Blog Archives

The Final Results of the Election…

If you haven’t seen where everything finally ended up after Florida was called (which took an awfully long time and right up to the very end the GOP said Romney had it… but he didn’t), then here it is:

This, to me, is a sure sign that Obama has a mandate to finish his agenda. To win by 126 electoral votes is not insignificant… it is a real rollover.

Now we will listen to Boehner claim that he is ready to cooperate, but will keep the House just a opposed to increasing taxes on the very rich and solving the rest of the economic problems. Will the House Republicans finally support Obama’s goal to increase jobs? Looks like they are going to stay just as opposed. Didn’t they learn anything from the election?

Mitch McConnell will probably keep the Republicans in the Senate from letting things go through, although they are still in the minority. McConnell is up for reelection in Kentucky in 2014, so maybe he will cooperate a little bit just to show that he’s not a schmuck. We’ll wait and see.

 

This morning’s first swing state polls:

Here are the latest polls from the battleground:

How about Electoral Vote and Senate predictions…

Nevada: Obama 49%, Romney 47% (American Research Group)

New Hampshire: Romney 49%, Obama 47% (American Research Group)

Both of these show changes: Romney up in New Hampshire and Obama leading in Nevada. Also, remember: 270 Electoral votes to win.

When more of these polls come out today I will make them available either in a new post or updating this one.

 

What is it about Republicans and their need to create wars?

Here’s where to look for a World News Daily article by Jamal Abdi: New Senate Push to Pledge Unconditional Support for Israeli “Preventive” War on Iran.

Before reading it, here’s the first couple of sentences:

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is planning to press the Senate next month to pledge U.S. troops, money, and political support to Israel should Bibi Netanyahu launch a preventive war on Iran.

Graham claims his effort would merely make explicit that the U.S. has Israel’s back. But when your friend is drunk, you don’t hand them the keys. If Graham has his way, he will hand Bibi the keys and lend him our car, while the rest of us ride shotgun.

If this gets you at all nervous about creating a new major mideast war at the behest of Israel (and Lindsay Graham), then get ready to write your senator.

 

We say farewell to former Senator Arlen Specter, dead at 82.

Arlen Specter, who spent 30 years representing Pennsylvania in the Senate offended Republicans and Democrats in almost equal measures with maverick votes and a frank cockiness that finally ended his career in politics, died Sunday at his home in Philadelphia. He was 82

Specter, who had battled a number of major illnesses in recent years, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was a hard-driving former prosecutor described even by some admirers as sarcastic. But he stood well above many of his Senate colleagues in his combination of intelligence and effectiveness.

Specter won no lasting gratitude from either liberals or conservatives during his career, and he especially alienated women.

After yet another “betrayal” of Republicans on the 2009 stimulus plan, he was forced to make the most dramatic leap in a career that was full of them. But this time he did not make it across the chasm. Facing defeat in the 2010 Republican primary election, Specter surprised the nation by announcing in April 2009 that he was switching parties – for a second time. (In 1965 he switched from Democrat to Republican after winning election as Philadelphia district attorney on the Republican ticket in an end-run around the city’s Democratic machine.)

His Senate change delivered a veto-proof majority there to President Obama. But not for long. Pennsylvania Democrats, many of whom had voted against him for years, refused to accept his final conversion. The party change did not secure his position, however. He avoided the Republican primary but got smacked in the Democratic primary. His career ended.

When Romney questions Obama’s achievements, remember what the Congress did to most of his proposals.

 

No Congress has ever done to a President what the Republicans in the Senate and the House have. Given the House’s Republican majority and the Senate’s need for 60% of votes to avoid filibuster, the President has been a victim of politicians who put their party ahead of the needs of Americans.

Take a look:

 

And if you listen to Romney accuse Obama for not making enough happen, wonder why he is not aware of the stance taken by his fellow Republicans in elected office.

 

Quote of the Day: Grover Norquist says Romney will do what a Republican Congress says to do…

 

“All we have to do is replace Obama. …  We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. … We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don’t need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate.

Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States. This is a change for Republicans: the House and Senate doing the work with the president signing bills. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.”

