It’s the most dangerous time of an election year on Capitol Hill. It’s neither rabbit season nor duck season. It’s lame duck season, which means that crazy things may (and probably will) transpire between now and the first session of the new Congress in January.

With a huge spending bill to pass before a government shutdown on December 9th, we will see as much fluff squeezed into it as possible. That’s the problem with lame duck legislation. Many of the people voting on it have no accountability to the voters. On their way out the door, they can do what’s best for them, their cronies, or even their future lobby bosses.

The lame duck session also gives the major parties an out so they don’t have to address controversial items before an election. The punted impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, while not directly attached to the lame duck session, is an example of something that would have happened if this weren’t an election year.

All business should be taken care of before the election. Voters will have a chance of holding Congress accountable with their votes. Important decisions won’t be made by people who won’t even be around in a couple of months. Doing so will help to reduce instances of real or perceived corruption such as the infamous reindeer farmer who swung the vote for a trillion dollar “cromnibus” in 2014.

Should Congress do anything during lame duck sessions? Of course. They should be prepared to handle emergencies. This doesn’t require a pre-established session; unlike the Great Depression and WWII, we should be able to pull Congress together quickly in case of emergency. What they should be doing during lame duck sessions is preparation. Transition of a new Congress is relatively smooth today, but it can be improved. Moreover, the time can be used by politicians who will be part of the next Congress to work towards future legislation that’s voted on during the first session of the next Congress. This will allow Congress to work more efficiently by reducing the learning curve and preparation time.

All of this can be done through Constitutional Amendment, though such a drastic measure hasn’t been necessary since the ratification of the 20th Amendment. Instead, internal rules can be put into place and agreed upon by both chambers and both parties. The rules could be changed in the future, of course, so it wouldn’t be as powerful as an Amendment, but it’s better than nothing. Perhaps if we ever hold a Convention of States, we could include such an Amendment, though it’s unlikely something so small would even hit the radar.

There are bigger issues to address, but we can’t continue to let the smaller issues slide as a result. Lame duck sessions can be easily resolved. We simply need enough people to stand up and say they don’t want the most corrupt seasons of every election year to continue to harm the nation.

John ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

By John Ruberry

The leftist group MoveOn got its start as Bill Clinton was being impeached. Their initial message was along the lines of, Bubba has done a great job running the country, his affair with Monica Lewinsky was inappropriate, and now it’s time for Americans to, well, move on.

Now if only the cheerleaders in the media for the Democratic Party could do the same.

There’s a book’s worth of material out there for this post, but I’ll zoom in on just a few today. Dahleen Glanton, an African American Chicago Tribune columnist, puts the blame on the Democrats failure to keep the White House on where she feels it belongs. Yes, the headline gives the ending away, “White women, own up to it: You’re the reason Hillary Clinton lost.” Yet the first sentence of that column betrays how foolish she is, “I don’t understand women.” Her dazzling display of ignorance continues for another two dozen paragraphs.

There must be vile fumes from the Chicago River poisoning the minds of Chicago newspaper columnists, as ignorance begets insanity. I had to read Neil Steinberg’s Nazi-drenched column about Donald Trump and his advisor Steven Bannon, who, by the way, is not an anti-Semite, three times before I gave up trying to make sense of it. Well, almost.  When I am confronted with Nazis and insanity I do one thing and that is listen to avante-garde rockers the Residents’ masterpiece, “The Third Reich and Roll,” only this time I did so while trying to block out of my memory all of my knowledge of the 1960s garage pop classics that are satirized in this work, as a possible gateway into Steinberg’s rambling mess. That didn’t work either. But hey, I tried.

At the end of his column he all but claims that it will be followers of a religion who have been scapegoated for centuries who will be blamed if Trump’s economy doesn’t take off as he promises it will.

Oh, do newspaper columnists have editors anymore?

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, who was exposed as a colluder with the Democratic National Committee by WikiLeaks, is calling the incoming Trump administration “the fake news presidency.” Yet two months ago Milbank was covering for Clinton’s “deplorables” gaffe by claiming that “she might have low-balled the number.”

Wrong.

Perhaps what these mainstream media hacks really need is a good cry, which is something the Residents have done as they confide in “Hitler Was a Vegetarian.”

Yes, it’s your party, I know it’s your party
And, you know that you can cry, and, it’s cool
But you have to remember that I too cried my 96 tears
And… it’s just something we all have to go through some time or another.

Get to it.

And then move on.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Jesus Christ: “For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”

Luke 6:38b

I’m a big fan of two things that occasionally conflict.

I like being polite to people. I think politeness is an extension of human dignity, when you are polite to people, you are by the nature of the act expressing the value of a human person. I think that a person who can be polite in the face of incivility shows a strength

I like free speech, it is vital for a free society, for science and for culture to advance, if you can’t speak freely you can’t sort, truth from falsehood, nor can you test theories and ideas that may or may not work.

Sometimes in life it is necessary to violate politeness for the sake of free speech, that is usually in a situation where one’s ability to speak and get one’s opinion out, is restricted.

The Cast of the broadway play Hamilton deciding to publicly lecture the vice president elect as he attended their show was not one of them:

The statement that Mr. Dixon read was written by the show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, its director, Thomas Kail, and the lead producer, Jeffrey Seller, with input from cast members, Mr. Seller said.

“We had to ask ourselves, how do we cope with this?” Mr. Seller said. “Our cast could barely go on stage the day after the election. The election was painful and crushing to all of us here. We all struggled with what was the appropriate and respectful and proper response. We are honored that Mr. Pence attended the show, and we had to use this opportunity to express our feelings.”

Mr. Seller said that there was some discussion about whether it was appropriate to inject a political statement into the night, and that those involved decided to wait until the end of the performance.

There’s plenty to be offended by here but on the scale of left-wing obnoxiousness I’d say this scores about a 6 (out of 10). On one hand the message presumes that the incoming administration is a threat to pretty much everyone and everything, which is just obnoxious. And the bit about hoping Pence was inspired by the show presumes that, without that inspiration, he’s hopeless. Also, making this statement public— rather than, say, sending Pence a note from the cast privately— seems more about posturing for the cameras than communication. There’s no dialog possible here. It’s not as if Pence could respond or do anything but politely hear them out. This is the kind of national discussion the left loves: the kind where they talk and you listen.

The show Hamilton is one of the most popular ones on Broadway, the cast has a very platform and easy access to media, particularly in NYC who would like nothing more than to hear them publicly hit the incoming administration. The cast of Hamilton could have achieved the same effect by having making their statement in an open letter that I’m sure the NYT would have gladly published and the MSM endlessly repeated. Given that fact the necessity to violate the bounds of propriety by challenge a paying customer would seem rather pointless.

The media was delighted by this expression of free speech by the cast, however they weren’t all that delighted with the response of the president elect who stood by his vice president’s presumed right to enjoy a show with his wife without being directly lectured by the cast

Imagine that, answering speech one finds offensive with, wait for it…MORE speech.

The left was not amused at the president elect asserting the same 1st amendment rights that non members of the GOP have, particularly when he can reach 15 million plus people on twitter. Robert Reich’s reaction was typical

And those champions of free speech at the ACLU didn’t care for Donald Trump exercising his

Given that fact I’m sure the ACLU, Professor Reich and the entire cast of Hamilton were delighted by these citizens lawfully executing their constitutional rights

What our friends on the left might have forgotten is while they are the vast majority of the eight million plus people in the city, even if only one in ten supported Trump and only one in 100 of that one in ten are up to flash mobbing Broadway that makes a potential 8000 people available for flash mobs available to make the experience of those considering attending a broadway show a bit more interesting. As reporter Kerry Picket put it:

I’m sure our friends on the left will be absolutely delighted with this new standard of behavior which if applied nationwide to performances by liberal actors, musicians and comedians is sure to make the decision process for those considering attendance a more interesting one.

May they be happy with the incentive structure they have created.


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