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Archive for June, 2008


Have you ever thought that the actions of your Representative in the House or by your Senators defy reason? Have you ever wondered why Congress can’t act on clear cut initiatives? Have you ever wondered why the voice of the people appears not to be heard? Well, here is why.

Welcome to Lobbying 101!

There are 22,000 registered government lobbyists. Tom Daschle (Barack Obama’s campaign co-chair) , his wife, and his son are registered lobbyists. These lobbyists do not just lobby Congress. They also lobby The White House, and all White Houses offices, including the Office of the Vice-President, and all Executive Departments. Incredibly they even lobby The White House’ National Security Council. These lobbyists not only saturate Capitol Hill, they also lobby the numerous Government Agencies reporting to Congress. Here is a partial list of the number of lobbyists by client industry:

  • Agriculture / Agronomy – (corn ethanol included here) 453
  • Banking / Finance 755
  • Energy / Electricity 685
  • Environment / Conservation 691
  • Foreign Relations 685
  • Governments and Government Related (this included your city and state) 896

The lobbying information was courtesy of http://www.lobbyists.info/

The Government and the Government Relations lobbies are my favorite. Congress and the Executive Branch are so tied up by lobbyists, your tax dollars have to pay for 896 lobbyists hired by your city, county, and state with your tax dollars just so you can be heard in Washington D.C. Just how mixed up are we?

My second favorite is the lobby of the National Security Council – these NSC folks make recommendations to the President on matters of National Security – just what does a lobbyist do here and why are they entitles to interfere. Again, just how mixed up are we?

Just how much money do these 22,000 people and their firms give to Senate and House campaigns every two and six years? How much pressure against your best interest comes from the lobbyist when they, their family, and their firm have contributed to your Representative or Senators? How much are your Representative or Senators selling their soul when they very subtly point out to a lobbyist that they did not see their name on the campaign donor list? You see it is illegal to ask a lobbyist directly for campaign contributions, while in government buildings or on government property. Are we sure that some of the very plentiful quasi-secret earmarks are not going to lobbyist projects to pay the lobbyist back for a contribution? Rest assured your Senators and Representative are literally selling their services. The good ones have no choice but to partake because they must keep up with the corrupt ones to stay in office. They are on a never ending fund raising carousel.

If we are to ever take our country back from the special interests represented by these lobbyists, we must take the money out of the lobbyist’s game. The Federal Elections Commission website lists individual contribution limits as follows:

To each candidate or candidate committee per election To national party committee per calendar year To state, district & local party committee per calendar year To any other political committee per calendar year[1] Special Limits
Individual
may give
$2,300* $28,500* $10,000
(combined limit)
$5,000 $108,200* overall biennial limit:

  • $42,700* to all candidates
  • $65,500* to all PACs and parties[2]

For more from the Federal Elections Commission on limits click here.

Based on this chart, if each lobbyist gives the maximum to each candidate, then combined all candidates would receive $939 Million. Each lobbyist is restricted to giving a combined $42,700 to all candidates and more if spouses were not registered lobbyists. Of course, all lobbyists are not going to give to all candidates and all spouses are not going to give. However, let’s consider the Banking and Finance lobby. This lobby can give each member of the House Committee on Financial Services and the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking $2,300. Combined, assuming that only one third of the Senate committee is up for election, the 77 committee members up for election might receive $134 Million or $1.7 Million each ($2,300 x 755 lobbyists x 77 members). Ask yourself why we are in a mortgage crisis?

SOLUTION?

The only solution to reigning in the Federal Government and our lost representation is to take the money out of Congressional election campaigns. This will need to be done with two or more Constitutional amendments.

The first would be the repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment, which stripped the States of their right to have a say in the Federal Government. Senators, until 1913 were elected by your state legislature and not by the people. This meant that the U.S. Senators answered to your state house and not lobbyists on your behalf.

The second would be to severely restrict ALL House campaign contributions to INDIVIDUALS PRIMARILY RESIDING in the district for that campaign. Only individual constituents, you, may contribute. You will not be competing with any influences from outside your district. All candidates will have to dip into the same pool, whether it be a wealthy or a poor district. When your Representative gets to Congress, you will have that person’s undivided attention.

Contact your state representatives and ask them to have your state legislature require Congress to call a Constitutional Convention to consider these changes. When two thirds of the states request the Convention, the amendments can be ratified by a three fourths vote at the Convention or a polling of the states and Congress will have nothing to say about it.

Read more about the proposed amendments and why we need them at: Why Is Congress The Way It Is?

We can either take back our Congress or continue to watch this nation’s ruination. We no longer have representation in Congress – it was not supposed to be like this. In the interim, you might start by NOT voting for any incumbents, no matter how good you might think they are. This will place 468 new fannies into the House and the Senate – it is a start.

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Listening to your Representatives in Congress and the pro drilling and anti-drilling pundits can be very frustrating. I heard this morning on a news show from a Democratic “Strategist” on a major news show that we will now not benefit from drilling for twenty years. Tom Daschle said this morning on Fox News Sunday that we would have no oil until 2030. Is he is actually stating that it would take 22 years to find oil and drill for it? Just last week I was hearing ten years to bring oil to the pumps as gasoline. What changed in the last week? These sides all seem to feel that energy from renewable or from depleting resources is an all or nothing proposition.

Here are some basics to consider to ease the frustration:

  • By 2030 the world’s energy consumption measured in BTU’s will be 146% of what it is today.
  • 86 Billion Barrels of untapped oil appear to be under our feet on shore and under our continental shelf off shore.
  • Our current annual imported oil consumption is about 7.6 Billion Barrels.
  • We have a 49 year supply of natural gas under our feet on shore and under our continental shelf off shore.
  • We have massive resources of coal, and if we can figure out how to use it cleanly, we are the most energy rich country, probably in the universe (a little exaggeration).
  • Growing our energy, unless it is grown on land that can’t grow food very well, means that we have less land to grow food for the world’s population to eat.
  • Growing both food and energy means that both food and energy are subject to weather shortfalls at harvest.
  • Wind is more viable than solar currently. Today’s cost to establish a wind turbine is $2Million per Megawatt. Texas presently holds 27% of the nation’s 16,193 Megawatts of wind turbine capacity. Wind turbine is the more promising of the renewable energy sources in the near future.
  • We currently send $500,000,000,000 ($500 Billion) annually to foreign economies for oil each year and this is expected to grow.
  • The annual U.S. trade deficit has been reported as $856.7 Billion or 6.5% of the economy. This trade deficit is slowly sucking the life blood out of our nation. If we eliminated the $500 billion from the $856.7 Billion – math says that we have a trade deficit of $356.7 Billion. If we drill for and increase the export of natural gas (It can be liquified for transport), we can wipe out the remaining trade deficit with energy alone.
  • As the world’s population grows, more food will be needed. More land will be needed to grow that food – probably arid land will have to be utilized.
  • We will need more water for drinking, for irrigation, and to extract geo-thermal energy .
  • To obtain this much water, we will have to start desalinizing ocean water – this will take an enormous amount of energy.
  • The mere announcement that the U.S. was going to open up drilling for 86 Billion Barrels of oil, would drive a spike through the oil futures speculators. They are smart; they bet on the future of energy consumption against the future of oil availability; they would see the potential of 86 Billion Barrels coming on line; the futures speculation would dissipate and the price of oil would start a decline just on the announcement.
  • The search for oil, both on shore and off shore, would bring jobs. The supply and support chain would require machinists, welders, and other skilled labor. These jobs would pay better than service work. These jobs would revive the Midwest and the Gulf States.

What if we actually elected some forward thinkers, for a change, and established a bipartisan plan to maximize energy production in this nation. We could use use royalties and tax incentives to balance the cost of the energy in an inverse relationship with how clean it is, how water intensive it is, and how much good growing land it uses. If we looked forward, and not with a myopic approach toward one type of energy, to develop every bit of energy we could, we could have a sound thriving economy, export energy to a world with a 146% energy hunger, and provide drinking water and irrigation to feed the world. This seems like a noble venture we could all get behind.

Why can’t we believe in and achieve “Having It All”? The Energy Information Administration Web Site is filled with information – check it out.

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Listening to the arguments and intentional misinformation spewing forth for and against drilling, it has become clear that this struggle is not between today’s low gas prices and high gas prices, but rather a struggle of ideologies. It is about forcing a change in the way we want to live or finding a way to continue to accommodate the way we want to live.

