Join 3,438 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


So that's how they make American sausage
August 13, 2005 7:33 PM   Subscribe

Four Amendments & a Funeral Rolling Stone accompanies Bernie Sanders (I-VT) before the Rules Committee. It ain't pretty. The aide laughed and explained that the best time for me to go would be just before the summer recess, a period when Congress rushes to pass a number of appropriations bills. "It's like orgy season," he said. "You won't want to miss that." ... Now, if Tom DeLay & Co. were going to disallow Sanders' amendment, they were going to have to openly defy a majority vote of the U.S. Congress to do so. Which, it turns out, isn't much of a stumbling block. ... In essence, the U.S. was giving $5 billion to a state-subsidized British utility to build up the infrastructure of our biggest trade competitor, along the way sharing advanced nuclear technology with a Chinese conglomerate that had, in the past, shared nuclear know-how with Iran and Pakistan. WARNING: Will not make you feel better about the Republican party leadership. Previous Bernie Sanders, and his battle with the PATRIOT Act
posted by Aknaton (21 comments total)

 
WARNING: Will not make you feel better about the Republican party leadership.

Is there anything that will?
posted by ericb at 7:42 PM on August 13, 2005


Ritual suicide?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:49 PM on August 13, 2005


You know what they say about laws and sausages.
posted by clevershark at 7:51 PM on August 13, 2005


Man, I really have to start reading the page titles before commenting...
posted by clevershark at 7:54 PM on August 13, 2005


It's not just the Republican party leadership. I mean, sure, they're particularly egregious and managed to become as corrupt in 10 years as the democrats became in 40, but this process that Taibbi describes is embedded into the system of the House and Senate.

I'm not saying that the Democrats would be worse or even as bad (they'd be much better and a Democratic victory in the house would have a "cleansing effect," IMHO), but the potential for the sort of corruption and backdoor dealings would still be there.
posted by deanc at 8:10 PM on August 13, 2005


You're quite right, deanc, although I've seen numbers indicating that "as corrupt in 10 years as the democrats became in 40" should actually be "substantially more corrupt". A lot of rule changes have been put through to aid tyranny of the majority. Not quite an example, from the linked article:
The Rules Committee is supposed to wait out a three-day period before sending the bill to the House, ostensibly in order to give the members a chance to read the bill. The three-day period is only supposed to be waived in case of emergency. However, the Rules Committee of DeLay and Dreier waives the three-day period as a matter of routine. This forces members of Congress to essentially cast blind yes-or-no votes to bills whose contents are likely to be an absolute mystery to them.
posted by Aknaton at 8:34 PM on August 13, 2005


What, it's not like the president reads them before he signs them.
posted by jmgorman at 8:54 PM on August 13, 2005


This article vaguely points out a huge flaw in the current system: Half the time, the people voting on the bills haven't read them. The Rules Committee trashed the original PATRIOT act and passed on a completely different one. They then had a vote on it a few hours later. We're talking about a bill that is over a thousand pages long. No one had time to research any of it, most of probably couldn't even read it in that time. Any system that allows people to pass laws that they have not even read is a system that needs to be changed.
posted by cyphill at 9:00 PM on August 13, 2005


Ughh, what a read. The bit about the "Treasury Department" document sent out by IBM was, uh, entertaining. What a clusterfuck. Depressing indeed.
posted by zoinks at 9:36 PM on August 13, 2005


This forces members of Congress to essentially cast blind yes-or-no votes to bills whose contents are likely to be an absolute mystery to them.

Easy solution, just vote no on any bill that comes up too fast. 'course, having your challenger run TV attack ads like "Voted Against the Free Cotton Candy & Criminal Criminalization Act" makes this anything less than simple.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:46 PM on August 13, 2005


I think members of Congress should have to write book reports on all the bills they vote on. If elementary school kids can do it, why can't grown men and women? "Why I liked the PATRIOT ACT, by Tom DeLay." "How an Energy bill becomes a law, with some help from industry lobbyists." And so forth.
posted by papakwanz at 10:21 PM on August 13, 2005


Why is Rolling Stone one of the only venues for articles like this? Where is the press? Are they closer to finding that missing photogenic white girl?
posted by [expletive deleted] at 11:33 PM on August 13, 2005


Why is Rolling Stone one of the only venues for articles like this? Where is the press? Are they closer to finding that missing photogenic white girl?

Exactly... The press, which is corporate owned, is in the entertainment business. This news is not on the same order of compelling-ness as a bank robbery or celebrity scandal or whatever else passes for news. And the sad part is that even if the public were presented this information, their ability to follow a nuanced argument is so limited that the effect is lost. They dont know what to do with their vague dissatisfaction with the system, so they latch on to hot button topics like gay marriage.
posted by mert at 11:50 PM on August 13, 2005


Democracy! Spread it, baby!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:30 AM on August 14, 2005


The more I know about politics, the less I want to know.
posted by Edible Energy at 7:22 AM on August 14, 2005


"It's funny," Sanders says. "When I first came to Congress, I'd been mayor of Burlington, Vermont -- a professional politician. And I didn't know any of this. I assumed that if you get majorities in both houses, you win. I figured, it's democracy, right?"


Sigh....


And: the article doesn't make me feel much better about the Democrats...
posted by bumpkin at 9:36 AM on August 14, 2005


I'm glad this article turned up on MeFi. I think it's a mandatory read. Taibbi is a great writer, to boot.

It's pretty clear to me that our government is kaput. It doesn't really exist in the form we're told. It's a bordello of old boys and big money.

PARECON and things along those lines - commercial cooperation between people who want to make the world better - it's pretty much our only hope.

A slim hope.
posted by rougy at 10:36 AM on August 14, 2005


So... Revolution at, say, Tuesday at 11:42am? It can't be too early, I like to sleep late, and I'm worthless untill I've had some coffee and a good shit.
posted by Balisong at 7:21 PM on August 14, 2005


Can't make that one, Balisong. Got a meeting at 11:00 on the west coast. How about Wednesday around 3:00?
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 9:30 PM on August 14, 2005


Reading that article made me lose a lot of faith that I didn't know I had in the US government. I had already lost all hope in the Presidential Administration, but to see just how deep the rabbit hole goes was a little sickening.
posted by Four Flavors at 3:59 PM on August 16, 2005


More on line standers. I find the intricacies of the US goverment disguisting and fascinating. More disgusting than fascinating, I suppose ...

More on the Export-Import Bank (and Enron) and the Westinghouse giveaway.

All of Washington seems to be in on the lobbyist leprechaun game. News even leaked that corporations had managed to convince the local sports teams, the Wizards and the Capitals, to create special courtside and/or rinkside tickets. The tickets would not be available to the general public but would have an official list price of $49.50 and could be purchased by corporate customers. Why the low list price? Because congressional rules prohibit gifts to congressmen with a cost above fifty dollars.

OK. Now I just vomited.

Great article. Thank you, Aknaton. I made my gf give up her RS subscription a while ago.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:15 PM on August 16, 2005


« Older Death for embezzling?...  |  Kurt Stubers online collection... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments