The four characters in a dictatorship

Back in 2015, well before Trump won the Presidency, well before he even was the leading Republican candidate, this blog warned about his dictatorial bent.

It warned that he was a Hitler-in-the-making. (See: “Why a bigot can win the Presidency.“)

Trump proved that post prescient with his war on the media, something dictators always do, and his hate-mongering and scare tactics, something else dictators always do.

TRUMP MAILBOX II
WHAT DICTATORS DO

Now, here we are, with Trump once again doing his bigoted “birther” nonsense, this time against Kamala Harris, while trying to damage our democracy with his desire to delay the election, and to damage the U.S. Postal Service.

With less than three months until the most consequential election in many decades, this might be a good time to examine dictatorships.

We soon might live in one.

All dictatorships are remarkably similar. They are like movies having the same characters, and the same plot, being filmed again and again, but just with a different cast.

The four characters in a dictatorship always are: The dictator, the sycophants surrounding the dictator, the enforcers (police, army), and the public.

I. THE DICTATOR

All dictators are psychopaths.

When you read “The Hare,” the test for psychopathy, which lists twenty characteristics common to psychopaths, you’ll be able to understand why dictators exhibit psychopathic tendencies.

The clinician scores each item with 0 (no presence), 1 (uncertain) or 2 (definitely present). Psychopaths score 30 to 40 points. The general population typically scores less than 5.

THE HARE Test for Psychopathy

1. GLIB AND SUPERFICIAL CHARM — the tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile.

Psychopathic charm is not in the least shy, self-conscious, or afraid to say anything. A psychopath never is tongue-tied.

Image result for trump

“I am a stable genius.”

2. GRANDIOSE SELF-WORTH — a grossly inflated view of one’s abilities and self-worth, self-assured, opinionated, cocky, a braggart.

Psychopaths are arrogant people who believe they are superior human beings.

3. NEED FOR STIMULATION or PRONENESS TO BOREDOM — an excessive need for novel, thrilling, and exciting stimulation; taking chances and doing things that are risky.

Psychopaths often have a low self-discipline in carrying tasks through to completion because they become bored easily.

They fail to work at the same job for any length of time, for example, or to finish tasks that they consider dull or routine.

4. PATHOLOGICAL LYING — can be moderate or high; in moderate form, they will be shrewd, crafty, cunning, sly, and clever; in extreme form, they will be deceptive, deceitful, underhanded, unscrupulous, manipulative and dishonest.

They will defend their lies even when confronted with negating facts.

5. CONNING AND MANIPULATIVENESS — the use of deceit and deception to cheat, con, or defraud others for personal gain; distinguished from Item #4 in the degree to which exploitation and callous ruthlessness is present, as reflected in a lack of concern for the feelings and suffering of one’s victims.

6. LACK OF REMORSE OR GUILT — a lack of feelings or concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victims; a tendency to be unconcerned, dispassionate, coldhearted and unempathetic.

This item is usually demonstrated by a disdain for one’s victims.

7. SHALLOW AFFECT — emotional poverty or a limited range or depth of feelings; interpersonal coldness in spite of signs of open gregariousness and superficial warmth.

8. CALLOUSNESS and LACK OF EMPATHY — a lack of feelings toward people in general; cold, contemptuous, inconsiderate, and tactless.

9. PARASITIC LIFESTYLE — an intentional, manipulative, selfis, and exploitative financial dependence on others as reflected in a lack of motivation, low self-discipline and the inability to carry through one’s responsibilities.

10. POOR BEHAVIORAL CONTROLS —  expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression and verbal abuse; inadequate control of anger and temper; acting hastily.

11. PROMISCUOUS SEXUAL BEHAVIOR —  a variety of brief, superficial relations, numerous affairs, and an indiscriminate selection of sexual partners; the maintenance of numerous, multiple relationships at the same time; a history of attempts to sexually coerce others into sexual activity (rape) or taking great pride at discussing sexual exploits and conquests.

12. EARLY BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS — a variety of behaviors prior to age 13, including lying, theft, cheating, vandalism,bullying, sexual activity, fire-setting, glue-sniffing, alcohol use and running away from home.

13. LACK OF REALISTIC, LONG-TERM GOALS — an inability or persistent failure to develop and execute long-term plans and goals; a nomadic existence, aimless, lacking direction in life.

