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 Post subject: The Worst Congress Ever?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:39 am 
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I don't know how people here feel, but, I am beyond disgusted with Congress. Both parties. Almost everyone in the Congress, including my representative and most of yours.

I would not be at all sad to see 90% of incumbents - of BOTH parties - voted out of office. What we have in Washington right now is simply not functional. They can't get anything done. If they worked for any public company anywhere in the world, achieving the results they've collectively achieved (or not achieved), they would be fired. But instead, they get salaries of nearly $200,000 a year per person and many of them get lifetime pensions. It literally sickens me.

We're facing another threat of a downgrade because the Super Committee did absolutely nothing. We're about to lose the payroll tax cuts because they can't agree. There have been three near shutdowns of the Government - something that really impacts my part of the country severely, even down to the small business level.

And, of course, then came the news that members of Congress are doing insider trading (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/dec/19/congress-plays-charades-with-insider-trading/) based on information they get from confidential briefings. I had been wondering how so many people came into office as non-millionaires and left office as millionaires.

Is anyone else as upset as I am about the Congress or am? Can anyone remember it ever being more useless than it is right now?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 1:36 am 
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Let's face it - a business whose leadership was as ideologically divided as Congress is would never get off the ground in the first place. Comparing the functioning of a political body to a business is a very limited analogy; we really are talking apples and oranges.

Just curious - do you know if only incumbents benefited from insider trading?

What did you think of that Super Committee idea? I believe it was designed to save face, but also, ultimately to fail - as everyone knew that the members on it were not there to compromise but to entrench their positions. All it did was create a microcosm of the great divide in Congress & our country. (And I decided that I agree with those who disagreed with the concept as being an un-Constitutional usurpation of Congressional authority)

Crooked or not - I am inclined to believe that Congress will remain gridlocked until a majority of Americans come to agree with one side or the other.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:51 am 
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Around here what I'm seeing is a tendency to solve problems without waiting for or expecting help (and permission) from Washington - i.e. congress is becoming more and more annoying and irrelevant. Lots of small-scale experimentation, links between previously disconnected organizations/citizen groups centered around their shared objectives, lots of sharing of what works and what doesn't work. e.g. jobs, the unemployed, urban agriculture, frugality, bartering, self-reliance. Certainly people still care about congress and "the big picture", but they are building up their skills in surviving and thriving on a local scale.



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:57 am 
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Interesting - aren't you in the Seattle area or am I misremembering?
Seems like the battle for & against big govt could be leading us to subsidiarity anyway! Hmm.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:24 am 
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TheValuesVoter wrote:
I don't know how people here feel, but, I am beyond disgusted with Congress. Both parties. Almost everyone in the Congress, including my representative and most of yours.

I would not be at all sad to see 90% of incumbents - of BOTH parties - voted out of office. What we have in Washington right now is simply not functional. They can't get anything done.
Is anyone else as upset as I am about the Congress or am? Can anyone remember it ever being more useless than it is right now?

What do you think the problem is? The way I see it, they are representing us in just the way we demand. "You better not touch my Social Security payments, which I deserve! There better not be any cuts in the defense budget! We need more funding for education! Raise taxes by a penny, and you're done for pal!" And all the while we're about to walk off a cliff. The truth might be that Americans are weak, stupid, and lazy....and selfish! and our Congress reflects that. But the effect is cumulative. We're suffering for the follies of previous generations. Yet I see no leader on the horizon strong enough to right the ship. Even the most conservative heroes of our age pay mere lip service to the shoddy state we've come to in our Republic.

I think there are only two courses of action:
Go along as we are until the collapse and then try to rebuild.... Or
Look back in our history and find the instances where we went off the track. Try to undo those mistakes. The question is, how do you undo 1913, the New Deal, the Great Society and others?



Post by christopher.wilkerson has received Likes: 2 juditupp, QuoVadisAnima
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 12:07 am 
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This won't alleviate your disgust one bit! It still doesn't make me want to fire everyone over there in Congress, but it sure makes me want to go after some certain ones of them with a vengeance
Quote:
Billions of dollars passed through Congress' empty chambers

By Stephen Dinan
December 23, 2011, 02:28PM

Given the billions of dollars in new spending and tax cuts Congress approved Friday morning, it is surprising just how few lawmakers had a hand in the final denouement.

