The Crumbling Democracy – America On The Brink

Repost from June 11, 2011

This email from Rep Patrick Murphy arrived this morning:

“If you thought the fight to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was finally over, think again.We all thought it was a done deal when President Obama signed the repeal into law. But House Republicans pulled a stunt that could delay or even stop the repeal from taking effect by passing an outrageous series of amendments to the bill that funds our military.We can’t stay silent in the face of this new GOP push to turn back the clock on repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t tell.”

The email was asking me to sign a DCCC petition. After signing, I thought about how typical this tactic, the GOP refusing to accept defeat, has become.

Any progress the Left makes on Healthcare, Social Equality, Financial Regulation, Investment in Education, Campaign Finance Reform, Consumer Protection, Equitable Income Distribution, Retirement Security, Environmental Protection, Renewable Energy Policy, Job Security, One Man – One Vote, Gun Regulation, Fair Share Taxation, and Women’s Rights, to name a few, has been met with stalled implementation, court battles, refusal to fund, legislative efforts to repeal and refusal to implement.

This ‘never say die’ tactic, despite having lost via Congressional votes, is building pressure on the structural capacity of our government. Democracies only survive when there is a peaceful transfer of power after elections and the focus shifts from Campaign rhetoric to the reassuring work of governing. When this stops happening, Democracies collapse and are replaced with Autocracies. We’re on our way there.

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A Dream of Victory

“S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse

A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,

Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.

Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo

Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,

Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.” – t.s. eliot


It was November 7th, 2018, when everything began to change. Those on the East Coast, who hadn’t stayed up for the California returns, awoke to front page headlines declaring a win for Democrats. They took control of the House handily, and squeaked by in the Senate, after a brutal political battle, that kicked off with the Kavanaugh confirmation to the Supreme Court. The Republican Party, or what was left of it, was in disarray. There was talk among some who made it through their contests, of abandoning the GOP caucus, or leaving politics altogether. As bright as prospects were for the Democrats, they were that dim for Republicans, many were worried about criminal investigations into their funding sources, for coordinating with foreign donors.

January 3rd, 2019 – The 116th Congress

No time was wasted by the newly energized Democrats, who elected Nancy Pelosi to the Speaker post she gave up in 2010. Committee assignments left nothing to the imagination. Staffing for hearings was the priority, with veteran democrats who weathered the sham Republican Committees taking lead positions and making it clear; no crime or ethics violation would be overlooked. Everything and everyone would be subpoenaed. This was going to be a merciless course correction for our democracy, and those who were party to undermining it would pay the price.

The priority was a two-pronged attack to impeach the President and bring criminal charges against the Vice President. The prospect of Speaker Pelosi ascending to the Presidency over the disgraced President and V.P. stunned what was left of Republican leadership. They were so disoriented, they may as well have been hit in the head with a 2×4. They would be given two options: resign immediately or be drug through televised public hearings and unceremoniously disgraced. The restoration of representative democracy and regular order was going to be a brutal lesson. We were looking at the rebirth of the Federal Republic and return of power to her citizens.

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Golden Boy to Dismal Failure, Paul Ryan’s Collapse

Paul Ryan spent most of his career in the House, hidden away in finance committees, espousing abstract ideological platitudes about free market capitalism, self-reliance and balanced budgets. He was insulated from the realities and consequences of governance, so long as his impractical and potentially dangerous ideas were not adopted. It was in this environment that his reputation flourished.

However, once he came out of the shadows and took the Speaker’s job, that all changed. No longer hidden from the spotlight of political accountability, his ideology, once safely abstract, began transitioning into policy, and along with that metamorphosis, brought with it the insidious side effects of income distortion, social instability, demographic exclusion, reckless deregulation, exploitation of resources and a shift away from representative democracy, toward purchased power and money as a means of influence and control.