14. IMPULSIVITY — the occurrence of behaviors that are unpremeditated and lack reflection or planning; inability to resist temptation, frustrations and momentary urges; a lack of deliberation without considering the consequences; foolhardy, rash, unpredictable, erratic and reckless.

15. IRRESPONSIBILITY — repeated failure to fulfill or honor obligations and commitments; such as not paying bills, defaulting on loans, performing sloppy work, being absent or late to work, failing to honor contractual agreements.

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16. FAILURE TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR OWN ACTIONS —  a failure to accept responsibility for one’s actions reflected in low conscientiousness, an absence of dutifulness, antagonistic manipulation, denial of responsibility, and an effort to manipulate others through this denial.

17. MANY SHORT-TERM RELATIONSHIPS — a lack of commitment to a long-term relationship reflected in inconsistent, undependable, and unreliable commitments in life, including in marital, business, and familial bonds.

18. JUVENILE DELINQUENCY — behavior problems between the ages of 13-18; mostly behaviors that are crimes or clearly involve aspects of antagonism, exploitation, aggression, manipulation, or a callous, ruthless tough-mindedness.

19. REVOCATION OF CONDITION RELEASE — a revocation of probation or other conditional releases due to technical violations, such as carelessness, low deliberation or failing to appear.

20. CRIMINAL VERSATILITY — a diversity of types of criminal offenses, regardless if the person has been arrested or convicted for them; taking great pride at getting away with crimes or wrongdoings.

[See additional explanations for each here.]

By our count, Trump scores a 39, ( a “2” on every criterion except #19), at the very top of the psychopathy scale, and somewhat higher even than Adolf Hitler.

II. THE SYCOPHANTS

Shakespeare wrote, “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” Dictators need constant emotional reinforcement, which requires a coterie of sycophants.

Similarly, dictators also are leery of those who are too talented or are given too much praise, viewing them as dangerous and untrustworthy competition.

Trump, who often boasts he knows as much as the doctors, doesn’t like seeing these headlines:  Donald Trump Grumbles That Dr. Fauci Has Higher Approval Rating and Trump criticizes Birx after she issues coronavirus warnings).

Trump surrounds himself with incompetents, liars, toadies, and criminals. (Tom Price, Scott Pruitt, Ben Carson, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, Wilbur Ross, Chris Collins, Duncan Hunter, Salvatore Testa, Tony Salerno, Roger Stone, Felix Sater, Jeffrey Epstein, Alexander Acosta, George Papadopoulos, Alex Van der Zwaan, Konstantin Kilimnik, et al).

Their sole qualification for his support was loyalty to Trump, who quickly dismisses any who do not display sufficient fealty to him.

And the above list doesn’t even include Mitch McConnell and the entire GOP, who lack spines or morals, so don’t dare to criticize even the most outrageous of Trumpian comments or actions.

The book, Everything That Touches Trump, Dies, “is written to argue the myriad ways in which bowing to the president will poison even those with good intentions — like those who join the administration to serve the country, or those Republicans who go along with Trumpism because they like Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Many, otherwise well-intentioned people, joined Trump’s sycophant’s club only to leave in disappointment. Jeff Sessions, Rex Tillerson, John Bolton, James Comey, Anthony Scaramucci, Reince Priebus,  Sean Spicer, Preet Bharara, Michael Short, Mike Dubke, Sally Yates, Angella Reid — the list goes on and on.

An example of a perfect sycophant in Trump’s menagerie is Kellyanne Conway, defends Trump’s every action, no matter how obscene. Her reputation will forever be “Trump’s Goebbels.”

(Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda, initiated the “Heil Hitler” salute and insisted on the use of “Der Führer” as the title. His letters are full of groveling praise — such as repeated testimonials that the experience of Hitler transformed his consciousness — and imagined scenes of glorious triumphs against various adversaries in which the Führer stands firm and unshakeable.)

Sycophants are an extreme embodiment of Gap Psychology, the urge to distance oneself from those below in any social hierarchy and to near those above.

Sycophants are emotionally vulnerable people who willingly relinquish their own personalities and beliefs to those of the dictator. They say what he says. They believe what he believes. They excuse and defend everything the dictator does, no matter how vile.

The ultimate sycophants are the members of a cult, who will go so far as commit suicide upon the orders of the cult leader. (See: Jim Jones.)

