Third Party & Independents Archives

We Have Options To A Failed Government

Of late, we are seeing a good number of references to a ‘broken government’. I often write that we have a failed government. When I survey the political landscape I tend to see failure, where there is no hope for change. Those who use the term ‘broken government’ tend to believe that things can be set right with a few changes. Often a subjective call, to be sure. But, when I read that the House ethics committee ruled that 7 are cleared in earmarks grants the term ‘failed government’ rolls off my fingertips real easy.

An article in yesterday’s Washington Post relates that “the House ethics committee ruled Friday that seven lawmakers who steered hundreds of millions of dollars in largely no-bid contracts to clients of a lobbying firm had not violated any rules or laws by also collecting large campaign donations from those contractors.”
The committee declared that legislator’s could solicit campaign donations from companies they are benefiting as long as the deciding factors in granting earmarks are ‘criteria independent’ of the contributions. A group of congressional investigators had contended that, in some instances the connection between donations and earmarks were clearly inappropriate. Ethics watchdog’s portions of the report that showed the private companies believed their contributions helped them win earmarks.

Those involved: Reps. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), James P. Moran,Jr. (D-Va.), Todd Tiabrt (R-Kan.), Peter J Visclosky (D-Ind.) and C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.) claimed vindication. Moran, whose former top aide once worked for the lobbying firm under investigation, said “it didn’t make a difference how well we knew someone.”

John Murtha (D-Pa.), Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, who died earlier this month, was also cleared. The six reps worked for Murtha. In 2008 the seven sponsored $112M in earmarks for clients of the PMA Group
while accepting more than $350k in contributions from PMA lobbyists and its clients. The PMA Group closed their doors a year ago after an FBI raid its offices as part of a larger investigation.

The committee also closed a case involving Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY) and five other lawmakers who traveled to the Caribbean, visiting resorts that were paid for by private corporations. The five were cleared but said Rangel, in being admonished, should have known about the arrangements. Calls for him to step down as chair of the Ways and Means Committee were rejected by Rangel. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said “They have said he did not knowingly violate the rules”. Rangel has other ethics related problems. One being his revised financial disclosure forms that potentially double his net worth. The revised forms show he has two checking accounts with up to $500k in each.

Earmarks have been around since the late 1700’s. Even Mary Todd Lincoln got in on abusing taxpayer largesse. A 2006 poll shows that people placed abolishing earmarks as the #1 priority.

Now, perhaps improvements in ethics enforcement have been achieved over the years. The public and watchdogs have kept up a drum beat in calling for reform. The Health Care bill is laden with 92 earmarks.

Seems with earmark ethics, the more things change the more they remain the same. If we haven’t corrected this problem over the last 200 years I believe I am correct in saying the government has failed in this regard. Earmarks, however lascivious, are protected by the ‘I’ll defend you earmark if you will defend mine’, attitude in Congress. True, Congress has the power of the purse but, permitting legislator’s access to tax funds to lavish on frivolous projects under the ruse of ‘bringing home the bacon’ should not be part of the process. There are explicit rules to disburse taxpayer funds. Earmark funds, once released are seldom accounted for by any official entity. Just so many no-bid contracts that would be a violation of rules under normal spending regulations.

Since the legislator’s will not, cannot properly police themselves I recommend a new approach. A 3rd Party with a different political attitude. Whereby, members act in an oversight capacity to monitor elected and appointed party officials relative to protecting Party trust and integrity in the eyes of the public. When an ethics violation is perceived and reported by 20% of the membership a mandatory up/down vote is scheduled for the perceived violator. If the official receives less than 65% favorable vote he/she is rejected from the Party. Legislator’s serving at the federal level would be voted on by the full Party membership, removing the ‘it’s the other legislators who are wrong, not mine’ syndrome. Legislators would switch from working the grey areas trending to ethical violations and operate where their Party's support is assured.

Otherwise, one closed loophole will beget another well defined loophole for another 200 years or so, IMO.

Posted by Roy Ellis at February 28, 2010 12:54 PM
Comment #296439

Roy, if the members of the two political party’s would force democratic reforms like this one on their politicians, making them more accountable to the party membership, a third party would be less necessary.

The first step towards greater democracy is for the party members to force their party leaders to be more accountable to the members. As it stands now, the only thing members can do is stay home and not vote or vote for the other party.

Posted by: jlw at February 28, 2010 4:25 PM
Comment #296444

jlw said: “The first step towards greater democracy is for the party members to force their party leaders to be more accountable to the members.”

I would differ a bit here. The first priority is to get the politician’s to acknowledge and respect the nation’s welfare and sustainability as THEIR first priority. Then to force them to acknowledge the American people today, and to come, and their requirements of their government as a majority.

Then, they can incorporate whatever measures for themselves and their parties after the above two priorities are met in their legislation. A simple rule which voters should require of their of representatives in exchange for their vote is this: “First, do no harm to Americans in the present or future by your legislation and vote.”

It’s a pretty simple and very comprehensive rule. If only voters would hold their representatives to account for it, with their vote, this nation would begin to improve its future prospects PDQ!

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 28, 2010 4:54 PM
Comment #296450

Your right David the first priority for politicians is to their constituents and their WISHES, not what the politician thinks their constituents need.

Posted by: KAP at February 28, 2010 6:15 PM
Comment #296453

One can understand how the political party could be seen by the Hamilton’s and jefferson’s as a way to covet influence and draw like minded folks together, something more than the individual could achieve.
But, political parties have given the Republic a rough ride. You get the refrain, from those legislator’s that will talk, that it takes too much money to stay in the game these days. Thus, earmarks and campaign donations are like hand and glove to the political system. Most legislator’s favor earmarks. A breath of fresh air, Jeff Flake, Arizona I believe, is adamantly against earmarks.

