What does America value?

In our society money decides how resources are distributed. Those with the most money, have the most options. Sometimes I wonder is money the most efficient way to decide who gets what? In America specifically, status is determined by income. However, it can be argued that the most noble work is done by those paid the least, maybe even nothing–volunteers. At the same time there is a lot of money pooled with those who seem to be lacking a heart of service. They hoard money in off shore accounts. The work done by some of the highest income earners does not appear to be work that is life-giving. The work does not produce anything lasting. If that is the case, we are not doing our best to effectively manage resources to meet the needs of the people who our government represents. We have lost the sense of stewardship that human kind needs to live with peace of mind and in balance with the ecosystems that we occupy.

Life is about more than profits.

The first problem with having money decide who is able to access resources, is that there are many worthwhile endeavors that are not profitable. Adding the profit aspect to health care, education, and prisons creates a business model that breaks the systems they claim to serve. The fact that they are not profitable does not mean that they are not worthwhile endeavors. It simply means that society does not want to pay for them. Many of the social services are not “fun” ways to spend money. Yet, they are vital to the general well-being of the communities that we live in. There are many things worth doing for the greater good that does not make a profit.

Bringing back the balance.

How can things be brought back to balance?

Some say charity is how to solve society’s imbalances. Yet, I am not sure that charity as we know it is the answer. The first reason why that is true is because the work that needs to be done is not always the work that people want to pay for. Some of the work that is needed by society is not considered “sexy” by funders. The process to access grants is lengthy, complex, and limited. The process is cumbersome and does not always address what is needed but instead focuses on what the charity is willing to give.

There needs to be a review of the way America does business. Stockholders versus workers. Which should be the priority? When stockholders do not see the vision of the company and are looking for a one-way street to profits not seeing the long-term vision of community and the way that the organization lives in the community it can be problematic. What then should be done to keep the fiduciary promises to stockholders while still being able to invest back into the company and community.

Our society appears to be economically driven, however the economic cycle is not free-flowing and the stagnant lack of a strong economic flow worsened by the lack of disposable income, makes solving problems on a one-on-one or community level, virtually impossible. The way we think about resources and problem-solving must change and become more egalitarian so that our society begins to reflect the best of all of us manifesting real solutions. Instead of what has been happening which is the worst of all of us manifesting our fears. I still have faith that humanity is capable of amazing things. However, to get there the focus must be on working together. That gives value to all Americans and I believe that is truly what American values is all about.MiamiHeraldValues

ALEC Friend or Foe to American democracy?

Across America, states are experiencing drastic budget reductions.  The need to decrease payroll costs limits the number of staff members available to assist lawmakers with the diverse complexity involved in the enormous task of writing state legislation.  Legislatures mitigate this circumstance by soliciting outside resources for research support. Various interest groups grew from this specialized need for information gathering, they became expert sources pertaining to the needs identified about a particular issue or industry. Typically, these organizations are non-profits and claim nonpartisanship to appeal to the greatest amount of donors and clients.  Groups who remain nonpartisan preserve its reputation as credible information source without a pre-determined political agenda. Even so, the nature of an individual interest group’s work is such that it may show a certain political slant that endears them to certain lawmakers. Naturally, a lawmaker chooses to align with groups representing his or her political ideology. The function of an interest organization is to supply background information about their topic, possibly by attending meetings, and providing talking points that a legislator can utilize to speak to the press if needed.  The support of credible interest groups bolsters support from the public for the legislation, when the system works as intended it allows the system of democracy to run efficiently.

It is customary for interest groups to send their own press releases out to media outlets in support of the lawmaker and the bill they are working on together.  When the public sees the same information, coming from multiple sources it lends further validation of that point of view.  There are two ways to go about this process. One is a fact-based release, it provides an opportunity to learn about an issue and it’s solution.  The other is to release selective fact telling to the media; it calls the integrity of the information, and those who released it into question. This misleads and confuses citizens because the information is coming from multiple “expert” sources. This technique builds a storyline into the public consciousness with the use of propaganda and tampers with democracy. Whichever technique is used the reward is the same. It is the opportunity to have hands-on time with the bill in order to construct a “model” bill.  A model bill is a perfect bill from the interest group’s point of view.  Yet, if legislators are manipulating the information and interest groups act as an assist to pass what would otherwise be an unpopular bill, this too is tampering with the democratic process.

