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Our Reading Guide on Congressional Dysfunction

Once again, Congress seems to be gridlocked. Why is that?

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Bruce

Nov. 26, 2011, 3:25 p.m.

The congress is disfunctional simply because the two groups:Has BIG CORPORATIONS’ INTERESTS and unfortunately these ones can care less about the Middle Class. They are blinded and have no clue about the homeless and jobs in this Country. All they worry about is sending everthing over Seas.While they fill there pockets. Until we the people of this country make congress ( BOTH PARTIES ) understand that we are are the ones that pay there Salarys. So they need to do their jobs or get the hell out !!!
While these relation persits over seas the Congress will never function, as simple as that.
Think About our OWN for once !!!!!

Bruce

Nov. 26, 2011, 3:33 p.m.

The congress is disfunctional simply because the two groups:Has BIG CORPORATIONS’ INTERESTS and unfortunately these ones can care less about the Middle Class. They are blinded and have no clue about the homeless and jobs in this Country. All they worry about is sending everthing over Seas.While they fill their pockets. Until we the people of this country make congress ( BOTH PARTIES ) understand that we are are the ones that pay their Salarys. So they need to do their jobs or get the hell out !!!
While these relation persits over seas the Congress will never function, as simple as that.
Think About our OWN for once !!!!!

Paul McMeekin

Nov. 26, 2011, 5:42 p.m.

Congress has gone slack jawed and weak kneeded, gutless and stale.  It seems that congressmen and congresswomen no longer have a clue about why they serve.  Politics as usual has hit an all time low.  It isn’t about serving the communities they represent but about jocking for position and personal status and unfortunately more about conforming to the wishes of lobbiest and special interest groups, thus , securing a nice future after they get retired for their poor performance. I say throw the bums out and start with an all new team come election day.  It would be impossible to elect a more disfunctional congress.

James van Cleve

Nov. 26, 2011, 11:06 p.m.

Congress is dysfunctional because we allow them to be. We are naive and gullible. We seem to believe every LIE the politicians utter and then we continue to vote for the best liars instead of completely checking their credentials and history.I am sure this will not be a popular post but I also believe I am right.

Jim Slark

Nov. 26, 2011, 11:49 p.m.

Our problems began when the right wing perhaps thought they couldn’t compete with the left in governing our country. So, they came up with the failed policies that have destroyed our economic systems, and are in the process of destroying this country. History shows the failures, even as our supreme court forces their failed ideology on us in the form of ‘citizens united’. I’m not saying one should vote one way or another, but you had better have a good understanding of the impacts of your votes on your lives. And history shows there are lots in the area where I live who don’t have a clue.

Digital

Nov. 27, 2011, 10:35 a.m.

Congress is not focused on the job at hand.  Congress, which has an overwhelming Republican make-up, is focused on the future election doing whatever necessary to make President Obama appear ineffective in the public’s eyes.  Congress is not focused on doing what is in the best interest of the public to create jobs, to reduce the deficit, to help kids with education, or anything else of a national concern to the citizens.  Congress has their own Republican agenda, and that is to ensure that they do whatever they can to thwart President Obama’s approval rating in the public…even if it means burying the country in massive debt and confusion in the process.  Congress is self-focused on one thing, and that is their attack on President Obama’s voter poll rating.  Even when President Obama was willing to compromise on his jobs-plan, and his other reforms bills, congress refused to even budge an inch in the interest of the public.  No bill ever presented by any president has ever been so negative that congress could not find some grounds for compromise.  This is an obvious attack on the President, the the President’s bill.
Congress is dysfunctional because congress if lop-siddedly Republican and is focused on the WRONG objectives, to the exclusion of the better interest of the citizens of this nation.
There should be a law passed which limits the congress majority to being no more than 55% to 45%.  Then congress will properly reflect the interests of both parties, and disallow the interests of one party group the chance of controlling the direction of a bill by being obstinate to promote their own outside agenda to the exclusion of the best interest of the country.

Richard Axford

Nov. 27, 2011, 2:55 p.m.

Copied Call it an occupational hazard, but I can’t look at the Occupy Wall Street protesters without thinking,“Who parented these people?”
As a culture columnist, I’ve commented on the social and political ramifications of the “movement” - now known as “OWS” - whose fairyland agenda can be summarized by one of their placards: “Everything for everybody.
Thanks to their pipe-dream platform, it’s clear there are people with serious designs on “transformational” change in America who are using the protesters like bedsprings in a brothel.
Yet it’s not my role as a commentator that prompts my parenting question, but rather the fact that I’m the mother of four teens and young adults. There are some crucial life lessons that the protesters’ moms clearly have not passed along.
Here, then, are five things the OWS protesters’ mothers should have taught their children but obviously didn’t, so I will:

• Life isn’t fair. The concept of justice - that everyone should be treated fairly - is a worthy and worthwhile moral imperative on which our nation was founded. But justice and economic equality are not the same. Or, as Mick Jagger said, “You can’t always get what you want.”
No matter how you try to “level the playing field,” some people have better luck, skills, talents or connections that land them in better places. Some seem to have all the advantages in life but squander them, others play the modest hand they’re dealt and make up the difference in hard work and perseverance, and some find jobs on Wall Street and eventually buy houses in the Hamptons . Is it fair? Stupid question.

• Nothing is “free.” Protesting with signs that seek “free” college degrees and “free” health care make you look like idiots, because colleges and hospitals don’t operate on rainbows and sunshine.There is no magic money machine to tap for your meandering educational careers and “slow paths” to adulthood, and the 53 percent of taxpaying Americans owe you neither a degree nor an annual physical.
While I’m pointing out this obvious fact, here are a few other things that are not free: overtime for police officers and municipal workers, trash hauling, repairs to fixtures and property, condoms, Band-Aids and the food that inexplicably appears on the tables in your makeshift protest kitchens.Real people with real dollars are underwriting your civic temper tantrum.

• Your word is your bond. When you demonstrate to eliminate student loan debt, you are advocating precisely the lack of integrity you decry in others. Loans are made based on solemn promises to repay them. No one forces you to borrow money; you are free to choose educational pursuits that don’t require loans, or to seek technical or vocational training that allows you to support yourself and your ongoing educational goals. Also, for the record, being a college student is not a state of victimization. It’s a privilege that billions of young people around the globe would die for - literally.

• A protest is not a party. On Saturday in New York , while making a mad dash from my cab to the door of my hotel to avoid you, I saw what isn’t evident in the newsreel footage of your demonstrations: Most of you are doing this only for attention and fun. Serious people in a sober pursuit of social and political change don’t dance jigs down Sixth Avenue like attendees of a Renaissance festival. You look foolish, you smell gross, you are clearly high, and you don’t seem to realize that all around you are people who deem you irrelevant.

• There are reasons you haven’t found jobs. The truth? Your tattooed necks, gouged ears, facial piercings and dirty dreadlocks are off-putting. Nonconformity for the sake of nonconformity isn’t a virtue. Occupy reality: Only 4 percent of college graduates are out of work. If you are among that 4 percent, find a mirror and face the problem. It’s not them. It’s you.

Richard Axford

Nov. 27, 2011, 3:09 p.m.

You can’t get a job if there are no employers. Big business has jobs , they work for themselves and paid so many taxes they moved our of the USA. outside they have free range poor begging for a hand out. there are no sewers, good water or working standards ,takes much income to build businesses up leaches attach themselves to the companies income and think it’s theirs. Big government manufactures nothing, they are takers they have the Idea it’s a gravy train and everyone on the train is going somewhere.most do nothing but talk for a living,take bribes to let their friends get money to kick back to them.

Floyd Thomson

Nov. 27, 2011, 7:40 p.m.

since the ones benefiting most totals only one percent and we the voters give the one percent over 50 % of our votes.  I think it is our own fault to not have voted them out a long time ago.  I think that the GOP should be renamed ” The Taleban ”

Vince

Nov. 27, 2011, 8:20 p.m.

