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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#18361 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2021-June-14, 15:22

View Posty66, on 2021-June-14, 15:06, said:

Not just coyotes wailing along the trail these days deep in the heart of Texas.

The Unlikely Demise of Texasí Biggest Corporate Tax Break

(Quote from the article) "The unlikely demise of the stateís most coveted corporate tax break has become a rare instance of Texasí powerful business interests failing to get what they wanted from the Legislature. At least for now."(End quote)
Therein lies the rub.

A bit of prodding & pushing in the weeks to come, and soon enough there will be a loophole or an amendment or some other sleight of hand that extends the tax breaks. After all, the lawmakers have learnt never to disappoint the donor class.
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#18362 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-June-15, 08:06

Matt Yglesias' take on the expanded Child Tax Credit: https://www.slowbori...od-is-happening
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#18363 User is online   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-June-15, 10:30

View Posty66, on 2021-June-15, 08:06, said:

Matt Yglesias' take on the expanded Child Tax Credit: https://www.slowbori...od-is-happening


He says:

Quote

I've also spoken to several people who have two big concerns about this rollout:

  • The people who do get money may not realize what money they are getting, or why, or who to thank for it.
  • The media leans left but also likes to be "tough," and so will probably focus a lot of attention on the minority of eligible people who, for administrative reasons, don't get the money.


That first point is a big deal. People need to be able to say "I understand the program. If I take actions A, B and C then the program will do the following for me. "
I know people who will be directly affected. They need to know exactly how they will be directly affected.
People who are struggling need to plan, and to plan they need to understand.
Ken
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#18364 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2021-June-15, 16:03

As previously noted, Repugnant politicians are making up a FAKE argument against extended unemployment benefits because there are a lot of jobs that are unfilled and the Repugnants argue that some people would rather collected unemployment benefits rather than take excellent below living wage jobs.

Amazon burns through workers so quickly that executives are worried they'll run out of people to employ, according to new report

Quote

Of the over 350,000 new workers it hired between July and October 2020, the report said, many only stayed with the company "just days or weeks."

Hourly employees had a turnover rate of approximately 150% every year, data reviewed by the Times demonstrated, reportedly leading some Amazon executives to worry about running out of hirable employees in the US.


Crap working conditions and low pay are the reasons people don't want those jobs.
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#18365 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-June-15, 17:44

View Postkenberg, on 2021-June-15, 10:30, said:

He says:

[/color][/size][/font]
That first point is a big deal. People need to be able to say "I understand the program. If I take actions A, B and C then the program will do the following for me. "
I know people who will be directly affected. They need to know exactly how they will be directly affected.
People who are struggling need to plan, and to plan they need to understand.


I think this is his key point: who to thank for it.


A big problem the U.S. has is is expressing the value of the government. In many European countries, there seems to be a more direct impact on citizens' lives from the taxes they pay. If U.S. citizens could see and experience a more direct impact from government actions, I doubt there would be as much grousing about government, taxes, freedoms, and all those other right wing talking points.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#18366 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-June-15, 17:48

And now for some good news:

Quote

The Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed a measure that would establish a federal holiday for Juneteenth, the day that marks the end of slavery in the United States.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#18367 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-June-15, 17:54

Matt Yglesias said:

Amazon lawyers getting ready to increase their billable hours.

Posted Image

KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!

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#18368 User is online   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-June-16, 07:11

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-June-15, 17:44, said:

I think this is his key point: who to thank for it.


A big problem the U.S. has is expressing the value of the government. In many European countries, there seems to be a more direct impact on citizens' lives from the taxes they pay. If U.S. citizens could see and experience a more direct impact from government actions, I doubt there would be as much grousing about government, taxes, freedoms, and all those other right wing talking points.


Politically, you are probably right. I am more thinking about what the recipient needs, and I think clarity is a good place to start.


Simple example:
A couple have two children, one not yet of school age, the other of school age, the parents could work but the job would pay modestly. Maybe it would be best for both parents to work full time, employing child care, or maybe it would be better for one parent to take care of the kids while the other works, or maybe they should do this until the younger child is of school age and then the parent who had been doing the child care can get a part time job or maybe a full time job, or, or, or,...

There is a lot to sort out here, and the best choice is apt to strongly depend on how the program is set up.