With the knowledge that state legislators are understaffed and looking to interact with industry experts, it is not difficult to see how state legislators would be enticed by the opportunity to meet with several high-power industry representatives who specialize in the issues of the day.  Influential State level Representatives and Senators gain access to a one-stop-shop meeting with experts about the types of legislation that could create jobs and improve their state’s economy. Hence, when a group like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) offers likeminded lawmakers a family getaway to a glamorous location like Scottsdale, Arizona to discuss legislative ideas, it is no wonder that they are eager to join in.  Conservative Republicans find ALEC appealing because they see ALEC’s product as tailor-made for their political interests.

The mission statement from the organization’s website alec.org, states that ALEC is “A nonpartisan membership association for conservative state lawmakers who shared a common belief in limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty.” ALEC files with the IRS as a 501 (c) 3 charity, a status called into question recently that may cause the organization to undergo severe penalties if misuse of this tax status is determined.  Both the tax status and mission statement omits the corporate side of the organization. It says nothing to imply corporate members spend up to $230,000 per year on membership fees and for the opportunity to sit on a task force with influential state lawmakers. During these meetings, corporate representatives collaborate by providing the elected taskforce officials, boilerplate bills written by lawyers hired by the corporation or lobbying group. (Newmyer) There are no citizens nor citizens groups from the effected states represented on these taskforces. Therefore, there is no process to get feedback from those affected by the law. That is not democracy.  During the following legislative session ALEC members introduce over 1,000, “model bills” nationally, and about 17% of the time, these bills pass. Corporate members view this percentage to be an impressive return on investment. Historically, discreet about their activities, the actions of ALEC members to stifle opposition challenges to ALEC sponsored bills is difficult to hide entirely.  The fact that this happens frequently is a detriment to the democratic process when limited, if any opposition is entertained to point out potential weakness in the bill’s language. This is particularly troublesome when such actions have unintended negative consequences on the communities they effect.  ALEC has a process to track the bills and check on its process. The organization leverages influence by implementing labeling process sending updates to members about what the organization deems “good bills” or “problematic bills.” This can result in legislative members, which are simultaneously ALEC members, taking action favorable to ALEC’s point of view.  In 2010, there were 2,000 state lawmakers nationally that were simultaneously active ALEC members.  (McIntire)

The American Legislative Exchange Council came under intense public scrutiny recently. Predominantly with its relationship to the “Stand Your Ground,” law.  This is a law created mainly by the National Rifle Association during an ALEC convention. ALEC legislative members including those from the state of Florida, and twenty other states adopted the bill into law. The subsequent result of this law was the death of teenager Trayvon Martin. An overzealous Neighborhood Watch participant, George Zimmerman, chose to pursue Martin. A struggle ensued at which time Zimmerman pulled a gun and fatally shot Martin in the chest. The case is currently at the pre-trial stage, yet there is a strong chance that Zimmerman will experience limited consequences for his actions because of the “Stand Your Ground” Law, which allows the use of lethal force on another individual, deemed self-defense if he feels there is a threat to his life—even if it is an unsubstantiated threat. (Krugman)  The ambiguity of this controversial law brought heated attention to ALEC and inspired campaigns to place pressure on ALEC’s corporate members to quit. It calls into question the manner in which laws such as these get do pass recommendation, with little or no debate by opposition. Perhaps if they had focused attention to correct that, which made the “Stand Your Ground,” Law such a poorly written piece of legislation. It would prevent this type of tragedy.

Furthermore, this is not the first time ALEC was associated with a hotly contested or controversial law. Closer to my home, Arizona’s SB1070 was created at an ALEC convention in cooperation with a private prison lobby.  (Sullivan) This bill was then shepherded through the Arizona Legislature by Russell K. Pearce.

