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Your Work Is Not Done Part I

Now that the distraction of the election is over, it’s time to get to work. I know that you thought that you were done after you voted, but you’re not. Don’t worry conservatives, this series of posts won’t all be about pushing a liberal agenda so bear with me through this post. I promise they won’t all annoy you.

So liberals, I’m speaking to you right now. There’s something you need to do immediately, and repeatedly over the course of the next eight weeks, in order to get congress moving along again. Basically nothing changed last night, in terms of the balance of power. Congress is still held by a GOP majority, the senate is still democratically controlled (albeit by a slightly larger margin), and democrats still have the white house. This means that the do nothing gridlock that we’ve been treated to for the past four years may continue.

I say may, because we can put pressure on Harry Reid to stop it. We need to send Harry Reid a torrent of letters and faxes demanding that he change the filibuster rules. The majority leader can change senate rules with a simple majority at the beginning  of each session. A new session begins when the new senators are sworn in, in January. We need to send letters and faxes to Harry Reid immediately and frequently. Additionally, you need to send one letter or fax to your democratic senator asking them to vote for a rule change. I want you to send letters and faxes as opposed to emails because they’re more impactful. They create a physical presence and a physical mass. It’s harder to gauge the volume of emails than it is to look at a stack of physical paper and get a sense of the volume.

This will take maybe fifteen minutes of your time, so it’s not a huge undertaking. You spent more time voting, even if everything went smoothly. Not it’s time to make that vote mean something. We need to stop the minority from hijacking the government at every turn. Ignore the bullshit about how changing the rules will eventually hurt “your team” when they’re in the minority. The majority leader, any majority leader can always change the rules at the start of a new session. I promise you that republicans will change the rules if they ever regain control.

This rule change will empower the president you voted for to move his agenda forward. And if he doesn’t, you will all know that he, and not congress is the problem. I’m tired of hearing this crap about how powerless Obama is, in order to defend him. I’ve never believed that he’s as powerless as some people maintain. Regardless, let’s find out. If we discover that he’s the problem, we can focus our pressure on him. Here is the contact information for Harry Reid’s Washington office; 

          522 Hart Senate Office Building 

          Washington, DC 20510

          Fax: 202-224-7327

Click on this link to get the mailing and fax information for your senator.

You have to do this in order to make last night’s vote count! Please, I’m begging you! Don’t make me get bitchier!

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Maxine, Maxine, Maxine

DISAPPOINTED!

Maxine Waters was supposed to be one of the good ones. Truth be told, I still think she is, but she needs to receive the appropriate sanctions for her ethics violations. And while we’re at it, Charlie Rangel must step down.

Don’t kid yourselves, democratic party loyalists, these charges are true. There hasn’t been a “misunderstanding”, and no one is going to be cleared here. I know this because Nancy Pelosi and the ethics committee would not be raising these charges months before an election if there weren’t solid cases here, which brings me to the real story in all of this.

I’m going to go out on a limb here to say that you won’t be hearing the real story from the main stream media. These charges of ethics violations are being brought against democrats, in a democratically controlled congress, months before an election. That is an enormously positive change in the way congress is being run. When republicans controlled congress, crooked republicans were the beneficiaries of cover ups, obfuscation, and delay (also DeLay) from their party leaders. Jack Abramoff, Mark Foley, Tom DeLay, and many, many more didn’t go before the ethics committee until republicans’ backs were up against a wall. We had Denny Hastert covering for Mark Foley, Jon Cornyn covering for John Ensign, The list is almost endless. And they certainly didn’t allow themselves to be subjected to scrutiny during election season.

Nancy Pelosi is running a clean ship. Well, as clean a ship as a politician can run. Make no mistake, she could have delayed these charges until after the election, just like republicans did. I know this, because I don’t believe that republicans have magical powers. They didn’t pull shady maneuvers that aren’t available to Nancy.

This whole situation will be spun as evidence of an epidemic of corruption in the democratic party. Let’s be honest, politicians are dirty. They have been dirty since about ten minutes after the first politician took office. And please don’t get me wrong, I’m not excusing dirty politicians, I’m just saying that I’m not naive enough to be shocked when a politician turns out to be corrupt.

In fact, I’m damned near flabbergasted when one turns out to be clean, not because I’m a pessimist about politics, but because our system is designed to virtually guarantee the corruption of a politician. Here are some interesting facts about American politics;

  • In 2008, 93% of all seats won in the house were won by the candidate that spent the most amount of money
  • In 2008, 94% of all senate seats went to the candidate that spent the most amount of money
  • The average cost of a winning house seat in 2008 was 1.1 million dollars
  • The average cost of a winning senate seat in 2008 was 6.5 million dollars

What this means, is that we have a system designed to attract or create amoral whores into our politics. You can’t raise the kind of money that it takes to be elected in America by being honest. It’s just not very realistic to assume that your representative is “one of the good guys”. You wanna know how to tell if he/she is one of the good guys or not? If they’re your representative, they’re not one of the good guys. They had to whore, beg, borrow, and steal the money to represent you.

