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Visceral Moonlight

The Broken US Congress

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This is a bit of a rant but I need to get if off my chest.

 

Congress is broken, absolutely broken. They're more concerned with their parties gaining power and ousting the other than doing their damn jobs. Every time one party puts forward a motion, the other blocks it. The result? Stagnation. Nothing has been done since the school-age bickering began a few years ago.

 

There's more at stake than their petty jobs, like 300+ million people. Hell, they won't even vote on a new justice when IT'S THEIR FUCKING JOB.

 

There's an old saying: if pro is the opposite of con, is Congress the opposite of progress? Yes, I think it is.

 

I think it has come time to kick all those bickering numskulls out of the office, dissolve the parties, and have a free for all election. Will things still align on party lines? Quite possibly but at least it'd give an opportunity to press the reset button. One thing's for sure: the bipartisan politics are a goddamn joke and need to stop. The Comedian saw it as it was: a joke. And it needs to stop.

 

Apologies for the strong language, it's been a very long day and that's been eating at me for a while now.

Edited by Visceral Moonlight

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I'm told that there's nothing in the Constitution about parties. I do know that the Republicans were so pissed off about a Democrat being elected that they made sure the Congress was full of them, and that makes no sense at all, as you've said. You may not like the direction, but having a second level of government completely block the first is pointless. :shrug:

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Yep, the Constitution doesn't even mention parties.

 

I don't see why everything revolves around two parties other than it makes it easier to maintain power. Why doesn't the public vote for a third party? People are annoyed at their parties yet keep voting for them. Doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I think there was one independent in Congress in recent years? Would probably help to have a lot more.

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It's the lie of American Exceptionalism.

 

In the USA only a Democrat or a Republican can win an election.

 

Practical solution -

 

Revert to Senators who are appointed by either State Legislators or Governors and prevent the Senate from either blocking or Filibustering the House of Representatives.

 

Having two classes of elected politicians is a recipe for disaster. 

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Posted (edited)

Here's a novel idea: why don't we set limits on the number of terms Congressman can run for? That way, we would at least get new blood more than once every quarter of a century.

 

You know what? Screw it, I'm starting a movement! That idea deserves more attention!

 

Edit:

 

Just checked the Constitution and this is doable, assuming enough support is gathered.

Edited by Visceral Moonlight

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There's a movement currently happening to remove age barriers for people running for public office as well.  Hopefully it'll draw light onto voter suppression for students if nothing else.

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Posted (edited)

Yep, the Constitution doesn't even mention parties.

 

That's because there was never supposed to be any parties.  It was one of the most important things Washington talked about in his farewell address.  Also, the Senate and HOR meeting twice a year was never meant to be what it was today; they were expected to go back home and do what their normal jobs were after attending business.  That's why there's a "Congress has to meet up twice a year minimum" in the Constitution.  In short, a lot of problems stem from early Americans being lazy and not keeping up on what was intended, which resulted in everyone following after doing the same thing.  It also kinda explains why they never added in anything in regards to term limits for any office, minus judges for the Supreme Court.

Edited by NobleShadowHunter

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New idea: let's require everyone take a test on sensibility before they're allowed to assume a government job. Hell, let's amend the Constitution and put it in as a requirement for all three branches. The test can describe various events that actually took place without providing enough details to let on they were real and ask for how one would respond. If they choose the answer that resulted in chaos on any question, they're automatically disqualified. The idea being to encourage them to learn from past experience and history in order to pass the exam. It won't keep out all the idiots but it should help!

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Of course! I forgot to mention the punchline: you fail, that's it. You're done. You get one try and that's it. No rolling again, picking another card, no tabs, nada. You fail even one question, you're permanently barred from the government. You fail a question even partially, resulting in partial chaos (chaos is still chaos!), you're permanently barred. The test will be written by a third party who don't even know that they are writing the test, to keep it as neutral as possible. You even try to answer a question in a roundabout way, you failed and are permanently barred. You either answer it or you don't. You try to get around the bar, we tar and feather you. It worked three hundred years ago!

