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Louisiana’s entire congressional delegation – two U.S. senators and six representatives – all give lip service to supporting our military (including veterans), mental health, and law and order.

But it’s where the rubber meets the road that we learn just how solid that support really is. In other words, how do they vote when they’re called upon to put up or shut up?

Those votes are not generally publicized and lawmakers often cast their votes secure in the knowledge that the folks back home will never learn their true commitment – or lack thereof – or to whom they’re indebted on important issues.

We’ve already seen how Sen. John Neely Kennedy, aka Randy Quaid as Cousin Eddie, along with all five Republican House members VOTED NO on a bill to help veterans who had been exposed to toxic burn pits in Iraq.

Kennedy, of course, reversed course and voted yes when the bill was brought up for reconsideration but his original negative vote was a disgrace in that it was part of political gamesmanship in which Louisiana’s junior senator was sending a message to Democrats who had out-maneuvered the Repugs to win passage of a bill that (gasp!) increased taxes on the wealthy.

It was Kennedy’s version of revenge sex (Lord, it makes my skin crawl to use the words Kennedy and sex in the same sentence). In other words, he was putting partisan politics ahead of helping veterans.

You think that was bad? Get a load of this crap. In his latest TV ad, Col. Kornpone declares that he “stood up to China.” Holy Trade War, Batman, he’s perfected the art (as first described by the late Earl Long) of “talking out both sides of his mouth and whistling in the middle.”

Let’s play the tape on his China claim: HR 4346, aka the CHIPS Act, was enacted to put the US on better footing in competing with China in the manufacture of computer chips.

The bill, which enjoyed the support of 13 Senate Republicans, including our own Bill Cassidy, as well as Mitch McConnell, Susan Collins, and Lindsey “Little Lap Dog” Graham, easily passed the Senate by a 64-33 vote.

But guess which senator who is currently pontificating about how he “stood up to China” VOTED AGAINST THE BILL?

You got it. John Neely Kennedy. But he wasn’t alone. All five of Louisiana’s Republican House members – Steve Scalise, Garret Graves, Clay Higgins, Mike Johnson, and Julia Letlow – also voted no on the House version, which nevertheless passed in that chamber by a 243-187 vote.

Stay with me. It gets better.

On President Biden’s nomination of Arianna Freeman of Pennsylvania as a U.S. District Judge, both Kennedy and Cassidy voted no. Freeman was confirmed, despite their opposition, by a 50-47 vote.

Kennedy also opposed the nomination of Arati Prabhaker of California to be Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Prabhaker, was more easily confirmed than Freeman, by a vote of 56-40.

So, just what is it that rankles Kennedy so much over Biden’s nominees when he fell all over himself in confirming Frump’s controversial Supreme Court nominees? It couldn’t have been something like petty party politics, could it? Nah, couldn’t be.

Let’s turn our attention to Louisiana’s six House members. All but Mike Johnson of the state’s 4th District are opposed for reelection in November.

Keep that in mind for such incumbents as Steve KKK Scalise and feet of Clay Higgins. Actually, that latter description is inaccurate. Higgins considers himself as something akin to Louisiana’s answer to John Wayne. I see him more in the mold of PAT BUTTRAM, aka Gene Autry’s sidekick in those Saturday matinee westerns and later as Mr. Haney of Green Acres.

HR 8888, to establish in the Department of Veterans Affairs an Office of Food Security:

  • In favor: Democrat Troy Carter
  • Opposed: Republicans Scalise, Higgins, Johnson, Letlow, and Graves
  • Passed, 376-49.

Remember following each time there was a mass shooting by someone with an AR-15, the Republicans, in unison, would deny there was a gun problem, that instead, it was a mental health issue? Remember that?

Well, there was this HR 7780 voted on in the House yesterday. It was also known as the Mental Health Matters Act, and was written “to support the behavioral needs of students and youth, invest in a school-based behavioral health workforce, and ensure access to mental health and substance use disorder benefits.

