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No matter where you stand on the fiscal cliff, or its previous or subsequent promontories, there should be universal disgust with how this country is being governed. What we have is not crisis management, but management by crisis. I may be an idealist, by I suspect that our Founding Fathers did not design our government policies to essentially come down to private negotiations between two men. Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell can't lay claim to any great constitutional powers, yet both men have written the tax policy of this country for the next 4 years. This kind of thing can't continue if we are going to have a functional republic. We need to restore normalcy to the process of policy making in this country.

Perhaps I'm an idealist, but I still think the Schoolhouse Rock way of making a bill a law is the right way to go. Some folks back home get an idea. A courageous congressperson spends years fighting for it. Some enterprising politician makes it a national issue. A committee of jurisdiction takes up the bill for markup. There is a floor debate, and a conference committee, a vote and a presidential verdict of some sort. It isn't too much to ask that this be done. That public issues are thoroughly and publicly weighed and considered via the Constitutional process. It is sad day when our Republic teeters on the secret discussions between two old men while the rest of America serves as a rubber stamp of their agreement.

Perhaps we've reached a point in the history of this country where the Constitution no longer works effectively. It is something to consider. The most recent change to our tax law was never considered for one day by the House Ways and Means Committee, a committee whose very name was created in the Constitution. It is the oldest standing legislative committee in the world, the first committee that the 1st Congress created. And yet, this committee, whose very existence is generated by the exclusive power of the House to originate any form of tax, did zero work on our tax policy. No hearings. No horse trading. Not even a chance for lobbyists to bend and shape and cajole. Forget about the public reaction. Instead, it was written by the vice president and the Senate minority leader in secret negotiations over a 48-hour period. I'm not arguing that any of this is legally unconstutional. Technically it isn't. But, this isn't ethically constitutional.This isn't how American government is supposed to work. It isn't the right way to make laws.

This form of national management is starting to set a bad precedent. Today it is tax policy, but tomorrow it will be the bill of rights. One day many other important policies will be written by two men in secret, whose motivations and interests will never be known to any of us. They'll decide we must go to war, they'll pass the declaration at 2 AM and have an electronic pen sign it into law by dawn. Congress will play no other role other than to approve it in order to avoid some other manufactured calamity that will befall us if they do not. This is what will happen if crisis government becomes the norm. This sort of thing is what leads republics to things like the Enabling Act, which was sold, of course, as a temporary measure to prevent an even worse calamity.

It is incumbent that the American people, of all political stripes, begin to demand a return to regular order: a normal process of policy making that reflects our small r republican values and respects the Constitutional vision of lawmaking.

Originally posted to Triple-B in the Building on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:01 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (178+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jbob, dear occupant, Burned, Creosote, gulfgal98, Lady Libertine, maryabein, markthshark, johanus, implicate order, josephk, angelajean, 3goldens, penguins4peace, OLinda, gerald 1969, Egalitare, bobswern, JesseCW, psnyder, northsylvania, ctexrep, Getreal1246, theKgirls, genethefiend, Johnny the Conqueroo, deha, marleycat, HairyTrueMan, rantsposition, Torta, Richard Cranium, carpunder, Bon Temps, Susipsych, global citizen, IrishGreg, Tool, blueoasis, tonyahky, lostinamerica, SpecialKinFlag, Gary Norton, bumbi, Gustogirl, karmsy, willrob, ploopie, geordie, Chi, nhox42, kerflooey, leftykook, annrose, AmericanAnt, Mistral Wind, MrJayTee, sidnora, Words In Action, stevej, Byron from Denver, Lovo, orphanpower, ColoTim, TomP, boredeye, SpamNunn, ChemBob, von Dutch, cybersaur, pat bunny, inclusiveheart, SottoVoce, DeminNewJ, Ginger1, averybird, HoosierDeb, Leftcandid, jamess, kck, NearlyNormal, Mac in Maine, tom 47, petulans, liberaldemdave, Dartagnan, divineorder, randallt, JBL55, leonard145b, Kingsmeg, dougymi, poe, gooderservice, oakroyd, cslewis, temptxan, Yo Bubba, US Blues, J M F, lcrp, Pescadero Bill, La Gitane, emal, quill, Simplify, Crabby Abbey, cardboardurinal, GeorgeXVIII, sunny skies, shaharazade, Only Needs a Beat, claude, Mighty Ike, Matt Z, splashoil, zerelda, Jim P, cassandraX, mapamp, shesaid, Dauphin, Rogneid, ewmorr, dsb, greengemini, Ian Reifowitz, Ed in Montana, TealTerror, emmasnacker, greycat, dotsright, Jason Hackman, squarewheel, winkk, Marjmar, Scott Wooledge, foresterbob, chuckvw, alpaca farmer, Blackhawks, LamontCranston, Mentatmark, Anne Elk, AaronInSanDiego, Joieau, sparkysgal, stevenaxelrod, ratcityreprobate, BlueJessamine, Frisbeetarian, popsnet, winsock, vigilant meerkat, Gjetost, nolagrl, wordwraith, Freakinout daily, Bisbonian, Miggles, Tim DeLaney, Mage11an, dharmasyd, Dhavo, Williston Barrett, nailbender, dustb, Deward Hastings, shanikka, Van Buren, andersr, srfRantz, tb mare, rlochow, J Orygun, Al Fondy, quagmiremonkey, schuylkill
    •  And then there's the "red button" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens

      Nuclear war is unconstitutional, or extra-constitutional, yet the concept of it being decided by the President alone seems accepted by the people.

      So in this and many other ways, the Constitution is not in effect. What then?

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:19:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  triple BBB, you're preachin' to the choir. (33+ / 0-)

    i wrote this comment last night, sorry for the repost.

    is it too much to ask...

    that on such a far reaching and profound consequences, that our elected representatives actually DEBATE the issue in front of the American people?

    or will we be strung out for months, hanging on every trial balloon, trying to decipher tidbits of leaked information to favored journalists?

    great diary! thanks.

    I prefer pie on a plate, sometimes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

    by dear occupant on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:14:59 AM PST

  •  Enabling Act? (4+ / 0-)

    Hmm...

    Good Germans, good.

    You're about 6 years behind the curve on this one.

    4 if you don't count 2 years in exile.

  •  thank you for staying on this (19+ / 0-)

    it's terrible.

    another related effect is that the rationale for policy don't get discussed at all (why DOES the government need money anyway? what should our priorities be?).

    instead it's all "250K - 450K - 3 yrs - 4 yrs - yadda yadda" as if it's a contract.

    the process is a tremendous FU to the people who need the government to work.

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:28:03 AM PST

  •  has nobody told you (16+ / 0-)

    the enableing act of this century is called Patriot act
    and it is with us for 11 years now
    greetings from germany

  •  To make the kind of changes necessary to... (10+ / 0-)

    have an actual functioning, We the People type government would take a reformation of both parties. And to do that we'll need to overturn Citizens United.

    As long as unfettered cash flows through our electoral process real change is impossible.

    "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

    by markthshark on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:43:19 AM PST

    •  a stupid question (9+ / 0-)

      from germany where does the idea come from
      that a two party system is a democracy anyway
      but for my question why not more party's why fixing the both
      party's already bought up by corporate america .
      ps i am just curious and dont want to offend with my comment but i never understood it really

      •  2 Parties Come About Naturally Under Our System. (6+ / 0-)

        That is often said when this question is raised.

        It may be because of the fixed length of terms of office and the election cycle, where it's not possible here to call for early elections if enough politicians sense a change of mood in voters.

        I don't see how any significant party could avoid being bought up by corporate America. Government would have to have ways to keep corporate America from being so powerful. We did this in the middle 20th century but since then everybody agrees we mustn't protect our nation that way any more.

        I'll be interested to see other replies to you.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:01:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  thanks for the reply (6+ / 0-)

          and yes any significant party would be bought unless
          the money for election campaign's comes from the taxpayer
          and no corporate finance is allowed.
          for media all party must have same (free not paid for)time on tv station for their campaign ads
          i know maybe i have to much sympathy for our system which
          roughly works like this but hey i dont know any other's
           and still our party's are bought too

          •  Exactly my point... (4+ / 0-)
            and yes any significant party would be bought unless the money for election campaign's comes from the taxpayer
            and no corporate finance is allowed.

