There is a lot of 'new' talk going around Washington as we experience yet another peaceful transfer of power to our new duly elected government.
Obama is talking like FDR when he says '...that doesn't make us takers'. In a direct slap to Congressman Paul Ryan (or more accurately a beat down...) the President of the United States made it clear he works for the people and not the billionaires that tried to install Romney-Ryan as the mouth piece for their Oligarchy.
President Barack H. Obama, "We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other - through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security - these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great." Take that 'granny starver'.
Harry Reid is talking 'Constitutional Option', that is he's saying that 50 votes plus the VP should be enough to pass any bill in the Senate. While this isn't explicitly stated in the Constitution, it does list five exemptions from a simple majority, such as the 'veto override with 2/3 vote' and one can only conclude that the Framers meant a simple majority, and not 60 votes to do anything.
Nancy Pelosi is doing the 'real' talking as the de facto Speaker of the House. The 'fiscal cliff' bill was passed by Democrats and a minority of Republicans. The same as with the bill to avoid default on the expenditures that the Republicans have already made, also know as raising the debt ceiling.
That was all the good news, now for the bad news, the Koch brothers funded state legislatures are moving toward an Apportioned Electoral College in 'blue states' that the Republicans have captured through gerry mandering. In these states that would normally go for any Democrat running for President, the Republicans would cleave off the electoral votes in any Congressional District that they have managed to carve out for Republican domination (assuming that district was made to vote for the Republican). The end result would be a Republican becoming President with millions of fewer votes than a majority. Language in the Bush v. Gore ruling from the Supreme Court that establishes that there is 'no Constitutional right' for citizens to 'vote' for the President sets the stage for this abomination.
The way Gerrymandering works is that Republicans create as many districts as possible that contain a bare a majority of Republican voters, and as many districts as possible that contain nearly 100% of Democrats in liberal voting ghettos. Often distant pockets of Democrats are linked by block wide corridors that can be a hundred miles long and include few voters.
In practice a the 'Republican' district may contain only one third Republicans, that is if sufficient voter suppression is applied. Either through simple negative advertising that disgusts enough 'normal' people that they don't bother to vote while Conservatives goose-step down to the polls to vote against their own self interest based on their irrational fears and prejudice. Or through out right suppression of Constitutionally eligible voters who are kept from voting by any number of 'illegal' means, ranging from 'voter caging' where people are illegally stricken from the registration list, to selective denial of voter access to the polls.
If you live in a 'Democratic' precinct any number of means, including but not limited to an 'insufficient' numbers of voting machines to literal 'voter intimidation' by the use of goons to scare voters away, to the use of misleading mailers from official and bogus sources to confuse voters. The possible ways to make this happen is endless, the depths of their deceit bottomless, and the evil in the hearts unlimited by time or space.
The 'really, really bad news' is the current push through the same Koch Brothers controlled state legislatures is to have a Constitutional Convention. Ostensibly this is just to pass an amendment to require a 2/3 majority to enact any increase in the income tax. This would not include peasant taxes like sales and excise taxes that would pass with a simple majority. All profits for the rich, all taxes for the poor. That would be bad enough, but a Constitutional Convention is not limited to a preset agenda once it's in session. Any number of really nasty 'reforms' could be put in place that would be pre-loaded with language that would allow the conservative Supreme Court to carve out anything they were ordered to produce.
That's not to say that the Supremes can't sing any tune at anytime, but with the tiny minority that the conservatives actually have, they must maintain the fiction that this is all the 'will of the people'. The only thing that can stop this is that 'the people' become fully aware of the difference, and enforce their will instead. www.prairie2.com