Legislators are starting to feel the consequential sting associated with pursuing ALEC goals without the support of the people they represent. In the case of Russell Pearce, he later faced and lost a recall election due in large part because of his involvement with the SB1070 bill. Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin finds himself facing recall, after he pushed through a Koch Industries bill obtained at an ALEC convention to dismantle collective bargaining rights for Wisconsin state employees. The negative impact of these bills act as a catalyst for such groups as ALEC Exposed, ALEC Watch and a project for Common Cause, a watchdog group whose mission it is to hold those in power accountable for their actions. Many of these groups have created campaigns to place pressure on ALEC participants. According to an article by New York Times writer Mike McIntire, Conservative Nonprofit Acts as a Stealth Business Lobbyist, Kraft Foods, Intuit, and Coca-Cola have recently left ALEC and there are more to follow, because of the backlash resulting from the negative attention brought on by this bill.

ALEC is a vessel for a process, though the actions of this group raise concern, the process the group represents is alarming. It casts a shadow of doubt on the democratic process of the United States. For when an exclusive group of individuals holds a large percentage of the country’s wealth and resources in addition to having such personal access to lawmakers the spirit of democracy suffers.  It is virtually impossible for middle-class voters to have an equal voice when speaking with their legislator experiencing these political conditions.  This ALEC point of view from Arizona lawmakers became apparent while attending a function for neighborhood leaders at the state capitol.  That day, several Russell Pearce constituents shared stories about the inattention paid and utter lack of respect to the voices of constituents with an opposing point of view. Pearce was not alone in the practice of shutting opposition out of the process of governance. Later, when SB1070 pummeled  its way through the legislative process it seemed no matter how many letters written, phone calls made, petitions signed or people protesting at the capitol, the legislators simply were not listening. Then when ALEC came to Scottsdale, Arizona in November of last year and Arizona citizens went to find out who was ALEC, this group writing laws for the state. The protestors were promptly pepper-sprayed and arrested for their trouble. (Cronkitenews)  If the legislators were crafting legislation at these conventions open meeting laws ought to apply.

Although non-profit organizations supply vital information to understaffed lawmakers are a benefit to American democracy, this no longer is the case when the organization involved represents specific interests with an agenda whose actions serve only a privileged few, instead of the greater good of America. The laws put in place concerning lobbying came to be because of the biting sting of the last Great Depression, created by robber barons and war profiteers. The laws serve a purpose of consumer protection in America. Laws meant to avoid corrupting the government and allowing full discussion pertaining to the laws of the land, which mean to show some common measure of equality for every American that wishes to be a productive member of American society. This promise, given by the founding fathers is threatened and monarchy like privilege becomes the order of the day when the middle-class families of America no longer have an equal voice with those who already control so much of American life.   It is because neighborhood representation is not at the table to discuss the issues that place ALEC’s work in question regarding democracy in America. This missing piece leads many to believe that it is not a positive force.

In conclusion, it is common for state level legislators to solicit outside help when construction legislative language for a bill. To this end, non-profit groups that specialize in information gathering for a particular expertise to assist in various ways play a role in responsible bill writing. The services these groups provide are a benefit to American democracy because they assist lawmakers in having the best information possible in order to make the best choices possible to write law.  Yet, ALEC crosses the line into pure illegal lobbying, by giving special interest members more legislative authority than the legislators have. (McIntire) While tracking the bills for the purpose of harassing lawmakers if they do not do what the non-profit advises and when that non-profit shuts residents that the law affects out of the process of governance it can hardly be looked upon with favor.  Thus, ALEC or any group that employs its process is not a benefit to democracy. We must ensure policies are in place to counter the loopholes that allow ALEC to exist. It is only then that governance for the people by the people can exist once more in America.

 

 

Works Cited

ALEC. American Legislative Exchange Council, 2012. Web. 25 April 2012.

Bravender, Robin. “ALEC Support Wanes: Kraft Abandons Conservative Group.” Politico.com. 5 April 2012. Web. 25 April 2012

Clinton, Bill. Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. Print.

