Landslide? Mandate? Shellacking!? If you look at the popular vote for Democrats and Republicans for all House races across the country: The Democrats got about 36 million or 47% of the votes compared to 53% for Republicans - this despite high unemployment (and many races where Republicans ran unopposed, especially in highly-gerrimandered Texas). If 4 in 100 voters had gone the other way, the Democrats would have won this popular vote. Women gave 49% votes of their votes to Democrats. If all age groups had participated equally in the election, the Democratic candidates would have had more votes than the Republican candidates (51-49%). This was hardly the "landslide" reported by the media, the "mandate" that Republicans are claiming, or the "shellacking" that the overly-contrite President called it.     DOWNLOAD ELECTION SPREADSHEET



I voted for the President and the Democrats to fight for us, the bottom 95%. The top 5% have an army of lobbyists and the entire Republican party fighting for them. Last time I checked, the Democrats still hold the presidency and large majorities in both houses of Congress. Why can't the Democrats push through the tax cuts for the bottom 95% (or 98%) in their lame-duck session? They have the votes in the lame-duck House and can maneuver in the Senate to circumvent the filibuster - that's the way the Republicans passed the original Bush tax cuts. Then if the Republicans want to pass additional tax cuts for the top 5%, let them bring this to floor and explain it to the people in 2011.

LINK TO: "Electoral Dissonance" by Hendrik Hertzberg

LINK TO: "How Obama Saved Capitalism and Lost the Election"  by Timothy Egan


LINK TO: "The Do-Lots Congress: Guess what - it accomlished big things"  by Ezra Klein



We live in an age of mass media, where too many fall prey to propaganda and ignore the uncomfortable fact that the US is falling behind nearly all other developed nations in measures of the "general welfare" of its citizens. [The Constitution was adopted to "promote the general Welfare." See its Preamble.] We have a legislative process in which the minority party can obstruct the will of the majority. The aim of the minority is to make the majority look like a failure, so they can regain power and the money power attracts. A congressional seat costs millions to obtain and generally nets the winner many millions. Because we have a major election every two years, the process is constantly repeating itself and what little is accomplished gets undone in the next political cycle.

The Constitution is not the word of God. For goodness sake, it gave women no vote and counted slaves as 60% of a person. The Constitution's political system was drawn up as a political compromise among 55 very fallible delegates over 200 years ago. It was a time, very different from our own, when political advertising consisted of printed pamphlets, when elections were not decided by the contributions of billionaires, and when our leaders generally put the good of the nation ahead of winning the next election and self-enrichment. Perhaps it's time to reconsider how we govern ourselves.

Imagine a country where the executive branch and the legislature are always partners in the same party and can work together undisturbed for 4 to 5 years to solve the nation's problems. At the end of that time, if citizens like the results, they can re-elect the same party. If they like the other party's ideas better, they can put those guys in the majority instead. That form of government has already been invented: It is the PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM. Parliamentary systems are much better suited to the modern world. Nearly all of the nations leading us in life-expectancy, health, prosperity, education, low teenage pregnancy, low crime, better infrastructure, and economic fairness govern themselves with a parliament. With some modifications, a parlimentary system of government could save our country and ensure that the United States remains a force for good in the world.

Coming soon: A new quixotic cause: The Revised United States Constitution Project

In the meantime, read this post in the New York Times by Bob from Edmonton, Canada, where - by the way - they have a Parliament:

"My household makes just over $250,000 here in Canada. One of the best bargains I get for my money is living in a place where I and everyone I know sends their kids to public schools because they are really good. We end up with few criminals, because students learn how to be productive good citizens in schools.

A second bargain I get is universal health care. Great care (rated well above the American system in most measures) whenever you need it without worry about not being approved. It all comes at a bargain price of about 50% of the cost of the US health system.

A third bargain is the modernizing infrastructure. Cities in Canada are building new commuter train systems, rebuilding old overpasses and other roadways, building new schools, new recreation centres, etc. We are not quite like a new city in China, but we are not the decrepit cities of the USA where governments are shutting the lights out at night because they have no money. In Canada, we realize that we can't live off of the work of our grandfathers forever.

A forth bargain is the right of Canadian mothers (or fathers) to spend a decent period of time with their children when they are born. With one year maternity leave, we can ensure that parents and kids bond and families have some time to look after one another. I personally think it preserves a lot of marriages. (the pay is about 60% your full pay for the year so it is still a financial sacrifice).

Speaking of marriage, I am glad that my tax dollars don't go to perverse things like trying to stop gay people from getting married or raising children together - what a waste.

The next bargain is public universities - a place where my children and the children from all types of households can go to and graduate with a big debt, but not a devistating one.

Lastly (there are more, but I have to get back to my work), we get governance. This includes a banking system that is there to support the economy, not end run it to make a few $$.

With all of that said, I have to say that along with this, I enjoy one of the free-est countries on earth. Our business freedoms are as extensive as the USA. We are free to hunt and own guns (aside from assault weapons and who needs those anyways). IN fact, I have lived in the USA and I have to say, I can't see any freedoms there that we don't have here.

Oh yeah, and my total tax bill is about 2% higher than it would be in the USA. To me, it's a bargain!"

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