So, jlw, that’s why the two parties will not, cannot act to abolish earmarks. Therefore, if a system or process can’t be fixed then it is failed, IMO.

In the lower courts, if the slightest evidence can be shown that a case lawyer might be trying a case under a conflict of interest that lawyer is removed from the case. For legislator’s to accept donations from a firm while passing along earmark perks to that firm and not be charged with an ethics or criminal violation is beyond astonishing. Yet, we have been put upon thusly for over 200 years.

David, its apparent you are bummed out over this health care bill. My article alluded to 92 earmarks in the bill and that is fairly old information. And, your “first, do no harm to Americans —-by your legislation and vote” directly relates to the earmarks debacle.
Last year we saw more than $200M in advocacy ads that broke records for lobbying. More than 4500 lobbyist were hired to influence health care reform, or eight lobbyists for each member of Congress. Throw in the campaign donations and one can see where it is more likely that any HC bill approved will favor the corporations and not the people. IMO, making sausage in this way represents a failed system of government. If government can’t fix itself, it’s failed, IMO.

An article by David Ignatius in oday’s Wash Post related that twenty years ago the then Czech President, Vaclav Havel noted in a speech that political destiny is not fixed by material forces, as Marxist claim, but is a product of people and ideas. Further, that the salvation of this human world lies no-where else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness and in human responsibility.

Niall Ferguson, in Foreign Affairs magazine wrote that the Roman Empire’s final collapse “came within the span of a single generation” and the unraveling of the Ming dynasty took little more than a decade. The Soviet Union’s demise took less than five years, after Mikhail Gorbachev took power.

The U.S. has been ‘demising’ for over 30 years and some of us are starting to get real nervous. Our government is ‘broke’ or ‘failed’ in so many ways that if something doesn’t give soon we may very well take a place in history alongside the Roman Empire, etc.

Therefore, IMO, the only way to fix a ‘failed’ government, a government that can’t fix itself, is to crank up a competitive 3rd Party, with a different political attitude. Indeed, I think it’s a good idea to have 3 or 4 strong parties competing to represent the people. As it stands, the dupoly sees no 3rd party threat in the wings and find not reason to represent the people.
Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at February 28, 2010 7:00 PM
Comment #296461

David R. said: “The first priority is to get the politician’s to acknowledge and respect the nation’s welfare and sustainability as their first responsibility.”

This would be a fine thing if it could be achieved. It would mean that the country and our politicians would do things in accordance with logic and wisdom.

The problem is that what I think, what David Remer thinks and what KAP thinks about what is best to do to respect the nation’s welfare and sustainability can differ considerably. If you add what other Americans and our politicians think, the diversity of opinions gets greater.

All wise and all knowing is the realm of Gods, not humans. knowing this, it would be better if party members began deciding their course and dictating to their party leadership rather than the other way around which is the current position. As both Democrats and Republicans know, what their party leaders say and what they do are more often than not very different.

The health care debate was not a lesson in democracy. It was a situation in which the politicians strictly controlled what voices and choices would be heard and which ones would not be heard.

In addition, considering how the politicians and special interests can legally confuse the public by using the media to distort and even lie about the issues, it is even more unlikely that politicians will see the light, so to speak.

Posted by: jlw at February 28, 2010 10:03 PM
Comment #296463

Ask any politician of your choosing, Obama, Pelosi, Shelby, McConnell and they will tell you that they always put the welfare and stability of the country first.

Ask Dodd and he will tell you that he is not a quid pro quo politician even though he receives large contributions from the financial sector and rights legislation that is favorable to the sector. It’s not him, but rather the other Senators on his committee who are the quid pro quo politicians.

Posted by: jlw at February 28, 2010 10:36 PM
Comment #296471

KAP, I would agree with your comment, except for gerrymandering. The gerrymandered districts are a primary cause of the hyper-partisanship and grid lock over the main threatening issues facing our nation. Politicians from safely gerrymandered districts, some only 1 block wide, are free from any obligation to anyone but their Party, which is gerrymandered to be dominant in their district.

And the Party is all about sending propaganda to their constituents to achieve their primary objective which is power, and keeping it. Notice, that what is necessary and prudent for the nation and all the people, present and future, has no place in this gerrymandered relationship.

And both parties and their politicians are EQUALLY guilty of this corruption of our political system. Where districts are not drawn in these bizarre gerrymandered shapes of which I speak, their representatives are more moderate, and centrist, owing reelection to a greater constituent mix of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. These politicians from non-gerrymandered districts are not free to abandon the Independents and opposing Party in their representation; not if they want to be reelected.

There is a bill coming to Congress to eliminate such gerrymandering. Would you support such a bill in general? Or, are you going to support the corrupt status quo? It’s not a bait question. I don’t know either way, and would be interested in your answer.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 1, 2010 2:22 AM
Comment #296472

Roy said: “David, its apparent you are bummed out over this health care bill.”

Nope. Your imagination, Roy. I have 100% confidence that a health care reform bill will pass in the very near future. We are at a catastrophic tipping point in our history. Failure to pass health care reform is not an option for a sustainable American economy and society. One version or another will pass. The polls supporting the Public Option are undeniably against the politicians who obstruct this expectation of the majority of Democrats and Independents.

Democrats can’t keep a majority if they fail to meet this expectation. And Republicans will find out in November, they can’t return to power as the obstructionists to health care reform. There will be a health care reform bill passed, if not before Nov., then certainly before 2012. Both parties have an enormous amount to lose for failure to pass one.

Go for the third party option, Roy. It’s been needed for decades. But, there is no time on some of these tipping point issues to wait for a decade or two for one to emerge with control of a third of the Congress.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 1, 2010 2:30 AM
Comment #296473

jlw said: “The problem is that what I think, what David Remer thinks and what KAP thinks about what is best to do to respect the nation’s welfare and sustainability can differ considerably.”

