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Incompetent, Lazy & Corrupt
October 18, 2006 2:15 PM   Subscribe

The Worst Congress Ever. How our national legislature has become a stable of thieves and perverts -- in five easy steps. By Matt Taibbi. [Via TalkLeft.]
posted by homunculus (80 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
The GOP's "take that, bitch" approach to governing has been taken to the greatest heights by the House Judiciary Committee. The committee is chaired by the legendary Republican monster James Sensenbrenner Jr., an ever-sweating, fat-fingered beast who wields his gavel in a way that makes you think he might have used one before in some other arena, perhaps to beat prostitutes to death.

The writing may be a trifle purple.
posted by gsteff at 2:25 PM on October 18, 2006


Oh, but that's part of the reason I love Matt Taibbi.

Here, in the minority offices for the various congressional committees, you will inevitably find exactly the same character -- a Democratic staffer in rumpled khakis staring blankly off into space, nothing but a single lonely "Landscapes of Monticello" calendar on his wall, his eyes wide and full of astonished, impotent rage, like a rape victim. His skin is as white as the belly of a fish; he hasn't seen the sun in seven years.

I know it sounds like hyperbole, but from what I've heard, it's a fairly accurate. The spoils system has been around since the 1830's, but the current Republican leadership has locked Democrats out of everything. And hence, they are to blame for everything, the idjits.

But that's the great thing about this Republican Congress -- they broke it (Iraq, Katrina, Predatorgate), and now they're running around the country trying to distance themselves. From themselves. And one of the most incompetent presidents ever.
posted by bardic at 2:31 PM on October 18, 2006


I imagine this article will be emailed around quite a bit over the next two weeks. That's a bitter dose of perspective.

Despite an international uproar over Abu Ghraib, Congress spent only twelve hours on hearings on the issue. During the Clinton administration, by contrast, the Republican Congress spent 140 hours investigating the president's alleged misuse of his Christmas-card greeting list.

Well, duh. Support the troops.
posted by peeedro at 2:47 PM on October 18, 2006


Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.
posted by caddis at 2:54 PM on October 18, 2006


with great power comes great responsibility
posted by slapshot57 at 2:56 PM on October 18, 2006


You can already here the response from those wingnuts who decide not to cover their ears -- Oh, Taibbi, yet another angy librul with so sense of taste or decorum.

Because dragging the country through a national debate on semen stains and oral sex was the height of decorum, I tell ya. Made me prouder than ever to live in this country, where Republicans obviously have such good taste and manners.
posted by bardic at 2:58 PM on October 18, 2006


Actually, what you really meant to title this post was "Worst Congress SO FAR."
posted by muppetboy at 2:59 PM on October 18, 2006


Power corrupts. Absolute power is kindof neat. (I stole that)
posted by muppetboy at 3:00 PM on October 18, 2006


Tauzin also became the all-time poster boy for pork absurdity when a "greenbonds initiative" crafted in his Energy and Commerce Committee turned out to be a subsidy to build a Hooters in his home state of Louisiana.

Well now I feel strangely conflicted.
posted by peeedro at 3:06 PM on October 18, 2006


From a letter that imprisoned former congressman Randy Cunningham sent to the reporter who busted him:
Each time you print it hurts my family And now I have lost them Along with Everything I have worked for during my 64 years of life. I am human not an Animal to keep whiping. I made some decissions Ill be sorry for the rest of my life.
As Taibbi wrote, putting ethics of what Cunningham did aside, it's absolutely insane that our congressmen can't write better than that.
posted by gsteff at 3:06 PM on October 18, 2006


a systematic effort not only to deny the Democrats any kind of power-sharing role in creating or refining legislation

Goodness. I wonder what would happen if he took a course on comparative politics and learned about the power of the majority party / coalition in parliamentary systems... I'm thinking Scanners.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:21 PM on October 18, 2006


Wow. The examples of Repubs switching committee meeting rooms, making the committee's Dems wander Capitol Hill looking for the meeting, and then being turned away at the door after knocking and knocking and knocking, really makes me furious.

At the Dems.

