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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

How to ruin the US Congress in five easy steps.

Rolling Stone's 'Worst Congress Ever' coverThat's the subject of an excellent article by Matt Tabibi in the new issue of Rolling Stone. (It continues to amaze me that Rolling Stone has recently run some of the best political journalism in the US — despite the fact that their music and cultural coverage is the usual crap.)

Since I know you're wondering, the five steps are:

1. Rule by cabal
2. Work as little as possible — and screw up what little you do
3. Let the president do whatever he wants
4. Spend, spend, spend
5. Line your own pockets

Tabibi describes how the Republicans have implemented that five-step program in detail — often disgusting detail. Here's a taste to whet your appetite for reading the whole thing:

It is no big scoop that the majority party in Congress has always found ways of giving the shaft to the minority. But there is a marked difference in the size and the length of the shaft the Republicans have given the Democrats in the past six years. There has been a systematic effort not only to deny the Democrats any kind of power-sharing role in creating or refining legislation but to humiliate them publicly, show them up, pee in their faces. Washington was once a chummy fraternity in which members of both parties golfed together, played in the same pickup basketball games, probably even shared the same mistresses. Now it is a one-party town -- and congressional business is conducted accordingly, as though the half of the country that the Democrats represent simply does not exist.

American government was not designed for one-party rule but for rule by consensus -- so this current batch of Republicans has found a way to work around that product design. They have scuttled both the spirit and the letter of congressional procedure, turning the lawmaking process into a backroom deal, with power concentrated in the hands of a few chiefs behind the scenes. This reduces the legislature to a Belarus-style rubber stamp, where the opposition is just there for show, human pieces of stagecraft -- a fact the Republicans don't even bother to conceal.

A sidebar to the article lists the 10 worst members of Congress, nine of whom are Republicans. (A big see-gar to anyone who can guess the Democrat who made the list. No peeking!)

The article and sidebar are must-reads. Go to it!

| | Posted by Magpie at 7:25 PM | Get permalink




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