Pretty simple really, we have the good the bad and the ugly, so things are going to get really bad then people are going to get really ugly and then the good shall save the day? LOL, What else could you expect from a society that is crumbling from within. Don’t you think it was set up to fail?
In due time it shall all crumble to the ground, that’s what happens when you take out the foundation of buildings , the founders of this country met in secret and risked their lives so that people could have a country to be proud of, But some smart and evil minded people have figured ways to discredit what they built and wrote for our freedoms and they’ll even swear that it’s in our best interest when in fact it’s not, But you’ll buy it, then they’ll make it policy and then regulations shall follow and the whole circle shall continue to spiral into the Hole.

pablodaniel

Nov. 28, 2011, 8:32 a.m.

today Romania capitulated in front of CIA;

this is why any institution is disfunctional

if you understand psycho torture you"ll see the criminal hand of CIA

i can"t imagine how a person, like britney spears can support psycho torture, malpraxis created against her by CIA

in romania is a similar case, madalina manole, died. if you understand the model, you"ll see that usa and europe is into an invisible war create by CIA against them- slavery and murders

the other 99%

Nov. 28, 2011, 8:48 a.m.

Voting everyone out of Congress at one time? Will that just make it all even worse. Sorry, can’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, just a kneejerk reaction, with no positive result. Positive result is what the Voters are looking for, correct???? Voters have to support the members who are truely working for Americans good. And there are alot of them who do support that. The Voters did not support change in 2010, and strapped the Admin, ability to move in a positve direction. One vote for change is good, but weak attention to our problems. You must continue to support positive change. But, vote out all GOP members, as everyone can see, their distorted ideology, make it imposible for them, to do anything positive for jobs, the economy, and the future.

Tim

Nov. 28, 2011, 10:05 a.m.

We should just switch congress to a draft system where citizens over the age of 30 not in jail or a mental institution are randomly selected to serve 3 years in an anonymous congress at their current salary + inflation adjustments. Their names would be revealed only after their term and their usefulness to lobbys was gone. You could then have a witnessed debate from all sides of the argument before a vote.

Larry Turner

Nov. 28, 2011, 10:07 a.m.

Richard Axford:

RA: “Life isn’t fair. The concept of justice - that everyone should be treated fairly - is a worthy and worthwhile moral imperative on which our nation was founded. But justice and economic equality are not the same…No matter how you try to “level the playing field,” some people have better luck, skills, talents or connections that land them in better places…squander them… Is it fair? Stupid question.”

LT: You misinterpret the call for just and fair treatment. Not all for all, but what may be considered basal means for personal survival and dignity in an advanced industrial culture: Preventative and critical medical care when needed, shelters for the homeless, food for the hungry (soup kitchen, food stamps,…) , and work for all through appropriate distribution of capital. That is, tax rates that are closer to the pre-Reagan rates for the more well off individuals and profitable businesses, taxing capital gains as ordinary income, job incentive tax credits for incremental hiring by corporations (no number games; two year guarantee), exclusion of the 1st $25k for individuals and $50k for couples from taxation. Between incentives and massively overdue nationwide basic infrastructure projects to put people to work when capitalists don’t.

RA: “Nothing is “free.” Protesting with signs that seek “free” college degrees and “free” health care make you look like idiots, because colleges and hospitals don’t operate on rainbows and sunshine. There is no magic money machine to tap…”

LT: We most certainly do have the means for free public education and preventative and critical medical care for all our citizens. Several more civilized industrialized countries do approach or exceed these goals. If it weren’t for the supply side debt debacle of the Reagan and Bush 2 administrations plus the folly of using our military in massively expensive adventures of folly, we’d be even more capable.

RA: “There are reasons you haven’t found jobs. The truth? Your tattooed necks, gouged ears, facial piercings and dirty dreadlocks are off-putting. Nonconformity for the sake of nonconformity isn’t a virtue. Occupy reality: Only 4 percent of college graduates are out of work. If you are among that 4 percent, find a mirror and face the problem. It’s not them. It’s you.”

LT: Without quibbling about your 4% number being too low for all college graduates, I must note – given your generational intolerance theme – that unemployment amongst college graduates 25 and under is close to triple your 4%, and a large number of those employed are in survival jobs not directly related to their higher education.

John

Nov. 28, 2011, 10:44 a.m.

Oh, please.  Stop trying to dress this up as a philosophical debate or growing pains.  You hit the nail right on the head, Lois, but buried it in the middle of the article:

“Cooper notes that campaigns now cost millions of dollars, and that members of Congress are expected to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in party dues, as well as to make large donations to other candidates in their party.”  Note that the cost to get the job is an order of magnitude greater than the pay-out.  Why?