That is a defeatist point of view. Try this alternative view on for size. The vast majority of Americans want to avoid federal bankruptcy. The vast majority of Americans want our economy to regain its strength and prevent a repeat of this Great Recession. The majority of Americans want a strong national defense, but, the 2010 defense budget of 3/4 to 1 trillion dollars is not acceptable in light of deficits and debt. The majority of Americans want gerrymandering of districts halted, and a return to bi-partisan legislative solutions which squeezes out the extremists in both parties. The majority of Americans want America to enjoy the best education for children in the world. The majority of Americans want a safety net for themselves and their families in the event their assets dry up through no fault of their own.

With so much common ground amongst Americans as a majority, with so much common sense prevalent about our nation’s objectives, the culprit and corruption of this will of the people rests not in the differences amongst the American people, but in the differing strategies Republocrats employ in their battle for power and control of the government. The evidence of this fact is the dramatic rise in numbers of Independent voters over the last decade.

So, the answer is quite simple. Those independent voters have the obligation to vote against those now sitting in our Congress and their horrible results, by voting against their own incumbent in their own district. That is the only leverage and power, besides campaign contributions, the Constitution grants them. They must use it for this purpose or assume the responsibility for the continuation of horrible results coming from our government.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 1, 2010 2:46 AM
Comment #296474

jlw said: “Ask any politician of your choosing, Obama, Pelosi, Shelby, McConnell and they will tell you that they always put the welfare and stability of the country first.”

And independents no longer buy any of it as credible. They have grown up as citizens and discarded belief in incumbent politicians along with notions of Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy. Therein lies the hope for the change in government that our nation’s future absolutely requires if we are to survive as a nation.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 1, 2010 2:48 AM
Comment #296491

I believe I am correct in relating that CNN’s Broken Government report stated that approx 10 Senators and 30 House members will not stand for election. It seems very likely that there will be a significant move to vote out incumbents this fall and again in 2012.
You can bet any bill designed to weaken the stranglehold of gerrymandering will be dead on arrival. Independents are beginning to go seek court support to gain access to party primaries, where, in many states they are blocked by the two major parties from voting for a candidate of their liking.
Throw in the TEA Party movement and one would have to be convinced there is a fissure beginning in the ice.
I am hopeful there will be a populist movement over the next few years rivaling that of the TEA Party movement. I harken back to the days of my favorite politician, Andrew Jackson, the uneducated, common man, who shut down the federal bank and paid off the national debt. Gave us a brief period of government of, by and for the people. I think right now I am the only populist in the US. I’m thinking about lightening up on the populist agenda presented by the Republic Sentry Party. Maybe delete the proposal to fill WH executive and appointee positions with civil service staff employees. A very good idea, IMO, but perhaps a little harsh for most. I will leave the proposal to relegate the Federal Reserve to an office under the Dept. of the Treasury. Jackson closed the Fed bank and used state banks for federal accounts. Then sold federal land to pay off the national debt.
Most agree that for the US will devalue the dollar way further to enable us to pay off the federal debt. Can you imagine the cost of goods and inflation we are going to see down the road? Perhaps it’s better to default and use the Chinese currency as the world’s trading currency.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 1, 2010 12:06 PM
Comment #296510

David, the reason I became a independent is because neither party represents my beliefs. Things aren’t nearly as cut and dried for me as for you. Example: I would dearly love to see my Republican representative get defeated but, If the Democrats pass their health care bill I will vote for any independent on the ballot. The more people in my district that do that, the greater the chances are for the incumbent.

Yes, many Americans are dissatisfied with the government they are getting. There is great anti-incumbent sentiment.

Will this lead to better government? Possibly in a less wasteful more productive way.

Will it change the course that capital has set for our country? No! The only thing that can change that is if capital becomes stupid and applies the same draconian measures of job loss and wage losses to the professional worker class as they have done to the blue collar workers.

IMO, the more we promote the laissez Fa ire free market capitalist model the more we will become a pariah among nations.

Posted by: jlw at March 1, 2010 5:18 PM
Comment #296519

Jlw, It seems likely that from the TEA Party and Independent voters some change will be forthcoming. We get change with each administration but not necessarily to our liking. That’s why I am pushing this idea of a 3rd party with a different political attitude. We need some 21st century politics put into the mix. By that I mean we should no longer be willing to vote for change just to have change. We need to know what reforms are coming and what the goals are.
Realizing we can’t get real, populist style reform through the duopoly I am advocating for a 3rd party that puts forth a reform agenda, on paper, so members and voters will know the goals for that party. The agenda should contain no social hot button issues like healthcare or abortion. The goal should be reform of the system of government that has been perpetrated by the duopoly over the last 200 years or so. Example: we need campaign finance reform so that we can have clean and free elections. Therefore, we must abolish Corporate Personhood and Money is Free Speech Law. Then set about to reform the way campaigns are financed. We need to remove the money influence from government and achieve clean, free elections before we can expect to have real healthcare reform, etc. Such a Party would need to set some rules in place to prevent the Party from being co-opted by the money influence.

For the last 30 years we have followed the Progressives, led by Europe, down the path of globalization. Perhaps their goal was to prevent a nuclear war, put all countries on the same footing and play nice. But, it’s clear that for the US to be a competitor in the global economy we have to get down to the level of the developing world. As the middle class begins to take the $4-5/hr jobs the draconian measure you wrote about will then be applied to the upper crust. Already is being applied. I think if you look at professional wages today you will see they are stagnant and in some cases declining. The effects of the recession should speed the fall of the upper crust.

