Friday, October 09, 2015

To My Non-American Readers: You Won't Believe What Our News Is About.

For my non-American readers, you would not believe what dominated our news right now.  Here are some of your choices:
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1) The latest (big) school shooting - 9 dead and 10 injured in rural Oregon.
2) The possible war crimes investigation into a US bombing of a hospital run by Doctors Wihtout Borders in Afghanistan.
3) The Washington DC Shit Show because the Republicans cannot find a Speaker of the House.
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Answer:

It works this way in our non-Parliamentary system...  By tradition, the "Speaker of The House" is chosen by the larger party, from that party's elected members *.  It is rather important because the Speaker decides procedures, including what bills get voted on.  The Speaker is also 3rd in line for President.  If something happens to the President and Vice President, the Speaker takes over the government.
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Now, the Republicans are in charge of the House (the same way the first lemming leaping over the cliff is "in charge" of the pack), so they get to choose the Speaker.  John Boehner has been Speaker for the last 4 years.  But the Republicans are pretty divided internally and many detest Speaker Boehner.  In a parliamentary system the Rebuplican factions would be a fragile coalition, whereas our system results in two parties almost exclusively.  And so...  there are the regular Republicans (who think government is bad) and the "Tea Party Caucus" (who think government is Voldemort).
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What normally happens now on "must pass" bills (like budget or raising the debt), is that the Tea Party Caucus demands something that cannot happen (repeal healthcare (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014) or cut funding for women's health screenings and contraception (2015)).  The Speaker pretends to give into the demands for a while, then passes the bill by losing the Tea Party Caucus, but with the help of the opposition.  The Tea Party stamps its feet and complains, but life goes on.
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But the current Speaker, John Boehner, quit right after Pope Francis left.  Apparently the Pope's message of helping the poor and being a good steward of the planet resonated with Speaker Boehner (a good Catholic) and he realized that his party was actively committed to doing just the opposite of what the Pontiff pleaded for.
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So, Boehner quits, and next in line is on deck.  Up until yesterday, Kevin McCarthy was going to elected Speaker.  He is a dolt, but that isn't the point (really - listen to his speeches).  He also is the one that told the truth about the Benghazi investigation, that it is devoted to reducing Hillary's poll numbers.  Well, the Tea Party Caucus thinks he isn't conservative enough - so Kevin McCarthy quit.
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Now there isn't anyone that is acceptable to both factions of the Republicans.  And this isn't a War Crime or a Mass Shooting - the press knows those will happen again soon (in the case of a School Shootings - they happen all the time).  But one Party tearing itself apart only happens every couple of months.  So it's wall to wall shit show.
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*For my America Readers that may not know, the Speaker of the House does not have to be a member of the House of Representatives.  It is, in many ways, a "Robert's Rules of Order" position and the Speaker can be selected as a non-Partisan referee of sorts.  It doesn't happen, but it is possible.

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