Will the Left Lose in the 2014 Midterms – Most Say Yes

Ever since the Republicans won the House in 2010 I was
worried. However, I did not really foresee how bad things would actually get.
There was Mitch McConnell’s vow to block Obama so he could not tick away at the
points on his agenda. But the Democrats won in 2008, so I really didn’t have
any clue as to the twisted dedication with which the Republicans would pursue
the goal McConnell had announced. I’m not sure that we have ever seen any party
actually carry out such an anti-American threat since the Civil War when
Southern states seceded from the Union.
There were a few times when it seemed like Boehner might
rebel, but I believe he would not have stood a chance; his party would have
eaten him alive. Still it would have been great to see him take a stand to
uphold the U.S. Constitution. Once I saw the twin pincher action of the Hastert
Rule in the House and the filibuster in the Senate I knew that this GOP would
pursue a long-term strategy to obstruct the Democrats. We always speak as if
only Obama was not allowed to act, but President Obama is the current leader of
the Democrats and the obstruction was directed at all policies on the left,
because, supposedly, America stood to fail without a smaller Federal government.
Apparently, only losing the soul of America, the soul which
believes that offering a hand to the less fortunate is an important
underpinning of our pride in our nation, only giving up our sense of “there but
for the grace of God go I”, would bring our corporations back to our shores and
keep America’s budget balanced. Isn’t there also a saying though “what profits a
man if he lose his soul”? Still many Americans have decided that they no longer
wish to invest their tax dollars in lifting up the less fortunate and that “no
good deed goes unpunished.” They like the sound of lower taxes even if the rich
get richer as long as the deadbeats are cut adrift. So the American soul hasn’t
gone begging yet (well maybe just a few food stamp recipients and the
unemployed) but I expect this “soulless” campaign to move forward with all due
speed as soon as Republicans wrest back control of Washington.
Many people feel that while we might save the heart and soul
of America, the nation will lose its sort of WASPY vibe and we will all soon be
speaking Spanish and then the very people who sold out once and gave up control
in America will finally win the American Revolution (without a fight) and
American culture will no longer favor our Anglo-Saxon roots. Since the
Democrats back diversity, or at least accept it as inevitable and probably
productive of such very positive outcomes as accrue to mankind whenever
inbreeding gets an injection of diverse biological (or cultural) influences,
many people who really have nothing in common with Republicans, are with the
GOP because they fear the direction taken by the Democratic Party. In spite of
the forces against the Democrats, the forces that want to pull back to simpler
times, I have fought on the side of those who favor progress, moving forward,
into an unknown future because I don’t think backsliding, protectionism,
isolationism, fundamentalism, or all of the above will take us anywhere but
where we already were, and that, if we do get back there, we will not be
allowed to remain in that past for very long.

So I have fought what I felt was “the good fight” on behalf
of my chosen party, the Democrats, who are often quite Conservative themselves.
It has been a roller coaster thrill ride of a battle and the Republicans have
been truly nasty adversaries, willing to skirt the laws of the land in the name
of saving it from the invasion of “barbarians” and in pursuit of their dream of
returning to the Golden Age of the Industrial Revolution. The election is 3
weeks away and it looks like I will lose my battle and then we shall see what
we shall see. We most certainly live in interesting times; frustrating, but not
boring.
By Nancy Brisson