As you may know, if you have attempted to persuade a Trump follower of Trump’s criminality and incompetence, mere logic and facts do not easily penetrate. (See: The Cult of Trump”)

 From Combating Cult Mind Control by Steven Hassan

The dictator creates what are claimed to be “dangerous” enemies to hate (Trump created such “enemies” as: Mexicans, blacks, all foreigners, non-citizens, Muslims, gays, the poor, strong women, liberals, China, Democrats, ‘the elite’, the ‘lamestream’ media.”), and then he offered his protection from these “enemies.”

(For Hitler, enemies were foreigners, Jews, Gypsies, the disabled, Catholics, foreigners.)

Cultism is why the German people so willingly attacked their Jewish neighbors and sent them off to death camps. They believed what their dictator told them.

Dictator followers are told to deny science, and instead to obtain their believable information from the dictator. (See: 150 Attacks On Science And Counting.)

Suppressed studies. Muzzled scientists. Disbanded scientific advisory committees. These are some examples of the gross violations of scientific integrity that the Trump administration has carried out during its 3½ years in power.

At the Union of Concerned Scientists, we have been tracking these attacks on science since day one and our tracker has now hit a new, grim milestone – the Trump administration has so far engaged in more than 150 attacks on science, far exceeding the attacks recorded during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations.

And during the COVID-19 pandemic, where death counts have reached 150,000, there has never been a clearer example showing that the Trump administration’s willful disregard of science comes at a fatal cost.

Only a few of the 150 examples:

Global warming is a Chinese hoax
Vaccination is a danger
The threat of COVID-19 is a lie
Air and water pollution are not a problem
Mask-wearing is a liberal plot to destroy the economy
COVID-19 testing is a liberal plot to make Trump look bad
Hydroxychloroquine prevents and cures COVID-19
Injecting disinfectant into the body can cure COVID-19

III. THE ENFORCERS

This group includes the military, private security, the police, palace guards, special forces, etc.

In addition to the military, Hitler had his personal bodyguard units, including the SS (“Protection Squadron”)

In addition to the U.S. Army, Trump has at his disposal and has used federal law enforcement officers from the FPS, ICE, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the U.S. Marshals Service in Portland Oregon alone.

When you see officers in riot gear attacking peaceful protestors, or read about police brutality, particularly against minorities, have you ever wondered what is going through the minds of the enforcers?

They are Americans, most often family people, who have parents and children, yet they willingly attack the parents and children of their fellow Americans with a gusto that can go well beyond “keeping the peace.”

Why? Why are all dictatorships supported by a military composed of brutal, amoral, fellow citizens? What changes, mentally and emotionally, in these people when they join an enforcer group?

That nice, polite, young man, your neighbor boy whom you watched grow up and whom you thanked for protecting the nation by joining the army — that same young man will kick down your door, shoot you and your family, and burn down your house if ordered to by his superiors.

If, one day, you had told that young man to kill a neighbor, he would have refused. But put him in a uniform, and make him part of an enforcer organization, and he will obey any order, no matter how appalling.

The German death camp guards went home each evening to hug their loving wives and play with their children; then each morning went back to work, torturing and killing other wives and children.

Why?

In protests against police brutality, videos capture more alleged ...
Our friends and neighbors knocked him down, then marched by, as he lay unconscious, bleeding, and near death on the sidewalk.

What happens to our “protectors” when they receive orders from the dictator? All over America, we see the answer.

The boys we cheer as heroes for defending us are the same boys who kill us; they essentially “lose their minds” and their morals when part of a strong dictatorial group.  The group’s morals become their morals; the group’s beliefs become their beliefs.

The military, the police, and all similar organizations are cults, where any divergence from the cult’s path is strongly discouraged and often punished.

They do not think of themselves as part of the community. They often think of you as the enemy, to be controlled by whatever means possible.

The greatest danger to any nation is not a foreign army, but the nation’s own army. It is relatively rare, these atomic-weapon days, for a foreign army to “take over” another nation.

But it is a daily occurrence for a dictator to use an nation’s own army to take over that nation.

Read the following short article Here are excerpts:

From day one, military recruits are not only taught the value of instant obedience to orders, but they’re also conditioned through the rigorous, rapid, and heavily directive nature of boot camp.

The idea is to acclimatize new recruits to the idea of following the leader to hell and back.

When people are dying around you and your lieutenant tells you to “Take that hill!” then obedience and training are required for swift and efficient action.

