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  1.  (9731.21)
    Shit. The more and more I think about it, the more and more it seems like Carter's administration all over again. Guy has good intentions, tries to reform, but the spin doctors spin the disasters out of control, to the point the other guy seems like a idiot. So any good thing he does, is eclipsed by only the bad things that occurred OUTSIDE his control. I feel like right now, we're in the middle of Tarantino-style Mexican standoff. The Tea baggers are arguing for less government, which they have no idea what that is. Its just an easy platform for people to encroach on. Whoever wins, the other guy will lose big time.
    • CommentTimeApr 8th 2011
    @COOP & Government Spy:

    The Democrats never quite had the Senate votes to do anything without appeasing their Blue Dogs (conservative Democrats), while in the House, Blue Dogs narrowed the majority a lot. The Blue Dogs suddenly became deficit hawks around January 2007, when the Democrats regained majorities in both houses. Prior to that, they could be found refusing to support any Democratic filibusters.

    For non-Yanks, a filibuster is a speech that prolongs discussion of a Senate bill effectively forever. Although a bill passes with a simple majority of 51-49 or 51-50 (VP breaks the tie), it takes 60 votes to end discussion (cloture). When the Democrats were in the minority but hoped to filibuster really shitty bills like No Child Left Behind (after the Navy SEALS motto) or the one about Medicare drugs, Blue Dogs often declared they'd vote with the Republicans for cloture, so the Dems didn't bother.

    The Dems have had the Senate since 2007, but never had 60 votes, even after appeasing prima donnas like Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) or Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut). Remember Lieberman? Only Dem to demand Clinton's resignation, crappy running mate in 2000 who got primaried in 2006 but ran as an independent and made the Democrats pay for supporting his opponent?

    The Republicans have a *standing* filibuster, so the Dems have to get their 60 except in a very few circumstances (incl. continuing resolutions, I think). The Affordable Healthcare Act only passed with the help of a couple of Republicans, which is why it was watered down so much. Throw in a lot of marginal seats and you can see why the Dems aren't often as effective as Republicans, who all stick to the same script.

    But I agree with you guys at least where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is concerned. He, and to some extent Obama, love bipartisanship too much to administer the occasional exemplary beatdown to this or that recalcitrant congresscritter.

    By the way, economist Paul Krugman has been spending his week demonstrating conclusively that GOP Rep. Ryan is full of shit. Ryan's deal is *worse* than a shutdown.
  2.  (9731.23)
    Hmm, as an Australian i can't say this will effect me in any meaningful way.

    In an ideological sense i find it an abhorrent, if unsurprising reminder of how far the us body politic has become divorced from not only the people that they represent but also reality itself. Yes the budget needs to be cut but when you prefer to attack the most vulnerable in your community instead of reigning in defense spending and at least maintaining the current taxation level on the top 1% you have a problem.

    One thing that irks me about it is that the democrats are considered the good guys, especially internationally when in fact they have no more solutions then the republicans. Just a better spin job.
    • CommentTimeApr 8th 2011
    Anyone else wanna move to Finland? I hear it's cold but they have reindeer sled drifting so I bet that makes up for it.

    Welcome. It's election season here, and looks like we'll have a rightwing-populist-douchebag government for the next four years. (And even then, to the left of the Democratic party in the US.)
    • CommentAuthorgzapata
    • CommentTimeApr 8th 2011
    @elephantsintheforest- I would actually say the democrats are horrible at spin. It's not difficult to look into the past and look for some solutions while also modernizing them but they can't explain it simple enough for a soundbite
    • CommentTimeApr 8th 2011 edited
    The "pox on both their houses" view:


    "The Tears of John Boehner Are Like Acid to Freedom" - heh heh.

    With a good breakdown of what services will and will not be affected by a possible shutdown. I'd be willing to bet most people won't even notice the difference. Of course, i'm old enough to not have been in diapers the last time this bullshit happened - I fear I may be unique in that among the whippersnappers of this board.
    • CommentAuthormanglr
    • CommentTimeApr 8th 2011
    The other thing to add in regard to filibusters is that fact that under the Republican miniority, they've been the standard mode of operations on nearly everything. There have been some nice graphs done to show that even during the Clinton administration, a filibuster was a relative rarity. Use went up a bit during the Bush adminstration under the Democratic minority and then went through the roof once the Republicans lost their majority position and Obama came into office. At this point, even formerly common business, such as judicial appointments, are subject to the filibuster.

