Who Will End Obstructionism?

I will fight for Hillary Clinton right to the end, whenever
that is. I do think women can do as well in the Presidency as men have done. I
am tired of women being expected to wait until some perfect moment which of
course will never arrive. There are no perfect moments. Even Obama’s seemingly
perfect moment was ruined by racism and obstruction. If we get Bernie I will be
fine with that but I have to stay in the fight.
The only question that bugs me is which of these two will be
able to bring back regular order to Congress, to send the “teabaggers” packing
and the Evangelicals out to do good works?
The Conservatives hate Hillary possibly even more than they
loathed the idea of an Obama Presidency. Their hate has become rabid and
personal. Will we have four to eight more years of obstruction and hate speech,
this time against women? Will they just vote over and over to impeach her? There
could be 60+ more votes against the ACA. How many more votes will there be to
defund Planned Parenthood? More of this will not be good for America. It will
not be good for the world, although perhaps it is emotional baggage we must
sort through. Does Hillary have a plan to change things just in case we don’t
win some seats back in the Senate?
Can Bernie defuse and render harmless the Conservative push to
pursue every policy that would be harmful to America? He certainly understands
what is harmful about the right wing agenda and he will hold the line against
any progress toward the Conservative way. But will he also be unable to breach
the obstructive moves of a party that owns 3o state governments, both houses of
Congress and the courts? Will it help that he pushes Republican buttons by
pursuing policies that are far outside their ken? Will he blow them up to
smithereens when he moves to break up the banks and rein in Wall Street? Will
revolutionary zeal be better than the strategies of someone who knows everyone
and knows her way around the politics of DC? Or will there just be two
revolutionary groups in a war of words?
Is there any candidate the Democrats could have put forth who
could “treat with” today’s GOP? If a Democrat wins the Presidency and the
obstruction continues will the people finally get involved? Will we the people
insist that it is not OK to go to Congress if it is your intention to hold the
American government hostage until it does what Republicans want?
It is troubling that we cannot see into the future and know
who would be able to make headway in America right now against the misguided
and unenlightened mess that is today’s GOP. We can, though, and we should
certainly contribute to the movements by the Democrats to change as many seats
in Congress as possible in 2016. Emily’s List tries to get Democratic women
elected. If you contribute to the DNC the dollars get spread around. Even
Hillary donates some of her dollars to down ballot elections and Bernie is
talking about doing that.
The people’s dollars are stretched thin by all the
causes that need our contributions to fight for right, but at this moment
winning the election must be a top priority. You don’t have to contribute much
because small donations grow very big when millions of people contribute, and
there are often richer donors who match or multiply small donations. Think of
it as creating a war chest in case we need it.
By Nancy Brisson

What If?

We will never get to see what the results of Obama and the
Democratic Party’s liberal agenda would have been if the obstructionists in the
Republican Party did not hold the Democrats back.  One area where this is true is in the health
of America’s economy. We will never see if loosening up on the budget a bit
would have allowed business to come back even better than it has since the
recession, because the Republicans insisted that the budget needed to be cut
and threatened to shut down government unless it was cut. So we see what
semi-austerity allowed, but we can’t go back and take that other pathway and
see what would have resulted from a little spending, not go-wild spending but
careful injections of cash. They might have acted like those cortisone shots
people get for their arthritis, but we will never know. Instead we got The
Sequester, which as far as I can see has had no positive effects on our
economy.
We could have experimented with raising taxes on the
wealthiest people and, since corporations are now people, on corporations, and
although we did get rid of the Bush tax cuts this and was not enough to cause a change in our economy. Would higher taxes
have been a shot in the arm our economy needed or would these taxes have made
the business climate in America worse as the GOP informed us they would. Since
these things are predictions and since the variables we might have examined
never included any appreciable tax increases we will never know if America
might have done even better in the Obama years than it did.
We could have experimented with some basic gun regulations
like registrations of all gun sales with records retained for use by law
enforcement. We could have done this for perhaps five years and we would already
know the results by now. Did shooters still continue to target people who are
either captive in public spaces as in the case of schools or are congregating
socially in public places as malls, movie theaters, and churches? But an
obdurate group of extremists has managed to convince Americans that President
Obama is just waiting to take away all their guns and turn himself into
President-for-Life Obama, crushing our 2nd Amendment rights forever.
We will be the new Cuba. This is nonsense. Are the perpetrators really
frightened (I doubt it) or are they just trying to have their way with the
American people regardless of who the President is. (Much more likely)
What about infrastructure? If Obama had been allowed to begin
a few infrastructure projects (not Keystone) would that have brought up the
employment numbers? Would it have helped move more people into a comfortable
financial condition? We have no idea. We did not get to find out.
So when you hear the Republicans blame Obama for America’s
slow economic recovery, unless you are totally hypnotized by FOX News and have
to get your right wing fix every day, then you must admit that there is some
truth to the things I have just talked about. Perhaps instead of saving America
by refusing to give Obama (and the American people) a decent allowance the
Republicans are actually responsible for some of the atrophy in the America
economy. Why would you trust people who want to get rid of the Federal
government to mess with the Federal Budget? How small do you want your
government to be? These folks still want to end all social programs including
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and they have already made a start on
this in their home states.  So why would
we elect a Republican President and hand them the whole kit and caboodle when
we have already been following their policies by default and they have not been
working. Think it through and you might agree with some of this.
By Nancy Brisson

