Blog Archives

Bob Schieffer sums up Congress pretty well…

 

Bob said this on CBS last Sunday:

There will be three more unemployment reports before the election. Congress has gone on vacation for the next five weeks, leaving work on their desks involving jobs, taxes and the budget deficit.

Congress managed to get through last year without passing one single piece of significant legislation. It would be hard to do worse than that, but this crowd may actually manage to do it.

And there’s also a couple of fairly important items that have to be resolved one of these days: whether to let the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of the year, and whether or not to block a draconian $110 billion across-the-board cut in defense and domestic spending.

No word on what if anything they plan to do about those items. Truth is, no one expects them to do anything until after the election. The way it stands right now, if the U.S. Capitol caught on fire, this Congress could find a way to make it a partisan issue and do everything but call the fire department.

They went on vacation? I expect we’re paying for these yoyos to spin out at the end of the string.

Look at it this way:

 

 

Quote of the Day – Criticizing his own Party

Alan Simpson regarded the current Republicans in Congress unwillingness to compromise on proposed tax increases as their greatest failure.

“If you want to be a purist, go somewhere on a mountaintop and praise the east or something. But if you want to be in politics, you learn to compromise. And you learn to compromise on the issue without compromising yourself. Show me a guy who won’t compromise and I’ll show you a guy with rock for brains.”

- Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.)

It’s certainly time to remember that before the teabaggers got in and before Mitch McConnell said publicly he would not support ANYTHING that Obama wanted, compromise is what kept the system running. And now it is, at best, stalled out.

“For heaven’s sake, you have Grover Norquist wandering the earth in his white robes saying that if you raise taxes one penny, he’ll defeat you. He can’t murder you. He can’t burn your house. The only thing he can do to you, as an elected official, is defeat you for reelection. And if that means more to you than your country when we need patriots to come out in a situation when we’re in extremity, you shouldn’t even be in Congress.”

I never really cared for Alan Simpson before…but this gives me a whole new understanding. And to stick a finger in Grover Norquist’s eye… Bravo!

The most powerful number in the nation…

A quote from the Mashed Potato Bulletin… and one I can’t help but agree with:

I tell the students in my class at the City College of New York that “five” is the most powerful number in the nation. For as we have seen, five votes on the Supreme Court can pick a president—voters notwithstanding—and five votes could redefine our understanding of Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution—precedents notwithstanding.

So… as the President comes forward to hope that the Health Care law remain unjudiciated by the SCOTUS, we have to sit on our seat edges to see if they want to be the third legislative house.

What can we do when the Court defies the Constitution they are supposed to preserve by interpretation?

Will Dennis Kucinich find his way back into Political Office? – Quotes for the afternoon:

“I’ll find a way back in to public service, there’s no doubt about that. The only question is where and when.”

—–

“Tomorrow’s victories will be built from the embers of defeat. Of this I have no doubt. How do I know this? I started my career in 1967 and since then, I have lost a total of eight times. Indeed, when I was elected to Congress in 1996, it was on my FIFTH try.”

- Dennis Kucinich

There has been speculation that Kucinich may try to gain a seat from Washington state after losing in a redistricted election in Ohio. To that end, he has taken up speaking in the west coast state where the filing deadline for candidacy is May 18th.It is also easier to get on the ballot in Washington, without petitions or other expenses and complications getting in the way.

A Congressional candidate in Washington state must only pay 1 percent of the annual salary of a House Member as his filing fee and declare his party affiliation. A group called Washington Citizens for Kucinich knows how simple the requirements are and feel it is best if Kucinich makes a decision to run by the end of April.

The new 10th district, which he would run in, is a safe Democratic seat.

Major Quote of the Day – Do you want to get out of Afghanistan?

