wpe50.jpg (1913 bytes)     
                            TigerSoft Freedom News Service   2/8/2009     www.tigersoft.com  

                The US Senate - Now A Dangerous Disgrace

                                          The Fillibuster Is A Perfect Symbol
               of The Dangerously Antiquated, Anti-democratic US Senate.
                                           America Can Not Afford Either.

                                          Unchanged, The US Constitution Is
      Now A Clear and Present Danger To Millions of Unemployed Americans



                       See also TigerSoft New Service/Blog - 12/11/2008 - Plutocratic US Senate ...

by William Schmidt, Ph.D. - Creator of  TigerSoft
                                             (C) 2009 All rights reserved.  Reproducing any part of this page without
                                                             giving full acknowledgement is a copyright infringement.
wpe4F.jpg (33251 bytes)


          Tiger Software Helping
             Investors since 1981
            Make Your Retirement Grow


Peerless Stock Market Timing
      Track Record of Major Peerless Signals
       Earlier Peerless-DJIA charts       
       7 Paths To Making 25+%/Yr.

       Index Options            
       FOREX trading        
       Investing Longer-Term         
       Mutual Funds
       Speculative Stocks     
       Swing Trading       
       Day Trading        
       Stock Options          
       Commodity Trading

        Tiger Blogs




             The US Senate - Now A Dangerous Disgrace
   by William Schmidt, Ph.D

            We should not expect democracy within an inherently
          anti-democratic institution.   The Senate was always intended
          to thwart the will of the majority at the discretion of any coalition
          of millionaires from smaller states, representing as few as only 11%
          of the US population.  So, the fillibuster is a perfect symbol for this
          elitist anachronism.  The terrible truth now is that fillibusters
          and the threat of them are becoming quite common and the
          consequences of inaction with a Depression comining down
          the line could mean the destruction of millions of innocent families.
          The Senate needs to be abolished or turned into a powerless
          debating society, such as the House of Lords has become in

Conservatives have long supported the Senate's Fillibuster
          rules that effectively permits 41 Senators to block the will of 59 Senators. 
          Fillibustering involves a small group of Senators talking endlessly and
          often irrelevantly in order to stop the legisative process and thwart
          majority rule.  Just the threat of a fillibuster can give ammunition to
          a determined minority to force unwanted changes to the majority's
          legislation.   60 votes are needed to stop a fillibuster. Until 1949
          "cloture" required only a 2/3 vote by all those present.  Aron Burr,
          the man who killed Hamilton, was the first fillibuster in the US Senate
          Strom Thurmond set a record in 1957 of talking more than 24 hours
          in one stretch in fillibustering the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

                   The number of fillibusters has been increasing sharply.
"In the 1960s, no Senate term had more than seven filibusters. One of the
                filibusters of the 1960s, was when southern Democratic Senators attempted
                to block the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by making a filibuster that
                lasted for 75 hours. In the first decade of the 21st century, no Senate term had
                fewer than 49 filibusters. The 1999-2002 Senate terms both had 58 filibusters.[13]
                In the fall of 2007, the 110th Congress' 1st session broke the record, for filibuster
                cloture votes, topping 70 as of Nov 15, 2007. It is on track to triple the number
               of such votes in 2008's 2nd session." [14]
( Source. )

                   The Republicans now have just 41 US Senators.  As a result,
          they can block or threaten to block any legislation they choose,
          including Obama's Economic Stimulus Plan.  So, even though Obama
          should be considered to have won a mandate to pursue his economic
          recovery agenda, by virtue of the whopping majority he got in the
          popular vote and also the Electoral College vote, the threat of a
          Republican minority fillibuster can derail any of his legislation.

                   Significantly, it may now take a 2/3 vote in the Senate to change
          that institution's rules on fillibustering, though some claim that a clever
          and motiovated Senate Majority Leader could find ways to override
          these rules.  See the illuminating comments of David Swanson
          http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/39624   Swanson argues
          that Reid is unwilling to do this because he finds it a convenient way
          to avoid taking responsibility.   Reid can simply say that the Democrats
          were thwarted and people should vote still more Democrats into office.
          This rings hollow: even though the 2006 Election's results were a
          clear Democratic mandate to end the Iraq War and impeach Bush, the        
          Democratic leadership in Congress rejected the mandate and again
          claimed that only if more Democrats were elected could the War
          be ended.  Even with many more Congressmen in 2009, they still
          claim that they do not have enough members to do what they told
          the American people they would do if elected.  

                     Senate Majority Leader Reid is not forcing the Republicans
          to actually fillibuster against the Stimulus Package.  Instead, he is
          immediately making concessions to win over three Republican Senators'
          votes.  Progressives think he should call their bluff on this.  Reid's caution
          or timidity plays perfectly into the hands of the minority obstructionists.

                   Historically, fillibusters have always served well the retrograde
         causes of Slavery, Southern Opposition to Civil Rights and those
         who would fight against reforms of campaign contributions. There
         is no reason, however, that a determined Democratic minority
         could not threaten to use a Fillibuster, for example, to prevent a Republican
         effort to change the US bankruptcy law so that a debtor would
         forever owe a credit card company money, rather than as is true
         now, have a bankruptcy cease all such debt. 
         ( See
  Demand a Senate Filibuster of the Bankruptcy Slavery Bill ... )

    The Senate Should Be Abolished.

In England, the enirely undemocratic House of Lords used to
          have powers comparable to the popularly elected House of
          Commons.  But these have been taken away over the years and
          the House of Lords is mostly a ceremonial bow to England's
          aristocratic past.  In contrast, America is bound by a rigid
          Constitution that was created mostly by very rich white men. 
          Many of the "founding fathers" were slave owners.  Most were
          fearful of the urban masses, as a result of the French Revolution. 

               On the way to ratification of the US Constitution, the Senate
          was also seen as a way to entice more rural Southern states
          into the Union.  When South Carolina rebelled and the other
          southern States joined its succession, these states breached
          their contract and the US Senate should have been abolished. 

               It was not abolished because Big Money also saw the Senate as a
          way to protect and extend their advantages.  Thowing big campaign
          contributions into smaller state elections could ensure the
          Senate would be made up of enough representatives of Capital
          to block most restrictions on their quest for more and more wealth
          and power.  The threat of a minority-fillibuster in the Senate fit
          perfectly into the hands of those that did not want a real Democracy.

                 We all know that the US Senate is undemocratically constituted
          because of the Constitution's archaic 2 Senators per state provision,
          no matter the size of the population.  But I doubt if the American people
          realize how ridiculously unfair the Senate is. 
California has 12% of
          the country's population.  So do the 21 least populated states,
          taken together.  California has 2 Senators.  The 21 least populated
          states have 42. 

                What's worse is that in theory,
40 Senators from the 20 least
          populated states, with only 10.8% of the US population could all band
          together and block any legislation or appoinments they wish.

                     The least populated states are:
              Population     Percent of US Population.
1      Wyoming                 532,668                0.17%
                  2       Vermont                  621,270                0.20%
                  3       No. Dakota             641,481                0.21%  
                  4      Alaska                      683,478                0.22%   
                  5      So. Dakota              804,194                0.26%
                  6      Delaware                 873,092               0.28%
                  7      Montana                  967,440                0.31%
                  8      Rhode Island     1,050,788                0.35%
                  9     Hawaii                   1,288,198                0.42%
                10     New Hampshire 1,315,809               0.43%
                11     MAINE                    1,316,456               0.43%
                12     IDAHO                    1,523,816               0.49%
                13     NEBRASKA         1,783,432               0.58%
                14    WEST VIRGINIA   1,814,468              0.59%    
                15    NEW MEXICO       1,984,356              0.64%
                16    NEVADA                  2,600,167             0.84%
                17    UTAH                        2,736,424             0.87%
                18    KANSAS                  2,802,134             0.91%
                19    ARKANSAS            2,855,390             0.93%
                20    MISSISSIPPI          2,938,618             0.95%
                 21- Iowa                         3,002,555               0.98%

          (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_population )

                                        The Senate Is A Menace

              The Senate is grotesquely  undemocratic and no one in the media or
          government challnges it.   The Constitution is considered sacrosanct.
          Why?  The owners of the mass media do not want a truly democratic
          government!    It is this, as much as anything, which explains why
          the US has no national health care, why 1% of the population 
          now own 50% of the country's wealth and why we are threatened
          with a terrible, but avoidable, Depression.   

                 Minority obstructionism can ruin a country.   Historians
          study the case of Poland in the 17th and 18th century.  A
          loose federation of regions and cities from Poland and Lithuania
          were represented in a leglislative body called a "diet" or the Sejm. 
          This body had an extreme version of a fillibuster called  "liberum
          veto".  Any Polish city could invoke this rule when it did not like
          a piece of legislation and thereby annul not only the particular
          law, but the enitire legislative session.  Not surprisingly, foreign
          powers, like Prussia and Russia, saw it to their advantage to
          meddle in the affairs of some of the cities, like Krakow.  The result
          was that Poland was unable to develop an army to defend itself
          and was partitioned by Prussia and Russia, thereby destroying
          Poland for more than a century.