Even if we just think of the politics, clarity can make people appreciative. Once upon a time I was a grad student on an extremely tight budget. The IRS decided that part of a teaching assistantship could be considered a fellowship and thus not taxable. The details mattered. For example I was partially supported by an assistanship, partially supported by a prof's research grant, and I taught some in the summer, or sometimes had a summer grant. What's what? So several of us called the IRS to get help understanding. We got several different answers, apparently depending on who picked up the phone at the other end, or perhaps depending on just how our questions were phrased. When you are married and have a child, and have no money left at the end of a week, it's nice to know the details of this generous tax plan. We will worry about who to thank later, the first thing is to understand it.
A grad student eventually moves on. Some folks are perpetually living near the edge, and I think clarity helps a lot. And clarity can make people thankful. Well, if the clarity is "You're screwed" then that wouldn't make people thankful.

Anyway, clarity is good. Knowing who to thank is good. Hopefully we can do both. Then we don't have to worry about which is most important.



Ken
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#18369 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-June-16, 11:37

View Postkenberg, on 2021-June-16, 07:11, said:

Politically, you are probably right. I am more thinking about what the recipient needs, and I think clarity is a good place to start.


Simple example:
A couple have two children, one not yet of school age, the other of school age, the parents could work but the job would pay modestly. Maybe it would be best for both parents to work full time, employing child care, or maybe it would be better for one parent to take care of the kids while the other works, or maybe they should do this until the younger child is of school age and then the parent who had been doing the child care can get a part time job or maybe a full time job, or, or, or,...

There is a lot to sort out here, and the best choice is apt to strongly depend on how the program is set up.

Even if we just think of the politics, clarity can make people appreciative. Once upon a time I was a grad student on an extremely tight budget. The IRS decided that part of a teaching assistantship could be considered a fellowship and thus not taxable. The details mattered. For example I was partially supported by an assistanship, partially supported by a prof's research grant, and I taught some in the summer, or sometimes had a summer grant. What's what? So several of us called the IRS to get help understanding. We got several different answers, apparently depending on who picked up the phone at the other end, or perhaps depending on just how our questions were phrased. When you are married and have a child, and have no money left at the end of a week, it's nice to know the details of this generous tax plan. We will worry about who to thank later, the first thing is to understand it.
A grad student eventually moves on. Some folks are perpetually living near the edge, and I think clarity helps a lot. And clarity can make people thankful. Well, if the clarity is "You're screwed" then that wouldn't make people thankful.

Anyway, clarity is good. Knowing who to thank is good. Hopefully we can do both. Then we don't have to worry about which is most important.

Agreed. Simplicity helps clarity. You go to the doctor; it costs you nothing out of pocket; that is simple and clear and you know who to thank.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#18370 User is offline   Gilithin 

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Posted 2021-June-16, 20:40

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-June-15, 17:48, said:

And now for some good news:


And some not so good:-
Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona
Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama
Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia
Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee
Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona
Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas
Rep. Doug LaMalfa of California
Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky
Rep. Tom McClintock of California
Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina
Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama
Rep. Matt Rosendale of Montana
Rep. Chip Roy of Texas
Rep. Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin
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#18371 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-June-17, 02:18

How old were you in 1968?
Watch young Americans debate whether or not to be in Viet Nam.
It's part of a series of youtube videos produced by documentary film-maker David Hoffman
https://bit.ly/YoungDebate
non est deus ex machina; šven maskiner behŲver lite kšrlek, J'ai toujours misť sur l'ťtrange gentillesse des robots.
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#18372 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-June-17, 07:48

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg said:

We can retire the idea that President Joe Biden doesnít do press conferences. With one more overseas on Wednesday, Biden has now done four solo news conferences, already matching George W. Bushís first year and three ahead of Donald Trump in 2017; if he keeps up the pace, heíll be mid-pack on that score for presidents from Richard Nixon on.

Itís still early, and itís not unusual for presidents to take some time to figure out which formats work for them. Trump shied away from solo press conferences until his final year, but did a lot of joint ones with foreign leaders and took plenty of questions in other formats. Biden has only held two joint news conferences, with the pandemic cutting off normal diplomatic travel at first, but I expect heíll gravitate more to such events going forward. Iím happy to see the formal solo conference survive after Trump almost abandoned it in his first three years (averaging just three a year). It will never thrive again the way it did when the broadcast networks dominated, but it can still be quite revealing.

