The Filibuster – Revive It or Kill It

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Congress is broken; especially the Senate.  Compromise is dead as border security and DACA seems to have proven.  Nobody wants to cut a deal.  Both sides (left and right) just want to get everything they want and give nothing in return.  Better to demagogue the issues and hope it helps you pick up more seats.  This has placed the nation in stalemate that seems to have no end.

 

Barack Obama decided the way around this issue was to simply govern by fiat (executive order); and now the left is learning just how well that works when your shoe-in candidate loses.  The left got Obamacare through legislatively but had to use gimmickry to circumvent the filibuster/cloture rule (requiring 60 votes).  The right is running into the same problems today.

 

Harry Reid (in his ultimate wisdom) changed the rules of the Senate (back when the Dems had it) to require a simple majority vote on confirmations (like judges).  That decision is now biting the Dems on the ass, since it gave the GOP the excuse to keep that rule in place.  Who doesn't love karma when it's biting your opponents' posterior?

 

That brings up the topic of this post.  The filibuster.

 

To the point, I like the filibuster… or at least the classic idea of the filibuster. The classic obstructionist (not always a bad word) tactic of a lone Senator (or a minority of them) opposing the bad legislation (or nominees) of the majority. Toeing the line by refusing to close debate on the issue (or nominee). Debate, being the key word. Picture the classic scene in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” with Jimmy Stewart speaking on the Senate floor until he collapses from exhaustion.

 

 

The problem is... that’s not the filibuster anymore. The filibuster was neutered (I think back in the 70s) so that there’s not skin in the game, no pain to the process. Now all you have to do is say the magic word (filibuster) and everything stops and everybody scuttles off to their nice cozy lives. If you really think about it, the neutering of the filibuster (so that there is actually no physical pain, or exhaustion, or even inconvenience) is a good metaphor for the neutering of our society in general.

 

I don’t know why I’m mentioning this. There’s no way the honorable, classic filibuster will ever see the light of day again. So… instead... I think it best that we put the poor decrepit (neutered) filibuster out of its misery. Just end it already.

 

Ending it... has been referred to as the "nuclear option".  The Dems played with the idea and used a tactical nuke for confirmations (as described above).  The GOP threatened it if the Dems filibustered Gorsuch... but both sides pussed out.  But both sides are loath to be the ones to be the first to really push that button.  But not me…

 

 

I think we've reached a point that somebody going to do it in the near future and whoever grows the cojones to pull that trigger will reap the most benefit.

 

So, I really think the GOP should really consider it; especially if they think they're going to lose either house in 2018 (which I think they are).  So, they should not wait for the Dems to filibuster anything... but rather push the button right NOW. Change the rules of the Senate before the vote; ending the filibuster once and for all. Not only that, end it for everything; not just for judges, and cabinet position, but for legislation, for EVERYTHING. Fifty-one votes... done…

 

Once the filibuster is no more, the GOP should move forward with making hay while they can; meaning moving their legislative agenda forward while they have the majority. Obama and the Dems sure as $#@% showed no hesitation in doing this when they held the House, Senate, and White House. Unlike Obama, I would encourage the GOP to constantly offer an olive branch (compromise) to ANY on the other side of the aisle (legitimately) willing to deal in good faith. Failing that (the likely outcome in today’s environment) quickly move on, shaking the dust from your feet (paraphrased by someone famous in Matthew 10:14) and passing your agenda.

 

And finally, I would advise the GOP to learn the lesson that Harry Reid and the left never saw coming. The shoe will eventually be on the other foot… and likely sooner than you think. (Thus, the hay making now and as fast as you can.)

 

Comments

Mark Hunter Added Feb 27, 2018 - 3:53am
I think the Dems believe more and more that at some point in the future they'll take over the entire Congress, and simply hold it permanently. In that way of thinking, their actions make perfect sense to them.
Personally, I think at least seeking compromise is always in order; maybe newly elected politicians should be required to take lessons in that skill.
Flying Junior Added Feb 27, 2018 - 5:13am
Mark,
 
You are an interesting portrait in hypocrisy and partisanship.  I can only guess that you were pleased that Trump passed the tax heist with a simple majority plus the tie-breaking vote of the policy wank president of the senate?  If I were a senator, I would have filibustered that crime against humanity until I fell down dead.  Fell down dead and then got up one last time to kill somebody.
 
If you wish to learn how democrats work together with republicans...  I get so tired of saying this.  California.  We work together.  The democrats have an edge, but we don't cast aside our republican colleagues.
 