Why wasn't there a walkout over this stuff? Why wasn't there anyone with a spine to stand up and refuse to let the Republicans rewrite the rules in such an obviously undemocratic way? I know these kinds of shenanigans have been around for a while, but the way this Congress' Republicans took it to new heights surely deserved some kind of line-in-the-sand showdown years ago. That the Dems just sat and took it is plainly pathetic.
posted by mediareport at 3:24 PM on October 18, 2006 [1 favorite]


In one legendary incident, Rep. Charles Rangel went searching for a secret conference being held by Thomas. When he found the room where Republicans closeted themselves, he knocked and knocked on the door, but no one answered. A House aide compares the scene to the famous "Land Shark" skit from Saturday Night Live, with everyone hiding behind the door afraid to make a sound. "Rangel was the land shark, I guess," the aide jokes. But the real punch line came when Thomas finally opened the door. "This meeting," he informed Rangel, "is only open to the coalition of the willing."

Anyone want to stand with me and shout, "I'm PROUD to be an American!" Anyone? Anyone?

Hey! Who shut off the lights and microphone??
posted by leftcoastbob at 3:27 PM on October 18, 2006


Poll: 74 Percent of Americans Say Congress Out of Touch
"Just weeks before crucial midterm elections, a new poll says nearly three quarters of Americans see Congress as out of touch, much as they did in 1994, the last time the minority party took control of Capitol Hill.

Seventy-four percent of respondents to a new Opinion Research poll say Congress is generally out of touch with average Americans. That's up from 69 percent who agreed with that view in a January poll this year.

...According to the poll, 58 percent of respondents said they believe most members of Congress are focused on special interests...

Seventy-nine percent of those surveyed in the new Opinion Research poll said they feel big business does have too much influence over the administration's decisions."
posted by ericb at 3:28 PM on October 18, 2006


Seventy-four percent of respondents to a new Opinion Research poll say Congress is generally out of touch with average Americans

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Then those same respondents go and vote their own representatives right back in. It's the *other* congresscritters that are corrupt, you see, not *mine*!
posted by mediareport at 3:33 PM on October 18, 2006


Seventy-four percent of respondents to a new Opinion Research poll say Congress is generally out of touch with average Americans

And the other 26% works for oil or pharmaceutical companies.
posted by leftcoastbob at 3:40 PM on October 18, 2006


America has the Congress it deserves.

Hey, what's on tv tonight?
posted by you just lost the game at 3:40 PM on October 18, 2006


It's sickening, and the most sickening thing, aside from the slack-jawed mouth-breathers who voted this "values orientated" group in (go team! I'd never vote for the competent when I can vote for my team! yay!!!!1!) is the absolute, complete and utter lack of backbone from the democrats. That's as corrupt in its own way as the selling out of America by the republicans

The democrats are a joke...many of them whimpering on the sidelines and voting with the republicans for fear of facing attack ads. Fuck 'em. If you can't show any backbone, and if your party can't fend off attack ads with their own, screw you. If the people you represent are so backwards they can't suss out the real issues, let them get what they desrve. Doesn't mean I'll vote for the Party of Closeted Thugs, but voting for the democrats is almost as distasteful.

There has been damage wrought (because as a group this country has the brains of a gas-huffing ferret) that cannot be undone in our lifetimes.
posted by maxwelton at 3:52 PM on October 18, 2006


"America has the Congress it deserves."

The precise epicenter of the tragedy.
posted by Fupped Duck at 3:58 PM on October 18, 2006


Hey, what's on tv tonight?

Bill Moyers is going to wrestle Ted Stevens. Hawt!
posted by homunculus at 4:02 PM on October 18, 2006


Goddamn, that article about Kurt Vonnegut is depressing;

"Not satisfied with his answer, I pressed him to expand, wondering if he had any advice for young people who want to join the increasingly vocal environmental movement. "There is nothing they can do," he bleakly answered. "It's over, my friend. The game is lost."

It's been ten years since I first read Hocus Pocus and wanted to shoot myself. Nice to know K.V.'s still got it.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:04 PM on October 18, 2006


America has the Congress it deserves.

Exactly. And to be honest, I'm looking forward to the middle and lower classes getting utterly reamed by the GOP.

You voted for it. You had to have your god and your security. I really fucking hope the TSA and the churches feed your starving asses, because I won't.

The GOP destroyed this country, and the Democrats stood there and, on certain occasions, helped.

This congress is exactly what this nation voted for, and I'm looking forward to the same congress doing the same things in the next two years.
posted by eriko at 4:05 PM on October 18, 2006 [1 favorite]


Exactly. And to be honest, I'm looking forward to the middle and lower classes getting utterly reamed by the GOP.