It passed by the narrowest of margins, 220-205, with exactly one – repeat, ONE – Republican vote. Louisiana’s five Republican House members each voted nay while our lone Democrat voted yea. So much for concerns about mental health on the part of the Repugs.

Oh, and then there was HR 8542, the Mental Health Justice Act of 2022, to “authorize grants to states, Indian tribes, tribal organizations, urban Indian organizations, and political subdivisions thereof to hire, train, and dispatch mental health professionals to respond in lieu of law enforcement officers in emergencies involving one or more persons with mental illness or an intellectual or developmental disability.”

That bill also squeaked by with a 223-206 margin, receiving only three Republican votes, none of which were cast by Louisiana House members. In fact, Scalise didn’t vote at all. Carter, as usual, voted in favor.

Nor did Scalise vote on HR 5768, the Victim Act of 2022, introduced to “direct the attorney general to establish a grant program to establish, implement, and administer the violent incident clearance and technology investigative method” – in other words, to provide assistance in solving violent crimes. As with HR 8542, Carter voted in favor while Republicans Higgins, Johnson, Letlow, and Graves voted no. The bill nonetheless passed by a 250-178 vote.

So, where was all that Republican support for law and order and for mental health programs?

Finally, there was HR 8873, the Presidential Election Reform Act, “to reform the process for the counting of electoral votes” – in other words, to enact legislation designed to prevent a repeat of the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection.

You might think this would be a no-brainer because after all, who would want a repeat of that ugly stain on American democracy? Apparently 203 Republicans would, including all five of the aforementioned Republican delegation from Louisiana. Only nine Republicans – again, none from the gret stet of Loozeaner – joined 220 Democrats in voting to strengthen the vote counting process, which passed the House by a 229-203 vote.

There you have it folks. The voting records don’t lie. The only missing element – a painfully obvious one, at that – is motive. Why would these people consistently vote en bloc other than for the sake of worshiping at the sacred altar of party unity – at the expense of their constituents?

They’ve sent us the message that their first loyalty is not to us. Perhaps it’s time we sent them a message.

In John Neely Kennedy’s latest TV ad, he proudly, if somewhat over-dramatically, boasts that he “stood up to Chia’-na,” eerily pronouncing the country’s name like another buffoon.

We’re not entirely clear on just how he stood up to the country that now owns much of our own country’s debt (north of $1 trillion) or which accounts for huge chunks of sales for companies like Apple, Intel, Boeing, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, Nike, Abbott Laboratories, and a dozen or so more.

But those claims notwithstanding, we have yet to hear a plausible explanation from Louisiana’s junior senator of why he traveled to RUSSIA with a group of other Republican lawmakers over the July 4, 2018, holiday. Oh, he says he told Russian officials to “stop screwing with our election,” but we have only his word for that. And it remains unclear why the seven senators and one House member needed to travel there to deliver the message.

He claims that he passed more legislation than any other freshman Louisiana senator. But again, we have only his dubious word for that assertion. We do know, however that he was “among the Republican legislators who participated in the months-long, multifarious attempted coup following the 2020 presidential election,” according to GovTrack.us an online service designed to make Congress more open and accessible to Americans.

But to be fair, we did find a couple of bills that he actively pushed (others were simply amended or incorporated into other bills). He authored and passed the National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2019 and the Rural Business Investment Companies Advisers Relief Act

Another that he SPONSORED called for the Department of Veterans Affairs to have physical locations for the disposal of controlled substances medications – appropriately called the DUMP Opioids Act. (It’s somehow difficult to fathom how it took an act of Congress to get the VA to provide a disposal system for opioids.)

Another simply AMENDED California into the Nutria Eradication and Control Act of 2003.

Leave it to a Louisiana senator to attack the nutria problem head-on.

Don’t know how he managed to avoid those controversial bills being filibustered to death.

