Prevent Abuse by the Senate Majority Leader

September 27, 2019 at 8:13 pm | Posted in Abuse of Office, Conceited, Dysfunctional Politics, Enemies of Freedom, Fairness | Leave a comment
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Mitch McConnell at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Mitch McConnell at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo by Gage Skidmore.  (For more imformation see Post 141 in theploblog’s index of posts.)

 

Mitch McConnell abuses his position as the Majority Leader of the Senate.

Mitch McConnell has declared himself to be the Senate’s Grim Reaper, a position not forseen in the Constitution.

He has declared that the Senate shall not even consider any bill that the President wouldn’t sign, thereby rendering empty the Constitution’s provision for Congress to overturn a Presidential veto – a central ingredient of the Constitution’s mandating of checks and balances, including Comgressional oversight of the Executive.

McConnell has unilaterally declared that no nomination by a President will be considered during that President’s last year, if that President was from the opposing party. He sneered that no such restriction would apply to a similar nomination by a President belonging to McConnell’s own party.

McConnell has obstructed efforts to protect the integrity of American elections.

McConnell has obstructed efforts to prevent sensible limitations on access to weapons that enable mass killings, despite the large majority of Americans that now favor such limitations.

The Senate Majority leader has too much power.

The writers of the Constitution never foresaw the possibility of this type of abuse of power by a Senator, and certainly wouldn’t have wanted it to occur.

Either the rules of the Senate must be changed to prevent this sort of abuse, or the Constitution must be amended to do so.

The rule should be that within 10 days of receiving a bill passed by the House or a nomination from the President, the whole availible body of the Senate shall vote on whether to have debates and a vote to approve or to disapprove the bill from the House, or the nomination by the President. This first vote does not require the Senators to have studied the prospective bill or candidate: they need only to have a rough sense of what the bill is about, or a rough sense of the nominee’s background. If at least 40% of the Senate votes to debate and then vote upon the House bill or on the Presidential nomination, the debate and the legally-binding vote shall occur in a timely fashion. Those who voted for the debate and the binding vote shall schedule the date for the binding vote, allowing adequate time for Senators to scrutinize the bill or to interview the candidate. The Majority Leader of the Senate shall have no special role in setting that date, and may participate in setting that date only if having voted for the debate and binding vote to occur.

Most of the procedures in a legislative body should be independent of which party currently dominates the membership of that body. Of course the outcomes of many of votes will be determined by the majority. But not all outcomes will ne determined that way: legislators have the right to not always vote the party line. McConnell’s rule takes away some of that freedom of conscience, and assumes that all voting will be by unchanging blocks.

Mitch McConnell has chosen to become one of the major villains in American history.

 

Tweets by thepoliblog – 1

August 18, 2019 at 8:38 pm | Posted in Abuse of Office, Climate change, Conceited, Disinformation, Enemies of Freedom, Enemies of Planet Earth, Fairness, Presidential election | Leave a comment
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Singing male blackbird, Bogense havn, Funen, Denmark. Image provided by Malene Thyssen (User:Malene), 13 May 2004, via da:Billede:Solsort.jpg on the Danske Wikipedia.

Singing male blackbird, Bogense havn, Funen, Denmark. Image provided by Malene Thyssen (User:Malene), 13 May 2004, via da:Billede:Solsort.jpg on the Danske Wikipedia.

