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Posts Tagged ‘House’


Over the last 100 years and more specifically throughout the last 50 years progressives have infiltrated our media, unions as progressive socialists, universities under the protection of tenure, K through 12 school systems via the socialist teachers’ unions and tenure, judiciary, and a host of other key areas of society, especially the U.S. Congress.

Of little note was the infiltration of our state legislatures, with 49 separate houses (Nebraska has only one), by progressive candidates masquerading as moderate and liberal Democrats and Republicans, yes Republican in name only – RINO.  After the election of 2008 and the supreme take over of the U.S. Senate and the House, along with the White House, by the progressive socialists of America, now known as the Democratic party, these folks got pretty smug.  Nancy Pelosi truly thought she could ram unpopular legislation through the Congress and did just that.  President Barack Obama, stocked the executive branch with one communist or communist sympathizer after another to begin his quest for one branch rule of this nation,with the help of his union and other friends (by the way, who is on the other end of his Blackberry).  The new Congress promptly accommodated him by abdicating its role of law making to the executive branch.

These folks knew that in 2010, a limited number of Senate seats were up for election and that the way congressional districts have been defined by federal law a host of safe seats existed, insuring that the core progressive faithfull, many ranking members of committees, would be reelected, and they were.  Despite the historic turnover of Congress, Pelosi kept her role as the leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives.

Well surprise, the progressive playbook had a flaw.  It did not properly consider the role of the state legislatures.  2010 meant that nearly 700 democrat and democrat progressives were thrown out and replaced by Republicans, conservative Republicans to boot.  27 states currently have both houses controlled by Republicans.  Many more states have at least one branch and the executive branch controlled by Republicans with the other branch holding only a tiny majority for democrats.  Wisconsin replaced a progressive Democrat controlled Senate, Assembly, and Executive Branch with Republicans.

The movements bubbling up from the states offering a host of federal government push back are building steam.  These include efforts for state driven balanced budget, debt ceiling, nullification, and general states rights U.S. Constitutional Amendments.  A reassertion of the 10th Amendment, herculean efforts to stop Obama-care, reclaim land seized by the federal government, anti-public union give-aways, and a host of other anti-federal government legislation and lawsuits.

The war between traditional individual liberty, free market, limited government believers – the Tea Party types, and the progressive socialists who despise our Constitution and equal justice system – everyone has an opportunity not a promise to succeed way of life – is not over, but of late the progressives have been seriously outflanked.

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You may not hear this tonight from either side of the isle, so I thought I would summarize the current state of the union.

Our economy still struggles, but is picking up steam, but unemployment remains unacceptably high. How can the economy pick up steam and yet unemployment is a serious laggard? The Obama administration simply does not no how or does not wish to address the issues keeping unemployment high. Once you take a hard look at this administration, you will see that no one in the power level has ever built a business and through growth hired people – not even the GE Chairman, Jeffrey Immelt.

The Obama administration has been heaping hurdles and regulations on small businesses for two years, and since the small business segment creates 70% of the jobs, they will not hire. No small business owner will hire if he or she is faced with hire unemployment costs – yes “unemployment” costs. Businesses pay into the unemployment fund based on their experience level with unemployment – they are rated on how many have left the business and are in or have been in the unemployment income collection system. Extend unemployment for a year or two and your increase the rating for the business and its expenses.

Require small businesses to provide health insurance and you again increase their costs, thus they do not hire. Their are countless regulations adding cost to small businesses and when the future bottom line inclusive of future expenses is forecast, they do not hire.

Congress, regardless of which party is in power in each house will not make government smaller and more limited.  Ever since the seventeenth amendment was passed taking the appointment of senators from the states and giving the election of senators to the people of the various states, the states cannot control an out of control ever growing self perpetuating federal “central” government.  A little over one hundred years ago, the states could vote down unconstitutional growth in Washington, D.C.

Today, the states just stand by and wish the federal government would follow the eighteen enumerated powers it has in the Constitution.  Unless and until outside forces, such as the states are allowed to apply pressure on the Congress, it will just continue feeding on itself.  We no longer have a free market system and we can no longer call what we have capitalism, because the federal government has intruded for one hundred years, inhibiting how the free market is supposed to operate.

The Supreme Court no longer considers issues based on the law and the written Constitution.  Instead it relies on social interpretation of what is needed, believing itself to be a law making body.  It considers laws of other nations when it decides our legal issues of the day.  These are laws not made by any elected U.S. Senator or Congressman, but this is okay, since they believe that other nations are more enlightened.  Maybe it is the Court that need to be enlightened!  It has used the “Commerce Clause” to turn the limited federal government into an unlimited central planning socialist type of governance.