 This amazing solution is from Father Tyme on BlondSense:
You want to end this thing? Send every proponent who thought or thinks this American Military/Political/Business crusade justifiable; every Congress person who voted for this travesty along with their entire family; every Right Wingunt; every Pseudo-patriotic NASCAR sucking holier-than-thou Evangelical Right Wingunt Mother’s son and daughter; every Ted Nugent-Victoria Jackson-Patricia Heaton-Kelsey Grammer-Megyn Kelly-Money grubbing Rush Hudson Limbaugh-Bill O’Reilly-Glen Beck cocksucking bird brained “Let’s you and him fight, but not me” advocate; every unemployed Joe the Plumber who salutes the flag but hates anything non white; every media owner, media personality and political hack; every pajama-clad envelope stuffing/bake sale College Republican Chickenhawk; every money-loving bishop, priest, pastor, reverend who intentionally misinterpret and mouth beliefs different from a true Xtian gawd’s will (and any of their following sheep who thinks their religious leaders saints); every Fatherland Security Employee; every CEO, investor and banker’s child…send them all over there right now with the same equipment and unprepared training assholes like Rumsfeld, Powell, Bush etc. and now Obama thought and still think was and is acceptable…send them all over there – to Democratize and Americanize those heathens; to convert those infidels to American Business Dogma; to allow Americans their inalienable ability to suck all the oil they can suck; to make America safe for rapists, thieves and especially for increased business profits. While we’re at it send their aged, infirmed and invalid, handicapped or otherwise physically and/or mentally challenged parents as well.
 
I’d give it two days! They’ll all be home!
Send this to your Congress folks and Senators… send it to your local papers…pass it on all over the net. Someone has to get this travesty stopped!

Funniest Quote of the Day (from All Hat, No Cattle)

“As of today, Rick Santorum will be assigned Secret Service agents. This is the first time Santorum has agreed to use any kind of protection.”

–Conan O’Brien

If all we had was a funny line a day, we might get through all this crap. Thanks, Conan.

The House of Representatives represents who?

“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

- Mark Twain

One of the options you have when you’re retired like me is to spend time watching the members of Congress debate on C-Span. Indeed, watching them deal with legislation on Budget, Education, Health and other human services is an example of people speaking to each other but not listening to one word the other person says. You get what I mean?

Right now they are debating on “Rules for Changing the Federal Budget Process Bill.” No, they aren’t changing the budget. They are changing the RULES to change the budget as law.

Republicans are saying things like “tax cuts cause higher revenues.” Democrats are saying that “Inflation increases the amount of money needed to carry out necessary programs” like Social Security or Medicare.

At least one (Democrat, I guess) has quoted Grover Norquist‘s favorite statement that he doesn’t want to eliminate government… he just wants to shrink it…until it is small enough to drown in a bathtub. (btw, was Grover Norquist ever elected by anyone, anywhere to serve in Congress as they decide on things like this?)

In the long run, if you are a.) a Democrat proposing legislation or b.) presenting a proposal by President Obama… even if legislation being proposed was sought previously by Republicans… you can assume that the large majority of Republicans will make sure nothing passes. That has been the situation since the 2010 election that brought in all the Tea Party folks.

Do not expect anything to happen this season that will actually solve our very serious problems. Ain’t gonna happen.

Gabby Giffords will be leaving Congress…

It is unfortunate, but Rep. Gabby Giffords (D -AZ), who was shot last year while speaking to constituents in a mall parking lot, will be stepping down from her seat in order to continue her recovery.

We are losing a Representative of great promise and distinction.

Here is her statement:

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Congress and the Economy

Jim Morin in the Miami Herald:

On the heroism of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell…

- and -

Joel Pett in the Lexington Herald-Leader:

Of course McConnell has a different way of supporting the economy…

- and -

Ken Catalino of Creators.com:

But at least we know whose side they are on…

Always keep the truth in mind…

So the SuperCommittee isn’t getting anywhere. So what will the government do about our financial problems.

And what about jobs?

Do Republicans care if 42 million folks work again?
Let’s see what they spend their time on in Congress (thanks to the Daily Kos):


Here’s a budget busting idea for Congress:

President Barack Obama speaks to a joint sessi...

