It is unseemly and not as the Founding Fathers envisioned in its similarity to the British House of Lords, whose parliamentary role is, essentially, to obstruct the will of the people:
Political Breakdown. — That's fine, in the parliamentary system. But in ours, "this role would often be performed by a Constitutional Court or a Supreme Court." The breakdown in our political system, is due entirely (not largely) — as political scholar Norm Ornstein finally blurted after decades of studying these issues — to the most extremist right wing Republican Congress in 100 years, extremist Republicans in control of statehouses, and a Senate minority holding majority status over the people's heads with the 60-vote unconstitutional filibuster requirement to pass laws.The House of Lords ... regularly reviews and amends bills from the Commons. While the House of Lords is unable unilaterally to prevent bills passing into law (except in certain limited circumstances), its members can severely delay bills that they believe to be misguided and thereby force the government, the Commons, and the general public to reconsider their decisions. In this capacity, the Lords acts as constitutional safeguard that is independent from the electoral process and that can challenge the will of the people when the majority’s desires threaten key constitutional principles, human rights or rules of law.
SCOTUS Imbalance of Power. — The insurance for the ruling oligarchy of 400 or so, which includes much of the media, is the super-majority ironclad backstop in a 5-4 right right wing Supreme Court, notable for a palace coup d'etat which decided the 2000 election in favor of George W. Bush, and for consolidating the sweeping monetary gains of the oligarchy with Citizens United. The Republican abuse of power, a longstanding Republican tradition dating to Nixon (Watergate) and Reagan (Iran-Contra) renders a balance of power between the parties, and most importantly, the separation of powers envisioned by the Founding Fathers, a myth, a cynical fantasy.
Historical References. — There are historical reference points for this unprecedented Republican "overreach" (an odious media-created term when it is too scared to call fascism out) and abuse of our Constitution and democratic processes. Military fascist dictatorships typically legitimized authoritarianism by passing anti-democratic laws. As Republicans pass laws to restrict union rights, attack women's access to health care, restore Jim Crow to disenfranchise millions of poor, minority, and elderly populations, they do so under a carefully coordinated veneer of legal legitimacy, although courts have already begun ruling these measures to be unconstitutional. But as long as the supreme courts in authoritarian states are in the pockets of the fascists, they will easily fashion any legal rationale to uphold an unconstitutional, undemocratic law.
Overreach. — Interestingly, Republican "overreach" in a state like Michigan already gives the governor extraordinary powers to "intervene in states and municipalities, suspending the local authorities and appointing [
Guess what. That strikingly similar language used here to describe Michigan's emergency manager law is actually from the notorious A.I. 5, an institutional decree by Brazil's military dictatorship in 1968 which effectively dissolved democracy in that country. Yet few have drawn attention to the Republican assault on democracy, much less called attention to historical parallels. There are also a plethora of examples in laws passed by the Nazi regime, but we don't wish to go there, do we?
By Any Other Name. — In this stranglehold on American democracy, each component of this incipient American fascism has a specific role to play. (Or call it crony capitalism, if your sensibilities to familiar historic "optics" are simply too severe.) The Republican Congress, both houses, is the ideological vanguard of their anti-democracy blitz. The so-called Ryan "budget" is their platform, a political document which systematically decimates the New Deal, from the big three — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — to cutting poverty programs and food stamps, in order to rescind cuts in national security, putting the lie to claims of fiscal discipline, with its "anti-tax absolutism."
Filibuster Abuse. — The Senate Republicans are subsidiary obstructionists. Their role is simply to obstruct every law Democrats may pass, unless enough endangered "moderate" Republicans can be convinced to buck their disciplinarian leadership as to make the 60-vote threshold. Most Americans are totally unaware that it was the blatant misuse of the filibuster by Republicans in the Senate which prevented passage of desperately-needed jobs bills, financial reforms bills, housing bills, funding for states to restore education, police, firefighters, health cuts — in short, good government legislation that, if passed, would have placed our economy on much firmer ground and our unemployment below 8% and heading south.
State Laboratories. — In the Republican-dominated statehouses, Republicans are coordinating with the national party to uproot the unions — the Democratic Party's principal source of funding. Ironically, the good economies in outlier Republican states like Ohio and Michigan are due in large part to President Obama's refusal to "let Detroit go bankrupt" as Mitt Romney had prescribed.
Also, as mentioned above, Republican statehouses are passing laws to severely limit voting rights for the poor, the elderly, and urban minorities, restrict women's access to health care, cut pensions and lay off public employees in order to give tax cut to the rich and corporations. What is spooky about this Republican driven assault on democracy is the seeming high level of coordination between the states and the national party.
So now the Republican propaganda machine, the billionaire PACs, Karl Rove, and Fox et al, are driving full bore to spin their message, with the media's cooperation. Chris Hayes was the high point of Sunday's political programming. It was all downhill after that. MTP was back to its MSM garbage with not only the usual suspects but also the main culprits.
They Keep Trotting Him Out. — Marbles Mouth, who has become an embarrassment, bitched about the fruits of his labor, i.e., the Hollywoodization of the Beltway Media. He's OK with the corporate media disinformation fraudmeisters as long as they remain unexposed. Says he's traveled the country but seems to have missed the GOP assault on democracy. Reported vague malaise among the people about how things aren't working in DC. Some idiot financial technocrat said she was "equally offended by both parties." Chuckles Toddy gave a Republican senator helpful talking points. Gimme a fucking break.
Sweet-And-Sour Melissa. — And what's up with Melissa Harris-Perry? I searched her site but a segment I was offended by is mysteriously unavailable. That's the one in which she sits across from professional LIAR Alice Stewart, spokesperson for the Santorum campaign, and bemoans the absence of TRUTH in political campaigns. Sweet Melissa seemed puzzled by it all and pondered the difference between "truth" and "truthiness" bringing up examples from both sides, naturally, to perpetuate the false equivalence BIG LIE. Apparently she's on leave from the Ministry of Truth to school us on how we should all get along with a coven of lying Republican ratbastards.
Here's the lowdown, Melissa. Pay attention:
What does this mean, in practice, vis-a-vis the LIE that was Melissa's idiotic segment? It means Rick Santorum repeatedly LIED when he declared self-righteously that no universities in California taught classes in American History. The point being that in Santorumworld universities are supposed to be wicked and unholy institutions of liberal indoctrination. Total bullshit and a complete LIE. Rachel Maddow thoroughly debunked Santorum's LIE, but he has yet to own up to it:A number of studies show that conservatives tend to have a greater need for closure than do liberals, which is precisely what you would expect in light of the strong relationship between liberalism and openness. “The finding is very robust,” explained Arie Kruglanski, a University of Maryland psychologist who has pioneered research in this area and worked to develop a scale for measuring the need for closure.
The trait is assessed based on responses to survey statements such as “I dislike questions which could be answered in many different ways” and “In most social conflicts, I can easily see which side is right and which is wrong.”
Anti-evolutionists have been found to score higher on the need for closure. And in the global-warming debate, tea party followers not only strongly deny the science but also tend to say that they “do not need any more information” about the issue.
Mitt Romney's Snark. — Mitt Romney is an odious individual. After telling so many lies, a politician literally crosses a threshold into visible snark. Visible in their facial features. For Nixon it was the shifty eyes and upper lip sweat. For George W. Bush it was the Beavis 'n Butthead smirk. Mitt Romney's snark is that upper lip curl, denoting the arrogant and cruel entitlement of someone accustomed to using, and abusing, people below his station in life. He really doesn't care about the 99% of us, as we are merely an encumbrance to his personal ambition. The despicable Romney snark is clearly visible here: