Australian comedian Jim Jefferies absolutely nails the ridiculousness of the America gun culture and the issues of gun control.
A couple highlights:
In Australia, we had the biggest massacre on earth, and the Australian government went: “That’s it! NO MORE GUNS.” And we all went, “Yeah, all right then, that seems fair enough, really.” Now in America, you had the Sandy Hook massacre, where little tiny children died. And your government went, “Maybe … we’ll get rid of the big guns?” And 50 percent of you went, “FUCK YOU, DON’T TAKE MY GUNS.”
You have guns because you like guns! That’s why you go to gun conventions; that’s why you read gun magazines! None of you give a shit about home security. None of you go to home security conventions. None of you read Padlock Monthly. None of you have a Facebook picture of you behind a secure door.
By the way. Most people who are breaking into your house just want your fucking TV! You think that people are coming to murder your family? How many fucking enemies do you have?
Seriously, watch Jefferies’ whole rant.
(h/t to the folks at Vox for bringing this awesomeness to my attention.)
Sure there are aspects of the law that need to be tweaked, but unfortunately our Congress would rather destroy the Affordable Care Act rather than fix it. Obamacare-haters made a living (and got elected) with false apocalyptic “predictions,” but now refuse to admit how horribly wrong they all were (I put predictions in quotes because they knew it was complete bullshit when they offered them).
For the record, stock prices did not fall, they’ve skyrocketed. Jobs haven’t diminished, they continue to rise at the highest rate since the recession. Premiums didn’t soar, insurers didn’t go out of business, hospitals aren’t going bankrupt, America didn’t explode and the world didn’t end.
Yet morons still continue to lie about the benefits of Obamacare, and their idiot followers repeat the false anti-ACA bullcrap like a mantra.
So for those of you who care, I am reposting a great article (after the jump) debunking all those false predictions and providing real facts for your knowledge pleasure – as well as a video (above) of President Obama himself calling out the lying liars.
“According to figures released today, Wall Street bonuses totaled $28.5 billion for 2014. That sum is double the combined annual earnings of the more than 1 million American full-time minimum wage workers. (Thanks to Sarah Anderson of the Institute for Policy Studies for this analysis.) The size of the Street’s bonus pool was 27 percent higher than in 2009, the last time Congress increased the minimum wage. The bonus pool exceeds the amounts needed to lift the wages of all 2.9 million restaurant servers and bartenders, all 1.5 million home health and personal care aides, or all 2.2 million fast food preparation and serving workers up to $15 per hour. Had the $28.5 billion in Wall Street bonuses gone to minimum wage workers (who, unlike Wall Street moguls, spend nearly every dollar they make), the U.S. economy would get a boost three times larger than that provided by the bonuses.”
Money that could lift the ENTIRE economy, is going to a few people who decided to give themselves bonuses instead of the workers who make them their fortunes.
Isn’t it nice that we continue to allow these same people to pay billions to ensure the election of politicians who will ensure this continues to happen? Fuck the workers, because its only the rich bosses/shareholders who make Amurika great, amiright?
“COME ON, YOU DIDN’T EXPECT ANYTHING DIFFERENT, DID YOU?”
A group of 47 Senators sent an open letter to Iran’s leaders to warn that any nuclear peace deal made with President Obama could/would be undone when he leaves office in two years.
Want to guess which political party all 47 Senators belong to?
Not to be outdone on the Embarrass America front by House Republicans who invited a foreign leader to mansplain foreign policy and scream “Your President is Wrong!” to a joint session of Congress, these saboteurs Senators took this unprecedented (and possibly treasonous) step to push their Party’s foreign policy and threaten explain our Constitutional Process:
“It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system. Thus, we are writing to bring to your attention two features of our Constitution — the power to make binding international agreements and the different character of federal offices — which you should seriously consider as negotiations progress.”
