Speaking in Athens, Greece, yesterday, Pope Francis warned Americans, “We cannot avoid noting with concern how today, and not only in Europe, we are witnessing a retreat from democracy." He warned against politicians with "an obsessive quest for popularity, in a thirst for visibility, in a flurry of unrealistic promises,” and called for people around the world to turn away from authoritarianism, individualism, and indifference. Instead, they must rededicate themselves to the common good and strengthen democracy.
Since the Dems retook control of the Senate this past January, it has seemed clear, at least to me, that the greatest threat to democracy, not to mention the greatest source of disfunction in our politics, is the Senate filibuster that is used by Republicans again and again to block the possibility of a vote on any meaningful legislation that, in turn, would stand or fall based on the will of the majority. And because neither abolishing the filibuster nor exempting it even to pass bills protective of our most basic rights currently has support from 50 Senators, I wish to issue an alternative. Here, I defer to Congressional Scholar Norm Ornstein who, for some time, has pressed for a Senate filibuster rule change I believe would provide an opening for the Senate to function as the deliberative body our Founders had sought to establish.
This rule change that likely would pass (it would need support from only 50 Senators) would involve replacing the 60-vote threshold required to end debate with a 41-vote threshold to continue debate, thus shifting the burden from the majority to the minority, 41 of whom would have to be present, speaking nonstop solely about the issue at hand, to sustain a filibuster. I don’t imagine any Senator (as stated, we only need support from 50) could mount a credible opposition in defiance of this reform. I would add that neither Manchin nor Sinema could use their supposed commitment to the filibuster as justification to block this rule change.
Imagine the possibilities were this rule change enacted and Senate Dems were able at least to have a shot at passing not only the Freedom to Vote Act and VRAA, but also the PRO Act, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, criminal justice reform, gun safety legislation, immigration reform, and more. I expect Dems would be so mobilized that they likely could win enough seats in 22 to render the likes of a Manchin or a Sinema as virtually irrelevant.
In closing, I would note that President Biden, as he did with the American Rescue Plan, would be expected to play an equally aggressive role in getting the two coalitions in his Party together and united. Whether it be the Freedom to Vote Act, the Social and Climate Action package, or some other legislation, we the people would expect President Biden be mindful that the fate of the Democratic Party, and of democracy itself, ultimately, does not rest solely with individual Senators or with different coalitions within the Party. Rather, it’s the Party leadership that must lead, come up with the deal, and get the job done.
Writes That's Another Fine Mess ·3 min ago
For those not up on their gun recognition, Massie himself is holding an M-60 squad automatic weapon, a full-auto machine gun. His youngest daughter is holding an Uzi, also a full-auto submachine gun, while his wife is holding a Thompson submachine gun, also full-auto. Three of the older spawn standing are holding M-16A3 military rifles, marketed to civilians as the semi-automatic AR-15. That's quite an armory. Somehow, he doesn't look like the type to wield an M-60 the way the biggest guy in an infantry squad did in Vietnam.
The far right in America now calls themselves "National Conservatives." They're about as "conservative" as the National socialists were "socialist." Their self-used term "NatCon" is the functional equivalent of "Nazi", a contraction of "National Socialist."
They may be a minority in the country, but so were the Nazis, who never "won" the election of January 1933, merely coming in as the largest individual party in the election, with less than 35% of the total vote. At the height of their power, no more than some 40% of Germans were party members.
As a dear departed friend who described himself as a survivor of what he called "the twelve bad years" once described to me, "The Nazis didn't elect Hitler - it was the conservatives! They believed him when he told them he was one of them, a lie they discovered too late."
Theodore Adorno, who knew a thing or two about far right political movements, called the American far right "pseudo" (pretend) "conservatives" back in 1949. His term is only more accurate today.
Justice Sotomayor has my admiration for calling out the stench of the Supreme Court. I found the Justices ready to throw out Roe v. Wade giving ridiculous arguments that even the lowest level court wouldn't buy disheartening. That the word "abortion" isn't in the Constitution! Well, neither is the word "woman" in the Constitution even the 19th amendment uses the word "sex". I've been reading a few articles on abortion during Colonial times. Laws against abortion were quite harsh in some states. The laws basically following the European country the settlers came from. And, Justice Barrett's argument that any woman can just leave their newborn at the closest fire station so they don't have to worry about parenting the child for 18 years. All this supports my position that the Supreme Court is illegitimate and then Majority Leadership McConnell should be prosecuted for being in Contempt of the Constitution with his double stunt of first refusing to hear President Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court on Justice Scalia death in February 2016 and then pushing through the nomination of Justice Barrett in a matter of days when early voting had already started giving the court its politically right super majority.
Yes, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett lied in their Senate hearings. But make no mistake, every Senator in that room knew they were lying. The three justices had been vetted by the Federalist Society, which uses the facade of "originalism" to identify anti-abortion, anti-gay, pro-gun, pro-corporate justices. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski (two Republicans who claim to be staunch advocates for reproductive rights), knew that Kavanaugh was lying, knew that Barrett was lying, and voted to confirm them anyways. Their lies gave Collins and Murkowski cover to put their party ahead of women's rights.
