GOP already sending ominous signals

GOP already sending ominous signals

Jan 6, 2017, 2:59:19 PM Opinion

With the 115th Congress now officially sworn in, and after the inauguration of Donald Trump on January 20, two of the three branches of the U.S. Government will officially be under control of the Republican Party. With the executive and legislative in hand, court appointments over the coming year (including a Supreme Court vacancy) could very well put the judicial branch under effective GOP control. What we’re looking at is nothing less than a Dictatorship of the Kakistocracy, or, a country being run by the worst, least qualified, most unscrupulous citizens.

While that might seem like an over-the-top view, recent actions by the GOP-led House send what are to me clear signals of what’s on the minds of our new rulers.

In one of the first House actions, Tea Party elements of the GOP drafted legislation that would have effectively neutered the independent Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), turning over control of ethics issues to the representatives themselves; the very people whose misconduct led to establishment of the office in the first place. After pushback from the GOP leadership, a public outcry, and a tepid, half-hearted admonishment from President-elect Trump (who objected not to the action, but its timing, by the way), the tea-baggers backed down, but that this would be one of the first things on their minds speaks volumes. This action, done in secret in the dark of the night, was kept secret even from the GOP leaders. Talk about the fox putting himself in charge of the chicken coop.

But this little skirmish wasn’t the only sign of GOP efforts to impose a one-party dictatorship. House Republicans also adopted a rule that would impose fines on lawmakers who take photos or video in the chamber, apparently to prevent future opposition protests similar to the Democratic sit-ins relating to gun violence last year. One of the provisions of the anti-protest legislation is that lawmakers who violate the new rules would be referred to the OCE for review—apparently the authors of this law weren’t aware of their colleagues’ efforts to gut the OCE.

In another bit of legislative legerdemain, the Rep. Richard Hudson (Rep-NC) introduced a bill that would allow people from the ten states that allow concealed carry of weapons without a permit to legally take their guns to any state that recognizes its citizens’ right to concealed carry. What this means is that someone from Mississippi, where no concealed carry permit is required, could conceal and carry his gun legally while walking down Broadway in New York City, where a concealed carry permit is required of New Yorkers. Beyond the safety implications of this bit of NRA-supported legislation, it’ll be interesting to see how the GOP squares this federal intrusion into the affairs of states with their avowed desire to have less federal involvement in local matters.

Both chambers of congress are abuzz with plans to gut the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, despite no one having aired plans to replace it or cushion the shock for the many Americans who would be without health coverage if it’s repealed precipitously.

On the executive side, Trump continues with his policy by tweet, making him the Twit-in-Chief of the United States. He has also continued to roil the waters in his continued refusal to accept the U.S. intelligence community’s view that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, preferring instead to put his belief in WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, who asserted to Fox News (not too credibly) that the Russians didn’t feed him the tons of leaked emails he aired during the campaign

Trump’s ongoing dispute with the intelligence community, including his being excluded from discussions on the issue, prompted former CIA Director L. James Woolsey Jr. to resign from the Trump transition team.

Looking at all these signs, I see nothing but a bumpy road ahead for the American representative system—I’m hesitant at this point to use the D word, but stay tuned. All I can say folks is, ‘Fasten your safety belts, keep your hands and other body parts inside the car, and hold onto your hats.’

Published by Charles Ray

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