All told, with such momentous issues at stake, only a dozen lawmakers were present for the action, which happened in an amazing 2½ minutes of total floor time.

The Senate went first, gaveling into session at 9:30 with just Majority Leader Harry Reid on the floor and Sen. Mark Warner presiding.

Mr. Reid read out a preapproved agreement that automatically gave Senate approval to a two-month payroll tax cut once the bill made it over from the House later in the morning. Mr. Warner then gaveled closed the session just 70 seconds after he opened it.

Across the Capitol a half-hour later the House acted. In the space of 90 seconds Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, a Missouri Republican, asked that a bill be introduced, it be excused from going through the regular committee process, the required reading of the legislation be waived and the measure be considered to have passed. House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, a Democrat who came to see the proceedings, took a moment to praise the agreement, and then House Speaker John A. Boehner announced the deal's passage. Total time was 90 seconds.

Those three House members were joined by another Republican and six other Democrats who were mere spectators to the proceedings.

In both chambers, the bill was passed through unanimous consent — a tool frequently used in the Senate, but which is more rare in the House, and is usually used for housekeeping such as revising statements — not to pass major legislation.

If a single member of either chamber had objected, the deal would have been scuttled. But some members didn't even get that chance — given the time difference between the final agreement Thursday and Friday morning's action, it's unlikely West Coast lawmakers could have made it even if they'd wanted to object.

Tim Huelskamp, a Kansas Republican, told CNN he had considered objecting but said the timing of the deal left him no time to make it back to Washington.

"By the time we were notified that the unanimous consent agreement would be offered, where I come from in Kansas, I can't get to Washington quick enough on this short notice," he told the network on Friday.

He said the GOP's leaders broke their own pledge to give all members three days to read legislation before putting bills on the floor for action.

The bill passed and signed into law Friday didn't even exist until 10:30 Friday morning when it was officially introduced — half an hour after the Senate had deemed it to have passed.

In order to head off potential mischief in that time gap, Mr. Reid wrote into the Senate's agreement that the language must exactly match that of the bill the Senate passed last weekend, or else the prearranged consent of senators would be withdrawn and the bill would not have passed the upper chamber.


http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/ins ... empty-cha/


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 12:42 am 
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Boehner did what he could do here. It's really counter productive, these House R's blaming everything on him.

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They waste, they wither worse; they as they run
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All is from wreck, here, there, to rescue one—
Work which to see scarce so much as begun
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 3:07 am 
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christopher.wilkerson wrote:
What do you think the problem is? The way I see it, they are representing us in just the way we demand. "You better not touch my Social Security payments, which I deserve! There better not be any cuts in the defense budget! We need more funding for education! Raise taxes by a penny, and you're done for pal!" And all the while we're about to walk off a cliff. The truth might be that Americans are weak, stupid, and lazy....and selfish! and our Congress reflects that. But the effect is cumulative. We're suffering for the follies of previous generations. Yet I see no leader on the horizon strong enough to right the ship. Even the most conservative heroes of our age pay mere lip service to the shoddy state we've come to in our Republic.


I think that your explanation hits on a huge part of the problem. No one wants to give up anything and the public itself is somewhat unwilling to compromise. Everyone wants sacrifice as long as it's someone else who is doing the sacrificing.

But I think another reason for the problem is the identification of most of the public with the two-party political system. I say this because, as dysfunctional as our Congress is, most of the members will keep their jobs simply because of the fact that they were elected in "safe" districts. They come from places where no one from the other party will have a serious chance of winning an election. And so, generally speaking, a person does not need to be the best person running for a position in order to keep their job. They simply need to be the most powerful person in their own party. And the more they become part of the establishment, the more easily they can thrwart the attempts by more deserving people within their own party to take their seats. If you're a Republican, you're likely to pull the lever for any Republican running in your district - even if they're completely corrupt, lazy or incompetent - just because youd rather die than vote for a Democrat or possibly even an Independent. If you're a Democrat, you're more likely to vote for the most leftist, insane Democrat than one of "those Republicans who are trying to protect the rich." We are a divided nation and our division keeps us from putting the best people in office. Also, both political parties tend to reward loyalty to the party over competence. So, politicians who make friends within the party are able to keep their jobs by keeping money and support from people on their side who would be capable of doing a better job.

Term limits would certainly help, but, not many want to both propose term limits and then actually honor them when their time is up.

Another reason why our leadership stinks is because we don't take the process of electing them very seriously. It's a pretty troubling sign that in a good Presidential election, we have 60% of eligible voters participating. It's even worse that in a midterm election, only about 50% of eligible voters participate. We have spent a lot of blood and treaasure trying to help establish Democracy around the world. We just haven't been willing to spend an hour on the first Tuesday of November doing our part to keep Democracy working here at home.

Quote:
I think there are only two courses of action:
Go along as we are until the collapse and then try to rebuild.... Or
Look back in our history and find the instances where we went off the track. Try to undo those mistakes. The question is, how do you undo 1913, the New Deal, the Great Society and others?


We need politicians to tell us the truth. We can't have it all. We can't buy it all. We can't spend it all and we can't cut it all. The only way out of the mess we are in now is to have some self-inflicted pain and sacrifice. And we need to toss out a lot of the folks who are occupying some valuable taxpayer-funded office space, who have their positions because we, their bosses, don't bother evaluating them.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 3:19 am 
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I think I've managed to boil the political career of the average politician of either party into a simple seven-step program. You, too, can be a lifelong politician if you follow these simple seven steps:

1) Choose a political party.
2) Wait for the local incumbent to: a) die; b) retire; c) go to jail
3) Out-manuever the other folks in your party for the open seat. Win and get sworn in.
4) Help members of your party to: a) raise money; b) win their own elections; c) bash the other party.
5) Off-election year: Pile up a few minor accomplishments (sponsor legislation, give speeches and TV interviews, investigate Baseball). Occasionally work with the other party to tackle a pet issue of little consequence. Mostly spend time mixing it up in political fights and games to score points for the next year.
6) On-election year: Don't rock the boat. Don't do anything that can be used against you - even if it means you don't do anything that could help the country. Cash in on the favors you've done by raising money within your party and helping your peers win their elections. Use whatever party influence you've developed to keep challengers from within your party at bay while working to gain advantage over the opposing party.
7) Repeat steps 4-7 until you: a) die, b) retire, or c) go to jail.

(After you've completed steps 1-7, assuming your run didn't end with you dying or going to jail, congratulations!! Now you get to earn a lifelong pension and either become a lobbyist or a TV personality. Thanks for your service!)

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 8:06 pm 
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TheValuesVoter wrote:
I think I've managed to boil the political career of the average politician of either party into a simple seven-step program. You, too, can be a lifelong politician if you follow these simple seven steps:

1) Choose a political party.
2) Wait for the local incumbent to: a) die; b) retire; c) go to jail
3) Out-manuever the other folks in your party for the open seat. Win and get sworn in.
4) Help members of your party to: a) raise money; b) win their own elections; c) bash the other party.
5) Off-election year: Pile up a few minor accomplishments (sponsor legislation, give speeches and TV interviews, investigate Baseball). Occasionally work with the other party to tackle a pet issue of little consequence. Mostly spend time mixing it up in political fights and games to score points for the next year.
6) On-election year: Don't rock the boat. Don't do anything that can be used against you - even if it means you don't do anything that could help the country. Cash in on the favors you've done by raising money within your party and helping your peers win their elections. Use whatever party influence you've developed to keep challengers from within your party at bay while working to gain advantage over the opposing party.
7) Repeat steps 4-7 until you: a) die, b) retire, or c) go to jail.

(After you've completed steps 1-7, assuming your run didn't end with you dying or going to jail, congratulations!! Now you get to earn a lifelong pension and either become a lobbyist or a TV personality. Thanks for your service!)


Mind if I borrow this? FB friends would get a kick out of it while agreeing with every word.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 9:35 pm 
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conservativevoter wrote:
TheValuesVoter wrote:
I think I've managed to boil the political career of the average politician of either party into a simple seven-step program. You, too, can be a lifelong politician if you follow these simple seven steps:

1) Choose a political party.
2) Wait for the local incumbent to: a) die; b) retire; c) go to jail
3) Out-manuever the other folks in your party for the open seat. Win and get sworn in.
4) Help members of your party to: a) raise money; b) win their own elections; c) bash the other party.
5) Off-election year: Pile up a few minor accomplishments (sponsor legislation, give speeches and TV interviews, investigate Baseball). Occasionally work with the other party to tackle a pet issue of little consequence. Mostly spend time mixing it up in political fights and games to score points for the next year.
6) On-election year: Don't rock the boat. Don't do anything that can be used against you - even if it means you don't do anything that could help the country. Cash in on the favors you've done by raising money within your party and helping your peers win their elections. Use whatever party influence you've developed to keep challengers from within your party at bay while working to gain advantage over the opposing party.
7) Repeat steps 4-7 until you: a) die, b) retire, or c) go to jail.

(After you've completed steps 1-7, assuming your run didn't end with you dying or going to jail, congratulations!! Now you get to earn a lifelong pension and either become a lobbyist or a TV personality. Thanks for your service!)


Mind if I borrow this? FB friends would get a kick out of it while agreeing with every word.


Absolutely! Be my guest.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:16 am 
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TVV, I think you make some valid criticisms of our current 2 party system but I think it still comes down to the voters. In places where one party dominates most people of that party just roll over and accept what the power brokers deliver. On a local level, that's not inevitable. People need to get involved in party politics on the local level in order to facilitate change. Look at what happened in KS when conservatives got involved in the Republican party at the local level. Over a period of time they were able to root out the RINO elements and now they have one of the strongest pro-life state parties in the nation. They have a dedicated, pro-life governor and are slowly bringing the radical abortionists in KS to justice. They certainly have a long way to go but they've made remarkable progress all because people made the decision to step up and get involved. None of that required the effort to create a third party or an independent campaign. They worked within the system. The root cause of our Congress problem stems in the hearts of the American people.
Btw, I can think of other Congresses in our history that were just as bad or worse then this one. How many times before the Civil war did Congress refuse to act on slavery. They failed to appropriately deal with the most pressing issue facing the nation at the time. We all know how that ended up. The current Congress is by no means alone in its failures.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:56 am 
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juditupp wrote:
TVV, I think you make some valid criticisms of our current 2 party system but I think it still comes down to the voters. In places where one party dominates most people of that party just roll over and accept what the power brokers deliver. On a local level, that's not inevitable. People need to get involved in party politics on the local level in order to facilitate change. Look at what happened in KS when conservatives got involved in the Republican party at the local level. Over a period of time they were able to root out the RINO elements and now they have one of the strongest pro-life state parties in the nation. They have a dedicated, pro-life governor and are slowly bringing the radical abortionists in KS to justice. They certainly have a long way to go but they've made remarkable progress all because people made the decision to step up and get involved.


That's a very good point ... I admire the work that legislators in Kansas have done to protect unborn life.


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None of that required the effort to create a third party or an independent campaign. They worked within the system. The root cause of our Congress problem stems in the hearts of the American people.


That's another good point. And I guess my biggest criticism of the two-party system is not the party system in itself as much as because of the fact that I think it somewhat encourages voters to be lazy. It's easier to simply identify with a party and pull the lever accordingly than it is to do research in order to find out what people are about. Many Americans don't take our democratic responsibility seriously enough and I guess this is the biggest fundamental reason for our subpar leadership. We don't through our actions as voters insist on anything but mediocrity and so this is what we get.

Quote:
Btw, I can think of other Congresses in our history that were just as bad or worse then this one. How many times before the Civil war did Congress refuse to act on slavery. They failed to appropriately deal with the most pressing issue facing the nation at the time. We all know how that ended up. The current Congress is by no means alone in its failures.


Well, that's another good point. And along with that point, I'll add my thought that one of the other contributing factors to the Civil War was that we had a series of morally indecisive Presidents who tried to say that they were personally opposed to slavery while being in favor of the right for states to allow it (in the same way that many politicians today say that they personally dislike abortion but are against outlawing it). In those days, there was weak leadership across all three branches of government.

So, maybe it is better to say that this Congress is among the worst ever.

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