Brussels, Toronto (4/10 – 60)
The general air of frustration and resentment wafting up from Washington is a reflection of the mood of the nation – in tune with the eternal and accurate appraisal of the federal government as “out of touch” with the mood and concerns of the people.
The electorate expresses its disgust with Congress by giving it an approval rating that any executive in the business world or show biz egomaniac “celebrity” would get them ousted. All through the past year the answer to “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job?” has hovered around 20% – with a DISapproval rating of 78%, indicating that few Americans do not hold a strong opinion on the matter.
Yet the voters keep voting the bums back in, even when they are clearly senile, incompetent or corrupt – simply because at election time the politicos can deliver “defense” or other “government” contracts, signifying jobs, to their district. A legal version of bribery – the people being bribed with their own money. If it is not a factory in their district building bombs, then it is another federal pork-barrel gush of money – even when it clearly does not contribute to the common good of the nation. How about a submarine base in … Oklahoma?
It is eerie to reflect on the similarities of the US Congress and the Roman Senate during the era of the Empire’s long decline (200AD onwards): the senators rich yet fearful, quarreling and conspiring with little regard for the “majesty of the law”. Candidates owning little more than a home and small business ending up as multi-millionaires a couple of terms after “serving” in Congress. True power residing in the “Administrative State” (aka “Deep State”) – unelected bureaucrats, a counterpart of the Prætorian Guard. The borders of the Empire crumbling, in a cascade of unwinnable wars; an invasion of hungry, resentful, alien barbarians; the coin of the realm debased (US$ 31 trillion and counting in national debt – the government can’t even pay interest on it at the moment). The masses placated with bread and circuses (NASCAR, NFL, internet pornography, drugs and junk food) but bewildered, jobless and aimless. A nation drifting.
The latest sacrificial victim in an intensely unhappy and fearful Congress is California Republican Kevin McCarthy who, if you recall from some months back, really, really, really wanted the job of “Speaker of the House”. Now, for the first time in history, a Speaker has been bounced – mostly by Democrats but with the support of seven so-called “conservative” Republicans. Kevin has failed to fulfill impossible expectations.
The two-party system is clearly not working, and the ouster of McCarthy, after fierce quarreling distracted the lawmakers from making laws to solve problems, is an example of how the “Uniparty” that the US Government has become is turning on its own, like a mad dog biting itself. The glorious campaign for victory in Ukraine (a corrupt money-sinkhole that has historically been one of the world’s big losers) is going badly. Russia, the last standing opposition to the “full-spectrum global dominance” of the Pentagon, is not collapsing. The People’s Republic of China is not being obedient and subservient, in spite of the swarm of military threats displayed against it in the South China Sea. The USA talks tough to China, but imports 80%+ of its antibiotics medications from that “trading partner” (along with most every other manufactured item), so good luck with that plan.
Even Europe is unhappy, strangely enough, with the lifeblood of cheap energy from Russia handily clipped off (nobody is fooled about the ones who destroyed the Nordstream pipeline, with losses in the billions to German and other investors). The third world is finally presented with a credible commercial alternative, in BRICS+, although that tempting offer may eventually degenerate into “frying-pan-into-fire”.
The last time there was a vote on a motion to dethrone a Speaker was in 1910; it was unsuccessful. Now, by House rule, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) has been declared “Speaker pro tempore”, to serve until the election of a new speaker. The House is in recess, licking its wounds.
McCarthy had plenty of vigorous support before the fatal vote. Rep Tom Cole (R-Okla.) led the debate in favor of Mr. McCarthy, saying, “Whether or not we agree on the speaker, he did the right thing. He did the right thing … for this institution. He showed it could function in a time of crisis. And finally, I think he did the right thing for our party.
“He made sure that we can continue to negotiate and achieve [conservative victories] in a divided government, which calls for some degree of ‘give and take’. So I’m very proud of this speaker. I’m very proud to stand behind him.”
A number of Republicans argued passionately in favor of Mr. McCarthy, affirming his character and leadership and asserting that he has greatly improved the transparency in the way the House operates. [Refer to “approval rating” as delineated above.]
Others urged caution in rushing to remove the speaker, warning it would plunge the House into chaos when it desperately needs to focus of completing the appropriations process.
“Speaker McCarthy has been leading at the top level to make sure that we have the tools to do our jobs in a different way than the House has done it before,” Mr. Scalise added, urging members to stay focused on their mission.
At the conclusion of the debate, the vote was taken by calling the roll. That did the job on the Californian.
Quo Vadis, USA? Look at all those little, insignificant countries of Africa, Asia and Latinoamerica – they fear you no longer. And you don’t have the same bag of candy to bribe them with, so why should they play along with you?