Impeach Congress

The Republicans are suing Obama. The
Republicans want to impeach Obama. The hatred directed at Obama and the kinds
of policies Democrats want to enact is pulling America apart even as American
governance has been brought to a standstill. We have been standing still a long
time now. I guess it is a tribute to past legislation and good political bones
that our government keeps on ticking and our economy very slowly improves in
times like these. It’s like the alignment in a car. You can test it if you
remove your hands from the steering wheel while the car continues moving. You
will soon know if the car is pulling to the right or to the left or if it stays
on the center path. If this analogy has any significance then perhaps we are
better off riding hands free for a while because someone (a lot of someones) would like to pull the
wheels strongly to the right.
But we cannot stay true to this very
simplistic analogy because governance is a complicated thing. We are left with
so many questions. The Republicans answer every question with the same answer –
Obama. Obama is weak. Obama is a dictator. Obama ruined the economy. If we
enact Democratic policies they will ruin the economy. The Affordable Care Act
ruined the economy – and the Stimulus – and TARP – and bailouts and on and on ad infinitum. You might notice perhaps
that most of the awful things that Obama did are certainly not things he did
recently. After 2010 Obama was placed on a very short leash with all the other
Democrats and we have never gotten free of it except perhaps when Harry Reid got rid of a small part of the filibuster blockade in the Senate by exercising that
nuclear option, which was hardly nuclear since Harry didn’t go all the way.
I heard Republicans complaining on Meet
the Press
this morning about all the bills and amendments they have brought up
for votes in the Senate that have been blocked by Democrats. However,
Republicans knew those bills and amendments were unacceptable to Democrats
before they ever introduced them. They only introduced them so they could
complain about Democrats being obstructionist. Democrats are not, no matter how
often Republicans say so in their talking points, the ones doing the obstructing
in either the House or the Senate. If they proposed some reasonable bills that
were not composed to appeal to the far right on purpose, then Democrats would
vote. Democrats also know that if they vote yes on any one of these Republican
bills that propose laws Democrats would hate, then the House of
Representatives, controlled by the Republicans, would be glad to pass these
bills into law, in which case they would end up on the President’s desk and
then Republicans could blame Obama some more when he had to veto.
Democrats have wanted to do many things
but all of the answers have been no, so we have no idea if these things would
have quickened the growth of the American economy, worked on simplifying our tax
code or showed that it would be possible to use the tax code as a tool to halt and reverse the extreme income inequality
we have now in America.
Democrats want to do things that would
help the middle class and that would help grow the middle class such as raising
the minimum wage, improving family leave and support options for working single
moms and working families, defusing the drag that undocumented people make on
our legal system and giving immigrants already in America the option to become
legal workers who pay taxes. Policies like these should also discourage people from the need for false
identities and identity theft.
We, the American people, have either
cheated ourselves by giving Obama power with one hand and then taking it away
with the other, or the Republicans have cheated us by engineering an election
based on detailed knowledge of the electorate in order to cheat, get
Republicans elected, and obstruct the Democratic agenda, which in almost every
aspect is different from theirs.
If we could we should:
IMPEACH REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS!

Except we can’t, so let’s make sure we
pass some laws in Congress (when we can) to make it possible for the American people to
reboot a bad Congress when necessary. We get to do just such a reboot in
November. Elect Democrats in 2014! We can at least do that.

Article by Nancy Brisson

The Election Geeks Are Loose

 
 

Apparently
the 2016 election is now open for business. 
The elections “nerds” have been champing at the bit but their bosses at
the major media outlets have been holding them back.  Heel boys, heel!  Surprisingly (or not) the boys seem to have a
harder time controlling themselves than the girl media stars do.  The charts and polls and expert guests had
been kept to a minimum until January, 2014, but it looks like the “go” signal
has been given.  The polls, charts and
experts are now proliferating and the speculation about who the candidates will
be has been ramped up considerably. 

Sadly,
on the Democratic side, until Hillary makes the decision to run or not,
speculation can’t really run rampant. But from now until the parties pick “the”
candidate we will run through the Republican roster each and every day – all
day long – hour after hour.  You really
have to be a real election hound, an addict, to want to do this or some
variation of this for the next two years.

Some
of these pundits have a deep knowledge of election history and it is sometimes interesting
to listen to the stories they have to tell of previous elections. What they
tell us often makes the electioneering we are seeing since Bush left office
appear to be a bit more normal than it reads to me. I still read the political
climate as more extreme than usual. However, even these election history geeks
seem to be separating the historical from the actual, and there is some
acknowledgment that things might just be extreme enough to make a new mark on
election history. Have we even plumbed the depths of the strategies that are
awaiting us?

