Tag: U.S. House Speaker

More evidence that Dennis Hastert is a disgusting human being

Earlier today, former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) was sentenced to fifteen months (one year and three months) in federal prison for violating federal banking laws by attempting to conceal hush money that was being paid to individuals who were sexually abused by Hastert.

However, that wasn’t the biggest story of the Hastert sentencing proceedings today.

During the sentencing proceedings, one of the victims of Hastert’s sexual abuse was identified as Scott Cross, the brother of former Republican Illinois State House Minority Leader Tom Cross. Furthermore, it was revealed that Hastert called Tom Cross for his support of Hastert:

That right there proves that Dennis Hastert is a disgusting human being. The fact that Hastert would call the brother of someone he sexually abused and ask him to support an abuser is the ultimate form of being a total scumbag. Hastert has absolutely zero regard for victims of sexual abuse.

New York Daily News cover on San Bernardino shooting: “God Isn’t Fixing This”

God Isn't Fixing Gun Violence - NY Daily News Cover
December 3, 2015 cover of the New York Daily News (image courtesy of New York Daily News)

Earlier today, a mass shooting took place in San Bernardino, California. The mass shooting occurred at the Inland Regional Center, a facility for people with developmental disabilities in San Bernardino, California. As of the writing of this blog post, at least 14 people were killed by the perpetrators of the mass shooting.

This is yet another example of lax gun laws in this country allowing people with violent intentions to carry out a mass shooting in America. As someone who has a developmental disorder (Asperger’s syndrome), I find it sickening that a mass shooting was carried out at a place designed to help those with developmental disabilities.

At the other end of the country from San Bernardino, in the New York City metropolitan area, the cover of tomorrow’s New York Daily News will feature the headline “GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS”, as well as tweets from three U.S. Senators who are seeking the Republican presidential nomination (Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC)) and U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). As an atheist, I fully understand that prayers aren’t going to do a damn thing to prevent mass shootings in this country. Only implementation of common-sense gun safety and gun control measures, such as universal background checks on all gun sales, closing the gun show loophole, and banning the sale of assault weapons will prevent mass shootings from occurring in this country.

 

Paul Ryan opposed abortion rights for women impregnated by rapists during failed 2012 VP bid

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the unsuccessful Republican vice-presidential nominee in 2012, is now officially considering a bid for U.S. House Speaker after previously having repeatedly refused to do so.

However, Ryan won’t negotiate with the House Freedom Caucus, a group of Republican right-wing extremists in the House that have refused to back a GOP establishment candidate for speaker unless said establishment candidate agrees to giving the Republican rank-and-file, which is chock full of right-wing nuts, more power in the House and cover-your-rear-end treatment from the GOP leadership every time someone in the rank-or-file says or does something incredibly stupid.

While Ryan considers whether or not to seek the speakership, I think it’s appropriate for me to mention that this is an actual quote from Paul Ryan from when he was running for vice president in 2012:

Well, I’m very proud of my pro-life record, and I’ve always adopted the idea, the position, that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life.

What Paul Ryan effectively said was that he thinks that any woman who was impregnated by a rapist should be forced to carry the fetus(es) to term, even if she does not want to. That’s because Ryan was asked by an interviewer about his thoughts on whether or not women who are impregnated by a rapist should be allowed to seek an abortion, and Ryan said that he was strongly anti-abortion and that the “method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life”. That is an absolutely barbaric point of view. While there was YouTube video of Ryan’s remarks online back in 2012, the video has long since been removed from YouTube. However, I’ve been able to confirm that Ryan actually made the remarks, because the International Business Times, which is where I got the Ryan quote from, and several other websites with credible political reporting and/or commentary, such as the Huffington Post and AlterNet, reported on it back in 2012, and their articles are still online.

Paul Ryan’s view that women impregnated by rapists should be forced to carry their fetuses to term is barbaric and sexist. Now, he wants to be House Speaker so that he’s in even more powerful of a position to control women’s bodies by legislative fiat, especially if a Republican were to win the White House in next year’s presidential race.

Alleged extramarital affair between House Republicans Kevin McCarthy and Renee Ellmers reported by right-wing website

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The following blog post contains sexually suggestive and profane language. Reader discretion is advised.


Is THIS the real reason why House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) dropped out of the race for Speaker of the House of Representatives?:

Multiple sources within Bakersfield, North Carolina, & on Capitol Hill tell Gotnews.com that Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Renee Ellmers (R-NC) have been carrying on a long-running affair since 2011.

The affair is something of an open secret in Washington, D.C. Reporters at other publications, lobbyists, congressional staffers of both parties all know about it. One staffer for a congressman describes it as the “biggest open secret” in D.C. A lobbyist describes Ellmers as a “social climber who has ingratiated herself” with McCarthy.

House leadership also knows about the affair. Speaker John Boehner reportedly told McCarthy to stop the affair once McCarthy was elected Majority Leader says a well placed congressional staffer. At least one leadership staffer doesn’t think the affair ended. “They are unusually close,” says the staffer who insists that the affair is going on. “It’s weird if he’s not fucking her.”

(emphasis mine)

Granted, it’s from a right-wing website citing unnamed sources, so it’s something that should be treated as merely allegations at this point. However, it has been alleged that Kevin McCarthy, who was the frontrunner for U.S. House Speaker until earlier today when he ended his campaign for speaker, and Renee Ellmers, a Republican congresswoman from North Carolina, have been involved in an extramarital affair with each other. McCarthy has a wife (Judy McCarthy, who is not an elected official to my knowledge) and two children, whereas Ellmers has a husband (Brent Ellmers, a surgeon who has never held elected office) and one child.