            "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

            by markthshark on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:18:34 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  A major problem is that even if there's no (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sunny skies, shaharazade, 3goldens

            money allowed for campaigns, the corporations and special interests just buy commercial time for advertisements urging people to contact their Congressperson to vote in favor or against a type of legislation (usually not fairly presented, like "vote against the job-killing health care bill).  The freedom to express an opinion is enshrined in this country's Constitution even above the right to blast anyone and anything with guns (though that may be hard to believe at times).  Money will always be spent trying to influence legislation, whether it is spent directly on a candidate or not.

            •  Another major problem (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              No Exit

              is that the US doesn't have a parliamentary system, but it is behaving like it does.

              Good and bad things about both systems. I like the idea of having a more direct democracy in the form of local representatives, but Gerrymandering and rediculous rules like only bringing something up for a vote if the majority of the majority will vote yes, makes it dysfunctional.
              The Republicans use the rules of a parliamentary system that are advantageous to them. But they don't have to suffer the consequences when majority vote fails in a parliamentary system, i.e. the fall of the government and new elections.

              •  You are correct sir! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                amsterdam

                And unfortunately both parties are now invested in this dysfunctional system

                A standing army is like a standing member. It's an excellent assurance of domestic tranquility, but a dangerous temptation to foreign adventure. Elbridge Gerry - Constitutional Convention (1787)

                by No Exit on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 07:43:25 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  gerrymandering must be stopped (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                amsterdam

                at the state levels, and it will take the same kind of coordination that won the necessary precincts and districts and states in the last presidential (and some senate races) We have to hope many of the same campaign staffers are keeping an alert eye on their opportunities between now and next year to re-energize the democratic cause where it will do the most good at the statehouse level.  There's no good reason why states like Pennsylvania and Ohio should have such lopsided majorities of US Representatives when their electorates voted more for democrats overall.

                The  -dinosaur protection-  gerrymandering laws have to be restored to something more equitable (we all know this) but we need to remind ourselves to keep the issue alive, at least among the activists and in our discussions...

                "Really, GOP, please proceed." -Mark Sumner

                by Beastly Fool on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 10:47:10 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  For the government to function (0+ / 0-)

                  as it was intended these are the changes that I think should be made.

                  Stop Gerrymandering.

                  Each elected official in congress is supposed to represent his/her district not a party platform. There should not be a rule to prohibit an up or down vote if the result of that vote doesn't support the majority party's preferred outcome.

                  Change the filibuster rule. It makes sense that the minority has a tool to extend debate before a vote is taken. But there should be a debate, and within a certain set period an up or down vote should be taken.

                  Set federal rules for federal elections.

                  Get money out of politics.

        •  Where's a real trust-buster when you need him? (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ColoTim, Simplify, shaharazade, 3goldens

          (or her)

          We did this in the middle 20th century but since then everybody agrees we mustn't protect our nation that way any more.

          "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

          by markthshark on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:39:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

          if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 09:19:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  No offense taken... (7+ / 0-)

        It's not a true democracy.

        I agree. We need more choices. But the parties we have now are stubbornly resistant to change, and they're solidly backed by big money, and complacency on our part.

        "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

        by markthshark on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:14:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's never too late to get involved. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          markthshark, mightymouse

          Visit, e.g., fairvote.org or, if you're inclined, investigate your state's local efforts along those lines.

          Election reform across the political spectrum, from dog-catcher to Chief Executive, is far more important and meaningful than campaign finance law, in my opinion.

          You can still vote LOTE (Democrats, presumably, since you're here on DKos) while putting your activism efforts in places that actually might make a difference (as opposed to donating to or working for Democratic Party candidates who don't have a record of supporting election reform--and not just a rhetorical record).

          •  But how do you achieve the former without... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW

            the latter? Big money can stop a campaign just as quick and efficiently as it can start one.

            Election reform across the political spectrum, from dog-catcher to Chief Executive, is far more important and meaningful than campaign finance law, in my opinion.

            "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

            by markthshark on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:34:42 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'd even say money can stop it faster than start (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pescadero Bill, markthshark, JesseCW

              a campaign.  It's almost always easier to tear stuff down than to build something up.  The Republicans and smear merchants (and even some Democrats) have learned this lesson and they apply it ruthlessly.

            •  Consider the Fair Districts amendments here in FL (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mightymouse

              for example. The key is to essentially just take for granted that Big Money (and, in the case of election reform, both major parties) is going to fight tooth and nail any effort, press on and build a critical mass of popular support.

              The F.D. amendments in Florida were viciously opposed by members of both political parties, the state legislature (who attempted to get the Amendments thrown off the ballot) and Big Money, but passed with fairly healthy margins because enough people had finally grown tired enough of the status quo to overcome the opposition.

              This is the sort of thing that requires a certain minimum momentum to get rolling. As long as "two parties is all we got; no sense in even trying for something better" prevails, the efforts will fail. On the other hand, as soon as enough people "get over it", so to speak, it can be made a reality.

              Campaign finance reform is at best indirectly related to actual reform.

              Besides, as I noted elsewhere, I don't think Big Money has as much influence as people think these days.

              •  I don't think the ink was even dry before... (0+ / 0-)

                the goons in Tallahassee were already figuring out how to get around them. Valiant efforts though. I voted for both of 'em.

                Consider the Fair Districts amendments here in FL
                We need a new legislature.

                "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

                by markthshark on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:26:04 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  and they have (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, 3goldens

          managed to declare an endless state of war, with no nation state as the enemy. Anyone anywhere can be declared a enemy of the state or a 'terrist who will kill yer family'. The 'economy' is not about our societies well being and neither is the obscenely huge war machine. None of this is in our national interest  but strangely nationalism of the worst kind is whipped up through mindless fear, and fake crises, all to feed the multinational entities that are by their nature anti-democratic.

          I don't think it's complacency that maintains their grip on our government, it's fear. The remedies provided in our system including the mechanism of governance from the electoral process,  executive, legislative branches and even the judicial have had spanner after spanner thrown in their works. The whole process is upside down and our sacred document's have been reinterpreted and tweaked so that their is no 'public' or legal remedy. Citizens have no power, no representation, voting only let you pick your poison.

          Where's my habeas corpus? Where's our common good? Where's some trust busting?            

          •  Whipping up fear often seems to be the sole reason (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gerald 1969

            Television news exists.

            A standing army is like a standing member. It's an excellent assurance of domestic tranquility, but a dangerous temptation to foreign adventure. Elbridge Gerry - Constitutional Convention (1787)

            by No Exit on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 07:46:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not complacent (0+ / 0-)

          I just don't see any way we can change things through the Democratic party. Dean tried to do that, and now he's working for a lobbying firm talking about austerity, because nobody in the Obama administration could find a decent job for him to do. Of course, if he were working for the Obama administration, he'd be talking austerity too. So, really, unless we all want to sit down and figure out how and why our effort to change the Democratic party ended up with a Democratic party that is far to the right of where we were at the time that Dean said this:

          then I'd say nothing of use can be accomplished through the Democratic party.  That means we have to either look to establishing an effective third party against the odds, or turn to non-party politics as a means of changing things.

          The people who believe in working within the Democratic party at all costs should be sitting down and having the above discussion of why and how it all went wrong in 2008, and how our hard-won victories turned into even worse politics than we had before (I mean, fighting with Democrats to convince them not to cut Social Security? This is a win in whose book?)

          Unfortunately, the people who believe in working within the Democratic party at all costs can't admit that anything is wrong.

          if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 09:30:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  A few generations ago, we had minor parties (9+ / 0-)

        (Farmer Labor, Progressive, even Socialist) that managed to elect members to the House and even occasionally the Senate.

        Never that many, mind you, but a few.

        In theory, a Third Party could be as viable here as in Canada or England.  They don't have Proportional Representation either.

        It's just that our silly Presidential Races seem to suck all the  air out of the room and make it impossible for us to get small parties off the ground at the regional level.