Remember, all presidents do these things ó one-on-one interviews, quick hits with local stations, call-ins to talk TV and radio, formal press conferences, informal sessions with the White House press corps ó because it serves their purposes. Itís part of representation, as they explain to voters what theyíve been doing in the context of their campaign promises. Itís part of electioneering for those presidents seeking (or at least potentially seeking) another term. Itís also a way to negotiate; there are times when itís useful for the president to make his or her positions public, thereby making them harder to walk away from. And press conferences give presidents an opportunity to direct attention to programs or organizations or people, meaning that they create opportunities to offer something valuable.

Biden handles all of this Ö adequately. Heís more articulate than either Bush; more in control of facts than Ronald Reagan; able to speak directly to regular voters better than Jimmy Carter or, in this format, Barack Obama, who never really found a way to make formal news conferences work for him. Like most of his predecessors, Biden is an experienced politician who knows how to duck questions he doesnít want to answer and transition to topics heíd prefer to talk about. Thatís the good side. Biden also can seem old (which isnít surprising, given his age); heís fine on substance, but he does search for words often enough that itís noticeable, and his apparent energy level isnít consistent. And heís apt to lose his cool if he thinks a question is foolish, as happened Wednesday. Leaving aside Trumpís tantrums, Biden on this score is probably most comparable to Harry Truman; it didnít help Truman, and it doesnít help Biden.

That said, Biden also apologized a while later to CNNís Kaitlan Collins, which is also something unusual about him ó he is, perhaps uniquely among presidents, an apologizer. Sometimes he takes it to silly extremes, as he did during debates last year when he more than once apologized for going over his time limit, something virtually every candidate does and virtually none of them are sorry about. I donít know that itís especially important, but I do think itís refreshing to have a president whoís able to say heís sorry about things.

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#18373 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-June-17, 09:25

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-June-17, 02:18, said:

How old were you in 1968?
Watch young Americans debate whether or not to be in Viet Nam.
It's part of a series of youtube videos produced by documentary film-maker David Hoffman
https://bit.ly/YoungDebate

I was 17, and it sucked to be 17 in 1968.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#18374 User is online   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-June-17, 11:59

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-June-17, 02:18, said:

How old were you in 1968?
Watch young Americans debate whether or not to be in Viet Nam.
It's part of a series of youtube videos produced by documentary film-maker David Hoffman
https://bit.ly/YoungDebate


This was an interesting video, I may try watching others in Hoffman's series.


I was 29 in 1968. I was a first year faculty member in 67-68, my second daughter was born in 67. I think it was in 66 that my student deferment was cancelled and I was re-classified as 1A. But I was 29 and mostly they wanted younger guys. So I was not completely safe from the draft, but it was unlikely.

I was not a hippie. I grew a beard and long hair for a while but decided I looked ridiculous. When I went to the barber to get the long hair cut off he was ecstatic. Business had been slow. He brought out pictures of is family, his wife and kids, told me how hard things were for barbers, and was really glad to see me.

I voted for Hubert Humphrey in the fall. He was a Minnesotan. His career was really ruined by being VP for Johnson. His own fault.

I was busy with traditional life. I might be the only person of my generation who has never smoked pot. I had friends who used LSD. I don't think it went well for them in the long run.

A crazy era for someone born in Minnesota in 1939.

It was interesting seeing those high school kids from back then.
Ken
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#18375 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-June-17, 14:25

Is the Manchin infrastructure compromise a win for moderation? From what I've heard today, 11 Republican senators are in favor of this compromise, 1 more than is needed to pass the 60 vote threshold. It does appear that Moscow Mitch has been unable to reign in his stallions.

Surely, that has to be a step in the right direction. The one thing Biden seems to understand is time - nothing big gets done in haste. And that includes battling back against the far right tide.
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#18376 User is online   Chas_P 

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Posted 2021-June-17, 18:59

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-June-15, 17:48, said:

And now for some good news:



That is absolutely wonderful. Now if we can only get California to pay reparations for slavery we can all live happily forever after.

#18377 User is online   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-June-18, 06:59

View PostChas_P, on 2021-June-17, 18:59, said:

That is absolutely wonderful. Now if we can only get California to pay reparations for slavery we can all live happily forever after.


I have a challenge for you.

I'll start with myself. I read some conservative columnists, George Will is one example, Michael Gerson is another I used to read William Buckley. I have never heard or read Rush Limbaugh in my life. Same with Sean Hannity.

Both Will and Gerson are hoping for the end of Trumpism. But that is not why I read them, I read both of them while Trump was still doing reality tv. And I never watched the show. Not a political choice, I saw the ads and it sounded awful.