The Democratic Party’s defense of the status quo about not drilling for oil on shore and off shore is that the price at the pump will not come down tomorrow; drilling will not help for ten years – this was said by the same Party ten years ago; oil companies have 68 million acres not as yet drilled; ANWR, a frozen tundra covered in snow and ice so far north in the Arctic that no one will visit it for its scenic beauty, is too pristine to drill in a minuscule portion of that preserve; and on and on for the excuse of the day.

If you carefully examine the quotes on the topic of domestic drilling and pump price from Obama and other Party notables, a different motivation surfaces. These folks look to the high gas prices as a blessing. They seem to believe that high gas prices will finally force the SUV driving, air conditioning loving, home heating, energy wasting public to conserve. This is a “global warming trumps all other positions” manifesto. The elite of the Democratic Party are looking to and hoping for the pain at the pump to last indefinitely, and to use it as medicine to bring the energy loving fools in line. We have heard from Obama about how we must be more like Europe and conserve. Bottom line is that the Democratic Party elites simply do not want us burning oil. There is no attention paid to the ravages our economy has and will suffer at the hands of the foreign oil gods. There is no attention paid to how we have stripped our independence and defense bare as we have become dependent on these foreign oil gods.

The demographics of the Democratic Party have changed from the 50’s and the 60’s, when it was easy to spot a Democrat – he or she was a middle class working person who wanted protection from big business. Today’s Democrat can come from a variety of socio-economic positions. The Party ranges from the 1) secular progressives, usually affluent people who feel there is no moral right or wrong; 2) blue collar workers left over in the Party from the prior positions of the Party – these are the folks Obama referred to as “bitter”; 3) immigrants, both illegal and legal who are looking for a perceived better life; and 4) highly educated individuals who tend to be academics and who are pursuing the “I know what is best for you” agenda – these people truly believe that they are much smarter than the rest of us, therefore they need to tell us how to live our lives.

The Democratic Party hierarchy is filled with the “I know what is best for you folks” crowd, now led by Barack Obama, and this group, many who are also secular progressive, have decided that what is best for its party members and the independents, Republicans, and other assorted groups is to conserve and to go global. They want us to embrace the European lifestyle, have no confrontation with other nations – just let them be and all will be well, eat less, and ride our bicycles instead of driving. They have embraced the as yet unproved theorem that man is causing global warming, and yet they want us to make saving the planet our highest priority and that we must pay any price to accomplish this. Now just for a minute, let’s look at how this position affects the other Democratic Party members and the non-enlightened members of other parties and independents.

The blue collar crowd and immigrants, both legal and illegal, are being pounded by gas prices, food prices, health, and education expenses. To combat the perception that the Party does not care about these groups in its quest for European equalization, the Party has adopted a very socialistic view – let’s “villanize” corporations, especially big oil, the military, and any group that has the audacity to believe in any other policy than they do. The Democratic Party has embraced, even more than its historical positions, the take from the rich and give to the poor approach. Of course, they have to keep redefining the rich to accomplish this. If they do not take this position, then the elites in the Party will find that they will have lost the rank and file due to the policies of the Party – remember the pain of the expense of oil, food, etc. due to the march to save the planet from global warming. Also remember that taking from the rich and giving to the poor deprives this economy of the initiative to succeed and is self defeating in the long run.

This energy struggle is really about using today’s high cost of oil and the future high cost of oil to move this country off oil and toward incredibly expensive renewable energy before it is ready. While the drilling for oil today and tomorrow; and becoming self sufficient for energy will not immediately lower prices, it will mitigate the cost of energy, all types, in the years ahead as the world increases energy demand to 146%, of what it is today, by 2030 – EIA is the source. They do not want the U.S. to drill now and drill here because it interferes with their view of the future. They are not concerned about the impact of immediately moving to expensive renewable energy, before it is ready, done by restricting access to domestic oil and gas. They are not concerned that this method will negatively impact this nation by undermining our economy before we reach the utopia of 100% renewable energy. This premature move will make us dangerously vulnerable to foreign powers; and will make these foreign powers even richer and more powerful than then they have become today due to oil.

