Talkin' trash to the garbage around me.

24 January, 2006

Who's in charge? Oh yeah, them

What's been accomplished in the last five years? Let's make a list, shall we?
  • Bungled invasion and occupation of a Middle Eastern country which did not attack us, with losses of life estimated in the tens of thousands

  • Terrorist mastermind and mass-murderer still free and planning attacks

  • Major American city destroyed, poor left to fend for themselves or die

  • Thousands of elderly Americans losing access to vital medication thanks to Medicare D
We could go on and on with the tales of corruption and incompetence, but first, let's take a second and figure out who's in charge:
The change in the Medicare provision underscores a practice that growing numbers of lawmakers from both parties want addressed. More than ever, Republican congressional lawmakers and leaders are making vital decisions, involving far-reaching policies and billions of dollars, without the public -- or even congressional Democrats -- present[emphasis mine].

The corruption scandal involving Republican former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and the bribery plea of former congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.) have prompted calls for a restructuring of lobbying rules and congressional practices that make lobbying easier.

A prime target for changes are the closed-door negotiations known as conference committees, where members of the House and Senate hash out their differences over competing versions of legislation. House and Senate Democrats last week proposed that all such conference committees meet in the open and that any changes be made by a vote of all conferees.

"It happens in the dead of night when lobbyists get a [Republican lawmaker] in the corner and say, 'We've got to have this,' " said Rep. Fortney "Pete" Stark (Calif.), the Democrats' point man on Medicare issues. "It's a pattern that just goes on and on, and at some point the public's going to rise up."
Considering the results, it's no wonder the Republicans don't want anyone to see what occurs in the darkened conference rooms of the Capitol in the wee hours of the morning.

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