Congress is operating on machine politics, plain and simple.  Each representative exists for the sole purpose of supporting the party, the country be damned.  Boss Tweed would be so proud!

That’s also why the “relationships theory” is a smokescreen.  Any of us can work for a goal without knowing each other or liking each other.  I’m against the idea of running the country like a company, but corporate America gets this right:  You don’t even need to agree with your team to get good things accomplished.

And if any of us can do it for free or a low salary, the guys we pay six-figure salaries should be able to (and must) do it without needing to have play dates.  Anybody who can’t be absolutely trusted to vote in favor of the people over party interests or personal friendships should not be in office.

If it were up to me, I’d abolish political parties as conspiracy to usurp government authority, then abolish campaign spending.  In an age of public debates, social media, and ubiquitous journalism, if you need to spend a dime on a campaign, you’re doing something wrong.  And if you need a corporation (party) telling you what you believe in, then you can be replaced by an index card and there’s no reason to vote for you.

M. Gardea Bracamonte

Nov. 28, 2011, 10:45 a.m.

I am sick to death of those morons in congress.  I have not seen such idiocy since I was in the third grade.  All of those bought and paid for crooks no more give a hoot about those that put them there and care only for the bankers, wallstreeters and big pharma because they are deathly afraid that their pockets will cease to be stuffed by them.  When will the voters stop watching TV and get serious about getting rid of the vermin.

Christine Jeffords

Nov. 28, 2011, 10:54 a.m.

” “Of any free time you have, I would say 50 percent, maybe even more,” is spent on fundraising, one senator told Packer. “It sucks up time that a senator ought to be spending getting to know other senators, working on issues,” another said.”

The solution is clear.  Members of Congress, be they Senate or House, must be required to abide by strict term limits—a single term of, say, six years.  Then they wouldn’t have to fundraise because they couldn’t be re-elected.  The President has a term limit; why not Congress?

Larry Turner

Nov. 28, 2011, 2:55 p.m.

Richard Axford:

RA: “Life isn’t fair. The concept of justice - that everyone should be treated fairly - is a worthy and worthwhile moral imperative on which our nation was founded. But justice and economic equality are not the same…No matter how you try to “level the playing field,” some people have better luck, skills, talents or connections that land them in better places…squander them… Is it fair? Stupid question.”

LT: You misinterpret the call for just and fair treatment. Not all for all, but what may be considered basal means for personal survival and dignity in an advanced industrial culture: Preventative and critical medical care when needed, shelters for the homeless, food for the hungry (soup kitchen, food stamps,…) , and work for all through appropriate distribution of capital. That is, tax rates that are closer to the pre-Reagan rates for the more well off individuals and profitable businesses, taxing capital gains as ordinary income, job incentive tax credits for incremental hiring by corporations (no number games; two year guarantee), exclusion of the 1st $25k for individuals and $50k for couples from taxation. Between incentives and massively overdue nationwide basic infrastructure projects to put people to work when capitalists don’t.

RA: “Nothing is “free.” Protesting with signs that seek “free” college degrees and “free” health care make you look like idiots, because colleges and hospitals don’t operate on rainbows and sunshine. There is no magic money machine to tap…”

LT: We most certainly do have the means for free public education and preventative and critical medical care for all our citizens. Several more civilized industrialized countries do approach or exceed these goals. If it weren’t for the supply side debt debacle of the Reagan and Bush 2 administrations plus the folly of using our military in massively expensive adventures of folly, we’d be even more capable.

RA: “There are reasons you haven’t found jobs. The truth? Your tattooed necks, gouged ears, facial piercings and dirty dreadlocks are off-putting. Nonconformity for the sake of nonconformity isn’t a virtue. Occupy reality: Only 4 percent of college graduates are out of work. If you are among that 4 percent, find a mirror and face the problem. It’s not them. It’s you.”

LT: Without quibbling about your 4% number being too low for all college graduates, I must note – given your generational intolerance theme – that unemployment amongst college graduates 25 and under is close to triple your 4%, and a large number of those employed are in survival jobs not directly related to their higher education

Jesse Lyles

Nov. 28, 2011, 6:50 p.m.

