigating how Democrats are “weaponizing” the Justice Department and other law enforcement agencies. The head of this committee is the equally hot-headed Jim Jordan, who was denied a role in the January 6th committee because it was blatantly obvious all he would do is to attempt to derail the proceedings with pointless distractions and unsubstantiated connections to Antifa or Black Lives Matter.
The committee hasn’t uncovered any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Democrats, but it did bring to light just a few of the vendettas launched by the previous administration. Even when Jordan claimed to have evidence from alleged whistleblowers, it turns out they were nothing more than disgruntled former employees. They were allowed to testify, but were quickly dismissed before Democrats on the committee had the chance to question them.
So, what began as an airing of Republican grievances appears to be heading to a thud of a conclusion, with none of the Republican allegations being proven.
Investigations into Biden’s COVID response, the American withdrawal from Afghanistan and the administration’s handling of the Southern Border are among the many other issues being probed by House Republicans.
Meanwhile, the government is on the brink of default due to Republican insistence that specific budget cuts be made before they will agree to approve the funding. Maybe if they spent less on investigations, they would have the money they desire?
Justice for All?
When our nation was founded, it was designed with three equal branches. The legislative branch makes the laws, the executive branch enforces the laws, and the judicial branch evaluates the laws based upon the Constitution. While the executive and legislative branches are inherently partisan, the judicial branch is supposed to be impartial. They determine the validity of laws based upon their constitutionality, and not any allegiance to one party or another.
That was then.
Now, we live in an era where hyper partisanship has allowed the warring factions within the government to go “judge shopping” in order to gain a desirable result. Want to overturn a liberal policy, then take your fight to Texas. If your wish is to upend a conservative law, then California is for you!
As a result, laws are no longer being interpreted based upon their adherence to the Constitution. Instead, they are being decided by judges who view their allegiance to a party philosophy rather than a non-partisan view. The result has been the systematic dismantling of many once cherished protections based not upon an interpretation of the law, but ona judge’s political leaning.
It stretches from local judges, who regularly need to be re-elected, to those on the Federal Bench, with their lifetime appointments, all the way to the Supreme Court, where the religious right has hijacked the bench, causing 50 years of protection for women’s healthcare to be overturned when the court abolished Roe v Wade.
Then there are the ethical issues. The Supreme Court is a self-regulating body. Typically, issues with individual justices are handled internally, and often without the public’s knowledge. So, when it came to light that Justice Clarence Thomas was the recipient of lavish gifts for decades, there was the obvious question of whether or not Thomas was involved in decisions that would be advantageous to his benefactor.
Thomas insists he reported everything he was legally required to, which led to the inevitable whataboutism from Republicans when book deals from liberal justices were revealed. While such behavior should automatically call for a bipartisan cry for Thomas to resign, those on the right won’t do so because it would definitely mean that a liberal justice would replace him due to Democrats being in control of the Senate.
So, ethics be damned!
Then there is the issue of unequal justice based upon economic status. Those without the financial means are filling our jails due to the fact they are unable to afford bail, or they are forced to accept a plea deal because they have to rely upon inexperienced public defenders rather than high priced lawyers who would otherwise use their legal legerdemain to escape consequences for their actions.
Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein committed heinous acts for years before the legal system finally caught up with them. They used their financial resources to silence their accusers or otherwise tied up the courts with seemingly endless motions to delay the proceedings.
There needs to be a limit to the amount of legal chicanery one person is allowed. Perhaps the three strikes rule should apply? Otherwise, those with the financial means can avoid prosecution simply by filing endless motions to prevent the legal process from going forward.
Justice and Donald J. Trump
Speaking of legal chicanery, no one is more adept at it than Donald Trump. He has avoided the consequences of his actions for years by exhausting those who would accuse him through an endless series of motions, delaying tactics and, if they don’t work, throwing money at the accuser to silence them by making a non-disclosure agreement part of the settlement.
Another option is he could use these tactics to run out the clock on legal proceedings. By filing motion after motion, he could exhaust the statute of limitations on many of the cases brought against him. He used his stint in the White House as a shield from prosecution, relying on the tradition of not prosecuting a sitting president.
It was only a change in the law that allowed E Jean Carroll to find Trump civilly liable for his actions and comments when a jury ruled that he had sexually assaulted her many years earlier. Trump has forcefully denied even knowing Carroll (Anyone who has watched a single episode of Law and Order SVU knows that you don’t have to know a person to sexually assault them. Perhaps Olivia Benson could explain it to him, or Elliot Stabler could beat him into understanding?). It was a claim he repeated after the verdict in the horrendous CNN Town Hall appearance, possibly opening the door for further lawsuits.
Thus far, Trump has been able to avoid criminal charges; that is until the Stormy Daniels case unearthed multiple financial transgressions. In pursuing this unprecedented prosecution of a former president, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office finds itself in uncharted waters. Do they treat him like a normal defendant, or must they consider the political implications of potentially convicting such a polarizing figure?
This has drawn the attention of Republicans in Congress. Using that oft-repeated phrase “Witch Hunt”, they are attempting to portray the case as politically motivated. Led by his sycophantic supporter Jim Jordan, they are demanding both current and former members of the District Attorney’s Office appear before them to respond to questions about the case. This could potentially amount to obstruction of justice as they seek to interfere with the legal process on Trump’s behalf.
While these cases are proceeding, or even being resolved, the major cases are moving forward at a maddeningly slow pace. This exposes the duality of our justice system and the dangers of aiming too high when politics are involved. And it presents the frightening scenario where Trump could regain the office he once tried to take by force on January 6th.
The former Marine who held Jordan Neely in a fatal chokehold has already been charged with manslaughter. Incontrovertible video evidence shows him committing the act. There is also video of Donald Trump exhorting the MAGA crowd to attack Congressional proceedings on January 6th, yet despite this overwhelming evidence, the case remains open.
Fellow serial liar George Santos has been indicted on 13 felony charges related to his finances. Bank statements and other paper trails led to his indictment. Meanwhile, Donald Trump was in illegal possession of thousands of government documents, many of them classified, while he falsely claims that he had the right to have them. Again, there has yet to be legal consequences for his actions.
Numerous times a suspect’s own words are used as evidence against them. It’s even something highly stressed in Miranda warnings. Either through self-admission, word of informants, or even legally obtained wiretapping, people have been prosecuted based upon their own damning testimony. But, despite recordings of Trump attempting to coerce a Georgia official into altering voting records to his advantage, charges in this open-and-shut case are still pending.
If Trump were to evade prosecution, it would show that our justice system is irrevocably broken. The lunatics would have gained absolute control of the asylum, and our once great nation.