But as a society, we’ve had to embrace the hard lessons of unthinking obedience gone wrong. The Nuremberg defense is the classic example of why “just following orders” is an unacceptable excuse for morally damning actions.

But this wasn’t the last, and it wasn’t always an enemy of the U.S. damning themselves.

IV. THE PUBLIC

By necessity, the public knows only what it is told and what it experiences.

If your fellow citizens experience problems (illness, hunger, poverty), and the controlled media tell you there are no problems, or the problems are minimal, you receive mixed messages.

That is why every dictator makes a point of demeaning the “lamestream” media. He wants to control what you see and what you hear so that you will dismiss claims of problems as “fake news.”

So far, America’s media have been free to report the facts, though dictator-driven and Russia-driven social media have had a powerful effect on what you believe.

The American Constitution created by men who had no knowledge of the Internet. It was created without the knowledge of semi-automatic and automatic guns in everyone’s hands.

It was created without the knowledge of a Congress for whom the independence of the judiciary is anathema and “law and order” is used as a synonym for fascism, racism, and tyranny.

It was created, with good intentions, to be a document that establishes a government far different from the European autocracies, with their dominant royalties.

But it only is a document, a piece of paper. Its power lies solely in the good intentions of the powerful people entrusted to interpret it honestly.

The Constitution did not prevent the forced removal of American citizens of Japanese descent. The Constitution has not prevented bigotry in hiring and compensation. The Constitution has not prevented poverty. It did not prevent the illegal Vietnam war.

The Constitution did not prevent slavery. In fact, the original Constitution prohibited the passing of laws that banned slavery. And despite what the Constitution now says, Americans remain divided about that unholy abuse (“separate but equal,” statues of slave-holders, “black lives matter”).

The Constitution cannot prevent the perversions of a dishonest President, a compliant Congress, a corrupted judiciary, nor a bigoted Supreme Court.

The Constitution does not defend America. That fragile piece of paper called “The Constitution,” relies on the American people to defend it.

Today, America is at the precipice. A dishonest leader, defended by a bootlicking Congress, a biased Supreme Court, and Americans who have forgotten the Hitlerian lessons of World War II, has taken steps to subvert the coming elections.

They have:

Hamstrung the Postal Service to prevent millions of Americans from voting
Reduced the number of polling places, also to prevent millions from voting
–Suggested delaying the election
–Used massive gerrymandering to nullify opposing votes
–Invited and accepted foreign interference in our elections
–Attempted to invalidate our free press
Threatened to deny the election results if Trump loses

It once may have seemed inconceivable that America could become a 3rd world, banana-republic-style dictatorship, but no longer.

The thought that the most powerful nation on earth, militarily and economically, could be ruled by an amoral, dictatorial government, with the naive blessing of a minority of the American people, should make you shudder, for your self. For your children. For the world.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

Monetary Sovereignty Twitter: @rodgermitchell Search #monetarysovereignty Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

THE SOLE PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT IS TO IMPROVE AND PROTECT THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE.

The most important problems in economics involve:

  1. Monetary Sovereignty describes money creation and destruction.
  2. Gap Psychology describes the common desire to distance oneself from those “below” in any socio-economic ranking, and to come nearer those “above.” The socio-economic distance is referred to as “The Gap.”

Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics. Implementation of Monetary Sovereignty and The Ten Steps To Prosperity can grow the economy and narrow the Gaps:

Ten Steps To Prosperity:

1. Eliminate FICA

2. Federally funded Medicare — parts A, B & D, plus long-term care — for everyone

3. Social Security for all or a reverse income tax

4. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone

5. Salary for attending school

6. Eliminate federal taxes on business

7. Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually. 

8. Tax the very rich (the “.1%”) more, with higher progressive tax rates on all forms of income.

9. Federal ownership of all banks

10.Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99.9% 

The Ten Steps will grow the economy and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the rest.

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

Why you and Congress love gerrymandering

Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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It takes only two things to keep people in chains: The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders..
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To “gerrymander” is “to divide a state, county, etc., into election districts so as to give one political party a majority in many districts while concentrating the voting strength of the other party into as few districts as possible.” (Dictionary.com)

You hate gerrymandering, right? It’s unfair. It denies the voting public the right to select its democratic representation.