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Well, our lot over here can't fabricate their way out of a paper bag. (All the half-way decent lies were made up by the crypto-fascists in UKIP.) But somehow we still have a zombie government staggering on from one crisis to the next with a bunch of utter clowns tugging it in different directions. Yet it still looks like they might shamble on beyond Xmas, and I can't believe they've even made it this far. It's politics, Jim, but not as we know it...

Edited by tegeusCromis

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My biggest beef is the one that hits me personally. My mother works for a Federal agency. So every time the Reps and Dems can't agree on a budget she faces a government shut down. It's happened multiple times in her 35+ year career. They put this nice term to it: "furloughed". Which basically means she doesn't get a paycheck till Congress & the President can agree on a budget. Thing is, those a-holes that are deciding the budget aren't affected at all by the shutdown. They've got plenty of income from other sources, and most find their government paycheck laughably trivial. However for those who depend on that paycheck to live day-to-day, it's an utter nightmare! For weeks or months at a time she's stressed out about whether she'll get a paycheck when the shutdown time comes, and how she'll be able to afford to keep her house. The double whammy is that the general public don't care, because they see "The Government" as just one big cesspool. They forget that 99% of "The Government" are made up of lower level, ordinary people who were called to serve their country in their own way. My mother has to worry about facing foreclosure and "The People's" biggest concern is that the national parks are closed for their vacations? Jesus people, get some perspective!

@tC: I don't know much about politics on your side of the pond, other than they tend to be a lot more informal & I enjoy watching meetings of the lower house (House of Commons?) yelling at each other on TV. :P Are things bad there as well? I imagine Brexit must have more than a few people worried.

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I always wondered how those shutdowns affected ordinary civil servants. (Your poor mum, that's just awful!) The idea of not paying the civil service here just seems absurd, because even if you have a cabinet full of halfwits and clowns (like now), someone is still running things. A boring but reliable job (having been one myself for two years, yawn...) Course there are pay freezes and understaffing, the health service is especially overloaded right now, as it is every winter.

I love the idea that our politics seems more informal to an American. 100 years ago and more, I think it was the other way round; I think Brits imagined that congressional issues were settled by bare-knuckle fistfights, for example. (Mind you, I'm sure Teddy Roosevelt deliberately cultivated that image.) Well, UK politics is a matter of precedent and (with any luck) compromise - and we do have a written constitution, it's just that's it's written on a gazillion pieces of paper scattered all over the place. So things necessarily look a lot less rigid.

Yeah, Brexit makes me want to spit. Apart from pressing the slow-motion self-destruct button on the economy and the effect on Ireland (no small thing!) there's the continued rise in racism and xenophobia. I genuinely thought we'd got better than that, more fool me, eh?

[Oh, obligatory on-topic point. It seems to me from a distant perspective that the biggest problems you folks have with your legislature are gerrymandering and voter suppression. While I realise it would be seen as a massive violation of states' rights, I can't see how that can be ultimately solved without at least establishing an independent electoral commission that has an explicit mandate to decide electoral boundaries fairly. We have one by that name and while it isn't perfect - it is vulnerable to sustained lobbying, for example - I think things would be much worse without it.]

Edited by tegeusCromis

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Well, they passed a budget so my mom has a paycheck coming. Well, for two weeks. Oh, wait, that puts us on what, oh yeah, Christmas Eve. I'm just SURE the congress and president will all be working diligently to pass a budget then..  Heh, Merry Christmas.. *sigh* Her function isn't exactly boring. Lets just say that if she'd been in position in 85/86, the Columbia wouldn't have exploded (as mentioned in another thread). As it is, she's what I would consider to be one of those "unsung heroes" that makes sure airforce jets don't fall apart midair, the warfighters have reliable equipment, and we have a missile defense system that actually works. (Thank goodness given North Korea's current status..) Plus due to her diligence, she's made sure over $2 billion dollars of taxpayer money didn't get into the hands of various private contractors who tried shipping out parts that weren't up to spec, just last year! (Think that failed O-ring..) Yeah, I guess I'm a little biased. But it would just amaze people if they had any real idea of the money that changes hands between the government & contractors - who routinely try to pass off defective products that could potentially kill god knows how many people when they fail. Ugh.. I keep telling her I'm going to pick up and move to Canada one of these days, just too damn cold. (LOL, just checked, and it's -6.6 C outside right now..) 