Found this info on the amount of time Congressfolk actually work in Politicus.USA:

House Republicans are scheduled to work even less in 2012. The House GOP has given themselves a schedule for next year that will have them in session for just 108 days. They will only be in session for six days in January, eight days in April, and three days in August. The House will be in session for exactly 13 days between September 10 and the 2012 election. With an average salary of $174,000,each member of the House will earn $1,611.11 for each day that they are in session.

If America really wanted to reduce the budget deficit, they could start by paying the members of Congress only for the days that they are actually in session.

I don’t suppose you wonder why there is not a jobs bill… I know I don’t.

Quote of the Day – Looks like the Occupy Movement will benefit Obama

“While people were pretty evenly split on whether the administration favors the middle class, the rich or the poor, they were all but unanimous about which class the Republicans favor; 69 percent said Republicans in Congress favor the rich, while just 9 percent said the middle class and 2 percent said the poor. That’s a significant perception problem for the GOP, and the Occupy Wall Street protesters — for whatever bad press they have created and will create due to the actions of some participants — are rallying support against the very class that the GOP is thought to favor.”

- Chris Cillizza, The Fix, Washington Post

I’m not sure the GOP cares… nothing else that has been said, polled, complained about or done has gotten them to listen to the Middle Class that they started to disable with Reagan. The day one of those turkeys comes out to Tax The Rich and gets the Republican Party behind him (or her) is the day the world will end.

Quote of the Day – Time for us all to get involved…

“The Occupy Wall Street demonstrators are shining a light on one of the most serious problems facing the United States — the greed and power of Wall Street.  Now is the time for the American people to demand that the president and Congress follow that light — and act.  The future of our economy is at stake.”

- Bernie Sanders

Senator Sanders hits it right on the head. For my local fans, Occupy Martinsburg is starting this weekend… let’s get out there and see what Shelley Moore Capito (millionaire, btw) is going to do about it.

 

A quote to sum up our elected representatives….

Senator Olympia Snowe

Olympia Snowe

“I’m embarrassed by all of us. I’ve never seen a worse Congress in my whole political life.’’

- Sen. Olympia Snowe

(thanks to Debbie Does Nothing.)

Snowe, who served as Maine’s congresswoman from 1979 to 1995 and has been a senator ever since, is being targeted by the Tea Party for voting in favor of the debt ceiling deal despite the fact that it did not include a balanced budget amendment.

Why don’t we go after a 21st Century government?

Second round of the French presidential electi...

Is this the Old Way?

I was watching Walter Mosely on Book Notes this afternoon as he promoted a new book about American politics. One of the things he said has stuck in my head: we have an 18th century government in a 21st century environment. What he was referring to was the fact that we still elect representatives to “represent” what we believe in Congress and to vote on items for us, whether we, in the end, agree with them or not. And, since they are easily corrupted by corporations and lobbyists putting money in their campaigns to get the job of “representing” us, we often do not agree with what they are voting for… for us.

Yet we are in an era that is pervaded by technology, where Facebook keeps thousands of us at a time, no matter where we are, communicating together. What if we all put a particular amount of time (Mosely suggested 90 minutes, but I don’t believe that much is possible on a daily basis… more likely 30 minutes) into being on-line and voting on those things ourselves? All of a sudden there is no need for Congress… the only way big corporations could influence us is by making their products and services cheaper or higher in quality (it would be realyl hard to pay off 220 million voters who are representing themselves.)

Certainly, there would have to be technical administration services created to hold the wiring together. nd we would have to have volunteer committees to control things like the military and the treasury and other important needs. But think about a real Democracy here… 1 on 1 in operation, but a huge scale overall. I know there will be so many arguments on why it can’t be done… but didn’t the imperial governments of the 18th Century think the great American experience, freeing itself from Great Britain, was certainly going to fail?

All I am saying is think about it… and remember that right now, right this very second, you and I are in a potential debate on the subject and that debate could be expanded and millions could take part. Then all we need to do is have a vote…

Quote of the Day – What has Obama done about Climate Change…

Al Gore doesn’t think he’s done very much at all.

This from a piece called Climate of Denial in Rolling Stone:

President Obama has never presented to the American people the magnitude of the climate crisis. He has not defended the science against the ongoing withering and dishonest attacks. Nor has he provided a presidential venue for the scientific community … to bring the reality of the science before the public.”

There is one other quote from later in this superb article (which shows one of the many reasons that Gore is our leading advocate of finding a solution to Climate Change) that sums up the poor support Obama has given to this life-affecting problem:

“… President Obama has thus far failed to use the bully pulpit to make the case for bold action on climate change. After successfully passing his green stimulus package, he did nothing to defend it when Congress decimated its funding. After the House passed cap and trade, he did little to make passage in the Senate a priority. Senate advocates — including one Republican — felt abandoned when the president made concessions to oil and coal companies without asking for anything in return. He has also called for a massive expansion of oil drilling in the United States, apparently in an effort to defuse criticism from those who argue speciously that “drill, baby, drill” is the answer to our growing dependence on foreign oil.

So what can we do about the abandonment of Climate Change focus by the administration? Gore lays out five distinct things we can all do at the end of his essay. Since it runs over a page, I’ll just link to it HERE. It is worth your while to go in and read it.

Of course the most obvious of the five solutions is to put pressure on the President, or Representatives and our Senators, and everyone else involved at the Cabinet level. If we don’t push for the decisions that will, hopefully, start turning around the changes in our climate, then they won’t be made. As Gore says:

“Why do you think President Obama and Congress changed their game on “don’t ask, don’t tell?” It happened because enough Americans delivered exactly that tough message to candidates who wanted their votes.”

Can you imagine what a great President Al Gore would have made instead of…oh, what was the name of that jackass that left us in debt and at war? A Republican, wasn’t he?

What’s your opinion… are congressional legislators ethical?

According to a poll reported on by The Hill:

58 percent of voters think most members of Congress are “unethical,” while only 25 percent consider the majority to be principled. Seventeen percent are unsure.

Furthermore, those polled didn’t seem to trust one party over another… and 68% believe that ethical standards have declined among politicians in recent decades while only 7% thought they had improved.

The poll was taken three days after Weiner announced his responsibility for sending suggestive photographs of himself to women he didn’t know.

69% of those polled said they somewhat or strongly disapproved of the job Congress is doing,  25% said they somewhat approved and just 3% said they strongly approved. 33% said men in office are less ethical than women.

The figures are based on a national survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted by Pulse Opinion Research.

Eric Cantor Exhibits Legislative Insanity

The House Majority Leader thinks that the House can pass a law without the Senate also passing it word for word and without the President signing it.

Perhaps Cantor should consult any grade school student who has studied U.S. History and find out what he is suggesting is unconstitutional.

This from HuffPo (if you click their URL below there’s more):

clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com
House Republicans will introduce legislation, likely by the end of this week, that would make it so that if Congress is unable to come to an agreement over an operating budget, the GOP’s version would simply become law of the land.
The bill, titled “The Government Shutdown Prevention Act,” is designed for the purposed described in its title. In terms of partisan equity, it’s lacking.
Announced by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Wednesday, the legislation would make it so that “if the Senate fails to pass a measure before April 6, 2011 providing for the appropriations of the departments and agencies of the Government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, H.R. 1 (as passed by the House on February 19, 2011) becomes law.”
Senate Democrats have rejected passing HR1 since the onset of the government funding debate.
It’s worth noting that Cantor might not be entirely in the loop as to the progress of the budget negotiations…
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Howard Dean: The ‘State Of The Progressive Movement’ Is Strong

TPM ran this article by Governor Dean today… I’ll give you a piece of it, but please go in and read the whole thing.
clipped from tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com
Republicans may be enjoying their ascendancy and critics may be suggesting the President Obama is tilting to the right along with them, but former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean says the “the State of the Progressive Movement is strong.”
“The next few years aren’t going to be easy either,” Dean writes. “It’s going to be a fight to stop right-wing Republicans from rolling back progress and forcing gridlock in Congress.”
Despite the progressive critics of Obama, Dean makes it clear that he’s fully behind Obama — and that Obama’s cause is a progressive one.

