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Professional Congressmen – Why?  Today there are 251 members of the House of Representatives serving for more than ten years or five terms.  This is nearly 58% of the House of Representatives.  Remember the House is the people’s house and the representatives serving in this house were intended by our founding fathers to be of the people and from the people.  When representatives serve in the House for more than two terms they become insolated from the people.  They begin to work the system for their own benefit and not for the benefit of their constituents.  Mostly this is caused by the treatment they receive from lobbyists and the personal wealth they begin to obtain.  The more time in the House, the more power they can build and the more they can build an organization that will keep them being reelected, by making contribution connections – contributions most often originating out of their district.  This means that they are now representing contributors of other districts and not the people of their district.  The old adage that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” is simply how our Congress works.

The numbers about tenure become more frightening as you look at the more senior members of the House.  Today there are 42 Democrats and 20 Republicans serving for more than twenty years.  Nineteen representatives, fifteen Democrats and four Republicans, are now serving for more than thirty years or an unconscionable fifteen terms.  Two Democratic representatives are serving for more than forty years.  The number and dollar amount of earmarks is almost in a direct ratio with the time in Congress and the power achieved. As a Congressman delivers more earmarks, they build a contribution base and name recognition to aid them in reelection.  Remember that many of these earmarks are payback to political contributors and are not in the best interest of the district, the state, or the country.

Still not convinced that this professional Congress needs to change?  Consider that these people represent old thinking, with little recent real world experience or real world business or management skills, and a heavy dose of cronyism.  Most committee chairs are based on longevity and have the power and connections to kill bills or fast track bills on their own.

The Senate, the upper house with longer six years terms, suffers it own brand of professional legislator.  Ten Democrats and zero Republicans are now serving for more than twenty-four years or four terms in the senate (update – 9 with the loss of Senator Kennedy).  Of this group, three members are serving for five terms or thirty years and three are serving for more than thirty-six years or six terms.

Only fifty-four members of the House are freshman representatives (32 Democrats and 22 Republicans).  This group represents little more than 12% of the House.  In reality, there are enough members of the House of Representatives serving longer than most members of the Senate that determining which body is the upper house or the lower house is difficult.  Statistics indicate that voters (that’s us) return their Congressman and Senator to Congress at an alarming repeat rate of over 90%.  Does this absurd unrealistic return rate represent a love affair of the voter with his or her representation or does it reflect a broken system where power makes it nearly impossible for an incumbent to lose and allows little opportunity for new blood?

When did serving in Congress become an occupation? When did it stop being a noble calling of fellow citizens who put real careers on hold to serve their country for a limited time?

If we are to have a country of the people, by the people, and for the people, then we must make changes.  Congress will not change on its own.  We need term limits applied to both the House and the Senate. We need to limit both Congressional Representatives and Senators to no more than two consecutive terms – but how?  We need a constitutional convention called by the states with two goals.  The first is to limit congressional terms and the second is to make changes to reinstate state’s rights over a massive out of control incompetent federal government.  Return this country to the vision of the founding fathers.

Contact your representative to your state’s legislature (not your U.S. representative) and push for your state to call for a constitutional convention to achieve these two goals.

Listed below are the twenty year plus Congressmen and women who have been in power far too long and need to move on to a real job, if they are able.  They are grouped by state with party affiliation and district following the name.  Those with 30 and 40 years in Congress are so indicated.  Click on the name and see a summary of the rereprsentative’s background and congressional status, including committee assignments.

If you wish to breakdown your Congress by other attributes than term go to Contacting the Congress: Power Search.