Done “right,” gerrymandering can give a few thousand voters the same voting powers as a million voters.Image result for gerrymandering

Such a power ratio seems unfair and undemocratic on its face — except that is exactly how it is done in the U.S. Senate, the so-called “upper” body of Congress (for a reason other than prestige or power).

The U.S. Senate is one of the most gerrymandered legislative bodies in America. The 800+ thousand people in Wyoming have the same representation and voting power as do the 40 million people in California. How fair and democratic is that?

And that difference also is reflected in the way we elect the President, which is why the current President of the United States won despite losing the popular election by 3+ million votes — more than the total population of the least-populated 18 states.

So yes, gerrymandering is an anti-democracy scam we all hate because it unfairly negates the votes of millions of people. And, it is exactly what the Constitution prescribes — for the Senate and for the Presidential election.

I live in Illinois, a traditionally blue state. My Presidential vote is meaningless. It will have no effect on the next election. Whether I vote Republican, Democrat or 3rd party, all Illinois electoral votes will go to the Democratic candidate.

In short, I have no Presidential vote. It has been gerrymandered away from me.

Now, that we accept the principle of gerrymandering for some of our government, let us examine our outrage for House of Representative gerrymandering.

The research that convinced SCOTUS to take the Wisconsin gerrymandering case, explained
Updated by Nicholas Stephanopoulos Jul 11, 2017 (Nicholas Stephanopoulos is a professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School. He is also one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs in Whitford.)

In June, the Supreme Court agreed to hear its first partisan gerrymandering case in more than a decade. This case, Gill v. Whitford, involves a challenge to the district plan that Wisconsin passed for its state house after the 2010 Census.

The case also involves a quantitative measure of gerrymandering — the efficiency gap — that has created a bit of a buzz.

The efficiency gap is, in fact, a simple and intuitive measure of gerrymandering, and I’ll explain why in a minute.

For more than three decades, the Supreme Court has recognized that severe partisan gerrymandering can violate the Constitution.

(Gerrymandering violates the Constitution in the House and in State “House” elections. Not in the Senate or comparable bodies in the states.)

But until Whitford, not a single federal court had struck down a map on this basis. However, in a 2006 case, five justices expressed interest in statistical metrics that show how a plan benefits (or handicaps) a given party. The efficiency gap is such a metric.

Gerrymandering: Either a party cracks (that is, splits) the other party’s voters among many districts in which their preferred candidates lose by relatively narrow margins.

Or a party packs the other side’s voters into a few districts in which their preferred candidates win by overwhelming margins.

At this point in the article, which I urge you to read, the author describes the statistical methods available to measure the amount of gerrymandering in any state.

This presumably can provide the Supreme Court with what it has been missing: Measures by which it could set standards. (i.e., this amount of gerrymandering is O.K. Anything beyond is unconstitutional.)

Whether the Supreme Court has the political will to apply these measures is another question, entirely.

Professor Jowei Chen used a computer algorithm to create 200 state house maps. They complied with the Constitution’s one person, one vote requirement (because each district had about the same population).

As we said, the Constitution has no such requirement for the Senate. Where is the logic in having the requirement for half of Congress, but not for the other half?

The gerrymandering built into the Senate and the electoral college is a result, first of history. Each of the original 13 colonies was a nation unto itself, jealous of its power. To encourage the smaller (population) colonies to join the Republic, they were given the same voting strength as the larger colonies — in the Senate.

The excuse for continuing the system lies in the myth that the residents of each state have unique characteristics, differentiating them from the residents of other states.

But, while American voters do have unique characteristics — rural vs. urban, religion, race, age, wealth, etc., these characteristics are not marked by state borderlines.

The geographic majority of, for instance, Illinois, is rural, while the population majority is near Chicago. Much of the state more closely resembles Tennessee and Kentucky than the Chicago metropolitan area.

The notion that people in Illinois, as a whole, have individual and unique characteristics simply is not true. Illinois people are as diverse as are the people of the entire nation.

In summary:

If gerrymandering is unfair and unconstitutional, the entire U.S. Senate and the electoral college similarly are unfair and unconstitutional.

What are the solutions? What would make our government more representative of the people’s wills?

The elimination of the electoral college, with the President elected by the voters as a whole?

A merger of the Senate and the House into one deliberative body, with each member representing a given number of geographically adjacent voters?

Both would increase fairness and “one man, one vote” Constitutionality. But, a government body seldom votes to reduce its own power. Any proposed change would be evaluated by members of Congress according to “What’s in it for me, and what’s in it for my party?”

