Media in Trouble: All the news thats UNfit to print!: Rules were meant to be broken

"The information of the people at large can alone make them safe, as they are the sole depositary of our political and religious freedom." --Thomas Jefferson 1810

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Rules were meant to be broken

The Republicans in the Senate and House have decided that with the “will of the people at their backs” they don’t have to play by the rules anymore. Instead of fighting the system, just change the rules and have the system fight for you?

First rule change of the year occurred on Wednesday when Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Texas) and the House Republicans decided that if a leader of a party is indicted in a criminal case there will be no need to step down as leader of the house. In fact, Tom Delay faces a possible indictment after two of his fundraisers have already been indicted for breaking fund raising regulations on Delay’s Texas redistricting magic trick. Delay himself has already had a couple of slaps on the wrist from the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. So, what if I am a criminal I can still do my job. Isn’t that what we have told to people like Ken Lay, and Other White Collar criminals?

Never mind the dirty tricks used by Republicans in the early 1990’s plucking Democrats out of the House one by one until they no longer had Majority. Delay said, “You give me one instance when this conference has done anything unethically.” I can think of many.

I thought no one in this country was above the law. I think an aide to a Democratic leader said it best: “It would be the height of hypocrisy for a party that came to power promising to clean house to deliberately clear the way for a corrupt and unethical member under indictment to lead the people’s House.”

Now for rule change number two.

The Republican Conference (incidentally) also changed the rule for Senate Republicans to give Bill Frist the power to determine who fills half of the Republican vacancies on “A” committees. There are 12 “A” committees, which include desirable and controversial panels, such as Agriculture, Armed Services, Appropriations, Finance and Judiciary. Senate Republicans passed this on a 27-26 secret vote including the freshmen. It is a good thing this was a secret vote, otherwise 26 good-hearted Senators would be out of contention for any committees.

Onto rule change number three.

The nuclear option is so named because it undermines the only power (that to filibuster) a minority has in the Senate and destroys filibuster possibilities for future Senates. With the help of the President of the Senate (Dick Cheney), the current congress can change a rule to end filibusters with a simple majority of 51 votes. This would affect future Senates including the one about to start January 6th. In 1975 (ironically by the hands of a Democratic majority) the nuclear option was used to change the rule for ending a filibuster from a 2/3 majority or 67 votes, to where it is now of 3/5 majority or 60 votes.

The republicans are on a rampage on the hill, bringing forth their agenda and wanting to push the President’s appointees, be it in the nation’s courts, the CIA, or the cabinet. All of which hang on a 61 Senate majority to pass a filibuster as the rules stand now. It remains to be seen whether the Republicans are truly uniters or are just Power hungry. If they are uniters, they will consider the nuclear option a non-viable one. However, as they have shown in the past their agenda trumps anything, even the wishes of their own constituents.

56 million people would be utterly disappointed if the republicans have their way.

For further reading:
nuclear option, Frist power move, Delay rule change