His latest ad also tells us that he “worked my butt off” en route to being NAMED among the “top 10 most effective Senate Republicans.”

Which, we must admit, tells us all we need to know about the Republican Party as a group and John N. Kennedy as an individual.

Interesting that NEWT GINGRICH would criticize anyone for anything considering the fact that he insisted that his first wife discuss terms of their divorce and sign legal papers – while she was in the hospital recovering from surgery for uterine cancer.

It’s also puzzling why he would single anyone out for criticism after nearly being caught by his daughters getting a BJ in his car in 1984. Only a quick-thinking aide who turned the girls away prevented their seeing something they could never unsee.

One would think that after being forced to resign from Congress in 1999 following the lodging of 84 ETHICS COMPLAINTS against him and a $300,000 sanction.

But despite glaring lapses in his own moral conduct, like his attempting to seduce a friend under the guise of comforting her following the death of a family member, he has found sufficient indignation to criticize John Fetterman’s tattoos.

Tattoos.

Fetterman is the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania. He is pitted against Dr. Mehmet Oz in this November’s election.

The controversial Pennsylvania lieutenant governor has SEVERAL TATTOOS, including nine which are dates of a violent death while he was mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania. The first one, he has explained was “01.16.06.”

“That’s the date on which Christopher Williams was shot dead while delivering pizzas,” Fetterman said. “This was a man about my age at the time. He had a 12-year-old daughter. I just couldn’t get over the fact that he was never going home to her.”

But it wasn’t the nine dates that had the Grinch tied up in knots. It was Nine-Inch Nails. “Why would Pennsylvania Democratic senate candidate John Fetterman have a tattoo saying, ‘I will make you hurt’?” the former U.S. House Speaker tweeted, apparently oblivious to the 1994 song Nine Inch Nails made famous in 2002 by country singer Johnny Cash shortly before his death.

Rather than recognizing the tattoo as a tribute to Cash, Grinch absurdly TWEETED on Monday, “Is Pennsylvania Democrat Fetterman’s tattoo ‘I will make you hurt’ based on his ties to the crips (sic) gang as reported by the Free Beacon or a reference to the nine-inch nails song ‘Hurt.’ Fetterman won’t answer questions.”

My gawd, that sounds like Trump in an echo chamber.

But here’s my point of all this nonsense: Gingrich first ran for Congress in 1978 as a family values candidate (pardon my snickering at the irony).

So, I can’t help but wonder how he feels about that tattoo of Richard Nixon on Trump devotee and Jan. 6 insurrectionist Roger Stone’s back or the tattoo of Tony Perkins, president of Family Forum. Perkins’s is the basic Marine Corps insignia from his days as a U.S. Marine – we think. But hey, drawing on Gingrich’s logic, who’s to say they’re both not based on Stone’s or Perkins’s ties to some subversive gang[s]?

Preposterous? Hell yes. Unfortunately, that’s what we’ve come to expect from some creepy internet troll sitting in his parents’ basement. But damnit, Gingrich knows better and he still perpetuates such garbage. He, of all people, should never sit in judgment of anyone.

A 21st Judicial District Judge has DISMISSED the defamatory lawsuit of a Livingston Parish middle school librarian’s defamation lawsuit against two men she says have attacked her in an effort to rally opposition to the inclusion of what they term “inappropriate” books in the Livingston Parish Library.

In what has to be considered a major stretch of the definition, Judge Erika Sledge determined that librarian Amanda Jones was a “public figure,” and thus fair game under the landmark Sullivan v. New York Times Supreme Court decision which made it more difficult for public figures to pursue libel claims.

I’m not an attorney, but I always felt that the term “public figure” as defined in the Supreme Court’s decision was intended for elected officials and figures of authority, not civil servants. I guess this Supreme Court one day could conceivably determine journalists and garbage collectors (some say those occupations are interchangeable) to be “public figures.”