Any sort of redistricting will produce winners and losers, and even the winners will fear to be losers, later. So, Congress will do nothing to reduce gerrymandering.

Even the Supreme Court is not immune to this self-serving stance. I predict that because state voting patterns currently favor the Republicans, the right wing of the court will be much less willing to correct state gerrymandering.

The Court is as much a prisoner of political partisanship as is any Congressional, smoke-filled, deal-making room.

As a result of Whitford, there may evolve some slight tweaks to gerrymandering, but anything that dramatically would affect the outcome of elections is unlikely.

Gerrymandering not only is built into our Constitution but into our fundamental “winner take all” psyche.

One day,  a winner really will take all. Our gerrymandering will deny enough people their vote to produce a full-fledged dictatorship, from which escape is rare and agonizing.

It could happen sooner than you might expect.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

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THOUGHTS

•All we have are partial solutions; the best we can do is try.

•Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.

•Any monetarily NON-sovereign government — be it city, county, state or nation — that runs an ongoing trade deficit, eventually will run out of money no matter how much it taxes its citizens.

•The more federal budgets are cut and taxes increased, the weaker an economy becomes..

•No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth.

•Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia.

•A growing economy requires a growing supply of money (GDP = Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports)

•Deficit spending grows the supply of money

•The limit to federal deficit spending is an inflation that cannot be cured with interest rate control. The limit to non-federal deficit spending is the ability to borrow.

•Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.

•Progressives think the purpose of government is to protect the poor and powerless from the rich and powerful. Conservatives think the purpose of government is to protect the rich and powerful from the poor and powerless.

•The single most important problem in economics is the Gap between the rich and the rest.

•Austerity is the government’s method for widening the Gap between the rich and the rest.

•Everything in economics devolves to motive, and the motive is the Gap between the rich and the rest..

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

Is the House of Representatives obsolete?

Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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It takes only two things to keep people in chains: The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders..
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The House of Representatives long has stood on questionable philosophical ground, but lately, it has been acting like the bad kid in the playground.

The fact that Representatives serve 2-year terms enshrines an “always-running” mentality, providing little time or inclination for intelligent lawmaking.

In the House, slogans pass for communicating and catchphrases pass for thought. Representatives spend most of their waking hours dialing for dollars, and making deals to keep challengers out.

Image result for paul ryan
Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House

This sophomoric existence has manifested in “quick-and-dirty” legislative attempts. The House moral seems to be, “Let’s get something passed — anything — no matter how illegal, immoral, or inane, then turn the problem over the the ‘parents’ of Congress, the Senate, to do the real thinking.”

Consider the House’s disgraceful “repeal & replace of Romneycare er, ah, Obamacare:

House Republicans have passed their ambitious plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, sending the measure to the Senate, where it is expected to be significantly revised. (ABC News’ John Parkinson and Mary Bruce contributed to this report. )

The House passed a bill they knew was no good, sent it to the Senate to be “significantly revised,” then crowed about what a great job they did.

Following the House vote, House Republicans celebrated with a press conference at the White House Rose Garden with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. Trump touted the bill as a “great plan” even though they got “no support from the other party.”

They also got no support from the majority of the nation, who found the elimination of 24 million of Americans from health care coverage to be morally and economically repugnant.

(Trump) congratulated and thanked House Speaker Paul Ryan and praised House Republicans for coming together. “What we have is something very, very incredibly well-crafted,” Trump said of the bill.

So well crafted, even the Republican-dominated Senate couldn’t stand the stench of it.

Trump added. “As much as we’ve come up with a really incredible health care plan, this has brought the Republican Party together. We’re going to get this finished.”

They got it “finished,” all right — finished and dumped, never again to see the light.

And on Thursday night, he tweeted, “It was a GREAT day for the United States of America! This is a great plan that is a repeal & replace of ObamaCare. Make no mistake about it.”

If this was a great plan, one wonders how miserable a plan would have to be for Trump to consider it bad.

“It’s going to be an unbelievable victory when we get it through the Senate and there’s so much spirit there,” Trump said.

“Unbelievable” is the appropriate word for Trump’s announcement. Few believed it.

Republicans, who have been promising to repeal and replace Obamacare for seven years, said they planned on keeping their promise to constituents.

