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Feb-23-2010 12:55printcomments

Op Ed: GOPsters Delay
EIGHTY Percent Of Congressional Work

“Vicious cycle” Driven by Massive Filibustering.

Republican fillibuster

(EUGENE, Ore.) - Millions of Americans voted for “transformative change” with solidly-renewed hope in their governance system only last year. That constructive Constitutional application of the most potent weapon in any democracy; The VOTE -- is now contemptuously reduced to naught by 'a vicious cycle' of denial and delay from a determined GOPster cabal.

TIME Magazine, in a revealing analysis by a noted scholar, reports that the filibuster was the tactic used by Senate Republicans to delay 80% of major legislation in 2009.

Seldom so used over the entire preceding century, “the Senate witnessed about one filibuster a decade”, TIME reports, “As late as 1960, the Senate filibustered less than 10% of major legislation.”

That 'vicious cycle’, begun with the great sorting out of American politics over the past 40 years, came into constant political combat in the ‘80s, as potent but aging Senate moderates departed --replaced by the likes of Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay and Trent Lott, and with Bill Clinton as a Democratic President.

Their GOPster strategy became Radically simple -- Discredit Clinton, and it was carried out by discrediting government itself, states Dr. Peter Beinhart, noted professor of journalism and political science, author of the TIME report.

“Rhetorically, they derided Washington as ineffective and conflict-ridden, and through their actions they guaranteed it,” he explains. “Their greatest weapon was the filibuster, which forced Democrats to muster 60 votes to get legislation through the Senate”, Beinart declares.

So Senate Republicans resorted to what became practically a permanent filibuster: In 1997, noted scholars Catherine Fisk and Erwin Chemerinsky reported, “Now filibusters are a part of daily life” there.

“After moderates broke a 1993 filibuster on campaign finance, GOP conservatives publicly accused them of 'stabbing us in the back'”, Beinart states. Many strange situations resulted as GOPSters learned to use “the vicious cycle” as a major tool for obstruction and to make Washington “look pathetic”.

GOPsters filibustered changes in a mining act -- resulting in government sale of gold rights, worth $10 billion, to a Canadian company for less than $10,000. GOPsters filibustered application of employment laws to Congress members, despite their own demands for that action.

Despite several such shots-into-foot situations, the persistent performance of Gopster leaders shows they long ago learned Americans despise most political bickering and blame the party in political charge -- no matter where real dereliction of Constitutional duties may lie.

What they learned was the secret of vicious circle politics.

When the parties are polarized, it’s easy to keep anything from getting done. When nothing gets done, people turn against government. When you’re the party out of power and the party that reviles government, you win. Beinart cites Ronald Brownstein, author of The Second Civil War: “What really defines our political era is not the polarization of Americans but the polarization of American government.”

So the game then becomes how to best use that 'vicious cycle' to isolate, deride, denigrate and deny the opposition. That dastardly, deadly-destructive game, now well into its most damaging development, has become a massive major attack on our democracy for which its players must now stand responsible.

SO the GOPsters have denied more than EIGHTY PERCENT of major legislation during Obama’s first year. “Mitch McConnell led a filibuster of a commission he himself had demanded”, Dr. Beinart informs us.

To his great credit, President Obama tried valiantly to live up to his Constitutional responsibility to govern via cooperative concentration on consequences for the commonwealth, inviting open, honest action from both sides of the separating aisles in Congress.

That demands honest, open -- even transparent -- communication of foundation detail and the following development by protocol and pattern famed as working to achieve the consensus long understood as the basis for wise action in any democracy.

That’s what Presidient Obama felt his strong voter mandate conferred by large and legal majority demanded of him and his party -- and that’s how he has continued ever since taking office, including planned next-steps for finishing the primary task of achieving long-awaited national health care.

What these Gopsters have never learned -- despite sharply pointed political performances around those ballot boxes by millions of Americans over the past 50 years, demonstrated again only last November! -- is that those same millions know all too well what it takes to really support, strengthen and extend our American economy.

The same millions who understood what was so clearly at stake only last November have never yet forgotten lessons learned painfully, passionately and potently before-and-during the Civil War, still again surrounding the Gilded Age and the Great Depression, then yet again and ever since, in every capitalistic swing-and-cycle.