“We’ll need to work harder than ever to accomplish real change and reelect President Obama in 2012,” Dean writes. “But we’ve never been afraid of hard work.”
“Republicans often play to the worst impulses in human nature and separate people from each other, scapegoating minority groups and dismantling our community support systems,” Dean writes.
“We have a better answer,” he adds. “We know what we believe.”

Watching the Senate stage an intelligence dump as they go through Tax Cut votes…

I don’t know if  any of this stuff is really believable. I watched a gloomy couple of hours of debate this morning when the Republicans held off any changes in the Obama-McConnell Tax Cut extension, keeping Democratic changes from coming into play. Now I’m watching as all the amendments proposed by Republicans and Bernie Sanders get voted down (they need a 2/3 majority under these rules), which, I think, it was previously agreed upon.

I guess they will then put the 61 votes necessary behind the Bill as written (and complain about how they HAD to do it… especially from the Democratic side)… and then it will go to the House and go through the same kind of brouhaha with the same results.

I wish I felt that the main motivation here wasn’t “vote for it now so we can go home for Christmas” or some other pathetic excuse. But it seems pretty clear that this will be a day cheered on by the rich, who will make out like bandits for the next couple of years. Sanders’ amendment, which is currently being voted (down, I’m sure… there’s no way it can get the 67 Aye votes necessary) which would remove the tax cuts from the top 2%. As I watch them muddle around on the Senate floor I am more and more aware that this is a crowd of rich people… many who became rich by becoming Senators. Why would they vote against themselves?

And then there’s my Senator, Joe Manchin, and Joe “the sleeze” Lieberman who are voting NO with the Republicans on taxing the rich.

This is going to be even more fun in January when there are more Republicans in the Senate and a Republican Majority in the House. We might as well give our country to the Chinese now and get it over with.

Five for every one… and why unemployment will go on longer than we want it.

The current Dept. of Labor statistic is that there are five unemployed job searchers for every one job that opens up at present. This means that only 20% of people seeking work right now are likely to get it, leaving the rest of us to ponder our futures in different ways.

Some, of course, will retire or take early retirement with reduced Social Security because they have little or no choice. Some, who have access to some investment money, will set up new small businesses… often with themselves as the only employees… and hope that something will come along at some point to get them off their own dime (I call this the freelance graphic designer option. I’ve been there, too.) Some will turn to crime… no joke…it is happening already.

The 20% who do get work are, for the most part, getting jobs which pay less than they were making before they ended up on the unemployment rolls, while their day-to-day cost of living expenses are significantly higher (just take a look at gasoline!)

So what is the government planning to cure this situation? Damn little, I’m afraid. Congress will be a left-right wrestling ring. The Obama Administration will hope Congress does something…but it won’t. The Supreme Court will continue its firming up of the Corporate Wealthy.

And we’ll watch a lot more television, cry in our sleep a lot more, and go progressively downhill as the Middle Class disappears.

Do we deserve an Article V Convention? Congress doesn’t think so…

Article V of the U.S. Constitution: The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight [1808] shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.

So what happens when the Congress ignores (and has since 1965) applications by ALL 50 STATES to call an Article V Convention? Take a look at requests for a Balanced Budget Amendment, which would keep the government from going further and further into debt on Military expenditures, let’s say. 171 Balanced Budget/General-Call-for-an-Article-V-Convention applications were submitted by 39 different states (rescissions excluded). Has an Article V Convention occurred?

No.

Friends Of An Article V Convention are pushing the cause at their web site. This is what you find at foavc.org:

What is Happening to Our Country?

Are you aware that We The People are being denied our constitutional right to an Article V Convention to propose amendments, despite a whopping 400+ (or more) Article V applications from the state legislatures of ALL 50 states? Only 34 (i.e. two thirds) are required.

FOAVC is a non-partisan association of American citizens from every state comprised of a broad range of occupations, Convention of 1787 (click  here to enlarge)ethnicities, religious affiliations and political persuasions.  Our common bond and mission is a deep commitment to preserving the values and principles embodied in our founding documents – the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America – upon which this nation was founded. Article V of the United States Constitution provides that Congress, “on the application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments“.  The Founding Fathers of our nation recognized the importance of providing this means by which the citizens of our country could initiate amendments to change and/or clarify the Constitution; the fundamental document which they intended to be not only the blueprint for our federal system but also the supreme Law of the Land.

If you’d like to see the 400+ applications for the Constitutionally Required Article V Convention? Go HERE.

And once a Convention is called, there can be other amendments brought in (I think this is the real fear of our legislators… we might get lots of our government problems changed.)

So what do you think? As Joel S. Hirschhorn of FOAVC has stated:

American society is saddled with distractive consumerism, a culture of dishonesty, and rampant corporate corruption of government.  Despite what false patriots tell us, we now have a delusional democracy, not one that citizens can trust to serve their interests.  We clearly need a Second American Revolution.

Truly American Quote of the Day

“I simply misremembered it wrong.”

– Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL), in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, explaining how he exaggerated ( ie: lied about) his military record.

It would be nice to have politicians who didn’t lie… but it is not a situation that we are likely to have. It would also be nice to have politicians who could speak English.

Here’s a message from my friend John Case…

If you are near Shepherdstown, WV tomorrow in the late morning, here’s something you may be interested in attending. This is from my Friday Morning radio friend, John Case, and I pass it on to you:

Hello Friends.

I know many of you may be busy. And I also know financial reform is a thorny topic not easy to get ones mind around — even after you read the economic literature!

However, there is no issue before Congress and the administration more crucial than financial reform. Failing it, one cannot name another challenge after it that will not be fraught with great peril of another collapse, and a descent from a Great Recession — to a Great Depression 2.

Please join me for a lunch time street corner conversation lunchtime hour at the corner of German and King streets in Shepherdstown. The link below is a flyer endorsed by the President as a guide for talking and understanding whats going on in Congress on financial reform. We will have a 100 copies, plus some stickers. Lets meet at Mellow Moods at 11:AM, Thursday. Tomorrow! Then converse on the square for lunch!

Both WV Senators are on board — but neighbor to neighbor calls to Senator Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, the man who will lead the charge to block reform, will not hurt the cause.

LINK: http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/wsrinfo/

Senator McConnell
601 W. Broadway
Room 630
Louisville, KY 40202
Phone: (502) 582-6304

Cheers

John Case


I’ll be there, camera in hand (I usually get to Mellow Moods around 10:30 AM).

Congress vs. Supreme Court? Television and Radio vs. Politicians?

Simon Owens, over at bloggasm.com, directed me to this piece in cqpolitics. Here’s a clip, but go in and read the whole thing:
clipped from www.cqpolitics.com

Broadcasters Air Gripes With Political Ad Bill
Television station owners are mobilizing against a new Democratic campaign finance bill that would force them to slash prices for many political advertisements.
The National Association of Broadcasters confirmed late last week that it will oppose provisions of the DISCLOSE Act, an attempt by House and Senate Democrats — and a handful of House Republicans — to roll back elements of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
The high court’s decision tossed out most restrictions on political ad buys on television by corporations, trade associations and nonprofit groups.
The bill would require television, cable and radio outlets to offer the Republican National Committee, the Democratic National Committee and other political party committees the same deeply discounted price — the “lowest unit rate,” in industry jargon — that television stations are now required to offer only to political candidates.
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