Lynn,
 
Wouldn't it be wonderful?  I guess Ted Cruz played a mock filibuster, what was it, "Green Eggs and Ham?"  You and I can agree.  If we must filibuster, let's see some real stamina.  Counting votes to sixty is no filibuster.  It constitutes a mockery of the word.
Mark Hunter Added Feb 27, 2018 - 5:45am
Junior, you're an interesting portrait in making assumptions. I haven't said two words about Trump, or his policies, nor does that have anything to do with my observation. (Although I have said in other comments that I don't like Trump.) In fact, it wasn't even an indictment of Democrats--I'm just pointing out that they're convinced things will go more their way over time, and they're probably right. Meanwhile, nobody being willing to compromise is a problem on both sides in Washington.
Flying Junior Added Feb 27, 2018 - 6:01am
Well we like to think that the majority might tip our way again.  But with gerrymandering there may not be enough time to correct the course we are upon before it really is too late.  I am among those who fear that our very way of life is under existential threat from the current republican party.
Mark Hunter Added Feb 27, 2018 - 7:03am
I feel the same way, although probably not about all the same people.  I'm pretty much fed up with all the "leadership" on both sides who don't care to obey their own laws, look to the future, or actually do their jobs. Also, regardless of who we like or dislike, gerrymandering is wrong and unconstitutional, just like a lot of things going on in the Washington. Surely the average person can agree on that, which means they can find other things to agree on.
Thomas Sutrina Added Feb 27, 2018 - 8:30am
The nuclear option procedure effectively allows the Senate to decide any issue by simple majority vote, regardless of existing procedural rules such as Rule XXII which requires the consent of 60 senators (out of 100) to end a filibuster for legislation, and 67 for amending a Senate rule.  The filibuster give the ability to block a measure through extended debate was an inadvertent side effect of an 1806 rule change.  Wikipedia  
 
We are in the same situation as we were in in the first half of the 1800s.  The basic direction of the country of following the Declaration of Independence and presented as law in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights Amendments or denying liberty, political freedom, and economic freedom.  The Federal government and the nation as a result of laws or regulations, court decisions, and executive actions and enforcements has created a mixture of the two that can not stand.  A nation divided as Lincoln said can not stand.  Filibuster is just a rule that lets each party prevent action from the other in Congress.
 
As in the first half of the 1800s the decision is in our hands today.  These last few years, the Obama years, has brought much of the issues and the effects of socialism to a head.  That is because the socialist believe they would complete the extinction of the rights promised in the Bill of Rights.  They have completed the incorporation of the TEN PLANKS OF MARX MANIFESTO, also stated in the 1944 State of the Union speech as the 'Second Bill of Rights' never intended to actually go through the Amendment process.
 
The chaos we see in this nation is not an accident.  It is the primary tactic of forming a socialist, communist, state.
Dave Volek Added Feb 27, 2018 - 8:35am
Lynn
 
In my way of thinking, we are seeing obvious signs that the America system is breaking down. Mr. Trump is not going to save America. The Democrats are not going to save America. Whoever the D's put up as presidential nominee is not going to save America.
 
Changing the rules of Congress? Another misguided attempt to reform an antiquated system of government, I say.
 
Who will save America? Well it will be the people--or at least the people who recognize the system is breaking down and can't be fixed AND are willing to spend a few hours a month to put together their local version of Tiered Democratic Governance.
 
A TDG builder does not need to be a millionaire or successful or political or well educated: Just average people with average occupations.
 
But if Americans are going to continue to believe that their system of governace can be fixed (because some promises that he or she can fix it), then we should not be surprised the system is still broken 10 years from now.    
 
 
wsucram15 Added Feb 27, 2018 - 8:45am
On gerrymandering..the SC of the US has been reviewing cases on this since the fall, particularly one from my State.  However they have declined to overturn ANY state redistricting that has occurred as in PA, leaving it instead up to State Supreme Courts.
 
On Dems..they need 24 seats to take control this year and it is predicted they will get that.  mostly because it is standard to reign in the presidential powers. It happens often with Presidents. But if things dont change in the correct manner its going to go too far in the other direction. Its an improvement..but a bridge too far.
 
On the filibuster..does no one watch Cspan?  Its great. Sometimes better than a soap opera.  My favorite filibuster was Rand Paul and Sen R Wyden over the Patriot Act. which expired on my birthday at midnight  in 2015. it was a grand effort and they managed to end one portion of the bill but the rest was put back into force the following day under Sen Cruz's "freedom act".   Politics.
Dino Manalis Added Feb 27, 2018 - 9:18am
Compromise brings us together and results in effective legislation, not temporary executive orders.  The filibuster is supposed to create meaningful additions, not prolong gridlock.  Republicans and Democrats need to compromise to produce bipartisan legislation.
Leroy Added Feb 27, 2018 - 9:25am
I was a little pissed when I found out that they don' actually filibuster.  Sure, there are the mock fillibusters like what Pelosi did over DACA, but it was just for show to make the DACAs think she actually cares.  She must be up for re-election.  I've always like the idea of the filibuster, but, like you say, if there is no skin in the game, it is time for it to go. 
I see the real filibuster as practical.  You don't have one party narrowly passing something and the other party continually trying to undo it.  Passing legislation by simple majority is asking for trouble.  It is like Brexit.  It is splitting the country apart.  It should have required a super-majority.  But, then again, there should have been a super-majority vote to put the UK in the EU.
 
