Tag Archives: Senate

How the US Political System Works: Legislatures and assemblies

Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump could not be more different is so many ways there is not enough ink to describe them. But they do share one thing in common. Well, great hair, but besides that. Sanders and Trump, through their respective runs for President of the United States, each brought a group of people not formerly engaged much in politics into the process. Obviously, Sanders brought in people who supported him and Trump bought in people who supported him, but subsequently, Trump just kept on going, bringing in even more people who are so alarmed at his presidency that they have shown up and want to know what to do about it. Continue reading How the US Political System Works: Legislatures and assemblies

How The Franken Thing Is Going To Play Out

… is anybody’s guess, but I have two supportable (and very different) hypotheses.

The first is short and sweet and I’ll give it to you straight.

Tweeden and Senator Franken get together, possibly with their families, and have a pow wow. They emerge from this to announce a newly formed organization to destroy the patriarchy in government. Franken throws his viability as Senator to the voters, and stays in the Senate, but the two of them launch a major campaign to rethink and rebuild gendered relationships at the levers of public power in America. All is well.

The second hypothesis is a bit different, and in this one, Franken resigns. Here’s why. Continue reading How The Franken Thing Is Going To Play Out

How to replace a US Senator who leaves or dies in office

The Constitution of Great Britain, which was famously not a thing, defined three entities of what Americans would call government, one elected by the common people, the King or Queen, and in between, the House of Lords, inherited and fancy like the Monarch, but many, and representing the wealth and power of the people.

In a sense, there were three branches of government, the monarchy (king), the aristocracy (we might call them the 1% today), and the democratic branch, aka, the unwashed masses. This conceptualization of the British government is neither new nor mine. In the words of “Massachusettensis,” quoted by John Adams, Continue reading How to replace a US Senator who leaves or dies in office

Kevin de León to Challenge Dianne Feinstein

California Democratic state Senate president Kevin de León, a youngish progressive representing Los Angeles, and a strong Latino voice, is going to challenge Dianne Feinstein in the California Senatorial election. There will be primary, and the way things work in California, there could be any combination of candidates (across party) running against each other, including Feinstein and de León.

Feinstein is well liked and respected, but she is old-school, and still seems to believe in things like, Republicans can be talked to, and no matter how bad they are every single day, maybe some day one will do something that isn’t totally bone-headed and nefarious. It seems to be Senator Feinstein’s recent comment that maybe Trump could be a good president after all is the straw that set this particular camel’s back in motion, if you will pardon the mixing of metaphors. Also, Dianne Feinstein would be 91 in her last year in office, which is kind of old.

Personally, I think that some of Feinstein’s rhetoric is just the way Senators talk, they pretend things are normal when they are not, and they are all hauty tauty because they are the Senate, after all, and not the House.

One theory I’ve heard is that Feinstein, who is a bit old to run, will win, then in a year or so, step down and be replaced by an appointee of Jerry Brown. That is a really bad idea because it will be so obviously inside trading that it will backfire, and we don’t need that bad will going on right now. The best outcome is probably that de León simply wins. But, I’d love to hear from Californians what they think of all this?

Republican Fast Food Pusher Andrew The Putz Puzder Not In Labor

As the Republican led US Senate has voted to confirm (or deny) the party leader’s cabinet picks, they’ve done a poor job, approving, for example, people who have acted in direct opposition to the areas of government they are expected to serve, or in some cases, being abjectly incompetent. The Republicans in the Senate were not vetting the nominees. Some of the Democrats were, but even there, we saw failures of conscious.

The Senators need to be reminded that the critical choices made by the Trump administration tend to be poor ones. Look, for example, at the first NSA choice. General Flynn was caught engaged in acts that were at least unethical and annoying, if not downright illegal and, worst case scenario, treasonous. Why would we expect the Trump administration to had better choices to the Senate for their approval?

"This would have been really bad." Former fictional Secretary of Labor, Leo McGarry.
“This would have been really bad.” Former fictional Secretary of Lbor, Leo McGarry.
I’m pretty sure the Republicans in Congress have no clue what “advice and consent” means or what the Constitution says, or history says, about this.

The total number of Senators voting for each of Republican President Trump’s nominees is less than usual, with many, sometimes most, Democrats voting against the various and often very unqualified nominees. The Democrats who did vote for these individuals will be held to account over coming years, especially those who voted for Tillerson, and others who may ultimately be linked to currently developing scandals.

But now we have an interesting development. One of the most awful choices ever put forth for a high cabinet post ever, in any government by any president — equal to in level of insult and injury to the Betsy DeVos nomination which Congress narrowly approved — was Andrew Puzder as labor secretary.

The public outcry about putting this particular fox in charge of that particular hen house should not have exceeded the outcry against Tillerson or the others, but the general public and, certainly, Trump’s Republican Congress, appear not to understand too much about what happens in government and why it is important. But an attack by Oprah, armed with withering truth, seems to have mattered. Outrage over Puzder’s misconduct in business and personal life, some of which could be an embarrassment even to the Trump administration and to Republicans generally, was too much.

Moments ago, Puzder made a move we wish so heartily that Republican Donald Trump’s father had done years ago: he withdrew just in the nick of time.


By the way, have you read Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few by former actual good Secretary of Labor Robert Reich?

America was once celebrated for and defined by its large and prosperous middle class. Now, this middle class is shrinking, a new oligarchy is rising, and the country faces its greatest wealth disparity in eighty years. Why is the economic system that made America strong suddenly failing us, and how can it be fixed?

Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 4.05.55 PMLeading political economist and bestselling author Robert B. Reich presents a paradigm-shifting, clear-eyed examination of a political and economic status quo that no longer serves the people, exposing one of the most pernicious obstructions to progress today: the enduring myth of the “free market” when, behind the curtain, it is the powerful alliances between Washington and Wall Street that control the invisible hand. Laying to rest the specious dichotomy between a free market and “big government,” Reich shows that the truly critical choice ahead is between a market organized for broad-based prosperity and one designed to deliver ever more gains to the top. Visionary and acute, Saving Capitalism illuminates the path toward restoring America’s fundamental promise of opportunity and advancement.