These
same commentators also have an enormous collection of election “wisdom” or lore
or, dare we say, superstition which prods them to say things like “second term
curse” (why would we even bother electing someone for two terms if such a fate
is inevitable)? These are the same prognosticators who say that after the first
100 days, the second term President becomes a “lame duck” and will not be able
to accomplish another thing. Well they’ve obviously been given the nod or have
heard the starting gun and they have begun their, seemingly delightful (at
least to them) game of election speculation.

Perhaps
the reversal of fortune that has recently put a Chris Christie run in the
shadows (maybe only temporarily) has finally opened up that door to the current
incarnation of unending election analysis. 
All past predictions must be reshuffled and new predictions made.  The door only needed to be opened a tiny
crack in order for the pressure from all that election fervor to shove it wide.
These media people are not nuts all the time, but elections set them to
sharpening their eccentricities and their instincts. I think it may be that
these geeks, who are mostly guys, see elections as an American sport, with
players, and managers, and stat sheets, and odds. In fact (new thought) we may
get a two month reprieve while we root for our athletes in the Sochi Olympics
and try to win our billion by filling in a perfect March Madness bracket sheet.

I
was hoping that we could wait until the 2014 election was done before the election
brackets were drawn, but the 2014 election doesn’t look like it will shift the
majority in the House, and it even looks like Dems could lose the Senate, so I
guess the media has given up on it already. 
It’s a foregone conclusion to them. However, I will wish for a turnover
in these gloomy stats, and I will hope that voters have the sense to elect
Democrats in 2014.

This is the view from the cheap seats.

By Nancy Brisson

<a
href=”https://plus.google.com/106400053554887373790″ rel=”publisher”>Google+</a>

This blog post is also available at www.brissioni.com
 

 

Out to Pasture

 
 
On Meet the Press this past Sunday,
October 20, 2013, Round Table guests talked about the need for Obama to find a
way to isolate the 40 or so “renegades” in Congress, to corral them and negate
their influence, and the fact that he has not been able to do this is what has
made him look weak. Does Obama have any allies who could help him do this? Is
this even possible? This seems like a highly desirable outcome if it could
succeed. Then the Democrats and the more moderate Conservatives could get some
things done for America and the American people.

If the Republicans, through effective obstructionism
are able to prevent Democrats from trying any of their solutions for empowering
the middle class, stimulating the economy, improving infrastructure, and
lowering our carbon footprint to levels that may effectively halt global
warming, then we will have wasted eight years and we will not ever know if
those policies would have succeeded. Better to let us try our solutions out;
then if they fail I guess that Republicans can have their way with us, but they
haven’t given the American people that chance.

These experts at the Round Table felt that the
Immigration Bill might be the legislation that would give Obama the opening, if
he had a good game plan, to cut the most extreme right wingers, the tea
partiers if you will, from the herd. If that highly desirable goal could be
achieved then we might not have to pin all our hopes on the 2014 election
(although the Democrats should still put their energy into winning whatever seats
they can) and we would have a valuable new Immigration Law in the bargain.
Almost every economist tells us that passing the Immigration Bill would have a
very positive effect on our economy.

My little heart goes pitter-pat with hope as these
political analysts raise the possibility that Obama could find a strategy to
defuse the Tea Party and send them into far pastures from which their bellowing
cannot be heard. President Obama, could this really happen? I guess we can’t
arrest them for sedition because they sort of backed down (not really). We don’t
have a great “cattle dog” who could herd those tea partiers up to the back
forty. Who would that cattle dog be? My brain has nothing. Perhaps some of
those really smart people out there can come up with a clever idea.

If not then we must elect Democrats in 2014. This
does not mean we need to send all of our Representatives out into the cold. We
can’t just throw the bums out. We tried that before. We need to be smart about
this. We need to study the electorate and get a Democrat elected wherever we
possibly can.

This is the view from the cheap seats.

This blog post is also available at www.brissioni.com

 

Basically A Rant

 

The correct strategies for America are not always
the most selfish ones. It’s not all about us all the time. Sometimes we must
look at the big picture because everything is interconnected. Some string that
is pulled somewhere else can unravel or re-knit our future.

And, then there is the truth that, at this point in
time, the Republicans will not allow Obama to pass any new laws that improve
the economy, the infrastructure, or jobs. If we don’t elect Democrats in 2014
we have almost 3 long years to concentrate on foreign affairs. If we truly do
not want to get involved in any more wars, I would trust Obama much more than I
would trust the Republicans to admonish a dictator without getting us involved
in a foreign war. The only way the war in Syria can escalate and suck in the
world is if a powerful force like Russia joins in. If Putin is serious about
helping get rid of the chemical weapons in Syria, then he probably is not
interested in starting World War III. If we stay civil and Russia stays civil
then perhaps we can pull this off. Americans do not appear to be too fond of
civility right now, sad to say. Instead all the little voices fall in line
echoing the charge that Obama is a weak President. I repeat; if Obama can end
the use of chemical weapons in Syria without starting a new war, then he is
anything but weak.

If there is anything this President does that is
weak it is to give Republicans another opening to tout his weakness and force
him to bargain when these Republicans know all along that they will say “no” to
him again and again and again. This does not make Obama seem weak to me. It
makes him seem like a President who respects the Constitution and who tries to
give Republicans every opportunity to cut out the partisan politics and do
their jobs as outlined in that very Constitution that describes how our
government is supposed to work. Nowhere in the Constitution I read does it say
that people outside the government should be promised a stronger allegiance
than is given to a fair consideration of the laws that build a stronger
America.

Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Grover Norquist and the
Koch brothers should be like the rest of us. They are citizens with one vote
each. But they have found ways to pull the strings of large numbers of
Americans turning them into disenchanted citizens and puppet voters who repeat,
like mantras, arguments drummed into them by skillful pundits. These pundits
know the fears some Americans hold in their hearts and minds and they stoke the
fires lit under these fears, bank the coals, and then stoke them again. They
have fostered a bunch of conspiracy junkies and they will ruin America if we
let them. These pundits have been primed to serve the interests of Grover
Norquist, the Koch brothers, the Tea Party and whatever other shadowy figures
are in the Conservative Cabal.

So we have plenty of time to take the big view, the
long view, while we wait for America to wake up and throw off the strings of
the mind controllers who have taken over the GOP.

What would we like to see happen in the Middle East?
Perhaps we would like to see strong, healthy Middle Eastern countries where
government and religion are separate. Perhaps people in the Middle East will
chose peaceful coexistence and tolerance over hate and aggression; these
nations’ peoples will find a balance that will allow the citizens to live
stable and productive lives in which there is no dictator holding on to all of
the nations’ wealth. What can we do to encourage this? Wouldn’t such an outcome
have a profoundly positive effect on us and the world? Playing a bit of referee
doesn’t seem too much to ask from the rest of the world community. After all we
have plenty of time right now to keep an eye on the violations of war behavior
which result in the horrors of genocide. If we allow these practices we will
never achieve that real peace, tolerance, and prosperity we wish for the Middle
East and the world.

If you want Obama to accomplish our goals for our
domestic future then you had better raise your voice and tell Republicans to
stop obstructionism in Congress, to stop encouraging red states to pass laws
that challenge the current laws in America, and to stop brainwashing and
scaring gullible Americans. We need to elect Democrats in 2014.

This is the view from the cheap seats.

 

This blog post is also available at www.brissioni.com

 

Republicans Winning at State Level

The Republicans may have been doing nothing in Washington,
DC but they have been very busy in the states. I don’t know about you but it
makes me very nervous that 2/3 of our states have Republican governors and over
half have a Republican majority in both houses of their Congress. For a party
that is trying to restore Federalism in which the Federal government takes a
minor role and most domestic power goes to the states I would say that the GOP
is on point to implement this facet of their “plan” should they win control in
Washington. This is one more reason in a growing list of reasons why we should
not let this happen. If you like the Federal-State mix we have now, if you like
Medicare and Social Security, if you feel the Federal government should use
some of our tax dollars to make sure  children don’t starve in America  and that our disabled are cared for and our
poorest citizens are not abandoned, then I say “be afraid,  be very afraid. Republicans do not wish the
middle class well and as for the poor and society’s other dependents, they seem
only to desire to cut them loose.
1.       
Alabama                 Robert Bently                          2015                        Both houses Republican

2.       
Alaska                     Sean Parnell                            2014                        Both houses Rep.

3.       
Arizona                    Jan Brewer                              2015                        Both houses Rep.

4.       
Florida                     Rick Scott                                 2015                        Both houses Rep.

5.       
Georgia                   Nathan Deal                            2015                        Both houses Rep.

6.       
Idaho                       Butch Otter                             2015                        Both houses Rep.

7.       
Indiana                    Mike Pence                             2017                        Both houses Rep.

8.       
Iowa                        Terry Branstaad                      2015                        Houses are split

9.       
Kansas                     Sam Brownback                      2015                        Both Houses are
Republican

10.     Louisiana                 Bobby Jindal                            2016                        Split

11.     Maine                      Paul
LePage                            2015                        Both houses Democratic

12.     Michigan                 Rick Snyder                             2015                        Both houses Republican

13.     Mississippi              Phil Bryant                              2016                        Both houses Rep.

14.     Nebraska                 Dave Heineman                      2015                        Non partisan

15.     Nevada                    Brian
Sandoval                        2015                        Both Houses Democratic

16.     New Jersey             Chris Christie                           2014                        Both houses Democratic

17.     New Mexico            Susana Martinez                     2015                        Both houses Democratic

18.     North Carolina        Pat McCrory                            2017                        Both houses Republican

19.     North Dakota          Jack Dalrymple                        2016                        Both houses Republican

20.     Ohio                        John
Kasich                             2015                        Both houses Rep.

21.     Oklahoma               Mary Fallin                              2015                        Both houses Rep.

22.     Pennsylvania           Tom Corbell                            2015                        Both houses Rep.

23.     South Carolina        Nikki Haley                              2015                        Both houses Rep.

24.     South Dakota          Dennis Daugaard                    2015                        Both houses Rep.

25.     Tennessee               Bill Haslam                             2015                        Both houses Rep.

26.     Texas                       Rick
Perry                                2015                        Both houses Rep.

27.     Utah                        Gary
Herbert                           2017                        Both houses Rep.

28.     Virginia                   Bob McDonnell                       2017                        Both houses Rep.

29.     Wisconsin               Scott Walker                           2015                        Both houses Rep.

30.     Wyoming                Matt Mead                              2015                        Both
houses Republican
Here it is in map form (you know the red states are
Republican):
 
 
 
 

 
·        
27 Republican controlled legislatures

·        
17 Democratically controlled legislatures

·        
5 Split Legislatures

·        
1 Officially non-partisan legislature (Nebraska)
 
 
It takes 270 electors to win the Presidency in the electoral college. By my count the current state of the states gives Republicans 311 electoral votes. While it is possible that the popular vote in a given state might not reflect  the configuration of the state’s government, it also seems very possible that those in power are a reflection of the sentiments of the voters in that state. Here’s the map:
 
 
  

 

 

This is the view from the cheap seats

This blog post is also available at www.brissioni.com

 

Off to the Races

 
 
The pundits and commentators who eat, sleep, and breathe
politics are off to the races – the 2016 Presidential races that is. They can’t
help themselves. The Republicans (who have no viable candidates) are just too
juicy to resist. The Democrats have to wait for Hillary so they are no fun for
these guys at all. (Until last night at least, when several seasoned newsmen
decided that Hillary has informally put herself into the race.) But the GOP has
these media “President-makers” salivating (why, I have to ask).