No longer able to hide the effects of his rhetorical shell game, Paul is taking what he has been able to accumulate for himself and leaving the mess he’s made, for others to clean up. The prospect of a popular backlash and potential criminal exposure, has him opting for a life of anonymity, away from the jeopardy of national politics. The changes he has brought forth have struck a blow at the foundation of unity and common purpose, damaging the national spirit. In the society he leaves behind, it’s everyone for themselves and the others be damned, investment for tomorrow is a sucker’s bet and history is being misrepresented in convenient ways, to sustain predatory agendas and bury untimely lessons of the past.

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Editorial Board Protests Of Trump’s Attacks On The News Media

In an unfortunate decision, that smacks of the muddled thinking of Trump’s followers and the Republican Congress, the L.A. Times stood on the sidelines, while editorial boards across the nation launched a counterattack against the political assault on freedom of the press, the foundational bulwark of democracy.

The editorial board of the L.A. Times “decided not to write about the subject on this particular Thursday because we cherish our independence.” However, choosing to stand on the principle of independence, while the country’s unity is being systematically fractured by domestic and foreign influences intent on disabling representative democracy, is a concession unworthy of a free press.

In a dismissive justification of their inaction, the L.A. Times explained: “We would not want to leave the impression that we take our lead from others, or that we engage in groupthink.” I would point out that the political process of galvanizing independent thinkers into an act of common purpose, is the democratic “groupthink” that allows us to periodically install a representative government to conduct the people’s business. When the Soviet Union threatened the sovereignty of European nations, and by extension, that of the United States, the ‘groupthink’ entity NATO was established, with the common purpose of insuring their defense and independence.

“Groupthink” may be a clever label used to disenfranchise thoughtless common action, but this was not a thoughtless act. This was a well thought out act of unification, taken for the purpose of preserving the free-flowing dialog that allows our independence to flourish.

A link to the L.A. Times Editorial Board position is here:


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Government Is Not The Problem

Saying it is ok to drive on any side of the street you like doesn’t work. We need government to avoid self destruction.

The idea that government is the problem is being exploited for political advantage, for and by politicians who lack moral character. However inappropriate and illogical the tactic might be, it is effective. It wakes up the aimless, disenchanted and confused and puts them into an agitated, ready for action state of mind. Just point them in any direction and turn them loose. They will do something disruptive.

This tactic is sinister, intentional and unacceptable. It is a threat to our stability and security as a nation and a people. We are a socio-economic federal republic complex. We are held together by common purpose, spirit, desire and law. We use government to keep us on track. We are in this together. We are the government. We are not the enemy. We are the people.

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Coal Is Dead, Or We Are

Coal is not an acceptable fuel for energy production. It is extremely damaging to our environment and any more delay in transitioning away from it is not acceptable. The argument that it is cost effective is false, not taking into account the real costs of poison being queued up in holding ponds, our water table and the atmosphere that protects our planet. Stop burning coal, is not just a slogan, it is an imperative.

The time is ripe for green energy sources to come on line in mass. We should decommission coal fired plants immediately. The cost of transition has the benefit of adding high paying jobs to a slumbering economy, while environmental benefits start accumulating as fast as coal plants are shut down.

There is no logical reason to continue burning coal and it is certainly not in the public interest to pretend there are valid economic advantages. We need Jobs and clean air and the time to start is now.

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Who In Hell Are We? – repost from 6-7-10

The general public is getting a very raw deal these days. In fact, what is happening right in the face of us all is the most brazen kind of strong armed robbery.

What’s left to preserve in a system of laws and policies that promote corporate greed, ignore public welfare, promote convenient denial of reality, allow critical issues to go unaddressed, facilitate false public personas, stifle dissent, manipulate markets for special interests, encourage unnecessary material consumption, ignore resource depletion, and I could go on for hours.

You see, it’s not just something that needs to be corrected, it’s the entire body of law and government policies. I don’t believe there’s a common vision of who we are as a nation. We have been reduced to continuous political bickering about social differences and abstract minutia.

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