Republicans Hurt Our Image Abroad

Republicans were on Meet
the Press
again this Sunday bemoaning how America’s image has slipped
around the globe and blaming this slippage on Obama and his weak, waffling
foreign policy and his inability to govern at home. But we must consider that
it is all too possible that the world’s treatment of Obama merely reflects the
Republican treatment of Obama. Obama is not that hateful or that unusual, but
the Republican Party acts like he is the apotheosis of everything contemptible
and lawless.
We have all heard that decisions were taken as soon as President
Obama won office to obstruct him in every way and we can see that Republicans
have not wavered from this vow.
It is not Obama who has hurt America’s status in the world; it
is the disrespect of the GOP which has poisoned and tarnished America’s image
by refusing to accept Obama as their President and by refusing to govern (not
to mention the harmful foreign policy decisions made during the Bush
administration).
The Republicans have to find a way to overcome the failures of
the Bush years (no wonder they keep waving the Reagan flag). They need to find a
way to make us forget the ways they bullied America into fighting in Iraq with
fear mongering and lies, the way they refused to regulate the housing sector
even when it was obvious that sensible regulations were being ignored, the way
the Bush years ended in a terrible Recession. The Republicans have carried on a
six year dialogue to make us doubt that any of these things actually happened.
They have twisted logic to lead us to conclude that Obama, who arrived on the
scene after these events occurred, was responsible for these failures. (Here I
smack my palm against my forehead because I cannot get my head around this time
traveling perversion of the cause and effect phenomenon.)
It is Obama’s patient attempts to include the wishes of the
constituents of both parties that have made him look as if he is willing to be
bullied again and again by Republicans and that there will be no consequences
for their bad behavior (their possibly illegal behavior). Fortunately for
America, Obama does not want to end the two-party system or end regular order.
So, in fact the Republicans have been rewarded by gaining more power (again, so
counter-intuitive that I have trouble grasping it).
Obama does not want to dismantle our Democracy in order to take
on these renegades. The renegades, the toxic GOP, are perfectly willing to
dismantle our Democracy in order to discredit President Obama who has been more
and more isolated by having to stay within the system to keep the GOP in check.

It is obvious to me that Republican tactics to give no quarter
to our President are the very things that are hurting the world’s perceptions
of America and not any actions by our President. However, I feel as isolated as
Obama most of the time. It seems that most of America does not agree with me.
By Nancy Brisson

Secure the Border?