Here are some tweets by thepoliblog. Some were posted on Trump’s and on McConnell’s government twitter pages, where, as comments by the public about official business, they cannot be removed, so Trump and Trump’s fans, or McConnell and McConnell’s fans, are confronted by them, again and again. Some of the tweets are directed to Devin Nunes and to Rupert Murdoch.
Tweet to counter the twits.
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Contrary to his boasts, #PresidentChump was a failure in business.
After his many bankruptcies, most banks refused to lend to him.
He was reduced to marketing his name instead of real estate, and to strutting around on TV.
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Chump is like the Music Man, but meaner.
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When most banks decided to stop lending to #DonnyTheChump,
his main source of funds became Putin’s henchmen, and DeutscheBank.
That is probably one reason why #PresidentChump hides his tax returns.
It also explains his loyalty to Putin.
#PresidentChump is Putin’s chihuahua.
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#PresidentChump’s inflated claims of wealth are designed to support his false
claim of success in business.
They are like con-man Bernie Madoff’s claims to his actual and potential investors.
This is one of the reasons why Chump wants to hide his tax forms.
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If #PresidentChump’s claims of wealth were true, he could prove his claims by showing his tax forms, as previous Presidential candidates and Presidents have done.
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Recent newspaper articles wonder whether a woman can be elected President.
We already have proof that a woman can be.
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Hillary Clinton would have won if it hadn’t been for the obsolete Electoral College, Putin’s interference, disgruntled Berniecrats, and the malevolent Green Party, which always draws pro-environment votes away from the only pro-environment candidates who could win.
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President John Barron?
John Barron, John Baron, and John Miller are names that #PresidentChump
used in phone calls to the New York Times, while attempting to CREATE fake news.
He pretended to be calling with favorable insider information about Donald Trump.
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#PresidentChump is NOT the leader of the free world.
He doesn’t even LIKE free societies.
He prefers authoritarian societies: societies that are
like the Trump Organization writ large.
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#PresidentChump envies heads of state who command goons.
You can see that at his rallies,
and in his approval of the atrocities by Putin, bin Salman, Kim, Duterte, and on and on, ad nauseum.
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#PresidentChump sneered at John McCain’s academic record.
Them why does #Chump use lawyers to prevent the release of his OWN academic records? You already know the answer.
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Why is #PresidentChump’s self-esteem so fragile?
His father bullied him, and his alcoholic drug-addicted older brother committed suicide.
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There is nothing abnormal about #PresidentChump’s frantic bleats of “No collusion”.
The guilty deny guilt. Chump’s panic and frenzy give him away.
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Make America Great Again, eh?
No, #PresidentChump made America SECOND-RATE again.
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#PresidentChump, how does it feel to be one of the 3 worst Presidents
in American history, and, among those 3, to be one of the most harmful 2 ?
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#PresidentChump, how does it feel to be the most illiterate President in American history?
You boasted that you didn’t read your textbooks in school because you didn’t need to.
That was a lie. You didn’t read them, because you couldn’t.
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His only guiding principle: Trump First!
His only goal: Make Trump Great Again! Lets hear it: MTGA!
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#PresidentChump is an excrementalist: an excremental political thinker, an excremental economist, an excremental human being, and an excremental businessman.
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#PresidentChump cannot read Mueller’s report, because he cannot read.
Chump tries to hide the fact that he is nearly illiterate.
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#PresidentChump, the Creepy Clown in the White House,
deserves to be impeached and convicted.
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But unpatriotic Mitch McConnell would prevent conviction by the Senate, which President Chump would then claim as exoneration.
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Nancy Pelosi is right. Hold hearings instead, to obtain evidence for the 2020 election.
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Trumpist agent Mitch McConnell blocks Constitutionally mandated Congressional oversight.
He has a conflict of interest: his wife is in #PresidentChump’s cabinet.
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#MBS claimed that his team merely wanted to bring Jamal #Khashoggi
back to Saudi Arabia, and that Khashoggi’s death was unintentional.
Why then did MBS’s team bring a bone saw to their encounter with Khashoggi?
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#PresidentChump defends MBS: pretended heel spurs defend a bone saw.
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After January 20, 2021, Canada, Mexico, Britain, Ireland, the EU, Australia and other
non-authoritarian countries can declare #PresidentChump (#Trump) to be persona non grata, and bar him from polluting their countries by his presence.
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#PresidentChump demanded that Obama display his birth certificate.
With far more justification, we demand to see X-rays of
President Chump’s heel spurs. Heel spurs don’t go away by themselves.
If they are no longer there, show us documentation of the operation that removed them.
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If what E. Jean Carroll says is true, #PresidentChump attempted rape.
He should be tried. If convicted, he should go to jail,
and should be required to register as a sex offender.
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#PresidentChump claims the he didn’t rape E. Jean Carroll because
she “is not my type”.
Pause for a moment, to digest what Chump’s statement says about his character.
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#PresidentChump claims that he didn’t rape E. Jean Carroll because
“she’s not my type”. But Lady Liberty is not his type either,
and that hasn’t prevented his repeated attempts the penetrate her.
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@realDonaldTrump, #PresidentChump, are you proud of what you tried to do to Vera Coking?
{Widowed Homeowner Foils Trump in Atlantic City, By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN JULY 21, 1998}
And YOU call OTHER people NASTY!
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@realDonaldTrump, #PresidentChump, you tried to have an elderly widow, Vera Coking, ejected from from the home that held all of her treasured memories.
You LOST!
You claim that you always win, but that is just a bluff. You are a LOSER!
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#PresidentChump = President John Barron = President John Baron = President John Miller.
You pretended to the New York Times to be other people
with insider information about the wealth and victories of Donald Trump.
That was ACTUAL Fake News!
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The United States WAS the greatest and most powerful nation on Earth, but only  before you became #PresidentChump.
You didn’t Make America Great Again, you Made America Second Rate Again.
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The most harmful immigrants so far have been the ancestors of
#PresidentChump, and Rupert Murdoch himself.
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#PresidentChump, in 2002 you said of Jeffrey Epstein “… he likes beautiful women
as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.” How young did you know about?
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Leave, #PresidentChump! Emmigrate to Putinia – Putin’s Russia.
You don’t share the values of any free country.
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America receives NO PAYMENTS from the tariffed country.
Importers in the US pay, and ultimately WE pay.
Another lie by #PresidentChump.
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The Pilgrims were refugees, seeking freedom to practice their religion.
Most other immigrants from Europe and elsewhere came to escape persecution
and/or sought opportunity. Examples: your paternal grandparents and your mother.

