If Witch Hunts and Bullying are Wrong, I Don’t Want to be Right


This week, the U.S. House of Representatives, that wonderfully absurd and inept collection of lunatics and extremists, outdid itself on two fronts.

The first is the saga of the Speaker of the House: A few weeks ago, the House “Freedom Caucus,” forty of the wackiest wackos representing the farthest right of the right wing, forced John {“Weeping Willow”) Boehner out as the Speaker of the House.  After meeting with the Pope, “Cry me a River”Boehner announced his resignation.  This may finally be evidence of the infallibility of the Pope. Maybe he really does have a connection with God. The presumed successor, Kevin McCarthy (not to be confused with the star of the 1956 sci-fi classic film, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” but rather the House of 2015 horror feature, “Night of the Brain Dead”) bowed out after hints of scandal,, but not before admitting that the House Benghazi committee is politically motivated to hurt democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, I know, it’s shocking.  Everybody knows that, just like everybody knows fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent on your car insurance. But more on Benghazi later. Desperate for a new speaker to abuse and manipulate, the GOP turned to Wisconsin Representative and confirmed idiot Paul “Ayn Rand” Ryan (who would win an IQ battle with Wisconsin Governor and former presidential candidate Scott “All in all you’re just another brick in my wall between the U.S. and Canada” Walker by a single digit … say, nine to eight). Ryan said he’d take the job if 1) the Freedom Caucus would support him and 2) so long as he can maintain time with his family as a priority. This stand was lauded by peers and pundits from both sides of the aisle as heroic and noble. But then a look at his voting record revealed hypocrisy, not heroism, as he voted against the Family Leave Act.  The fact that in 2014 the House was scheduled to work a whopping 113 days (about 112 more than necessary for their output) doesn’t help, either, as it doesn’t seem that difficult to balance work with family when you’re off 252 out of 365 days.

As for the “freedom caucus,” we’ll see how much they are in line the next time they decide to try and shut the government down over whatever silly and manufactured issue is the next to tie their undies in knots.

Then there was yesterday’s Benghazi hearing, where Clinton was put on stand for nearly eleven hours. Everybody was shocked and surprised that Clinton made mincemeat out of the amateurish attempts to catch her in a “gotcha” moment and that that no new information was revealed in this, the eighth Benghazi committee conducting the 13th public hearing. Twenty nine  ARB findings and countless “I take full responsibility” statements by Clinton weren’t enough for the Republicans – they had to get to the bottom of this, and find out what things went wrong, and who was responsible. Twenty million of the taxpayers’ dollars later, the end result is twenty nine ARB findings and Clinton’s acceptance of responsibility.  But that’s okay – the Republicans can try again.  They’re nothing if not persistent – this is the same body that has voted more than fifty times to repeal the Affordable Care Act. After all, with that demanding 113 days work schedule, what else are they going to do?  Vote on the bi-partisan immigration reform bill that passed the senate in 2013?  Come on, get real – there’s only so much you can’t do.

One thing it turns out they can do is give Hillary a not really needed so much boost in the polls, The hearings turned into an all-day campaign ad for Clinton, who was calm, cool, and armed with facts, the Kryptonite to the super powers of lies and innuendos that work so well for the Republicans in the fantasy world of Fox News but in the real world, well, not so super.  It was fascinating watching Jim Jordan and Martha Roby get more exhausted and frustrated as the day wore on, until they both cracked and looked really bad.  All while Clinton, who the marathon session and the relentless questioning was deigned to exhaust and frustrate and crack, kept her cool, slowly and patiently reciting fact after fact in great detail, taking up the inquisitors’ allotted time.

So what do we take away from this?  I think one thing is that this charade of making everything a political game has got to stop.  One term that was heard over and over in the hearing was “Arb,” or ARB, which stands for Accountability Review Board.  The ARB process was put in place after the Beirut disaster in 1983, when 241 marines were killed in an attack on their barracks.  It’s been used countless times since, in a bi-partisan and non-political fashion, to document lessons learned and best demonstrated practices to prevent these tragedies from re-occurring, After Benghazi, an ARB came up with 29 recommendations, 25  of which were implemented immediately.  The eight committees and $20 million spent have added no value, not even as an anti-Hillary political attack, as it’s transparency resulted in a backfire that has actually strengthened Clinton’s candidacy.

Here’s the bottom line about the current state of politics in the USA:  The political right has been taken over by extremists to the point that the entire Republican party has shifted so far that candidates like Donald Trump and Ben Carson have a real chance at winning the nomination.  Meanwhile, the divide between left and right has become so wide that virtually everyone has already decided where they stand, and nothing will change their outlook.  I have no question that there are those on the right who feel as passionately that Hillary revealed herself to be a monster as I believe she showed remarkable skill, restraint, and resolve. It’s all pure emotion, and logic and reason aren’t part of the equation. This is how Jeb Bush can literally, in one minute, blame Clinton for Benghazi, saying “the Secretary of State is responsible,” and the next be completely befuddled when it’s suggested that by that same logic, brother  George W. was responsible for 9/11. Everybody has already made up their mind.

Yet that doesn’t stop billions and billions of dollars being funneled into our political campaigns. All told, there are approximately twenty three people out across this great nation of ours who are undecided, who don’t know where they stand  A majority of these are people who recently fell and hit their heads on a rock, or Sasquatches, or some other mythical creature. These undecided voters are the people who all the money is being spent on, who will eventually choose our next president.

Heaven help us.

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