political mapIn politics we assume that when we see one side as wrong, the other side must be right. Reality doesn’t always conform to that notion and often times, both sides are wrong. We hear complaints about government from folks of all stripes but what if we realize that there has been wrongdoing by both parties? Our political landscape, like an interfaith church, is comprised of a plethora of people that have different views and goals. Just as it is difficult to function as an interfaith church, our nation must learn to compromise for the greater good or the United States as we know it is damned to Hell.

America was built on the notion of checks and balances. This means that different parts of government do not have unilateral power. This also means that gridlock is a natural occurrence. Currently, the checks and balances model just doesn’t work. It’s “agree with us or the government will shut down” and, in the alternative, “If you do this, we will veto it or sue you.” The people of the United States lost their government under the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case. That case simply says that big money can now own America, and it does!

Our leaders, both Republican and Democrat, can never get full congressional support on any issue because many congressmen are deeply entrenched in outside money and irreversibly polarized on everything. This amounts to what Georgetown University Professor Mark Tushnet calls playing “constitutional hardwall” in trying to further goals. This occurs when both politicians use theatrical tactics that are technically legally permissible, but damning to productivity. This includes using the filibuster and results in gridlock.

The filibuster was used by Senate Democrats to slow the agenda of then President George W. Bush. When Barack Obama took office in 2009, Republicans started using this technique constantly. The number of cloture votes (those taken to try and end a filibuster) used to be less than 1 per month in the 1970’s; it currently averages more than once per week. This means that the basic practice of governance is changed for the worse and will not get better without a collapse or other calamity.

Even routine measures are made much more difficult since it takes about 2 weeks per filibuster just to sort through the minutia of procedure. This uselessness makes us consider, do the sovereign states even need a Congress at this point?

What do you think?

Opposites Don’t Attract

traitor senatorsWe have left the era of bi-partisanship. It will be a word lost in the legacy of the good old days. The new word is gridlock and drama. This week the New York Post claims that we have traitors in the Senate. 47 Senators penned a letter to Iran during sensitive negotiations in hopes of undermining the office of the Presidency and in breach of the Logan Act. The House leader, Mitch McConnell, invited the Israeli Prime Minister to indirectly campaign while he was in the midst of a tight race back home in Israel because the Republicans want Congress to dictate foreign policy (at least when a Democrat is in office), which is not allowed for in the Constitution.

The Koch brothers and big oil companies and have more of a voice than you do in policy decisions. “News” nowadays has turned into mind control. Fox News has demonized every Democrat in the United States while MSNBC does the same to Republicans. We are at war with ourselves.

Often, our editorial board did look for the good in the future; we embraced hope and concern, compassion and cooperation, but nowadays that is a tall order. If one looks on the horizon, will a Republican President or Democratic President bring us the change we need? We think not because big money owns the future of these parties. When was the last time you heard someone say that their vote doesn’t really amount to anything? This is probably true, unless we as ministers, spiritual seekers, and just plain citizens stop the corporations and throw the bums out and start anew.

Polarized political parties are inevitable with our current system. It only feels new to us given the fact that we are coming off a time of unusual bi-partisanship after World War II. The gridlock we are seeing is a return to the natural state of our government, historically speaking. This is why George Washington warned us against handing over so much political power to the parties in our system.

Primaries are also a source of polarization in our government. If you think they work, look at who gets the most money and who gives it to them. It’s the kingmakers (1%) vs. all of us (99%). Apparently free speech is money and that means a few of us have far more speech than the rest of us.

If you were in office, the best policies for reelection are those that your base expects you to enact and the best response from your opponents is to stop you at all costs, even to the point of absurdity. Take the current immigration debate as an example. The congressional Republicans were previously willing to enact reforms but the moment the Obama administration agreed with them, they acted as if it was suddenly poisonous, and politically speaking, it probably would be. Not because it is inherently a bad idea (after all, both sides had expressed a desire for immigration reform), but for no other reason than it now being part of the political game of chess where each move has to be calculated and reconciled with potential future moves. Appearing to compromise with Obama would cost individual Republicans come the next primary vote just as Obama’s failure to deliver reforms could mean trouble for the Democratic National Party in the 2016 race which would explain his “constitutional hardball” in taking executive action.

It may not be anything new, but that doesn’t excuse the lack of functioning of our government. We have real needs in the now and on the horizon that are being neglected in a high stakes game of politics. What will it take before we snap out this pettiness? What will fix us?