- Grover Norquist

So, who runs the Republican Party anyway? This guy holds no office and doesn’t speak at the convention. So why is he so important. Why do all these dumbos sign his goddam anti-tax pledge?

That I have no answer for. I wonder if Romney does.

 

Republicans, As Usual, Block Bill to Bring Jobs Home

 

The best piece I’ve read on this subject is over at PoliticusUSA… and while anything I’d write on the Republicans and their ongoing program to outsource jobs overseas, benefit the wealthy and convince the middle class voter that they are really on their side doesn’t come close to this piece by Rmuse, I have condensed it here. You can read the whole article HERE.

Mitch “I won’t let Obama get anything passed” McConnell

Last Thursday, in another attempt to protect corporations and kill American jobs, Republicans blocked a measure to reward companies that brought jobs back to America, and protect their candidate Willard Romney. Republicans in the Senate refused to allow a vote on a bill, The Bring Jobs Home Act, which provided a 20% tax break for costs related to moving jobs back to the United States, at the same time rescinding deductions for companies that moved operations and jobs overseas. The bill was number one on the President’s congressional “to-do list,” but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to amend it with an Affordable Care Act repeal and Bush-era ta x cuts for the wealthy extension.

——-

Willard “The King of Outsourcing” Romney

With the Senate Republicans action on Thursday, they exposed their agenda of corporate profit protection at the expense of Americans’ jobs. In one fell swoop, they obeyed the Chamber of Commerce, guaranteed more companies will outsource Americans’ jobs, subsidized outsourcing with taxpayer dollars, provided millions for Romney, created jobs in foreign countries, prevented economic growth, and most importantly, killed millions of Americans’ jobs. Their claim the bill was a political ploy by the Obama Administration is patently false because this is the second time in two years Republicans blocked an anti-outsourcing bill.

——-

The Republican focus on jobs since January 2009 has been killing them, not creating them. They voted against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus), opposed the auto industry bailout, payroll tax cut and extension, all of the President’s jobs bills, and have blocked any new revenue sources that would fund rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure. All of the Republican job-killing measures have as their basis protection of the rich and keeping unemployment figures high, and they are not close to being finished if they win control of the White House and both houses of Congress.

——-

It is a mystery why Republicans get any support from Americans when they have spent the past three-and-a-half years deliberately killing jobs and holding up economic recovery. They have, at every step, demonstrated their allegiance to the wealthy and corporations over the American people, and continue claiming a laser-focus on creating jobs while obstructing job creation and giving corporations tax breaks for outsourcing existing ones. Their contempt for Americans looking for work, or barely holding on to their existing jobs, is nothing short of despicable and by blaming President Obama, they reached a new low in hypocrisy.

So, do you believe what these sociopaths are telling you? The only thing I believe is when McConnell says Obama will never get anything passed… whether we need it or not.

Don’t vote for these people. Keep your jobs here. Encourage businesses to make more. You can bet that the upper 1% aren’t going to make any… and they don’t need the tax deduction because their money is invested in tax free havens like the Cayman Islands.

 

Now that they’ve wasted our time over Health Care Repeal, will the Congress get down to Jobs?

There are only about 40 days left in  the Congressional season before these champions of non-accomplishment go out to lie and buy their votes. Yet what they should be doing is getting the Middle Class jobs, not waiting to see if Romney is elected.

In Las Vegas, today marks a protest of appointed U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) to get him to support H.R 5542, the “Bring Jobs Home Act.” Heller has been focused on by the AFL-CIO. Heller, along with the Republican Party, have never voted for any  Job Bills proposed by President Obama or the Democrats in congress, and it’s not likely that he or his Party will start now.

The Bring Home The Jobs Act would end a tax benefit for companies that move jobs overseas and, instead, would add a tax credit for companies that move jobs back to the United States. The bill would also prohibit the first group of companies from receiving federal grants or guaranteed loans.

The AFL-CIO is also promoting the “United States Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act” that would make public the names of companies that move call centers overseas (H.R. 3596.)