Cronkitenews. “Police pepper-spray Occupy Phoenix protestors at conservative gathering.” YouTube. YouTube. 2 December 2011. Web. 25 April 2012.

Frank, Ellen. The Raw Deal: How Myths and Misinformation About the Deficit, Inflation, and Wealth Impoverish America. Boston: Beacon Press, 2004. Print.

Hartman, Thom. Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights. United States: Rodale, 2002. Print.

Krugman, Paul. “Lobbyists, Guns, and Money.” New York Times. New York Times, 25 March 2012. Web. 25 April 2012.

McIntire, Mike. Conservative Nonprofit Acts as a Stealth Business Lobbyist.  New York Times. New York Times. 21 April 2012. Web. 25 April 2012.

Newmyer, Tory. “The Big Political Player You’ve Never Heard Of.” Fortune Editors. Fortune. 10 January 2011. Web. 25 April 2012.

Nichols, John. “ALEC Exposed.” The Nation. The Nation. 12 July 2011. Web. 25 April 2012.

Nicknicemadison. “Mark Pocan – Explains how ALEC is working to eliminate public education (AB110)” YouTube. YouTube, 13 March 2012. Web. 25 April 2012.

Sourcewatch.  The Center for Media and Democracy, 2012. Web. 25 April 2012.

Sullivan, Laura. “How Corporate Interests Got SB1070 Passed.” Laura Sullivan Show. Public Radio. NPR  9 November 2010. Web. 25 April 2012.

Politicians everywhere can learn from the downfall of Russell Pearce

Russell K Pearce is a juggernaut of conservatism in Arizona politics. As a person, he has a charm and charisma that even the most liberal of Democrats could begrudgingly admire, and many do. Although media in it’s laziness only wants to focus on immigration,  so that  people think that this  recall is just about making it easier for people to reside in the nation illegally, couldn’t  be farther from the truth.  Differences about Immigration is  the easiest answer to the question about why Russell Pearce was recalled, but it is not the complete answer. The complete answer is important. Current and future leaders should study the real answer, poli-sci students should dissect it, it has happened before and it can happen again.

 For in reason, all government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery. ~Jonathan Swift

Bad things happen when politicians believe the power given by constituents is theirs personally. The fact is the job description demand those elected to office represent the people who sent them to office. Because of forgetting this important fact, politicians make bad decisions that are catastrophic to political careers. A politician must remember that it does not always matter what he/she personally thinks, what matters is how well the people who vote feel represented by the office the official was elected to uphold. The power the official holds is on loan from the people of his/her district and revocation of that power will occur in light of a forgotten agreement.

Enter the special interests. Smooth talking charismatic folks sent to stroke a politician’s ego. Many are friends and acquaintances from business dealings or social groups. They con the politician, who let’s face it, is open to being conned anyway, gets convinced that the power is theirs personally to use. That they hold the sword and it is theirs to do what they like with it. A special interest representative is like puffer fish they puff themselves up to look like they hold a great impact over the politician’s career. Like any pusher or dealer, they try to convince their prey that they need them, that they would be nothing without them. But they are full of hot air and hold only a small impact when their influence is deflated by the people of the community. The politician, distracted by the special interests, forgets the power belongs to the people. His/her job is only to be a responsible steward of the power on loan to him/her.

The reason why Arizona Legislative District 18 recalled Russell Pearce is that he thought the power was his personally to wield as he wished. He also underestimated the power given to him as Senate President. Being Senate President meant he represented the whole State, not just his district. The decisions he made influenced the State and the nation and required more than a hyperpartisan faction view to represent those who had loaned him the power to use for the good of the entire state ofArizona. He used the power as his own, and he did this regardless of what the rest of the City and State that he represented as Senate President wanted.