26 comments

  1. Thom Keach says:

    In my opinion the only thing that is going to save our country at this stage of the game is for the average Joe & Jane to stand up for each other and to quote a great movie line: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” Sadly this is as likely to happen as a field mouse knocking down a hawk trying to get lunch. We as a people in general are just too apathetic to actually do anything about our giant government machine. If you don’t believe that just look at the number of people that do vs. don’t vote in state and federal elections. We have also become a nation of sheep depending more and more on government to take care of us from cradle to grave, ie:
    welfare is rampant and those people on it will continue to support the status quo as long as they get what they want…

  2. Jack says:

    Very well written and said, however; as we know by history “ALL GREAT NATIONS FALL”. It may be just my opinion but I see an eventual fall of the USA due to the “LOVE OF POWER AND MONEY”. Probably not in my life time, I will be 70 in June, but within the near future. My fear is that it has gone to far for to long to change.

    1. W J CHAPUT says:

      I luv ya’, Jack–but you’re not making any sense. Give it another shot.

      1. Jack says:

        Thanks W J, like I said it is just my opinion making sense or not. I have little faith in our political parties and our country is ran by the big money makers who make decisions based on what it will do for them, not the good of the people. Much of how I feel comes from a Bible College I graduated from and past history. I guess it also comes from where people live, myself, I live in Hud housing and see things from a poor mans perspective. I appreciate the love, it is always needed. I truly hope I am found to be wrong in my thinking.

    2. Kathy Kovachick says:

      How many of you voted for Obama? And are YOU still PROUD OF HIM! HE TOOK AWAY MY FREEDOM, MY FREEDOM OF CHOICE! HE CHANGED THE WORKING CONDITIONS, NOT FOR THE GOOD. HE IS A MUSLIM THAT CLAIMS TO BE A CHRISTIAN. DONALD TRUMP I KNOW WHAT HE IS.

  3. J. Paul Lanier says:

    The routine political dialog among citizens is getting out of hand. At breakfast this morning with a group of friends, one called me “un-American” because of my political leanings. He kept going on and on about it. The curious thing is, he spent a lot of time asking about my political leanings before launching a personal attack. Apparently some think their beliefs are not personal choice, but represent absolute truth. I think some search for reasons to become angry. This seems to be happening more often these days.

  4. Daniel Gray says:

    Ok ENOUGH of this stupidity! There are more Millionairs and Billionairs from the left then from the right. I have had all I can stomach of people on the left whining and complaining about the left wings boogymen, the Koch brothers.have you ever noticed that they dont say boo about Tom Styer-Steven Speilberg-Hank Paulson who are using their billions to dictate to the EPA what they want? Or how about Mark Cuban who is trying to get the labor department to ease up on teams like his Mavericks. Or Peter Lewis (Progressive Insurance) who supports Media Matters, a well know left wing attack site. Or Michael (the nanny) Bloomberg of Bloomberg News and former mayor of NYC, who has sworn to give 1 Billion of his own money for the left. and lets not forget Mark Zuckerberg of facebook who has not met a left wing idea he does not like. Or David Geffin who gives his money exclusively to left wing causes. In fact in the election defeat of Kay Hagen, former Sen of N Carolina, it was the left that outspent the right by well over 5 to 1 making this the most expensive election in US history. Or how about Judity Avery, who’s father invented the stickers children seem so fond of, so far has donated close to 1 billion in left wing causes. Or the misnamed “Democracy Alliance” which requires all of its 650 members
    (hundred millionairs and billionairs) to pay $30,000 a year in dues and to donate no less then $1,000,000 to left wing causes) just to be a member. Or Keith Mestrich, president of the union-owned Amalgamated Bank who is still owed over 10 million dollars of union members money by the DNC who has yet to pay it back when they took loans to elect Obama. I could go on with another three or four pages of lists of left wing billionairs but space
    does not allow it. I just am getting so sick and tired of the hypocritical nature of the left whining about the Koch brothers when they have more billionairs then the right by well over 60 to 1. And dont even get me started on George Soros. A man who is not even a US Citizen but so far has donated over 1.8 billion dollars to left wing causes here in the US in direct defiance and violation of US federal election laws. Yet he is still running around free as a bird and not one left winger has refused Soros money and Holder has refused to even try and charge Soros for these federal felony violations.