The Democratic Party in both the House and the Senate have backed Bills in the past that would end corporations from receiving a tax break for creating jobs overseas, while giving a tax credit if they create jobs in the United States, but the Republican Party stopped them with a no vote in the House and a filibuster in the Senate.

Of course, wasting time on repealing an unrepealable Health Care bill was worth the effort for Boehner and his Bozos.

And what is their job strategy based on? This:

Today continues the House Republicans’ waste of time…

Well, we need jobs legislation, and we need tax resolution, and we need many more necessary things from the House of Reps… but for the last couple of days, leading to a vote today, they have been wasting time and effort.

Today’s vote will be the 33rd vote to undermine the Affordable Care Act, either through repeal or blocking funding for various provisions, since Republicans took control of the House in 2010. It won’t matter. The repeal, if passed,  is sure to be defeated in the Democratic-led Senate. And even if it made it through the Senate, the President has pledged to veto such a measure once it reaches his desk.

Yesterday I watched the arguments in the House on C-Span and spent most of the time sorting out the truth in claims by both sides. And I heard Obama speak in Iowa saying:

“I will work with anybody to improve the health care law where we can, but this law is here to stay. And it will help the vast majority of Americans feel greater security. If you’ve got health insurance, it’s going to be more secure because insurance companies can’t jerk you around because of fine print. If you don’t have health insurance, we’ll help you get it.”

No matter how much they want to eliminate Romneycare … excuse me, Obamacare … the Republicans have no plan to replace it and will eliminate health care for millions of people, especially young people and seniors and the poor.

One would think that the best thing they could do would be to create a new plan which could replace Obamacare immediately, not remove coverage from the population, and save the millions of dollars they claim they want to do. Then, once voted in, it would replace the existing law without stranding anyone.

But they are not going to do that.

I’ll watch their vote today, but I know by their sheer numbers that Republicans will pass their repeal. Then, once they send it to the Senate, maybe they can get around to the things they really should be doing. Do you think they will?

Tax Benefits for the Middle Class with Obamacare

No matter what the Republicans in Congress say as they pass Eric Cantor‘s legislative move to repeal Obamacare (don’t worry, the Senate will send it to the crapper), it should be clear that the health care program benefits the Middle class. Especially with tax cuts.

Take a look:

Save this to argue with your Republican friends (as if they’ll listen!)

Quotes of the Decade – A New Series

I’ll start with a recent quote by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R – KY):

“This is certainly the most anti-business administration since the Carter years. At least you can say this for President Carter, he was largely incompetent. This administration has actually done a lot of damage to the country.”

And, of course, this was the Administration that saved and revived GM, that cut the amount of Government Spending in relation to it’s income (something Bush and the Republicans never did), and who at least started to increase employment, rather than shoot it into the sewer as in the 8 years preceeding his presidency.
Yet McConnell is listened to with sincere attention by the Press.
This is the same McConnell whose most famous quote this decade was:
“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
…and this lack of cooperation started on day one of Obama’s presidency… and persists to this day.

Republicans shoot down Equal Pay law in the Senate.

From RTTGlobal Financial News:

Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked a bill that Democrats say would increase paycheck equity for women. Republican lawmakers argued the bill would put an undue strain on businesses.

Voting 52-47, the Senate fell eight votes short of the 60 necessary to hold an outright vote on the bill. All 47 Republicans in the chamber voted against it, with the exception of Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who was absent.

The bill, dripping with election-year politics, was intended to close a pay gap between women and men by increasing litigation opportunities for women, closing a variety of legal loopholes, strengthening federal enforcement authority and barring employers from retaliating against employees who share pay information with colleagues.

Even though women make 84¢ an hour for every buck a man makes in the same job (some say 77¢), the attempt today to remedy that situation in the U.S. Senate was pretty much pissed on by 100% of the Senate Republicans.

There are two problems here… problems which won’t go away while we still have the same Democratic-to-Republican ratio:

- The need to have 60 votes, and not a simple majority, to pass an item. This is what is called a “filibuster” and used to be pulled out only rarely, on extremely important bills that had strong disagreements. And it used to require all Senators to be present and those filibustering had to keep speaking on the floor or give up (remember Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington“?). This all changed when Republicans decided when Obama was elected to make ALL votes filibusters… and no one has to speak. They just declare it and it automatically goes to the 60 vote requirement. As Mitch McConnell told us in 2008, he’s not going to let any legislation brought in by Obama pass.

