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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Lame Duck Congresses - Venezuela v. U.S.

Imagine a place where legislators who had been thrown out of office hurried to pass legislation they knew would not pass once the new Congress was seated in order to defeat the will of the people as expressed in recent congressional elections.

Such a thing could not happen here, because our lame duck representatives understand that to enact sweeping changes meant to bind an incoming Congress would lack political legitimacy and be subject to international ridicule:
The current congress, with an overwhelming majority of pro-Chavez members, voted Tuesday to grant him special powers to enact laws by decree for the next year. The National Assembly is expected to give final approval to the measure by the end of the week.

Chavez critics say the action, which would be the fourth time in 12 years the populist president has been given temporary decree powers, is a clear effort to sideline the next congress, which will have enough opposition members to block such action.
Thank goodness we are not Venezuela.

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  1. There's another curious similarity between the United States and Venezuela.

    The same week the FCC assumed jurisdiction over the internet despite (1) the Court telling them that they lack jurisdiction, (2) Congress telling them not to, and (3) the lack of any systemic problem or market failure that would justify government intervention in a wildly successful technology, Venezuela decided to claim control over its media too.

    It is now illegal for television stations, radio stations, and internet service providers to broadcast anything critical of authorities, or that causes anxiety or unrest among the populace.

    Shortly before this week's FCC vote, FCC Comissioner Copps gave aa speech at Columbia U in which he argued for new, extreme media restrictions in order to ensure that Americans have access to "worthy media."

    Are we currently living in a Socialist dictatorship? No. But thanks to the Obama Administration, we're experiencing the way that one begins.

  2. I agree with Lilac Sunday on this on for sure.

  3. Our constitutional procedures are a product of 18th century smart people, but also of 18th century technology. The people were like the best of us but the technology has changed.

    In England, when the Prime Minister's party loses the election, the prime minister is *out*. He or she ("he or Thatcher" would be more specific) must be out of Downing Street by the day after. That this approach was not taken in the US probably has to do with the relative size of both countries, and the available communications and transportation technology when the respective procedures were implemented.

    I think it's time to get into the 21st century in this particular issue.