Ya Congress is wrong in some area,but the Democrat,are giving your money away. Why haven’t the Left wing Media reported on the Obama and all is corruption’s. You had Acorn, Bill the bomber, Rev. Wright. Roland that sold Obama a house, Solyndra. Don’t forget Obama illegal Aunt, should I go on ?  Jesse L

William Jacobsen

Nov. 28, 2011, 10:48 p.m.

I think it time for a virtual congress and senate. Two hundred years ago it was not possible today it is. Gridlock would be a thing of the past. Lobbyists would have to present something palatable to the masses not just to a few individuals. Transparency would be a natural result.
This may seem to simplistic however,the system as it stands is not totally understood by anyone. There are people that have figured out how to work the system for personal gain but not how to make the system truly work .

Barry

Nov. 29, 2011, 12:44 a.m.

I agree with Julie: See above! It’s that simple: Maybe it is because they do not listen to their constituents and the American people but give their undivided attentions to corporations and lobbyists. It’s like the same old story a big gap between the rich and the poor, the haves and the have nots. The middle class as well as the lower income are obviously suffering.

Right on Julie!!!!

Bar

Didi Paano

Nov. 29, 2011, 1:46 p.m.

I agree with many of you to vote out the incumbents; however, even voting in NEW congressmen, etc., you still see the same problem.  Lobbyists and big business will ALWAYS have their hands in the pockets of anyone campaigning today.  No one can afford to campaign without these “hand outs” from the 1%; thus, you will still have corpocracy running our government.  Corporations are the only ones who can actually afford to “buy” a politician and use them shamelessly to get their bills approved, etc.  Electing new politicians won’t solve the problem until we get rid of lobbyists and corporate campaign funding!!!  I don’t see that happening any time in the near future since our politicians have become so comfortable with being “bought” by these corporations.  And, any politician who is so ignorant that they sign a petition by a non-politician; i.e., Grover Norquist, to go AGAINST the pledge that they made when they were elected should be put in jail for treason or impeached for not doing the job WE hired them for!!

Didi Paano

Nov. 29, 2011, 1:57 p.m.

Richard Axeford….well said!  I couldn’t agree more!  My parents taught me those things also.  I remember enlisting in the Army when I graduated from high school in 1964….mom told me that I had just signed my FIRST contract, and as such, I was bound to carry it out to the letter.  I was a WAC for 3 years; then left and joined the Army Reserve.  My contract continued for 23 years, and I learned that, as you said, nothing is free and you get paid what you’re worth.  The same goes for finding jobs….I was always taught to dress the part no matter what type of job you’re applying for….this means a suit, a skirt and blouse, or a nice dress and heels. 

The big problems that we have now, especially with OWS (which I agree with in some areas) is that these parents were never taught the same things that our parents in the 50’s taught us.  The expect to get everything for free, and it doesn’t work that way!  Even after I left the Army and began my college education, I had to get student loans.  To date, at age 65, I’m still paying them back.  Again, I signed the contract….I had to abide by it because that’s what grown ups to. 

So, congratulations on a great post!!!  Couldn’t agree with you more!

Jim Senter

Nov. 29, 2011, 2:59 p.m.

Except that the dysfunction isn’t the result of an overdose of partisanship and a refusal to move to “the center” [whatever the BLEEP that means.]

It’s a result of the partisan two step, where Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber fight over nothing to make it seem, in an election year, that there are differences between them. In fact, from the primacy of deficit reduction over job creation, to the allegedly destructive nature of taxes, to the need for a national security military industrial complex, the two parties dance the same dance. and agree on fundamentals As Ralph Nader said in the 2000 campaign, there’s not enough difference between to make a difference.

So we have to have absurd arguments in Congress to make it seem otherwise.

LA_Crystal

Nov. 29, 2011, 9:19 p.m.

Although I understand the reaction and have been there myself, I don’t think ‘throw them all out’ or term limits are wise approaches. It seems we have already made it difficult for most reasonably sane or ‘normal’ people to run for office. Anyone who dares throw their hat in the ring should know for sure every piece of dirt ever existing in their lives will be used by their political opponent. As a nation, we’ve got some crazy self-righteousness thing that probably prevents many of our best and brightest from wanting the job in the first place.

I also disagree with the ‘pox on both houses’ or ‘they’re all the same’ attitude when it comes to Congress and the 2 major parties. I detest the stranglehold the party machines have on our system. That said, there are some distinct differences between the platforms of the two parties and most candidates follow the platforms fairly closely.  While I do think far too many on both sides have been completely corrupted and the campaign finance process has deformed our government, please note the voting records of representatives and senators.