“The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen, and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.” (Full text here)
Rather than offer any viable policy alternatives, this letter instead tells Iran (and the world) that the United States couldn’t/wouldn’t hold up its end of the bargain. Even worse, it gives Iran an out to blame the US government if a deal falls apart.
Senator Bob Corker, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relation Committee (who is pushing legislation to ensure that Congress has a meaningful chance to weigh in on any final nuclear agreement), refused to partake in his Party’s stunt. He explained: “We’ve got a bipartisan effort that’s underway that has a chance of being successful, and while I understand all kinds of people want to weigh in…[it would not] be helpful in that effort for me to be involved in it.”
President Obama obviously wasn’t thrilled: “It’s somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with the hardliners in Iran. It’s an unusual coalition.”
Vice President Joe Biden’s comments perfect sum up the unprecedented partisan idiocy:
“In thirty-six years in the United States Senate, I cannot recall another instance in which Senators wrote directly to advise another country — much less a longtime foreign adversary — that the President does not have the constitutional authority to reach a meaningful understanding with them. This letter sends a highly misleading signal to friend and foe alike that that our Commander-in-Chief cannot deliver on America’s commitments — a message that is as false as it is dangerous.
“The decision to undercut our President and circumvent our constitutional system offends me as a matter of principle.
“If talks collapse because of Congressional intervention, the United States will be blamed, leaving us with the worst of all worlds. Iran’s nuclear program, currently frozen, would race forward again. We would lack the international unity necessary just to enforce existing sanctions, let alone put in place new ones. Without diplomacy or increased pressure, the need to resort to military force becomes much more likely — at a time when our forces are already engaged in the fight against ISIL.”
To underscore Biden’s point, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif properly dismissed the letter as having “no legal value and is mostly a propaganda ploy.”
“It is very interesting that while negotiations are still in progress — and while no agreement has been reached — some political pressure groups are so afraid even of the prospect of an agreement that they resort to unconventional methods, unprecedented in diplomatic history.”
“I wish to enlighten the authors that if the next administration revokes any agreement ‘with the stroke of a pen’ … it will have simply committed a blatant violation of international law.”
To be clear, its perfectly acceptable for our officials to have differences about foreign policy, as well as differences on whether or not Iran is to be trusted – but this is NOT how to go about it. This rant isn’t about policy or ideology – it’s about doing things the correct way.
Regardless what you think of the President, negotiating with foreign leaders is the President’s Constitutional responsibility. This Congress (and their lackeys) absolutely refuse to accept that Barack Obama was overwhelmingly elected President…twice.
These obstruction/sabotage tactics usually reserved for undermining domestic legislation are being utilized to neuter our President, destroy the White House’s Constitutionally enshrined authority over Foreign Policy, and risk pushing dangerous world adversaries away from this (and any future) bargaining table.
If these partisan idiots really cared about anything other than trolling/humiliating our President, non-treasonous mechanisms already exist (such as Corker’s legislation) to force Congressional input on the Iran nuclear deal.
Even if the situation was so dire that unprecedented Senate interference was absolutely necessary — all 100 (or at least a strong bi-partisan majority) should have signed on.
But this FAIL was all about attempting to score points for one political Party, not America.
These disgusting excuses for public officials can’t process the idea that regardless of which party wins the seat, they’re supposed to represent the best interest of ALL their constituents – not just the partisan blowhards who wrongly assume that “standing up to the President” is Congress’ only job.
Both Houses of Congress belong to ALL of America, not just a single party or the financial backers who fill their campaign coffers.
It’s a shame that the (allegedly) most educated and advanced People in the world continue to embarrass themselves – and Constitutional Democracy – by electing officials who care more about their respective Party than the People and Country they represent.
Is it too much to ask for these idiots to be punished by the electorate? Of course it is.
In the mean time we need to deal with the fact that half of our government hates the President (and his Constitutional authority) way more than it hates the idea of sending your children to war with a nuclear Iran.
