What's your view of this session of Congress?
Absolutely do-nothing. The Republicans appear interested only in making government unworkable.
71 votes (38%)
The Republicans have done a good job of thwarting Pres. Obama's agenda.
75 votes (40%)
Both parties are dysfunctional and nothing gets done anymore in Washington.
40 votes (22%)

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26 comments on this item

Of course both parties are dysfunctional. Of course the Republicans are trying to thwart BHO's agenda. No the R's don't want unworkable government. Our system of gov't is frustrating and slow, but that is good.

The poll results as of now are tied 23-23-23. It looks like the respondents are just as split as the Congress, lol.

Just to note, my friend Mr. Rick ... who can communicate without messing up a fan ... I mostly agree. My concern is where does all this kead us ... and my prognosticacian is into the swamps ... but we will see.

I will comment here only until he of Fox News ventures in and piddles and poops in the punchbowl of Timberjay communications with his ridiculous perveyances of ignorance.

Hope you are well ... kinda wished when I had my short stint at V that we didn't gather and discuss the world. I did spend nearly 50 of my years in the R party so have some observation of it from within.

We'll see. Gonna watch this poll.

As always I just wish folks could apply some factual background to their positions.

Note ... as I write this it is 29 - 26 - 29.

Good query, Marshall

FOX News, America's #1 choice for news. Fair and balanced...We report, you decide. Only ignoramuses who don't watch FOX criticize it and those who do watch it.

Interesting poll question. Let's hope each person votes only once, unlike jt, whose multiple votes disproportionately skew the results.

It is interesting that a e-mail was intercepted between two Republican Congressman(one was from Georgia) and they do not deny it being true after their message was intercepted on their e-mail because they were not efficient in sending messages.

They said to each other this bill is a very good bill for the country and we should pass it,but it will make the Democrats look good,so we have to vote against it.

Party first before country is very common now a days.

Even Republican and Presdential candidate Bob Dole said he would not be welcomed in the new Republican party. If elected by the people of your district,you have no singular vote,you vote how your party tells you.

If there is just one issue every American can and should agree on is that we desperately need to get the money out of politics. The Supreme Court 2010 ruling under Citizens United allowed unlimited donations by billionaires and corporations to SuperPacs which has squelched the voice of ordinary Americans. Our constitutional right to free speech for all is worthless is if no one can be heard or heeded except members of the 1%.

No other democracy in the world allows unfettered spending on elections by private individuals or corporations. $2 billion was laundered through SuperPacs in the 2010 election. Our legislators have to spend 5 hours a day on the phone raising money to fund their campaigns to stay in office. Political action/obbyist groups have enormous influence on our Committees. For just one example, these groups have donated more money, $9.4 million, to members of the House Financial Services Committee than any other Committee's members which is why the House Financial Committees number of members has increased to an astonishing 66 members. And it works when you have House members introducing bills allowing banks to loan money to people they suspect can't pay it back and insurance companies to sell life insurance policies they know are worthless deals. It's easy for House members to introduce these ludicrous bills when they know they will die in the Senate and never become law but it sure helps them with that 5 hour begging for donations requirement.

The ruling that money is free speech comes from the SC case Buckley v Valeo 1976 which upheld limits on contributions directly to campaigns fearing corruption or the appearance of corruption. However, the SC also held that spending money in other ways to influence elections such as donating to SuperPacs, is protected "free speech" under the first amendment This is why unlimited money can be given to SuperPacs but not directly to candidate's campaigns. Following SC cases gave corporations the same constitutional rights as people slowly adding more and more rights to corporations.

Overturning Citizens United is not enough. We need a constitutional amendment that says:

Money is not free speech.

Corporations are not people.

In just rereading the above three options, seems this time they are all mostly "true". Can one vote for all three at once???


So true. I enjoy MH's smartly crafted poll questions which are a lot more thought provoking than most newspaper polls.

Mr. Bonfire,

Sorry I don't know your real name. I agree that campaign financing has really gone over the cliff. I would remind you that it isn't just the corporate money fowling the nest. I am offended by union influence as well; most especially public sector union money.

Don't you suppose the best solution is term limits and a return to our citizen legislator initial model. My proposal would eliminate the perks as well. If folks could only hold office for say 6 years, with no free health care and no retirement package, we would get more public servants. Try that for a constitutional amendment.

Rick Sathre


Term limits has it's own problems but that issue is peanuts compared to the money corrupting our democracy which I would call the real money perks. It's not only our legislators who go through revolving doors writing bills supporting their benefactors' wish lists and then getting cushy jobs with those same corps but the high level staffers do too.

Whatever problems there have been & are with some unions, do you really think we don't need them anymore? That corps won't chip away at work safety, pensions, health care, wages and so on until we are back in the dark days of company owned workers and that haven't made big inroads there already? That's like saying we don't need seat belt laws anymore.

And what's your beef with public sector employees? You don't think policemen, firemen, teachers, etc have tough jobs and provide services we all count on? Many public employees are losing their pensions after 30-40 years on the job due to underfunding by municipal governments and they don't get social security either. Detroit public employees averaged $16,000 pension and other city's pensions aren't any great shakes either. Without that or Social Security how do they survive? Food stamps, Medicaid, other public assistance, I suppose, after decades of protecting citizens in very dangerous jobs.

bonfire: Don't get me started about the worthiness of unions. My union, the United Steelworkers took me off the job (that's right, the union took me off the job) and kept telling me they had a plan to get me back to work. After 4 years, it turned out there was no plan at all and I was left to rot on the vine. After repetitive prodding, we finally got a an arbitration hearing and even then, the union said to my wife that after 4 years, I didn't make the cut. Once the union learned they could be held legally liable for they did to me (Minnesota State Senate Legal Counsel) they decided they had to schedule me. Then they refused to let the state's best labor attorney, Gregg Corwin of St. Louis Park, represent me to get my job back. bf, do you think the union did everything they could for their dues paying member?

Pensions? Hah, hah. I can't get the union to fight for me to get my 28 years of service applied to my earned pension. They leave it all up to my wife and myself.

Don't give me that crap that we need unions. I would have been better off as an at will employee than the years I was loyal to the union, paid their dues and abided by their rules. Look where the union put me today!


You can reach me directly. My email address is sathre@sathre.com and I would like some direct give and take.

My beef with public sector unions is that our elected officials look to the unions for campaign funds. The unions fund the mayor or council member or county commissioner, etc. for the election expenses. The public officials then enter into contracts with the unions so the cycle can go on and on. The public officials use your money and mine to indirectly buy union support. Detroit is a mess for broad, far reaching reasons, but part of their problem stems from this cronyism. Sadly, the union workers will lose much in the bankruptcy. I feel badly for the individuals.

Private sector unions are fine with me. Sure there was widespread abuse of workers in the industrial revolution. Yes, the union movement helped with living wages, safety and the like. However, I contend that unions hold back the best and brightest workers.

JT and I enjoy bantering directly. If you want to join the fun send me an email.


Bonfire, I strongly recommend linking up with Rick via private email. You two are clearly on opposite ends of the "political divide" ... but you both can discuss at least with some good use of facts, logic, reason.

One of the things that I most applaud about Rick is his total willingness to share his thoughts and SIGN HIS NAME TO THEM. (I'm only 90% there!)

Seems far too many of the TIMBERJAY "discussions" get waylayed into commentary which bears little resemblance to the topic at hand. 1 on 1 emails may stay more on topic ... although I would miss reading the interesting ones.

I think I will also email the Rickster, since I am factual, logical and reasonable. OK with you, Rick?


Officials in office or those running for those offices don't look to private sector unions for campaign funds, only public sector unions, really? You are fine with private sector unions but not public but your answer is puzzling. Unions as a whole, public or private sector, helped raise everyone's living wages, made workplaces safer, etc. How have unions held back the best and brightest if Americans have been free to seek out another job with no unions to stifle them?

I forgot to respond to your previous comment to me on the differences between D's and R's.

I'm always curious when people say they are for small government. How small do they want government to be? Shrink it until you can drown it in a bathtub or something less than that draconian? What would they cut and by how much? The military, Social Security, corporate, bank, farm subsidies, food stamps, etc, etc? No doubt there would be a myriad of dissimilar responses but even if small government advocates would be in agreement, I wonder if they have a clear end vision of what the just right size government would actually look like. I have a hunch folks might get a tad testy if cuts involved compromising or gutting clean air, water, food etc or weather/violent storm forecasting or highway maintenance or public education or Medicare/Medicaid or police or firemen and so many other things one expects in the wealthiest country on earth. Considering the budget plans and bills with huge cuts from many legislators led by Grover Norquist and ALEC over the past few decades, I wonder if small government folks feel their lives won't be affected negatively or maybe feel their lives will be better. I'd say that would be an idealistic view.

