College of Political Knowledge
I have been watching the actions of our Congress both Senate and House, since the Clinton days and have seen just how dysfunctional the institution really is, at least in the near past…….the partisanship has made the organization a non-workable endeavor……its approval rating is dismal…..its bill success rate is in the toilet…….and most of the players appear to be nothing short of clowns in a circus……..
The next question should be….how can we as a nation find a way for our legislative branch to function more efficiently? Or is it possible at all to make it an institution worth saving?
One idea that was floated during the founding era, especially by Franklin, was a unicameral legislative system as opposed to what we have now, bicameral……
Franklin wrote Queries and Remarks Respecting Alterations in the Constitution of Pennsylvania to record his opposition to bicameralism.
The Combinations of Civil Society are not like those of a Set of Merchants, who club [combine] their Property in different Proportions for Building and Freighting a Ship, and may therefore have some Right to vote in the Disposition of the Voyage in greater or less Degree according to their respective Contributions; but the important ends of Civil Society, and the personal Securities of Life and Liberty, these remain the same in every Member of the society; and the poorest continues to have an equal Claim to them with the most opulent [wealthy], whatever Difference Time, Chance, or Industry may occasion in their Circumstances. On these Considerations, I am sorry to See the Signs this Paper I have been considering [the proposed Pennsylvania Constitution] affords, of a Disposition among some of our People to commence an Aristocracy, by giving the Rich a predominancy [superior power] in Government, a Choice peculiar to themselves in one half the Legislature to be proudly called the UPPER House, and the other Branch, chosen by the Majority of the People, degraded by the denomination [name] of the LOWER; and giving to this Upper a Permanency of four Years, and but two to the lower.
Franklin felt that every member of society should have an equal say in the legislative branch of government. He disagreed with the theory of bicameralism that favored one chamber for the wealthy and another chamber for the rest of society. (version can be found on Yahoo Answers)……….
There are benefits to unicameralism…..can almost hear the butts slamming shut!
1. No Duplication of Work-
Law making is done through a process. If there is one house the process is followed once only. There is no repetition of the same process. So time is saved, money is saved and energy as well.
2. No Hindrance-
The people’s will is reflected in the single chamber and there is no check on progressive legislation by any reactionary or conservative second chamber. If the legislature is bicameral in nature there will be differences in the outlook of the two houses.
3. Singleness of Purpose-
When the legislature consists of only one house, singleness of purpose will be maintained. Hence, there will be no confusion in the law making process. Benjamin Franklin said: “Legislative body divided into two branches is like a carriage drawn by one horse in front and one behind pulling in opposite direction.”
4. No Divided Responsibility-
It adds to the quality and dignity of the legislators by avoiding conflict between two chambers. The single chamber is responsible for all legislative matters. There is no divided responsibility as is found in a bicameral legislature.
5. More Representative and less Expensive-
The unicameral legislature can be composed of members who are the true representatives of the people. The composition can be simple. Because it is unicameral, double expenditure for maintenance of two houses is not necessary.
The benefits sound too good to be true…….it would streamline the process and as stated it would be less expensive, something we all should aspire to in these days of looming austerity……so I return to the beginning question……Could one house be better than two?
Back in January I predicted that immigration would be a hot button issue in 2013….so far I am doing pretty well with my predictions overall….we have an immigration reform bill that is making the rounds in DC…..but will it be anything like the impotent gun background check?
(Newser) – The Senate’s immigration reform bill could make sweeping changes for some 11 million undocumented workers, but not all its measures are so expansive. In fact, a number of senators have inserted legislation that offers a special boost to their home states, the Wall Street Journal reports. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a major home for meat production, reportedly added a provision for up to 20,000 extra visas for meat cutters and trimmers—even though a labor union says the industry has plenty of eligible workers already.
“The way we view this is it’s an earmark for meat and poultry and we strongly, strongly oppose it,” says a union rep. Meanwhile, New York’s Chuck Schumer added 10,500 visas for high-school educated Irish immigrants. That was an effort to fix a 1965 anti-bias measure that “inadvertently made it difficult for Irish immigrants to obtain visas, despite their strong cultural ties to the US,” says an aide. Elsewhere in the bill, Florida’s Marco Rubio inserted an allowance for more foreigners who can repair cruise ships; Colorado’s Michael Bennet added more leeway in hiring foreign ski instructors. The Journal has more.
As usual the bill will reflect personal interests not finding a lasting problem to the undocumented aliens that are in this country…….anything these cowards come up with will not be comprehensive but rather targeted to specifics…..which will mean there will be more that get screwed than finding a realistic fix to the problem?
In case you would like to know so that you may act appropriately…….