There is no way to “secure the border”. No matter how often
Republicans call on Obama to “secure the border” (not Obama’s sole
responsibility anyway) these Republicans and Senators know that it would be
prohibitively expensive to actually “secure the border”; it would necessitate
massive around-the-clock surveillance and giving guards permission to kill or
imprison implacable offenders. If would require deciding to figure out a way to
either steal the Rio Grande River or give it up to Mexico – sharing the river
would never guarantee absolute security.
If we could decide how to hash out control of the river with
Mexico, then we could perhaps build a wall much like the Great Wall of China –
a wall that could be seen from space and inside the wall we could have a
continuous bunker with digital sensors. We could electrify the whole thing to
shock anyone who touched the wall. The shock could be made strong enough to kill
if we so desired. Add drones zigzagging above the wall and satellites in low
earth orbit trained 24/7 on the wall and National Guard troops permanently
stationed at any gates between the two nations and then ask if this would be
secure enough?
Although employing all of this paraphernalia would obviously be
a bit pricey (you think?) there would still remain that doubt that someone was
still getting through that “secure border” just to prove that s/he could.
Republicans raise the specter of “insecure borders” because for
some reason it stops in its tracks any discussion about a policy for dealing
with undocumented people who came from south of our border and are already living
in the U.S. Why do those words, demanding something as impossible as “securing
the border”, have such power over us? Because Republicans control the House of
Representatives, that’s why, and because they have learned this tactic and have
seen how effective it can be from watching those rabid gun nuts in the NRA. 
When the opposition wants to do anything you don’t like ratchet up your demands
to even more unacceptable levels or make you demands impossible to comply with
and you will stymie the opposition and they will not know how to proceed. It’s
working in the case of immigration and its working in the case of gun
regulations.
By Nancy Brisson

Not Allowed to Act; Not Responsible

Everyone wants to say that these children coming over our southern
borders would not be in America without Obama’s dispensation for the
“dreamers”, but Republicans seem dead set on denying that the law passed in the
Bush years to protect children from sex trafficking has anything to do with the
fact that this journey is being sold in South America. John Boehner is beside
himself, red in the face with the power of his shock that Obama is, as he says,
not willing to take responsibility for anything even though he has been the
President for five years. I guess he forgets that the American people have been
around for these same five years.
What many Americans believe is that the President does not have to
take responsibility for very much at all because Congress, and especially John
Boehner, have not let him do anything. You can’t obstruct Obama, put him in a
strait-jacket and then make him responsible. You, Congress, and especially Republicans
will have to take the blame for everything. If you had let the President off
the tight leash you have him on then he would clearly be responsible if he
passed bad laws. Since he is unable to pass any laws the onus falls on you all,
especially if you are in the House of Representatives.
Our Congress is a scandal. The hateful things members of our Congress
say every day are harmful to America. These hateful things are coming from
Republicans, almost exclusively. They are tearing us apart with constant
attacks, insults, accusations, all made for political reasons (but also backed
by true animosity). They are even beginning to look like evil villains. I know
that whenever certain Republicans open their mouths they will do so to shoot ever
nastier arrows into the heart of our sitting President, at least half of the
American people, and our temporarily (I hope) moribund Democracy.
Republicans in Congress should be tried for sedition for ignoring
their duties as enumerated in our Constitution. We should start a grassroots
movement to impeach Congress. There isn’t such a law yet, but we’ll make it one.
We can all be thankful that Obama does not have a hot temper. He takes
the time to deliberate even when his enemies/opposition are trying to goad him
into precipitate or unconstitutional action. He doesn’t seem vengeful like
Nixon was (or like I would be). Here he is with all these South American
children on our border and everyone is telling him to go to the border for a
photo-op. They are saying that he is acting like Bush during Katrina (except
Bush was scared of his own American people and I doubt very much that Obama is
afraid of these children). But Obama holds his own counsel and draws his own
conclusions. Obama has been accused of being lawless by the truly lawless crowd
and in this he is only following the law – the law passed in the Bush years.
Today Boehner announced that Congress will sue Obama for postponing
the health care individual mandate for businesses which they claim involved
overstepping his executive powers. We chafed under Bush. We would have
impeached him in a minute and we had a lot better reasons than this crew.

They are trying to make us forget the sins of 43 by pinning them on
Obama. We will never forget the lawless crap that happened in the Bush years
however, so if you Republicans are doing this because you hope to erase the
past for the good of the Party, you can give it up right now. It won’t work. We
will always remember that it was the GOP that lied to us about nearly everything,
but especially Iraq, and we will always remember how many American sons and
daughters lost their lives or limbs for what; money? Republicans, back off
Obama. Stop spending our tax dollars on this mean politics. 
Just one more point – imagine a southern border where people could walk back and forth with minimum hassle, like our border with Canada. I wonder what that would be like?
By Nancy Brisson