And when the ship goes down, you and your loved ones won't be on board...why?
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:08 PM on October 18, 2006


I remember Taibbi from the old New York Press back when it was good, and I thought then "boy, does he want to be Hunter S". Now he's writing for Rolling Stone, sure, but all that florid prose never quite gets where he wants to be. Can't knock all them facts, though, nor all the actual straight prose.

OK, sometimes it gets there: They even roused the president out of bed to help kick ass for the vote, passing a cell phone with Bush on the line around the House cloakroom like a bong.
posted by imperium at 4:20 PM on October 18, 2006


muppetboy : Actually, what you really meant to title this post was "Worst Congress SO FAR."

I've heard enough comments floating around about how it's time to put these guys up against the wall, that I'm hoping that any future congresscritters will look back and think 'You know, maybe I won't listen to the lobbyists today. Instead, maybe I'll do my job.' That of course presumes that one day people will stop talking and start acting.

Though after 6 years of this, I'd be hard pressed to find a slower moving revolutionary spirit.

caddis : Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

slapshot57 : with great power comes great responsibility

Absolute power corrupts responsibility greatly?
posted by quin at 4:21 PM on October 18, 2006


Regarding the room switching as mentioned above...

This is a rhetorical question, I suppose, but why the hell didn't a single on of them send a staffer to go get a TV camera and a crowbar? Is the entirely of the Democratic party lacking guts and testicles?
posted by Kickstart70 at 4:24 PM on October 18, 2006


As an observation vis a vis Cunningham, if Jack commits a crime and is caught and Jill reports on that crime and John prosecutes him for that crime and Jack is ultimately sent to jail, it is neither Jill nor John's fault that Jack lost everything and went to jail.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:29 PM on October 18, 2006


goddamit i've been trying to read this all day..

rollingstone needs to get some slightly more rockin servers
posted by dminor at 4:32 PM on October 18, 2006


As a Democrat, I can't defend the utter fecklessness of my party. They absolutely went into a fetal position after 9/11 when they should have asked this simple question -- who was responsible for allowing the greatest attack on American soil ever? What part of "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US" didn't Condoleeza Rice understand? For fear of being called terrorist sympathizers, they abandoned their duty to defend the Constitution (although it's worth remembering just how many accusations of being a "terrorist lover" were going around immediately after 9/11, and continue to this day, and how the "librul media" did everything Bush and the Republicans wanted them to do).

So maybe I'm too optimistic about a shake up this November. Yes, even if Dems take back a house, it will continue to be business as usual in many ways. But I'll vote with my fingers crossed, because while corruption in DC is nothing new, the level of sheer hubris, venality, and idiocy right now is unparalleled. A Republican congressman thought they he could fuck children and get away with it, and his comrades knew this, and did nothing, among other things. That's one reason to vote Democrat.
posted by bardic at 4:34 PM on October 18, 2006


*that he
posted by bardic at 4:36 PM on October 18, 2006


Kickstart70 has a great idea. I want to become a Congressman and have a coterie of young people carrying videocameras. Every time I or my peers are locked out of room, a couple of them go to town on the door with crowbars. They would record every abuse of power on Youtube. They would record my weekly (daily?) responses and post them. They would record my peers responses for everyone to see. Some of those in Congress would become sensations for their ability to elegantly describe problems in these videos and for the willingness to produce actual, honest-to-god responses that might, you know, work. We would discuss what was actually in a bill before we voted on it, and would send it up for everyone to see. I would avoid vetted statements.

I would cry myself happily to sleep knowing that the world might be getting better. Knowing that I already was living in an ideal world where this was even a possibility. I would learn to love Leibniz and ignore Voltaire.

I would never win another campaign. I would never get a bill passed. But I would be so happy.
posted by jmhodges at 4:43 PM on October 18, 2006


re: the article

i wish that sensible criticism of *the administration* would come bundled with so much theatrical poison-tongue rhetoric less frequently. state the facts, that's what people need to know. no need to start a flame war (literal?) or make yourself look like a loony.

there are people who know that those in power are in a serious state of denial and are corrupt, sociopathic, single minded, heavily armed clowns. and there are those that don't know or are convinced otherwise. for the latter, namecalling will not alter their views.

i do myself, however, find coming up with some vile descriptors when talking about *them* completely irresistible. if there's one thing *they* are good at, it has got to be invoking contempt.
posted by dminor at 4:44 PM on October 18, 2006


Gratuitous swear words do not convey an image of journalistic integrity. That said, it's a good synthesis of what is going wrong with Congress. I wish that Taibbi would have spent more column inches on the capitulation of the Democrats. As others have said here, this is the real crime.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 4:51 PM on October 18, 2006


"Journalistic Integrity" for the past six years has been defined by publications like the NYT publishing made-up stories about Iraqi WMD, and other "MSM" publications asking, nay, demanding that those who criticize the president tone it down lest we allow the terrorists to win.

