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Mon Jan 28, 2013, 02:31 PM

Bernie Sanders on why he voted NO for fillibuster reform

(copied from email sent by Bernie to constituents)

-----

Last week Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent member of the Democratic caucus, was the only member of that caucus to vote NO on the so-called filibuster reform package passed in the U.S. Senate.

Below is Bernie’s statement on why he voted NO.

Thank you for your interest.

-Ben

Ben Eisenberg
Friends of Bernie Sanders

-----

January 24, 2013
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

This country faces major crises in terms of the economy and unemployment, the deficit, global warming, health care, campaign finance reform, education and a crumbling infrastructure – to name a few. In my view, none of these problems will be effectively addressed so long as one senator can demand 60 votes to pass legislation. The rule changes adopted today are a step forward in making the operations of the Senate more efficient and expeditious. They are not enough.

Most Americans grew up believing that in America the majority rules. That is not the case in the Senate. For many years now, especially since President Obama has been in office, it has taken 60 votes to pass any significant piece of legislation. When Lyndon Johnson was majority leader in the 1950s, he filed cloture to end a filibuster only once. Majority Leader Reid has filed cloture 390 times.

The Senate is not the House and the minority party must be treated with respect and given the opportunity to offer amendments and make their case in opposition. A minority must not, however, be allowed to permanently obstruct the wishes of the majority. That is not democracy. That is a perversion of democracy.

In my view, if a senator or a group of senators are strenuously opposed to legislation they have the right and duty to come to the floor and, for as long as they want, engage in a talking filibuster by explaining to the American people the reasons for their objection. They should not, however, continue to have the right to abuse arcane Senate rules to block a majority of senators from acting on behalf of the American people.


61 replies, 8339 views

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Arrow 61 replies Author Time Post
Reply Bernie Sanders on why he voted NO for fillibuster reform (Original post)
garybeck Jan 2013 OP
SoCalMusicLover Jan 2013 #1
Auntie Bush Jan 2013 #21
karynnj Jan 2013 #34
loudsue Jan 2013 #33
grahamhgreen Jan 2013 #36
Auntie Bush Jan 2013 #42
truedelphi Jan 2013 #43
Scuba Jan 2013 #2
cali Jan 2013 #15
tavalon Jan 2013 #18
Scuba Jan 2013 #26
Plucketeer Jan 2013 #35
merrily Jan 2013 #51
dotymed Jan 2013 #30
merrily Jan 2013 #52
TheProgressive Jan 2013 #3
UnrepentantLiberal Jan 2013 #8
TheProgressive Jan 2013 #10
merrily Jan 2013 #53
rhett o rick Jan 2013 #40
truedelphi Jan 2013 #44
merrily Jan 2013 #54
Still Sensible Jan 2013 #4
Squinch Jan 2013 #5
Dark n Stormy Knight Jan 2013 #6
rhett o rick Jan 2013 #41
Dark n Stormy Knight Jan 2013 #46
rhett o rick Jan 2013 #47
Dark n Stormy Knight Jan 2013 #49
rhett o rick Jan 2013 #50
Dark n Stormy Knight Feb 2013 #60
rhett o rick Feb 2013 #61
Demo_Chris Jan 2013 #7
greiner3 Jan 2013 #9
Demo_Chris Jan 2013 #17
rhett o rick Jan 2013 #48
OldDem2012 Jan 2013 #56
Demo_Chris Jan 2013 #57
OldDem2012 Jan 2013 #58
Demo_Chris Jan 2013 #59
pocoloco Jan 2013 #12
Demo_Chris Jan 2013 #16
Third Doctor Jan 2013 #11
Atman Jan 2013 #13
ProSense Jan 2013 #14
onenote Jan 2013 #27
woo me with science Jan 2013 #19
NorthCarolina Jan 2013 #20
Nanjing to Seoul Jan 2013 #22
JEB Jan 2013 #23
4dsc Jan 2013 #25
Comrade Grumpy Jan 2013 #29
dotymed Jan 2013 #31
grahamhgreen Jan 2013 #24
blkmusclmachine Jan 2013 #28
dotymed Jan 2013 #32
FreeBC Jan 2013 #37
merrily Jan 2013 #55
OFFTHEWALL Jan 2013 #38
Demo_Chris Jan 2013 #39
olegramps Jan 2013 #45

Response to garybeck (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 02:54 PM

1. Wish He Were My Senator

Another example of a situation I agree with him completely on.

