Mar. 2nd, 2013

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As most will know, a measure called the Sequester went into effect last night -- a complex of spending cuts so severe that everyone sane thought that even the modern Republican Party would regard it as a Weapon Too Dreadful To Use.

That faith in humanity was ill placed. Rather than allow an extra cent of revenue to be raised by closing tax loopholes or increasing taxes on the corporations and the ultra-rich, the Republicans in the House of Congress chose to inflict quite unspeakable suffering on those Americans least able to fend for themselves -- the poor, the sick, the mentally ill, the elderly. Scientific research, including into lethal diseases, is to be savagely cut back. Education likewise. All predictions are that this will severely damage the US economy, perhaps even the global economy.

One of our guilty little secrets is that our local Congresscritter is Scott Garrett. Garrett isn't as flamboyantly nuts as Tea Party favorites like Todd Akin, Paul Broun and Michelle Bachmann, but he's every bit as vile. His record of voting against the environment is a staggering 100% -- he seems to be entirely in the pockets of the polluting industries, including the fossil-fuels industries. Natch, he's a climate-change denier. He was one of the few House Republicans to vote against New Jersey residents -- his own constituents! -- being given Federal money to help clear up in the wake of Storm Sandy. He's an NRA darling. He voted against the Violence Against Women Act the other day -- thus in effect voting for a rapists' charter.
The list goes on and on. The guy was one of the Congressional Tea Partiers before the term had been invented.

It obviously takes a real special breed of scumbag to vote to persecute the poor, promote the spread of lethal diseases, cost lives, starve kids and destroy their opportunities, exacerbate poverty and work actively against America and its interests -- all the while wrapping oneself in the flag in the pretense that one's a patriot. But that seems to be what the modern Republican Party, as exemplified by Garrett, is all about.

About a decade ago, someone stuck up the website DumpGarrett.com. I don't know who was responsible (it hasn't been updated in years), but it reads less like a partisan effort from the Democrats, more like the creation of independents and moderate Republicans horrified by what they'd elected. Here's a taste:

With considerable help from the extremist Club for Growth, Scott Garrett helped drive moderate Republican Marge Roukema out of the House seat she held for decades. Since taking her seat in 2003, his first-term voting record has been driven by an ideology that is out of place in our state. Scott Garrett is the Christian Coalition’s poster-boy in New Jersey. Garrett has voted against the entire New Jersey Congressional delegation - Republicans and Democrats - an astounding 43 times! His positions are so extreme that he doesn't publish his votes on his own website.

We publish his votes here because, as concerned citizens, we believe his constituents should know the real record of Scott Garrett. We have documented the sources and specific votes Garrett cast as a freshman congressman - votes that are so at odds with his constituents that he refuses to discuss them.

It's the faux-patriotism that's in a way almost the hardest to swallow. If patriotism is, as Johnson said, the last refuge of the scoundrel, then it's hard to find anyone more scoundrelly than Garrett and his ilk in Congress. They're a shame to their country.

As a pacifist, I find it hard to wish ill on people, no matter how despicable they are, but I have to admit a part of me hopes that Garrett will be hoist by his own petard, that the policies he himself has promoted will one day come back and bite him, that he and his kids* will have to cope with the same kind of misery and hardship that he has so gleefully inflicted on other people and their kids. Of course, it'll never happen -- except perhaps when, like all the rest of us, he has to face up to the consequences of the climate change he so assiduously denies.

Gloomy thoughts for a gloomy, gray morning. I've got lots I have to do today, so I'd best get moving . . .


* Okay: Not his kids. It's not their fault what their father does.

March 2013

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