Today’s immigrants have the same motives.
#PresidentChump, what is your justification for persecuting them?
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Disloyal Devin Nunes,
Dances to Putin’s tunes.
Devin, why do you oppose protecting American elections against Putin?
Devin, why haven’t you registered as lobbyist for a foreign government?
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Mitch McConnell is not Putin’s agent. He just acts like one.
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@realDonaldTrump
You said that “Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.”
That just proves that the gun shouldn’t have been available, #PresidentChump.
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Other countries have about the same percentage as we do
of mentally ill people and of haters.
But they don’t have as many mass shootings (we are number 1!)
because in other countries guns are not so easy to obtain, #PresidentChump.
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#PresidentChump, your trade wars reflect poorly on Wharton.
You failed to learn at Wharton why trade deficits are not harmful.
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Hey, #MoscowMitch! You obstruct the defense of the integrity of US elections.
That obstructs the defense of the integrity of Kentucky’s elections.
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Did Kentucky’s voters know that they voted for a Senator who would work against their interests?
Putin thanks you for leaving the door open.
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#MoscowMitch is too busy protecting #PresidentChump and Putin.
He doesn’t have time to work on protecting American adults or kids.
Not even kids in Kentucky.
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#PresidentChump, Wharton’s shame.
Mis-understands foreign trade,
Causing farmers’ pain.
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#PresidentChump, Wharton’s shame.
Wharton should withdraw your degree
until you pass a remedial course
in foreign trade.

Mitch McConnell’s Conflict of Interest

October 14, 2018 at 5:37 pm | Posted in Abuse of Office, Conceited, Dysfunctional Politics, Fairness, Presidential election | Leave a comment
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Mitch McConnell at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Mitch McConnell at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

 

Mitch McConnell has a conflict of interest.

Elaine Chao, Trump's Secretary of the Department of Transportation.

Elaine Chao, Trump’s Secretary of the Department of Transportation.

His wife, Elaine Chao, is Secretary of Transportation in President Chump’s Cabinet.  Hence she is a member of the Trump Regime.

This explains why McConnell suddenly stopped barking at Trump, and now wags his tail instead.

This is a clear conflict of interest: a member of Congress is the spouse of a member of the executive branch.  That undercuts the effectiveness of the Constitution’s deliberate separation of powers, which was intended to have each of the three branches of government prevent abuses and mistakes by the other two branches.

Instead of trying to temper the effects of his conflict of interest, McConnell has embraced them.

When Mitch McConnell refused to do his duty when Merrick Garland was nominated for the Supreme Court, he had abandoned most of his principles, but not all of them.

Now he has abandoned the rest.

Merrick Garland. This photograph was provided to the press by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2016 on the occasion of Garland's nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States by US President Barack Obama. At the time Garland was chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, having served as a federal judge on the court since 1997.

Merrick Garland. This photograph was provided to the press by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2016 on the occasion of Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States by US President Barack Obama. At the time Garland was chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, having served as a federal judge on the court since 1997.

 

An Effective US Senate

November 12, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Posted in Dysfunctional Politics | 1 Comment
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The gavel of the United States Senate, used by the presiding officer (Vice President or President Pro Tempore, usually). This gavel dates from 1954, and was a gift from India. It replaced a nearly identical earlier version which had been in use since at least 1831 and maybe 1789, but which had come apart earlier in 1954.

The gavel of the United States Senate, used by the presiding officier (Vice President or President Pro Tempore, usually). This gavel dates from 1954, and was a gift from India. It replaced a nearly identical earlier version which had been in use since at least 1831 and maybe 1789, but which had come apart earlier in 1954.

When Congress convenes next year, there will be a new Senate: the 113th.  It will run for two years.

There is a brief window of opportunity at the opening session of each new Senate to revise the rules under which that Senate will operate.

Harry Reid has been the Senate Majority Leader since 2007.  That period spans the 110th, 111th, and 112th Senates.  He is presently most likely to be chosen as the Majority Leader of the new Senate, as well.

Harry Reid (D-NV), United States Senator from Nevada and Majority Leader of the United States Senate, official portrait, 2009

Harry Reid (D-NV), United States Senator from Nevada and Majority Leader of the United States Senate, official portrait, 2009

Historians will lay at Harry Reid’s doorstep his failure to see and fix, at the beginnings of at least three Senates, the structural problems that have allowed uncompromising political partisans to turn the Senate into an ineffective body.  Those structural problems derive from the rules and traditions of the Senate.  Both the rules and the traditions can and should be changed.

The symptoms of the constipation of the Senate include
– delayed and prevented appointments of qualified, honorable nominees
for positions that need to be filled for effective government,
– delayed and prevented votes on important legislation,
– cynicsm and disgust by the American public,
– reduced appreciation worldwide for the advantages of an open society.

Harry Reid appears to be too uncritically attached to the Senate’s traditions to recognize the full extent of the changes needed to rescue the Senate from irrelevance.  His focus on the Senate’s traditions is destroying the Senate.

Even if he did come to understand what changes were needed, he probably lacks the spine to insist on them.  An invertebrate Senate Majority Leader is not what the Senate needs right now.

Ocypode quadrata crab on Martinique

Ocypode quadrata crab on Martinique

(The invertebrates include the crustaceans.  A crustacean has a shell, but no spine.)

Harry Reid should not be re-elected as the Majority Leader of the Senate unless he first guarantees that the Senate’s first order of business will be to revise its rules to eliminate all of the stalling mechanisms that now tie it in knots, so that it becomes an effective body.

The guiding principles of the revisions should be as follows:

(1) No individual or group can, without an immediately publicly stated reason by a publicly named Senator, delay voting on legislation or on an appointment.
Immediacy is required to prevent secret and anonymous holds, which use the present two-day delay to create de facto indefinite secret holds.  Each hold must be associated with an individual Senator, not with a party’s spokesman in the Senate, nor with a party’s delegation as a whole.

(2) The plausibility and validity of the claimed reason for delay should itself be subject to immediate vote, with the outcome to be decided by a simple majority.  Supermajorities should not be required, even to prevent a filibuster.

(3) Filibusters should be restored to their original form by enacting the changes advocated by the bipartisan organization No Labels.

The Senate’s job is to reach decisions by voting.  Discussion is a means to that end, but it cannot be allowed to become endless.

Here is a poll on these issues:

Should Harry Reid remain the Senate Majority leader if he doesn’t push at the beginning of the next Senate for changes to end the Senate’s constipation?

Should every hold or other delay in voting require a publicly announced reason for the delay?

Should it require sponsorship by an immediately publicly named individual Senator?

Should the claimed reason for delay be subject to being validated as being substantive, by an immediate vote by the Senate?

Should that vote be decided by a simple majority?

Should the Senate adopt the changes advocated by No Labels to the rules for filibusters?

Please feel free to submit in the comment box your suggestions for making the Senate an effective body.  The best submissions will be added to this blog post.

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