So IMO, fuck journalistic integrity.
posted by bardic at 4:55 PM on October 18, 2006


Gratuitous swear words do not convey an image of journalistic integrity.

No, but it does convey rage.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:01 PM on October 18, 2006


"As truth will come out and you will find out how liablest you have & will be."

So true, Duke. So true.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:02 PM on October 18, 2006


bardic - i think its more an issue of language than morality. its easy to make someone look bad by relentelssly NOT stooping to their level.
posted by dminor at 5:02 PM on October 18, 2006


er, relentlessly
posted by dminor at 5:03 PM on October 18, 2006


According to a recent poll, the percentage of absolute morons who plan to vote for Republicans is down from an all time high of 98% to 54%. Of course this can only hurt the Democrats.
posted by Huplescat at 5:03 PM on October 18, 2006


Latest NBC/WSJ Poll: Public's Opinion of GOP-Held Congress Hits Record Low
"Just 20 days until Election Day, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds approval of the GOP-held Congress is at its lowest mark in 14 years, the Republican Party's favorability rating is at an all-time low...only 16 percent now approve of the job Congress is doing -- its lowest mark since 1992.

...52 percent say they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress, compared with 37 percent who want Republicans to maintain power. It is the first time ever in this poll when a majority has sided with one party on this particular question. Earlier this month, Democrats held a nine-point advantage (48-39 percent)."
posted by ericb at 5:26 PM on October 18, 2006


And when the ship goes down, you and your loved ones won't be on board...why?

No, we'll be dying right along with the rest. I'm just hoping that we only implode. I doubt we'll fail nicely, though. Christian fanatic + Nuclear Weapons = Bad..

I'm not worried about the next Congress, because they'll do nothing. I'm worried about the madness of King George, and I'm only praying it mostly Americans that die because of it.

Fat chance.
posted by eriko at 5:27 PM on October 18, 2006


As others have said here, this is the real crime.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 4:51 PM PST on October 18


No, I think the real crimes are the ones that people are facing jailtime for.

Also that Cunningham letter is the fucking funniest thing I have read in a week. I hope that piece of shit dies in prison.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:37 PM on October 18, 2006


I'm worried about the madness of King George

Washington Post: Elections May Leave Bush An Early Lame Duck.


posted by ericb at 5:37 PM on October 18, 2006


I would never win another campaign. I would never get a bill passed. But I would be so happy.
posted by jmhodges at 4:43 PM PST


Sounds great! Can I join ya?
posted by rough ashlar at 5:53 PM on October 18, 2006


I'm worried about the madness of King George

You're not the only one.
posted by homunculus at 6:06 PM on October 18, 2006


Thanks. I clicked the link just because you mentioned Taibbi, as it reminded how hilariously and mercilessly he rightfully pounded and handed Thomas "World Is" Flatman's sorry ass back to him on a platter. That was the first time, I an unAmerican was introduced to Taibbi, and I think I may just read that one hell of a scathing review again.
posted by forwebsites at 6:09 PM on October 18, 2006


I'm surprised that there isn't more overlap between his list of The 10 Worst Congressmen and Radar's 10 America's Dumbest Congressmen (discussed previously). Only Donald Young appears on both lists.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:16 PM on October 18, 2006


If the people you represent are so backwards they can't suss out the real issues, let them get what they desrve.

Exactly. And to be honest, I'm looking forward to the middle and lower classes getting utterly reamed by the GOP.


Well, good on you, guys. I wish I could be as optimistic as you, but I have a wife and my parents to support. Parents who sacrificed their medical careers to bring myself and my brother to this country so that we could have a chance. But hey, I bet it will be swell living in FEMA trailer parks down here in Redneckistan next to the backassward religious fuckheads that actually voted for this administration. Hell, with my AK I'll fit right in!
posted by c13 at 6:20 PM on October 18, 2006


What percentage of the "lower classes" actually voted? And if not, why did they not? Was it due to a feeling of impotence or disenfranchisement, or something more material, like malfunctioning voting machines or an inability to get to the polls (juggling those two jobs and a babysitter and a car that barely runs)? It's not like the lower classes as a whole, with a 100% voter turnout, invited the punishment that's been dealt out to them.