He lost touch with the people who gave him the power of State Senate President. He forgot about the consent of the governed. He began to believe that he knew better than everyone else did how things should be. Russell Pearce used intimidation to force special interest bills through the legislature. He dismissed the will of the people of the State ofArizonarepeatedly. He continued to shut them out of the Democratic process that is their right, because he felt the process of Democracy was too messy. It is too messy, but it still needs to happen.  Voters tried correspondence, protest, voter initiatives and various other tools at their disposal to get his attention and only as a last resort did they pull out the big guns of recall.

It is my hope that people like Russell Pearce who desire to hold public office will remember again how this system works. It works when the people offer their power to a representative they trust and that representative uses that power wisely and for the greater good of the people, they represent. When that ideal is lost, the people will pull that power back. It’s best to do what one can to avoid recall in this way as it is not a good situation for anyone.

we need leaders, not nannies

During my usual morning ritual of cyber surfing,  I saw a post from one of my friends about the Occupy Wall St. phenomenon. I commented on this thread, and so did a Harvard man, telling me I was a hypocrite if I supported the protest and had a 401K or an IRA. I assured the man– I was no hypocrite. He made a remark about America being a nanny state and the protest the equivalent of babies having bottles pulled from proverbial mouths of those who found themselves at the bottom 99% of the economic wealth scale in America. I found the hubris of this comment disturbing. As I moved from that exchange and continued surfing,  I saw a lady’s comment about being so happy to see a comment about Wall St. that wasn’t mentioning the Occupy Wall St. protest, “How are we supposed to take these kids seriously?” She writes over a link for the Zombie walk of  Occupy Wall St. where the marchers chanted “We are contagious!” She didn’t get it. I got it, the idea is contagious and it will spread and it did spread because now there are Occupy Wall St. events happening all over the country  during October, 2011 and maybe beyond.

Just because the elites don’t get it, doesn’t mean the statement has no value, just because they can’t wrap their minds around what it takes to raise a family of four on $1,000 a month doesn’t mean that reality doesn’t exist for a lot of people. Just because they don’t go hungry doesn’t mean that 1 in 4 children in America don’t go to bed at night wondering where their next meal is coming from.  As a matter of fact, I wonder how people who are supposedly so smart (so says their financial portfolio) appear so dumb. Why can’t they figure any of this out? People are tired of mega-bonuses at the top while those working on the front lines with the customers are kept in a constant state of economic uncertainty and stress about paying their basic bills. People can’t believe that after what I call the Wall Street Rape of 2008,  no justice was mitigated for crashing not only the domestic, but global economy, with the sub-prime mortgage scam and the shady derivative markets.

“That’s why they call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.”
― George Carlin

People are looking at the bleak prospects of their future, not only for themselves, but their children. Americans in their 40’s are looking at the very real possibility that they will be caring for their parents, themselves and their children, meanwhile not being able to plan for it,  because their 401K  is on some psychotic roller-coaster and the Congress couldn’t legislate itself out of a wet paper bag. It is all very disturbing and frustrating as the country gets held hostage over a financial cliff for seemingly mundane decisions. But the legislators themselves are in no risk, their healthcare and pension prospects are not in question, their salary not cut 60% as many of their constituents have experienced in the last two years.

Working American people are not looking for hand outs, we don’t need to be spoon fed by a nanny state. That is not the point, and it’s insulting to say, it is not about entitlement. What about the feeling of entitlement of the upper 1% to assume all the money is  theirs. You may create jobs, but our brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers risk their lives at those jobs. You benefit from the security of the military, but who sends their children to the front line to die? You eat the food that the working class grew and put on your table, as the saying goes the wealthy would be eating money if someone didn’t grow and prepare the food for them. Not that one class is better than the other, everyone has a purpose that makes society work well,  but let’s put some things in perspective here.

If your company uses American labor, it behooves you to pay for world-class  education to have the best in an educated labor force.  You want that investment in employee training to have longevity, especially now that labor needs to work to a more mature age, make sure they have good health insurance so that individuals can work longer and be more productive.  You need military support, make sure they have the best resources, and are taken care of when they return home, thank them for the fact that you and your family didn’t have to be in harm’s way. Allow workers  access to nutritious food and kids great parks to play in and become strong citizens, body, mind and spirit. Allow people the ability to squeeze some living out of this life before they pass on, it makes for better workers.  These aren’t great mysteries. This isn’t asking too much. These are the types of ideas that Occupy Wall St. is about.

We’re Americans. Together we prosper, we all have to work together. It used to be understood that wealth and privilege came with a level of responsibility, of community and stewardship, that we all worked together to make capitalism work. But this bastardization is no longer capitalism, it’s corporatism and it’s killing Americans, it’s killing America, and that ‘s what Occupy Wall St. folks are standing up against. They want to restore the possibility of the American Dream, the American ideal. I support them 100%. This type of guts demands respect. This brand of courage makes me even more proud to be an American.

we need politicians, not puppets

Let’s have the members of  House and Senate dress like NASCAR drivers. Prominently place the logos of the companies and special interests that support them sewn to their suits so we know what team they’re on. Because it certainly isn’t ours. More and more it  seems less like a joke and more like a good idea.  “Show us who holds your strings!” the people demand. As those who would benefit from the death of the Department of Labor, EPA, SEC, Fed and other government agencies that protect the people from those in industry who place poor choices and stockholder profits over the general welfare of the people who are unfortunate to live within their corporate spheres of influence. We (middle-middle class working families making less than $250,000 a year) need protection. Hasn’t it been proven time and again that self-regulation doesn’t work?

Corporations don’t just have legislative representation on the payroll, it seems they’ve found a way to influence the government agencies that are supposed to be regulating them. We’ve seen it in the Energy industry and in Finance. The system can’t work if the systems employees aren’t working for we the people. Government agents must be held to higher standards  and accountability for ethical breeches, those holding important regulatory positions have to care about what they are doing, they can’t just be pencil-pushers because the stakes are too high. This is where our system has failed especially in the past decade and it’s not just Americans who are hurting, the citizens of the world have paid in terms of a crashed world economy and through natural disasters like the BP oil spill. The spill wasn’t so long ago and already we have politicians with amnesia wanting to repeat the same mistakes with no changes, no thinking things through, and I wonder how many huge spills can an ecosystem take? Luckily, things are getting better in the Gulf for now. It makes me wonder are we as a country capable of learning from past mistakes?  Are we doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over?

We need politicians, critical thinking, analytic types; not just winners of a popularity contest, not an employee of a special interest group, but a person who is able to weigh all interests and come up with the best solutions possible. Above party affiliation,  above personal pride, in the best interest of those who live in their constituency and then the nation and the globe accordingly. It seems simple. Yet there is something about DC, possibly something in the water of the Potomac  that seems to make rational people crazy. But it’s not the water is it? It’s the political  sponsors. The Super PACS the special interest interference, lobbyists writing laws. So if DC legislators have sponsors, let’s make it transparent. Have the Congressmen and Senators wear the emblem of their owners on their suits, at least then we can know whose team they are really on.

If it were up to me I’d have more Main Street types voting for the Board of Directors of Lockheed Martin, Monsanto, DuPont, Citibank, Goldman-Sachs and others. If they are truly the ones running our country why don’t we get a vote? It’s supposed to be a representative Democracy is it not? People are so paranoid of a tyrannical government that they allow these tyrants of business to run rampant, it’s a tragedy for America. I don’t think the forefathers and mothers would approve, I don’t think this is the type of life they would have wished for us.

We need politicians not puppets. Is it too late? Time will tell.

we need statemanship, not brinkmanship

“Demotivation – Sometimes the best solution to morale problems is just to fire all of the unhappy people.”~Larry Kersten

If only it were that simple. In Congress that simply is not possible. Hence we have the awkward three-legged race only it has many legs and they are at this time going nowhere. Okay admittedly nowhere is harsh. There is progress being made and President Obama continues to assure us that the gap is closing between Republican and Democrats demands and the debt ceiling will be raised in time to save the United States’ pristine credit rating.

What is the cost?