Assuming we last long enough to begin paying off our debt it seems the Fed will have to devalue the dollar against our creditor’s currency. That means super inflation and high cost for material goods for decades to come, IMO.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 1, 2010 7:45 PM
Comment #296557

jlw, you should then, be encouraged by the bi-partisan announcement of an independent Consumer Protection agency inside the Federal Reserve. It will potentially have the reach and bite power to actually protect consumer interests from corporatism in all sectors of commercial enterprise. Max Baucus’ (R) stock just went up in my portfolio.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 2, 2010 2:27 PM
Comment #296560

I ain’t over fuming about the way Jackson and other Founder’s have been wrongly revised in the history books. More Progressive’s and Liberal’s at work, IMO. The revisionists are the same folks who sit on their couch or attend church in their natty glad rags without ever turning a hand to help extricate the down and out from gangs, drugs and prostitution. They might watch a little genocide on TV and write a letter to the Congressperson, etc. I’d love to see Old Hickory come back from the grave and have one of these talking heads make some off-hand remarks about his adulterous wife. I’d like to see their response to a challenge to a duel at 12 o’clock tomorrow. I suspect the Joy Behar’s on the circuit would shut down pdq.
Yet another agency to front for the old bait and switch game. We can’t audit the FED but they are going to put an agency inside the FED to protect the FED from itself. What about the toothless FDA, SEC, NHTSA, Consumer Affairs, etc? Maybe we should put some more agencies inside them.
Or, maybe we should stand up a 3rd party with a different political attitude - - -

Otherwise, we have the Corporatists-Socialist government we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 2, 2010 4:24 PM
Comment #296580

David R., I just read a article at the Nation that says that Dodd has just nixed the CFPA in favor of leaving the FED in charge of consumer protection.

I also read an article, I believe at Huffington Post which said that a clause in the legislation would give the Secretary of the Treasury veto power over any consumer protection legislation. I found this one a little hard to believe.

Posted by: jlw at March 2, 2010 9:10 PM
Comment #296581

“For the last 30 years we have followed the Progressives, led by Europe, down the path of globalization.”

Roy how do you justify this remark when the progressives/liberals have been out of favor since Reagan was elected? Corporate America wanted globalization not progressives, IMHO. Conservatives served it up under the guise of free market capitalism.
When you follow the money you will realize it was the capitalist and corporate conservatives not the socialist that benefited from globalization as practiced by our country, as they did in the past “globalization’s” of the economies of the major powers of the world. Globalization was inevitable Roy as technology progressed and as countries rebuilt from WWII. The way we handled the “South Americanization” of our country was conservative led with the union busting and such Roy.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 2, 2010 9:12 PM
Comment #296596

jlw, Dodd can’t be in favor of ‘leaving’ the Fed in charge of consumer protection, because the Fed has never been in charge of consumer protection in the way being proposed.

I hadn’t read your reference to the HuffingtonPost regarding the Treasury Secretary having veto power over the Fed’s consumer protection actions. However, on general principle, I believe in checks and balances against excesses and overreach, so, it doesn’t sound like a bad idea, in general. Of course, I would have read the specifics of the proposal to make a rational judgment about the reality of it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 3, 2010 2:13 AM
Comment #296604

Why I hope you are not copying the Radio and TV Pundits stance that the Government of America is broken since I do believe you would find it almost inpossible to prove Labor or Management has created the current problems. I do agree the Elite of the Democratic and Republican Civil, Political, and Religious Leaders are not wanting to live up to their end of the Societal Contract.

And why that may be out of Fear, Hate, Ignorance, or other reasons, IMHO America will not begin winning the War of Ideology and Terror until The Old Gaurd of Commerce and Industry listen to the Ideas of their Sons and Daughters of the 21st Century.

For why it is no longer if We the People should build a Bteer World, but what will that World look like once the Parents and Grandparents get through curshing the Grandchildrens’ Dreams.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at March 3, 2010 7:17 AM
Comment #296606

Two,three or twenty political parties makes no matter. In the relm of American ploitics any party that adopted your high standards would never get far from a coffee clatch. A more promising approach and one that does at least have a sliver of a possibility is exclusive public campaign financing.
The terms earmarks,pork barrel are mis-understood buzz words. The job of a congressman is to bring home the bacon. That is why we send them there. It should come as no surprise when they do it nor is it s surprise when companies that stand to gain from the earmarks also favor the congresspersons election and are allowed by law to help by making a legal and reported contribution. It stinks. The only way aroud it is public financing. That would remove the smell and clear the air. If a company gives money to a congressperson it would then be a simple bribery case.This might work for a few years anyway. You must understand that the wealthy MUST control the government. It is a class imperitive, like fish need water or dogs need rest. It has always been so. The trick is to make the needs of working people as important as the needs as the upper class to a given politicians future. The AFL_CIO realized that long ago.

Posted by: bills at March 3, 2010 8:45 AM
Comment #296622

David, IMO, Bill Clinton, a self avowed Progressive, did more to usher in globalization than did Regan or succeeding GOP’ers. Following is a website excerpt:

“When the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was negotiated, progressives endorsed NAFTA as one tool among many for taking control of our economic future. Three years later, NAFTA is fulfilling its promise. Our trade relations, the benefits to our consumers, the competitiveness of our workers, and the security of our investments are stronger for having completed NAFTA. The agreement was also a defining moment in U.S.-Mexico-Canada relations, securing and advancing many aspects of our relations with our neighbors in North America”.

Full story:

From “Cornered” by Barry C. Lynn: “Clinton did not merely transform the Democratic Party into a mirror of the GOP on this issue of such fundamental importance to the American people. But, if we add in his administration’s revolutionary rewriting of our trade laws, our banking laws, and our market regulatory laws, it becomes clear that Clinton set the process of monopolization and concentration of control by the few into overdrive”. Further he notes: “- - is that for a full generation there has been no public debate on the issue. And there has been no public debate because both of our major parties are now under the control of the same monop0list powers”.

Bills, you are right in that I am advocating for a populist reform that is too strong for most voters. I’ve been thinking I should cut the agenda of some 40-50 entities down to a couple, the prime being campaign finance reform (abolish corporate personhood and money is free speech, then donations by individuals only to the IRS, then to the FEC for distribution).

I disagree with those who believe earmarks and pork should be used to return their state’s tax dollars. Again, multiple wrongs don’t make a right. Direct election of Senator’s didn’t help ( a progressive agenda). Abolishment of pork and ear marks should remain high on the list of any populist agenda.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 3, 2010 12:29 PM
Comment #296626

Roy, you have identified some of the problems but, this Glen Beckian idea that the progressives are at fault is pure BS.

The liberals both followed conservatives ball and ran with it. The liberals decided to call themselves that years ago to put distance between themselves and the more worker radical progressives. There still are progressives in the Democratic Party but they are a distinct minority.

Liberals often claim to be progressives and they try to hang the progressive logo on their and the Republicans New World Order Corpocracy But, that context is totally alien to what progressive has stood for in the past.

Posted by: jlw at March 3, 2010 2:36 PM
Comment #296630

David R., I misspoke, Dodd is considering putting consumer financial protection in a department of the Fed.

The banks and the Republicans are totally opposed to an independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency with real regulators who could cause them trouble. They want consumer protection in the banker friendly Treasury or the banker friendly FED. Banker friendly people in the Treasury, the FED and the SEC both ignored and capitalized on the housing bubble. That is what the banks want, people who are willing to ignore danger for profit.

Obama is a pragmatist, he wants to sign legislation and he has made it known that he is not particularly interested in the effectiveness of legislation. Any legislation can be defined by politicians as a great step forward.

Posted by: jlw at March 3, 2010 3:12 PM
Comment #296632

jlw, I watch quite a few Beck shows and he tells it like it was. Yesterday, he spent some time on the progressives hiding behind the liberal label. He related that before the depression that some progessives were touting nazism, showed books and films of that era. Beck is saying that the progressives are leaning to far to left, again, and I have no reason to believe otherwise. Obama has proposed a $1B education bill, pushing government run HC, Cap & Trade and pulled off the biggest money grab in the history of the world. Too much socialism brought on by too much democracy. Like the Constitution and the Republic are a piece of ass wipe. Both parties worked for 30 years to run us down this rathole and I believe it will take some Jacksonian era populism to right some things.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 3, 2010 3:19 PM
Comment #296655

Roy, I have a few of questions. According to Beck, were Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush Mr. One World Order and thousand points of light, George W Bush and Dick Cheney really closet progressives?

According to Beck, are the Republicans closet progressives like the liberals in the Democratic Party?

Has Beck outed any Republicans and identified them by name as being part of the vast progressive conspiracy to destroy America?

Posted by: jlw at March 3, 2010 8:09 PM
Comment #296656

Roy, Sorry about that. I missed the part about both political parties being involved so I will assume that Beck has outed Reagan, the Bush’s and Cheney.

Posted by: jlw at March 3, 2010 8:17 PM
Comment #296680

“Beck has a very plausible answer which I am inclined to believe. That is, bankrupt the US to a point where a new global government, modeled on something between the EU and China with slave wages and just enough freedom to prevent anarchy”

Roy your recent writings prove how easy it is for one to fall victim to the half truths, misinformation and outright lies of someone like Glenn Beck. Listen Roy, what he is doing is nothing more than associating the term progressive with all things bad much like the far right did with the word liberal starting during the Reagan years and continues to this day.Bankrupting the country sounds familiar oh yeah “starve the beast” a Reagan conservative idea.

Before WWII some Americans supported the Fascist and Nazi movement many were prominent business men hardly progressives as we think of them today though Roy. Even some in the Hoover administration such as Andrew Mellon a Coolidge leftover,supported the Nazi/Fascist. Of course Hoover described himself as a progressive and was the republican party candidate for president. But don’t forget Roy follow the money, who writes Beck’s check?

Btw what does something between EU and China mean exactly? It seems to cover quite a bit of area doesn’t it?

Posted by: j2t2 at March 3, 2010 11:03 PM
Comment #296687


I agree with you about the problem, but your solution seems interesting, problematic, and perhaps more doable than my preferred solution - still, it aint gonna work…

I have had a steady drumbeat about this issue in my writing for years now. I believe that we need public financing of elections. We should also take personhood status and political free speech rights away from corporations. Allow lobbying, but take their checkbooks full of campaign cash away from them. Elected officials would still be motivated to bring “home the bacon,” so this would not entirely solve that problem but it would remove the corruption factor.

A lot of so called “bacon” is also actually good government. For example, someone should bring home a whole side of rebuilt roads “bacon” to Michigan. The infrastructural development would spur jobs and Michigan is, and has long been, in a full blown 1930s style depression for a very long time. Rebuilt infrastructure in Michigan would support economic growth and success in the future that would more than offset the cost in new tax revenues. For many decades Michigan provided excess tax revenues to support Senator Corker’s Tennessee when they were down. Now that we are down, all that the low life back stabbing Corker wants to do is to put a Tennessee toothpick in our back. But I digress…

So, public financing of elections, and revoking personhood status for corporations would end the corruption. Public political pressure would police the most egregious “bridges to nowhere,” and most of the rest is actually good government.

Now to a critique of your idea… First, the founding fathers were correct, political parties have a corrupting influence on political discourse because members will compromise their own principals for the broader good of the party. Third political party members would fail to police their ranks because they would want to retain political power for the sake of their broader political agenda.

Second, without first fixing personhood status and having public financing of elections, your third party would be just as corrupt as the Democrats and Republicans. In that sense; it is not the people who are corrupt, nor even the parties, it is the system itself, and anyone or any party that joins that corrupt system, no matter how good their intentions, are going to be corrupted by it.

