Democrats

Delusional Democrats

A recent poll for the Pew Center finds that only liberal Democrats think that they are "winning" more than "losing" on issues that are important to them.  I guess constant military adventures, the continuing destruction of the middle class, the rise of the billionaire class, and the two-tier justice system are not important to liberal Democrats.  Because Americans surely are not "winning" on those issues.

Oregon Democrats Reject 3 More Reasonable Ethics Reforms

On June 17, these 3 bills were "withdrawn" directly to the floor of the Oregon Senate by their Republican sponsors.  All were then rejected on straight party-line 18-12 votes, with all Democrats voting against them.

  • SB 940 makes “vote trading” illegal for legislators, ensuring they put their constituents first and not vote based on future promises of campaign contributions.
     
  • SB 853 places high-ranking agency and elected officials under oath when testifying before the Legislature.  This is the ordinary procedure in the U.S. Congress.
     
  • SB 852 makes submitting false information in a candidate voters’ pamphlet statement illegal.

Oregon Democrats Reject 5 Reasonable Ethics Reform Bills

Welcome to "ethics reform," Oregon style.

Yesterday the Oregon House of Representatives rejected 5 reasonable ethics reform bills proposed by Julie Parrish (R). All 5 bills were supported by the Oregon Progressive Party, and 4 were supported by the Independent Party of Oregon. On the floor of the House, all Republicans voted in favor of all 5 bills. All but a couple of Democrats voted against all 5 bills.

The Democrats, in control of both houses, refused to allow any of the bills to go to the floors for votes.  So Republicans used the "withdrawal" procedure to withdraw the bills from committee and put them on the floor for immediate vote, without debate.  This is similar to the "discharge petition" process in the U.S. Congress.

Here are the rejected bills:

  • HB 3331 authorizes the Legislative Assembly to appoint an independent counsel by joint resolutions (Failed 27-33)
     
  • HB 2790 requires that statements made by certain witnesses to a committee of the Legislative Assembly be made under oath and therefore subject to crime of false swearing (Failed 26-34)
     
  • HB 2791 includes false statements made to legislative committees by certain persons in crime of unsworn falsification (Failed 27-33)
     
  • HB 3505 requires public bodies to establish public records retention schedules that require a minimum three-year retention of public records (Failed 27-33)
     
  • HB 3043 provides that upon being sworn into office, or for other stated reasons, the Governor shall file declaration with the Oregon Government Ethics Commission declaring identity of First Spouse and identifying official policy-making or agenda-setting duties of First Spouse, if any  (Failed 28-32)

Senate Democrats Again Voluntarily Allow the DISCLOSE Act to Fail

Today the Democrats in the U.S. Senate voluntarily allowed the DISCLOSE Act to fail, again. This is the bill that would require disclosure of the sources of some independent expenditures in races for U.S. Congress and President.

The Democrats allowed the Republicans to filibuster the bill. The vote to end the filibuster (called cloture) was 51-45 in favor of ending the filibuster and thus allowing a vote on the bill itself. The chair then declared that the cloture motion failed, because it requires a 60% affirmative vote.

At that point, the Democrats could have invoked the "Constitutional Option" and have challenged the ruling of the chair.  That ruling could be overturned with a simple majority vote, as it was last year when Harry Reid invoked that option (also known as the "nuclear option") to disallow introduction of a series of amendments to a bill about Chinese currency manipulation.  The Hill reported on Oct 6, 2011:

In a shocking development, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid triggered a rarely used procedural option informally called the “nuclear option” to change the Senate rules.

Reid and 50 Democrats voted to change Senate rules unilaterally to prevent Republicans from forcing votes on uncomfortable amendments.

Reid’s coup passed by a vote of 51-48, leaving Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) fuming.  The surprise move stunned Republicans, who did not expect Reid to bring heavy artillery to what had been a humdrum knife fight over amendments to China currency legislation.

The Democrats use "heavy artillery" on bills of marginal importance but wield a  rubber sword when it comes to campaign finance reform.

Establishment Professor Fiercely Denounces The Two Major Parties

Budgetary Deceit and America's Decline

Jeffrey Sachs
Huffington Post

July 23, 2011

. . . Obama's campaign promise to "change Washington" looks like pure bait and switch. There has been no change, but rather more of the same: the Wall-Street-owned Democratic Party as we have come to know it. The idea that the Republicans are for the billionaires and the Democrats are for the common man is quaint but outdated. It's more accurate to say that the Republicans are for Big Oil while the Democrats are for Big Banks. That has been the case since the modern Democratic Party was re-created by Bill Clinton and Robert Rubin.

Thus, at every crucial opportunity, Obama has failed to stand up for the poor and middle class. He refused to tax the banks and hedge funds properly on their outlandish profits; he refused to limit in a serious way the bankers' mega-bonuses even when the bonuses were financed by taxpayer bailouts; and he even refused to stand up against extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich last December, though 60 percent of the electorate repeatedly and consistently demanded that the Bush tax cuts at the top should be ended. It's not hard to understand why. Obama and Democratic Party politicians rely on Wall Street and the super-rich for campaign contributions the same way that the Republicans rely on oil and coal. In America today, only the rich have political power.

Obama could have cut hundreds of billions of dollars in spending that has been wasted on America's disastrous wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen, but here too it's been all bait and switch. Obama is either afraid to stand up to the Pentagon or is part of the same neoconservative outlook as his predecessor. The real cause hardly matters since the outcome is the same: America is more militarily engaged under Obama than even under Bush. Amazing but true. . . .

Who runs America today? The rich and the multinational corporations. Who runs the White House? David Plouffe, whose job it is to make sure that ever word, every action of the president is calculated for electoral gain rather than the country's needs. Who runs the Congress, on both sides of the aisle? The lobbyists, who win in every negotiation. And who loses? The American people, who have said repeatedly that they want a budget that sharply cuts the military, ends the wars, raises taxes on the rich, protects the poor and the middle class, and invests in America's future not just in Obama's speeches but in fact.

America needs a third-party movement to break the hammerlock of the financial elites. Until that happens, the political class and the media conglomerates will continue to spew lies, American militarism will continue to destabilize a growing swath of the world, and the country will continue its economic decline.  Read more ...

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