Our National Agenda – Stressful and Embarrassing

Here’s a list of issues we have heard discussed
recently in the media. The only thing not on this list for the moment is health
care which can now go to the back of the priority chain. Otherwise, we have not
been able to find closure on any of these issues because of obstructionism and
because of what we are told is a truly divided nation. It is sort of like adding more and more dirty laundry to the pile and never doing laundry. Except as these problems pile
up and up they become burdens on our minds and our hearts. It seems that
Republicans, the main obstructionist force in Washington, want us to be
confused about what to tackle first and what our priorities really are and if
that is their intent, the strategy’s working. Perhaps it is unintentional but
it hurts my brain because if we ever get unstuck we won’t know which thing to
tackle first.
Our
issues (this list may not be complete) in no particular order:
Net
Neutrality
Social
Security
Medicare
Social
Safety Net
Unemployment
Infrastructure
Education
Obstructionism
Immigration
Taxes
Budgets
Ethics
Political
Correctness
Racism
Jobs
Minimum
Wage
Income
Inequality
Under
the radar Republican political strategies
Elections
Losing
the Senate
Militias
Rebels
with guns
Anti-government
sentiment in America
Random
mass violence
Gun
“wars”
“Constitution”
wars
Abortion
wars
War
on Women
Voting
Rights
Divided
America
Downsizing
government or not
NSA
Deportation
VA
Concerns
Trans
Pacific Trade Partnership
Keystone
Pipeline
Climate
Change
Extreme
Weather
Benghazi
Captial
punishment
Space
station
Campaign
Contribution Laws
2014
Election
2016
Election
International
worries
Putin and Ukraine
Boco
Haram
Terrorists
Unrest
The
war in Syria
Hostilities
in Middle East
Hostilities
in Africa
Trade
and Imperialism issues with China
North
Korea-we should probably do something
Serious
human rights violations
I wrote an article on this subject last year on 7/24/13 with the title Have We Dipped Our Brushes in Too Many Pots? – but the list has grown much longer than my earlier list and there are things I may have overlooked.
It is astonishing that anyone is willing to tune
into Washington with all these areas that are crying out for attention and
decision-making; these issues which rest in limbo day after day because we have one party
acting like an implacable enemy of every policy we have followed up to this present
moment, one party that wants to severely limit the powers of the federal
government and make a tea bag our national symbol. I’d rather just go to the beach, but instead I keep rubber necking
like a commuter passing a bad accident. What will happen to America? This is
all so very stressful (and embarrassing).
This blog post is also available at http://brissioni.com/
This is the view from the cheap seats.
By Nancy Brisson
  

Ceasefire in Washington is Temporary

Washington is so quiet right now. It may be lulling
Americans into a false sense of hope that the hostilities between Congress and
the Executive Branch have ended, but, of course, we really understand that this
is a very brief ceasefire in a battle that will rage right through to 2016 (unless Dems take back the House in 2014 and keep the Senate).
These years of Obama’s presidency have been full of bitter pills that Democrats
have had to swallow. The first African American President came to the White
House and we were mean to him. Worse, we did not allow him to govern because
either 1) we felt he would ruin American by passing bad laws, or 2) we did not
want this man in our history books. I feel embarrassed to be an American when I
consider the shenanigans of the past five years by grown, educated people who
should know better. So what if he read the writing on the wall early on and he
knew that he only had the support of his own party for the Affordable Care Act.
He was absolutely right about that. It has been sad to watch elected officials
acting like they have been mortally offended by the fact that this is not a
bipartisan act and to watch these adults whine that they will get their
vengeance, the American people be damned.
It is sad that these same elected officials (who
possibly won elections that were rigged so that they would win) have ground our
government’s forward momentum to a halt at a time when we needed our government
to help us adjust to a changed economic environment that requires action rather
than obstruction. In today’s Daily Beast
is an article by Nick Gillespie that says that Obama has lost the support of
the youth vote in America. They are upset at their job prospects, their low
wages, their high levels of unemployment and who would blame them. I suppose
they really don’t stop to ask themselves if this is really Obama’s fault since
he has not been allowed to legislate anything and if he even proposes a bill it
is sure to fail. This is certainly understandable because their prospects are
about the same today as they were when Obama entered office. They are young.
They don’t care if hope and change take time; they are not interested in
political backlash. They need to have a life and they need that now. Obama has
also had to face quite a few realities as the Commander in Chief of the Armed
Forces that have not allowed him to keep campaign promises he made. He promised
way too much. When you make strong promises and then don’t deliver and you do
that in this hyperactive news cycle, your feet will be held to the fire. The
ubiquitous presence of the NSA that we have become aware of is not helping
Obama either. If these young people were seeing their chances to build their
own affluence unfurling before them, they would be busy building lives and
might not care quite so passionately about Obama’s decisions in relation to
Afghanistan or Syria. If there had been funding for training programs and
infrastructure improvements and research and innovation, the disaffection of
our young people might not have been a factor. I don’t want to see these “beginner”
adults abandoning the light and going over to the dark side. I wish just saying
“do something” would work, but I know it won’t.
I know that the people who are really trying to
change America, the people who are trying to offer us a new America that has no
resemblance to the real America, are just waiting in the wings. They are taking
a break until the next budget battle which comes after Christmas. We know they
are still out there pulling their wicked strings to end hard won freedoms
because we just saw the Supreme Court uphold a Texas law to prevent abortions
after 20 weeks (even in cases where the mom might die). We see them refusing to
appoint liberals to the federal courts because it will tip the court’s balance
from right to left. They are correct in assuming that Obama wants to stuff the
courts. That is what the party in power usually gets to do. But they like the
courts that Bush gave us. They want those courts. They are keeping those
Conservative courts because they can. I could never have imagined that America
would find itself in the middle of this long and intense ideological battle. As
soon as I got a load of Glenn Beck’s act I knew, but I didn’t know that
Republicans would win the House in 2010, or that they would get a few fingers
onto the flying carpet, a few fingers that have allowed them to hoist
themselves onto a corner of that magic carpet and keep it from taking off. People
seem to imagine that what we are seeing now is just politics as usual, the
normal run of political push and shove. It isn’t. This is all push and no
shove. This is a war for America’s future; a war where one side prepared mightily
for battle and one side doesn’t even realize that engagement has begun. You had
better know what vision of America each side espouses and you had better pick a
side. You can’t look at just one issue; you have to look at the big picture.
Get a grip, America!
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

 

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.

The IRS and the ACA – OMG

 
 

What role will
the IRS play in the Affordable Care Act? Apparently the IRS is expected to play
a very big role in implementing and governing the Affordable Care Act and
apparently the reason so much of this will be done by the IRS is that the
Supreme Court decision about Health Care made it so. (Health and Human Services
will play a role and so will the Labor Department.)

1.  47 tax provisions will go into effect
(including small business health care credit and the medical device tax.

2.  The IRS will determine whether people qualify
for a health insurance premium tax credit as part of the minimum coverage
requirement.

3.  Americans will have to report their
insurance status on their taxes each year – the agency will review that and
collect a $95 penalty on those not carrying insurance.

4.  The IRS will set these rules and collect
the penalties when businesses aren’t in compliance.

This information
is from an article published in the NationalJournal.com

Here’s
another interesting part of what they had to say:

“Republicans rushed to connect
Obama’s health care law to the IRS scandal, especially after the news that
Ingram would oversee the health law’s implementation at the IRS. “The
recent deplorable actions at the IRS have shattered our trust that they can
responsibly handle the people’s sensitive medical information,” said Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota
asked: “Does this means that some government plutocrat can look at my
personal healthcare data? Could I be denied healthcare? Could it be
delayed?” she asked. The law does not require the IRS to collect or view
information about individuals’ health.”
I
have always thought that we should go with a single payer system similar to
England or Canada, but Obama’s plan does manage to cover almost everyone
without completely scraping America’s dedication to capitalism. His plan not
only allows millions of health care and insurance workers to keep their jobs,
it adds jobs, especially in the ranks of the IRS (apparently about 2000 jobs).
This gives it the advantage of being both a health care program and a jobs
program. Criticisms that call the plan out for its complexity may prove to have
some validity, but since we are almost geared up to implement the Affordable
Care Act it seems best to go with it and see how it works. Of course, with so
many Republican governors determined to sabotage the plan we may not get a true
picture of whether the plan would work or not.

I do
not like having health care tied to employment and I really don’t like having
health care participation tied to the IRS, but single-payer insurance looks
highly unlikely to happen since every time someone suggests it others start
calling them “socialists”. I wish we could just stop being so contentious about
this, since it is happening anyways, and try it on for size to see if it works.
Stop the obstructionism in Congress. Elect Democrats in 2014.

This
is the view from the cheap seats.