Case in point, there are more Democrats listed in your article than Republicans. Democrats by their nature, and truly in their hearts, want to fight for the people - and they do try - but in this system - they sell out to corporations. They have to in order to even get elected. Your third party would be no better - probably worse.

That said, I think a third party, especially a party of moderates, is a good idea. One of the causes of grid lock is the polarization of this country, particularly of our parties. As a result of 911 the country has moved far too far to the right and both parties have followed it in that direction.

Liberal Democrats have moved to where moderate Democrats used to be. Moderate Democrats have moved to where moderate independents used to be. Moderate independents have moved to where moderate Republicans used to be. Moderate Republicans have moved to where hard core Conservatives used to be.

Hard core conservatives??? well… they have 5 heart attacks, they shoot old men in the face, they torture people even though it does not work, they make a “sport” of shooting wild dogs from helicopters, they call themselves foreign policy experts because they can see across the Bering Straights, they fly planes into IRS buildings, they call for Succession from the Union, they carry automatic weapons to Presidential speeches, they believe that the Lord Jesus will return in their life time even though their own toilet paper codex, (that’s Bible), says that no one will know, they believe that the President is a Kenyan born terrorist in spite of seeing his birth certificate and the Hawaiian news paper announcement of his birth, and they think that the earth is only 6000 years old. In other words, they are flat out nut jobs.

We see “tea baggers” purging moderate Republicans. We see liberal Democrats making the mistake of purging moderate Democrats. We need a moderate third party that could work with either end of the political spectrum to break grid lock. I see several possibilities for that to happen.

Right now the Republican Party is selling out to the tea baggers (with gay marriage, I suppose you could say Dems are aligning with tea baggers :) too)… The Republicans will eventually have to use Senator Corker’s Tennessee toothpick on the backs of tea baggers or moderates will leave. If the moderates leave and the Dems foolishly purge moderates, then the moderates will have no where to go, and may form a party of their own. On the other hand, if Republicans do use a Tennessee toothpick on the backs of tea baggers, then the tea baggers will leave, and the Republican party will become a moderate party that can actually work with Democrats to break grid lock.

None of this solves the problem that our country has shifted too far to the right. The real cause of our budgetary crisis is the cost of maintaining a global empire for the pleasure and profit the rich and powerful elite and the military industrial complex. We cannot afford to take care of our own people, maintain our own roads, and maintain a global empire…

I think that this comment should be a stand alone article on its own…

Posted by: Ray Guest at March 3, 2010 11:35 PM
Comment #296696

Roy, go back and take a look at the major pieces of legislation passed in the last two decades. NAFTA, The Chinese Trade Agreement, The Gramm Leach Bliley Act and other legislation geared towards the corporate globalization. Check out which groups in Congress voted for or against the pieces of legislation. If you do, you will find out that the dissenting votes were cast by those identifying themselves as members of the progressive caucus.

The progressives dissented because they knew that American workers and American consumers were going to be the ones getting shafted.

“why has Obama loaded up his admin with with several well known radicals,”

Those well known radicals are for the most part advocates for the middle class workers, lower class workers and the poor.

I suggest you check out both of j2t2’s links, they will tell you everything that is important to know about Glen Beck and the kind of people that sponsor him.

Posted by: jlw at March 4, 2010 1:09 AM
Comment #296697

jlw, I heard today on the news that the Fed Consumer Protection idea is DOA. Seems many agree with you, that it was just a plain old vanilla bad idea, putting the foxes in charge of the hen house, so to speak.

On the other hand, I am hearing a renewed respect of the Fed under Bernanke’s reappointment, even from some of the Fed’s ardent critics, and of course, from some of its governors. The Fed’s demonstrated ability and willingness to unwind the enormous leverage and bad asset balance sheets as the emergency abates, is what I am hearing as the basis for this renewed respect.

As far as I can understand it, I would agree. Still, putting bankers in charge of consumer protection is absolutely going to be a toxic idea in the wake of the banking sector’s contributions to this Great Recession. But, I wonder if too broad a brush isn’t being painted with here. Bankers in general are a pretty conservative lot and responsible at the regional and local levels. The financial atrocities seem to have been centered in the behemoth investment banking sector, and those bankers make up only a small percentage of the total bankers in the U.S.

My jury is still out on painting all, or most, bankers as untrustworthy.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 4, 2010 1:31 AM
Comment #296700

Its not that your ideas would be unattractive, its that without the means to get them out there they are meaningless.

Tip O’neal ,”Pork barrel is infrastructure spelled backwards”. If you live in town and you flush your tiolet and the turds go away that means that there is a past earmark/pork barrel funding result that is helping you out to this day. Federal grants are an important funding source for sewer plant construction,for example. They build bridges and highways etc. etc.This is a good thing.This is a legitimate function. The shaky part is when corporations that stand to benefit effectively buy these projects instead of relying on need and utility . Public campaign financing.

Large industrial countries will either have trade agreements OR colonies,by force if necessary. Its the nature of industrial capitalism.

Posted by: bills at March 4, 2010 5:59 AM
Comment #296726

Ray, great to know there is someone other than myself who would like to see campaign finance reform carried out. And, very much like you suggest: abolish CP and MIFS law. Then organize the donation process to accept only donations from indidividual citizens. Donations go to the IRS for accounting and bulk disbursement to the FEC. Breaks the audit trail. The FEC plans and disburses funds to the political parties.

IMO, both parties have failed in all respects. For 30 years they have been working against the taxpayer in putting globalization into place. Both parties have ignored the Constitution and the Republic. They have used Democracy to deliver us into Socialism. For instance, a Senator takes a stand and suggest Congress pay for extended unemployment benefits and most folks get angry at him. Like it’s a ‘worker’s right’ to draw unemployment. We all know that in a Democracy when people find out they can vote themselves a raise, a retirement, whatever benefits they want, they will and it leads to Socialism (we are getting closer) (left, not right) and it always ends up in anarchy.
For instance, I submit to you that college costs have steadily risen for the purpose of the gov’t rushing in to save the day with a $1B education stimulus, a cute way of gov’t taking over education.
You can tune in to Glenn Beck’s Friday show for details on how the youth are being indocrinated by government.

Otherwise, we have the Corporacratic-Socialist government we deserve.

Don’t agree with you critique. First, there is now way real campaign finance reform, as we’ve described it here, will ever see the light of day without first putting a populist reform minded 3rd party in place to do just that.
Second, it can’t be just another 3rd party. Has to be a party with a different political attitude. A party founded in a few rules designed to prevent the party from every being co-opted by the money influence, such as what is going on with the TEA Party movement today. Palin and others doing their best to fractionalize them, drag them to the Rep. camp. Also, a party whereby the members serve an oversight function for members who become elected/appointed officials. And, rules to the effect that if an official fails to pursue the party’s agenda or gets into ethical trouble the membership may vote to reject that official from the party. A national membership vote involving Congresspersons, otherwise state membership vote for state officials.

Also, I believe if you took the Bible thumpers out of the picture the US wouldn’t last as a country beyond six months.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 4, 2010 2:41 PM
Comment #296731

J2t2, an interesting excerpt from your ‘starving the beast’ url: “In 2001, when the federal government was projecting budget surpluses so large that Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan worried about a premature retirement of the national debt, Bush argued for tax cuts as a rebate of excess revenues. “American taxpayers have been overcharged, and on their behalf I am here to ask for a refund,” he memorably said in his first address to Congress.
As the surpluses melted away, the administration switched rationales and began to echo hoary, if discredited, supply-side theories for additional tax cuts to stimulate a flagging economy. Indeed, they still make those arguments, though they were deeply undercut earlier this year when the Republican-controlled Congressional Budget Office finally agreed to conservative demands that it take the economic effect of tax cuts into account and estimated that the president’s budget would have virtually no net effect at all.”
Jlw, Beck, in alluding to a government modeled on something between the EU and China left it largely to one’s imagination. I would assume something between Socialism and whatever China proclaims to be, democratic-communism or something close, but with wages bordering on slavery and diminished freedoms for all.
Excerpt from j2t2’s url: “In 1940 Graeme K. Howard, Vice President of General Motors, published America and a New World Order,”
Sounds familiar with OBama’s Transforming the World campaign. I looked over j2t2’s url’s, but to no avail. Sounds like the same stuff Beck refers to. Does lead one to believe that fires that large back then are still smoking in 2010. Surprised at the names that came up. Perhaps the most astonishing was Allen Dulles, ex-CIA Chief.
Doesn’t make me feel any better about knowing there is a bunch of radicals in O’s admin. Hil and O’ claim to be Progressive but I don’t know any names on the right. If I watch Beck for a short while I’ll find out fer shure. Jlw, what can you say about slick willie and NAFTA? Is he not a Progressive? I think I posted info earlier that referred to him being progressive.
Bills, agree ideas without a forum carry little weight. But, I do believe that history will record that the Internet saved the U.S. Republic. There are millions like me verbally abusing the government and calling for reform. IMO, several of the Congress folks resigning or standing down have seen the Internet light, realize the size of the fight in front of them and are eagerly bowing out for the more lucrative world of lobbying.
Just a thought before I finish. Police in Arizona use speed cameras provided by an Aussie firm, I believe. Proceeds from the numerous stops go to the Aussie’s. Globalization at it’s best, IMO.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 4, 2010 3:51 PM
Comment #296735

I think we need to bring Brokaw out of retirement and have hime add a final chapter to ‘The Greatest Generation’.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 4, 2010 4:12 PM
Comment #296745

“Jlw,Beck, in alluding to a government modeled on something between the EU and China left it largely to ones imagination.”

I don’t doubt one bit that he largely leaves the interpretation to the imagination of the individual. Because, talking heads often leave things largely to the individuals imagination.

The EU is basically capitalist but, they do use taxpayer dollars to help business just like we do. What sets them apart from us is they have more social aspects in their economy that provides a better living for their workers, higher pay, better pensions, better vacations and better health care.

The Chinese are a one party totalitarian regime which in recent years has formed a partnership with foreign corporations.

I agree that our government and corporations are moving in the direction of China but, in our case it is becoming more like a one party government controlled by corporations.

“Jlw, what can you say about slick Willey and NAFTA? Is he not a progressive?

No, he is not a progressive as in workers rights, worker protections and regulation of capital.

Clinton is a corpocrat and I guess a corporate progressive as in what is best for the corporations is what is best for America.

Look up the progressive movement in a history book and you will see that it was a workers movement with socialist tendencies. Capitalists consider socialism their greatest enemy and they will do just about anything to discredit it and anything that they can remotely associate with socialism, including sponsoring talking heads like Glen beck to do their dirty work.

They label any legislation that promotes workers rights, socialism.

Roy, I am going to give this one more shot and then I am going to quit this subject for a while.

Who sponsors Glen Beck and the other conservative talking heads? The corporations do.

Who sponsors the liberal talking heads? The corporations do.

That should, IMO, tell you all you need to know about both camps.

The one person who truly tells us like it is doesn’t have a TV show because no one is the least bit interested in sponsoring him, especially the corporations. He can’t get into presidential debates because the two parties control them.

His name is Ralph Nader and he is virtually a non entity in America because he tells the truth about what has happened to our country and the powers want to silence him as much as humanly possible. They will also do anything necessary to discredit him should he gain a higher level of support from the people, including sicking the talking heads of both parties on him. These coupled with the fact that the majority has become so enslaved to our corporate system and are so bombarded by misinformation that the can’t think straight.

Take a look around and see what is actually happening. The corporations, through the use of campaign contributions, have obtained so much influence over our government (both parties) that they have turned our government against the workers.

That is why our government is pushing the Corporate One World Order also known as globalization.

This is why 20 million middle class jobs have been shipped out of this country.

This is why 20 million illegal immigrants have been allowed into this country.

This is why you see more and more of our tax and consumer dollars going to corporations.

In my opinion, there is a correlation between the rise in corporate power and the rise in the number of investors. This is why liberals give lip service to the terrible things that are happening to the middle class while joining forces with the Republicans to pass the corporate legislation that is destroying the middle class. A big conflict of interest there for the liberals.

Posted by: jlw at March 4, 2010 7:58 PM
Comment #296746

“Sounds familiar with OBama’s Transforming the World campaign.”
Well Roy you sure have me on this one.I googled “Obama’s transforming the world campaign” and the worst I could find is:

You had me wondering what with Gleen Beck and such, so I went to conspiracy information and couldn’t find anything dastardly about it so please enlighten us about this nefarious plot.

“Doesn’t make me feel any better about knowing there is a bunch of radicals in O’s admin.”

Jeez Roy please define radicals. And while your at it throw a few names out so we can understand how Beck defines radical. You know when you throw out wild accusations with no names and other pertinent information one could think it is time to get rid of the tinfoil hat and turn off the TV when Beck is on. This is pretty scary stuff having radicals and such at the white house. What would Washington, Jefferson Adams and Madison think?

“Hil and O’ claim to be Progressive but I don’t know any names on the right. If I watch Beck for a short while I’ll find out fer shure.”

I always thought Bill Clinton was the best repub/conservative president since Eisenhower. What a surprise to find out Beck didn’t have any names of progressives on the right, I am in shock. But let me help you out with a list of well known self admitted progressives in Congress, it’s not like they hide it after all.

Yes Roy some progressives thought NAFTA was the way to go,

But then so did some conservatives,

Ya know Roy could it be that Beck is just another far right mouthpiece that gets his marching orders from the RNC? At some point in time well meaning people need to realize they have been duped with all of this radical socialism charges by their conservative leaders, what then?

Posted by: j2t2 at March 4, 2010 8:07 PM
Comment #296749

jlw, agree, we’ve beat this dog near to death. Today’s take on Beck. Ranted against a education poster saying ‘education is a right’. He says not, and I and Judge Napolitano agree. Unlike the TEAM Partier’s, the education crowd was in the streets today demanding their ‘rights’.

Tomorrow he will cover history revision in our textbooks. Noted that Xmas is being dropped from text books and one of the more popular holidays. Also, anything ending in ‘man’ is being changed to ‘person’.

Relative to small and large size government and states rights Napolitano said the US was about 150 degrees out from what the Founder’s founded.
Large Fed - Small State
Abolish the income text - taxation is a theft
I agree, we need to ‘starve the beast’

Going to pick up a copy of Napolitano’s book, “Lies The Government Told You”

Unfortunate, IMO, that the US chose to follow EU down the socialist path. Took the entire world down.

I agree with you on the corporatist government thing but I’m starting to think there is more than just greedy corporations at play here. I think O’Riley is coming around to Beck’s way of thinking. I’ll continue to watch.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 4, 2010 8:53 PM
Comment #296806

Roy Ellis

We are are at completely opposite ends of the political spectrum. I agree with nothing that you said other than the need to get special interest money and power out of the system.

If you go far enough right, you come back left. If you go far enough left, you come back right. The political sprectrum is really a circle. Maybe we are both in danger of going round the bend - so be careful - you might become a socialist :)

Posted by: Ray Guest at March 5, 2010 12:13 PM
Comment #296807

Agree that we disagree Ray. Beck lays it out on a straight horizontal line. Beginning at the far right - anarchy. To the left is our Republic, next left, Progressives/liberals, next left, the -ism’s, socialism-fascism-nazism and communism. He adds the reps and dems as vertical bars moving left and right on the horizontal bar according to how the political winds blow. It does make sense that at the far ends of the horizontal bar you would have anarchy, so I can agree with your circular spectrum.

I am advocating for centrist populism in our Republic. That should place me right in the center of the ‘Republic’ on the horizontal bar, which is a far cry from ‘socialism’. I believe we have way way too much democracy, leading to a most of our problems.

I think, as a nation of immigrants we all come to the table with our own interpretation of the Constitution, Democracy, laws, justice, etc. We are performing much like the Babylonians did in constructing the tower of Babel. The object is build a tower but we just can’t git er dun.

I wonder how many folks believe that education is a right under our Constitution. Or, are cognizant that we weren’t supposed to be a Democracy. Or, that the SC court, in upholding law that allows foreign government officials to place TV ads for/against candidates/incumbents in our political system is violating the Constitution. As is Corporate Personhood and Money Is Free Speech law. Napolitano’s book will be a real eye opener fer shure.

I propose we abide by the Constituion in building the tower. Using education: instead of violating the Constituion by having Federal control of our public education system, giving $1B in taxpayer assistance, etc, why not a Constitutional approach. Bust up the big ones, creating competition and jobs, giving those on the lower rungs of the ladder a chance for upward mobility, holding a well paying job. In that way folks can afford HC and education. If it gets to where they can’t, then bust up the big one’s some more, etc. The government shouldn’t be into setting pay scales or weighing in on bonuses. You will find that a CEO in charge of a 30 bed hospital won’t be raking in megamillions in bonuses relative to the CEO in charge of 100k beds. What a waste of words.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 5, 2010 3:25 PM
Comment #297568

Here is the bottom line. Our governemt is to big. The checks and balances system that is supposed to be in place is proving to be ineffective. Partisanship has screwed up more than we are gonna ever put back together.

Posted by: Chris at March 19, 2010 3:35 PM
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