        "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

        by JesseCW on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:17:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Two parties come about naturally (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mightymouse, renbear, FG, shaharazade, 3goldens

        in our system because we have first-past-the-post elections. In the past, those two parties were able between them to represent most of the ideological spectrum in the US. Today, they represent a much narrower spectrum of thought, especially the Republican Party.

        But as Gooserock mentions, our problem is not that we have only two parties. It is that our present two parties are excessively under the influence of corporations. And it could even be considered a stretch to call it "corporate America", since so many large corporations today are truly multinational. This situation cannot be changed without new legislation, and most of the present Congress would be voting against their personal self-interest if they did that.

        "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

        by sidnora on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:32:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Canada and the UK have first past the post. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shaharazade

          They still have multiple viable parties.

          "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

          by JesseCW on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:09:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And when was the last time (0+ / 0-)

            that a representative of one of their minor parties led a government? And I'm not counting that weird Tory/Liberal coalition. That was a product of pure power seeking, with no ideological sense to it at all.

            "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

            by sidnora on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 10:32:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Until very recently, the New Democratic Party (0+ / 0-)

              was just an "alternative" party in Canada.

              They're now the Opposition, and they've pretty much replaced the Liberal party.

              They'll produce the next Left Government as by far the senior partner with the Liberals.

              "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

              by JesseCW on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 10:46:18 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The key phrase in your comment is (0+ / 0-)
                replaced the Liberal party
                (emphasis mine).

                I never said that we were fated to always have the presently constituted Democratic and Republican Parties. What's more, I fervently hope that is not the case, and that a major change in party alignment comes asap. I've been anticipating this since W. was still in office.

                But when that change is over, what I expect to see is one party composed of the moderates sane among the present day Republican Party and the conservatives among the present-day Democratic Party, and a second party composed of the remaining moderates and liberals in the present-day Democratic Party. I'd be thrilled if that "New Democratic Party" were liberal enough to attract healthy fractions of Greens, or whatever other left-leaning splinter parties are out there, and equally thrilled if the "New Republican Party" marginalized the teabaggers, Paulites and other crackpots in their ranks as effectively as they did back in the late 50's 60's and 70's. In other words, a wholesale shift of the ideological spectrum to the left, and closer to where the people of the US actually are.

                But it's still going to end up two parties, because the structure of the government pushes it there.

                "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

                by sidnora on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 04:39:22 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yeah, I was kind of expecting that. Some people (0+ / 0-)

                  simply can't admit they're wrong.

                  "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

                  by JesseCW on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:08:27 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Just looking at the entire history of the US. (0+ / 0-)

                    "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

                    by sidnora on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 11:02:58 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

      •  proportional voting or IRV would help (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        3goldens, SethRightmer

        allow for > two parties.

        the way voting works here now is you either vote for one of the two main parties or you throw your vote away.

        An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

        by mightymouse on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:57:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Because it costs so much money to (0+ / 0-)

        run an effective party here. And most of that money goes toward TV and radio ads. Some goes to other kinds of outreach/communications, but most of the gold goes to big media. In a country of 300 million people, you need to have access to big media in order to reach all the people you need to reach in order to be a successful political party.

        Most smaller parties haven't got anywhere near enough money to get onto the media. Thus, people in this country don't know about them, don't know who they are, don't even know they exist. Therefore, they don't succeed.

        Also, there's the fact that big media, and the big money that supports it, are constantly fighting to make sure that third parties do not get covered and thus do not succeed. You'll notice, for instance, that no one outside of the Big Two (Dems and Repubs) are allowed to join in our presidential debates.

        Also, there's the fact that Democrats are terrified to turn away from their party for fear that crazy Republicans will get into their office. That, in particular, is a kind of shock doctrine all its own:  don't you dare stray from the Democratic party or YOU will be responsible FOR THESE TERRIBLE PEOPLE WRECKING THE COUNTRY!

        These terrible people end up wrecking the country anyway, just slower than they otherwise would have, and we're told to celebrate that slowing of our destruction as a victory.

        And so it goes.

        if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 09:15:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Citizens United doesn't really matter when 5 Media (21+ / 0-)

      Trusts control tens of billions of dollars worth of coverage every election cycle.

      GE isn't going to allow positive coverage of candidates or parties that seriously threaten military spending.  Newscorp isn't going to allow positive coverage of any candidates or parties that might threaten local market monopoly. Ect.

      "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

      by JesseCW on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:49:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  CU didn't seem to impact the 2012 elections much, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      markthshark, 3goldens

      if at all by any reasonable measure.

      The Presidential contest, where the impact of CU was the greatest, featured the losing candidate having CU-style expenditures that far, far outweighed the winning candidate's.

      The individual Senate and House races were decided largely based on incumbency and gerrymandering, as usual; money in those spheres only plays a significant role in actually contested seats (e.g. where a retirement or other vacancy exists, new districts as a result of the census, etc.). Even then I am skeptical that CU-style money influenced much of the vote (although that's pure speculation--I haven't actually examined any of the numbers and would not be shocked to find my speculation is way off).

      •  It affected the 2012 elections mostly through... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mightymouse, 3goldens

        statewide gerrymandering since 2010. Although CU wasn't around before that, armed with bulging pockets full of cash, Tom Delay wrote the blueprint in Texas over a decade ago. CU just institutionalized the process.

        CU didn't seem to impact the 2012 elections much
        But you're right in the fact that CU barely moved the meter in the presidential election, which I'll admit was a surprise to me.

        "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

        by markthshark on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:09:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  CU came down on January 21, 2010 (0+ / 0-)

          which was time enough to it to affect midterms.

          And many of us presumed the GOP wave was the result of it.

          But 2012 indicates fears of CU's affect were perhaps overblown. I've posited before that you need enough money to be competitive, that's obvious.

          But after that, it's perhaps a situation of diminishing returns. Races like Fiorina, Whitman and long ago, Michael Huffington indicate more money is not a necessarily a big factor ensuring success.

          The ad man's complaint. "No matter who slickly we package the kibble, if your product sucks, we can't get the dog to eat it."

          "The marriage fight is over when we say it's over, and it's over when we win."—Dan Savage

          by Scott Wooledge on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:24:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I would tend to agree so long as the money (0+ / 0-)

        is balanced between both parties. And that's the key (and perhaps a side benefit of CU); keeping people interested in the election process. Interested and, on a grassroots level, financially invested in the outcome by way of giving small donations to offset the few big donors.

        And another key aspect of combating the potential harm is to try and assure overt corporate interference is punished by way of organized boycott. Hard to do at best, and limited in its scope.

        All of it can work when it's a presidential race and lots of people are paying attention, it's another matter during midterm elections when people are less focused. That's when CU cash from big money donors can swamp smaller, less interesting elections.

        2014 will be pivotal.

        So CU's greatest impact may just be on Congress, and maybe even just on the House. But still, look where that's gotten us.

        Physics is bulls**t. Don't let them fool you. Fire IS magic.

        by Pescadero Bill on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:17:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  we actually need a new constitutional convention (5+ / 0-)

      Face it, the original constitution was written in another time, and its framers could not have envisioned the changes we have seen.

      We need a 21st century overhaul of the Constitution to address issues like privacy in the digital age, innovations in medical technology, immigration & naturalization in a global age, personhood vs corporate hoods, the second ammendment in an age of much more lethal firearms....

      The whole document needs an overhaul.

      Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

      by Keith930 on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:27:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I am afraid you are correct. (0+ / 0-)
      As long as unfettered cash flows through our electoral process real change is impossible.
      And I am afraid that is virtually impossible to change.

      "The marriage fight is over when we say it's over, and it's over when we win."—Dan Savage

      by Scott Wooledge on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:06:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ironically, many House Republicans (6+ / 0-)

    agree with you, as do many Democrats in both the House and Senate.  This is one area, I think, where the is bipartisan agreement.  A lot of Representatives and Senators on both sides, I think, were very frustrated that the last deal was negotiated with only a couple of people and that they were presented, at the very last minute, with essentially a "take it or leave it" deal on which they had no input at all.

    Again ironically, the Speaker has overtly said he agrees with you, and that the House will proceed by regular order to pass bills to send to the Senate.  Frankly, I suspect that they will pass some bill with with entitlement cuts, probably along the lines what the President proposed in the summer of 2011, to deal with the sequester, the continuing resolution, and the debt ceiling -- they may even refuse another CR and do a budget. It will then be up to the Senate to consider the bills, and pass something -- either as the bill was presented or as amended by the Senate.  That is how the process is supposed to work, ESPECIALLY with revenue bills, which have to originate in the House.  

    What has happened in the past is that one Chamber passed a bill and the other refused to consider it unless and until a backroom deal was negotiated and agreed to.   I much prefer the "regular order" path.  It was a horrible visual for the country on December 31, the last time, with middle-class households not know what their financial situation would look like on January 1 and having all negotiations on a situation   very real and important to them taking place in secret and behind closed doors.  

    I hope people from both sides of the aisle DEMAND that Congress proceed by regular order.  

  •  gangs (5+ / 0-)

    There have been several gangs over the years. Groups that are put together to absolve Congress from making decisions.

  •  Government creates the chaos (0+ / 0-)

    then wants us to pat them on the back after all their "hard work and long hours" doing a hlaf assed job sugar coating the problems they create.

    Unfortunately, that's how Government works.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:51:34 AM PST

  •  For Schoolhouse Rock Governance to Work, You (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, Words In Action

    have to impose massive tax and regulation unfairness to prevent individuals and businesses from becoming rich enough to overpower our system design.

    You've got 2 political parties, our public square and most voters adamantly against any such thing.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:55:30 AM PST

  •  I'm pretty sure that the framers... (7+ / 0-)

    ...wouldn't recognize the government that they envisioned and formed in the late 1700's.

    I also believe that the constitution was written to be an organic, living document that could (and should) be modified from time to time to define responsibilities of the three branches and further enshrine individual liberties as society and technology evolved.  That should be, and was originally intended as, the primary purpose of the document.

    "Mitt who? That's an odd name. Like an oven mitt, you mean? Oh, yeah, I've got one of those. Used it at the Atlas Society BBQ last summer when I was flipping ribs."

    by Richard Cranium on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:05:01 AM PST

    •  The Constitution can be modified at any time. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gerald 1969, averybird

      That was built in.  It's called Amendments.

      •  In 2013, it would be impossible... (4+ / 0-)

        ...to modify an existing amendment or remove or add an amendment.

        The last time the constitution was amended was 1992.  And you know how long that took?

        The Twenty-seventh Amendment (Amendment XXVII) prohibits any law that increases or decreases the salary of members of the Congress from taking effect until the start of the next set of terms of office for Representatives. It is the most recent amendment to the United States Constitution. It was submitted to the states for ratification in 1789, but was not adopted until 1992.
        It's not that the mechanisms aren't there.  It's that the country is so completely divided (and I'm only half kidding when I say by TV viewer demographics) and governments on all levels no longer function to serve we, the people.

        "Mitt who? That's an odd name. Like an oven mitt, you mean? Oh, yeah, I've got one of those. Used it at the Atlas Society BBQ last summer when I was flipping ribs."

        by Richard Cranium on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:41:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  And the context is sad too. (4+ / 0-)
    It is sad day when our Republic teeters on the secret discussions between two old men while the rest of America serves as a rubber stamp of their agreement.
    And put this into the context that it was done to avoid a worse bill that was deliberately written as sabotage - because a handful of members of one party are anti democratic extremists.

    It's past time for Republicans to wake up and get a grip on their party.

    •  The dysfunction in government is bi-partisan. (5+ / 0-)

      To put it mores starkly: one party may be filled with petulant sociopaths, but the other one is filled petulant sociopath enablers desiring similar ends. They work together to produce the shitfest that is our current legislative "process". It's a deliberate, bi-partisan effort meant to protect and expand the wealth and power of those who have wealth and power.

      Blaming the Republicans alone for this mess is simplistic at best; at worst it is mindless partisanship and party worship.

  •  What the founders didn't count on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    averybird, 3goldens

    was a minority of petulant know nothings saying "democracy be damned, we want it our way" while electorally holding a gun to the House Speakers head....

    "Fascism is attracting the dregs of humanity- people with a slovenly biography - sadists, mental freaks, traitors." - ILYA EHRENBURG

    by durrati on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:15:35 AM PST

  •  There are about 150 nihilists in the House (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leftykook

    and they are a majority in the majority party. At least we now know roughly how many of them there are and roughly who they are and where they are from. It took two years to have that confirmed.

    For them, the old times are not forgotten. The only way to get to normal legislating is to take out some of the sanest members of their party at the ballot box. Sad really.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:20:59 AM PST

  •  Excellent post about our new government. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stevej, shaharazade, 3goldens

    It seemed obvious to me, and after Bush's reported dismissal (though there was some question of whether or not he actually said it) that the Constitution is just a goddamned piece of paper that if elected officials can pick and choose which law to follow that it would be quite easy to change our type of governance as long as the propaganda was strong enough to support it.

    And with Bush it was one change after another and none of the numerous challenges had an effect on the unitary executive.  Many were simply precedents or traditions but others were violations of consitutional law that were later approved by Congress.

    We're seeing the same continuance today with the legislative bodies and how they function or don't as the case may be.

    Of course, the SC set the tone for the judicial branch by interfering with the Florida SC and essentially choosing Bush as president.  They even had to write a disclaimer which essentially said that what they were doing was extrajudicial but since there was a crisis they had to act in the interest of the nation.  And it's been downhill from there.

    I don't see how the people can have any more influence here than they seem to have in anything critical to the nation. It's still technically a democratic republic.

    More: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it?

    by blueoasis on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:36:06 AM PST

  •  i find it odd that you don't focus (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kalmoth, edwardssl, Catte Nappe, doroma

    on the Republican Party here.  There's ONE party in Washington dedicated to killing government, they're on record with that goal.  You use the media's false equivalency fallback here, and no one challenges that.  

    We've never had the Congress you talk about, this isn't a movie it's real life.  Politics is always messy.  America isn't unique in that regard.  Representative democracies start with one huge problem:  people, who are not all alike.  Blue Dog Dems represent a more conservative populace than Progressive Dems.  Their job is to make sure their constituents are represented, whether we approve of their ideas or don't.  

    If you want a government that more closely mirrors your vision get out in the world and work for that.  Organize locally, run for the School Board, the Water Commission, City or Town Council.  Speak up IRL where actual voters can be sold on Progressive solutions.  Write letters, post on local sites, be an active member of the local party, learn the ropes of negotiating, compromise, respect for others.  

    Progressives remain outliers in the larger party because we act more as spoilers than as committed members.  It took the popularity of the centrist President so many here disparage to get Progressives elected to Congress.  

    Obama is teaching Americans that government is supposed to work for them.  Help spread that word, stop raging at him for taking his job seriously.  He's the president of everyone, a refreshing change from Bush et al.  If we got that, if we started supporting that concept, we could end up with real impact on the future.  

    This is not new.  Progressives in the '30's complained about FDR the same way we complain about Obama.  You may note that we're not the core of the Democratic Party 70 years later.  We need to change , or stay on the fringes.

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:36:55 AM PST

    •  You really don't (7+ / 0-)

      see a huge chunk of the Democratic party as being complicit?

      Two halves of the same problem.

      •  Good point. Exactly. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        andersr

        Neither party is innocent. Perhaps this website should focus on "better Democrats" instead merely "more Democrats".

         Which reminds me that if my representative, Denny Heck, fails to do his part to fix the system then he won't be getting my vote when two years come around.

        •  Keep up the progressive pressure (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gjetost

          on Mr. Heck.  Couldn't vote for him as I am just to the North of his new district.  Got a decent replacement for Norm Dicks though, Derek Kilmer, who I intend to start pressuring as soon as I can find his email.

          "Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please" Mark Twain

          by andersr on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 04:41:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The Ds helped create the fake fiscal cliff crisis (4+ / 0-)

        And have been enablers of every bad idea that got shoved through from NAFTA to DOMA to Glass-Stegal repeal the Bush Tax Cuts to the Patriot Act to FISA to the Iraq War.

        They are merrily enabling all this crap. Some because they share the GOP's goals, some because they are just too lacking in principles or courage to challenge the existing conventional wisdom.

        Yeah. BrooklynBadBoy as entirely correct in not specifically laying the problem at the feet of the GOP.

        The Democrats have always had the same power of obstructionism that the GOP has been using for the last 4 years to thwart any progressive change at every turn. They just don't use it.

        "The marriage fight is over when we say it's over, and it's over when we win."—Dan Savage

        by Scott Wooledge on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:54:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Once we saw them refuse to let (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Scott Wooledge

          the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010, before the Republicans took over the House, that should have let us all know exactly how much...and how little...they were on our side.

          if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 09:36:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Chris Hayes called them out of FISA (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SouthernLiberalinMD

            today. Noting when Bush was president that FISA was the worst thing ever, and a dismantling of the Fourth Amendment.

            He shows video clips of Reid calling Bush's bill unconstitutional.

            He shows Reid calling Obama's completely identical bill this week, "An important piece of legislation... necessary to protect us from the evil in the world."

            Of course, the people at this site, for the most part, stopped caring about warrantless wiretapping when it was no longer Bush invading our privacy.

            So, the problem is bigger than just the Democratic establishment. :-/

            "The marriage fight is over when we say it's over, and it's over when we win."—Dan Savage

            by Scott Wooledge on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 09:53:42 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  The kabuki over filibuster reform, on both sides, (8+ / 0-)

      after the past four years, is a perfect example of how both parties are complicit, even if one side is more egregious.

      The false equivalence of note here is the one created by a President (and his most ardent supporters) who compromises with psychopaths as if their policy positions are equally valid, simply because he likes the idea of compromise.

      But for the centrists, frankly, the Republicans wouldn't be nearly as big of a problem. They give the Right half of its oxygen.

      The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

      by Words In Action on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:55:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Being a bully, ignoring the core concepts (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        edwardssl, doroma

        of representative democracy isn't progressive.  It 's closer to anarchy.  We didn't turn out in large enough numbers in 2010 so we got loons in the House and in many state governments.  We don't run for school boards or local councils, so the more passionate RW wins and builds a crazy bench.  Want change?  Vote in every damn election.  Work locally. Want to whine?  Avoid local activism and blog all day.  The choices are simple.  You'll have a more Progressive government if you build it.  You'll have negligible impact if your activism stops with signing online petitions and commenting on blogs.  Your choice.

        I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

        by I love OCD on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:12:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You make wild assumptions (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, MrJayTee, shaharazade, 3goldens

          about both the limits of my engagement and the functional wherewithal of contemporary elections and representative government for producing results on a timescale that will matter.

          The planet is boiling and you're lobbying for "solutions" that will produce no better than an endless string of offsetting +1/64th, -1/64th measures for at least a generation before it has any impact, which, given a small miracle, might lead to offsetting 1/32nd measures.

          Frankly, the environmental, economic and social impact of the Great Disruption that Climate Change has in store for us will make all of your measures and the state of government today completely irrelevant in the not-so- distant future. So you can ignore calls for more radical measures and decry more demanding approaches as "uncivilized", but the planet has news for you.

          The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

          by Words In Action on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:10:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  When did climate change enter this (0+ / 0-)

            discussion?  Where exactly were you when Progressive pundits and activists were dissing Gore and praising Nader?  Do you not believe that a President Gore might have made a huge difference?  Where were Progressives when Carter was mocked for suggesting we conserve energy?  Who on the Progressive side fought furiously for his reelection?  

            You seem to believe you're right and Kos is wrong.  there's no point in working for change.  That may be why Progressives have never become the core of the Democratic party, and maybe that's a good thing.  If you don't believe in working for change you essentially believe in forcing it on people.

            I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

            by I love OCD on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:33:56 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Climate Change is (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              3goldens, JesseCW, MrJayTee, squarewheel

              in EVERY political discussion.

              Again, your questions make unproven assumptions that have little basis in fact.

              It's not black and white, "(I'm) right and kos is wrong...there's no point working for change."

              I worked this election cycle. Hard. But I have no illusions that that is a drop in the bucket to what needs to be done to address the real threats that we face. And I have no illusions about contemporary elections and representative government producing the change needed to avoid massive, global pain and suffering. And you're worried about potentially having to force change on a dysfunctional government in order to save the planet...? The planet and the people on it aren't worth saving unless everyone agrees how and when to do it?

              The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

              by Words In Action on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:42:42 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hey, the Democrats aren't dictators! (0+ / 0-)
                Obama is teaching Americans that government is supposed to work for them.
                It's a shame Americans have to be taught, being as they are too stupid to tie their own shoes, but that's the way it is.  We are truly blessed to have a president who understands that saving the world from a climate disaster is not worth doing if we're going to be rude.  

                Power must be used politely!

                Thank heaven above our polite president understands this.  Just because you won an election doesn't give you the right to hurt anyone's feelings.

                Polite/Courteous 2016!

                •  Wow that didn't even try to make (0+ / 0-)

                  sense.  Did I hit a nerve?  Have you missed everything Obama has accomplished on climate change?  In a country of dolts?  He actually does shit rather than posturing and prancing around. Somehow I prefer that.

                  I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

                  by I love OCD on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 04:26:52 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Clearly you have nothing. You're arguing a point (0+ / 0-)

                  I didn't make.  

                  I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

                  by I love OCD on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 04:32:06 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  The GOP doesn't deserve to get its way. (0+ / 0-)

                  They have no business trying to shove austerity down our throats.

              •  Just making your point, really. No one bothered (0+ / 0-)

                40 years ago so we're hurting more today.  If no one bothers now we're hurting more in 40 years.  I'm not sure why that bugs you.  If it really is too late for action, pour yourself some drinks and wait for the end.

                I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

                by I love OCD on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 04:30:34 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  If a madman were chopping down your front door (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              3goldens, MrJayTee

              would you be telling your spouse and children that it wouldn't be right to "force" him to stop?

              The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

              by Words In Action on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:56:02 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  This article by Naomi Klein was written (0+ / 0-)

              over a year ago and demonstrates that at least the Republicans get that Climate Change is in every political discussion one way or another.

              http://www.thenation.com/...

              One has to give Republicans credit.  Since Goldwater they have played a consistent long game with star fish like pressure (when two arms get tired trying to pull open a tasty bivalve, simply switch to two not so tired arms) on the political fabric of every level of our democracy.  

              Democrats are starting to show an inkling of this strategy with the protection of Social Security and Medicare, but we have a long (pun intended) way to go to match the Repugs.

              "Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please" Mark Twain

              by andersr on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 05:05:18 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Hear, hear! (0+ / 0-)

      Great comment would make a great diary.

    •  The Republican Party caused this breakdown, (8+ / 0-)

      but Democrats have been part and parcel to it and compliant with it. You're trying to distinguish the culprits from the conspirators.

      This isn't "messy." This is Albany-style total dysfunction. The way you tell it, government has always risked default and shutdown. Umm, no it hasn't. These things are new.

      I espect lawmaking to be contentious and hard fought. Anyone who knows my writing here knows I'm all for a take no prisoners form of politics...all the way up to the line of criminal law. I believe the winning party should get to govern and let the people suffer the consequences. And when we have divided government we should have the status quo until the people resolve it one way or the other, with the minority party respecting the will of the people and the majority party respecting it as well.

      But this...this is not normal. This is quite new, this sort of create a crisis in order to not solve a crisis form of government. Saying this is normal is almost like saying Civil War is normal.

    •  Pretzel logic (7+ / 0-)

      Which amounts to "Stop demanding the party reflect your core values and leave the President alone!"

      Progressives, particularly the alleged progressives in Congress, are outliers because they don't use the power they have, continually giving in to the neoliberals and their patsies who think compromising the well being of working people is some kind of virtue.

      Obama is teaching Americans that government is supposed to work for them.
      What Obama (and more to the point, his class) are teaching Americans is that their safety net is a poker chip for the neoliberal coup against the people, the "Grand Bargain", where we finance wars and corporate welfare and leave the old, the poor, and the sick holding the bag.

      Try as you might, you will never silence the people who understand this.  These are the people fighting for what's left of the soul of the Democratic party, despite the superstitions and manipulations of the "centrists" who want Americans to think eating less shit than the Republicans want to feed you is an ethical compromise.