Great article, Lynn.
TexasLynn Added Feb 27, 2018 - 12:20pm
Great comments everybody...  I will re-iterate that my preference would be to re-instate the filibuster to its former glory.  BUT since I think that is impossible, I would rather end it than watch the charade it has become.
 
Mark, 
You are right that the Dems think there are on the verge of a permanent majority.  I can't say the thought has not crossed my mind as society continues to degrade.  BUT they have thought that for well over a decade now and it hasn't materialized. 
 
As for compromise, our system was built around the concept.  That key component is now missing (or at least hobbled) and the system is broken.  The filibuster was originally intended to facilitate compromise.  If I know I need a super majority, that's what I do.
 
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Flying Junior,
Trump passed the tax cuts with a simple majority plus the tie-breaking vote, Obama passed Obamacare the by the same means... circumventing the filibuster/cloture rules.  Had the filibuster been in place as it used to be, both could have been stopped.
 
I can't see California being much of an example of compromise.  It's practically a one party state.  I even question exactly how conservative Cali Republicans are.  BUT... I'm all for being better informed... please feel free to share an example of the Democrats giving conservatives something in California, in the spirit of compromise.
 
I'm glad to see that we agree that the current filibuster is a mockery.  I like your comment that "Counting votes to sixty is no filibuster."
 
Ted Cruz did indeed put on a mock filibuster... as did Rand Paul and Nancy Pelosi (in a House version).  I applaud each.
 
As for what is said or read during a classic filibuster?  Going off topic is a well honored tradition.

Huey Long read Shakespeare and recipes for fried oysters and potlikkers
Alfonse D'Amato read from the phone book and sang "South of the Border"

Green Eggs and Ham?  Perfect in my opinion, following a proud tradition. :)
 
On tipping back to the Dems... I love the way you and I think the same way.  You think something needs to happen (the Dems take over) before it's too late.  I concluded that it was too late well over a decade ago; because the left had essentially won the culture war (I still think that).
 
At least you have hope in a party that exists.  I must place mine in something that would have to come into being; because the Republicans are not the solution either.
 
"The Democrats are taking this country straight to hell at a dead run.  Every now and then we elect enough Republicans to slow us down to a trot." -- Lynn Johnson
 
P.S. Having done the math... I'm enjoying the slow trickle of about $1500 (annually) from the above “tax heist”.  I'm sure it's peanuts to some, but I assure you, not to me.
TexasLynn Added Feb 27, 2018 - 12:21pm
Thomas,
Thanks for the clarification on what the filibuster is.  It was probably something I should have included in the original post.  The filibuster (whatever its current form) is just a rule created by the Senate on how they will conduct business.  It is not part of the Constitution or suchlike.  That said, it is a very old rule and tradition.  You don't just throw something a couple hundred years old in the trash (no matter how tattered and soiled).
 
We, as a nation do find ourselves where we've been before.  Divided and teetering.  Personally, I don't think we have the leadership or national character to overcome it this time.  We'll see.  (or maybe not… I’m getting up there in years).
 
I don't know how organized the lefts (Socialist) attack on our founding principles are, but the attacks are there.  The only way they can win is for those principles in the Bill of Rights to be abolished or circumvented.  They have been largely successful at doing both.
 
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Dave,
First... Thanks! For reading my post!  Confirmation I'm not on the list. :)
 
We agree that the American System is breaking down.  And I've stated repeatedly that I think we past the point of no return decades ago.  We're just going through the death throws now.  We also agree that Trump is not going to save America... nor is he destroying it.  What is destroying America is social and moral decay.
 
We also agree that changing the rules of Congress is not going to save America.  But my suggestion on the filibuster was not intended as a solution to that problem.  I don't think there is a solution to that problem (not one we're willing to undertake).
 
Who, will save America you ask?  You say it will be the people.  OK.  I say the REAL problem is our nation’s social and moral decay.  Concisely, how would the Tiered Democratic Governance reverse that root problem?
 
My take is that no system will fix the problem without that root cause being addressed.  The original system, the original republic given to us was the best in history at preserving liberty and freedom.  We don't need to fix it, we need to reboot it.  But we're not going to do that.
TexasLynn Added Feb 27, 2018 - 12:22pm
Jeanne (wsucram15),
Gerrymandering has always been a problem; and always will be as long as men are interested in power.  Both sides have done it.  It's just likely that the GOP currently holds the upper hand because they control the most state legislatures.
 
I too think the Democrats are likely to pick up at least the House... if not also the Senate.  It is a general rule in off year (non-Presidential) elections that the party opposite the White House picks up seats.  Trump taught me to expect the unexpected, but I don't think even he can turn the tide on this one.  Democrats HATE Trump so much, they will crawl through broken glass to vote against him.  Meanwhile the Republicans have been their normal milquetoast selves, thus not inspiring those who might offset that.
 
I watch C-Span every now and then... Usually on Sunday mornings for some reason.  I did not watch Paul's mock filibuster, but support the display... as I did Cruz and Pelosi.  It makes news.  It gets a word out that might not otherwise be heard.
 