At any rate, when St. Martin Parish resident Michael Lunsford, president of something called Citizens for a New Louisiana, stuck his nose into the Livingston Parish Library system, he offered encouragement for Livingston Parish resident Ryan Thames to post derogatory messages on Facebook that painted Jones as somehow encouraging pedophilia by speaking out in a public hearing against censorship.

Posts by Thames that accused Jones of advocating the teaching of anal sex to 11-year-olds in turn prompted other Facebook participants to join in a barrage of insults and outright lies about and threats to Jones, comments that expanded on Thames’s accusations.

Lunsford and Thames, of course (as might be expected), smugly plastered their victory all over their respective Facebook pages.

“As a librarian I know the power of words,” Jones said. “Their ability to change hearts and minds, to move us forward or to divide us, is something that I share with my students every day. Right now, extremists are using violent and divisive language to scare me and hurt my reputation.

“The people they incite called me a pedophile, groomer, and pervert. Their words are gross and false, malicious and dangerous.

“They are attacking me because I am defending our community’s right to a great education, to have access to materials that reflect the reality of their world, and that engage them in learning. I am a middle school librarian, a mother, and a lifelong resident of our community. I have been teaching for 22 years and I work closely with my students’ parents to keep them safe.   

“On Tuesday, a judge determined that it is okay for these falsehoods to continue to be spread freely on social media, even if they ‘hurt my feelings.’

“But this was never about my feelings. This is about our collective safety and our children’s right to be, and to learn.  This is about making it safe for educators to do their jobs, and for children to have truly great educational opportunities. While it is never easy or comfortable to do so, we must continue to stand up to these bullies to ensure that all of our students are safe, respected, and free to learn. 

“These past few weeks have been the hardest of my life. I am deeply disappointed in the court’s decision, and appalled that the court does not recognize the violent power of the words falsely used to intimidate me. However, I am proud of choosing to challenge these bullies, and stand up for the best interests of our community. I am proud that the Livingston Parish Library System chose to do the same by refusing to ban books in our library collection. There is a vocal minority of bullies hurling violent insults. We are all stronger and safer when we join together to speak out against their hate and division. 

“Thanks to the hundreds of supporters who have stood by me. I have never felt more loved and supported in all of my life. Perhaps most wonderful, so many of my former students reached out to me with words of encouragement, and to tell me how I helped shape their lives for the better.  In the end, that is what all educators aspire to do. We give our all to support our students and try to make the world a better place for them. Hearing from my former students lets me know that I have accomplished that in my 22 years as an educator. Inspired by that knowledge, I will continue to do so.”

Jones said she has not decided yet whether she will appeal Judge Sledge’s ruling. If she does appeal and Sledge is overturned, the case would be remanded to Sledge’s court and she has already shown that she is predisposed to rule against her.

“I’m talking to different political analysts, the Tulane First Amendment Law Clinic, and several others before making my decision,” Jones said.

The 1964 unanimous Supreme Court ruling, the result of a lawsuit against the New York Times by Montgomery, Alabama, Police Commissioner L.B. Sullivan after the newspaper ran a full-page ad that was critical of Sullivan and the Montgomery police for their mistreatment of civil rights protesters.

The ad contained several inaccuracies and Sullivan sued for defamation. But the court ruled that a public figure must prove than any untruth was printed with “actual malice,” meaning that the defendant either knew the statement to be false or recklessly disregarded whether it might be false.

If accusing a teacher wrongly, someone you don’t even know nor ever met, of promoting pedophilia doesn’t constitute “actual malice,” if that doesn’t qualify as “reckless disregard,” I’m not at all certain what might.

And let’s not forget what she did to bring all that down upon her: she spoke out against censorship and in favor of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution at a public meeting.

Sorry, but there’s something terribly wrong with this picture. But hey, that’s just me.

The House Wednesday approved the first step toward preventing another event like the Jan. 6,2021, Capitol riot by narrowly passing the overhaul of the 135-year-old Electoral Count Act by a 229-203 vote.