- A significant realization that Senators (both parties) can be influenced (read “instructed”) to vote as requested by their major funders. Corporations and Chambers of Commerce did NOT want to equalize the pay of women to that of men. Why? It would cost them more. So this is why 100% of Republicans…even women… sat on their hands on this one.

Obama was a major supporter of this bill. Romney never said a word about it, even though many expected he would show his relationship to his party by expressing his support for their action.

In his statement on the Republican negative vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asked Romney why he had not at least called some of the Republican Senators to say he supported this bill (one of his assistants had e-mailed a response to the net that Romney had always supported equal pay.)

“This is a common-sense measure with broad public support. Nine out of 10 Americans – including 81 percent of men and 77 percent of Republicans – support this legislation. But once again, the only Republicans who are left opposing a common-sense measure to improve our economy and help middle-class families are the ones here in Washington.”

What do you women readers think of this? Does it affect you? Are you paid less than men where you work for similar occupations?

My beloved home state is about to ban capital punishment…

This from the Hartford Courant:

HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut was poised to become the 17th state to abolish the death penalty after the Senate passed a bill early Thursday repealing capital punishment.

Gov. Daniel Malloy

The 20-16 vote came at 2:05 a.m., after more than 10 hours of debate. The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where it has broad support. Democratic Gov. Daniel P. Malloy has pledged to sign the bill once it reaches his desk.

—–

This brings into question what will happen to the two men convicted in the Petit murders (which I talked about a few years ago, since Dr. Petit, who was my Endocrinologist when I lived in CT and he lost his wife and daughters to these guys).

This raises the question of whether Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky, sentenced to death for the Petit murders, will be executed. Some experts believe the courts will overturn the death sentences of all those convicted of capital crimes to make the law consistent. Will that happen?

Maybe not.

The bill stipulates that the 11 men currently on Connecticut’s death row would still face execution; capital punishment would only be abolished for those convicted of capital offenses in the future.

Here’s why I don’t support Senator Joe Manchin (and I’m a West Virginia Democrat):

Here’s an article and video from Russell Mokhiber at Morgan County USA. It points out with disturbing accuracy why I am unable to support Joe Manchin, the self-appointed Senator who is up for his first real election:

Joe Manchin Meet Glass Steagall – 2/18/2012

English: Official portrait of Senator Joe Manc...Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) came to Berkeley Springs, West Virginia yesterday to meet with citizens.

One citizen asked Senator Manchin about Glass-Steagall.

Glass-Steagall was the depression era law that prevented banks from gambling with your savings account.

It was repealed by President Clinton in 1999.

And many economists believe that the repeal of Glass-Steagall had a lot to do with the most recent economic collapse.

There’s a move to bring it back.

In the Senate and the House.

But Senator Manchin said he never heard of Glass-Steagall.

Not that the law was passed post depression.

Not the fact that Clinton repealed it.

Not the fact that it may have had something to do with the recent Wall Street collapse.

One man in the crowd tried to explain to Manchin what it was.

Manchin thought the man was referring to Dodd-Frank.

No, not Dodd-Frank, the man said.

Glass-Steagall.

I suggested to Senator Manchin that the reason the American people hold Congress in such low regard is because the American people think that Senator Manchin and his colleagues are corrupt.

I started to read to him from a list of his major corporate contributors.

FirstEnergy Corp. $88,000.

Mylan Inc. $59,900.

American Electric Power $45,950.

Jackson Kelly $45,398.

I told Manchin about the story of Rose Baker, the Wetzel County woman whose life was destroyed by fracking.

As a result of fracking by Chesapeake Energy and others, her quality of life went from a 10 to a 3 in a couple of years.

She can’t drink her well water now because it’s polluted.

There’s night light pollution, noise pollution, water pollution.

Manchin supports fracking.

He’s opposed to a moratorium on fracking.

How do we know that it’s not because of the money he takes from Chesapeake Energy ($21,900)?

Manchin is opposed to single payer national health care.

How do we know it’s not because of the $139,100 he takes from the pharmaceutical and other related industries?

Could it be that Manchin cares more about Chesapeake Energy than he does about Rose Baker?

Could it be that Manchin cares more about health insurance and pharmaceutical companies that give him money than he does about the 120 people who die every day in America just because they don’t have health insurance?

Manchin says he cares about Rose Baker.

He says he cares about a 63-year friend of mine who has been diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm, but can’t get it fixed because he has no health insurance and the operation will cost $120,000.

Manchin says every member of Congress has to raise money from corporations just to get re-elected.

True enough, said one woman in the audience.

So, what are we going to do to get money out of politics, she asked.

Manchin said we need transparency.

But we already have transparency.

Here’s the list of money you take from corporations.

We need to get the money out.

But Manchin is marinated in corporate cash.

He’s in no position to support a moratorium on fracking.

Or single payer.

Or legislation to clean up the system.

He’s corporatized to the core.

He doesn’t know Glass-Steagall.

He doesn’t know Rose Baker.

He doesn’t know about my friend with the aortic aneurysm.

Why should he know?

Or care?

Thank you so much, Russell. This was very revealing and EVERYONE in West Virginia should look at this. Who, however do we vote for? Mountain Party?

I’m really afraid we’re stuck with this Republican in a Democrat mask.

Boehner Caves!

We enter the evening with Speaker John Boehner caving in to a growing chorus of criticism from both within and outside his Republican party. He has agreed to The Senate’s short-term deal to extend a payroll tax cut for 160 million Americans.

In a major reversal that appeared to end a standoff with Democrats, Boehner told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid he would set a vote in the House on a Senate-passed two-month extension of the payroll tax cut.

Boehner’s about-face contrasts with a year of Republican dominance in The House, in which a staunch opposition to higher taxes and spending yielded a string of political successes. Their backpedalling this time handed a rare victory to President Barack Obama and Democrats.

The vote to carry out the 60-day plan should take place tomorrow.

Has the Republican House Sealed its Fate?

“Based on the historical record we can confidently predict that if a large number of incumbents lose their seats next November, it will be because 2012 is a wave election and that almost all of the defeated incumbents will come from the party on the losing side of the wave.”

- Alan I. Abramowitz, Alben W. Barkley Professor of Political Science at Emory University

Boehner Leads the Ranks of the Inverted

So Boehner turned out the lights and sent the House home, even though Democrats were calling for a continuing discussion to get the interim Payroll bill of the Senate passed, giving 60 days to come up with the final compromise without attacking the economic lives of middle Americans.

Even the Wall Street Journal, not a left leaning publication, tried to get the Republican leader and his Tea Party Poopers to see the three reasons that made the House Majority the bad guys:

Reason #1: House Republicans allowed the Senate to break for the Christmas holiday without explicit orders it would need to come back. In fact, Politico notes that the silence from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is deafening. Reason #2: The Senate passed its legislation by a bipartisan 89-10 vote, raising the question whether a conference committee could produce a deal that could get 60-plus Senate votes. Reason #3: The House GOP didn’t allow an up-or-down vote on the Senate bill, suggesting that it could have passed if they did. Those three reasons will be hard for the House GOP to explain away if the tax cut expires after Dec. 31.”

We are left with no payroll tax cuts for 160 million workers and aid for several million long-term unemployed Americans expiring on Dec. 31. If the Republicans wanted to make Obama look good in this situation, they couldn’t have done it better.

The question now is what will the majority of Americans think when an extra cut comes out of their paychecks and they bring their anger into the public venue (think of the Occupy movement)? Too bad we can’t vote for House members tomorrow!

Obama stands up to Boehner on Payroll Tax vote…

From the White House:

Today, the President made separate calls to Speaker Boehner and Leader Reid. In his call to Speaker Boehner, the President reiterated the need and his commitment to work with Congress to extend the payroll tax cut for the entire year, and the fact that the short-term bipartisan compromise passed by almost the entire Senate is the only option to ensure that middle class families aren’t hit with a tax hike in 10 days and gives both sides the time needed to work out a full year solution. The President urged the Speaker to take up the bipartisan compromise passed in the Senate with overwhelming Democratic and Republican support that would prevent 160 million working Americans from being hit with a holiday tax hike on January 1st.