The Executive Branch now routinely writes regulations with the force of law.  I believe we will have to rename the executive branch – “Congress Lite”.

I would go on, but the list of things gone wrong is too depressing to continue.  You get the idea – the state of the union is dismal and in need of immediate repair by the citizens of this nation – who else will fix the problem?

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Whatever happened to the national goals of a Strong National Defense, Fiscal Responsibility, Energy Independence, Free Market Solutions, and Individual Liberty? Why have we moved 180 degrees from this goal — a goal that made this country great?

National Defense

Over the past eight years we have worn down and, as of the latest poll of military morale, demoralized our once superb fighting force. We have had two long wars fought with politician oversight, mostly not to win, but to avoid losing. Why are we repeating mistakes of prior wars? We seem to use a calculator and a checkbook to measure our commitment to a fight, rather than providing an all out commitment to win rapidly and decisively.

In an effort to avoid drawing out the Afghan war further, our President, is considering a plan to wind down this conflict and either fight a small scale war or leave entirely. His personally appointed Afghan Commander has provided the President with a plan to win the war, but needs a greater commitment from the White House – a commitment that the White House appears unwilling to make. What the White House, and the many others, who decry that the Afghan war grinds on interminably fail to grasp simple plan. The plan is that similar to the strategy of World War II, where the Pacific Theater was fought as a holding action until the European Theater was won, we have fought a holding action in Afghanistan while we won the Iraqi war.

Our President needs to understand that the reason we went into Afghanistan was that the Taliban were allowing Al Qaeda to move freely, train freely, and constitute a large fighting and terror delivery force. Pulling out of Afghanistan or downsizing the war will embolden the Taliban and re-constitute a powerful al Qaeda. Pulling out now will waste the lives of those who have fallen and the sacrifice of those who suffered injury and permanent handicap fighting that holding action so that we could win in Iraq and then take on Afghanistan to win.

Fiscal Responsibility

Under George Bush and a mostly Republican Congress this nation experienced wild spending. Government intervention via a supposed oversight with a manipulated Community Reinvestment Act, allowed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to light the time fuse for a mortgage meltdown.

Now, Barack Obama and the Democrat Congress have shown the Republicans just what irrational and fiscally unconscionable spending can be. The Democrat spending in the name of stimulus has been off the charts. Unfortunately, the stimulus bill is only stimulating local governments to continue spending, and providing the Congress with the ability to funnel funds to pet, non-stimulating projects—few long term sustainable jobs have been created. Thus the unemployment rate has crossed the 10% threshold, when it was not supposed to go above 8%. We were told that the fiscal situation had reached a crisis of economic collapse and that the stimulus had to be passed quickly and fully to prevent this. Then we were told that no one could foresee just how bad the crisis was. What is worse than a national economic collapse? This failed stimulus and out of control unemployment rate has forced the administration to count “saved” jobs – a measure that simply cannot be realistically counted.

Energy Independence

The Department of Energy was created to find an alternative to gasoline in the Carter Administration—we see how well that went, yet we are still funding a $70+ billion department filled with bureaucracy.

While we sit on an abundance of oil and natural gas, we are pushing a green energy platform that has no hope of meeting the immense power needs of this country in the next ten years. Last year, we produced a little more than 2% of our energy from wind and solar. We have abandoned nuclear power – a source for clean energy, with albeit a disposal problem – yet European nations, and especially France have embraced nuclear. We are seeking to cripple this nation’s resource of cheap energy with Cap and “Tax” — sorry, Cap and Trade. According to CBS News, this effort will raise each family’s home energy bill by $1,761.

This tax will also affect business and everything you consume, by raising prices on just about all good and services originating in this country. This will be a cascading tax. The tax on a tax will have a cascading effect and will hamper small business’ ability to create jobs—these are the folks who generally create about 70% of the jobs in this country. What is absolutely dumbfounding about this effort is that the U.N.’s climate projection models which equated the increase in CO2 with a corresponding increase in earth’s temperature have been proven wrong with actual data. (Jeffrey Ball, Wall Street Journal, Monday, November 2, 2009)

On the matter of this insane backbreaking energy restriction on our economic growth, at a time when we need economic growth to pay down our gargantuan, out of this world debt, I can only assume we have gone mad.

