In our politics there are four neglected virtues that could light the path from where we are to where we ought to go: (1) respect for evidence, (2) tolerance of ambiguity, (3) caring about consequences, and (4) commitment to the common good. All are diminished by the ideology of radical individualism and neglected by much of the mainstream media. As our politics become more ideological, neglect of these four virtues in our political debates and media coverage exacerbates the polarization and gridlock in Congress. More attention to these tenets by the press and public would be a helpful antidote to our poisonous political culture." Tom Allen's book Dangerous Convictions: What's Really Wrong with the U. S. Congress
And for the Republicans in Congress, there’s another interest—namely, to undermine anything that Obama, you know, the Antichrist, might try to do. So that’s a separate issue there. The Republicans stopped being an ordinary parliamentary party some years ago. They were described, I think accurately, by Norman Ornstein, the very respected conservative political analyst, American Enterprise Institute; he said the party has become a radical insurgency which has abandoned any commitment to parliamentary democracy. And their goal for the last years has simply been to undermine anything that Obama might do, in an effort to regain power and serve their primary constituency, which is the very wealthy and the corporate sector. They try to conceal this with all sorts of other means. In doing so, they’ve had to—you can’t get votes that way, so they’ve had to mobilize sectors of the population which have always been there but were never mobilized into an organized political force: evangelical Christians, extreme nationalists, terrified people who have to carry guns into Starbucks because somebody might be after them, and so on and so forth. That’s a big force. And inspiring fear is not very difficult in the United States. It’s a long history, back to colonial times, of—as an extremely frightened society, which is an interesting story in itself. And mobilizing people in fear of them, whoever "them" happens to be, is an effective technique used over and over again. And right now, the Republicans have—their nonpolicy has succeeded in putting them back in a position of at least congressional power. So, the attack on—this is a personal attack on Obama, and intended that way, is simply part of that general effort. But there is a common strategic concern underlying it, I think, and that is pretty much what U.S. intelligence analyzes: preventing any deterrent in the region to U.S. and Israeli actions." Noam Chomsky comments on Netanyahu talk to the Congress 2015
Executive branch authorities can access congressional communications in almost undetectable ways without a warrant, just as they can retrieve emails and phone calls made by other citizens. Elected representatives risk disgrace or worse because many can be accused of fund-raising violations or sexual misconduct. Dossiers and blackmail did not go out of fashion with J. Edgar Hoover's death. Hoover's success merely showcased the effectiveness of the tool." Presidential Puppetry: Andrew Kreig
"The Republican party has become an insurgent outlier -- ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise, unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, science, and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. When one party moves this far from the center of American politics,it is extremely difficult to enact policies responsive to the countries most pressing challenges..." Thomas Mann and Norman Orenstein: It's Even Worse than it Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism
"If you wonder why the United States is the only country in the industrialized world not to have a national health care program, if you're asking why we pay the highest price in the world for prescription drugs, or why we spend more money on the military than the rest of the world combined, you are talking about campaign finance. You are talking about the unbelievable power that big-money interests have over every legislative decision." Senator Bernie Sanders (Vt)
The widespread practice of corporations funding the campaigns of key committee members and other influential lawmakers who are direcctly in charge of supervising the corporations' commercial interests has somehow escaped being interpreted as bribery. Thus, when corporations that want to protect sugar quotas, oil company tax breaks, deferred air pollution rules, the granting of pipeline or broadcast licenses, or the the procurement of bailouts target key lawmakers for contributions, these exchanges are not considered bribes --even though everyone knows that the contributions are being tendered in exchange for legislative services rendered." Ralph Nader: The Seventeen Solutions Pg 102
"The imperial presidency would not exist were it not for the Congress, which has willingly ceded authority to the executive branch, especially on matters touching, however remotely on national security. As the chief executive achieved supremacy, the legislative branch not only lost clout but gradually made itself the object of ridicule. David Addington, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, pungently described the philosophy of the Bush administration this way: "We're going to push and push and push until some larger force makes us stop." Even under Democratic control, the Congress has not remotely threatened to be that large force." The Limits of Power, the End of American Exceptionalism: Andrew J. Bacevich
"...Systemic risk in the financial system can be remedied by the taxpayer, but no one will come to the rescue if the environment is destroyed. That it must be destroyed is close to an institutional imperative. Business leaders who are conducting propaganda campaigns to convince the population that anthropogenic global warming is a liberal hoax understand full well how grave is the threat, but they must maximize short-term profit and market share. If they don't, someone else will. This vicious cycle could well turn out to be lethal. To see how grave the danger is, simply have a look at the new Congress in the U.S., propelled into power by business funding and propaganda. Almost all are climate deniers. They have already begun to cut funding for measures that might mitigate environmental catastrophe. Worse, some are true believers; for example, the new head of a subcommittee on the environment who explained that global warming cannot be a problem because God promised Noah that there will not be another flood." Noam Chomsky
"Nothing can be passed by Congress that is opposed by Wall Street or large corporations. Nothing." Senator Bernie Sanders
"A key point I took home from my examination of Congress was that both parties, Democratic and Republican, were equally guilty in what really was a conspiracy to run the government without outside interference. The only way the public could protest all the handouts and earmarks and fast-tracked tax breaks and other monstrosities was to vote for the other party -- and the other party, it turned out, was inevitably whoring fo the same monied masters." Matt Taibbi: The Great Derangement
Consider the proposed Republican budget and their tax 'reform' for the wealthy: Does the Republican Congress work on behalf of the people ? Serious academic studies found that it does not: Gilens and Page of Princeton, Lawrence Lessig's book "Republic Lost", Hacker and Pierson in Winner Take All Politics, Noam Chomsky's book Failed States, argue that Congress responds to funders, not people.
For example: Republicans tried many times to repeal the Affordable Care Act removing millions from health insurance. The replacement was worse or non-existent, but would save money for what they really want: tax cuts for the wealthy. It is disgraceful that Republicans use American's health care as a bargaining chip.
Undaunted, Republicans are still moving to cut taxes for the wealthy, now paid directly from deficit spending. Elimination of the inheritance tax alone would benefit, in billions, Trump $4, Koch $38.6, Waltons $51.6, Adelson 12.2 ... As Dick Cheney said: " deficits don't matter". Other features of the GOP tax plan would also increase income inequality, yet another attack on democracy.
They did find $700 billion to kill people.
GOP billionaires despise democracy...so without a fight we may not have it much longer. They attack media, undermine elections, pack the Courts, empower corporations, expand the military, pass harsher laws, bust unions, make education expensive, spread their ideology disguised as philanthropy to dodge taxes, attempt to privatise everything from schools, prisons, Social Security, Medicare, public land, and infrastructure. Since they are solidifying their gains, it is not clear that the system is self-correcting.
To pay for tax gifts to the wealthy including elimination of the inheritance tax, Republicans cut healthcare, Medicaid, meals on wheels, social supports. block consumer protections, oppose the CFPB, scrap the fiduciary rule, ignore anti-trust, make student loans more expensive, weaken privacy, cancel net neutrality, and increase the debt ceiling. They allow corporations to extract as much money from people as they can.
Agencies are being dismantled by political appointees who oppose their very purpose. Republicans stated goal is the 'deconstruction of the administrative State.' Deregulation makes corporations unaccountable so they can continue union busting, fossil fuel pollution, financial recklessness. Rule by corporations is Fascism. The Fascist State functions for the oligarchy, and doesn't much care about the people.
Democracy requires an informed electorate, fair elections, transparent
government, but It is getting weaker fast. U.S. media is highly concentrated and has little
motivation to keep people informed. The result: Congress does the bidding of the funders, not the people. (See Lessig's Republic Lost which is free
To see how undemocratic and mean-spirited Republicans are, see their budget plans
As U. S. physical infrastructure is deteriorating, so is the
infrastructure of democracy: declining education outcomes
have resulted in wide-spread illiteracy; traditional media like newspapers and magazines are facing
poor financial prospects; broadcasters feel no public obligation and
increasingly sell time to advertising, trivia, sports, and propaganda;
elections are fueled by big money and results are suspect; government
does not act as people,when polled prefer,
and has embarked on a program of universal
surveillance but acts more and more in secret.
There is also a massively funded right-wing initiative to bring Fascism
to the U.S. It is difficult to see how we can avoid dystopia.
Can - and Should - Declassify the TPP (5/28/2015)