The time is nearing for the Senate to take up the newest piece of crap on guns…….I was hoping to move on from this issue and ficus on more pressing things…..they will not let me…..
The big deal now is the Manchin/Toomey bill or the Toomey/Manchin bill depending on whether you want the lib or the conserv listed first….anyway few people debating this in the media are giving real facts about the piece, they instead want to debate the merits of such a piece of work…..
Let me help you understand what this bill will do and want not………thanx to Talking Points Memo for the breakdown….
The Gaps It Closes
The legislation closes the so-called gun show loophole by requiring an FBI background check for all firearm sales conducted at a gun show. It requires a criminal check for all commercial gun transactions, including listings posted in a newspaper or on the Internet. It expands an existing law that only requires background checks for licensed dealers, letting unlicensed dealers sell firearms without background checks in accordance with state and local laws.
Gun control supporters are also pleased that the bill ensures record-keeping by the seller on transactions, akin to those already required on background checks that are mandatory. The dealer would need to keep a record of the sales he or she conducts in the event that police need to trace a weapon used to commit a crime.
“I think it does cover a lot of new additional sales and that’s important,” said Horwitz. “The good part about this bill is it has a really strong record-keeping requirement. It extends the requirements in current law for background checks, which we thought was really important.”
The Manchin-Toomey bill gives the FBI 48 hours to block a transaction at a gun show due to a red flag in a buyer’s background, with the aim of reducing that to 24 hours in four years. Current law gives the FBI 72 hours to block a sale from a licensed dealer. If the sale goes through, the FBI would have 24 hours to destroy the data on the buyer. Contrary to a popular myth from pro-gun activists, the bill would in no way create a national gun registry.
The Gaps It Leaves Open
The crucial exemption that worries gun control supporters is that background checks would not be required for private, non-commercial sales or transfers between family and friends. In other words, if two people meet and one decides to sell his gun to the other, he can do so without a background check as long as the sale wasn’t initially advertised.
“The bill covers only purchasers who buy at a gun show or via some kind of advertised sale,” said Jim Jacobs, a law professor and gun control expert at New York University. “It doesn’t require every secondary purchaser to be background checked.”
That same exemption weakens the gun show requirement. A buyer and seller who meet at a gun show can potentially — and legally — make the transaction afterward outside the event without a background check.
“There’s nothing in the law that prevents someone from going to a gun show, finding the gun he likes, then meeting the seller off-site to complete the sale without a background check,” said Adam Winkler, a law professor at UCLA and gun law expert.
“You can simply go to the McDonalds or Starbucks across the street and make the transaction,” said Horwitz.
The Manchin-Toomey legislation beefs up gun rights in other areas. It seeks to make it easier for gun dealers to advertise and sell their firearms across state lines, and protects sellers from lawsuits if the buyer passes a background check but later uses the gun in a crime. And to quell right-wing concerns, the bill includes a penalty of 15 years in prison for any federal officer who seeks to use data to create a gun registry.
Read over all that again and then explain to me where this was anything but a colossal waste of time….where will this help make our children safer?
If it passes the Senate it will crap out in the House…..beyond that it is an illustration of our Congress….toothless and impotent.
Welcome to the world of cowards!
After poor Mitt took it in the butt…there was lots of finger pointing and condemnation when the GOP tried to explain their humiliating loss……about the only voting bloc they took hands down were old white guys…they lost the Hispanics, Blacks, most women and the younger voters……and with that loss all the high mucky mucks decided that the GOP had to be a big tent party and that they would reach out to the very groups that they lost……….and here is their outreach program…..
They have made Marco Rubio the man to beat for the nomination…he has traveled extensively making his appearances and his new stances…he started this makeover in Iowa (go figure) and moved on to several “liberal” MSM sources….Meet The Press, CBS news, etc……his makeover is a present to the Hispanic community……
And now with the departure of Jim DeMint from the Senate we have the second part of the party makeover hovering on the sidelines…Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina will do her part to make over the party by nominating Rep. Tim Scott as DeMint’s replacement the second part of the new p[arty will be in place….now the Afro-American community will have a single senator to look up to……….. and the party danced……
Let’s look at Rep. Scott….
(Newser) – South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has chosen GOP Rep. Tim Scott to take over Jim DeMint’s Senate seat, CNN reports by way of GOP sources. She’s set to make the announcement today at noon. Scott will be the state’s first black senator since the late 1800s, the New York Times notes. Says a fellow rep from the state, “There is not a kinder, more humble, sweet-spirited person … That is somewhat antithetical to what you’d expect at this level of politics.”