This Democratic Party Hidden Energy policy does not take into consideration that hybrid vehicles, and solar arrays are out of the price reach of many of their rank and file, as well as many other Americans due to the pain at the pump and other forces squeezing their wallets. It does not consider that hydrogen vehicles and electric cars are still experimental and when ready will also be priced out of reach for these people. They do not consider that the SUV and pickup owners along with the home heating oil consumers in this country cannot easily exchange their vehicles for the hybrids, or their equipment for solar heating because it is too expensive to do so.

Let’s remember that the Republican Party has offered no real energy solutions or any plan for energy either. The Republicans are not as smarmy as the Democratic elites about energy. If fact, they are pretty transparent about not addressing this problem either. They are just more straight forward about their incompetence.

This country needs a comprehensive energy policy now. It should cover how we transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy. It should cover how drilling here and drilling now will strengthen our economy. It should cover how drilling here and drilling now will add good paying jobs to the economy. It should cover how we develop and initiate renewable energy in an energy matrix that includes all other forms of energy. Unless we choose to become a second tier society, as Europe has chosen, saving our economy does trump the attention paid to global warming. We can do both, but a blended plan is required.

Energy independence early on from oil and natural gas and transitioning through 2030 to mostly renewable energy will keep us from sending more than $500,000,000,000 – yes Five Hundred Billion – to other nations annually to acquire replacement oil for the oil we are currently sitting on. Sending this much money to foreign powers each year has undermined and is undermining our economy, our standard of living, and our security in the world. If Norway, a “clean” nation, can drill off shore for energy independence, and France and Sweden can use nuclear power for their version of energy independence, we can have our own march toward energy independence starting with drilling everywhere and finishing with renewable energy to burn so to speak. If the Democrats and the Republicans representing you in Congress do not want to build a comprehensive national security saving, economy saving, and environment saving energy plan covering the energy transition of this nation through 2030, then you are represented by the wrong person. Think about that in November.

Added June 22, 2008 9:33 PM MST- Arizona

The following is information from the American Petroleum Institute that refutes the claims by most Democratic politicians and Democratic strategists that the oil companies have 68 million leased acres to drill on and that they should drill on these leases first. This refrain from the left to make arguments against drilling falls into the hidden agenda. Here are questions and answers to the leases about why drilling takes place or not. The API makes a lot more sense then these reckless individuals who will spout just about anything to prevent drilling.

The facts about non-producing federal leases:

CLAIM: Oil and natural gas companies are given leases by the government and purposely don’t produce from them to increase prices.

FACT: Companies pay billions of dollars for the right to explore on federal lands. If the company does not produce within the lease term, it must give the lease back to the government, and the company does not recover the billions of dollars it may have invested.

CLAIM: Companies let many of their leases sit idle and don’t produce them

FACT: Companies actively develop their leases – but not every lease contains oil or natural gas in commercial quantities. In many cases, the so-called “idle leases” are not idle at all; they are under geologic evaluation or in development and could be an important source of domestic supply. However, this does not mean all leases have the potential to produce. Companies can evaluate leases for several years only to determine that they do not contain oil or natural gas in commercial quantities. The road to bring the oil and natural gas to market — obtaining the lease, evaluation, exploration and production — is a long and complicated one.

CLAIM: If the lease doesn’t contain oil or natural gas, then the company shouldn’t have bought it.

FACT: There are tremendous risks and challenges involved in finding and producing oil and natural gas. There is no guarantee that a lease will even contain hydrocarbons. It is not unusual for a company to spend in excess of $100 million only to drill a dry hole. A company usually has only has limited knowledge of resource potential when it buys a lease. Only after the lease is acquired, will the company be in the position to evaluate it, usually with a very costly seismic survey followed by an exploration well.

CLAIM: There’s absolutely no reason for a company not to produce if it finds oil or gas on the lease.

FACT: If the company finds resources in commercial quantities, it will produce the lease. But there can sometimes be delays – often as long as seven to 10 years – for environmental and engineering studies, to acquire permits, install production facilities (or platforms for offshore leases) and build the necessary infrastructure to bring the resources to market. Litigation, landowner disputes and regulatory hurdles can also delay the process.

CLAIM: The vast majority of federal and gas resources are already available for development.

FACT: In the Lower 48 states, about 85 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf and 67 percent of onshore federal lands are off-limits or facing significant restrictions to development. There is no way, at this stage, to determine exactly the extent of the resources off-limits because many of these areas have not been subject to inventory studies in decades.

CLAIM: Non-producing leases could provide a major source of new supplies.

FACT: Many of these leases will provide a major source of new domestic supply once they are developed. Companies are actively developing the leases, and in addition to paying for the lease, they must also pay rent to the government while they conduct development and exploration efforts. But this process takes time. Reducing the time companies have to develop a lease or increasing the costs imposed by government will not increase supply for American consumers. Nor will denying access to areas of oil and natural gas potential like the Atlantic and Pacific OCS.

CLAIM: Increased domestic drilling activity has not led to lower gasoline prices, and more leases and drilling won’t help either.

FACT: Our nation needs more supplies of all forms of energy, including domestic oil and natural gas, to meet its growing energy demand. Increased drilling has helped the United States offset the natural declines in domestic oil and natural gas production from older fields. Greater drilling activity tends to produce more supply. Fundamental economics suggest that additional supplies put downward pressure on prices.

CLAIM: Companies should be penalized for not producing from their leases.

FACT: Oil and gas companies take all the risk with federal leases. Not only do they pay billions to obtain leases, they pay to hold them while they are spending even more capital to determine if these leases contain resources. Penalties on leaseholders on top of those fees would only discourage U.S. exploration and production, at a time when the United States needs all the energy it can get.

Added June 24, 2008:

You will hear that it takes 10 years to bring oil to the gas pump – the answer according to the American Petroleum Institute is 7 to 10 years depending on location and infrastructure. Now the rhetoric has been heightened by the left . Tom Daschle on Fox News Sunday, June 22, 2008, stated that oil from new drilling would not be available until 2030. As this is outright intentional misinformation, it supports the argument that the left has a hidden agenda.

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The latest argument being made by some who do not wish to drill for oil domestically both offshore and onshore, is that there are simply not enough ocean going drilling vessels to meet the need.

The U.S. shipbuilding industry, once robust and a world leader, is now nearly gone. A combination of international cost economics and union rules made this industry shrivel up. If it was not for the few military ships being built and refitted, it would have blown away. This is a JOBS opportunity!

Our energy circumstances are calling for drilling both onshore and offshore and a need for ocean going drilling ships. This is a grand opportunity to rebuild the U.S. Shipbuilding industry and create good paying career oriented jobs in the process. These circumstances have placed this opportunity right on our doorstep. Now the question must be asked. What other job opportunities will arise from the search for domestic oil? How many related jobs will be in need of U.S. workers to fill them? The entire supply chain for the drillers and the ship builders, plus the entire delivery chain for both will be, itself, a massive mostly self financed jobs program offering the type of jobs that are the backbone of the American middle class. These jobs would reverberate through the Midwest, especially Ohio, and the Katrina ravaged Gulf Coast. These jobs would require skills to be acquired through training. How about a jobs training program for these and related industries to make these jobs happen? Training means trainers and yet more skilled jobs.

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Today this country consumes about 20,000,000 barrels of oil daily or 7.3 billion barrels of oil annually. We import about half that – 9.9 million barrels per day or 3.6 billion barrels annually. A Bureau of Land Management Study, incorporating data from the Energy Information Administration, The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Minerals Management Service, The Study , indicates that this country has undiscovered oil resources of 139 billion barrels of which 86 billion barrels are offshore under the outer continental shelf.

Today this country consumes 22 trillion cubic feet of natural gas of which 19 trillion cubic feet is produced domestically and 3 trillion cubic feet is imported. This Nation’s onshore and offshore undiscovered natural gas resources total 1,056 trillion cubic feet. The study states that the United States has a 49 year supply of natural gas. (Yes I know that the math indicates 48 years – must be rounding.)

If Congress stopped listening to the special interests including the environmentalists, this country could be self sustaining for oil for 19 years after pumps are pumping and for natural gas for 49 years at present rates of consumption, longer for both as we phase in renewable energy. This equates to a trade balance savings of $9.2 trillion at today’s prices and consumption sent to foreign powers, in oil alone. Just think how this change in our trade balance would improve our economy and our standard of living.

If you are still not convinced, then consider that an extrapolated world energy consumption is 478.9 quadrillion BTU’s in 2008. The projected world energy consumption in 2030 is 701.6 quadrillion BTU’s. In 22 years the world’s annual energy consumption will be 146.5% of what it is today.  What will that do to energy prices?

Planned correctly, we can sustain our energy needs for that period, move to natural gas over oil, and develop the much needed renewable energy production capabilities for the second half of the 21st century. Could these worldwide supply and demand numbers be driving up the cost of oil in speculation markets? Yes! Just how dumb are we? We will not drill in all Federal lands and off the California and Florida shores. The Middle Atlantic coast alone has vast natural gas resources, these can be tapped as well.

As late as last week, Congress was scrambling to declare more land to be off limits to protect the scenic beauty of this nation, while we are in an energy struggle with the world. We do not have a national security based energy plan and have not had one, period. Our Presidents and our Congresses have not seen fit to ensure that the lifeblood of this nation’s production capability and our survival is planned and secure. President Bush wants a legacy, well how about leaving us with a sound comprehensive national security based energy plan. We have Congresspersons and Senators, who refuse to open up drilling and recklessly are spouting how we will power this nation with wind and solar, and they do not have a clue, otherwise, they would be preparing this energy plan and utilizing our existing natural resources to protect our economy.

The following charts are from the Energy Information Administration and they project the source of energy used by this nation till 2030. This chart assumes that the Florida and California continental shelves remain off limits as is drilling on much Federal land, such as ANWR. Note the size of the contribution of renewable energy to the matrix.

Energy Production by Fuel

The second chart indicates what our shortfall of consumption will be, if we do not move to full utilization of our domestic energy reserves – that is a 40 quadrillion shortfall.

Total Energy Production and Consumption

It is amazing what can be found at the Energy Information Administration, the Bureau of Land Management, the USGS, and the Minerals Management Service web sites. Opening up all the currently off limits land and continental shelves is the only smart thing to do, if we are to remain a power and possess the standard of living to which we have become accustomed. A sound energy plan is one of The Two Most Important Issues Facing America Today. Assuming that renewable energy will be sufficient to fully drive this nation during the next 20 years is a pipe dream. If your representative in Congress is still on the renewable energy bandwagon at the expense of drilling for oil and natural gas today, you may want to set them straight.

Wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, are all necessary sources of energy for this nation and must be pursued now. These renewable energy sources will power our nation in the second half of the 21st century. I did not mention ethanol and other biofuels, because corn based ethanol is just plain dumb – we need the land to feed the world, other ethanol based sources are not nearly ready, and some of the more exotic plants used for biofuels are a late 21st century source of energy. If you follow the global warming people to the promised land of corn ethanol, you will find that the corn crop and other biofuels crops are subject to all the weather interruptions they claim global warming will cause. Can we grow our way to energy independence if the weather is a factor in both food supplies and energy supplies? Not smart!

A true energy plan will help us securely transition from fossil fuel to new forms of energy. We must transition and not make a wild jump before the new fuels are fully ready. If you do not want this country thrust into energy chaos, both financially and physically, tell your Representatives to get smart, drill, plan, and do it now.

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What’s wrong?

  • Gas at the pump soaring!
  • Food used as fuel – ethanol – adopted without an understanding of its impact – pushed by lobbyists!
  • Oil Companies still receive federal subsidies!
  • Food prices soaring!
  • Congress intentionally slowing completion of the border fence.
  • Earmarks costing the taxpayers billions!
  • Congress using earmarks to return favors to campaign contributors.
  • Lobbyists / special interests contributing to Congressional campaigns, heavily influencing your Representatives.
  • Congress regularly deferring to lobbyists over the voter.
  • Seniority system in Congress fueling almost absolute power to a select few Senators and Representatives.
  • Congress riddled with ethics violations, both rule violations and moral violations.
  • Rampant disregard of the public trust.
  • Senators and Representatives entering Congress with little personal wealth and leaving with great personal wealth.
  • Partisan politics nearly always trumps what is good for America and good for the American people.
  • Funds wasted on earmarks and redundant Federal programs.
  • America’s sovereignty and national security at risk due to oil.
  • America’s oil independence abdicated by Congress in favor of lobbyists.
  • Congress is 38% lawyers.

This list should be enough of an indictment on Congress and how it functions to warrant changes – big changes. Today’s Congress does not run as was intended by the founding fathers. Why should your Representatives be listening to and acting upon requests from constituents of other Districts and States and not you? Why would a Senator or Representative take actions contrary to the well being of their constituent and nation? It is all about money! Money for reelection to perpetuate this non-representation of constituents. Money to be able to leave Congress very wealthy. Congress has become a lure for those who seek power and money from that power. Lobbyists provide the money to power campaigns in all sorts of devious ways. Senators and Representatives repay campaign contributors with un-debated and often weakly disclosed earmarked projects. Congress is almost the definition of broken government or more aptly corrupt government. Our Congress often makes the Iraqi and Mexican Parliaments look like a Boy Scout Jamboree.

Why is it wrong?

The Senate: The founding fathers placed checks and balances in the Constitution for the States to control the Federal Government. This was done to ensure that the States remained an equal partner. It was also done to keep power from being concentrated. In 1913, Congress, after years of trying to make Senate elections direct and not serve the legislatures, with the help of a powerful newspaper chain (Hearst Newspapers – Randolph Hearst felt he could control elections of Senators if they were directly elected, by swaying public opinion about the candidates) pushed through the Seventeenth Amendment – the House Joint Resolution 39 and the Ratification process are still questioned today as whether the Constitution was followed. The Congress with a strong popular movement by the voters due to the wide reaching Hearst chain’s agenda journalism was in an absolute rush to push the amendment through.

What did the amendment change? From the founding of this nation until the Seventeenth in 1913, Senators were elected by the States’ Legislatures and represented the States. Senators were obliged to mind the wishes of the States’ Legislatures. The Senate, the upper house, was the voice of the States in the Federal Government. The only lobby the Senators could really listen to was the lobby that elected them – their legislature. After the Seventeenth Amendment, the Senate was elected by directly by the voter, but this made them subject to the growing threat of lobbyists. Senate campaigns now run between ten million and one hundred million dollars, depending on location. This requires money from people, PAC’s, and corporations, not of your state, seeking to influence future votes on matters concerning them that may be contrary to your state’s needs. The direct election of Senators removed any control your State had over the growth of and the operation of the Federal Government.

The House of Representatives: The founding fathers intended the House to be the lower house, made up of citizen legislators. It was not to be a permanent home for Representatives serving for up to 50 years, as is the case of Representative John Dingell. These citizen legislators were to be the direct representative of the people of their district, serving the needs of the people of their district, and listening only to the people of their district. Today, to run for the House of Representatives, it will cost upwards of $5 Million for both the primary and general elections. This money primarily comes from outside your Congressional District. It comes from lobbyists in devious ways, corporations, again in devious ways, and from political parties. Since most of the money for the campaign does not come from the District, you do not get represented, the contributors do. Someone or some entity in Florida does not contribute to a campaign in a Texas District, without expecting votes in return. Votes often not in your best interest.

What do we do about it?

First, fix the Senate and return checks and balances back to your State. Push, plead with, and prod your State Legislature, through a Constitutional Convention, to repeal the Seventeenth Amendment.

Second, return your House Representative to his or her role of Citizen Legislator. Take the big money out of the job. Remove the overarching influence on these Representatives away from people and entities not in your District. Push, plead with, and prod your State Legislature to, through that Constitutional Convention, to amend the Constitution to restrict campaign contributions to House candidate campaigns. Require candidates for the House of Representatives to only accept campaign contributions of money, property, or services in kind from INDIVIDUALS PRIMARILY RESIDING in the candidate’s district. No money from lobbyists outside the District, no money from Corporations, and no money from political parties. The cost of a campaign will drop dramatically, creating a level playing field for candidates. The elected representative from your District, will only have you the voter/constituent to serve.

Third, at that Constitutional Convention, push, plead with, and prod your State Legislature to, through the Convention, propose a Constitutional Amendment that restricts all spending bills to be of like nature, military, agriculture, health, etc, and spending provisions may not be including in an amendment – it must be in the main body of the bill and clearly disclose in the bill if it is a targeted expense to one District or to one State and not a broad based spending bill. This will eliminate earmarks.

Fourth, Simply do not vote for an incumbent in November. This will replace 468 sitting Senators and Representatives for the 111th Congress in 2009. How is that for a message to Congress?

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