As several others have noted, one party favors our multi-national corporations - notice I said ‘multi-national.’ These corps have no loyalty to the US. None. Why do we have a major political party still trying to give the house away to them? The other party tried to extend unemployment benefits to those who have been devastated by the financial crisis instigated economic crash—the worst in many, many decades… The corporation party suddenly got religion about deficits and debt…

There is a big difference. President Obama is too far right for my taste, but the alternative is even further to the right. In Congress, we do have a few champions and I’d sure NOT like to see them kicked out due to term limits or someone’s ‘kick ‘em all out’ emotional reaction.

As to those who keep pounding on the whole ‘small government’ idea, I just wonder how they feel about the 700 or so military installations around the world. Just what the heck do you mean ‘small government?’ What it usually translates to is letting the government dictate what I want it to dictate but not what YOU want it to.. cut spending on things I don’t think are important so there’s still money for what I DO think is important (corporate ‘incentives?’ puleeze. I thought profits were their incentive!) AND lower my taxes. Because, really… those who wave the flag the most care the least about their country and are simply concerned with control and getting the most for good old #1. That is not the America I grew up in…

This country has been worthy of ridicule ever since Gingrich and the christian crew took over Congress in ‘94. That party has had disproportionate power ever since due to their fanatical base and willingness to go kamikaze with the country to get whatever they want. They have a solid 20-25% behind them—- if everyone knew what they were really about. The party needs to break away from the fanatics so they can get back to sanity and governing. Let the rabid wing of the party self-destruct without taking the rest of us with them.

Larry Turner

Nov. 30, 2011, 1:32 a.m.

LA_Crystal crystalizes many issues succinctly and clearly.

Not to wane too philosophical, the only difference between a U.S. and international corporation is it has either not taken an opportunity leap or has made a tacit decision to be strictly U.S. The latter has no advantage in the market place (for the economy, yes). Thus there is little difference between “U.S.” and not exclusively so; either will push for its own immediate interests über alles . Thinking small as a business strategy can be more home grown, but that a large corporation with large influence does not make.

Larry Turner

Nov. 30, 2011, 1:52 a.m.

To Didi Paano:

You are right, of course, that one should keep their word on all matters, be they contractual or otherwise. At the same time, our pervasive national issues are not a generation (or two) of freeloaders, but a corrupt system heavily loaded toward corporate wealth. This distorts use of social productivity toward capital investment that does not benefit the overall national economy. The primary role of government domestically is too protect the interests of the hard working many from the avaricious few.

Millions do not have jobs or are underemployed and loosing homes because of income loss, catastrophic medical conditions, etc., primarily because the common welfare is not the goal of the profits from the common production.

old vet still around

Nov. 30, 2011, 1:59 a.m.

When young once a soldier I trusted leadership, over thirty not trusted.  Now we are 60 and facing retirement with cuts.  The learned, EDUCATED , AND Experience Commitee couldn’t come thru now its left up to the turkey shoot.  During my youth we got to vote early making us accesory to the system.  Paid my dues and taxes based on a get by salary protecting our way of life.  When older / retired and democrate got to pay $25,000.00 cash to IRS only to read that year America forgave another countrys debt.  Now this same Government is against the Wall and won’t be able to afford me to retire.  The grandkids don’t have a chance.  Who are there examples?  Protestors in the mall?  Not likely.  I changed to Republican.  Only to be broke… and unsure if we’ll have a military to provide a basic defense,  especially since the rug is being pulled out from under them.  What good have we done by taking them out of harms way only to put them and their family out on the streets homeless, unemployed and limiting resources to cope with PTSD.  Is there such a person as a liberal slightly conservative republican.  Reading these post seem to appear to favor socialism.  My military days were spent in foriegn ports that were socialistic, with Americas Commitment their security was guaranteed and backed but their socialism is failing, example Greece AND and now Italy, they are trying to not be broke.  I am proud to be American but I stay out of Arizona and Alabama due to my hispanic heritage but don’t condone lawlessness and won’t side with others anti-american point of view.  Voting is our primary vehicle to utilize and be heard.

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