Saturday, September 30, 2006

What to do?

Brilliant at Breakfast over at Blue Jersey on the Lautenberg/Menendez sell-out, responding to someone who defended Menendez' vote as different from a possible Kean Jr. vote, because Kean was "pleased" with the bill, while Menendez voted for some of the failed amendments, and then voted for the bill anyway, saying he plans to do something to revise its worst excesses if Democrats gain control after the elections:

Oh, horsepuckey.

This is like Frank Pallone voting for the net neutrality amendment and then when it doesn't pass, voting for the telecom bill anyway. This kind of vote-splitting doesn't mean jack. I don't care one iota how he voted on the amendment. When the time came to put his money where his mouth is, he voted to give George W. Bush the power to snatch anyone off the street, at any time, name that person an enemy combatant, toss that person in prison without charges, outside the judicial system, with no recourse, no ability to consult a lawyer, no ability to see the evidence against him.

You can spin it however you want to, but Bob Menendez voted to make George W. Bush a dictator.

Of course the bill was going to pass anyway because the Democrats are not a majority. That doesn't mean Menendez had to switch sides. He could still do the right thing -- but rather than put out the effort to explain why this bill was so dangerous, he took the craven, chicken way out and sold our civil liberties down the river for what he believed would be short-term political expediency.

And in doing so, he made George W. Bush Der F├╝hrer of the United States of America.

I'm really at a loss to know where to go with my votes this November, after this Gestapo bill passed in Washington with 12 Democratic Senators voting for it.

I do think the time is rapidly approaching for a complete disbanding of the government and a new framers' convention with a new Constitution, new electoral system, and new leaders. Because I do think there is no way to "fix" the current system, full up as it is of people whose main goal is to retain power, not serve the public good. True enough, the Republicans are slightly "worse" than the Democrats, because their unchallenged position has made them more arrogant and hubristic. But I don't see any sign that the Democrats have any intention of fundamentally altering the conditions that allow the Republicans to be so corrupt.

A new Constitution would probably have many elements of the old Constitution, but would add term limits for Representatives, Senators and federal judges, while keeping the Presidential term limits. It would include provisions for fully publicly-funded campaigns, proportional elections - not winner take all - and Instant Runoff Voting using secure machines with verifiable paper trails. Perhaps it would require additional elections to be held anytime voter turnout is less than 75 or 80%. Some ideas just for starters. I could think of many other features of a new system, like a certain proportion (30-40%) of legislative, judicial and Cabinet positions reserved for women, since some evidence suggests women politicians don't bring their experience as women to bear in their law-making work until there is a critical mass of other women creating a more cooperative, less competitive work environment.

But dissolving this government peacefully, when Bush has indeed become Der Fuhrer through cooperation from Congress and the courts, seems so far away. Impossible until inevitable? I guess time will tell.


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