And that is all they cared about, keeping the promise of “repeal & replace.” So, having created a pile of dung, and patting themselves on the back, the House held its nose and decided to create more dung — another ill-considered “repeal & replace” — this time, of Dodd-Frank.

House votes to kill Dodd-Frank. Now what?
by Donna Borak @donnaborak

House lawmakers effectively gutted the Dodd-Frank financial regulations that were put in place during the Obama administration.

The bill passed despite vehement objections by Democrats to preserve the sweeping law aimed at preventing another financial crisis and protecting American consumers.

The bill would give the president the power to fire the heads of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a consumer watchdog agency created under Dodd-Frank, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, at any time for any — or no — reason.

Remember, it was malfeasance by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, along with the banks, that led to the great recession. The CFPB was designed to prevent that malfeasance.

It also gives Congress purview over the CFPB’s budget, meaning lawmakers could defund the agency entirely.

The GOP proposal would also bar the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. from overseeing the so-called living will process, which requires banks to write up plans on how they would safely be unwound in the event of a collapse.

Steny Hoyer, the House minority whip said the bill would repeat recent history and put Americans at risk of losing millions by taking “referees off the field.”

Minority lawmakers also argue the bill would gut consumer protections and allow banks to make risky investments that required taxpayers to come to the rescue of the nation’s largest financial institutions almost a decade earlier.

Now the bill’s destiny will be in the hands of the Senate.

Those who closely follow the debate believe there’s no chance the bill would pass the Senate as is. Rather, they expect the upper chamber to advance a separate regulatory relief bill of their own.

By killing Dodd-Frank, the House would create the same “Banks, do whatever the hell you want” situation that led to the Great Recession of 2008. Apparently, nothing has been learned.

Why did the bad kids of the House do it? Because they expected the adults of the Senate to step in and clean up the mess.

The motto of the House seems to be: “Pass anything, then get back to soliciting campaign funds. Let the Senate fix it.”

How is the House designed to fail?

  1. The abovementioned 2-year term, which puts Representatives into an everlasting election cycle, leaving little time or energy for actual legislating.
  2. Gerrymandering, which almost guarantees re-election of incumbents, which gives Representatives little motivation for legislating.

The 2-year term and the population-based representation were supposed to make the House more responsive to the people, when compared to the Senate with its 6-year term and state-based representation.

The opposite has occurred:

Reelection Rates Over the Years

Few things in life are more predictable than the chances of an incumbent member of the U.S. House of Representatives winning reelection. With wide name recognition, and usually an insurmountable advantage in campaign cash, House incumbents typically have little trouble holding onto their seats

Senate races still overwhelmingly favor the incumbent, but not by as reliable a margin as House races.

Thus, House Representatives, lacking the time, energy, and motive to legislate in any sensible manner or to respond to constituents, has become an anachronism, virtually worthless — no, less than worthless —  an impediment.

It repeatedly vandalizes the legislative process by producing amateurish, noxious bills it knows cannot be passed, then steps back to let the Senate scrub the walls of their graffiti.

The House either should be eliminated or repaired. I suggest two fixes:

  1. Institute a 4-year term to coincide with the Presidential election. This not only would allow more time for legislating and for challenges to House seats, but it would save election costs for the states.
  2. Institute strict rules and definitions to reduce, as much as mathematically feasible, Gerrymandering.

These fixes would help return the House to being a “for the people” organization.

Or, we should just get rid of the House altogether, and let the Senate officially take over.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

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THOUGHTS

•All we have are partial solutions; the best we can do is try.

•Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.

•Any monetarily NON-sovereign government — be it city, county, state or nation — that runs an ongoing trade deficit, eventually will run out of money no matter how much it taxes its citizens.

•The more federal budgets are cut and taxes increased, the weaker an economy becomes..

•No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth.

•Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia.

•A growing economy requires a growing supply of money (GDP = Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports)

•Deficit spending grows the supply of money

•The limit to federal deficit spending is an inflation that cannot be cured with interest rate control. The limit to non-federal deficit spending is the ability to borrow.

•Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.

•Progressives think the purpose of government is to protect the poor and powerless from the rich and powerful. Conservatives think the purpose of government is to protect the rich and powerful from the poor and powerless.

•The single most important problem in economics is the Gap between the rich and the rest.

•Austerity is the government’s method for widening the Gap between the rich and the rest.

•Everything in economics devolves to motive, and the motive is the Gap between the rich and the rest..

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY