Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" testifies on U.S. farm workers before the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugee, Border Security and International Law September 24, 2010.
Just how broken is the Senate?
by George Packer
August 9, 2010
The New Yorker
“Sit and watch us for seven days,” one senator says of the deadlocked chamber. “You know what you’ll see happening? Nothing.”
This is just one of those days when you want to throw up your hands and say, ‘What in the world are we doing?’ ” Senator Claire McCaskill, the Missouri Democrat, said.
“It’s unconscionable,” Carl Levin, the senior Democratic senator from Michigan, said. “The obstructionism has become mindless.”
The Senators were in the Capitol, sunk into armchairs before the marble fireplace in the press lounge, which is directly behind the Senate chamber. It was four-thirty on a Wednesday afternoon. McCaskill, in a matching maroon jacket and top, looked exasperated; Levin glowered over his spectacles.
“Also, it’s a dumb rule in itself,” McCaskill said. “It’s time we started looking at some of these rules.”
She was referring to Senate Rule XXVI, Paragraph 5, which requires unanimous consent for committees and subcommittees to hold hearings after two in the afternoon while the Senate is in session. Both Levin and McCaskill had scheduled hearings that day for two-thirty. Typically, it wouldn’t be difficult to get colleagues to waive the rule; a general and an admiral had flown halfway around the world to appear before Levin’s Armed Services Committee, and McCaskill’s Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight of the Homeland Security Committee was investigating the training of Afghan police. But this was March 24th, the day after President Barack Obama signed the health-care-reform bill, in a victory ceremony at the White House; it was also the day that the Senate was to vote on a reconciliation bill for health-care reform, approved by the House three nights earlier, which would retroactively remove the new law’s most embarrassing sweetheart deals and complete the yearlong process of passing universal health care. Republicans, who had fought the bill as a bloc, were in no mood to make things easy. Read more »
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed the United Nation's General Assembly. Delegates from the US, Israel and EU stormed out as Iran's leader was speaking. I submit that it will be ineffective for the US to herald itself as a beacon of democracy, peace, and tolerance when our leaders act disrespectfully.
Today House Republicans will issue a legislative agenda they call “A Pledge to America”. In it they pledge to do the following:
So there you have it, clear and definitive promises. So if you make less than $200k a year; work a job (and need to keep it desperately) or are unemployed; do not have a retirement fund; are older than 18; and care if your neighbor losses their job and everything they have (meaning you'd include them in your prayers before supper) then voting for Republicans (Tea Party or any other stripe) will not help you pay the power bill or make enough to keep your subscription to Popular mechanics (a real drag cause you won't find it at the shelter library). Read more »
The President explains how the most dire warnings about the Citizens United case have been proven valid as Republicans in Congress have blocked legislation to fix it.
See the Weekly Address on WhiteHouse.gov.
Yes, I used the 'B' word in the title of this blog. Because there is simply no word I could think of that better describes the parade of arguments that claim to be solutions or rationalizations for the cuts in funding Americans are facing in every key area of their lives. According to this malarkey, "we" have no money for healthcare, education for our children, or social safety programs like affordable public housing and extended unemployment. And we're not supposed to ask why companies making record profits, and executives making already astronomical and ever-growing salaries and bonuses, while their businesses receive tax breaks and subsidies we pay for should not have a role in paying for these things that they get via private services we cannot afford.
Wealth redistribution is the most important issue we face. Period. And it will never be discussed in mainstream media, except to put forth rationales that it is not a focus point and that there are more pressing matters deserving our attention.
The truth is we have a system, an empire, that rules with one single credo - take as much as possible, and pay for risk and taxes with public funds. This empire is now global, and it ravages the worlds resources, relegating the indigenous people incapable of self-sustainment, and then imposing exorbitant priced resources on them. Resources they simply cannot live without, like food, water, and medicine. This fascist class based global dictatorship is what many of us refer to as "democracy" today. You must understand, it is a democracy if you are one of the wealthiest 10%. You get to attend the policy meetings, meet the policy makers, debate direction with other elites, and fund the candidates. The rest of us get to cast a vote. Read more »