For a President who’s delivered a number of powerful speeches, this ranks near – or at – the very top. Obama’s words truly encapsulate everything those brave marchers fought for, everything our nation stands for, and everything we should fight for in the future. Wow.
From paying homage to those who fought and made this country what it is, to clarifying the American dream too often drowned out by politics and hatred, to reminding us all what we take for granted, and how to ensure everything we hold dear as a nation…this amazingly quotable speech is one of those rare orations you never want to end.
It’s a shame that too many Americans will ignore these words because of their unfettered disgust for our President, because I doubt any American would disagree – or not be moved – by the content of this speech’s character.
Be warned, goosebumps and tears might result.
Please, please, please watch this speech. I’m about to watch again.
REPUBLICANS ARE ALL SMILES WHEN THEY GET TO USE A FOREIGN LEADER AND A WORLD CRISIS TO EMBARRASS OUR PRESIDENT
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally delivered his long-awaited Iran speech to Congress. While powerful, the speech was bereft of new ideas or solutions, and an embarrassment to the United States.
There was absolutely NO reason for this speech to be delivered to a joint session of OUR Congress.
To be clear, I agree with 99% of what Bibi had to say: a nuclear Iran is a danger to Israel and the world, and their current radical regime cannot be trusted. But it’s nothing we haven’t heard him warn before. Netanyahu has screamed that Iran is only months away from getting a nuclear bomb since at least 1993, and routinely sells Iranian regime change to anyone that will listen.
(Just a reminder, Bibi also wrongly warned back in 2002: ”If you take out Saddam, Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region.”)
Even though he clearly benefits from numerous standing ovations in front of his greatest ally’s Congress just 2 weeks before his upcoming election, I don’t hate on Netanyahu for campaigning and preaching for Israel’s security wherever and whenever he can. I’m also thankful anytime our country has a conversation about protecting Israel.
It’s just embarrassing that our Congress gave a foreign leader the floor to dictate American foreign policy.
Given that Bibi shared absolutely nothing new in his hour long rant, what was the purpose of Speaker John Boehner sneakily inviting him to speak? All politics: to attempt to embarrass President Obama while he negotiates with Iran, and manipulate American Jews to steer away from the Democratic Party. Disgusting.
No matter what you think of the President, foreign policy and dealing with foreign leaders is the responsibility of the White House. No matter what you think of the President, he is still OUR President, and you don’t let a foreign leader come into our house to mansplain foreign policy and tell our country, “You’re doing it all wrong!” Regardless of the fact that Netanyahu over-emphasized that Obama has been a great friend to Israel, and the US/Israeli relationship has never been stronger – the spectacle embarrasses us on the world stage.
House Republicans intentionally made our relationship with Israel a politically divisive issue. Not only did it put our President in a tight spot as Boehner went behind the President’s back to set this up, but it forced idiot Democrats to boycott the speech and possibly jeopardize our relationship with one of our strongest allies.
The Iran issue is a tough one. As I said before, Iran’s Jew/US-hating regime can’t be trusted, but they also will NEVER (as no country would) entirely give up their nuclear program. To complicate matters further, Iran’s enrichment facilities are basically untouchable by bombing – so the world can’t stop it by force. Tougher sanctions might be an answer, but then you risk pushing Iran farther away and pushing their nationwide sentiment towards further west-hating and more warmongering.
That basically leaves the world with two tough choices: a) make a deal where inspectors are constantly available to ensure Iran’s nuclear enrichment hopefully stays at peaceful levels strictly for energy purposes, or b) all out regime change through war.
We obviously know which choice Netanyahu prefers. But after America’s recent brilliant failures with regime change in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama is opting for negotiation. Dealing with a member of the Axis of Evil isn’t perfect – but OUR President obviously feels its preferable to war.
As Bibi pointed out by singling out Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, “Never Again.” We have to learn from history and know that US-forced regime change in the Middle East costs thousands of American lives and expends a tremendous amount of capital (both moral and financial) on a mostly fruitless, hopeless endeavor.