The President also spoke with Leader Reid and again applauded him for the work he conducted with Minority Leader McConnell to achieve a successful bipartisan compromise that passed overwhelmingly in the Senate on Saturday, and Senator Reid reaffirmed his commitment to secure a bipartisan year long tax cut after the House passes the two month extension. The President urged the Speaker to allow a vote on the one compromise that Democrats and Republicans passed together to give the American people the assurance they need during this holiday season that they won’t see a significant tax hike in just 10 days.

Boehner and the Tea Party folks are now getting the worst of the press, and they are even being criticized by other Republicans, none of whom would like the Middle Class on their tails come election time. Meanwhile, the Senate is on vacation and it doesn’t look like they are coming back to renegotiate before the short-term bill is passed.


Looks like the rest of the week will be interesting. Ho Ho Ho.

Today starts the removal of troops from Iraq…

… and over the next couple of weeks they will be out, with a few thousand (more?) advisors remaining… doing what, I don’t know. There is, I guess, a certain amount of relief being felt, but the government is not making this a huge event. It’s pretty quiet actually.

While looking at comments from warriors and people who made their billions off of war, I found this in the NY Times from 2009 when the forthcoming (2012) pullout was announced:

“Now that the war’s over, we’re going to get to go back to developing exciting new weapon systems, instead of just trotting out the ones that are proven to work,” said a visibly excited Robert Stevens, Lockheed C.E.O., before a reporter informed him of the Senate moratorium on new weapons systems development.

“Oh,” said Stevens, looking flushed, and quickly excused himself.

As for me, the most exciting weapon systems are the ones you dismantle.

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.

What if…..?

When I look at the political cesspool we are currently splashing around in… a Republican House that follows a number one rule to let nothing Obama proposes pass… a Senate where the 60 vote rule can hold up absolutely everything, whether there is a simple majority or not… a president who has tried to get along with both faces of the political Janus, ending with nothing… a supreme court that has wed itself to the concept of corporate personhood… when I look at all of this I think “What if the Republicans win in 2012?”

In a sense, the Occupy Wall Street (and other places) demonstrators are asking the same question… with the added codicil “What do we do about it?”

I’m not sure that, beyond joining them in the street, there is anything that can be done that would make an instant change. If the government becomes entirely Republican in 2012, the corporate takeover of all America will be fulfilled. The hopes of democracy will fade away and will have a very hard time reappearing.

 

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.

It was a long night… hopefully today ends it all…

They decided last night and the Senate took a late vote… now it’s up to the House. The new Debt bill is not very strong on Democratic points and overburdened with Republican points (although it is House Republicans who can possibly kill it today) and we are hearing comments from all sides:

“Real spending cuts. No tax hike. Gang of Six said it could not be done. 1982, 1990 are now bad memories we learned from. Onward.”

- Grover Norquist

“The compromise we have agreed to is remarkable for a number of reasons, not only because of what it does, but because of what it prevents.”

- Harry Reid

“This is an important moment for our country. I can say with a high degree of confidence that there is a framework in place to assure a significant degree of cuts to Washington spending.

- Mitch McConnell

“Is this the deal I would have preferred? No. But this compromise does make a serious down payment on the deficit reduction we need.”

- Barack Obama

“Now listen, this isn’t the greatest deal in the world. But it shows how much we’ve changed the terms of the debate in this town.”

- John Boehner

So now we wait for the vote.

Why do they call these “Debates?”

I spend a lot of my time lately watching the House of Representatives on C-Span and the Senate on C-Span 2. In the last few weeks as the subject of the deficit and the National Debt dominate the programming when the two houses are in session (rarely on Mondays or Fridays while they are “traveling”).

So, on the three days a week that they are working, what do our “representatives” do?