The very fact that the only Republican votes were cast by nine members who are leaving Congress this year illustrates how committed the 203 party members who voted against the bill are to getting themselves reelected as opposed to putting country over party.

Their vote also exposes their complete and total fealty to Donald Trump who, at best, is damaged goods, but still wields considerable influence over tens of millions of voters perfectly willing to overlook their leader’s corruption and felonious and treasonous behavior.

H.R. 8873, aka the Presidential Election Reform Act, updates the law that governs Congress’s electoral vote count by the states, the final step under the Constitution to confirm the results of a presidential election, and over which thousands of rioters, encouraged by Trump, stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 in an effort to halt that process.

The House bill would, among other things, raise the threshold to consider an objection to a state’s electoral votes to one-third of both the House and Senate. A similar Senate bill yet to be considered would require only one-fifth of both chambers to agree to a challenge. Each is more stringent than the current rules.

Significantly, while Republican members of both the House and Senate have claimed massive fraud in the presidential voting in which Joe Biden defeated Trump, not one of those representatives or senators who ran successfully for election or reelection have claimed fraud in their own electoral success.

In the lead-up to the House vote on the bill, GOP leaders, among them Republican Whip Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, called on their members to oppose the bill.

“In their continued fixation to inject the Federal government into elections, this legislation runs counter to reforms necessary to strengthen the integrity of our elections,” read a statement from Scalise’s office in calling for Republicans to vote “no” on the bill. (Well, the reforms are for a federal election, after all.)

And the sheep, with the exception of those nine who are moving on and thus, had no political capital to lose, obeyed like any loyal Trump lap dog.

Among those who got the message were all five Republican House members from Louisiana: KKK Scalise, Feet of Clay Higgins, Mike “Tattoo” Johnson, Julia Letlow and Garret Graves. Only Democrat Troy Carter saw the need for election integrity and voted in favor of the bill.

This says that five of Louisiana’s six U.S. representatives have no problem with the possibility of another storming of the Capitol:

Louisiana
NayLA 1st  R  Scalise, Steve
YeaLA 2nd  D  Carter, Troy
NayLA 3rd  R  Higgins, Clay
NayLA 4th  R  Johnson, Mike
NayLA 5th  R  Letlow, Julia
NayLA 6th  R  Graves, Garret

Folks, it’s really pathetic when a single individual commands the hearts and minds of an entire body of people. When one person, no matter how good or bad, whether well- or ill-intentioned, can literally control the actions of millions of people – or a group of legislators – we’re already so far down the rabbit hole that we may never again see daylight.

History has shown us time and time again what can happen when an entire society marches in lockstep with any leader. I don’t have to recite the names of those despots, because you know who they are.

When a body of lawmakers acts as though they are in some sort of hypnotic trance in order to curry the favor of any person, when party unity is given greater preference than national interests, when the objective no longer is what’s best for the country but instead, devolves into let’s undermine every proposal put forward by the opposition, when loyal opposition becomes seething hatred, then, by God, we’re no longer a great nation, but a third-world country, what the former guy would describe us, a “s**thole country.”

I love this country dearly but when I see the mindset of our leaders of both parties, I despair for its future and for the future of my children and grandchildren.

And before anyone suggests it, no, I’m not leaving for Venezuela or Russia. That’s such a trite, kneejerk response, and completely invalidates any argument you might put forth.

No, I prefer to remain here to try to make my country a better, saner place to live.

If we can’t point out our warts, blemishes, and deficiencies when we see them, then freedom becomes just an empty word devoid of any meaning. That’s why, when I realized the Republican Party wasn’t the same party I’d joined 40 years before, I bolted for a party that I find to be only marginally better. These days I refer to myself simply as a recovering Republican.

At least I haven’t found a Ted Cruz, a Jim Jordan, a Mitch McConnell, or a Marjorie Taylor-Greene among its membership yet.

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