I truly wonder if the "public good" ever existed, as America has always been about advancing some while suppressing others. Our eternal optimism often gets in the way, because we do seem well-intentioned, but we need to finally question if we truly are. For instance, Senator Bob Dole died yesterday after a life dedicated to public service. Yet, he also fought against equality for people like me and in the last couple of years of his life abandoned the form of republicanism he fought to serve in. So while I get the accolades, I want us to finally confront who we've been and who we are. The holiday card that Massie sent symbolizes this. He is a member of congress. A responsibility that only 435 people get to have at a time. And this is what he sends out. So, yes, it's time to talk about the Public Good. Not the personal good, not the polarized good, not the good for some who held power. The Public Good is for the collective. But it's also time to reassert what's good. Mitch McConnell clearly stated the Republican agenda is to just say no. Is that why we pay their salaries? Is that good. Yes, I know this reply is a bit a ramble. But I'm tired. I'm angry. And I want to believe we can be better for once and for all.
Massie... sounds too close to "massacre". Such a disgusting "Christmas" card from a congressman. May none of their children, grandchildren, friends, or loved ones be gunned down in cold blood at an elementary school, on a college campus, at church, a concert, a family gathering, and the list goes on. This disturbing, classless American family they so brazenly display in their pathetic, attention grabbing photo makes me sick, angry, and sad. At least these psychos show and tell us who they are. We are watching and waiting to vote so many out.
Now is a good time to tell you about my activist Grandmother, Mrs. Schneible. Guessing back in the 1940’s near Tampa Florida. The Ku Klux Clan were marching downtown. My brave Grandmother wrote down all the car license plates she could see that Klan members were driving. Wanting to know their names! Not sure how she shared her list but I know my Grandfather was fired after the list became known. What a brave caring lady!
So what do we do? Democrats elected the President and slim majorities in the House and Senate. The bills that guarantee free and fair elections cannot come up in the Senate without breaking the Republican filibuster. Two so-called Democratic senators have so far refused to change the filibuster rule. There is no shaming them. If we push them hard they can change party affiliation and vote with their fellow Republicans.
And then there's the Supreme Court. Republicans stole a seat, changing the informal rules to suit their ends. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, despite being elderly and suffering from cancer, risked another seat and lost her gamble to give the Republicans another seat when she refused to resign while a Democratic President held office.
Republicans have amassed media power and march lockstep in selling their agenda in terms that people can remember and that generate strong emotions. What is Democrats' answer? "Build back better."
Someone wake me up from this nightmare. Please.
Again: " Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or on occasion, 'regretted,' that unless one what the whole thing was in principle, what all these 'little measures'...must someday lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing - each act is worse than the last, but only by a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow.
You don't want to act, or even talk, alone; you don't want to 'go out of your way to make trouble.' But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds of thousands will join you never comes. That's the difficulty. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves, when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. You have accepted things you would not have accepted five years ago. a year ago, things your father could never have imagined." From Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free, The Germans, 1933--45. Damn, wish I could post a pic
This is the message I just texted to my (progressive) senators using Resistbot (504-09):
Before the Senate goes on recess, get the most important work taken care of:
1. Pass the Build Back Better Act. Just get it done.
2. Pass the two voting rights acts. Get the filibuster out of the way, whatever it takes. Our democracy is at stake.
3. Expand the federal courts, at all levels, including the Supreme Court. Otherwise, the partisan hacks pushed through by the reactionary right wing will trash everything including voting rights.
Then go on recess. While out, get those judicial lists ready. When you come back, fill up the courts rapidly with highly qualified persons of varied backgrounds.
I think you can. I think you can. I think you can!
How do we mobilize? The alarms are going off, but many of us don't know what to do next. We have kids in school, jobs..We need a leader to organize this movement (and assign tasks). I am a part of so many groups, all with similar objectives, but how/who will pull us together?
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Heather Cox Richardson's letter was an unsettling read tonight, but even more unsettling is the photo of the Massie family's idea of Christmas. I am filled with despair that people who revel in the symbols of murder lead our country. And these are the people who accuse us of waging a war on Christmas.
I am not a religious person but I started out life as a Catholic and cut my teeth on the Latin Mass. Since laying eyes on that photo 3 hours ago the following has been playing on a loop in my head, over and over again –
Agnus Dei, qui tolis peccata mundi,
Agnus Dei, qui tolis peccata mundi,
dona nobis pacem.
Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world,
have mercy.on us.
grant us peace.
It’s all fun and games until it isn’t any more. Jennifer LOL Crumbley’s crocodile tears and Massies around the tree with powerful looking weapons of war answering the call of the mass murdering/never responsible Idjt—Liberate Michigan. Defend your Second Amendment rights. Tens of thousands have marched peacefully for 5 years, virtually ignored by the media unless there is violence.
I would value some very practical ideas on how people should get involved to counter the forces of anti-democratic authoritarian forces.
I think amongst your comments is a glimmer of hope: the white nationalists are covering themselves because the rule of law has started to fight back.
Tell me how I, a resident in a city of a deeply blue state, HOW I CAN HELP.
Heather, we are currently in Europe. What an embarrassment— we read several on line European papers and this Christmas card is all over the news and newspapers in Europe. People here are honestly alarmed, shocked and just speechless that such a thing could happen. As one person here said, “we desperately need a strong and respected America”.
Someone needs to illustrate, ***for all to see***, what life is like under authoritarian rule. Anyone who would think the GOP will have their backs if the GOP gets its way is terribly misguided.