At what cost? Is the question that comes to mind. What is  the cost to consumer confidence and the American morale in this brinkmanship? Is it worth the cost? So many Americans are facing their own real hardships right now. Is it not self-indulgent for these politicians to be playing these political games when what so many Americans really need to hear right now is “Don’t worry, everything is under control.” That is really what Americans need to hear right now. That is really why people send representatives to Washington D.C. in a crisis. To create innovative ideas to pull this economy up by its boot-straps and make everything okay again. However, that does not appear to be what’s happening.

It is much like the children watching their parents fight. It is scary because the children think to themselves “These are the people in charge?” When the people who are in leadership appear to be out-of-control it is a very unsettling feeling. An unsettling feeling when so many are already so unsettled is bad for morale and that is not good for America.

Americans need thoughtful, dignified statesmanship, not the out-of-control bullying of brinkmanship.

I grow tired of these bundling games. Trying to forcing complex issues through on mandatory legislation to force them down the throats of the voters is not what Democracy is about. Having a small minority hold the majority hostage is not what this is about. Yes we need to get our debt down. Okay. However, how do the Freshman members of Congress get such amnesia about how the money was spent?  In a deep Recession the pumps need to be primed, if it was done well and without interference it is very possible there very likely would be a much more robust tax-base to help repay some of this debt.

It is about investment. What private company is successful when they say “Oh we are low on funds let’s cut back.”? That doesn’t happen. They invest, expand, beg, borrow and steal to get more capital flowing into the coffers. None of this cutting back to create jobs makes sense. The US government is not a household and macroeconomics is not microeconomics — statesmen know this.

What will be left when the dust clears?

My biggest concern at this point is what will be left of American morale and consumer confidence after this debate has ravaged them? How long will it take to bounce back? As this game of chicken is being over-played in DC to make political points with DC insiders. Those who live outside the beltway are losing their patience with the games.

we need statesmen, not politicans

As the debt ceiling debacle rolls on in the 11th and a half hour the American people look on with great frustration at the political games being played in Washington D.C. Okay we get it there is an Election coming soon. Yet this debt ceiling work if done responsibly would have been completed months ago. Would it have helped if there were more reasonable voices in the mix like Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)  for example, who all along has laid out the truth and consequences to all who would listen.

Will the  utter dysfunction displayed in Washington which becomes increasingly bizzaro to coin a phrase from Senator McCain, is at its worst in the last two years. The introduction of the Tea Party Freshman have become a liability to the Republican Party and the Congress as a whole with inadequate counter-balance to allow the body function in the House and to some extent the Senate.  Norman Ornstein  was on as Chuck Todd’s guest on MSBC’s Daily Rundown, July 25th,2011 to discuss this diabolical dysfunction. Orstein declaring the 112th Congress the “Worst.Congress.Ever.”

What becomes even more frustrating is the knowledge that this debt ceiling debacle is purely a political concoction.  It is difficult to  sit by as games are being played which apparently hold no consequence for the players. How are they able to be so irresponsible? How does such a small group in the House be able to hold the nation hostage twice? How many times will they be given the opportunity to do so in the future?  This awful twisting of the Democratic process is hard to take.

Upon this, one has to remark that men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge. — Machiavelli from Chapter 3 of  The Prince 1513

Tell me. Is it really the worst thing for the Republican Party or the nation, if these hostile, no compromise Tea Party terrorists don’t get re-elected? In my opinion that’s a risk I’m willing to take for the good of the entire country. It is even more irritating to hear these debt terrorists say  “This is what the American people want,” when poll after poll shows they are out of touch with the majority of the American public.

Is it wise to bring Machiavellian principles into politics? I don’t think so. There has to be a time when all sides come together to govern and to make the best decisions possible with reality-based thinking. It is easy to dream up bumper-sticker slogans. Yet in practice, with numbers that represent great impacts on American’s lives, it is not a bandaid or bumper-sticker fix. It takes more sophisticated and complex policy crafting. It takes statesmen and stateswomen, not baser politicians to get the job done.

What has happened to the days of the statesman of Kennedy and Byrd? I miss them. We need them now.

Quote from: http://www.philosophyparadise.com/quotes/machiavelli.htm