This "reform" is merely window dressing. Status quo for the next 2 years at least.

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Response to SoCalMusicLover (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:36 PM

21. He's mine and loving it!

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Response to Auntie Bush (Reply #21)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 09:29 AM

34. Mine too and like you loving it - and Vermont itself

I am completely amazed how open at least some of Vermont's politicians are. We moved to Burlington a month ago and were surprised that the mayor comes every Wednesday morning to a local bagel place to answer questions informally by any one. I lived in a NJ town for 25 years and never saw any of the mayors - ever.

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Response to SoCalMusicLover (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 09:29 AM

33. I wish ALL the senators were as reasonable as Bernie.

He's the only one I know of anymore who isn't bought and paid for.

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Response to SoCalMusicLover (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:54 AM

36. I wish he were President. Or on the cabinet.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #36)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 02:35 PM

42. Can you just see/hear the heads exploding if Obama ever tried to get Sanders confirmed for anything?

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Response to Auntie Bush (Reply #42)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 04:59 PM

43. Not that Obama would try very hard.

Sanders, like Neil Barofsky, lacks the pedigree that Geithner and Jack Lew can tout.

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Response to garybeck (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 03:02 PM

2. The last person in Washington representing the People.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 05:26 PM

15. no, he's not. He's my Senator and I couldn't be gladder but

we shortchange some really good folks in D.C. when we claim he's the only one.

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Response to cali (Reply #15)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 08:43 PM

18. True that

But not nearly enough.

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Response to cali (Reply #15)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 11:23 PM

26. You're right of course.

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Response to cali (Reply #15)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:59 AM

35. Bernie's one of an all-too-rare breed.

A sort that uses common sense and the public interests as a North Star - instead of corporate campaign funds.

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Response to cali (Reply #15)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 07:43 AM

51. In your opinion, which other Senators represent the 99%?

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Response to Scuba (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 08:37 AM

30. Perhaps he is not the only one

IMO, he is the most out-spoken and articulate. TPTB will never allow it but can you imagine Bernie as our President? Then we might have a country to be proud of again.
A Democratic Socialist sure as hell beats the hell out of a bought capitalist. This country is so fucked up, yet we still have cheerleaders for both parties. "Both parties," doesn't that bother anyone else? The needs and wishes of 300,000,000 + are supposed to be met by a 2 party system? One that has morphed into a single corporate owned party?
Now, our new WH chief of staff will be a former wal-mart CEO....
It is time to start over. We lost this Monopoly game long ago.

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Response to dotymed (Reply #30)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 07:45 AM

52. Sanders no longer claims to be a Democratic Socialist.

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Response to garybeck (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 03:39 PM

3. At first, I gave Reid a pass on this watered-down filibuster reform. Now...

Now, after watching Rachel's piece on Reid and Senator Sander's position
and vote on it - I agree. Reid is weak and needs to be removed from
the Majority Leader position. It would be better if NV could elect a
progressive Dem for Senator.

I originally thought that removing the 60-vote rule would be ineffective against
the Republican House. Fellow DU'ers and others pointed out that being able to
bring forward legislation and passing (51 votes) it, is valuable for our democracy.

And, if/when we loose the Senate majority, we play by the same rules.


A minority must not, however, be allowed to permanently obstruct the wishes of the majority. That is not democracy. That is a perversion of democracy.
Thank you Senator Sanders.

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Response to TheProgressive (Reply #3)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 04:29 PM

8. Harry Reid isn't weak.

 

He's a Blue Dog.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Reply #8)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 04:58 PM

10. Weak or Blue Dog...

Doesn't matter... Reid just isn't progressive/liberal as I/we would want him to be.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Reply #8)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 07:46 AM

53. He represents his caucus.

He does what Democratic Senators elect him to do.

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Response to TheProgressive (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 02:16 PM

40. It is a bit delusional to blame only Sen Reid. He is the choice of the DEmocrats in the Senate.

They chose him for a reason. He represents them. Why dont the Senate Democrats (the majority) want filibuster reform? Now there is the question. Blaming Sen Reid is a distraction.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #40)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 05:01 PM

44. Exactly.

However, wouldn't it be a great day if Reid woke up from his sleep-walking slumber and actually supported the middle class?