It would be another auspicious step in the life of a man that the Times describes as having a “unique story”: Scott was raised in a single-parent home and nearly flunked out of high school; but after a Chick-fil-A franchise owner became his mentor, things turned around for him.
A compelling story and will surely turn the GOP’s dismal track record all around (sarcasm)……
I do think the Scott will be a good senator…I mean if he only sponsors one bill he has done a 100% improvement over DeMint……..
I hate to tell the GOP this….but Hispanics and Afro-American voters are not as stupid as they think….token candidates does not a big tent party make……
Our House leadership has said that there are at least 15 GOP bills waiting for approval from the Senate….they issued this statement trying to hold back the criticism that they are doing NOTHING to create jobs and everything to help the profit of large corporations…..
But is there a group of bills, GOP bills, waiting for some action from the Senate?
I checked and found these on the site, The Gavel……
GOP’s Budget to End Medicare (
GOP Budget for Fiscal Year 2012, H.Con.Res. 34) – Instead of creating jobs, this House GOP budget is estimated to destroy 1.7 million jobs by 2014, according to economist Mark Zandi; ends Medicare, increasing seniors’ health costs by more than $6,000 and throwing them on the mercy of the insurance companies; and protects tax breaks for Big Oil, millionaires and billionaires, and companies that ship jobs overseas.
Increasing Childhood Asthma Act (
The Energy Tax Prevention Act, H.R. 910) – Instead of creating jobs, this bill weakens our ability to ensure clean air and a healthier environment for our children, by eliminating every tool that the EPA has to address serious public health threats from carbon pollution, including increased childhood asthma.
Adding Tolls To the Information Superhighway Act (
Disapproval of FCC’s Net Neutrality Regulations, H.J.Res. 37) – Instead of creating jobs, this bill would destroy jobs by overturning FCC rule maintaining America’s open Internet; the open Internet has been the greatest engine for the U.S. economy, creating more than 3 million jobs and helping the 20,000 small businesses that operate on the Internet.
Dirty Water Act (
Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act, H.R. 2018) – Instead of creating jobs, this bill undermines the Clean Water Act, thereby undermining our economy; local economies around the country and millions of jobs in tourism, outdoor recreation and commercial fisheries depend on clean water and healthy fish and wildlife habitat.
Dirty Water Act Attempt 2 (
The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act, H.R. 872) – Instead of creating jobs, this bill attempts to overturn a decision of the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that commercial pesticides are pollutants when used near or on waterways and would prevent protection of our waterways from toxic pesticide pollution by exempting pesticide applications from Clean Water Act permitting.
Big Bank Protection Act (
Consumer Financial Protection and Soundness Improvement Act, H.R. 1315) – Instead of creating jobs, this bill weakens, delays, and erodes consumer protections that stop unfair, deceptive and abusive practices by financial institutions and ensure credit card, mortgage, student loan, and other financial transactions are more clear, transparent, and fair to all Americans.
The Outsourcers’ Bill of Rights (
Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act, H.R. 2587) – Instead of creating jobs, this bill would destroy American jobs – by making it easier for corporations to send American jobs overseas and weakening the rights of middle class workers – by allowing corporations to punish employees for exercising their rights to organize, demand better benefits and safer working conditions, and seek a full day’s pay for an honest day’s work.
Dirty Air Act Attempt 1 (
Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act, H.R. 2401) – Instead of creating jobs, this special-interest bill guts the Clean Air Act on behalf of the utility industry, even though utilities are the largest source of mercury pollution – a powerful neurotoxin that damages the development of children’s brains; utilities are also a key source of other toxic air pollutants and the bill is projected to result in 34,000 premature deaths and 120,000 aggravated asthma attacks.
Dirty Air Act Attempt 2 (
Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act, H.R. 2681) – Instead of creating jobs, this special-interest bill guts the Clean Air Act on behalf of the cement industry – even though the cement industry is the third largest source of mercury pollution; the cement industry is also a key source of other toxic air pollutants and the bill is projected to result in 10,000 premature deaths and 68,000 aggravated asthma attacks.
Dirty Air Act Attempt 3 (
EPA Regulatory Relief Act, H.R. 2250) – Instead of creating jobs, this special-interest bill guts the Clean Air Act on behalf of industrial boilers – even though large industrial boilers are the second largest source of mercury pollution; industrial boilers are also a key source of other toxic air pollutants and the bill is projected to result in 20,000 premature deaths and 126,000 aggravated asthma attacks.
Coal Ash Protection Act (
Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act, H.R. 2273) – Instead of creating jobs, this special-interest bill endangers public health by preventing effective management of coal ash, even though coal ash contains significant quantities of heavy metals like arsenic, lead and selenium, and more than 65 sites in 26 states have been found where coal ash has contaminated the groundwater.