If you thought the Republican Party was in total disarray, wait until the mainstream media picks up on this story…

ENDORSEMENT: Kati Walsh for U.S. House Speaker

With Republican U.S. House Speaker John Boehner exiting stage right, I’m pleased to announce that I’m going to make a very special endorsement. I proudly endorse Kati Walsh for Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.

Since I’m guessing that very few, if any, readers of this blog know who Kati Walsh is, I’ll talk a little bit about her. She’s a resident of Madison, Wisconsin and an elementary school art teacher in the local public school system in Madison. She’s also a very strong advocate for public education.

Now, many of you are probably thinking that Ms. Walsh is not a Member of Congress. Of course she’s not a Member of Congress. However, there’s no legal requirement in the U.S. Constitution that the speaker be a sitting member of the House, so anyone could legally be elected speaker by the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. In fact, the U.S. Constitution could be interpreted as allowing for someone who doesn’t meet the constitutional requirements to be eligible to be elected a U.S. House member (at least 25 years of age, U.S. citizen for at least seven years, resident of the state in which he/she seeks to represent) to be elected speaker. Heck, there’s nothing prohibiting me from receiving votes for speaker, even though I’m not a Member of Congress, and I have zero interest in being speaker.

Do I think that Ms. Walsh will get a single vote in the upcoming election for speaker? Of course not. The vast majority of the Republicans will vote for one of their own House members, probably Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), with a few hard-line conservative Republicans voting for Tea Party-types in protest. On the other hand, nearly all Democrats will vote for Nancy Pelosi, with the exception of a handful of centrist/conservative Democrats who will vote for either a Republican or a different House Democrat.

However, I’ve always thought of the idea of a citizen speaker (i.e., a U.S. House speaker who is not a House member) would be interesting, as a citizen speaker would have the power to preside over the House, but not be able to vote on legislation before the House, effectively making the speaker’s post non-partisan and technocratic in nature. If Kati Walsh can teach a class of elementary school children, then she’ll have no problem presiding over the U.S. House of Representatives and its 435 adult members.

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert INDICTED on federal criminal charges

Former Republican U.S. House Speaker and current lobbyist Dennis Hastert of Illinois, who presided over the lower branch of government for eight years from 1999 to 2007, has been indicted on federal criminal charges for his role in a scheme in which Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million in hush money to a former acquaintance that he wronged for some reason:

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has been indicted on federal charges alleging he agreed to pay $3.5 million in apparent hush money to a longtime acquaintance blackmailing him, then lied to the FBI when asked about suspicious cash withdrawals from several banks, federal prosecutors said.

The stunning indictment of the longtime Republican powerhouse alleged he gave about $1.7 million in cash to the acquaintance, identified only as Individual A in the charges, to “compensate for and conceal (Hastert’s) prior misconduct” against Individual A that had occurred years earlier.

[…]

Hastert, 73, of Plano, was charged with one count each of structuring currency transactions to evade Currency Transaction Reports and making a false statement to the FBI, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He will be arraigned later at U.S. District Court in downtown Chicago.

The full indictment is available here.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Hastert, I’ll provide a bit of a refresher about who Hastert is. Hastert is a longtime member of the same Republican old boys network here in Illinois that has produced the likes of George Ryan of licenses-for-bribes infamy. During his tenure in the House, Hastert was a big supporter of pork-barrel spending projects (example of that here), especially if they benefited Northern Illinois and not other areas of Illinois and the rest of the country. As House Speaker, Hastert allegedly received tens of thousands of dollars from Turkish people that federal authorities were wiretapping. After Hastert left Congress, Hastert received a $35,000/month contract to lobby on behalf of Turkey.

However, Hastert isn’t being indicted over pork-barrel spending or his corrupt ties to Turkish interests. Instead, he’s being indicted for trying to evade federal currency transaction reports, which the federal government requires financial institutions in this country to file for any deposit, withdrawal, or other type of monetary transaction of more than $10,000. Hastert has also been indicted on a related charge of lying to the FBI about his scheme to pay millions of dollars in hush money to someone, whose identity was not revealed in the indictment for legal/privacy reasons, who he wronged. Although not confirmed, some sources are reporting that the charges may stem from actions that Hastert took when he was a high school teacher before entering electoral politics.

Just like his right-wing political cronies George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, Hastert blatantly violated federal laws. However, unlike Bush and Cheney, Hastert might actually have to serve time in prison for his crimes.

FOX News defends President Obama and slams Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Netanyahu using Congress as a campaign prop

Two weeks before the Israeli Knesset (Israel’s unicameral national legislature) elections, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to speak before the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives after being invited to do so by House Speaker John Boehner.

Netanyahu using the U.S. House as a prop for his party (Likud) in its re-election efforts is viewed so unfavorably here in the United States, even FOX News, a right-wing propaganda cable channel that masquerades as a cable news channel, is defending President Barack Obama, who is usually hated by on-air and off-air figures at FOX News, and slamming Netanyahu, who is usually well-liked by on-air and off-air figures at FOX News. Shepard Smith and Chris Wallace, who both host shows that are either aired on FOX News or produced by FOX News for the over-the-air FOX Network, blasted Netanyahu for using our country’s Congress as a political prop, with Smith quoting former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk:

You can read more about the growing backlash against the scheduled Netanyahu congressional speech from unexpected places here and here.

Over his long political career, Benjamin Netanyahu has shown zero respect for American sovereignty and institutions. We are not going to be a puppet state for Netanyahu’s Israel, we are not going to let Netanyahu run roughshod over the American people, and, most importantly, I am calling for Democratic U.S. House members to turn their backs to Netanyahu if and when he speaks before the House, even if it means getting expelled from the House.