Yet House Republicans (who think/pretend that everything the President does is wrong) jumped at a chance to throw a wrench in the works, and invited a foreign leader to share his foreign policy suggestions for our country on our most hallowed stage.
Adding insult to injury, the world got to watch our piece-of-shit Congressmen who annually refuse to applaud OUR President during the State of the Union, refuse to stand and applaud during mentions of fighting for equality, voting rights, a better economy, or even bettering our nation – give a foreign leader numerous standing ovations when he called for war. Of course their applause was missing when that leader complimented President Obama and recognized how much he’s done for Israel, both in public and behind the scenes. Embarrassing.
Foreign policy is never black and white. Its a gray area – with rarely a single correct answer – and thus open for debate. Middle East policy is even touchier, as most of the governments aren’t exactly warm to the US and the regimes who replace them are often worse. This is why we entrust these issues to the nationally-elected President and his advisors. We don’t entrust these decisions to another country’s leader, and certainly not some political hack elected with a few thousand votes out of Ohio (yes, I’m looking at you, Mr. Speaker).
Our current Congressional leadership approaches every situation -no matter how important, dangerous, etc – as an opportunity to embarrass our President. If they really felt this was in our nation’s best interest, it would/should have been handled differently.
Attempting to embarrass your opposition is a hallmark of domestic politics. Attempting to embarrass our President on the world stage solely for partisan political reasons is unforgivable and dangerous.
But this is the new American reality: Party loyalty takes precedent over everything – even our worldwide reputation, credibility and security.
EDITOR’S NOTE: ANYONE WHO THINKS A PRESIDENT DOESN’T LOVE HIS COUNTRY IS A MORON
According to a new poll, only 11% of Republicans believe President Obama loves America, with 7 out of 10 positive Obama doesn’t love America.
Their reasons? He tries to ensure affordable health coverage, fights for higher wages, accepts science, and keeps trying to open up the American dream to immigrants already living here. This dude really just hates America.
Now excuse these Republicans while they go back to intentionally suppressing the right to vote of minorities, limiting women’s rights (and pay), hating on American workers, protecting the rights of businesses to destroy the environment if it helps profits, telling you who to marry/sleep with, taking away Health insurance from millions, refusing to acknowledge democratically passed laws and democratically elected leaders, calling 99% of American scientists liars, saying guns are more important than American lives, destroying the Establishment Clause of the Constitution by forcing (their) religion on government, calling 47% of Americans lazy, handing government over to corporate shareholders, limiting education, rewriting textbooks to push ideology, positively declaring that black Americans are inherently violent moochers, begging to send your children off to die in meaningless wars, denying the American dream to people/families who weren’t born here, supporting the unfettered right of Police to kill (minority) citizens, begging for “real” leaders like Vladimir Putin, and saying the Federal government – the realized dream of our Founding Fathers – is horrible and needs to be diminished and/or shut down.
Stewart shreds the lies of Fox News, and calls out right-wing ideologues (and their propaganda arms) for pretending that people who use FACTS to point out the many falsehoods of their loudly-screamed positions, are lying liars out to destroy America.
It’s not often that a Democrat actually gives an impassioned rant on the Senate floor, but apparently Sen. Barbara Boxer seems willing to burn the place down before her retirement.
Democrats are usually pathetic pushovers allowing Republicans to set the narrative and control the shit-talking airways, but Boxer absolutely shredded her Republican colleagues on obstruction, hypocrisy, irresponsibility, and hatred of a twice-elected President Obama.
Senator Boxer used facts and anecdotes to tear apart any defense of immigration obstruction, and repeatedly told Republicans to “get over” Obama being President, and to “do their jobs” now that they run Congress.
You should definitely watch the entire speech, but here are some of the highlights:
We all know Republicans won in huge numbers in the 2014 election, and they took over the United States Senate and they run it. They run it. Or at least they’re trying to run it. And let’s be clear, less than eight weeks after they took over the Senate, we are facing a shutdown; a shutdown of the very agency that protects the health, the safety, the lives, of the American people – the Department of Homeland Security.