A Gift to Big Oil Act Attempt 1 (
Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act, H.R. 1230) – This drill-only bill grants enormous, multinational energy companies access to the Gulf of Mexico with less oversight – rushing lease sales in the Gulf with unreasonable time limits and without proper environmental review.
A Gift to Big Oil Act Attempt 2 (
Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act, H.R. 1229) – This drill-only bill makes offshore drilling less safe, rushing the very processes that the National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling found led to the BP disaster.
A Gift to Big Oil Act Attempt 3 (
Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act, H.R. 1231) – This drill-only bill mandates the most sweeping expansion of offshore drilling in our nation’s history – making broad swaths of the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts open for leasing automatically.
A Gift to Big Oil Act Attempt 4 (
The Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011, H.R. 2021) – This drill-only bill repeals limitations on drilling for oil and gas that protect air quality – rushing through Clean Air permits for widespread oil and gas operations on the Outer Continental Shelf that could increase pollution and damage air quality in coastal states like California and Delaware.
A Gift to Big Oil Act Attempt 5 (
North American-Made Energy Security Act, H.R. 1938) – This drill-only bill directs the President to expedite approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which is controversial as it would carry oil from the Canadian tar sands to the Gulf Coast putting U.S. water supplies in the Plain states at risk.
My fellow Americans….there are the so-called jobs bills that the GOP has sitting in the Senate awaiting action…..the truth is….the GOP HAS NOTHING! That is why they keep talking tax cuts and Obama Sucks……they have NOTHING else……
Sad part is there are still those voters that see these do nothings as true leadership…..
I liked her as a professor, I liked her as a Washington trouble maker and now I love her as a candidate for the Senate……the only thing I do not like is…….I cannot vote for her….I live in another state…….
Watch the video and tell me she is not the absolute best person for the Senate…… http://bit.ly/oKZISU
Now tell me this not the absolute best person for Washington! I love this woman!
Remember the days of the Cold War, when the USSR would change leadership there would be a huge purge of those that were in bed with the previous premier? Stalin did it…..Krushev did it…..on and on……they would purge these people because they did not fit into the grand plan……..but all that stuff just has the smell of what is happening in the US Congress…..NO! I am NOT calling these people communists! Only that there are similarities on the events occurring now…..
I will bet that you, my reader, is scratching your head and wondering just what the Hell I am going on about, huh?
The other day, the #3 GOP leader, Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee is resigning as the head of the Republican conference in his resignation he said…..”Stepping down from the Republican leadership will liberate me to spend more time trying to work toward results on the issues I care the most about,” he said.
Sounds good and promising….but personally, I think he was purged because he is a moderate Repub in a sea of extreme conservs……in a Senate where compromise is a dirty word….a senator like Alexander is an unwanted person in a leadership capacity….he may want to put smiley face on his resignation….but the truth is he was PURGED!
And no matter how much a smiley face or some noble BS…the truth is that he is a moderate and in such is NOT capable of passing the purity test….and they cannot have a moderate in a position of leadership….I say again….HE WAS PURGED!
You know there are just times when people cannot help themselves and they speak and nothing but pure crap comes out of their mouths……I always bitch about the fact that people just do not know history and yet they still try to argue from ignorance……
The BS hits the fan on the Senate floor…..there has been much talk, much debate and much emotions over whether the US should bow out of Afghanistan or stay and continue to deal with the situation as normal…..many Dems and some Repubs are for the complete withdrawal of US troops from the country and there are those, we call them hawks, that seemingly want the US to stay and fight until the goals have been reached…the problem is NO person knows what those goals are……
Recently the Senator from West Virginia made his case for the US to get out of Afghanistan and then our favorite old fart took to the floor in response….one Sen. John McCain of Arizona….
“In case the senator from West Virginia forgot it or never knew it, we withdrew from Afghanistan one time,” McCain said. “We withdrew from Afghanistan and the Taliban came, eventually followed by al-Qaida followed by attacks on the United States of America.”
Is McCain senile or is he still pissed that the American voter chose Obama over him or maybe he is just extremely uninformed or maybe he is just a bitter old man……let me explain…prior to 2001 the US had NEVER had a presence in Afghanistan….so we could not withdraw from a country we were never in…..I think that McCain was thinking of the Soviets…..they invaded the country before us….about 2 decades before we did……we did, however, discontinued our financial support once the Russians split…….
I expect more from a sitting Senator….at least do a little research before you spout your crap…..
A loyal reader, Phillip, suggested that Info Ink give McCain a Lifetime Achievement Award for the most nominations for the “Assie”….we may consider his proposal….