Stranger things have happened.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #40)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 07:48 AM

54. Bingo. One of his priorities is making sure they don't look bad.

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Response to garybeck (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 03:48 PM

4. Bernie is right. n/t

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Response to Still Sensible (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 04:09 PM

5. As usual.

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Response to garybeck (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 04:13 PM

6. "That is not democracy. That is a perversion of democracy."

Our Democracy is seriously perverted. Sanders is one of the few who seem inclined to actually fix it.

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Response to Dark n Stormy Knight (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 02:17 PM

41. With respect, we live in a republic and not a democracy. The elites

clearly rule. The masses have very little influence on the government.

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Response to Dark n Stormy Knight (Reply #46)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 12:25 AM

47. I appreciate the links. Dont you have comments?? nm

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #47)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 12:31 AM

49. Yes. I hereby comment that I agree with the gist of the points made at the links.

As for the 1% fucking us over--we've long been generally whatever we are in regards Republic/Democracy, but the rich have always fucked over the poor. We need to assert ourselves via whatever means possible, one aspect of which involves demanding our democratic process be not thwarted by unlimited "speech" in the form of filthy lucre.

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Response to Dark n Stormy Knight (Reply #49)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 12:37 AM

50. I am a little confused by your comment. I am sure it's me.

I totally agree we are getting royally screwed by the 1%. I was just trying to clarify that we dont live in a democracy. Democracy implies direct involvement of the masses in the government. We dont vote for laws directly. We vote for representatives and hope they vote for the laws beneficial to us in the masses. That's called a republic.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #50)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 07:36 PM

60. You thanked my for the links, but apparently didn't read them. So, thank you for any future

replies, but I'm not going to read them. Cheers.

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Response to Dark n Stormy Knight (Reply #60)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 08:24 PM

61. Strange reaction. You provided links with no comment. I had already stated my opinion.

I guess I am left with guessing your point. Yes technically one can live in both a democracy and republic. However, since democracy implies that the people actually have some power related to making governmental policy, then I would state that we really dont live in a democracy. We are allowed to vote for representatives. That's as close as we get to having any control of government policy.

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Response to garybeck (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 04:28 PM

7. I also originally gave Reid a pass, now I want him recalled

 

And no, I really do not care if we lose the seat. Thanks to Reid that no longer matters.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #7)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 04:36 PM

9. Enjoy your stay;

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Response to greiner3 (Reply #9)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 07:24 PM

17. We either demand better or give up

 

I expect our leaders to do what they say they are going to do. I know, this is probably something of a shock, but that's the way I roll. If Reid is working with the GOP then the best way to send a message to the other Senators considering this is to throw him out on his ass.

Otherwise we are stuck with him for the next decade.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #17)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 12:28 AM

48. I dont buy what ever your selling. Nice try. nm

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #17)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 08:38 AM

56. Change a few words and your post sounds like something.....

....a member of the GOP Tea-Nazis would say:

I expect our leaders to do what they say they are going to do. I know, this is probably something of a shock, but that's the way I roll. If McConnell is working with the Democrats then the best way to send a message to the other Senators considering this is to throw him out on his ass.

Otherwise we are stuck with him for the next decade.


Remarkable similarities, wouldn't you agree?

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Response to OldDem2012 (Reply #56)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 11:38 AM

57. I also like dogs. You know who else liked dogs? Hitler!

 

In any case, you apparently believe that it is "right wing" to demand that elected representatives do what they said they would do. I guess, in your world view, good liberals expect their representatives to deceive them. Or something.

I will be blunt: this doesn't make you liberal, it makes you delusional. I suggest you get help before someone tells you that Reagan showered and wore pants.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #57)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 02:23 PM

58. Hmmmm. Looks like I struck a nerve....

...just FYI, but I expect the reps I support to make the best decisions they can at the moment they make those decisions. If that involves making a deal to get part of a loaf instead of acting like a horse's ass and getting nothing, that's fine with me. If you believe you're somehow being "deceived" when a rep doesn't make the decision you want, that's your problem, not that of anyone else.