They’re shutting down the program that funds our police officers back home, our firefighters, our first responders. Any way you look at it, this is a national disgrace. And think about what our friends abroad, and those who are not our friends, are thinking about this.
Republicans say, ‘Oh, we’re in danger, we have to go to go to war, put combat troops on the ground!’ But they’re wiling to shut down the department that protects Americans here in the homeland, from a terrorist attack.
How does it make sense, at a time when we’re facing serious threats to our national security, to furlough 30,000, thirty thousand, department of homeland security workers, and to force more than 100,000 frontline homeland security personnel to work without pay?
Why don’t theses senators go without their pay?
Give up your pay! Give up your healthcare, give up your benefits, if this is so important to you. Oh, no, they’ll collect their pay!
“I thought they were the party of ‘family values.’ Show me where that’s true? Ripping families apart? I thought they were the party of ‘economic prosperity.’ Show me how that’s true, when we know from study after study show that one of the greatest things we can do for our economy and job creation is get people out of the shadows so they can go buy a home and hold a good job. They (Republicans) can’t or won’t pass an immigration bill. They will not do their job. So when the president steps in and does his job, they say, ‘Oh,this is terrible! Let’s shutdown a totally unrelated department. The Department of Homeland Security.
The Center for American Progress, states it would cost more than $50 Billion to deport the entire population that the president is protecting.
And here’s the deal – I’ve never heard of a Republican (and I will stand corrected if any Republican corrects me) I’ve never heard of a Republican complaining when President Eisenhower used his executive order power to help immigrants, when President Nixon did the same thing to protect immigrants, when President Ronald Reagan, their hero, protected immigrants, when George Bush Sr. protected immigrants, when George W. protected immigrants, they all used their authority.
Show me one Republican that stood up and said, ‘Oh this is outrageous! Let’s impeach the president. But it’s president Obama. And they’re annoyed because he won twice. Sorry. Sorry. Wake up and smell the roses. He IS the President.
How does it make sense? Because you’re too incompetent to hold a vote on your immigration plan? You want to kick people out of the country? Put it to a vote! Let’s go. You want to deport 11 million people? Put it to a vote. Don’t hide behind the Homeland Security Bill, holding the President’s work hostage. You never did it to the other presidents.
Our national security is at stake, our family values are at stake. And our economy is at stake here. So get over the fact that you don’t like the president. We get it. You couldn’t beat him. Too bad for you. But you’re in charge here, in the Senate. Do your job! Bring an immigration bill to the floor. Let’s let this Homeland Security Bill go. It’s a bipartisan bill. It’s funding for the most important thing we’re doing today. Let it go. Don’t hold it hostage to your hatred of this president, and I use that word because that’s what I think. That’s what I think….
So I say to my Republican friends. There’s s presidential race coming. Forget this last one. Get over it. Okay? Let’s work together. Listen, I served with five presidents. I’m a strong Democrat. Everyone will tell you that. But I respect the office of the presidency. If I didn’t agree with Ronald Reagan, I came down here and said it. But we had the respect back and forth. If we lost, we lost. And we moved on. And that worked both ways. I know what it is not to like the policies of a president. I get it. But don’t overdue it and make it so personal. Get on with it. Grow up. Do your job, you know? Do your job! Have respect for the office of the presidency.
What’s brilliant about Boxer’s rant is that it has nothing to do with the Democratic Party or ideology — but EVERYTHING to do with an efficient government with elected officials that work together FOR the people, not against the people.
This isn’t fake “Amurika” bullcrap, but everything about America and Americans.
Government is supposed to help people, not hurt people – and especially not supposed to shut down because a Political party doesn’t like the President overwhelmingly elected by Americans twice.
John Oliver gave a great rant on why electing Judges destroys justice in our country. Not only is it an obvious conflict of interest when judges whore themselves out for money, but they’re forced to decide cases based off electoral reasons rather than justice.