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Leroy,
You and I are (as usual) generally in agreement.  To be clear, the filibuster only applies to the Senate rules.  It was never in play in the House.  Pelosi used a general courtesy in the House that does not limit the majority or minority leader to any time limit when they speak.  THUS, only Pelosi (and Ryan) would be allowed such leeway to speak in the House.  All other members would be shut down in short order.
 
With the original filibuster in the Senate, ANY Senator could claim the privilege and speak indefinitely.
 
I still admire Pelosi for what she did.  Yes, it was for show.  Yes, I disagree with practically everything she said.  Yes, I was appalled when she mentioned how proud she was that her grandson was already a self-loathing white liberal (at about the age of 5).
 
As for the original and current filibuster.  We are in complete agreement.  I don't necessarily hate the idea of the super-majority, but put the skin and pain back into the game or get rid of it.  Just do one or the other...
 
Like I mentioned to Flying J.  His panties are all in a wad because it (the super majority) was circumvented to pass the recent tax cuts.  Mine were in a wad when they did the same thing to pass Obamacare.  With the filibuster intact, BOTH efforts would have required a little good faith to be extended to the other side.
Dave Volek Added Feb 27, 2018 - 3:03pm
Lynn
 
Who, will save America you ask?  You say it will be the people.  OK.  I say the REAL problem is our nation’s social and moral decay.  Concisely, how would the Tiered Democratic Governance reverse that root problem?
 
Very good questions!
 
In Chapter 2, I describe the 12 limitations of western democracy--which apply to all western countries. This chapter also explains why we cannot reform this system from the inside. I think you are already at this realization.
 
In Chapter 3, 4 , and 5, I describe the TDG and a few tools that we need to make the TDG work. If we don't learn those tools, the TDG is nothing more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
 
In Chapter 6, I describe the process of taking the TDG to its full realization. But the TDG does not overthrow the existing government structures. It allows the political parties to play their games and the current system to effect its checks-and-balances as usual.
 
Rather the early TDG starts small and locally. Early builders living in the same neighborhood will gather to together to write its own local TDG constitution. I have left out the exact details of each TDG for the early builders to figure out for themselves, but there are four key foundation stones to abide by:
 
1) Tiered indirect elections
2) Voting based on good character and capacity for governance.
3) A culture of consultative decision making
4) An appointed advisory board with no real decision making authority.
 
I envision early builders spending one afternoon a month hammering out the details of their constitution--but more importantly practicing their consultative skills and attitudes. When the constitution is written, the neighborhood representatives are elected and given the responsibility of moving the TDG forward.
 
When the TDG is operating well, it should look to adjacent TDGs to merge with. The two TDGs will discuss the terms of the merger--and create a new constitution for the merged area. This process will further advance the consultation skills of the TDG representatives--plus learn a few other TDG tools. Once that merger is done, the new TDG should look for another merger.
 
While all these mergers are being negotiated, average TDG members will still be electing representatives on an annual basis. If the elected representatives conclude a merger negotiation, they still need to get approval from the unelected members residing in the TDG.
 
This would constitute the first of four stages to bring the TDG into full governance. The other three stages are in Chapter 6, which I won't get into much detail here. But the book is quite explicit  to eventually effect the transition, both the legislatures of the western democratic systems plus a general referendum of the entire citizenry be garnered to cast aside the old way--and let the new way in.
 
So what kind of person would join the early TDG? Here is my list of such characteristics:
 
1) A recognition the current system is failing.
2) A belief that this TDG could work
3) A desire to learn the new skills to make the TDG work.
4) A willingness to put a few hours a month into building the local TDG.
5) An understanding that there is really no personal benefit for starting the TDG in one's neighborhood.  
 
Given those five points,  I would say that the moral character of the early TDG builders will be significantly higher than the general populace. In other words, the early builders will be bringing their higher standards into the TDG culture.  When semi-dysfunctional  people eventually become interested in the TDG, they will see a vibrant culture behind it--and more likely to change their ways to fully belong to this culture. If they don't change but are still interested in joining the TDG, they won't rise too high in the TDG tiers. After all, elections are based on good character and capacity for governance.
 
If you have any further questions, let me know.
 
 
wsucram15 Added Feb 27, 2018 - 3:04pm
Lynn..at least you get what the filibuster is for.  Everyone involved in the one I mentioned ran for President, I think even Rubio was involved to some degree, Dan Kildee and others changed political positions on committees.  Its a power move.
Doug Plumb Added Feb 27, 2018 - 11:21pm
Let them be locked in filibuster forever and never write another law and be rendered completely ineffective - sounds like the path to perfect government!!! It would be like putting the moneys back into the cage.
While they are locked up, Americans rebuild the capital in Philly and restore lawful government, send the banksters back to Europe, bring the armies back home and everyone who wants to kill us back to the shit holes from which they came !
Leroy Added Feb 28, 2018 - 12:18am
"To be clear, the filibuster only applies to the Senate rules.  It was never in play in the House."
 