                                           How To Make A Stimulus Fail

             Minority obstructionism is a serious threat to American economic
          health.  Economists say that America needs a huge and immediate
          fiscal stimulus to prevent a Depression and to start creating jobs
          that the private sector can no longer. 
Many feel that Stripping away
         too much money from the Stimulus will guarantee we fall into a Depression.

          See the warnings of Robert Reich and Nouriel Roubini.  Paul
          Krugman write in today's NY Times.  

                                "Now the centrists have shaved off $86 billion in spending — much of it among
               the most effective and most needed parts of the (Stimulus) plan. In particular, aid to state governments,
               which are in desperate straits, is both fast — because it prevents spending cuts rather than
               having to start up new projects — and effective, because it would in fact be spent; plus state and
               local governments are cutting back on essentials, so the social value of this spending would be high.
               But in the name of mighty centrism, $40 billion of that aid has been cut out".
                            ( http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/07/what-the-centrists-have-wrought/ )

                                                    Senate Rule XIX

Rule XIX is the key rule that provides a structure for debate on the Senate floor. A key provision of the rule states that when a Senator rises to seek recognition during floor debate, he or she is guaranteed a chance to speak on the question for as long as he or she wishes. The presiding officer is not given discretion in this matter and must recognize each Senator in order. During the period of time that a recognized Senator is speaking the question before the Senate cannot come to a vote. The Senator cannot be interrupted or be forced to stop their speech without their consent.

Debate Rule XIX does not limit the number of Senators who may speak on an issue. The rule does, however, limit each Senator to two speeches per legislative day on each issue. During a filibuster period the presiding officer will typically call a recess rather than an adjournment at the end of the calendar day, keeping the legislative day alive when the Senate reconvenes. This tactic effectively limits each Senator to a maximum of two speeches on each issue. It is possible, however, for a Senator to offer an amendment in order to create a new debatable question, on which the Senators may make two more speeches.

A relatively recent provision in Rule XIX, called the “Pastore Rule” in honor of Senator John Pastore of Rhode Island, requires that debate on a question must be germane to the question. During filibuster periods this rule is enforced to prevent Senators from making meaningless, off-topic speeches. During the 1930’s through the 1950’s several Senators, such as Huey Long and Strom Thurmond made long filibusters which included readings of recipes, the Congressional Record, the Declaration of Independence, and other non-germane topics.

While a Senator is speaking on an issue he or she must remain standing and must speak more or less continuously. During a filibuster-length speech this requirement creates fatigue in the speaker. However, the speaker may yield to a question from another Senator without losing the floor. The other Senator can provide relief by asking a very long question followed by a short answer, followed by more long questions. In this manner a group of Senators can work together to extend the length of a Senator’s speaking period.

   Senate Rule XXII - Stopping A Fillibuster IS Hard

The procedures for invoking cloture for purposes of wrapping up the floor debate and bringing the question to a vote are contained in Rule XXII. The process requires a motion that is signed by at least 16 Senators and presented to the presiding officer while the question is being debated. The rule requires that the cloture motion must be seasoned, meaning that it cannot be acted upon until the second day after it is presented.

One hour after the cloture motion has matured on the third day the presiding officer interrupts the Senate proceedings and presents the cloture motion to the Senate for a vote. At this point an automatic roll call vote is required.

In 1975 the Senate voted to change the number of votes needed to invoke cloture to 60% from the previous 67%. A compromise was struck, however, because some Senators feared that if changing the Rule was too easy that the majority needed to invoke cloture might be reduced further in the future. Therefore, the Senate agreed that to make future rule changes, including changing the cloture rule itself, would require the traditional 67% majority vote.

If the motion to invoke cloture is defeated the Senators can reconsider the vote or file a new motion to invoke cloture. For example, in 1988 there were eight cloture motions on a campaign finance reform bill and all eight motions were defeated.

If a motion to invoke cloture is successful, then the effect of invoking cloture only guarantees that a vote on the question will take place eventually, but not immediately. After the successful cloture motion has passed the Senate is said to be working under cloture. Rule XXII imposes a maximum cap of 30 additional hours for debate, quorum calls, parliamentary inquiries, and other proceedings prior to an actual vote on the question. During this cloture period each Senator is entitled to speak for a total of not more than one hour.

Once cloture has been invoked under Rule XXII, the point of a filibuster is largely lost. Without exception, proceedings are wrapped up in less than 30 hours and the question is brought to a vote.

    What is the Senate Filibuster? - Amazines.com Article ...


                        WITH 38.5% OF THE US POPULATION.

                 It is not fair to say that Republicans benefit unduly from the Senate's rural bias.
          The calculations below show that the Senate's 41 (41%) Republicans represent 38.5%
          of the population.  That is a bias, but not grotesque.  We see that two Republican Senators
          come from states with populations larger than the the mean.  Those are Arizona, Georgia,
          Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.  Texas with 7.81%
          of the country's population is also sorely under-represented in the Senate.  

               3 Republcans are supporting a compromised Stimulus package.  38 Republican Senators
          are world-class hypocrites. They oppose it for being too socialistic.  Authentic jobs, they
          say, are only created by the private sector, they say, except for their own Congressional
          health care and a trillion for Defense contractors,  private armies and subsidies of banks,
          businesses and the wealthy.

                                               REPUBLICAN HYPORCRISY 

                                                  "DEFICITS DON'T MATTER" (VP Cheney)

               Among Republicans, those most opposed to it are from rural states:
          Arizona - McCain, "Generational Theft!" "
. "At least in Europe, the Socialist leaders
          who so admire my opponent are upfront about their objectives,"

          Tennessee - Alexander - "A socialist transformation of society."
          Kentucky -  McConnel - "Let's fix housing first. That's what started all of this,"     
          Idaho - Enzi - "The emperor has no clothes! Somebody has to say it. I'm referring to this additional
          bailout, this spending bill that spends everything we've got on nothing we are sure about."
          South Dakota - Thume.   "Welcome to socialist America". 

   The median state population is 4,340,000.  Those states marked in red are under the red have
   populations under the median.                                                      

                                              Pct. of                41   Republican Senators, 2009  
                                         US Population

ALABAMA     4,661,900        1.51%               Sessions, Jeff - (R - AL)   Shelby, Richard C. - (R - AL)
ARIZONA      6,500,180          2.07%                Kyl, Jon - (R - AZ)   McCain, John - (R - AZ)
GEORGIA       9,685,744        3.12%                Chambliss, Saxby - (R - GA)  Isakson, Johnny - (R - GA)
IDAHO            1,523,816         0.49%                Crapo, Mike - (R - ID)  Risch, James E. - (R - ID)
KANSAS        2,802,134         0.91%              Brownback, Sam - (R - KS)   Roberts, Pat - (R - KS)
KENTUCKY   4,269,245        1.39%              Bunning, Jim - (R - KY)  McConnell, Mitch - (R - KY)
LOUISIANA   4,479,800       1.44%               Grassley, Chuck - (R - IA)  Vitter, David - (R - LA)
MAINE           1,316,456          0.43%       Collins, Susan M. - (R - ME)  - voting for stimulus
                                                       Snowe, Olympia J. - (R - ME) - voting for stimulus

MISSISSIPPI    2,938,618       0.95%             Cochran, Thad - (R - MS)   Wicker, Roger F. - (R - MS)
NO. CAROLINA  9,222,414  3.08%              Burr, Richard - (R - NC)  Hagan, Kay R. - (D - NC)
OKLAHOMA    3,642,361      1.18%              Coburn, Tom - (R - OK)  Inhofe, James M. - (R - OK)
SO. CAROLINA 4,479,800   1.44%               DeMint, Jim - (R - SC)  Graham, Lindsey - (R - SC)
TENNESSEE    6,214,888      2.01%              Alexander, Lamar - (R - TN)  Corker, Bob - (R - TN)
TEXAS         24,326,974         7.81%               Cornyn, John - (R - TX)  Hutchison, Kay Bailey - (R - TX)
UTAH             2,736,424          0.87%              Bennett, Robert F. - (R - UT)  Hatch, Orrin G. - (R - UT) 
WYOMING        532,668       0.17%              Barrasso, John - (R - WY)  Enzi, Michael B. - (R - WY)   
                28.87% x 100%  =  28.87% of US population represented by 32% of Senators

ALASKA           683,478               0.22%               Murkowski, Lisa - (R - AK)
FLORIDA       18,328,340            5.97%              Martinez, Mel - (R - FL)
INDIANA        6,376,792             2.07%              Lugar, Richard G. - (R - IN)
MISSOURI      5,911,605            1.92%              Bond, Christopher S. - (R - MO)
NEBRASKA    1,783,432            0.58%              Johanns, Mike - (R - NE)
NEW HAMPSHIRE   1,315,809  0.43%            Gregg, Judd - (R - NH)
OHIO             11,485,910             3.75%             Voinovich, George V. - (R - OH)
PENNSYLVANIA  12,448,279   4.06%            Specter, Arlen - (R - PA)  voting for stimulus
SOUTH DAKOTA    804,194      0.26%             Hune, John - (R - SD)
                   19.26 * 50% =  9.63 of population represented by 9% of US Senators.
    TOTAL - 41% of Senators represent 38.5% of popoulation.









Hit Counter