Twenty Years Plus
Representative Don Young (R – Alaska At Large) 30 Yrs
Representative Wally Herger (R – CA02)
Representative George Miller (D – CA07) 30 Yrs
Representative Nancy Pelosi (D – CA08)
Representative Fortney (Pete) Stark (D – CA13) 30 Yrs
Representative Elton Gallegly (R – CA24)
Representative David Dreier (R – CA26)
Representative Howard L. Berman (D – CA28)
Representative Henry A. Waxman (D – CA30) 30 Yrs
Representative Jerry Lewis (R – CA41) 30 Yrs
Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R – CA46)
Representative Cliff Stearns (R – FL06)
Representative C. W. (Bill) Young (R – FL10) 30 Yrs
Representative John Lewis (D – GA05)
Representative Leonard L. Boswell (D – IA03) 30 Yrs
Representative Jerry F. Costello (D – IL12)
Representative Peter J. Visclosky (D – IN01)
Representative Dan Burton (R – IN05)
Representative Harold Rogers (R – KY05)
Representative Richard E. Neal (D – MA02)
Representative Barney Frank (D – MA04)
Representative Edward J. Markey (D – MA07) 30 Yrs
Representative Steny H. Hoyer (D – MD05)
Representative Dale E. Kildee (D – MI05) 30 Yrs
Representative Fred Upton (R – MI06)
Representative Sander M. Levin (D – MI12)
Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D – MI14) 40 Yrs
Representative John D. Dingell (D – MI15) 40 Yrs
Representative James L. Oberstar (D – MN08) 30 Yrs
Representative Ike Skelton (D – MO04) 30 Yrs
Representative David E. Price (D – NC04)
Representative Howard Coble (R – NC06)
Representative Christopher H. Smith (R – NJ04)
Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (D – NJ06)
Representative Donald M. Payne (D – NJ10)
Representative Gary L. Ackerman (D – NY05)
Representative Edolphus Towns (D – NY10)
Representative Charles B. Rangel (D – NY15) 30 Yrs
Representative Eliot L. Engel (D – NY17)
Representative Nita M. Lowey (D – NY18)
Representative Louise McIntosh Slaughter (D – NY28)
Representative Marcy Kaptur (D – OH09)
Representative Peter A. DeFazio (D – OR04)
Representative Paul E. Kanjorski (D – PA11)
Representative John P. Murtha (D – PA12) (update – now deceased) 30 Yrs
Representative John M. Spratt, Jr. (D – SC05)
Representative John J. Duncan, Jr. (R – TN02)
Representative Bart Gordon (D – TN06)
Representative John S. Tanner (D – TN08)
Representative Ralph M. Hall (R – TX04)
Representative Joe Barton (R – TX06)
Representative Lamar Smith (R – TX21)
Representative Solomon P. Ortiz (D – TX27)
Representative Rick Boucher (D – VA09)
Representative Frank R. Wolf (R – VA10)
Representative Norman D. Dicks (D – WA06) 30 Yrs
Representative Jim McDermott (D – WA07)
Representative F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R – WI05) 30 Yrs
Representative Thomas E. Petri (R – WI06)
Representative David R. Obey (D – WI07) 30 Yrs
Representative Alan B. Mollohan (D – WV01)
Representative Nick Joe Rahall, II (D – WV03) 30 Yrs

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Tired and frustrated about Washington, D.C.?  Do you believe that Congress is out of touch with the people?  Do you believe that Congress does not represent us and instead represents special interests with their legions of lobbyists and big campaign donations.  It also seems clear that those in Congress have a sole purpose of continuing to serve and this purpose is to do everything and anything they can to remain in Congress.  Have you noticed that those who retire usually retire very wealthy?

Where else can we be told time and time again how the Congress will clean up its act, yet we suffer powerful committee chairpersons and rules designed to keep and grow the status quo.  The affliction of power brought about by seniority affects both parties.  Our two party system appears to be the problem and not the solution – ideology takes second place to capturing power and remaining in office.  Their real constituent is reelection!  We routinely return the incumbent to Congress at greater than a 90% rate.  Something is radically wrong when the very people who complain about the Congress, us, routinely return their representatives to Congress more than 90% of the time.  Perhaps this 90% return rate is not totally our fault, but can be traced to the design of the election system, campaign funding, and the support of special interests.  Does it seem right that your Congressman or Congresswoman is more influenced by money from outside his or her district?  Why should some agricultural company in Hawaii be allowed to monetarily influence a Congressman from an industrial district in Pennsylvania?  It happens that money flows in to Congressional campaigns from all over the United States and yes, Europe and China, among other places.  Why is it okay for everyone in the world to buy the loyalty of your representation in Washington?

If and when you call your representative in Congress, you will most likely get voice mail that asks you to leave a message about your issue.  They keep raising the funding for the staffing of their offices, yet there is no one to answer the phone?  These people feel so insulated that they have openly and brazenly discussed, and in committee voted to add a voting representative in Congress to the District of Columbia and the State of Utah.  This is highly unconstitutional behavior – the Constitution is crystal clear on how representation is handled and representation is not established by the Congress at their whim.  This vote in committee and soon to be a floor vote represents the ultimate example of people serving in Congress suffering the aphrodesiac of unchecked power.

What can we do about our Congress?  Can we amend the Constitution?  Congress controls the Constitutional amendment process or do they?  Our Constitution provides for an alternate amendment process, one initiated by the states.  A state can call for a constitutional convention and if two thirds of the states agree, i.e. 34 states, it convenes.  The states send representatives to the convention and any amendment coming out of the convention needs ratification by three fourths of the states, i.e. 38 states, to become an amendment of the United States Constitution.   Now you can petition your state legislators, your representatives in your capitol, for a constitutional convention to change Congress and to restore lost rights back to the states.

We can seek a change in how Senators are elected.  When the Constitution was adopted, it provided for election of Senators by the states legislatures and not direct election of the senators by the people.  While this method was subject to politics and political maneuvering, it gave the States a say in the size of the federal government, the judiciary, and foreign affairs through the Senate.  It was the seventeenth amendment that made this change.  We need to repeal the seventeenth and replace it with an amendment that provides for election of senators by their respective legislatures, with a restriction on recall requiring a two thirds vote in all houses of legislature of the state – Nebraska has only one house of legislature, while the others have two.  This would take the pandering and special interests out of the Senate, since Senators would not need multiple millions to run for reelection.  This amendment would add an additional check and balance – the state itself through its Senators.

We can seek an amendment that would limit campaign contributions in cash, property, or services to an individual residing or a corporation headquartered in the district of the congressional candidate – no political party contributions, thus only constituents are important to the member of Congress.

We can seek an amendment that requires all spending bills and any spending appropriation to be of like kind in a bill, be in the body of the bill with no spending amendments, and have gone through committee and been approved by the majority of the committee.  This will eliminate earmarks. 

We can seek a change in ballots across this nation for candidates for a federal office.  No longer can states make special rules that make it hard for third party candidates to get on state ballots for president and vice-president, or congressional representatives.  This would stimulate the candidacy of members of parties other than Democrat or Republican parties.

We can seek term limits on members of the House of Representatives to three terms.  This will eliminate the individual absolute power some members of Congress have achieved.

These few amendments will re-establish this republic and fix the now forever and perpetually corrupt Congress.  Members of Congress are addicted to a drug of Congressional power and will never give it up on their own.  We need to make this change through the states – push your state representatives to make these changes.  Tell them these amendments will provide the states with more rights and make it easier and less costly for the state representatives to run for federal office.

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Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, does not want to drill for oil off our coasts and will reverse the Bush Administration’s position on off shore drilling.  He prefers wind and solar.  I also prefer wind and solar, but I understand that effectively creating a new national energy infrastructure with additional and rebuilt power grids is tentative at best in the next ten years.  Why do we need to gamble on getting it right with a massive shift on source energy and delivery, when we can have that domestic off shore oil as a security blanket?  If we were to displace off shore oil with domestic wind and solar, we could become an oil exporter and actually change the balance of trade deficit to a trade surplus. 

Watch Salazar’s statement on Bloomberg.   Read Bloomberg’s article here.

Regardless of what he says, no matter the excuses he makes, the public interest calls for domestic offshore drilling now – it is clearly in our national security interest.

If we drilled for and sold our off shore oil on the open market, we could blunt the sale of oil by nations like Iran, Russia, and Venezuela.  We could actually use oil as a foreign policy tool.  We need all the edge we can get.  Yes, right now the price of oil is down, but where will it be in five years?  The Democrats put us in a bind over the recent oil price hike, with decisions that made it difficult for us to have more domestic oil on hand when we needed it.  It has been the war against off shore drilling by democrats that has left us defenseless against foreign oil.  The balance of power in the world will be in our favor if we have our own oil to use and possibly sell.  If we are successful in switching to renewable power generation, other nations may not switch as successfully.  Other nations will still need oil – it is better that they get it from us than from nations hostile to us.  In any event, wind and solar source energy will be a fifty year national change over. 

The Obama administration is so intent on shifting to green energy to save the world, that they are gambling our near term ten year future on an untried and unproven massive change on source energy and source energy delivery to power our entire nation.  Why not drill just in case?  Keep in mind that both wind and solar are harvested where the energy grid is not.  We need to build out our energy grid to deliver the wind and solar source energy through the existing grid for delivery to businesses and homes.  This necessary grid project alone is massive and wrought with a not in my backyard mentality (NIMBY).  Shutting out the mining for and drilling for domestic oil resources located off shore is foolish and myopic.  Gambling on adequately replacing our foreign oil with solar and wind in the next ten years is not only foolish, but arrogantly foolhardy.  It is national security negligence.

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Updated: March 23, 2010

The two most important issues facing this nation are now very clear.  These two issues have now risen past all other issues previously highlighted in this blog.  The first big issue is:

We now have a House of Representatives where the progressives hold just about all committee chairmanships; A Senate with progressives from both parties holding key committee positions; we have an extreme progressive as Speaker of the House; an extreme progressive as Senate Majority Leader; and an extreme progressive, near socialist, as President of the United States.  I use the term progressive, because I believe the progressives have taken over the Democratic Party – it is certainly not the party of John F. Kennedy and not the party that my mother and father admired.  To digress a bit, just take a good look at the advisors with which our President surrounds himself.  These are for the most part radical revolutionaries with the pedigrees to match.

Their agenda is simple, provide as much social legislation without regard to the debt and to our ability to pay the bill.  This is the first big issue facing America.  The means used to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act demonstrated that this group of progressives believes that the end, that they seek, justifies the means with which they achieve the end.

They stopped at nothing in their effort to push a piece of legislation by going outside the rules of each House of Congress, by buying votes from legislators with our money, by a complete obfuscation of the true facts about the bill when informing or rather ill informing the public.  They wrote provisions into the bill to force the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to provide a dollar amount that was on the surface revenue neutral, even a debt reducer, when it is neither.  They did this by double counting supposed savings in a number of areas, with an egregious mis-count on Medicare savings to the tune of $563 Billion.

They sold this bill to the public as a bill to insure thirty-two million uninsured Americans, yet they do not cover these Americans for years.  In fact, the thirty two-million includes illegal aliens, but we were told that no illegal aliens would be covered.  What we were not told was that the next bill up in Congress, and they have started to work on this, is to provide amnesty for these illegal aliens, so they will be covered as well.

In this bill the Democrats have given the Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority and the marching orders 1,200 times to write her own rules for all sorts of health care, from payments to procedures, to insurance, to who is covered, to rationing, since thirty-two million newly insured will need to be covered by the same number of doctors who now practice – rationing will be necessary.  The Secretary has now been given the ability to write law without Congressional oversight. Remember the Secretary is Kathleen Sibelius, who refused to take action against “Tiller the Baby Killer” when she was governor, because he contributed heavily to her campaign.  “Tiller The Baby Killer” was one of two or three doctors in Kansas who would routinely abort late-term babies for frivolous reasons, before he was assassinated – these were babies who could have lived outside the womb.

This bill is actually a violation of Roe v. Wade – the Supreme Court decision that protected a women’s right to do with her body as she sees fit.  This also applies to men who wish to do with their body as they see fit.  Should men or women choose to not have health insurance and not to seek regular medical care, they have that right under Roe v. Wade. Read: Roe v. Wade to the Rescue: right to privacy or health care mandates.

One last item about this bill, is that you can search it high and low and you will find nothing in it that attempts to control the cost of health care.  Why?  Well, this bill is only intended to drive the health insurance companies out of business, leading to single payer universal health care, just as found in Canada and Great Britain.   Until this happens, the Secretary of Health and Human Services is in control of the insurance companies.

The second big issue facing this nation is even more dangerous to us than health insurance reform:

The flagrant disregard for our Constitution by Congressional leaders and our President should be a warning to all.  Speaker Pelosi actually laughed at a reporter who seriously asked if what she was proposing was Constitutional.  At the minimum they have flouted the spirit of the Constitution and at the most egregious they have simply ignored it.  The President is on record with his disdain for the Constitution, in that it does not offer mandates of what the government must do for its citizens.

It is clear that he and his cadre wish to rewrite our storied Constitution that currently prohibits our federal government from taking over the rights of people.  This document prohibits the federal government from diminishing the states and Congress to roles as bit players in the governing of this country.  It is clear that the current leadership in Washington feels inhibited by this Constitution – they cannot ignore the whole thing.

This progressive cadre wants to rewrite the Constitution and the way to do that is to create a national economic emergency the size of which has never been imagined.  They will spend us into oblivion until our economy is broken and our free markets are teetering on collapse.  Then and only then, to solve a national emergency, they will offer a solution to the problem that includes an even bigger federal government driven by an even bigger centralized executive branch.  They will attempt to use the tragic events of a broken economy to rouse public interest to rewrite the Constitution.

Read an indepth look at how the progressives have attempted to marginalize and discard our Constitution in a bookblog dedicated to looking at what is wrong, why it is wrong, and what we need to do to fix the problem at U.S. Constitution – “Sine Die”.

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The AFL-CIO’s web site says this about the Employee Free Choice Act:

“The Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 800, S. 1041), supported by a bipartisan coalition in Congress, would enable working people to bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions by restoring workers’ freedom to choose for themselves whether to join a union. It would:
• Establish stronger penalties for violation of employee rights when workers seek to form a union  and during first-contract negotiations.
• Provide mediation and arbitration for first-contract disputes.
• Allow employees to form unions by signing cards authorizing union representati
on.”

This web site offers a few very interesting statements on why this act should pass in Congress.

First it calls the act a bipartisan coalition.  Know this, in the Senate no Republicans have sign on and that one of this Bill’s co-sponsors is now President-Elect Obama.   In the House the Bill has 234 co-sponsors, of which 6 are Ohio and Northeast Republicans – some bipartisan coalition?

Second it slyly says that the Act will

“Allow employees to form unions by signing cards authorizing union representation.”

In another area of the web site it says

“But the current system for forming unions and bargaining is broken. Every day, corporations deny workers the freedom to decide for themselves whether to form unions to bargain for a better life. They routinely intimidate, harass, coerce and even fire workers who try to form unions and bargain for economic well-being.”

One would think that with all this “bipartisan” support in Congress and the need to prevent the coercion of workers in forming a union, this Bill must pass.  Nowhere does the web site state that today workers enjoy the private ballot to decide whether they form a union or not.

Yes, a private ballot currently protects workers from both union and management coercion and intimidation.  This private ballot protects workers from being fired for making a choice against management and from being blackballed by the union should they vote against the union, and it succeeds.  The only reason to strip workers of a private ballot is to allow union organizer coercion from unions to force workers to complete a “Card Check” form in front of the union organizer to form unions – say hello to big Domenic and three fingers Vinnie, your friendly neighborhood union organizers.  Remember unions have had management from time to time charged with and convicted of racketeering and other not so nice crimes.

Here is the real story.  The Democrats want more unions, because the unions will collect dues of 1% to 2% of the employees pay.  These dues will be used to pay union member salaries and as contributions to Democratic political campaigns and Political Action Committees.  The Democrats see this as more unions, means more union dues, means more contributions to its candidates.  Thus the Democrats are ready willing and able to outright strip today’s workers of the democratic right to a private ballot in a true free choice union organizing election.  How democratic of the Democrats to eliminate a secret ballot for a good portion of the membership of their own party who are currently workers in non-union companies.  The icing on the cake is the name they gave the Act.   It is called the Employee Free Choice Act.  How apropos is it that there is no free choice in the Act?  We asked for Change and change we will get.  The candles on the cake is that this act will not apply to government workers, whom will be working for the democrats.

The Heritage Foundation has studied this Act and produced a number of articles and reports on the matter.  The Foundation has determined that “…the EFCA would disenfranchise 105 million American workers, which encompasses more than two-thirds, or 68.8 percent, of the American workforce.”   Read the whole report at The Employee Free Choice Act Would Disenfranchise 105 Million Workers.

The word needs to get out on this charade carried on by the Democratic party in power.  Come January 20th, 2009, the House with a Democrat majority, the Senate with a possible filibuster majority, and a co-sponsor of the bill in the White House, Barack Obama, will disenfranchise 105 million workers by passing this bill.  By removing the secret ballot and encouraging the flourishing of unions without real worker choice, the Democrats will start the march to socialism in this country.

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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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I am a citizen of the United States and take my PRIVILEGE to vote with profound awareness that more than half the world’s population does not have the same right to vote, in a truly free and democratic way, to pick their leaders. It is also a RIGHT bestowed upon citizens of this Nation by our founding fathers. This sacred right and privilege has been protected for the citizens of this Nation by the blood of millions of defenders of our Nation’s sovereignty. Protecting the integrity of the voting process by seeking proof that a person attempting to vote in an election has been granted this privilege just adds value to the privilege. Why then do we have an argument that we need to let anyone showing up to vote, vote? Shouldn’t we ensure that the person attempting to vote has been granted this sacred privilege as well; otherwise it is no longer a sacred privilege?

Excerpts found below are from a recent article in the Washington Post by Robert Barnes titled: High Court Upholds Indiana Law On Voter ID
6-3 Ruling Calls Measure Reasonable to Fight Fraud

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/28/AR2008042800968.html?hpid=moreheadlines

“The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that states may require voters to present photo identification before casting ballots, opening the way for wider adoption of a measure that Republicans say combats fraud and Democrats say discourages voting among the elderly and the poor.

The court ruled 6 to 3 that the requirements enacted by Indiana’s legislature were not enough of a burden to violate the Constitution. Because the law, which requires specific government-issued identification such as driver’s licenses or passports, is generally regarded as the nation’s strictest such measure, the ruling bodes well for other states that require photo ID and for states that are considering doing so…”

What is important about this opinion is the vote. It was 6 to 3. This means that a swing voter and a usually liberal voter both voted to uphold the law. The main consenting opinion was written by Justice Stevens, who is usually considered a liberal justice. According to the article he wrote: “The application of the statute to the vast majority of Indiana voters is amply justified by the valid interest in protecting the integrity and reliability of the electoral process,” he (Barnes) wrote.

“Three liberal justices — David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer — dissented. ‘Indiana’s ‘Voter ID Law’ threatens to impose nontrivial burdens on the voting right of tens of thousands of the state’s citizens and a significant percentage of those individuals are likely to be deterred from voting,’ wrote (Justice) Souter, whose opinion was joined by Ginsburg…”

This reasoning reeks of ideology and not a matter of rights and law. Today, we show valid picture identification to open bank accounts, obtain employment, rent a movie, and often to use a credit card. Obtaining a valid ID in Indiana is absolutely free, and all you need to do is to demonstrate that you have been granted the privilege to vote by our founding fathers. The article further states:“…But Democrats and civil rights groups say that millions of Americans lack the type of identification that Indiana requires, and that such laws discourage or even disenfranchise people who are least likely to have driver’s licenses or passports: the poor, the elderly, the disabled and urban dwellers…” These Democrats and civil rights groups fail to state that the reason these people lack the necessary type of identification required is that they never had it in the first place – I dare to guess that perhaps they are not citizens? The Democrats want to dilute and even negate the privilege of voting for their own benefit and this is certainly not in keeping with the intention of the founding fathers. Those on the no ID side do not hold the vote as sacred – it is merely a tool to social change. The more people voting without the demonstrated right to vote, the better the chance to have a fraudulent majority and to make the social changes they seek.

It used to be that dead and imprisoned people voted regularly. I believe that this still occurs, but the problem has swelled with the addition of 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants, and the huge numbers of people who are in this country with visas of differing types, who are also NOT entitled to vote.

The arguments against this law and the ruling validating it are not about voter disenfranchisement and its effect on the poor and elderly. The argument is that one side does not view the right to vote with the same awe and sacred nature as the other side. If something is sacred and limited to those who qualify, should safeguards be in place to ensure that it remains sacred and limited? Isn’t this self-evident? If civil rights groups and Democrats want to be sure no one is disenfranchised, then they should institute a program to help these folks obtain the correct ID, so they can exercise their 219 year old sacred, limited right.

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