    It's aggravating to be a progressive in this country right now. Very little gets done, and what does get done usually seems to benefit the richest segment of the population. I've got very little love of the Democratic party as they'll represent anything from a center right to a hard left portion fo the political spectrum. But given the abject childishness of the tea-party influenced Republican party...there isn't another game in town.
    • CommentTimeApr 8th 2011 edited
    ... and that's why both parties continue to get away with it. Vote for a third party, vote for an independent, hell, write in Superman. If they don't get votes, they don't get elected. As long as the Democrats know that you will vote for any piece of shit that has a "D" after their name, why would they be motivated to do anything to earn your vote?
  3.  (9731.29)
    Oh West Wing, where fore art thou?
  4.  (9731.30)
    I think we're stuck in a "Devil's you do" sort of rotation. We vote republicans in when the democrats piss us off and vice versa. There just isn't a strong enough media/social presence for other parties due to, among other things, major differences in funding. Perhaps with the rise of social media in politics (youtube/twitter) we could have a green party presence in the house or an independent majority, but it just doesn't seem like a reality. I'm not old enough to really have much of an opinion on political history in the US, but in talking with most of my peers, a consensus is usually reached about how we were raised. You either vote for one party or the other based on what your parents taught you about the party's beliefs. Even after you do research on platforms and stances, what have you really learned about the candidate? How can you make an informed decision about who you want to represent you when you have no real idea of who these people are in the first place?

    I guess the donkey I'm trying to pin this tail on is that we're a country who is too big to represent everyone, but we're still trying to claim that we are representing everyone. This creates a lot of anger for the public due to our upbringing. In America everyone has a voice. That is how we were all brought up. The reality is that we all have the chance to give someone else our voice, and we really don't know who we're giving it to. Voting one party or another makes us feel like our beliefs are being represented, when really we can't be sure our values will even matter to them.

    As for the shutdown, it happened during the Clinton administration and we had a balanced budget come out of it. Some savvy political types even claim that using Clinton's budget would balance what we have going wrong today. Just a thought.
    • CommentAuthorSetesh
    • CommentTimeApr 8th 2011
    While they're prancing around arguing about the bullshit pro-choice vs. pro-life issue (it is bullshit, a fetus is not a U.S. citizen til it has a birth certificate), pay is being withheld from all government workers.

    You know, like soldiers and their families, many of whom are already living at or below the poverty line in America. And as an article recently pointed out, what do you think this will do to the moral of all the workers you sent home on indefinite furlough because they were "non-essential" staff?

    Most of them will read that for what it is: expendable. Not really much motivation for a person to do well if you treat them like shit.

    Well, unless you're trying to run a gulag, I guess. Fear's a great motivator, in that case.
    • CommentTimeApr 8th 2011
    @setesh - the Republicans are trying really hard to make it an abortion thing, but its not at all. It's a false issue - its already against the law for federal money to pay for abortions. They are trying to defund the other services that Planned Parenthood performs, like cancer screenings, for poor women. It's a fight worth having, in my opinion.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeApr 8th 2011
    This piece in Rolling Stone gave me some joy on this morning of political frustration:
    Paul Ryan, the Republican Party’s latest entrant in the seemingly endless series of young, prickish, over-coiffed, anal-retentive deficit Robespierres they’ve sent to the political center stage in the last decade or so, has come out with his new budget plan. All of these smug little jerks look alike to me – from Ralph Reed to Eric Cantor to Jeb Hensarling to Rand Paul and now to Ryan, they all look like overgrown kids who got nipple-twisted in the halls in high school, worked as Applebee’s shift managers in college, and are now taking revenge on the world as grownups by defunding hospice care and student loans and Sesame Street. They all look like they sleep with their ties on, and keep their feet in dress socks when doing their bi-monthly duty with their wives.

    I heard that Japanese scientists used stem cells to create a primoridal eye. I hope they next try to synthesize a backbone, and offer it to Obama.
    • CommentTimeApr 8th 2011
    I remember the early 1996 shutdown pretty well. Gingrich felt bulletproof after the 1994 GOP sweep and the Contract With^H^H^H^HOn America. Since '96 was an election year, I guess the plan was to make Clinton look ineffectual to give whoever challenged him (it would be Bob Dole) a better shot at the White House. Kinda like now. (Except Bob Dole, for all his faults, was not crazy, stupid or crooked, unlike whichever hairball the GOP is likely to cough up.)

    The shutdown coincided with the worst winter storm in the Northeast in years. The people weren't impressed. Gingrich blinked.

    "A pox on both houses?" Nick Gillespie is a tool. He's peddling the lie about the Democratic majority that (I hope) I debunked above (at the risk of excusing the Dems too much--that they needed more discipline and less worshiping at the altar of bipartisanship is an understatement).

