Charles Shaughnessy blog "Here we go again!!!"

Ok, I know you’ve missed me…..here we go again!!! Its getting into THAT season again, so I figure its time to fire the first salvo.

There was an interesting book being discussed on the radio today: It’s even worse than it looks,” by Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution and Norman Ornstein of the conservative American Enterprise Institute. It is about the total breakdown of Congress as able to effect any kind of useful governance. Hardly any surprise. But here’s the interesting bit. Even though one of the author’s is a “dyed in the wool” Republican, the two of them agreed that after extensive research and analysis it was simply not valid to assign equal blame. They detailed how the established and enforced culture among congressional Republicans was simply to block ANY useful democratic legislation lest Obama should get the credit. They quoted Mitch McConnell, at the beginning of the last session saying that it was the Republicans’ DUTY to block any Democratic lawmaking lest ” Republican fingerprints lend any credibility to the President.” In other words,  we are not here to make effective legislation for the American people, nor help America through these difficult times, but to wage an all-out war against the President and the Democratic Party. ….and this is out of the mouth of a Republican. Now, they did also agree that, in the past, the Democrats have come off none too heroic. They point to the period of sustained Democrat power up to the end of the ’40s as one of apathy, carelessness and abuse, but for sheer, obstructive, negative politicking, they agree that this Republican bunch take the biscuit. They stated that to argue that Congress was broken and that BOTH parties were to blame, was both misleading, disempowering to the electorate and dangerously ill-informed.

So, people, don’t let this Right Wing tactic of ” oh, they’re all as bad as each other” fool you. It is possible to have one side do all the damage. There really was just one aggressor at Pearl Harbor, you know. This election, if only for the future of our Constitution at the hands of this activist Supreme Court, is a vital one. If you want to have our government sold to the highest, corporate bidder, as it is through Citizens United, and a return to the “hands-off” de-regulation that plunged our markets, credit and 401Ks off a cliff, then vote Republican and make Romney our President. If you want a serious effort to continue on the road to economic, social and institutional recovery, vote for a Democrat congress and for President Obama. Either way, promise me ONE THING: make sure you get fully informed on the issues this time. Don’t settle for sound bites or TV Ads. Research the facts as these two did and make your own conclusions.
Ok, now….let me have it!!!

additional comment by Charles Shaughnessy 30 April, 2012 15:21
additional comment by Charles Shaughnessy May 1, 2012 11:35 PM
additional comment by Charles Shaughnessy May 2, 2012 11:18 PM 
additional comment by Charles Shaughnessy May 3, 2012 09:29 AM
additional comment by  Charles Shaughnessy May 5, 2012 11:45 PM
additional comment by Charles Shaughnessy May 5, 2012 11:49 PM
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122 thoughts on “Charles Shaughnessy blog "Here we go again!!!"

  1. (blushing) I was worried what people would think of my comment, now I know that I'm not the only one waiting to hear about new stuff from you…

  2. HiI was checking too and I'm also sad that this topic doesn't work anymore. A new theme will be welcome, or maybe a new video Iblog or even a photo connect as nan said. It would be great. I'm sure too that everyone will love it. But that only depends on you

  3. Hello Mr. Shaughnessy, I've been checking the blog for awhile now and the banter has died down.. so.. I hope it's not inappropriate for me to ask you. Would you mind doing another Photo Connect or something with pictures? Like you did in 2010. I'm a picture person and love seeing what people can come up with. Pic's can say a 1000 words. Think of a new theme if you want, I'm sure many will enjoy participating.

  4. @Karen G. I think part of the problem with the term "judicial activism" is that it has no accepted meaning. As Eugene Volokh says, the term is used when a decision either appears to create new law or overturn old law and the critic doesn't like the result. Whether the decision is based on “personal opinion” or "the law" depends on the critic’s own view what "the law" is.Take gay marriage. The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees all people equal protection under the law. The supporter argues that scientific evidence shows that genetics are a major component in sexual orientation, so it is not a choice. As an immutable characteristic, it deserves equal protection like race and gender.If a judge agrees, is it "judicial activism"? The decision is based on "the law" — the Equal Protection Clause – and consistent with precedent. In fact, Justice Scalia said Lawrence v. Texas would authorize same-sex marriage. But conservatives would condemn the decision as "judicial activism," claiming the judge "made law" instead of "strictly construing” the Constitution.The fundamental flaw in that claim is that it ignores what judges actually do. The Constitution may establish principles, but it does not speak to every fact pattern that arises. Judges interpret the Constitution and statutes and apply them to individual cases as best they can, relying on the text, legislative history, and evidence to reach a decision. But they must pick and choose among precedent and legislative history statements, and they must weigh evidence. Those actions are influenced by the judge's perspective, and it happens regardless of whether the judge is liberal or conservative. For that reason, I find the more sensible definition of "judicial activism" to be that it occurs when a judge first selects a desired result and then picks and chooses authority and evidence to support a predetermined result. That is "activist" because it is not principled decision-making, but advocacy. And conservatives like Scalia and Thomas are just as guilty of doing that as Ginsberg and Kagan.I've gone on longer than I had planned, so I will make a couple of quick points. Regarding Citizens' United, I already pointed out how the decision directly overruled precedent. That it prevents restrictions on union funding of campaign activities is largely irrelevant to most liberals. Even if the ability of unions to fund campaigns was remotely comparable to those of corporations (which they re not), the point is that the Supreme Court issued a results-oriented decision that dramatically increases corporate power to influence elections and allows them to do so without transparency. The Supreme Court had ample constitutional basis and overwhelming precedent to uphold McCain-Feingold, but it chose to twist the precedent to reach a result that keeps ordinary citizens marginalized by the political process and members of Congress beholden to corporate interests. As for ACA, the Tenth Amendment is a reservation of rights to states. It says that any powers not given to the federal government are reserved by the states. But that is not a limit on federal power. If other provisions of the Constitution give Congress power to enact the ACA, the Tenth Amendment, by definition, would not preclude the exercise of that power. If the Supreme Court uses the Tenth Amendment to strike down the ACA, it would turn the Constitution on its head (and will also require finding that the Commerce Clause does not authorize the ACA).Finally, your question about how the jobs bill would have been funded is really irrelevant. You cited that bill as an example of the Republicans acting against self- interest for the good of the country, but, as I showed, the Republicans blocked that bill. The bill that you later identified, the JOBS Act, did not actually create jobs, but decreased regulations on certain businesses, which hardly goes against Republican self-interest.

  5. I think they probably will in time! Wow! This one was great blog!! (just got around to catch up on reading it all) Great with the few exceptions of some hurt feelings. Admire Karen and Joann for hanging in there for long haul. And Charlie did comment earlier that we had ALL give stimulating input! Hope we can all move forward with our wounded prides and look forward to the next one. P. S. My head is healing well. And thank goodness no permanent damage seeing in how would need it to blog among countless other things.