Professional historians and eager American-history fanatics will surely recall tme-and-again when that insightful wit, wisdom and will of the American people has been demonstrated -- after due patience and persistence -- in full disaster for those defying and denying that same wit, wisdom and will. Many trained professional observers, readying for reporting to their constituent audiences, now have come to believe there is coordination and carefully planned intent and timing involved in these latest demonstrations of determined denial and corporate funding.

That funding clearly goes now for any/all forms of delay, perhaps leading to defeat for what millions of Americans have been demanding for more than 50 years, by perverted patterns of corporate influence on politics.

Perhaps the most meaningful in recent days has been the fear-reflecting action of the Supreme Court indefinite-majority conservative-cabal: Opening corporate checkbooks and contribution accounts for much more of that same moola now already lavished legally by the lack of consequential control over cash -- already heavily concentrated on political potentates at all levels -- is well understood by much knowledge to reveal real fear the public is learning its lessons.

If you, too, have come to that same conclusion, with the full display of demonstrated incident, event and action now firmly on the public record, let your voice be heard in any and many open, honest channels -- and send full-content copy to each one of your Congressional contacts. “The VOTE” you may protect is your final defense.


Reader’s Note: TIME Magazine, in all fairness, also provides a one page Commentary by Newt Gingrich. It is titled “It’s Time to Team Up”, with the underline head: “Cooperation is an opportunity for both Obama and the GOP, says the former House Speaker. For those who truly appreciate ironic humor -- even when not so intended !! -- I can suggest you make sure to read it. What you will learn of intentional/OR/unintentional language distortion, not to mention personal perversion, will be well worth your time and attention. Additonally TIME tucks in a thorough oversight of the Tea Party reflection of grassroots discontent. Please note that both the Beinert special report and the Tea Party take/out end with the definitive word for all of us to remember: “Fear”.

At 21, Henry Clay Ruark was Aroostook Editor for the Bangor, Maine DAILY NEWS, covering the upper 1/4 of the state. In the ‘40s, he was Staff Correspondent, then New England Wires Editor at United Press-Boston; later Editor for the Burlington, Vermont 3-daily group owned by Wm. Loeb, later notorious at Manchester, New Hampshire UNION LEADER for attacks on Democratic Presidential candidates.

Hank returned to Oregon to complete M. Ed. degree at OSU, went on to Indiana University for Ed.D. (abd) and special other course-work; was selected as first Information Director for NAVA in Washington, D.C.; helped write sections of NDEA, first Act to supply math, science, foreign language consultants to state depts. of education; joined Oregon Dept. of Education, where he served as NDEA administrator/Learning Media Consultant for ten years.

He joined Dr. Amo DeBernardis at PCC, helping establish, extend programs, facilities, Oregon/national public relations; moved to Chicago as Editor/Publisher of oldest educational-AV journal, reformed as AV GUIDE Magazine; then established and operated Learning Media Associates as general communications consultant group. Due to wife’s illness, he returned to Oregon in 1981, semi-retired, and has continued writing intermittently ever since, joining S-N in 2004. His Op Eds now total over 560 written since then.

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Hank Ruark February 25, 2010 11:46 am (Pacific time)

Friend Casey: Happens I have numbers on filibusters as you asked: From 1927 to 1962,cloture -- the vote to end a filibuster-- was invoked only 11 times. In 2007 alone there were 67 votes, nearly all GOPstered. Here's link: ( NOW we find EIGHTY PERCENT of Congress-action stymied, as detailed in current Op ED. GOP obstructionism has been basic party tactic ever since early days,remains main weapon NOW, killing off fact that 70 oercent of Americans favor a public option in healthcare, denied them by open defiance of known fact by GOPster cabal. Note also false-meaning of major known facts continues in speech-claims clearly heard on Obama summit today. Analysis on courageous --and clearly "transparent" !!-- open-summit action by President Obama will follow here soon. When, ever, did any other President set up such a "see with own eyes" --and hear with own ears, too !!-- situation for all to share-and-learn ? National dialog is deeply essential democratic necessity for consensus we can all then support...which is why this open, honest,democratic S-N channel is worth your time and full attention.