But I digress, back to Nancy. She is turning out to be the change that we wanted when we voted for Obama. She is the transformative figure in our politics today. And in my opinion, she’s an unsung hero.

As with the Shirley Sherrod tale, the story that we’re about to be told is  the polar opposite of what’s actually happening here. This story is not about an “epidemic” (there are two) of dirty democrats. This story is about how much better democrats are at stomping out corruption within their ranks, than republicans are.

But you’re not going to hear that from most anybody on your TV because the people on your TV are spokesmodels and lemmings.

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Pro Lemming?

I have been seeing a lot of talk in left wing media suggesting that we should band together to go after every democrat that ever votes with republicans on anything. Really?

Isn’t the problem with the republican party that they vote in lockstep? Can you be angry at them for doing so while demanding that democrats do the same? Do you not see the hypocrisy here?

I have several issues with this stance beyond the obvious hypocrisy.

Let’s start with the inexplicable blind faith that you would have to have in the democratic party for this ideology to work for you. You would have to believe that democrats are a sage and wise group that never make mistakes in judgment. You would also have to believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that democratic representatives are always working to represent your best interest. If you really believe those things, I suggest that you take a hard look at how NAFTA has affected America’s financial interests in the world. Nobody is right all the time, and anyone that believes otherwise is a lemming.

Our founding fathers were quite brilliant when they wrote the constitution. Article one enumerates the powers of congress, which means that they intended for a body of representatives to have more of the power. Article two enumerates the powers of the president. They clearly intended to create a government in which a chorus of opinions come together so that they are forced to form a consensus. When was the last time you wrote out a to-do list and put the most important thing second on that list? They weren’t interested in having one voice rule. They fled from a king, and were obviously determined to prevent that from happening here.

I like the idea of having 535 people with different points of view debating issues and fighting for their position. I inherently believe that the best chance we have of getting a good result is to have a system where the best argument rises to the top. It would be fantastic if these opinions weren’t corporate owned, but that’s a topic for a whole other post. If I had it my way, John Cornyn and Russ Feingold would be in a boxing ring shouting at each other until they reach a compromise on every issue. I believe that the right answer is usually in the middle.

Please liberals, don’t fall into the pro lemming position that you despise. Promoting a sophomoric group think mentality is not the answer here, it’s the problem.

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Fear And Loathing In San Francisco

For three years now republicans have painted Nancy Pelosi as loathsome. Not because of anything that she did, but because she’s an easy target.

Let’s face it, she’s not viscerally likable. To be honest, between the turbo charged blinking and the overabundance of plastic surgery, she’s just not that appealing. Republicans leveraged those unappealing qualities to make her the focus of their base’s hatred because until a few months ago, President Obama was far too popular to effectively target. So poor Nancy has been loathed for a few years now, simply for being in a position of power.

Republicans don’t like their women in power. They like them cute and cheerleady. Okay, they like their men to be cheerleaders too. They just like the cheerleading in general, but I digress. I can’t think of one smart republican woman that the party has put forward as a leading voice. No, they give us Sarah Palin. When John McCain picked her, he clearly picked her as the antidote to Hillary. The problem is that his antidote sent a clear message to women, that any dumb bitch will do.

If republicans are smart (I know, I know, there I go with my optimism again), they will have figured out on Sunday that Nancy Pelosi is someone they should fear. Health reform is a victory that belongs to her more than anyone else. She’s fought republicans, democrats, the senate, the president, and his chief of staff to make it happen. There are reports that President Obama wanted to scale the bill back (even further) after Scott Brown was elected in Massachusetts. Nancy refused to have any of that, referring to the president’s proposal as “kiddie reform”. She pressed on to fight for us when everyone else was ready to retreat. She one of a very few handful of tough democrats.

But beyond just being tough, she knows how congress works in a way that very few of our representatives do. When she announced that they were going to pass the vote by using “deem and pass” it wasn’t because she didn’t have the votes (Nancy doesn’t lose votes, look at the record), it was because she rightfully doesn’t trust the senate. Using “deem and pass” (as republicans have done hundreds of times), would have allowed the house to adopt the sucky senate bill while simultaneously reconciling the improvements to the bill. She was trying to bypass a lot of the reconciliation noise that I suspect we’ll be hearing this week. She wasn’t trying to be sneaky with “deem and pass”. She was being very smart.

Despite my early doubts, Nancy Pelosi has proven that she’s a force to be reckoned with. President Obama owes the (I predict) 8 – 10 point jump in his approval rating to her. And we owe the glimmer of hope that we have that health reform is possible to her.

Take heed republicans, Speaker Pelosi isn’t just a dumb liberal with San Francisco values. She’s going to go down in history as one of the most significant speakers this country has ever had. Sorry Boehner, no one will remember you for anything when you’re gone (much like Denny Hastert).

So don’t limit your feelings toward her to loathing. You should fear AND loathe her.

Bravo, Madam Speaker!

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