Now that you mention it, I remember it being said no long ago.  Thanks for reminding me.
Autumn Cote Added Feb 28, 2018 - 9:46am
Please note, the more personal and prompt responses you offer, the more likely I'll publicize your articles to a wider distribution.  Also, the more likely your articles will remain popular and commented upon.  
TexasLynn Added Feb 28, 2018 - 9:56am
Sorry... Autumn,
$%^# work and sleep get in the way!  I'll try to do better. :)
TexasLynn Added Feb 28, 2018 - 9:56am
Dave,
I see your intent is to build the new system from the grass-roots up and hopefully supplant it at higher levels as the movement grows.  It's a lofty and noble goal to get things back on the right track.
 
And you did answer my question as for as rebuilding the social and moral character in theory.  So thank you.  Getting a straight answer on WB is like pulling teeth sometimes.
 
Now... that said, the skeptic in me has concerns and it all gets back to the nature of man and characteristic #5.
 
The TDG seems to put a lot of faith in the altruistic nature of men; or a least the early adopters.  I question if a sufficient number within the population have that selfless nature.  You need to prime the pump so to speak; but if the well is bone dry (or close to it) how do you do that?
 
Plus if TDG really gets off the ground, men with ambition (who will claim otherwise) will be drawn to such leadership positions; and these people seem to recruit and surround themselves with enablers.  It's the same problem I've seen in Home Owners Associations... they sometimes (more often than they should) devolve into little fascist fiefdoms, under the control of shallow men with control issues.  This in turn repels the kind of people you really want.
 
The real genius of the American founding fathers was their system recognized the fallible nature of men.  You can't trust them and you can't trust the governments they create.  So, they did their best to create subsystems (branches of government) that checked and balanced each other.  That system worked for about 200 years (maybe a bit less) which isn't bad.  I think all man-made government is destined to degrade over time.  No man-made system will sustain itself forever.
 
Back to TDG; it has got to do take into account the fallen nature of man to also have success.
 
Thanks again, for the lesson. :)
 
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Jeanne,
Thank you for acknowledging the nature of the filibuster (at least originally) and my understanding of it.  I had a really good civics teacher in high school (He and I play fantasy football together today).  A minor in political science and a lifelong interest of civics and politics didn't hurt either.
 
Others, especially those in politics, will take the tools presented to them and mold them to their goals and needs.  I can't say that I blame them, or that I wouldn't do the same thing.  I'm as flawed and human as they are.  It's easy to sit on a high horse and opine on the virtues of this that or the other.  The real test would be climbing down and making the political and legislative sausage yourself.  And that... is not something I'm interested it. :)
 
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Doug >> Let them be locked in filibuster forever and never write another law and be rendered completely ineffective ... While they are locked up, Americans rebuild the capital in Philly and restore lawful government,
 
Sounds great Doug. :)  It's a nice fantasy we can share.
 
But WE, who would do all that rebuilding, likely have the same problem I pointed out to Dave concerning jump starting the TDG.  We lack the men (and women of course) of character to do it.  We're not the nation we used to be.  Not by a long shot.
Leroy Added Feb 28, 2018 - 11:44am
Maybe we were never the nation we used to be.
TexasLynn Added Feb 28, 2018 - 12:13pm
Leroy >> Maybe we were never the nation we used to be.
 
Dam good observation!  I love the way you guys keep me honest (and hopefully sharp)!
 
I once had a Houston Chronicle reporter (long story) try to bait me into badmouthing a college professor who claimed that the Texas Revolution was all about slavery.
 
Based on sound advice from an elderly gentleman, I didn't fall for it.
 
I finally told the persistent reporter that if we wanted a quote from me this would have to be it.  "Guys like [this professor] love to throw our founding fathers into the sewers.  Guys like me put them on a pedestal.  The truth is somewhere in the middle."
 
He didn't use it...
Dave Volek Added Feb 28, 2018 - 12:14pm
Lynn
 
Once again, you have some very insightful comments about the TDG and the world in general.
 
If most of us were of the mindset of Michael Corolene of the Godfather movies, we couldn't build a society that allowed organized crime to flourish in the first place: no roads, no hospitals, no electricity, etc. If there wasn't some moral fiber in any civilization, there wouldn't be a civilization. So there is some moral fiber out there. It just needs to be collected and organized. I think when the TDG membership reaches 0.5% of the population, it will be an unstoppable social movement. I think it's safe to assume that our western societies have at least a 0.5% moral fiber behind it.
 
The other part of this movement is the good example the people of TDG will set for the rest of society. Do not underestimate at how influential this will be on the rest of society. The people of the TDG will pull the rest of society into a better way of thinking. In essence, we are all social engineers as we interact with other people. For example, I come from a culture with lots of alcohol--and I made the decision to stop drinking. When I got married five years ago (my finance is also a non-drinker), we made the decision not to have alcohol at our wedding party. My side was a little aghast with this idea. But, you know what, they still had a good time without their beer. We taught that alcohol is really not that important.
 
The USA was the first nation to corral the negative attributes of those seeking public office into a somewhat positive force. While no other country really adopted the American model of governance, the west did learn from this example and incorporated the principles of checks-and-balances into their democratic institutions.
 