Hank Ruark February 25, 2010 10:52 am (Pacific time)

Friend Mike: So what's your point ? Should we now totally wipe away all insurance coverage simply because it has grown too complex ? Should we make sure bag-men with corporate cash cannot "persuade"potent legislators ? Neither will happen. SO we have choice (again !) to make sure current system works as designed and first- intended, or to simply give up and let "magic of the market" manage and also manipulate all of us and our helathcare, human right well recognized worldwide ?? Only rational, reasonable, insightful, common sense and compassionate next-step is to make damned sure we have solid sensible, simple and sure new system set up to provide full- scale cost-control benefits in whole system; run nationally by modern management methods we know full well can work to provide huge effective and pragmatic efficiencies...per corporate experience in many fields. IF we can find corporate managers to make that happen --do you deny it has been well demonstrated ?-- we can surely transfer same expertise to the government-issue side, too. As nation, our history shows we've already done so, time and again...War II with its overwhelming corporate and governance response as fine example, New Deal as famed predecessor similar situation; Civil War before that,fought for principle of freedom for all; and even '76 Revolution, triggered to triumph over Brit domination and denials. What's styming next steps is simple dollar-domination by special interests, allasame as yours re disastrous regulation and open to same solution: MORE democracy, wisely and our CHOICE and our VOTES.

Mike February 25, 2010 9:20 am (Pacific time)

Layers of regulation plague every aspect of medical care and health insurance in America. In the health-insurance industry, for instance, each state imposes dozens of regulatory mandates on health insurers, requiring them to include coverage of everything from massage therapy to hair implants. The reason for mandates is that the message-therapy and hair-implant industries (and many others) hire lobbyists to bribe state legislators to require insurers to cover their particular practice if they want to sell insurance within a state. Among the states with the largest number of mandates as of 2009 are Rhode Island (70), Minnesota (68), Maryland (66), New Mexico (57), and Maine (55). Idaho has the fewest mandates (13), followed by Alabama (21), Utah (23), and Hawaii (24). Each mandate increases the cost of health insurance and probably increases the typical health-insurance policy by hundreds, or thousands, of dollars yearly. Government policy in the health-insurance industry applies both the brakes and the gas at the same time. While imposing onerous and cost-increasing regulations, government also limits legal liability in some cases where an insurer refuses to pay for a particular procedure or treatment that costs a patient his life. The state also creates state-wide cartels with laws prohibiting the portability of some aspects of health insurance. (For example, my employer-provided health insurance covers pharmaceuticals in the state where I reside, but not in other states. Getting back to pure socialism, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Veterans Administration hospitals socialize a very large portion of healthcare in America, with the same predictable results as the socialization of hospitals: runaway costs for decade after decade, coupled with massive fraud, as is often the case when politicians are enabled to spend other people's money. Even the federal government admits that there is currently about $60 billion in Medicare fraud. Since government always understates the cost of everything it does, it is likely that the real number is much higher.

Hank Ruark February 24, 2010 4:29 pm (Pacific time)

Friend Casey:
  My writer's files in chaos due to destruction demanded for outworn stuff I'll never use again.
  BUT recall/itch did its good work, and I did find this clip from Boston Magazine, Jan. 1998, by Lester Thurow, then Management professor at MIT's Sloan School, in review of Drucker book "World According to Peter Drucker" --which is why I recalled statement:
  "Mankind's oldest profession was not prostitution --it was tax collection. Without the ability to make free riders pay taxes, no social system is possible.
  "Voluntarism does not work. Even the smallest, most primitive, hunter-gatherer tribes have some form of nonvoluntary tax collection whereby the group extracts resources from the individual to carry out activities the group regards as more important than self-determined individual spending."

  Hope that assuages and may  even comfort you re the inevitability of continually growing government, surely now far more complex than when Thurow, now world-famed, wrote this cogent cogitation... !!

Casey February 24, 2010 6:40 pm (Pacific time)

This is not what came first the "chicken" or the "egg?" Obviously in this country private jobs came before government jobs. We are not equal partners. Just look at those states that have been having high unemployment rates resulting in a serious reduction of tax revenue causing government workers to be laid off, or no new hiring is going on and letting attrition continue without replacements. Services are being cut, and it's projected to worsen unless the private market improves. The free markets will do well when they have less oversight. There is a rich documented history that ackowledges that. I see Brown and several other republicans voted for this new job Bill. Hopefully it will prove to be successful. Though I have looked and saw no filibusters happening in 2009, do you have some info on that?