Take away the committee hearings, many of which are not available to us, although C-Span works very hard to show as many as possible, and we are left with something they call “debates.” I don’t know about you, but I was in the Debating Club as a teenager and I have a pretty good idea of how a debate is structured. These alternating speeches by members of either house are really a series of statements conveying the points of view and policies that their parties have frozen into unchangeable position.

This is upsetting, because if one member comes up with a new idea, or an explanation of how history shows one action working and another failing… the great benefit of actual experience… the conclusion of the speech does not bring forth a discussion on those points from the opposition. Instead, we hear another speech ignoring the opposition’s points which, at its conclusion, faces the same ignorance by the other side.

So these alternating presentations do nothing to allow one side to convince the other of the value of a position. THEY ARE NOT LISTENING TO EACH OTHER! I have no idea why they go on with this farce… much less why they do it in front of us. the frustrated public that actually does listen, contacts their representatives’ offices, but rarely gets changes that they are looking for… often in large majorities of responders.

To top it off, the Congressmen and Senators of each side take their points of view, often very different, and constantly say “this is what the majority of Americans want.”

I’ll bet the majority of Americans would really like them to listen to each other and to the public and come up with real solutions to real problems.

I rest my case.

Quote du Jour – Debt Ceiling Filibuster

“We’ve had not one minute of debate about the debt ceiling in any committee. We haven’t had a budget in two years. We haven’t had an appropriations bill in two years. So I’m part of the freshmen group in the Senate that’s saying, ‘no more.’”

“Next week, we will filibuster until we talk about the debt ceiling, until we talk about proposals.”

- Rand Paul (R – KY)

So next week is going to have a new reason to watch C-Span 2. Can’t wait.

Jobs Bill Killed!

This was sent to me this morning in John Case’s Daily Mailing:

Another Jobs Bill Killed via Open Congress : Blog by Donny Shaw on 6/23/11

On June 6th, the Senate opened debate on the Economic Development Revitalization Act of 2011, a bill to reauthorize and expand a long-running and consistently successful job-creation agency, the
Economic Development Administration. The EDA has traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support, and this reauthorization bill was introduced with bipartisan co-sponsorship and passed out of committee without any dissent from Republicans. But after two weeks of debate, the bill was unanimously filibustered by Republicans and has now been pulled from the floor.

Like the last jobs bill to die in the Senate, the bill was bogged down and ultimately killed by dozens of controversial and unrelated amendments that were submitted to it. Senate rules do not requireamendments to be germane to the bill they are submitted to, so individual senators can choose to use any bill to force a vote on any of their pet issues. By the time the EDA bill was killed, 99 amendments had been submitted, and the list read like an overview of current hot-button political topics. The amendments included everything from raising the debt ceiling, to repealing health care reform, repealing financial regulatory reform, expanding offshore oil drilling, and more.

This problem of non-controversial bills being killed by controversial amendments has its roots in a deal on procedure that Democratic and Republican Senate leaders agreed to at the beginning of this session.
In exchange for Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] keeping bills open to amendments, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell [R, KY] and his caucus agreed to not mount filibusters of bringing bills to the floor as a matter of routine. As a result, the Democratic majority has been able to hold debates on their legislative agenda, but the Republicans have also been able to turn every debate into an attempt to repeal health care reform.

The Senate Majority Leader has almost complete control over what bills get brought up for debate, so it is the case that most Republican issues stand no chance of being voted on this session outside the amendment process. But the Senate can’t vote on every contentious political topic for every bill, so Reid has to make a decision when to cut off the amendment process and start moving towards passing the underlying bill. In this case, Reid allowed two Democratic amendments and two Republican amendments to be voted on before filing a motion to end debate and move forward towards passage. But since most senators didn’t get to have their pet amendments voted on, they voted against
 he motion to end debate and essentially forced a filibuster. Even Sen. James Inhofe [R, OK], an original co-sponsor of the bill, voted for the filibuster.

And so gridlock prevails, even on the one issue that everyone claims to care about — job creation. Just another example of why Americans have less confidence in Congress than any other institution in American society.

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So the next time Mitch McConnell complains about Obama not doing anything to create jobs, send this article to his office and ask “Why?”

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