While some say this might be a necessary evil, elections hold people accountable and judges should be bigger than bribery, a 2006 NYT article found that, over a twelve-year period, [Ohio] justices ‘voted in favor of contributors 70 percent of the time,’ with one justice voting for his campaign donors in 91% of the time.
Since Citizens United, it only got worse. Now big businesses and political hacks band together to fund Super PACs (and air manipulative advertisements) to elect judges sympathetic to particular corporate or political causes, both in-state and out-of-state.
The best way to succeed in this country: buy the politicians to pass favorable laws, then buy the judges to rule those laws constitutional.
McConnell and team GOP spent the last 6 years blatantly obstructing ALL legislation, obstructing ALL nominees (even ones his party supported) leaving agencies leader-less, abusing filibusters to an embarrassingly historic level, and basically refusing to negotiate or debate (aka “govern”) any issue at all. By doing so, McConnell created the new normal of 60 votes threshold to even debate legislation – an insurmountable hurdle 99% of the time.
This all had one purpose: over 60% of Americans can’t name all 3 branches of government, and over 80% of Americans can only name one person in government: the President. Therefore, if the government stops working, people will hurt, then the people blame the White House and the President. It’s that simple. And it worked like a charm.
Now that the Republicans are in the Senate majority, McConnell and his lackeys have fallen victim to mass amnesia and are loudly decrying Democrat obstruction. The dude just can’t come to grips with the fact that Democrats are playing by his playbook, and obstructing him from unilaterally forcing the GOP platform down America’s throat. How dare they?
To be clear, I do not support obstruction and certainly do not support this 60 vote filibuster crap. It’s abusive, partisan, and has rendered the world’s greatest deliberative body into a non-deliberating, non-legislating, 24/7 partisan campaign fest.
It’s absolute bullshit, but as the head of his Party for the last decade-plus, this new Senate is McConnell’s Frankenstein. Rather than crying over Democrats, he should be crying with joy that his baby is all grownz up and has become the new normal.
Regardless of his ironic cry-babying, history will not-so-lovingly remember Mitch McConnell (along with the Orange Speaker) as the true author of “To Kill a Government.”
I am a member of Congress. I’m not going to tell you from where, or from which party. But I serve, and I am honored to serve. I serve with good people (and some less good ones), and we try to do our best.
It’s a frustrating, even disillusioning job. The public pretty much hates us. Congress polls lower than Richard Nixon during Watergate, traffic jams, or the Canadian alt-rock band Nickelback. So the public knows something is wrong. But they often don’t know exactly what is wrong. And sometimes, the things they think will fix Congress — like making us come home every weekend — actually break it further.
So here are some things I wish the voters knew about the people elected to represent them.
1) Congress is not out of touch with folks back home
Congress is only a part-time job in Washington, D.C. An hour after the last vote, almost everyone is on the airplane home. Congress votes fewer than 100 days a year, spending the rest of the time back home where we pander to their constituents’ short-term interests, not the long-term good of the nation. Anyone who is closer to your district than you are will replace you. Incumbents stick to their districts like Velcro.
2) Congress listens best to money
It is more lucrative to pander to big donors than to regular citizens. Campaigns are so expensive that the average member needs a million-dollar war chest every two years and spends 50 percent to 75 percent of their term in office raising money. Think about that. You’re paying us to do a job and we’re spending that time you’re paying us asking rich people and corporations to give us money so we can run ads convincing you to keep paying us to do this job. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that money is speech and corporations are people, the mega-rich have been handed free loudspeakers. Their voices, even out-of-state voices, are drowning out the desperate whispers of ordinary Americans.