    Up to the mid-1990s, the conventional wisdom was that politics were just a big game, and everyone shook hands and went out for drinks afterward. Not entirely true, but more so than now. The filibuster is a good illustration of that. Neither party used it much, when the other side had a <60 vote majority, because the assumption was "Riding high in April, shot down in May."

    In the 1990s, that changed. The GOP started aiming toward a final and permanent victory. Some of my fellow Yanks may remember phrases a few years ago like "permanent Republican majority" and have heard of the K Street Project. The latter was part of a GOP strategy not just to beat the Democrats, but to cut the Dems off at the knees so they could never win against the GOP, ever. The K Street Project shook down the usual big donors *and* threatened to punish them if they spread their bets. The GOP went after the usual Democratic donors, like trial lawyers, via "tort reform," which capped legal damage awards, thereby reducing lawyers' donations to the Dems. The GOP went after unions (as they're doing now in the Midwest). They tried to disenfranchise as many Hispanic and black voters as they could, through "real ID laws" ($20 for a state ID or driving license) and peremptory challenges at the voting booth. In Congress they locked the Democrats out of committee meetings and threatened the "nuclear option": eliminating the filibuster altogether.

    The GOP pretty much had it in the bag in January 2005, then proceeded to fuck it up. They gloated over their victory while also whining that the Dems wouldn't shut up and admit defeat. They cared more about the vegetative Terri Schiavo than about the whole city of New Orleans. The Democrats didn't always acquit themselves well at this time, but in sheer fuckery, they were outclassed.

    All the while, the Democratic leadership (DLC) kept playing like it was still the 1990s, except now politics were actually hurting people. In 2008 Hillary Clinton and her people represented that older way of thinking. That's why the party scrambled out from under them and elected Obama, who took politics more seriously (though not seriously enough, alas).

    If the GOP win in 2012, their first priority is to make damn sure they never lose another election, by any means necessary, to quite a long-dead gentleman.

    I'll vote for a third party when they have an infrastructure and a track record at local, state and national levels. Having Ralph Nader or similar come swanning in every 4 years won't cut it.
  5.  (9731.35)
    all of everything is disgusting. i feel inconceiveably powerless in the way this country is run, and i am sick of being beaten down by the fact that no one is in our corner.

    the very concept behind the recession itself is the tip of the whole laughable iceberg. THE MONEY IS STILL THERE.IT DIDNT DISAPPEAR. its just been centralized even further. the anxiety attacks i have in regards to the political and economic situation in this country literally, truly have been making me sick.

    i dont know what to do. but if the shut down happens, theres no way in fucking hell i am paying my taxes until it restarts. i know its not much, but i feel giving them my money is just an implicit approval.
  6.  (9731.36)
    if it happens you'd be pretty hard pressed to get people to even notice it.
      CommentAuthorJay Kay
    • CommentTimeApr 8th 2011
    I think I may have to go with @COOP's "a pox on both houses" stance. All this stuff is a political pissing contest--the Republicans want to seem like they're cutting so much government it's shutting down (even though the cuts they've mentioned really do dick to lessen the scope of government), and the Democrats want to get their base so pissed off about it that they don't even notice that things stayed relatively the same during the shut-down.
  7.  (9731.38)
    I'm probably jumping the gun here, but...
    Anybody want to predict how long this government shut down is going to last?
    • CommentAuthorDC
    • CommentTimeApr 8th 2011
    It's been almost a year since Belgium shut down their central government, and it doesn't seem to have hurt them at all.
    Actually it's hurting them a lot. With no government the expenses (national debt) are rising and, consequently, interest rates for public debt are high. There are bets to see who's going to be the next country to ask for help and they're Belgium and Spain.
  8.  (9731.40)
    Bjacques is dead right on everything he's said regarding how much blame the Dems deserve for their ineffectiveness. In all honesty, yes, it would be fabulous to have witnessed the Democratic majority throw their weight around when they could, but given the seat counts, at best they would only have been capable of Pyrrhic victories, while lending the Republicans fuel to claim that Democrats were to blame for the bipartisan nature of our current politics.

    Meanwhile, I find it absurd seeing claims here that nobody will notice the government shutdown. Military have already seen their pay reduced in expectation of federal dollars drying up. It's literally 60% of my Facebook feed right now, and it's disheartening. The majority of stuff I read from military friends and their families run along the lines of "Why don't THEY take a paycut? If they can't avoid shutting down government, why do people who sacrifice their lives have to be hurt?" Well, my dears, you're talking primarily about the GOP, and you were their base. Too bad you'll never learn that lesson.

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