  6. Okay, I’m back after the joy of grading exams…sorry, Charlie, but I decided I’m not through tormenting you.Jwsel: First, thank you for joining in the blog. My intent in responding to you has never been to attack, but just to find out more about a perspective that appears to be different from my own (although we’re probably more alike than we both realize). I do appreciate your efforts to explain the liberal perspective, which I often find lacking on this blog. About the definition of “activist”—according to Webster’s dictionary, it means a vigorous supporter of a cause (which means it applies to both ultra-conservatives–which I suspect is the way Charlie is interpreting it–and ultra-liberals, which I think was the way FDR defined it). According to Black’s Law Dictionary, judicial activism implies that judges are making decisions based on personal opinion and not on law. If SCOTUS overturns Obamacare, liberals will cry out that the conservative judges are activist, when, in actuality, they could have decided that the expansion of Medicaid will violate the 10th amendment (it’s not just the question of whether the mandate would violate the commerce clause, which also is one of the issues). They would be interpreting the constitutionality of the law, viewing the Constitution strictly (rather than loosely, as Obama would prefer).About Citizens United—I find it a bit amusing that the liberals are irate about the changes to how SCOTUS defined the rights of corporations to make political contributions yet forget that SCOTUS also extended those same rights to labor unions, which in the past also have attempted to influence elections. As a union member, I know that this fall I will get the notice from my union telling me which candidates they “endorse,” with the expectation that I blindly vote for those candidates because they union tells me to do so—and the union will now be able to contribute funds toward the campaigns of candidates it supports because of the Citizens United ruling.Also—about those jobs bills that never got out of the House. Again, look at how they would be funded—by raising taxes on the rich. Name one time when raising taxes has led to job creation. Typically, the opposite happens—taxes are raised, and unemployment increases. Why couldn’t the jobs bill also include a stipulation that funds would be transferred from unemployment compensation to the jobs bill (in addition to raising taxes)? After all, if the intent was to put people to work, why would we need to continue funding unemployment compensation at the same level when it won’t be needed as much? Charlie—I’m still a bit miffed at what you wrote, but upon reflection I don’t think you realized at the time how your comments could be perceived to be a bit insensitive. After having spent the past 1½ weeks grading student exams, research papers, etc., I realized that even if I (and others) interpreted what you wrote that way, that probably wasn’t your intent (and please, correct me if I’m wrong and you truly meant to say what you wrote). Working with the answers for one set of exams particularly helped me understand a bit about how what you say can be misunderstood (and yet, at the same time, can be memorable). However, I’m still waiting for an explanation on how you could misinterpret Mitt Romney’s quote from 2007 about funding the war in the Middle East to mean that he wouldn’t spend a dime chasing bin Laden (in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if at the time you shared his views about the idiocy of the war’s cost). You tell us to do the research, and we prove you wrong—or prove that you developed an opinion based on media sound bytes instead of finding out the context of the statement before reacting.By the way—thanks to everyone who stuck up for me. I’ve learned not to expect Charlie to respond when I ask him questions, but it did feel good to know that I’m not the only person who interpreted Charlie’s comments the way I did.

  7. It's been quiet on the home front.. has the debate ended? I keep feeling bad that Karen is upset.. I'm new and I'm not sure how appropriate it is to say,. that maybe,. by however means, Mr. Shaughnessy should let Karen know he does respect others opinions, at least it seems that he does.. I don't know… People shouldn't get angry just because they see things differently. I happens too much in the world… Agree to disagree.. Hope you guys can work this out.

  8. Thank you for the welcome, I really appreciate that. you're more nicer than French people.Politics does not interest me that much but for a few days, I had to read and watch TV about it, because in France, the election was this week-end and we changed of President. So, on November 6 for you. You still have six months to decide who will be the next president who will lead your country

  9. Oh, I'm so glad!! You didn't do anything wrong and your posts are wonderful. It's great to have someone from 'the left side of the aisle" who joins in and explains WHY you believe what you do. I hope Jeannie will continue also, as it makes for a much more informative and educational blog. I could be wrong, but I think most of us can "see" where the other side is coming from even if we may disagree. I may not agree with Democrat ideology(though sometimes I do…Charlie should start a blog about gay marriage),but I completely understand how and why they believe as they do. I'm so very thankful that you are going to continue to join us.

  10. Feeling bad for Jwsel too! All this is definitely not his or her fault! I hope he/she returns. Politically Informed is always a good thing especially with an election coming up!

  11. Thank you! And Welcome! And i believe you are right: don't think he meant to hurt anyone. Your English is great. Maalox moment for sure..

  12. Yes! How many time have i spouted out stuff in a panic without hardly thinking about how i came across? Then calm down and realize i hurt folks feelings because i over did it or it got taken wrongly, And you guys always forgave me. It is difficult to convey emotion while typing. Things can become misconstrued and we bleeding heart women wear our hearts on our sleeve sometimes (okay most of the time). "Mud Wrestling for Intellectuals!" I like that Diedre. Yes, let's forgive Charlie and let him off the hook! He is after all entitled to be excited. Sides enjoying him too much on DOOL right now to have time to be upset.

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