    •  It's the Democrats who have the solution! (4+ / 0-)

      It's the Democrats - those we elect and the voters - who must be incited to organize & act differently, govern more strategically and courageously, unite to take the helm. Republicans may be a problem but they're not the solution.

      There are no solutions being planned. That's evident. No new course. There is no reason to believe things will get better.

       

      •  Exactly. (4+ / 0-)

        We know the disease.  The problem is that those in a position to treat it refuse to do so...they and their chorus of excuse-makers who will sacrifice themselves and the rest of us to keep from seeing the doctor for what he is.

      •  And if the Democrats don't use that solution (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ThompsonLazyBoy

        we have to ask why not? Time and again it becomes, "Oh, they just didn't have the votes to stop... (DOMA, Glass-Stegall repeal, Iraq war, save the Public Option, filibuster reform... in 2010, in 2012)..."

        You have to ask, why not? Why do they keep enabling this crap? Why do they never stop and figure out why they're enabling it and how to fix that?

        What good are their principles if they are impotent to execute them?

        By design, or just sloppiness, I think Glenn Greenwald's rotating villain scenario hit the nail on the head explaining why we have two halves of the same party.

        "The marriage fight is over when we say it's over, and it's over when we win."—Dan Savage

        by Scott Wooledge on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 09:29:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not sure (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade

    how this is done

    It is incumbent that the American people, of all political stripes, begin to demand a return to regular order: a normal process of policy making that reflects our small r republican values and respects the Constitutional vision of lawmaking.

  •  Hell, I'm still reconciling myself (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brooklynbadboy

    to never again hearing "Senator Akaka, Senator Akaka...".

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:46:14 AM PST

  •  Amen. Also tipped and rec'd for use of the word (4+ / 0-)
    promontories

    Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. - Gandhi

    by SpamNunn on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:47:48 AM PST

  •  Calif could demonstrate the merits of undivided (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, shaharazade, 3goldens

    ...government - could - in these times of constrained resources when only the simplest of decisions must be made to trigger reasonable action. Governance isn't sausage making, yet sausage making has replaced governance for so long young voters speak as if they don't know the difference.

    OTOH,  an expensive way to slog along, OTOH, a well funded unrestrained capitalism take over of the USA government bolstered by starving the people of federal service and law.

    Reliance on the US is being blown away at a time when the world most needs leadership and rudders in roiling water. Without the mastery - or merely experimentation these days - of form, function, and funding working together toward strategic goals we sit, go nowhere, stuck in an un-zen-like mindless state of just being from one CR to the next, from one crisis to the next.

  •  The current state of the filibuster (6+ / 0-)

    only reinforces this.  The country doesn't even hear about so many bills because they are being filibustered "virtually" over lunch and cocktails.

    When you have so many 1%'ers running the country, what do you expect?  People like that do not like being told what to do...

    "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

    by La Gitane on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:15:13 AM PST

  •  Why is austerity on the table... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, 3goldens

    in the face of a very thin "recovery" and need for massive job creation...and the need for a change in paradigms, from dirty fossil fuels to clean energy? It's only the planet at stake.

    We need to starve or end the too big to fail institutions that are controlling our policy and draining the federal reserve of all of the newly printed money that's going to keep them afloat...oh, maybe the federal reserve should be shut down as well.

    oh boy, we got problems.

  •  All part of the Grand Dithering. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, 3goldens

    The Grand Dithering is our current program for addressing the mounting, interwoven trinity of threats  from the Class-Terror-Climate War.

    I'm reading The Swerve at the moment. Last night, the following passage hit me like a sledgehammer.

    Rome had been afflicted for years by political and social unrest, culminating in several vicious civil wars, and though the violence had abated, the threats to peace and stability were by no means safely past. Ambitious generals relentlessly jockeyed for position; murmuring troops had to be paid in cash and land; the provinces were restive, and rumors of trouble in Egypt had already caused grain prices to soar.

    But cosseted by slaves, in the comfort and security of the elegant villa, the proprietor and his guests had the temporary luxury of regarding these menaces as relatively remote, remote enough at least to allow them to pursue civilized conversations. Staring up idly at the plumes of smoke from nearby Vesuvius, they may well have felt some queasiness about the future, but they were an elite, living at the center of the world's greatest power, and one of their most cherished privileges was the cultivation of the life of the mind.

    Romans of the late republic were remarkably tenacious about this privilege, which they clung to in circumstances that would have made others quail and run for cover. For them it seemed to function as a sign that their world was still intact or at least that they were secure in their innermost lives. Like a man who, hearing the distant sound of sirens in the street, sits down at the Bechstein to play a Beethoven sonata, the men and women in the garden affirmed their urbane security by immersing themselves in speculative dialogue.

    emphasis added

    The analogy can be drawn thus -

    The Class-Terror-Climate War presents us with epic "threats to peace and stability", notwithstanding the "abate"ment of the potential "violence" of an Obama defeat.

    We are "cosseted by slaves", the assistance of 300 fossil-fuel energy slaves per person*, which effectively none of us willing to live without.

    The comfort and convenience of our consumer culture gives us the "temporary luxury" to pretend these threats are "remote".

    We are "an elite, living at the center of the world's greatest power", and as such feel entitled to "our most cherished privileges". Included among these is "the cultivation of the life of the mind", intellectual diversions that have little or no bearing and even less impact on pressing threats. Instead, we quibble over the merits of +1/64th, -1/64 measures.

    We are "remarkably tenacious about this privilege, which (we) cling to in circumstances (which should) make us quail and run for cover." Hence, we continue to immerse ourselves in the "speculative dialogue" of elections and representative bodies, whether or not they can save us, whether or not this is the only  approach to the threats we face (pragmatically, realistically speaking, of course).

    In the meantime, the planet is cooking up The Great Disruption, which will soon enough replace The Grand Dithering with environmental, economic, political and social threats that will make our current challenges seem quaint.

    * The Energy of Slaves: Oil and the New Servitude

    The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

    by Words In Action on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:15:10 AM PST

  •  George Washington's farewell address (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW, 3goldens, squarewheel

    with my bolding, and excerpted from http://en.wikisource.org/...

    ...20 I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally. ...

    ...22 The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.

    23 Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

    24 It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another....

    Few realize that our First President was also a psychic.

    It is worth noting that the rise of Hitler and the Nazis came, in large part, because the German government had been made ineffective, and the people suffered for it. (Of course, Hitler's party and other Rightwingers combined to help render the government ineffective.)

    Sometimes I think what would be best for us is to recognize that both Parties are pretty-much on the take, and in essence, corrupt organizations. So I'd make it illegal for them to operate anywhere at all.

    And both parties are pretty much agreed that the Constitution is a joke. Remember Pelosi, when pressured to Impeach Bush, said something to the effect of "yeah, we can defend the Constitution when it's worth the trouble" or somesuch.

    If he had been Impeached as the Constitution, the Law, simple morality, and common sense demanded, imagine how much better off we'd be as a nation at this point.


    The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

    by Jim P on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:32:54 AM PST

    •  it's also worth noting that presidents continue (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sparhawk

      to accumulate power, and Obama is no exception.

      he has been every bit as egregious as W  in giving himself the power to do whatever he feels is "necessary" as well as pushing for every law he can which intrudes on the 4th amendment and privacy of citizens.

      he's a very serious person, and he's going to prove it by enhancing the police state.

      big badda boom : GRB 090423

      by squarewheel on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 10:10:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The premise that a document from almost (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Blood, mightymouse

    250 years ago is indefinitely infallible is kind of absurd. It almost seems like it's destined to become a fundamentalist religion.

    And you do kind of see that in the fundamentalist intrepretation that "if it's not in the Constitution, it's doesn't exist.... (minority rights, taxes, etc...)

    What's the alternative? A constitutional convention?

    Perhaps we've reached a point in the history of this country where the Constitution no longer works effectively. It is something to consider.

    "The marriage fight is over when we say it's over, and it's over when we win."—Dan Savage

    by Scott Wooledge on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:09:57 PM PST

  •  3B, if you're still up tonight (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    edbb, tb mare

    get on the radio with us, 11pm-Midnight EST.  Funny, how when they win by a vote or two it's a Landslide and a Mandate, but when our side wins by 5 million votes it's just dumb luck.  No landslide, no mandate, Repubs still rule.  Funny how that works out.  Except, it ain't so funny when you're the one on the receiving end.  Let's end this $h!t.  Let's send their butts packing in 2014!

  •  horse + barn door = spilt milk n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  I am so very happy with finding so many (3+ / 0-)

    Other people getting outside their comfort zone of "Rah Rah Rah Obama! Rah"

    Good to see people waking up. The overall society has become an oligarchy, and the average person does not matter.

    For every job out there, there are three applicants who are looking for work and who are qualified. Are we very far away from the "Hunger Games?" Our budget situation is not going to be a decent situation until the jobs come back. (Hint - just let people do as they want regarding the frigging marijuana plant. Californians in rural areas were involved with growing the medicinal weed, selling it, distributing it, etc - until Obama and his DEA and DOJ stepped in and took out whoever they wanted to. Loss of 6,000 jobs that paid well, less folks going top prison over weed, tax revenue on the local level, etc.)

    We are told the only way out of the "deficit crisis" is to trim some 4+ trillion bucks of stuff from the budget. yet we have found out, via the Bernie Sanders, insisted upon Audit of the Federal reserve that some 15 to 16 trillions of dollars was lent by Bernanke to his buddies at Elitist Financial Firms, some fo the companies not even being in the USA. Experts now tell us that at least 4.7 trillions of dollars will never be repaid by these banks and financial firms. So why doesn't Congress or the President simply capture the monies that the nation is owed? We do this routinely to take down the bank account so rogue nations states and rogue individuals like Bin Laden. So why is there no ability on the part of  the Congress or Mr Obama to do this to the real terrorists - the Big Banking firms... Could their collective inability have to do with the fact that most of these people are mere puppets, who have promised to do whatever the Puppet Masters tell them to do.

    Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

    by Truedelphi on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:16:23 PM PST

  •  "Democracy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, mightymouse

    is the very worst form of government except for every other form of government." -- Churchill.     Actually, the Chinese government -- probably the world's most un-democratic government -- looks pretty effective compared to ours.  

    •  For Our Circumstances, Which Are Opposite to the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse, rlochow

      circumstances our system was designed in.

      Ours is an extremophile system designed in massive surpluses of room, resources and waste absorption capacity.

      Today's world we are deficient in 2 of those 3 and so have one of the systems least adapted to the present and future.

      Darwin will rule.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:59:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is a really good post. (6+ / 0-)

    And thanks for it. You know it didn't really occur to me how f-ed up it is that a really huge deal like overhauling the entire tax system is and it get slammed through in just days, voted just hours after the details are definitively unveiled to the public. We The People really are being robbed of a public debate period.

    "The marriage fight is over when we say it's over, and it's over when we win."—Dan Savage

    by Scott Wooledge on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:20:19 PM PST

  •  You forgot to give credit for 99 percent of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Blood

    the dysfunction to the Republicans in Congress.

    We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. B. Franklin

    by Observerinvancouver on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:21:08 PM PST

  •  Truth....Once again, triple "B". (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, tb mare

    “The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” — Marcus Aurelius

    by LamontCranston on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:34:15 PM PST

  •  Rec'd but once (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, tb mare

    though I hail a thousand times.

    Thank you for such a concise and cogent statement about this really alarming situation we are in. It cannot continue if we are to remain a self-governing people.

    Oklahoma: birthplace of Kate Barnard, W. Rogers, W. Guthrie, Bill Moyers & Eliz. Warren. Home to proud progressive agitators since before statehood. Current political climate a mere passing dust cloud; we're waiting it out & planning for clearer days.

    by peacearena on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:36:56 PM PST

  •  I'm sorry (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA, andersr

    I don't buy the premise of this diary.  While I agree it is suboptimal to say the least that are government seems to govern by stumbling from one self-created crisis to the next, it is delusional to suggest that the final deal was brokered between 2 men in secret negotiations over 48 hours.  They were negotiating the deal for at least a month in public and private.  Do you really believe that nothing that had gone before had factored into the final agreement?  Do you really believe that Obama/Reid/Pelosi weren't privy to the details of the ongoing negotiations?  Boehner as well.  Do you not remember New Year's Day when most people thought it was 50/50 whether the house would go along with the deal?  That doesn't seem like a rubber stamp to me.  They went along with it because they thought it was a good deal, despite what some here seem to want to believe.

    And then you had to go full Godwin for no discernible reason.

    As for those upthread bemoaning the lack of more than 2 parties.  We do have more than 2 parties.  We have at least 6.  The Blue Dogs, New Democrats, and Progressives loosely aligned as Democrats.  Republican Study Committee, Liberty Caucus, and Tea Baggers loosely aligned as Republicans.  You see this in every country, you have the party in power, and you have the opposition.  Personally, I like to believe that if the Democrats achieved a majority without the Blue Dogs that they'd tell them to fuck off and kick them out of the coalition.  Failure to understand this dynamic is also why some people here seemingly can't understand why every member of the Democrat coalition isn't a progressive.  It's because we don't have only 2 parties.  It is even possible to argue that in reality we have 535 parties.  There is seemingly no issue where party identification is a guarantee of how a congress(wo)man will vote on the issue.  Even something as basic as who they want to lead the body[see the 10 defections in the speaker vote, or see any number of state leges where a member of the 'minority' party is elected as its head].

    •  He was making a point. (0+ / 0-)

      No matter which party is in power, we should hold them accountable and not let them do whatever they want with our government.

       Even if I agree with them, I still expect them to respect and follow the same rules.

       While I will always vote Democratic, I will never approve of them resorting to Republican tactics or behavior.

  •  Oh there was manipulation by the special interests (0+ / 0-)

    and lobbyists.  Biden and McConnell probably never read the whole document, just agreed in principle.

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/...

  •  Get Money Out Of Politics (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    winsock, Gjetost

    Politicians need to focus on making policy for the people they represent instead of the companies that donate to them.  This is why they can't compromise, if they do, then the donor's money will dry up.

    One interesting proposal that looks like is getting some notice is the Anti Corruption Act.  Check it out.

    •  No, Politicians Need to Represent th Biggst Money. (0+ / 0-)

      Because that's how our system and what our most precious expression of speech and press rights require them to represent.

      While it's true that WE need politicians to focus on policy making, the hard fact is that our system is neither designed nor evolved to serve us.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:07:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Perhaps we should move away from that. (0+ / 0-)

        The biggest money doesn't represent your everyday people. It's corrupt and myopic.

         Personally I think supporting public campaign financing is a good move towards that. The biggest money needs to butt out of our elections and if politicans can't stand for anything on their own terms then they don't rate being in office.

      •  The Anti Corruption Act... (0+ / 0-)

        creates a $100 tax refund for people who donate to politicians.  The goal being to make the biggest money "the people" instead of wealthy interests.  There is a bunch of other provision, but I think this is most important.

        Do go read and sign the act if you think this sounds like a good plan.

  •  I agree completely, BBB. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare

    We need to re-evaluate the direction our government and political culture are going.

     Even if we agree with political party or a particular politician, that doesn't mean they're right all the time, they know what's best or that they know what they're doing. Look historically where blind faith has gotten some parts of the world.

     I'm a human being (and a humanist) first and foremost, everything else comes after that. No human institution is perfect and we should always strive to improve.

  •  Bullshit we are not living in genteel times!!! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AAMOM, Hopefruit2, FiredUpInCA, andersr

    Regular Order in a House full of gerrymandeered lunatics  is what got you this:

    1. Expiration of Violence Against Women's Act
    2. Sandy hurricane bill shut off
    3. 33 repeal Obamacare votes
    4. No jobs bill
    5. No infrastructure bill
    6. Umpteen worthless defense of DOMA taxpayer $$$ waste
    7. Repeal 14th Amendment bills
    8. Unconstitutional calls for 14th Amendment citizenship clauses
    9 Worst of all a Tea party terrorist against the full faith and credit of the United States -- Debt ceiling hostage taking.

    The anger you should be expressing is the hostile takeover of our democratic processes by a kamikaze band of seditionists and lunatics whose sole aim is to DESTROY our democratic system of governance and the very existence of government itself.

    Your wishful wistful call for regular order is a quaint relic of civil times. in 2008 - 2010 there was no government by crisis even though we were in a full blown recession.

    If you hate the fiscal deal. Fine but the facile argument for regular order when the deal plus the breaking fo two traditions -- the Hastert Rule & the technically unconstitutional reversal of the bill originating in the House is what saved us.

    You have a problem? pay attention to what is happening in districting and local/statewide elections. Our negligence in 2010 is what landed us in this situation.

    Until you can tell me how Louis Gohmert, Huelskamp, Massie, Bachman and their talibanesque ilk can be made to understand just exactly how our government works, that they cannot just take it hostage, anything you say is pure smoke!

    We have to do whatever it takes by any means necessary to ride this putrid tea party bronco of the rails until we reach some semblance of sanity. Then we can talk regular order. Else the very wheels of government will come to a screeching halt. Or that is what you want?

    "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them." -- Pres. Obama (1/20/2009)

    by zizi on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:11:08 PM PST

    •  By any means? (0+ / 0-)

      I don't like that sound of that. Be careful what you wish for.

      •  I meant exactly that (0+ / 0-)

        The Teabaggers can't be allowed to threaten the very existence of our government. If needs be we must fight to preserve our republic. I will not let some frizzle-brained hooey dismantle my government. No.

        "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them." -- Pres. Obama (1/20/2009)

        by zizi on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:28:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't want that either. (0+ / 0-)

          On the other hand, I don't think that entitles our "side" to behave like the people we hate.

           If we behave like Teabaggers and disregard what normalcy and order we have, how are we any better?

          •  Any means necessary (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Gjetost, FiredUpInCA

            is exactly the creative thing that got us the Biden-McConnell deal, which Boehner himself could have struck if he wasn't such a coward and mortally fearful of his caucus.

            All he did was break the stupid Hastert Rule allowing an actual majority of the House to vote. What is wrong with that. Why should we be held hostage to a Hastert rule that has no constitutional basis and is subject to abuse by a rump taebagger minority?

            "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them." -- Pres. Obama (1/20/2009)

            by zizi on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:46:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I see what you mean. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              zizi

              If you think about it though Bohner is at fault for not enforcing the Hastert Rule, which isn't such a bad thing since he's a jerk anyway. He could have stopped the Biden-McConnell deal, but didn't. Good for us, but made himself look like a wimp! Haha!

               Anyway I took the "By any means" in the wrong way. I see that you have no interest in bloody revolution or corrupt Teabagger nonsense after all. :)

        •  Let the Teabaggers be the fools. (0+ / 0-)

          The Democratic Party should stand strong it with what liberal/progressive policies it has left, but it should do it without behaving like the Teabaggers.

           The Teabaggers are the yahoos here that snub the rule of law and democracy. Not us.

    •  No, he's right (0+ / 0-)

      We have "three men in a room" government in NY State and despite the fact that those three men trend far closer to progressive acceptability normally than the federal government does, it's still a godawful way to run a government and not a trend that I wish to see continue on the federal level.  I've been out of touch with state politics for a while, but there was a time when I literally couldn't remember the last time a budget got passed on time, for instance.  Nor does it probably matter what the people as a whole or the majority of representatives think about fracking.  And so on.

      Your comments show the major reason why things are currently dysfunctional to such an extreme, but the system is still problematic by its nature.

  •  Biden and McConnell (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, FiredUpInCA

    The only way to change that dynamic is to change the make up of the house.  Until then things get done by whatever works or gives the appearance of working.

  •  T&R'd -- Nicely written (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, tb mare

    Yes, it's a hell of a way to run a country.  But Ways and Means, the House Leadership and by extension the entire chamber, if not both chambers to a degree had/have become dysfunctional.  Yet the Constitution proved to be flexible enough to provide alternate pathways to policy and law.  It's a feature, not necessarily a Constitutional bug requiring a rewrite.  But it's not a desirable fallback and not at all normal -- sort of like driving your car on a temporary spare.

    Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

    by winsock on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:30:58 PM PST

  •  The constitution presumes most people in Govt are (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, mike101, tb mare

    well-intentioned. I think we'd be hard-pressed to find more than a very small handful of well-intentioned Republicans.

    They piss on the constitution because it is inherently a power-sharing document and they are selfish, greedy assholes who not only hate to share power, but REFUSE to share power.

    "There's no ideology [t]here [on the right]. It's just about being a dick." Bill Maher, June 22, 2012.

    by caseynm on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:37:12 PM PST

  •  We won't be having a constitutional convention (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare

    Even if the world is burning up because the only debate would be on banning abortion.
    Excellent post, BBB.

    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please -- Mark Twain

    by OnePingOnly on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:41:58 PM PST

  •  I could propose a constitutional amendment (0+ / 0-)

    that would be overwhelmingly regarded as an improvement on our present system of government.

    The various states shall have their federal congressional districts, as well as their state legislature districts, drawn by a non-partisan body.
    Such an amendment would stand zero chance of passage.

    The problem of writing a perfect Constitution brings Godel's incompleteness theorem to mind.

    Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

    by Tim DeLaney on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 09:01:23 PM PST

  •  Really? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA

    " Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell can't lay claim to any great constitutional powers, yet both men have written the tax policy of this country for the next 4 years."

    Really?  Then I'm afraid that I must respectfully disagree with you.  I have been following the "fiscal cliff" in here, and I don't recall any diary that has stated that the Biden-McConnell agreement was the actual law of the land for any length of time.  Of course it is in effect now, but only until there is a law of more permanent nature in place to replace it.  I believe that this is what the "warfare to come" is all about.

    Incidentally, I may be wrong, but I believe that recess appointments by the president are meant to be only stopgap measures until the Senate can approve or reject said appointments..  Some lower-echelon positions may not need senate confirmation, but that is not the case with cabinet-level positions.  

    In any event, Biden and McConnell did not do the House's job for the House.  It must still come up with some sort of revenue program for the country.

  •  Not sure there ever was a golden age (0+ / 0-)

    when things worked the way you idealize. Remember the smoke-filled back rooms? the sausage-making analogy (Bismark, I think)? The Founding Fathers set up the three branches because they didn't trust any of them to do the right thing. Burr and Hamilton fought a duel, with pistols. The election campaigns were full of scurrilous false accusations of everything from treason to illegitimate children.

    And the government being used (via back-room deals, greased palms, provisions slipped into unrelated bills, whatever) to grease the skids for and transfer wealth to the wealthy and well-connected? also nothing new. The famous debate between Jefferson and Hamilton was over which wealthy and well-connected folks would benefit, the landed gentry or the urban merchants.  

    I agree wholeheartedly that it's worth working for cleaner more open government (although I'm not sure negotiating deals in a complete fishbowl with every move tweeted in real time is ever a good idea). But let's get rid of the fantasy that there was a time when it was really like that.

  •  job (0+ / 0-)

    you have it totally wrong, congress's job is to get reelected.

  •  been thinking this thruout the whole process (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare, SouthernLiberalinMD

    thanks for writing it so succintly.

    nowhere did I see any pundit address it at all in the breathless, endless, and ultimately pointless, attempts to try and guess the imaginary 11th dimensional chess game moves.

    before it was Biden and McConnell coming to a deal on a Senate bill, it was Boehner and Obama failing to come to a deal--with the other leaders banished no less.

    this is NOT American Democracy, nor is it anything resembling the checks and balances of the carefully devised form of representative democracy that the founders envisioned in an attempt to avoid this sort of power play politics.

    no man is completely worthless, he can always be used as a bad example.

    by srfRantz on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 06:06:18 AM PST

  •  It's the same as what goes on (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare

    in NY state and that's been dysfunctional as hell for decades.  No, it's not anything like the democracy we're told we have.

  •  The clock picture (0+ / 0-)

    Hi,

    I realize I'm late to the party but do you have any info on the clock wire sculpture pic? The attribution to Noteworty wasn't enough for me to find it.

    Thanks,

    Hairy Larry

    Please join the Protest Music Group where we sing truth to power.

    by hairylarry on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 04:30:34 AM PST

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