The TDG is going to create a different culture. If someone wants the job a little too much, that person should not be voted for. The voters need to learn to cast their vote to someone else. Hence there is no nomination or campaigning allowed in a TDG. A resident earns a vote because he or she has earned the trust and respect of one of his or her neighbors. If more than few neighbors feel the same, that person will probably be elected.
 
In the first two stages of the TDG building, overly ambitious people will not be attracted to this movement. So the TDG should not worry about them. But they might be interested when the TDG reaches its third stage. If the early builders have done their job well, the culture of the TDG will be such that if someone says, "Vote for me", voters will vote for someone else.
 
While the early TDG won't have problems of overly ambitious people, there will still be some headstrong people involved who will employ "My way or the highway" of getting their opinions implemented. Again, early TDG builders need to acknowledge that they must remove this mindset from their thinking. In time, this mindset should not be voted for in the TDG elections.
 
It's all about the early TDG builders recognizing that it needs to employ a few humanistic tools that western democracy has really not developed. I'm a great believer that humanity can reach this state. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jeff Michka Added Feb 28, 2018 - 7:09pm
Well, Dave a good TDG sales pitch. I suggest some refinement, and ensure the preceding is written down and secure.  You are looking for an un-siloed environment, and removing silos is something we need to work on, period.
TexasLynn Added Feb 28, 2018 - 8:16pm
Dave, Thanks again for the comment and "TDG sales pitch". :)
 
Good point on a functioning civilization being proof of moral fiber.  My only comments being maintaining an existing system is easier than building a new one.  Half a percent seems conservative of course, but you not only have to know they exist but convince them to abandon the existing system and adopt yours.  We can't even convince enough people to try a third party.  What chance do we have to convince them to try an entirely new system?
 
As for the rest of society following TDG's moral lead... we're going to have to disagree.  And it gets down to the our diametrically opposite view concerning our faith in humanity.  Looking at all human history; it's not what we do; and see no indication we're any different today.
Doug Plumb Added Mar 1, 2018 - 9:04am
"Maybe we were never the nation we used to be.  "
 
No doubt about that. What were we ? John Wayne?
Dave Volek Added Mar 1, 2018 - 12:03pm
Thanks Lynn
 
When I wrote the first version of the TDG (self-published in 2000), a few of my few readers had some good questions which were not in the book. In particular: "How do we move from here to there?". I put a pretty good answer to that question in the second version. And it has been enhanced in the third and fourth version. 
 
So far, no has asked questions about the TDG that I haven't been able to answer.
 
From about the age of 15 to 23, I was a binge drinker. And then from 24 to 34, a fervent social drinker. But all during my drinking days, I was trying to convince other people that alcohol was great. We could say that I was leader of peer pressure. Now that I have quit drinking, I see my abstaining lifestyle as a sign for others that there is life without alcohol. We could say that it is peer pressure in the other direction.
 
Everyone one of us is a social engineer. Whether we have good values or bad values, we are projecting those values onto other people, sometimes confirming their beliefs and sometimes challenging those beliefs. Do not assume the values you have chosen are not having an effect on other people.
 
The TDG will find people of better values to assume positions of governance. Their prominence is society will create a slow positive in the world. 
 
 
 
Benjamin Goldstein Added Mar 1, 2018 - 4:49pm
I think filibuster is the only truly silly part of the American way to run the government. I wonder how the Brits avoid it. They still have good debates.
 
Germans avoid it by having no democracy and don't debate in parliament at all (the laws come from the ministriess and the seats supposed to vote in one way or another are known in advance). That is no option.
Flying Junior Added Mar 2, 2018 - 5:18am
Benjamin.
 
The most obvious difference between the legislatures of Great Britain, Germany and the United States is that we do not have a parliament.  It's just two parties.  Right now the result is gridlock.  We have been criticized by Brits for not adopting a parliamentarian system of governance.  I told that limey...
 
Germans have no democracy?  Is not the Deutsche Bundesrepublik a federal, parliamentarian republic?
 
You sound like a crank to me.  Maybe you support Germany exiting the EU?  Germany is the last place I might have imagined anybody declaring as devoid of democracy.  I have visited Germany.  I do read about news of Germany.  Maybe it is democracy that does not appeal to you.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Mar 2, 2018 - 1:52pm
Flying Junior: Germany used to be a democracy until the Merkel's consolidation of power. However, it was never as advanced as the American system. There was never an independent free media, never a separation of government branches and so on. But there was some level of free speech and freedom to assembly that has been crashed in the last couple of years. I think we had two elections that resulted in a Chancellor leaving the office because he lost the election. One was ousted by the inner circles (Helmut Schmitt). ALL other Chancellors stepped down when they felt like it. Usually after a generation, somewhere between 16 or 20 years. Merkel has announced last week that she will do 16 years as a minimum. She will then decide a successor of her throne.
 