I think most people in the wc have a fair idea of my general outlook. I believe the government has a strong role to play in making lives better. This sometimes involves bossing people around, such as requiring parents to send their children to school, but I mostly favor letting people make their own choices about lifestyle.

I thought of you while reading the Gerson column today. I don't know where you fall on the spectrum. I hope for a Republican Party that I can sometimes agree with even if I often respectively disagree. What we have now doesn't fit that description.

I assume you are not a fan of the guy who wants Jan 6 to be thought of as just a group of tourists, but I am hoping for more. I hope that many Republicans agree with Gerson and Will that the sooner the Trump supporters are gone from power the better off we will all be. Would you care to say where you are on this spectrum?
Ken
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#18378 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-June-18, 07:38

From Maybe Joe Manchin Knows Exactly What He’s Doing by Ezra Klein at NYT

Quote

Let me start with something you don’t often hear from liberals these days: A few words of praise for Joe Manchin.

By the standards of the age, Manchin is a political magician. West Virginia, the state he represents as a Democrat in the Senate, has a 35.5-point lean toward the Republican Party, according to FiveThirtyEight. To put that into context, there is only one Republican in the Senate representing a state that’s even mildly bluish, and that’s Susan Collins, from Maine, which has a four-point Democratic bias.

Put simply, Manchin shouldn’t exist. And Democrats cannot take him for granted. Their Senate majority, and thus the whole of their legislative agenda, hinges on his ability to win elections anyone else would lose. None of that makes Manchin’s every decision laudable, or even wise, but it demands recognition. He has honed instincts worth respecting. And now, in the 50-50 Senate that teeters on his vote, he is the most powerful legislator of our age.

The question obsessing Washington, then, is simple: What does Manchin want? And Manchin, in statement after statement, has offered a clear answer: bipartisanship.

This is the core of Manchinism. All of the stances he takes that frustrate Democrats right now — his defense of the filibuster, his opposition to the For the People Act, his insistence on endless negotiations with Republicans on infrastructure — run downstream of his belief in bipartisanship. “The time has come to end these political games, and to usher a new era of bipartisanship where we find common ground on the major policy debates facing our nation,” he wrote in The Washington Post. This is maddening to his colleagues who want to judge legislation on the merits. But Manchin has been clear about his goal.

What has not been clear is his strategy. At his worst, Manchin prizes the aesthetic of bipartisanship over its actual pursuit. In those moments, he becomes a defender of the status quo and, paradoxically, an enabler of Republican partisanship. But over the past 24 hours, a plausible path has emerged through which Manchin could build a more cooperative and deliberative Senate. It’s narrow, but it’s there.

Part of the strategy relies on changing the rules. Manchin has said, over and over again, that he will not eliminate or weaken the filibuster. I wish he’d reconsider, but he won’t. The possibility remains, however, that he will strengthen the filibuster.

Historically, the filibuster was a way for committed groups of senators to force debate, for as long as they wanted, on issues of unusual importance to them. Modern filibusters betray that legacy. They do not require debate, they do not require the intense physical commitment of the minority and they do not encourage the long, dramatic deliberations that focus the American public on issues of consequence.

It’s possible to imagine a set of reforms that would restore something more like the filibuster of yore and rebuild the deliberative capacities of the Senate. This would begin with a variation on the congressional scholar Norm Ornstein’s idea to shift the burden of the filibuster: Instead of demanding 60 votes to end debate, require 40 (or 41) to continue it.

That would return the filibuster to something more like we imagine it to be: Impassioned minorities could hold the floor with theatrical speeches, shining public attention on their arguments, but the majority could end debate if the minority relented. To sustain this kind of filibuster would be grueling, which is as it should be. The filibuster is an extraordinary measure, and it should require extraordinary commitment to deploy.

The majority, for its part, would have to carefully weigh the consequences of proceeding with partisan legislation: They would gamble weeks or months of Senate time if they chose to face down a filibuster, with no guarantee of passage on the other end. A reform like this would demand more from both the majority and the minority and ignite the kinds of lengthy, public debates that the Senate was once known for.

In leaked audio published by The Intercept on Wednesday, Manchin appeared to favor exactly this kind of change. “I think, basically, it should be 41 people have to force the issue versus the 60 that we need in the affirmative,” he said.

In addition to changing the rules, Manchin could embrace his role as a broker of legislative compromise. His leverage is immense, and he could use it to force Republicans as well as Democrats to the table. But on voting rights, at least, Manchin hasn’t been wielding his power symmetrically.