One more point...I don't have to explain my political thinking to you or anyone. I've been voting solely for Democratic Party candidates since 1972, and have identified with liberal causes since JFK's election in 1960.

Hey...just curious why Hitler was the first name that popped in your head when comparing yourself to other dog-lovers...any thoughts?







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Response to OldDem2012 (Reply #58)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 09:14 PM

59. Yeah, you did somewhat. I dislike those kinds of purity challenges...

 

As they are intended to do nothing more than stiffle discussion. I think the point of a discussion forum is just that. I love it when people disagree with me as it challenges me to think about and consider my position. I am not interested in an echo chamber.

Why Hitler? I think I saw Stewart say something similar and I thought it was funny.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #7)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 05:13 PM

12. "gave Reid a pass"??

You must not have been watching him as long as most of us.

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Response to pocoloco (Reply #12)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 07:20 PM

16. I guess. He used to be my Senator a while back...

 

The one time I wrote him about something he got it done and a letter back to me within a couple weeks. Pretty impressive actually.

But this, not so much.

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Response to garybeck (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 04:58 PM

11. I really wish Bernie was my senator.

I have two far right lunatics for senators from my state. The Dems basically voted to tie their own hands as far as implementing what the party platform supported in 2012. Reid actually voted against a measure he said on TV that he supported. Reid negotiated with Mcconnel as if he was not the majority leader. Who do a lot of them work for? Themselves and special interests apparently. You keep fighting the goof fight, Bernie. You are one of my heroes.

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Response to garybeck (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 05:16 PM

13. You tricked me...I read "Filibuster REFORM," not "Reid-McConnell Scam Bullshit."

I was, like...Sanders voted AGAINST reform? I was kinda shocked. Then I realized what he voted against, the Reid-McConnell Scam Act of 2013. Good on ya, Bernie.

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Response to garybeck (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 05:24 PM

14. I agree with Senator Sanders, but

this basically amounts to a protest vote. There was no way other supporters of the talking filibuster were going to vote against this given the reality that the votes weren't there.

Ed Schultz on the filibuster vote with guest Bernie Sanders
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45755822/ns/msnbc-the_ed_show/#50594120
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022263447

Chart: The eight Democrats who opposed the talking filibuster
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022272535

Unless there is real pressure on Reid and the others to change their position, this will not come up again in the near future.




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Response to ProSense (Reply #14)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 11:27 PM

27. Yep. And as great as Bernie is, his explanation loses some of its power

when you consider that he frequently voted against cloture (and I salute him for doing so) on bills that had the support of a majority of the Senate (but not 60 votes).

The reason that a bunch of Senators are loathe to weaken the filibuster is because they were using it themselves not that long ago.

That's not to say that the repubs won't try to change it themselves if they regain control of the Senate, and Bernie should have said that -- not protection of the majority -- was why it was he supported major reform now.

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Response to garybeck (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 08:48 PM

19. K&R

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Response to garybeck (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:32 PM

20. Reform would make it far too easy for Senate Progressives to garner 51 votes.

The Conservadems could not allow liberal/progressive legislation that is popular with voters to be proposed, in voting against it they would be exposed to their constituents back home as the protectors of status quo that they are.

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Response to garybeck (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:37 PM

22. Biden/Sanders 2016!!! Clinton/Sanders 2016!!!! Sander/Grayson 2016!!!!

 

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Response to garybeck (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:55 PM

23. When Republicans controlled the Senate

Democrats were afraid to filibuster for fear the Republicans would nuke the filibuster. Now that Democrats are the majority, Republicans run amok abusing the filibuster at every turn and Democrats can't find the gumption to make sensible reforms. Bernie is absolutely correct...a perversion of Democracy. I changing my party to Independent.

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Response to JEB (Reply #23)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:09 PM

25. They cannot find their cahones.

Gumption has nothing to do with a lack of backbone by the leadership of the Senate.

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Response to 4dsc (Reply #25)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 01:47 AM

29. Cojones. n/t

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #29)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 09:24 AM

31. They need to look in a banksters pocket...n/t

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Response to garybeck (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:58 PM

24. With the gerrymandered House districts, it takes more than a majority to win the House, as well!

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Response to garybeck (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 01:33 AM

28. DEMs use GOP instransience as cover to enact right-of-center agenda.

Their version of "bipartisanship."