YOU don't have a party system. A party system is when the leader of a party tells everybody in his party what to say in public and what to vote in parliament. They do not even pretend to have a debate. The seats are empty. The German constitution expressively says that this is a party system. You just have people assembling vaguely around shared interest with no compulsion whatsoever. You are so clueless.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Mar 2, 2018 - 1:54pm
There is also no separation of Chruch and state, the principle of federalism is regularly violated...I could go on and on and on.
Flying Junior Added Mar 3, 2018 - 1:59am
Maybe I am clueless Benjamin.  I care enough about Germany to look into your assertions.
 
As far as theocracy goes, my impression was that churches are slowly declining in Germany much as they are in the U.S.  It must be of some comfort that the decline is not so rapid as in the Netherlands.  My feeling is that the churches in Germany wield little if any power over society.
 
One thing that I feel confident is still true.  Germany has without any doubt the greatest locality-based classical and sacred concert and music scene of any developed nation on the face of the earth.
 
Without churches, most of these concerts would disappear.  With no one to play the magnificent organs of Germany as is the case in Holland, the musical life of the continent would suffer.
 
Maybe I'm not clueless and you're not a crank?
 
Naaah!
Flying Junior Added Mar 3, 2018 - 2:40am
I think I get it Benjamin.  Merkel was not on my radar because stateside she appears to be a stabilizing influence.  Forgive me.  Time flies.  The British prime ministers come and go.  But the whole problem is the parliamentarian system, isn't it?
 
So your beef is that Merkel has been the Chancellor since 2005 and most likely will remain in office until 2020?  Take some comfort in that you have my sympathy.  Putin will likely remain in power for a total of twenty-four years.  No wonder you poor bastards don't feel sorry for us Yankees.  Hmmm.  This sounds like a similar problem to that facing Israel today.  Netanyahu became the chief of the Likud party in 1993, already twenty-five years ago.  He once served a term as the prime minister in the late 1990s and has been the incumbent prime minister for the last nine years.
 
Good goddess.  Sixteen years of Trump and we would all be eating out of dumpsters.
 
But man-to-man, in truth, has Merkel somehow subverted the democratic process itself as defined by the Constitution of the Bundesrepublik?
 
You have restored my gratitude for the U.S. system of governance.  For this I thank you.  My faith has been shattered to the core.  But I am still awaiting corroboration of your assertions.  Is Stern magazine a legitimate source?
Benjamin Goldstein Added Mar 3, 2018 - 3:46am
One thing that I feel confident is still true.  Germany has without any doubt the greatest locality-based classical and sacred concert and music scene of any developed nation on the face of the earth.
Thank you. That is so sweet. Yes, there is a lot to love about German culture. I think it can be said about most cultures, but it's mine. Austria is even richer in local music orchesters, particularly brass bands "Blasorchester".
 
I think you have to hunt down the claims one by one. There really is no magazine or anything that you can blindly trust. You can, for example, watch parliamentary debates on Youtube (The parliament is called "Bundestag"). What you see is that very few seats are even filled. What you also notice without even knowing the language is that they don't discuss. Somebody gives a speech and people of the own party clap. They don't ask questions. Members of other parties grunt and interject the speech with pointless yells. It is very uncivil and not like a proper parliament at all.
 
I think we agree about the tenures. It is a problem in itself. Had Erdogan left the highest position in Turkey after eight years, the country would still be free. Had Putin retired after eight years, Russia would be in better shape. Everybody has flaws. And powers aggregate themselves over time. The mere constant presence of a person means that he or she is emotionally recognised as a parent at some point. Human nature is so blunt that many get corresponding nicknames. Merkel is "Mutti". Mustafa Kemal is "Atatürk"...
 
Then, of course, you must look into the specific laws and practices. You are interested in the State Church thing. Germans, actually already the Nazis, are very keen on avoiding clear words. So the term State Church is never used and the constitution says, 'There is no State Church'. The Protestant Church and the German leg of the Catholic Church, however, are legally parts of the State. The legal category for the churches is therefore not 'state church' but 'Körperschaft des öffentlichen Rechts' (roughly translated as Corporation of the Public Law).
 
The only school subject prescribed in the consitution is religion. German students are required to receive religious instruction. So the number of lessons in religion far outweighs the number of lessons in chemistry or physics. Pupils have the right to opt out and have philosophical ethics classes instead, which are usually offered at uncomfortable hours of the day.
 
The churches also run the majority of social institutions like hospitals, private schools, retirement homes and child care facilities. These institutions are completely funded through tax payer money - paid by everybody, religious or not. However, the churches have the say. Until recently the catholic church would regularly fire gay nurses and doctors and so on.
 
The usual workers protection laws do not apply in these constitutions because NOW Germans remember the word 'seperation of church and state'. Germans very often use terms from democratic countries and use them for completely different things. So caretakers of the elderly, child keepers and so on are paid poorly and have not the same rights against dismissal and discrimination because their legal status is based on church law and not on the German state law. Separation of church and state as Germans practice it.
 