Hank Ruark February 24, 2010 12:14 pm (Pacific time)

Friend Casey: You wrote:" is the private jobs that pay for those government jobs." This discloses fundamental misunderstanding: The two are, like it or not, cannot exist without the other and success for one means the success of the other. Mnay make possible the surround without which NO private enterprise can operate much less succeed profitably. Those costs continue whether or not the private sector is making profits or losing its shirt (and sometimes pants !). That's why taxes are structured as they must be and continue in face of capitalist cycles, often as last resort to keep private-side afloat until economic weather makes possible return to its share of productivity profiting all of us. SO why is this relevant to obstructionism as desperate, fearful ploy reducing its impacts to political pandering at its worst ? You surely can figure that out for yourself --just as new Senator Brown did, acting on his sure knowledge of strong responsibility to commonweal rather than solely to party. THAT is why GOPsters and tea-addicts now attack his action,negating one of their favorite mythical "principles" by reversal of his expected role in D.C.

Casey February 24, 2010 11:02 am (Pacific time)

I saw what Sen. Brown voted for and am glad he did. Hopefully this Jobs Bill will be used to stimulate at least some part of the private market, whereas the Stimulus Bill that cost close to a One $Trillion (that includes projected interest) actually did very little to create jobs in the private market, but did save government jobs, of which it is the private jobs that pay for those government jobs. With Brown as the 41st vote to mount a filibuster, then does that means that the republicans could not filibuster since Obama was sworn in as president? As it is it appears that passing the healthcare bill may face some tough sledding in the house in its present form.

Hank Ruark February 24, 2010 9:08 am (Pacific time)

Au contraire, sirs Casey, Benson ! Points you cover are also well-covered in deep and sometimes "dirty" compromises aleady made in good faith by Dems seeking somehow to win the progress we must have. Here's on reality now: "...Senate Democrats have accepted at least 161 Republican amendments to their healthcare reform legislation, they've incorporated core GOP planks, and they've scuttled an aspect of the plan most popular with its base, the public option, because of opposition by Republicans as well as red state Democrats. But they haven't compromised with Republicans?" Did you notice that Brown, newly elected Senator from Mass., used his first vote to start break-up of GOPster filibuster on job bill ? THAT should be fairly solid proof of what, why, whom and how delays are being forced, and for what reasons. Their first-recruit re 60-vote block refuses to go along,steps up to lead reversal of irrational radical-cabal obstructionism. You can check out Brown vote for "see with own eyes" at numerous Internet sources.

Casey February 24, 2010 8:17 am (Pacific time)

There are approximately 890,000 doctors currently practicing in the US. Those who want the autonomy to practice medicine the way we were trained, those of us who run a private practice who are entrepreneurs at heart, those who are tired of being pitted against our patients and other physicians (the specialist vs. primary care physician meme), and those who are just sick and tired are NOT going to take this. Those of us who can will retire or leave medicine all together. Those within the system will simply opt out. The President’s summit on Thursday amounts to nothing more than six hours of theater. Not one physician in Congress (one out of 10 House Republicans are medical doctors and the senate also has many doctors within it's membership) has been invited to attend. The physicians for single payer have also not been invited. It is his chance to hear from the people on the front line, and it is obvious this bill is NOT about the health of our people. It is about raising revenue, controlling the medical industrial complex completely. How else can you explain the proposal for the government to a) take over control of the cost of insurance premiums; b) limit provider medical decisions based on cost, and c) control what is medically covered for the patient. Under the proposed health care reformed, the government will control how much an insurance company can charge, decide what is covered medically, and sanction the provider for deviating from the norm. This bill in it's current form will seriously harm our medical community.

douglas benson February 24, 2010 5:09 am (Pacific time)

The Dems blew it .The GOP would have run the Dems over with glee.The more I see the more it looks like a one party system .The Dems still have the majority but still wont use it .Why wont they force them to read the phone book ect. then show the people what they are doing . Hold a press conf. and say here is the games they are playing while our country goes down the toilet. Play nice in polotics and you get ran straight over.

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