On 12/7/2017 at 4:09 AM, tegeusCromis said:

..gerrymandering and voter suppression. While I realise it would be seen as a massive violation of states' rights, I can't see how that can be ultimately solved without at least establishing an independent electoral commission that has an explicit mandate to decide electoral boundaries fairly.

I quite like that idea! It would need to be open to public review and judicial oversight though. Otherwise the 2-party system we've got going here would just corrupt it like it has everything else. I'm really not sure how much voter suppression is an issue. Granted I'm a white male in a state where even encountering a black man is rare. The Hispanic friends of mine have never mentioned feeling any fear of going to the polls, or any hardship in getting a drivers license (that we all don't experience anyway). Perhaps it's different in other areas of the country, but I don't have any direct experience in that regard. My old department even provided security at certain voting facilities where it was thought some violence might break out. The locations weren't even chosen due to political or racial reasons, but because we didn't want members of rival gangs running into each other. (Yeah, gangbangers vote... at least those who aren't felons.) We were even directed to keep our visible presence to a minimum so as not to potentially discourage voters who disliked or were afraid of law enforcement from participating in the political process. Mostly it was plain-clothes duty except when we were actually transporting ballot boxes. Well, it's late here & I can feel myself start to ramble. Have a good day. :)

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I think the main issue is that the Constitution left it up to the elected officials in Congress to define the actual rules, just outlining general guidelines and who controls what. If sane and sensible rules were added in, I think it would be much better. As it is, they vote to change the rules whenever it's convenient to the interests of those that control Congress, usually one of the parties (which are, in turn, part of the main issue).

Of course, these rules would need public input to be effective instead of secret meetings and blind voting that Congress has been doing recently.

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RM, sounds like your mum is indeed one of the adults who keep things going while the kiddies play. That's heroic stuff, we need more oversight, not less, and that goes for the UK too. And I do think of that failed O-Ring, especially Richard Feynmann's little bit of practical science on the inquiry board. -6.6C is cold, true  - it's dipped to that level once on the UK south coast in the past decade, though I find wind chill more important than ambient temperature, anyway. But AB tells us there are vineyards in Ontario, so, you know, swings and roundabouts...

US elections seem pretty scary on the ground. Such long queues! I know the UK is more centralised and urbanised, but I've never encountered a queue of more than about four people anywhere I've voted (usually some little school or church hall). And that's not because the overall turnout is low,, by other countries' standards. Often pause for a short chat with the officials (who are usually locals who do it as a little temp job, small pay but it's a good job for students, for example).

But, more on the point, apart from gangs, waiting in line for hours - especially if you've been working all day - isn't going to do wonders for your temper. And I wouldn't trust them voting machines, no sirree. Stub of pencil and a scrap of paper should still be good enough for anyone.

Edited by tegeusCromis

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Thanks. She works REALLY hard & has taken her responsibility to the taxpayers very seriously. I know it sounds like I'm overstating things, but she's really an amazing woman. Took me way too long to figure that out. Now having kids of my own, I'm growing even more appreciative! Especially considering what a little **** I was when young. :P

-6.6 once in the last decade? Wow. It hangs in the mid-teens to 20's F most of December, January & February where I'm at. (Sorry, too lazy to do the conversion..) I'd agree that wind chill is a huge factor though! Lots of leather over fleece going on here. :cyclops:

The election lines (queues?) around here ususally aren't that long. Except for the last presidential election, the longest I've ever had to wait was about 40 minutes.  People here often wait till the last minute to do important things like vote, file their taxes, etc. I've mailed in my ballots the past 3 or 4 elections. This last election though was insane. Even in a place where there was relatively little controversy over the candidates the lines were wrapped around the buildings in most places & wait times were in the hours. Probably everybody wanting to vote AGAINST Hillary, not FOR Trump. lol  Luckily I'd retired by then!

I agree a paper and pen should be fine, but people have a way of messing up even the simplest of things. Then others step in to take advantage of it. Google "hanging chad" some time. :rolleyes:

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