3) Almost everyone in Congress loves gerrymandering
Without crooked districts, most members of Congress probably would not have been elected. According to the Cook Political Report, only about 90 of the 435 seats in Congress are “swing” seats that can be won by either political party. In other words, 345 seats are safe Republican or Democratic seats. Both parties like it that way. So that’s what elections are like today: rather than the voters choosing us, we choose the voters. The only threat a lot of us incumbents face is in the primaries, where someone even more extreme than we are can turn out the vote among an even smaller, more self-selected group of partisans.
4) You have no secret ballot anymore
The only way political parties can successfully gerrymander is by knowing how you vote. Both parties have destroyed your privacy at the polling booth. Thanks to election rolls, we don’t know exactly whom you voted for, but we get pretty damn close. We know exactly which primaries and general elections you have voted in, and since there are so few realistic candidates in most elections, down or up ballot, we might as well know exactly who you voted for. Marry that data with magazine subscriptions, the kind of car you drive, and all sorts of other easily available consumer information that we’ve figured out how to use to map your political preferences and we can gerrymander and target subdivisions, houses — even double beds. Republicans want the male vote; Democrats the female vote.
5) We don’t have a Congress but a parliament
Over the last several decades, party loyalty has increased to near-unanimity. If a member of Congress doesn’t vote with his or her party 99 percent of the time, he’s considered unreliable and excluded from party decision-making. Gone are the days when you were expected to vote your conscience and your district, the true job of a congressperson. Parliaments only work because they have a prime minister who can get things done. We have a parliament without any ability to take executive action. We should not be surprised we are gridlocked.
6) Congressional committees are a waste of time
With parliamentary voting, control is centralized in each party’s leadership. Almost every major decision is made by the Speaker or Minority Leader, not by committees. They feel it is vital to party success to have a national “message” that is usually poll-driven, not substantive. So why develop any expertise as a committee member if your decisions will only be overridden by party leadership? Why try to get on a good committee if you have already ceded authority to your unelected, unaccountable party leaders? The result is members routinely don’t show up at committee hearings, or if they do show up, it’s only to ask a few questions and leave. A lot of members fight for committees that will help them raise money, or get a sweet lobbying job later (more on that in a minute). The result is that the engine for informed lawmaking is broken.
7) Congress is a stepping-stone to lobbying
Congress is no longer a destination but a journey. Committee assignments are mainly valuable as part of the interview process for a far more lucrative job as a K Street lobbyist. You are considered naïve if you are not currying favor with wealthy corporations under your jurisdiction. It’s become routine to see members of Congress drop their seat in Congress like a hot rock when a particularly lush vacancy opens up. The revolving door is spinning every day. Special interests deplete Congress of its best talent.
8)The best people don’t run for Congress
Smart people figured this out years ago and decided to pursue careers other than running for Congress. The thought of living in a fishbowl with 30-second attack ads has made Congress repulsive to spouses and families. The idea of spending half your life begging rich people you don’t know for money turns off all reasonable, self-respecting people. That, plus lower pay than a first-year graduate of a top law school, means that Congress, like most federal agencies, is not attracting the best and the brightest in America.
9) Congress is still necessary to save America, and cynics aren’t helping
Discouragement is for wimps. We aren’t going to change the Constitution, so we need to make the system we have work. We are still, despite our shortcomings, the most successful experiment in self-government in history. Our greatest strength is our ability to bounce back from mistakes like we are making today. Get over your nostalgia: Congress has never been more than a sausage factory. The point here isn’t to make us something we’re not. The point is to get us to make sausage again. But for that to happen, the people have to rise up and demand better.
The Transatlatic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) are two HUGE trade treaties being negotiated right now to shore up world-wide trade.
The problem is, these agreements are being “negotiated” in secret, and not by our elected officials.
Although it would certainly increase the market for American goods oversees, these deals would give corporations the power to overturn democratically decided laws and regulations (from environmental protections, food safety, worker safety, wages, etc) through regulatory “cooperation” and secret courts that only corporations would have access to.
Basically, our laws mean nothing if they hurt profits.
Please Mr. President, there are ways to help American businesses without handing over the keys to the world to corporate overlords.