    So maybe before any more left wing leaning complainers want to whine about the Koch brothers, maybe they should look at the mess in their own party and the money people there first. When they clean that sewer up, then and only then can they complain about the Koch brothers. And isnt it just so strange that the Left has far more millionairs in Congress then the right does by 10 to 1, yet they want to complain? Give me a break! Maybe the writer of this article should do some homework before they start with this false fantasy they are seemingly complaining about

    1. w chaput says:

      Everything’s left-right to you, Dan?

      America is on the skids.

      We have the best Congress money can buy. Corporate America runs the joint. We don’t make anything. Our dissolute governments deliver only crumbs to Americans. Banksters don’t get crumbs. One percent of America owns 53% of our wealth. We have NO universal health care and pay more for drugs than anyone in the world. Our rusted American infrastructure is too broken to fix. Our food is spongy, clotted. American crowds look like water buffalo. Depleted American water supplies are chemical sumps. Our roads are dangerous embarrassments built in the thirties and fifties. Our housing is second-world dilapidated. We have no trains and an air transport system so ghastly nobody wants to fly. Our hospitals are filthy. American power grids are held together with paper clips. Our public schools are a waste of time—and most Americans don’t know why water boils.

      American exceptionalism is an exceptional delusion. Ninety percent of Americans watch televised human cartoons more than four hours each day. American culture looks like halftime at a Bama football game.

      The most important American holiday? The Super Bowl.

      What should we do? Well, we could stage our 288th military incursion since 1946.

      Is it not clear that the Cheney-Bush Junta was simply one disaster after another? Is it not clear that Teapublican heebejeebees owe their lives to the flamers at FOXCARTOONNEWS and hopelessly delusional nightmares? Americans, with their average IQ of 79, chanted wild enthusiasms for the profligate foul felons of the Cheney-Bush Junta who bludgeoned America’s reputation into a carnival masquerade.

      Cheney and his Boy President will never be punished for our total demise.
      Would that they be hanged on the Capitol steps.

      Is it no wonder that a still-angry world cheers America’s total eclipse?
      And hopes we never again see the light of day?

      Hey, Danno, wanna date with Gretchen Carlson? She’s easy. Say the word.
      Over to you, Danno.

      1. Daniel Gray says:

        Yes it is. Left right-good bad-up down. Its not rocket science nor is it the image you wish to try and imply.

        All I said is if you are going to whine about the Koch Brothers, then you had better first start with the left wing billionairs in your own party. And the left had better start refusing ANY money from Soros, a person who is not even an American citizen and by federal law is NOT allowed to have anything to do with any portion of our political process NOR is he allowed to donate to same..

        yet here you go whining and trying to make false implications just because you dont like the truth.

  5. w chaput says:

    Hey, Danno

    Before we start our live-hunt for Teapublican nutbags, is there any chance you could go back and get an education–at least learn how to spell and punctuate? Think?

    1. Daniel Gray says:

      Awww, pwoor little child. Cant refute the truth so you start in on personal attacks? You do know that when a person has nothing to come back with or has no leg to stand on they start in with these attacks. Guess we know which one you are now. Thanks for playing.

  6. w chaput says:

    Probably not.

    1. Daniel Gray says:

      yet another of your childish replies when you cant refute facts. Wow, this is so easy destroying your posts and ideals with facts that its not funny.

  7. rev.roy williams says:

    Everything that is going on today was meant to happen. The USA will fall .it dosent matter who caused it. The USA has to fall inorder for the evil one to control the world gov. The bible says he will rule the world. That includs us. The biggest thing we were commanded to do was to live within the world,but not to be part of it. Thats what we must begin to do. When We hire it should be people of the same faith and like mindness.
    WHen we buy it should be from one of our our. When we sell the best deal should go to our people. Remember money is what rules.
    Think about the influence we as a group would have in congress if our money stopped flowing to the special interest group.

  8. Daniel Gray says:

    Never made that statement that you are trying to imply I did. Nice try but massive FAIL.

    See, when you have nothing to refute the facts with people like you start with personal attacks, and when these dont work then you start attacking religions. Seems that the best you can do is call names and try to impune others, that makes you a very sad little creature and worthy of our pity and scorn.

    1. w chaput says:

      Hey, Danno . . . I implied nothing. I offered you a concise outline of where right/left, damned/saved Teahadi loonies always lurch. Your bifurcated notions with no shades of gray promise only to increase the fear you already feel. Presumably you’re threatened by a very pink world of shadows and ghouls? Am I attacking you? You bet I am, attacking you for your long-ago bankrupted, simple-minded proclivities and buffooneries parroted by thoughtless flamers. Hell, Aristotle knew as long ago as that how defective was binomial reasoning that always brings us to the spear.