And I hope you guys manage to kick every one those bastards out of Congress and send them back to the primordial ooze* from whence they came.

*No offense intended to denizens of primordial ooze unimplicated in the current theft of the US goverment and disembowelling of its consitution
posted by jokeefe at 6:56 PM on October 18, 2006


Thanks for pointing this out. I've missed Taibbi ever since NYPress went south. Still... this has got to be one of the most depressing goddamn articles ever.

The thing I don't get (which Taibbi points out) is why don't Republicans ever fear what will happen when the Dems are back in power and have access to all these new powers and techniques they've come up with? Do they really think it will never happen?
posted by fungible at 6:57 PM on October 18, 2006


Bummer! It's too bad Mr. Taibbi wasted time on florid prose. Had he trimmed his text to the job, he could have replaced the wastage with neater facts and honed a weapon.
posted by taosbat at 7:10 PM on October 18, 2006


why don't Republicans ever fear what will happen when the Dems are back in power

Fox News: Bush Says Democrat-Run Congress Would Raise Taxes, Increase Spending.

RedState.com: If the Democrats Win...Babies Will Die. -- CAUTION: UNBELIEVABLE HYPERBOLE AND RHETORIC

CNN: Bush: Democrats Shouldn't Be Trusted to Run Congress.
posted by ericb at 7:12 PM on October 18, 2006


taosbat - exactly.
posted by dminor at 7:14 PM on October 18, 2006


Fungible,

Maybe it won't happen...... Who controls the election aparatus in this country? Don't be too suprised if the Republicans maintain control of both the house and senate with suspiciously narrow margins of victory in each race, and a mismatch between exit polling and electoral results.

Cheers :-)
posted by dibblda at 7:22 PM on October 18, 2006


Great article, not quite the Hunter S. Thompson thing as many have noticed seems to be the bar, but fairly solid. I'm frankly torn. I kind of want the Democrats to lose for the next six years, just so the scandals and incompetence reach such epic and unignorable levels that even die-hard religious right types realize what they have done. Then I wonder if they'd even notice, or just cheer because the coming Apocalypse meant that Jesus was coming back earlier.

The problem is that our system can be easily hacked. Only voting and campaign finance reform on a radical level could stop this kind of nonsense. Plus, perhaps, a Constitutional Amendment about a balanced budget. Running these guys out of town won't do anything - their sons will be back and running for office just a few years later, and everyone will have forgotten.

If Bushco gets booted, I suspect the Dems won't bother doing what they should: investigating, ruthlessly, and destroying the reputations of everything associated with this cabal. Otherwise, they'll be putting his statue up next to the Great Republican Idol, Reagan.
posted by adipocere at 7:28 PM on October 18, 2006


What percentage of the "lower classes" actually voted?

Not very many. If they did (and even if a representative portion of the population did) then Bush would not have been elected either time. Rich people vote, always have. Recently, religious conservative people vote and they turned the tide. Hopefully, the Foley scandal convinces the religious conservatives that the GOP doesn't really support them.
posted by caddis at 7:51 PM on October 18, 2006


Gratuitous swear words

You have got to be shitting me. What motherfucking planet do you have to be on to get to a point where *that's* a complaint worth mentioning? Moses H. Christ on a goddamn stick.
posted by mediareport at 7:59 PM on October 18, 2006 [1 favorite]


What percentage of the "lower classes" actually voted? And if not, why did they not? Was it due to a feeling of impotence or disenfranchisement, or something more material, like malfunctioning voting machines or an inability to get to the polls (juggling those two jobs and a babysitter and a car that barely runs)?

You forgot the actual answer: apathy. Why apathy is endemic is the real question.
posted by Falconetti at 8:24 PM on October 18, 2006



What I want to know-- aside from why didn't the Democrats complain, is where were the mainstream media during all this?

My guess is the Democrats *did* complain and the media ignored them as partisan wimps or "balanced" their stories such that the difference between this Congress and prior ones was minimized. My guess is that the reporters covering this tried to tell the truth and their editors watered it down because they were afraid of being labeled "biased" and "unpatriotic."