“The truth, I would argue, is that voting and election reform that is done in a partisan manner will all but ensure partisan divisions continue to deepen,” Manchin wrote in The Charleston Gazette-Mail this month.

In suggesting that he would oppose any voting reform that was not bipartisan, Manchin offered Republicans a veto over the legislation rather than a choice between partisan and bipartisan bills. He was not asking of them what he was asking of his colleagues, or even of himself.

But on Wednesday, news broke that Manchin’s position was shifting. He is circulating a compromise voting rights memo that he believes could serve as the basis for a bipartisan bill. It eliminates much of what Democrats wanted, like the more ambitious campaign finance reforms, but it bans partisan gerrymandering, restores key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, makes Election Day a public holiday and puts in place automatic voter registration. It also includes some Republican priorities, like mandating that voters show certain forms of identification.

But the question Manchin faces isn’t whether there’s a voting rights bill he can support. It’s whether he’s willing to force Republicans to accept it. As the hinge vote, Manchin could offer both sides a choice: a bipartisan bill designed by Manchin (and whatever allies he chooses) or the outcome on voting rights they fear most — for Democrats, that would be nothing, and for Republicans, that would be everything.

If Democrats refuse to support his bill or offer something reasonable in return, Manchin could join with Republicans to kill it. If Republicans refuse to support it or offer something reasonable in return, he could join with Democrats to pass the original For the People Act, or something more like it.

Core to this strategy is Manchin admitting something he often pretends not to see: It is not in the Republican Party’s interest to cooperate with Democrats on major legislation. Republicans would prefer to pass nothing and watch Joe Biden’s presidency fail. This is not my supposition or slander. This is their own testimony.

“Mitch McConnell’s come under a lot of criticism for saying at one point he wanted to make sure that Barack Obama was a one-term president,” Senator John Barrasso, a member of the Republicans’ Senate leadership team, said. “I want to make Joe Biden a one-half-term president.”

Just as Manchin believes he needs to force Democrats to agree to compromise bills, so too does he need to force Republicans to agree to those bills. Bipartisanship needs to go both ways. If Manchin allows Republicans to kill any bill they do not choose to support, he will be strengthening their incentives for partisanship.

I said, at the top of this column, that Manchin is a political magician. So far he’s mostly been an escape artist, wriggling free of the partisan gravity that governs almost all other Senate elections. But if he could turn the filibuster into a rule that actually encouraged debate and deliberation and pass a bill that made automatic voter registration and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act the law of the land (and partisan gerrymandering a thing of the past), that would truly be his greatest trick.

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#18379 User is online   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-June-19, 07:16

View Posty66, on 2021-June-18, 07:38, said:



My early civics education argued that majority rule sometimes must be restrained by minority wishes. The majority can force me, although it took a constitutional amendment, to pay income tax. The majority can insist that I send my children to school, or perhaps find an approved alternative. The majority cannot tell me that I must go to church. And to look at a current issue, I am pretty sure that when I was growing up the majority could tell me that I must get various vaccinations.


I thought of the filibuster as a way that a minority could deal with an overbearing majority. I guess Manchin sees this as having some merit. I can see his point, but some sense of responsibility is needed for this to work out. Klein hopes that Manchin is saying "Hey guys, let's actually try to work together on programs with broad support rather than something that passes on a 51 to 50 party-line vote." And then he hopes that this will happen. An obvious problem with the 51-50 approach is that after the next election, the 51-50 vote may go the other way. And then after another two years, switch back again. Not a good way to run a country.

Politics has always been rough and tumble but what we have today is worse than rough and tumble, it is partisanship carried to the point of dysfunctional. Can this be fixed? There are some very powerful people standing in the way.
Ken
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#18380 User is online   awm 

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Posted 2021-June-19, 13:16

The problem is that the senate already protects minority (small state) rights by construction as well as preventing quick changes of control by having six year terms and staggered elections. In the current highly polarized environment itís almost impossible for Democrats to ever get sixty senators, and Republicans arenít going to pass a law banning their own voter suppression tactics!

Even so, if the filibuster required that the minority actually be present to hold the floor and argue against the bill theyíre trying to stop, Manchin might have a point on preserving it. But the current filibuster doesnít even require the minority to be in town ó itís just a ďsixty votes for everythingĒ rule which is pretty dumb. Hopefully when no Republicans get on board for Manchinís ďvoting rights compromiseĒ he will agree to at least require a talking filibuster.
Adam W. Meyerson
a.k.a. Appeal Without Merit
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