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Response to blkmusclmachine (Reply #28)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 09:26 AM

32. They are just following corporate orders...n/t

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Response to garybeck (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 01:54 PM

37. Same reason he's not a democrat?

 

Because he's not a huge pussy?

Time after time these democrats let us down...

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Response to FreeBC (Reply #37)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 07:50 AM

55. Pussy is not to blame for much in the U.S. Senate.

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Response to garybeck (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 02:01 PM

38. Good Cop vs Bad Cop

 

Unfortunately both parties are obligated to the corporations that pay them their perks. There are only a few, very rare exceptions. One party says something unrealistic and the other party replies they are against the statement. Miraculously they come to a surprising "handshake agreement" and and both vote for the same corporations that pay them for their perks, etc. Surprise, surprise!
The ill-informed voters (watching games and sitcoms, etc.) continue living and ignoring reality. I don't think there are enough Americans left to fight another Revolutionary War.
The media are of no help. They are filling their heads with corporate propaganda.
All information is identical. Einstein vs Mortimer Snerd-Dummy or it's not raining vs raining.
All the media has to due in one case is to look out the window. The owned corporate media usually don't do their jobs as "journalists"
I had to become an independent for the above reasons.
This country is in a very real danger of becoming Uganda West.

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Response to garybeck (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 02:01 PM

39. When Goldman, or Exxon, or UnitedHealth give money...

 

To both Democrats and Republicans it is under the assumption that both parties will do as they are told. And you have to put the wealth and power of these corporations into perspective. The government does not tell them what to do, they tell the governments of the world what they will do. Let's consider:

UnitedHealth Group is one of America's largest health insurance providers. They are just one company, and one a good many people reading this have likely never heard of. Their NET earnings last year, after bonuses and purchases and every trick in the book to offset their profits, was just over 5 BILLION dollars.

One company of dozens.

Every four years we elect a President. The total spending on the Presidential election this year was 2.6 billion (both parties combined). Once every four years the two parties drop the "epic" cash for the big game. Over that same four year period, UnitedHealth will net 20 billion in profits. UnitedHealth ALONE could fund the entire Presidential campaigns for both parties, and it would only cost them about 13% of their net profits.

Of course, UnitedHealth doesn't have to do this. They could, they would never even notice the missing cash, but they don't have to. They have corporate allies. The banks, other health providers, energy companies, defence companies, all kicking in what amounts to pennies, and yet all easily outspending anything the people might dream of spending themselves. Want to know why we are stil at war, still spending 600 BILLION a year on defense? Ask Lockheed, with almost 50 billion in sales in 2011. Want to know why Obamacare was nothing but a guaranteed profit and welfare program for insurance companies? Ask UnitedHealth or Wellpoint. Want to know why the bankers are getting cash and White House jobs instead of subpeonas? Ask Goldman Sachs, a company that ended 2012 with 7.5 billion in net income and 900 billion in assets. Want to know why the Oil Companies can do anything they damn well like? Let ExxonMobile explain it to you.

They earned 41 BILLION in profits last year. That's the net, after taxes and bonuses and expenses.

And no, none of them can possibly afford even one fucking penny more in taxes. Nor can they afford any regulations. Can't afford healthcare. But they can afford to buy the government, and they do.

The two parties are not fighting over policy. Exxon and Goldman and Lockheed tell them what that's going to be. They are fighting for the chance to earn their little slice of the pie. If they are good boys and play along they get to be junior members of the club. If they don't they're gone.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #39)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 09:51 AM

45. You are absolutely right.

The only concern that our so-called representatives have is getting reelected so they can continue to suck the government's tit. They only leave when they are assured of getting a multi-million dollar job to lobby their former colleagues. It has only become a system of greedy immoral bastards that don't give a tinker's dam about the welfare of the rest of us. I don't believe, as demonstrated by President Washington, that the founders ever thought that becoming a representative was a life-time job and path to fabulous wealth. This diseased system will only continue until the public demands that the term limits imposed on the office of the president by extended to both houses. It could only be accomplished by forcing a general election vote because the members of congress would never impose these limits on their own that would deprive them of their path to wealth.

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