The problem with covering this stuff is that even if you *don't* overwrite (and he does... hint Matt, junkies don't wrap belts around their biceps, you'd miss your shot that way!), you sound overwrought.
posted by Maias at 8:36 PM on October 18, 2006


c13 Parents who sacrificed their medical careers to bring myself and my brother to this country so that we could have a chance.

Seems to be a common story. Bummer how it turned out. The way I see it, if the Repugs are returned and you want to have a chance, you'll have to leave.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 8:38 PM on October 18, 2006


Well, aeschenkarnos, I find myself coming back to that thought lately. It does not make me very happy, you understand..
posted by c13 at 8:45 PM on October 18, 2006


I don't know why the fuck Hunter is "the bar" here. Hunter was one-of-a-motherfucking-kind, people. There will never be another. There is a bar, somewhere around Hunter's ankles, and Taibbi is more or less at it. I don't think that's exactly damning. And for Pete's sake, RS also runs those godawful long William Greider pieces, so it's not like they shy from recitations of fact. The only thing I hated about this thing was the silly 1998-ish morph effects.

My guess is the Democrats *did* complain and the media ignored them as partisan wimps

Basically, this is very much the case. Media Matters has documented how shockingly right-wing the policy-oriented Sunday talkers are. A huge amount of the time they "balance" their shows with a nasty conservative, a nice conservative, and a journalist, with the journalist bending over backwards not to be partisan. Progressive voices are almost never heard.

And Josh Marshall notes:
A lot of the slavishness toward Republicans and contempt for Democrats one sees in the media, again, is the product, to put it baldly, of seeing Democrats lose three straight national elections. People without strong grounding respect power and have contempt for weakness. They inpute power and sense and sagacity to victory and all the opposites to defeat.

Essentially, as the Democrats began to lose Congress after '94, and -- not to mince words -- often deserved it through feckless opposition, the media perceived them as worthless. Essentially, they might occasionally have a lone voice in the wilderness ask a few Diogenetic words and they're mocked into submission. It literally took the sight of American citizens being held in a flooded city at gunpoint to begin to wake up some people to the extent of wrongness into which we had fallen. Up to that point though, if Democrats clearly had no effective input on policy anyway, why talk to them? Waste of time, right? The torture debate wasn't between "yes" and "no", it was "how much law we need to justify it, some or none?"

I have seen people like Rangel out there saying shit about how Congress has been run for years. Hell, he and FOX get along great, because he's always quotable, he gets airtime, and FOX probably fits him snugly into their scary black liberal stereotype.

why don't Republicans ever fear what will happen when the Dems are back in power and have access to all these new powers and techniques they've come up with? Do they really think it will never happen?

Time was, in the Freeper ascendance surrounding l'affaire Lewinsky, when the idea of Hillary Clinton holding even as much influence as she had as First Lady, which is probably considerable but constitutionally negligible, was making them wet their pants. I really don't know the answer to this one. It is not exactly revelatory to point out that Republican fear of Democratic power hobbled some of Clinton's own initiatives regarding terrorism.

I think to John Turturro as Bernie in Miller's Crossing, when he realizes -- or supposes -- that he has nothing to fear from Gabriel Byrne's Tom, because he can "just turn on the sprinklers". Maybe the GOP really thinks that they can just play the impeachment and terror cards all over again.
posted by dhartung at 10:34 PM on October 18, 2006 [1 favorite]


What Fox viewers are told about the torture and detention bill
posted by homunculus at 11:03 PM on October 18, 2006


More Taibbi: What the Dems Will Do If They Take Over
posted by homunculus at 11:05 PM on October 18, 2006


1. Public campaign funding (eliminate all private contributions to minimize opportunities for coruption)
2. Lobbying reform (including making meals and travel illegal)

Anything else? Oh yeah...

3. Get these laws passed, even though lawmakers rely on corporate sponsors and promises to lobbyists in order to earn money for re-election campaigns.

Whoops...
posted by Nquire at 11:32 PM on October 18, 2006


*corruption (yes I know how to spell - hit the wrong button. I am shamed and will not post for at least a week).
posted by Nquire at 11:35 PM on October 18, 2006


I thought I had the most bigoted, imbecilic Congressperson in the whole country (if you can't guess, I'm a Sensenbrenner constituent). I know I've read somewhere that he's earned the support of white supremacist groups for his anti-immigration policies. Ironically, Sensenbrenner's press secretary is named Raj Bharwani.

Then I read the RS profile of Tom "reject the siren song of multiculturalism" Tancredo, and I felt that there were some people out there, some Democrats somewhere in Colorado (hey, CO, Musgrave too?) that feel my pain. Somewhere. Anyone?
posted by anjamu at 11:45 PM on October 18, 2006


now that I've read this complete RS article, I think my earlier comment was a bit out of place. Apologies.

Can someone explain to this nonAmerican wtf were the Democrats doing when the Repugs were so openly flouting all the rules. Going around searching for the room where meeting is held? wtf? what next? repubs will present an already signed bill and shove it in defeatocrats face and say "take that, bitch - here's the new law"? Someone pls assure me that is not going to happen after the Nov elections.

Also, to all those commenting on Taibbi's writing style or criticising him for being short on facts, I'd disagree. He is clearly backing his rants with solid 90fucking3 days of data collection. No mean feat. I wish we had more commentators who could shoot straight from the hip like this fucker does. Atleast I think it was the one of the best pieces I've read in the past few months. Taibbi may have just rediscovered the venom in his pen. Kudos to him. (where was he hibernating all these days anyway?)
posted by forwebsites at 12:29 AM on October 19, 2006


Parents who sacrificed their medical careers to bring myself and my brother to this country so that we could have a chance.

And I'm truly sorry that happened. I know we were once, and in many ways, still are, the land of opportunity.

I know, compared to most nations, we're still profoundly wealthy.

But I really wish your parents hadn't done that, and I really wish you could get themselves and yourselves out of here. Because, in the end, you're going to be crushed right along with the rest of us.

I don't know what I can do to moderate it -- but I'm going to try to keep the distaster here. I doubt there will be anything I can do that will change anything -- I'm one moderatly well off guy, but I'm a chump compared to the Lords who rule over us.

I'm well beyond believing that we can save America. My "best" scenario is balkanization, maybe the Upper Midwest, the Northeast and the Northwest won't turn out so bad, but that means that millions are going to suffer badly in the South, the Mountain States will take water wars to a whole new level, and without water, California is fucked.

In the end, those with the gold will make the rules, and those who would have fought them no longer fight. Thus, we're probably looking at a combination of a corporate oligarchy and a theocracy -- it really depends on the final battle, when the Corps and the Christains look at the conquest, and realize there's one more opponent left on the board.

That's the bad secenario -- esp. when you look at the prevelance of hard-core old time American Protestant religon in the USAF, and at the guy who represents one-half 1 of the being that can order nuclear weapons to be used.


1] The ultimate authority for nuclear weapons rests in the "National Command Authority", which in normal times, is the President and the Secretary of Defense. Both must agree to order the use of nuclear weapons.

There are lists that say who can sub for who if one of them is unavailable, but it isn't a chinese menu. There's no point in normal situations where one person appears on both sides of the NCA list. The "no lone man" rule applies from top to bottom -- the system is built (and has been rebuilt a couple of times) to do everything it can to keep one man from launching a weapon.

In the historice case of a full Soviet Strike, the first four-star flag officer to get to the right phone probably would have been able to order a response -- esp if the flag officers on TACAMO were talking to NORAD. (If NEACP was in the air, that would mean at least half of the NCA was still alive.)

It's just a fucking shame that Bush got to pick SecDef.
posted by eriko at 5:10 AM on October 19, 2006


“You forgot the actual answer: apathy. Why apathy is endemic is the real question.” - posted by Falconetti

Nah, it’s meta-apathy. Not caring that you don’t care. Past there it gets Godelian.

Burkina Faso with cable...heh.

But I feel, contrary to eriko’s belief, that ‘we’ can make it. I don’t say ‘think’ because I haven’t chewed it over far enough, but throughout history power concentration and despotism has lost. In part, because it’s a one trick pony. But also because it’s constantly outmoded. I agree (also with eriko) that we’re headed for change, but I suspect those changes will - ultimately - be for the better. That might not help while we’re getting out butts kicked.
But consider: there are many times when one looks to write something here and it’s already been expressed. They have influenced this society before you could.
While we, as humans, to some degree dictate our environments, we also are products of it. And the closer someone is to an event, the more influence they will wield over it.
One might work for George Bush or Bill Gates, very powerful men, but if I’m in closer proximity (perhaps holding a gun to your head) I’m probably going to have more influence, and certainly going to have better, more timely, more accurate and fully fleshed (or indeed, directly experianced) information, with a big lead in thinking time and thus a faster response time and a better chance to influence things further down the chain.
Certainly someone with greater resources can change the environment, but typically they aren’t that smart (if you have a hammer, problems look like nails) no matter how brilliant they may be personally. It’s a common problem - large groups have more resources, but greater redundancies and less mobility.
So (going back to the metafilter as a changing society analogy) if I’m the smartest bastard here and I’ve got a team of writers for my jokes and I’ve got a research team at my disposal, if someone posts something before me that is fairly similar to what I had in mind - that renders my post moot.
And we’re all human so we tend to think along similar lines absent exaggerated perspectives (fanaticsm, wealth/power insulation etc.) so the likelyhood of someone coming up with something before me is pretty good, no matter what my resources are.
Similarly - on the greater social level - ideas are being updated at a rate greater than ever before due to the efficiency of communication. (Yeah, teh internets - and indeed, notice the stigmata it has? If someone invented telepathy where you could fully experiance the perspective of another, it’d be outlawed because you can’t lie). Many, many things are far more diffuse and accessable throughout society (indeed even violence) than ever before. The changes may be greater and the stakes are definately higher, but the control by any central authority over the sphere of thought (and ultimately the self-governance and action) of society is less than ever before.
Why do you think they’re so dependant on lies?
And at some point that vulnerability will become impossible to hide, like any major flaw in character.
The proof of the pudding will come out some time because it has to be eaten. And while some people might get away with it for a while, it won’t retain it’s hold on society.
Ozymandius comes to mind, but consider the pharonic model or the divine right of kings.
We don’t mention it them much anymore, but that stuff was all predicated on bullshit. They don’t exist anymore in part because people realized they were b.s. but also because the nature of society became too complex to bear them as concepts. They just didn’t matter anymore to the real world. The direct experiance. And the more and faster that immediacy of events becomes sharable, the less influence less efficient ideas (such as lies, but other bad models as well) will have on anyone.
Of course, this might take a bit. And the U.S. might not be the premier society at the forefront of change. But the deal has always been adapt or die no matter how badly people think money or power can preserve them or their values or ideas. (Indeed, “money” as a concept has changed, so has power and they might well mutate into something very different before our lives are over)
Poets, artists, visionaries - the truthtellers’ always outlive the despots.
(look upon my works ye mighty and dispair)

We’ll make it. Might get a little bloody, but we’ll make it.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:43 PM on October 19, 2006


Also - perspective over time.
(People with the gold make the rules only as long as gold is the best thing to have.And gold is artificially valuable. (It’s just that we’ve agreed for so long that it’s worth something we forget it has no intrinsic value - beyond certain uses as a metal))
More people with wider scope can sort through a greater variety of solutions faster than any one individual can - no matter how smart.
Always wondered why comic book artists even considered Galactus as beatable no matter how many people were punching him. The reason is - perspective. He can only focus on a limited number of things at any one time and can only adapt so fast to changing circumstances. Hierarchys are similar.
Reminds me of the sniper problem in Iraq. Or D-day (scouts used to self-motivation vs. Hitler youth requiring heirarchy)
(Sorry if I’m rambling. Did I mention I’m on some medication? Got a bit of an injury).
posted by Smedleyman at 2:01 PM on October 19, 2006


109th Congress just can't resist
posted by homunculus at 2:15 PM on October 19, 2006


Conservatives:

Their sex life is their business.

And your sex life is their business, too.
posted by rougy at 2:39 PM on October 19, 2006


Galactus as beatable no matter how many people were punching him. The reason is - perspective. He can only focus on a limited number of things at any one time

That's what he gets for wearing that dorky helmet.
posted by homunculus at 3:39 PM on October 19, 2006


Jack Cafferty is displeased.
posted by homunculus at 4:03 PM on October 19, 2006


Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi on How Our National Legislature Has Become a "Stable of Thieves and Perverts"
posted by homunculus at 2:06 PM on October 27, 2006


The Daily Show on the Midterms
posted by homunculus at 5:56 PM on November 1, 2006


Congress Tells Auditor in Iraq to Close Office
posted by homunculus at 3:18 PM on November 3, 2006


How to Wield Power: The Critical Importance of Oversight
posted by homunculus at 1:08 PM on November 12, 2006


No GOP Meme Left Behind…
posted by homunculus at 1:35 PM on November 12, 2006


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