I know that the Presidential election is as close to a sport
as politics gets. Handicapping potential candidates, filling in those racing
sheets with pros and cons; it is almost as good as picking the brackets for the
NCAA Tournament.

But, you need to cut it out boys! And I say boys because male
commentators seem to be much more likely to engage in this type of behavior and
to do it way too early. Hold your horses! Don’t jump the gun! The odds are way
too long! I won’t go on.

We still have a very important (much more important than
usual) 2014 election. Handicap that. What seats are open? Who’s running? Who’s
likely to win? Keep track of it for us. Do the counts, please. You are the
experts after all.

No wonder most voters don’t vote in midterm elections; you news
folks skip right over the midterms. You don’t generate any excitement about
them. Turn the midterms into a horse race. We need people to get out and vote
in 2014 before the elections in 2016. I have made a bet, I guess with myself,
that if we get a majority of Dems in both the House and the Senate for Obama’s
last two years he can bust through that lame duck crap and still get some of
the people’s business done. He can get back the two years he had at the
beginning of his Presidency, the ones with the Democratic majorities in both
houses of Congress that got scrapped by the “great recession”. It seems fair
that Obama get those two years back. It seems unfair that the people get only 4
years of work out of an 8 year Presidential term. Chris Matthews and Wolf
Blitzer – I’m talking to you – and anyone else who is off to the races.

I know that Republicans have a meeting just about every minute
and that these meetings are like flashing a bunny in front of a dog in front of
a horse. You are like little news puppets. The GOP is playing you. They keep
your attention on 2016 so they can have their way with 2014. Get a grip guys
and if there are any girls who are guilty, you get a grip too. Focus – 2014,
then 2016, please, please, please!

 

This is the view from the cheap seats.

This blog post is also available at www.brissioni.com

 

Change Senate Filibuster Rules Now

The two old “dogs” in the Senate, Harry Reid,
Majority Leader and Democrat; Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader and Republican
are going head to head this weekend on Sunday, Politics Day on TV.  They are deep in a battle about the
filibuster and its overuse in the Senate. Today if there are not 60 votes in
favor of a bill, there will be an automatic filibuster which will kill the
bill. Every bill must meet the same test, from the least important decisions to
the largest. Harry Reid wants to change this filibuster rule which has grown
more restrictive with time and which is being used to hold up judicial
appointments and cabinet appointments among other things.
Here’s Greg Sargent talking in this morning’s Washington Post in an article titled: The Morning Plum: Why the battle over the
filibuster reform matters
:
“All signs are that Harry Reid is serious about his threat to
exercise the nuclear option and change the Senate rules — ending the filibuster
on executive nominations — by simple majority. While Republicans could still
cave and acquiesce to Reid’s demand for action on a slate of nominations —
allowing Dems to avoid taking the ultimate step, which they would plainly
prefer — it is increasingly likely Reid will have no choice but to hit the nuke
button.
If so, an epic political battle will unfold over whether the move
was justified — one focused on public opinion, and even more so, on elite
opinion.”

“In fairness to Republicans, it is not easy to prove in a granular,
numerical way that GOP obstructionism of nominations in particular is
unprecedented, because there are many ways to cut and evaluate the numbers. But
the broad strokes of this debate are overwhelmingly clear. It is plainly true
that Republicans have effectively turned the Senate into a 60-vote,
super-majority body for even routine business, in a way we haven’t seen before.
It is plainly true that Republicans are obstructing Obama nominations (such as
Richard Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) for the
explicit purpose of preventing the agencies themselves from functioning, rather
than just out of objections to the nominees themselves.
I’ll have more for you on this case later, but for now, the point is
that these things matter. What’s at stake is the functioning of our
democracy, and whether all of this should simply be accepted as a new normal.
It shouldn’t.”

“This debate is important. And I hope folks will make a serious
effort to get to the bottom of it.”

“* WHY THE FILIBUSTER SHOWDOWN IS LOOMING: The Post’s Paul Kane makes
an important point: The showdown is in part the result of the fact that
Senate leadership on both sides is under increasing pressure from new arrivals
to the Senate
,
with conservatives demanding more confrontation and obstruction, and liberals
insisting on more reform.
On the Democratic side, the potential exercise of the nuke option is
clearly the result of a new influx of energetic progressives who are genuinely
focused on reforming the Upper Chamber and are impatient with Senate business
as usual.

* GET READY FOR EPIC BATTLE OVER FILIBUSTER: The Dem-allied Americans
United for Change is out with a new web video detailing the scope of GOP obstruction of Obama nominees
and legislation alike
, and
its consequences, labeling the Republicans the “Grand Obstruction Party.” As
noted above, this is likely to be a battle over elite opinion as much as
anything else, and outside groups are gearing up.”

Me – The
U.S. Constitution calls for a majority. A majority is 51 votes. Making it
necessary to have a super-majority in order for a bill to pass is of fairly
recent origin. It is time for this rule to go away because it is being used to
obstruct the party in control of the Executive Branch and the party in control
of the Senate. It is being used by that party, you know which one, the one that
lost the last election, to obstruct the agenda of the current administration,
to hold America in place until the GOP can rig future elections through voter
laws and more gerrymandering (actually gerrymandering on steroids, drawn on a
house-to-house basis) and their control over state governments to really put
their agenda in place, an agenda that will hurt all Americans except the
wealthiest. That filibuster rule should never have become the norm and this is
the time to change most Senate votes back to votes that can be won by a simple
majority.

Robert
Reich, who you may think is as much of a lefty wingnut as many Republicans are
righty wingnuts, wrote this intriguing little piece in The Huffington Post this week. At any other time in history I would
think that his contentions are fear-mongering and extreme, but at this
particular crossroads in history his thinking rings true to me. (See my blog
about The Gray Men).
An
Impertinent Question

Permit me an impertinent question (or three).

Suppose a small group of extremely wealthy people sought to systematically
destroy the U.S. government by (1) finding and bankrolling new candidates
pledged to shrinking and dismembering it; (2) intimidating or bribing many
current senators and representatives to block all proposed legislation, prevent
the appointment of presidential nominees, eliminate funds to implement and
enforce laws, and threaten to default on the nation’s debt; (3) taking over state
governments in order to redistrict, gerrymander, require voter IDs, purge voter
rolls, and otherwise suppress the votes of the majority in federal elections;
(4) running a vast PR campaign designed to convince the American public of
certain big lies, such as climate change is a hoax, and (5) buying up the media
so the public cannot know the truth.

Would you call this treason?

If not, what would you call it?

And what would you do about it?

Me – Sadly, I have felt for some time that there is
an organized strategy coming out of Republican groups to change the face of
America with the goal of drastically diminishing the power of the federal
government, ending the social safety web, giving us a “Darwinist America” with
a sink-or-swim principle that will turn life into a quagmire for most of us,
instituting a flat tax and giving corporations, banks and financial markets
free rein, without regulation. America will truly live out the “survival of the
fittest” battle that rules most of the natural world without big brains.
America will then become a business profiting some, rather than an ideal which
attempts to bring out the best our big brains have to offer. 
As Americans we can see that simply adding layers of
complex government programs without ever examining their effectiveness or
tweaking their efficiency is leading to a federal government and budget that is
a bit unwieldy, but streamlining laws and programs is not the same thing as
just abandoning them. We could be making a dent in closing loopholes that allow
for abuse in federal social safety net programs, but with the insistence on
super majorities in both the Senate and the House we are unable to accomplish
anything. We are in a massive tug of war for the future of America and the
Republicans are toeing the line until they can tug the future in their
direction, but they are also creating conditions on their side of the line that
will give them an advantage when it is time for that next tug.
We need to encourage our Senators to change the
current filibuster rules in the Senate right now because, you may think that
you have your hands on the Republican rope and that you will win if you stay on
that side, but you are not rich enough to be a Republican, and Republicans will
change America in ways that will astound you and hurt you if we don’t wake up
now and make some changes to end GOP obstructionism. We need to elect
Democrats in 2014.

Hater Week – Zombies v the American People

 

It is always interesting to watch the GOP in the Obama years
as they zombie-up and do nothing except grumble, criticize, and complain;
accuse, indict, and convict. We the people have elected a President who,
according to the GOP, can do nothing right. Not only is the President wrong but
so are the American people. They are so glad that Congress is basically their bitch
and that they can correct the mistaken policies that the President and the
American people wish to pursue. They are secretly congratulating themselves
that they have been able to hold our feet to the cleansing fires of austerity
and have been able to keep employment low so that they could continue to blame
the Democrats for high unemployment and bad fiscal policy, even while making it
impossible for Democrats to have any say in setting fiscal policy since just
after the original stimulus plan. OK, through a less than pretty strategy we
did get the tax increase at the top, but through a technicality we remained
saddled with Grover Norquist.

This week the Republicans have been making my head whip
around like that poor possessed woman in The
Exorcist
. First we have had to listen to them insisting that the Boston bomber
should be treated like an enemy combatant even though he is an American citizen.
What? When an American joined terrorists in the Middle East and was killed in a
drone strike, Republicans were appalled that this traitor was not treated as an
American citizen and given a fair trial. Now we have another American, however
much we might want to disavow him as a citizen, and this time they are irate
that he is not being treated as an enemy combatant. Whiplash! It looks like the
only strategy these two complaints have in mind is to indict Obama. Why is our
Congress fighting our President when America has so many real enemies? Good
question.

These guys are playing a long game of their own. They plan
to hold America in place, to not let it move one inch to the left, until they
can take office in 2016 and pursue the agenda that they mistakenly believe is
the road back to a “morally straight” America, which, if we are totally honest,
has never existed. We are human beings; we are flawed; we do the best we can.
The GOP will then create the Fundamentalist Heaven on Earth that they swear we
will all be grateful for and they will distort America in whatever ways they must
to bring the corporations back and keep them here by busting the unions. And we
will drill happily ever after until the Rapture.

The second thing that happened this week was this stuff with
the air traffic controllers and the Sequester. The Senate came together and
unanimously passed a bill to keep control towers open on the eve of their Spring
break. Wow! That was the fastest move I have seen this Congress make in the
last five years! What, no filibuster? I didn’t see that kind of hustle when
toddlers lost their Head Start programs.

I don’t know that I have ever been more aware of how little
power citizens have in our government than I have in recent years. We can write
our Congressional representatives, we can write editorials, we can march in
demonstrations and carry signs, but these behaviors have had almost no effect
on Republicans who have their districts zipped up and squared away through
gerrymandering and tradition. If they are able to change the election laws in
the other ways they would like they will make it even more difficult to unseat
Republicans. Yes, I know this is the way American politics works and that all
of these things fall under the category of strategy, but there must be lines
that are drawn that make some things off limits; some things too manipulative
and underhanded to be legal. Where are the lines? They are disappearing. Obama’s
new digital grassroots campaign strategies have actually given me the greatest
hope that the average citizen can still participate in government but soon
these techniques will be co-opted by both the GOP and by the marketplace and
their effectiveness will be neutralized.

There seems to be only one way out of this untenable
situation, out from under the party that is usurping the rights of American
citizens and changing the landscape of our democracy perhaps forever. Elect
Democrats in 2014!