      Our world is leaving you behind, Danno. Troglodytes and other Teahadi Brethren of the Caves sense how slim are your prospects for survival.
      And that means violence, hate, mendacity awaken to slither through the caverns of your minds.

      Thanks to the benighted jingoists of the crazed right, America long ago shot its nasty bolt. The world doesn’t like us. They’ve gone on without us. Teahadi loonies form the stuff of American caricature in Paris and London and Montreal. The Dutch regard people with your ideas as mongoloons. And the Swedes! Don’t even start. The Aussies usually just point and laugh.

      Fact: American cops killed 111 people in March, 2015. British cops killed 52 people from 1900 to 2015. See what I mean?

      Teapublican fascism will only sink what’s left of Our Union. The violence you yearn for is evident in your defective language.

      Has it ever struck you that the smarmy American right has its reflection in the equally blind ninnies who’ve given Russia a precise analog of second-world decay and bad breath your rightist pals have given us? Same crowd.

      Shades of gray, Danno. Gray and pink.

      Be afraid. Listen to the snake.

      1. Daniel Gray says:

        Yep, all you have done is shoot the lefts “wad” and lose it at that. Do some research child. EVERY war or conflict we have been in except for one has been started by Democrats. That is a fact and validated and documented by the Library of Congress and the US War Department in the Pentagon. And sorry for you but I would MUCH rather listen to them then you.

        Nice try but massive fail yet again

        1. w chaput says:

          We haven’t had a War Department since 1947.

          1. Daniel Gray says:

            Um sorry, but if you have ever been TO the pentagon, there IS a section that is called the “War Department” and it still is completely and totally active. And if you would have bothered to check you would find that we still DO have a War Department in the US Pentagon, we just dont have a Sec of War (that name was changed to the Sec of Defense)

            Dont believe me, then ask yourself, just dont get mad at me when they tell you that I am right and you are wrong.

            Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs
            1400 Defense Pentagon
            Washington, DC
            20301-1400

  9. joestutler says:

    Some things that would help:
    Remove the influence of big money from all candidates and campaigns. Repeal Citizens United. Make any and all donations to politicians a matter of easily-searchable public record. Put in place strict donation limits, and cap them at a level that any and all Americans might be able to afford – say $100 per candidate per cycle (including in-kind donations). Criminalize violations – not just fines but time.
    Preserve the Right of *all* citizens to vote, regardless of felony or incarceration status.
    Enforce the laws and rules regarding not-for-profit involvement in campaign process. Rescind the tax-exempt status of any religious institution which engages in election influencing retroactive to first instance of doing so.

    1. Daniel Gray says:

      You cannot. The only people who have the right to overturn a US Supreme Court decision is the US Congress (Article 3 Section 2 Paragraph 2 last sentence) and they are not going to do this as if the business has no say, then its called taxation without representation, and I remember that we fought a war over that.

      And there is a very infinitesimal chance that the Supreme Court will overturn themselves. Since 1787 there has been over 22,000 attempts to change the Constitution and only 28 have actually happened. And there has been over 18,200 attempts to get the US Supreme Court to overturn their decisions, and it has happened only 10 times. Source? US Supreme Court Archives and the US Library of Congress.

      Citizens United cannot and will not be changed.

  10. Daniel Gray says:

    Wrong again w chaput, I understand that intelligence is not your best asset but you should really read Article 5 of the Constitution BEFORE you show your ignorance of same again. IN Article 5 it clearly calls what you are saying a “Convention of States” The problem is that you need 34 of these states to call for this CoS and they only have 32, or had. See you have 50 states total. 10 of these states have absolutely REFUSED to have anything to do with a CoS. That brings you down to 40, still within reach but a lot more difficult. You now have 6 more states that have REVOKED their permission for a CoS, thus bringing you down to 34 states, meaning you would have to get every state left to say ok for this before it can happen. The problem you are running into is you have yet ANOTHER SIX more that will be revoking their authorization for a CoS, thus bringing you down to 28 states. And you need 34. So by the records in the US Library of Congress, there is no possible way for the states to call for anything.