I had no idea that D's were not for personal responsibility, most D's I know practice it. I do see people behaving irresponsibly but then again, I don't know if or it hadn't occurred to me to ask them if they are D's or R's. Perhaps we all feel this group or that group are particularly irresponsible. I happen to feel that banks, wall street, hedge fund managers were extremely egregious and greedy in gambling away $2 trillion of our money causing our mortgage/financial meltdown and then rewarded with bailouts, gigantic bonuses on top and no one going deservedly to prison. YMMV

I thank you for the invite to pick each other's brains email offer. I have current and some long term ongoing family responsibilities to tend to and I have already let myself be sidetracked too much as it is. Maybe in the future.

OC, you may email me directly.

Bonfire, certainly private sector union money is huge and influential as well. Yes, the unions helped improve the lives of the masses of members. Yes, public and private unions bring the weak up and the strong down.

I am for smaller federal government. I wish to bring much of the taxation and decision making back to the states, counties, cities and school districts. The closer to home the better.

The federal government role has risen dramatically in my lifetime. Sadly, we are not better off. Just one example and I must go for now. The well meaning Great Society program of LBJ intended to give poor, underprivileged black people a way to improve their lives and lot in life. Since then the gov't has become the gift horse and a great many blacks are now enslaved to the public for subsistence. I contend that self-esteem and purpose have been lost by a great many able bodied people. Sadly, public money also led the poor away from a traditional family structure. In my youth their were moms, and dads, for the poor kids. Now poor moms carry on alone in most cases.

One more thing, the progressive/socialist/communists among us are working to enslave all of us. We now have doubled the number of people on food stamp programs, etc. Many out of work people make more on welfare than they could initially by working. That is a disincentive. That fosters failure and loss of respect for oneself. I am all for helping the helpless, but not the lazy.


Yup, the Great Society sure did cause Americans (of all skin colors) to slide into laziness, dependency, lack of work ethics and eroded the "traditional" family structure when the war on poverty programs plus creation of Medicare and Medicaid almost halved the percentage of Americans living in poverty and greatly increased life expectancy. We must reverse these vile commie agendas or America is doomed or something, something....

Who wouldn't want to live on food stamps averaging $133 a month and eat like royalty, especially the 45% of SNAP recipients age 18 and younger, one in four children under the age of 5. It's just too bad that their able bodied but lazy parents' jobs (perhaps part-time at Walmart or fast food chains) don't pay enough to keep a basic roof over their heads,get health care or eat decently at the same time.They should just get a 2nd or 3rd job if they can beat out the 3 to 4 unemployed Americans competing for every one job.

Food stamps usage climbing and more people on other assistance must be irrefutable proof that more Americans are "incentivized" to slough off. They better not use lame excuses that our jobs have been outsourced overseas, esp in manufacturing or that productivity and profits are up but wages are stagnant or declining with the median hourly wage for workers falling by 2.8 % between 2009 and 2012 felt the most by lowest paid sectors. These irresponsible moochers can't fool us with thier bad economy/no jobs whining and they shouldn't expect us to believe wild stories like they donated to food shelves for years but now have no choice but use food shelves to feed themselves or that their teachers stuff their kids' backpacks with food items to get them through the weekend.

Everyone "knows" the helpless truly deserve assistance and the able bodied lazy absolutely do not but stories of folks caught in between have to be made up or highly exaggerated by socialist leftys.

bonfire: Just a quick question. Who is it that pays for food stamps, SSI and Section 8? Shouldn't those that pay have a say?

OC, Who is it that pays and pays more when if we don't have these things?

"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"

bonfire: What is taxation without representation? Good, let's have those things and then we don't have to pay.

jt: Do they have trees in the Arizona desert?

"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" is a philosophical thought experiment that raises questions regarding observation and knowledge of reality.


Bonfire, email me sometime at jtormoen@gmail.com.

jt: Did you learn that on FOX News?

Heavenly days. Some people just can't see the forest for the trees. Can they, jt?

OC brought up the taxation without representation. We are taxed in many ways and have no say and it has irked me. Like JT I spend much of the year in AZ. I am technically a resident there, although MN is home in my heart. I haven't had a vote in MN for some years, own multiple properties on which taxes are collected, and have no say.

The news last week confirmed for me that I get to pay another $300 a year to support the administration of the school system. You don't get a vote either because Sen. Bakk authored the bill saying the school board could levy without a vote.

So I get to pay a bucket full of money each year for "my share" of the $80M in school construction plus an operating levy and have no vote.

I wish our elected officials at all levels spent our money as if it were theirs. Huh, I guess they do consider it theirs.

Do you think throwing tea in the harbor would do any good?

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