The German state collects the tithe with the income tax. It is called "Kirchensteuer". You can opt out, but it does not help you financially because Kirchensteuer is tax deductible. So you pay it into the general taxes anyway. The salary of some church members, particularly the expensive ones like the Bishops, are still not paid through this Kirchensteuer money, but through the general taxes paid by everybody.
 
Insults against the big churches are a crime that carry a prison sentence. This is no longer enforced, but could be in any case (There is also a rule of law problem).
Flying Junior Added Mar 3, 2018 - 3:55am
You have my attention.  I'm very surprised.
Dave Volek Added Mar 4, 2018 - 9:26am
Benjamin
 
That is very interesting in how the German churches still have so much political power in Germany. I was under the impression that their influence was lost after WW2, especially when Germany has become, ostensibly, a secular nation.
 
 
Benjamin Goldstein Added Mar 4, 2018 - 1:26pm
Dave, that is only a collection of fields in which the two state churches, which must not be called state churches but are often mockingly referred to as "Amtskirche" (Amt = agency, department, public institution; Kirche = church), wield power. It is just what came to my mind spontaneously.
 
They also send representatives to the media councils. German media councils (I like to mock them as soviets, but the German word is 'Rat', plural is 'Räte') have various names (Fernsehrat, Rundfunkrat, Medienrat...) because they are so many. The state media, which must be called public broadcasting, has an extensive system of regional and federal agencies, called Landesmedienanstalten and Rundfunkanstalten, which are all controlled by different councils. These unelected media councils always have church representatives on board. Media councils decide what shows run on what TV channel or what is aired on what radio station.
 
Anyway, what I find truly shocking is the doublethink aspect of it all. Ask a German whether it is apropriate for American kids to learn about the biblical creation story in school and he (me included) will denounce it as a stupid idea. Most will throw a hissy fit about how stupid American Christians are. Yet, he will have learnt the biblical creation in school, repeatedly. Don't trust me! Ask any German in your personal life these two questions: What do you think about teaching biblical creation in school? Did you learn about the biblical creation story in school?
 
Anyway, I digress from filibuster, but can a thread about filibuster really digress?
Jeff Michka Added Mar 4, 2018 - 6:35pm
FJr sez: Good goddess.  Sixteen years of Trump and we would all be eating out of dumpsters.-No we wouldn't...the dumpsters would all be melted down to puddle "American steel," and other than cardboard, there wouldn't be much edible in those dumpsters.
Jeff Michka Added Mar 4, 2018 - 6:40pm
Yes, I was appalled when she mentioned how proud she was that her grandson was already a self-loathing white liberal (at about the age of 5).-Ah, another star in the heavens of rightist hate, Nancy Pelosi.  Hey, Lynn, that's quite a claim, so I KNOW YOU'VE GOT A CITE TO PROVE YOU DIDN'T MAKE THAT UP TO APPEASE AND GET OTHER WB RIGHTISTS SLATHERING IN A GOOD OL HATE FEST, RIGHT?  NOW YOU RIGHTISTS need to support ol Lynn and comment some hate of Pelosi, and bring up your ultimate hate-figure: Hillary Clinton.  I'll help: Russian collusion.  LOL
Dave Volek Added Mar 6, 2018 - 4:32pm
Benjamin
This state church(es) in Germany deserves its own WB article. I find this influence so surprising since fewer and fewer Europeans are attending church on a regular basis. 
TexasLynn Added Mar 6, 2018 - 5:09pm
JM >> I KNOW YOU'VE GOT A CITE TO PROVE YOU DIDN'T MAKE THAT UP
 
Please stop yelling... :)  How about a few paragraphs or formatting? :)
 
Here's a quote... no link for you...
 
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
 
"I'm reminded of my own grandson. He is Irish, English, whatever, whatever, and Italian-American, he is a mix. But he looks more the other [Italian] side of the family, shall we say."
 
"And when he had his sixth birthday... he had a very close friend whose name is Antonio, he's from Guatemala. And he has beautiful tan skinned, beautiful brown eyes, and this was a proud day for me, because when my grandson blew out the candles on his cake, they said did you make a wish?"
 
"He said yes, he made a wish. What is your wish? I wish I had brown skin and brown eyes like Antonio."
 
"So beautiful. So beautiful. The beauty is in the mix. The face of the future for our country is all-American. And that has many versions."
 
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
 
If it's not true... it's pandering.
 
If it is true... they are successfully raising a nice, woke, self-hating white liberal they can be proud of.
TexasLynn Added Mar 6, 2018 - 5:12pm
FJ, Benjamin, and Dave
You guys are on your own concerning the state of European government, and religion.
 
I just assume they're all secular by now... eventually to be given the option of Allah or death. :)
 
We yanks aren't far behind.
 
Jeff Michka Added Mar 6, 2018 - 6:37pm
As Frank Zappa said "I'm not black, but there are sure times I wish I wasn't white."  Kinda like when I read Lynn boy's "tribal press releases." We yanks aren't far behind.
TexasLynn Added Mar 6, 2018 - 6:43pm
JM... thanks for not yelling. :)