    Now lets say that by some miracle you got all 34 states. That STILL isnt going to help you because you and the CoS can only make SUGGESTIONS on amendments that the Congress would still need to pass by 2/3rds before they can be sent to the states. And the states would need 38 states to ratify the amendments, and dont count on the approval votes for the COS to be used as votes to approve the amendments as you cannot vote to approve something that did not exist yet now can you? And here is yet another dirty little secret, The US Supreme Court has stated that Congress CAN put a time limit on the ratification process according to Dillon v. Gloss (1921) “We do not find anything in the article which suggests that an amendment once proposed is to be open to ratification for all time, or that ratification in some of the states may be separated from that in others by many years and yet be effective. We do find that which strongly suggests the contrary.” And this was upheld yet again in the Colman decision of the following year.

    and the president CANNOT be involved in any way in this process
    Hollingsworth v Virginia (3 US 378 [1798])

    Congress can place a time limit on the ratification of any amendment, it has a minimum of 5 years with a maximum of 7 years. Guess which one the Congress shall use? Hint, it wont be the 7 year time limit. Thats why you dont have an ERA amendment to the Constitution, they couldnt get it done in the 7 year time frame, and it was more popular then any of the amendments a CoS can suggest. Now if they couldnt do it, then what makes you think you could? And there is nothing in Article 5 that sets a time limit on when Congress has to vote on the suggested amendments. They could vote on them 6oo to 3000 years in the future and STILL be doing what the Constitution wants and requires them to do and there is nothing you can do about it.

    Oh and one more thing? keep in mind that all it takes is 13 states to end any amendment.

    You really DONT know what you are talking about do you? So are you posting here only to see your posts?

    1. w chaput says:

      10th Amendment. Clear as a bell.

      Pentagon “War Department” (as you imagine it)—these are original and historical Pentagon inscriptions from 1943. There is no War Department. Jeebus, you really are thick.

      I was Captain 2nd Armored Division, 2/1 Cavalry, armored company commander, Long An Province, Vietnam, 1966 & 1967. And I knew Ernie Harmon.

      I can keep up this shit forever.

      1. Daniel Gray says:

        And you can keep being shown that you are wrong. Now as I read the 10th Amendment, it reads like this

        “Amendment X

        The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

        Now you want to explain exactly HOW this supposedly fits into the Pentagon having a War Department or not as only you seem to be able to make that designation.

        I guess we now know that the “thick” person is you as you are making a claim that was never mentioned to somehow try and justify your point that you have been proved incorrect on.

  11. W J CHAPUT says:

    Not surprisingly, you haven’t a clue.

    Having anything to do with you is like hoping for muskie and coming up with Asian carp. You’re not interesting. You’re not the brightest porch light on the block. Talking to you is like asking a ball of tar if the gorgeous second act of Les Abencérages is too short. And along with most American lowlifes, you have no sense of humor—you seem to thrive on making what you believe are pithy rejoinders, but you read basic English so poorly, you persistently miss the point. And you ignore what goes over your head—which is almost everything. You have no sense of balance, no natural inquisitiveness—only flaming vituperation and bunk.

    You’re like pulling off a Tennessee interstate and finding a Cyclone fence and an empty trucking company parking lot when what’s needed is a bar and grill and a flashing blue Lone Star sign. You have all the excitement of mold. You know how to shout, but you don’t know how to fight. You’re as rigid as asphalt and not as interesting. I pity any women around you, who are likely named Rita or Crystal or Candy.

    Adios, pollo. You’re only a waste of time.

    1. Daniel Gray says:

      Yep, you have just proved that its really YOU that does not have a clue about what is going on. And I dont have to worry as your porchlight burned out a long time ago. I challenged you to show me ONE court or Attorney that has said they can violate the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution. So far you have not provided even one. I asked you to provide or show even ONE court or attorney that says you can ignore or violate a US Supreme Court decision…again you have not shown one.

      Instead you go on blathering about the 10th Amendment which does not have anything to do with this issue, and when its proved it does not, then you get mad and claim you are supposedly done with me. yet you still have not answered the question put to you, but instead are running away with you tail tucked between your legs. So why wont you answer the question? If it is as simple as you imply, then obviously you should be able to show where I am wrong and that you can violate the Constitution and ignore US Supreme Court decisions….right?

      So why are you trying so hard to not answer? Could it be that I am and have been correct all along and you have not and that you are just too ashamed to admit it? Or could it be that you cant find any attorney or court that backs your claim?

      And I would be careful who you are calling a chicken child. YOU are the one running away here, not me. YOU are the one refusing to answer the question posed to you and YOU are the one calling names like a spoiled little child. So I guess that means YOU are un niño con una mierda llena de pañales and you prove that with each post. So answer the question posed to you, or are you going to chicken out on it yet again as you cant?

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