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congress

Our Congress makes me sick. And so does everyone who insists on putting these vile miscreant worshipers of war and lovers of death for all but white skinned folk back into power election after election. Our useless and completely wicked racist government can pay for weapons without even blinking but when it comes to helping kids, they just can’t manage it. Our Worthless Congress Is Happy to Fund War, Not So Much The Well Being of Brown Children

As money became more and more important to congressional candidates, Democrats, especially in the House, became less and less effective in their historic role as the allies and defenders of the little guy. Their electoral successes every two years dulled their competitive skills. They had little to offer by way of new policies or ideas. They became smug, self-satisfied, too willing to engage in the petty corruptions that four decades in control made so easy. Instead of defending the little guy, Democrats helped themselves. Newt Gingrich understood the opportunity those ’80s Democrats had created for Republicans. Gingrich was the most effective and most destructive political figure I encountered in five decades covering Washington. He invented the partisan warfare that has produced today’s gridlock. He encouraged the disregard for facts that has defiled our public life. He believed, fiercely, that the end justified the means. The end he sought was a Republican House, and he had no qualms about how it was achieved or maintained. He and his successor as lead enforcer, Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas, helped destroy collegiality in Washington. How Republicans lost their mind, Democrats lost their soul and Washington lost its appeal

It’s not until you watch it happen close up that the way things do not get done in the World’s Legislative Body becomes well and truly nauseating. This afternoon, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont brought forth a carefully crafted bill to provide $21 billion in new veterans benefits over the next decade. These included medical benefits, education benefits, and job-training. It contained 26 provisions that came from the Republican members of the Veterans Affairs Committee, which Sanders chairs. It was so wide-ranging that it contained a provision that would eliminate a rule prohibiting the Veterans Administration from covering in vitro fertilization on behalf of veterans whose wounds prevent them from conceiving a child in the usual manner. There was a time, and not so long ago, when both parties would fall all over themselves to help America’s veterans. How many platitudes are we going to hear on the stump between now and November about America’s Heroes and Our Wounded Warriors? This bill was a put up or shut up moment. It failed. Badly. Only two Republicans were willing to vote with Sanders, and the bill died a procedural death. The final straw was an attempt by Republican legislators to hang an amendment onto the bill calling for increased sanctions on Iran. There was also some cheap bullshit thrown around about the budget, most notably by Senator Jefferson Davis Beauregard Sessions of Alabama. There also was, spectacularly, some debate time taken up by, believe it or not, Benghazi, Benghazi!, BENGHAZI! Charles P. Pierce

I don’t think that you can call the American government anything other than broken at this point. And I think the break has come at the legislative level. I mean, that’s the part of the government that has been purchased. You can buy these guys on the cheap. And the capital’s been at it a long time and the rules have been relaxed. The Supreme Court has walked away from any sort of responsibility to maintain democracy at that level. That’s the aspect of government that’s broken. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s Obama or Clinton or Bush or anybody at this point. If this is the way we’re going to do business, we’re not going to do business. You know, they’ve paid for it to be inert. And it is inert. And ultimately that aspect of capitalism hasn’t been dealt with in any way. David Simon

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As to the first, one must never forget that one of the two great compromises during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was equal voting power of the states in the Senate (unlike in the House, where representation is proportionate to the state’s population). The other so-called great compromise gave additional representation to slave states by counting slaves — even if at only three-fifths of a person each — when computing how many representatives each state would get in the House (and therefore how many votes in the Electoral College as well). James Madison was appalled by the first of these compromises, referring to equal voting power in the Senate as a “lesser evil,” the greater evil being the torpedoing of the constitutional project because of the unwillingness of the small states to ratify any constitution that did not include this compromise. But an evil is still an evil, and the disproportions have only grown over the years. In 1790, Virginia had approximately 17 times the population of Delaware, then the least populous state. Today California has well over 65 times the population of Wyoming. Filibuster reform isn’t enough

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