Free Market Solutions

In just about a year, reaching back into the Bush administration, we apparently decided that government knows better that the individual. Government of the people, by the people, and for the people, has become government by and of the elected to the people not for the people — a dangerous change.

We have seen how bond holders suffered a lapse of the rule of law in the way bankruptcies were adjudicated, with unions actually being placed first in line above bond holders. We have seen how executives are being capped on earnings. Yes, there may have been abuses, but the government need not be and should not be the arbiter of how much someone in the private sector can make. Rather the shareholders should have been given more power to control the Boards of these “run a muck” companies, and to control the compensation of the top executives.

We have seen how our government has taken ownership of, and is managing private enterprise companies, like General Motors. Enough! Government can’t manage government, yet win at private enterprise. There is enough corruption in Congress today to greatly overshadow the “greedy” corporate executives, who we have been told are the scourge of the earth and the source of all our problems, by our corrupt government in Washington. For starters, just think about those sweetheart mortgage deals to Chris Dodd and others.

Individual Liberty

The 2,000 page House Bill (H.R. 3962) and the even bigger Senate Bill are supposed to provide health care for those who are uninsured, yet they do not. Too many uninsureds remain uninsured, despite the bills. The final bill will have a front loaded tax revenue stream and a back load delivery date, and it will still costs nearly a Trillion dollars. These bills severely infringe on individual rights and liberty. These bills require individuals to purchase health care insurance or be subject to fines and even jail time.  One taxes small business and both will lead to a single payer universal health care system run by the government.

Why don’t we just buy health insurance for the uninsured – it would be substantially cheaper. These 2,000 page bills are really not intended to provide health insurance for the uninsured. If they did only intend to insure the uninsured, they would only need to be 100 or so pages. Instead the Democrats hide their true agenda behind 2,000 pages wherein they control of our lives and our bodies. Remember how hard the Democrats fought and continmue to fight to allow a woman a choice over her body— “reproductive rights”.  Why then do the Democrats now wish to control every other part of our bodies?

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Many people in perceived fairness say that President Obama is in office a little more than two months, so we  should give him a chance.  To these people I ask, how long do you give a new nanny who demonstrates poor child rearing skills, with your children?  For the ladies, how long do you allow a  new beautician who is clearly doing her own thing and not doing what is best for you to continue before you yell stop?  We are seeing so called fixes to our economic problems that are not economic problem fixes.  We are seeing major changes to our civic culture under the guise of fixing our economic problem.  We are seeing a serious threat to our constitution, by a man who openly does not like our constitution the way it was written. 

President Obama is a “big government” – government is intended to take care of people – kind of guy.  Just listen to his own words.  He is asking to spend hundreds of billions on energy, health care, and education – sounds noble, but he has no plan on how to spend this money.  No businessman in the world could borrow money without a business plan, yet he wants multiple billions without a plan – he wants you to buy into his wishes sight unseen – something like buying land (swampland) in Florida.  This massive spending on noble targets may sound great, but you need to lift the hood to see just what happens when the big government engine is turned on.  In the world of gross domestic product, government produces nothing – it is a drain.  It does not foster job growth.  It does not provide the necessesary economic energy to sustain growth and to keep on delivering.  Government simply takes from the producers and the only thing it gives back is a portion of what it has taken – the rest is government overhead.  Over time, the producers stop producing because there is no upside for them to produce.

Sure government can create jobs, government jobs, and this does two things that should make you run from government intrusion in your life.  First, any government job created takes away from the producers the ability to produce, grow, and create jobs with a multiplier effect.  It must continue to take from the producer to support the government created job.  Second, the government created job, as it takes away from private sector job growth, keeps you permanently chained to the government to keep your job.  Some may say – “what is wrong with a good job from the government?” – the answer is that the government job is not sustainable and that over time, the ecomony and quality of life shrink.  As the economy shrinks, the government must take more and more from the remaining producers to sustain those made up government jobs – remember, government jobs produce nothing and add nothing to the economy.  As more and more is taken, the producers produce less due to loss of economic motivation – this becomes a cycle of doom.  Countless countries have tried this and met the same result – failure.

Throughout history in Latin America, South America, Europe, and Asia (most of the globe), power hungry despots and some well meaning socialists have adopted the control afforded by socialism and the “government can do it all” approach, and failed miserably.  Our current President is an academic with a law degree.  He has never produced, never managed anything, and appears to have never studied history on the failure rate of big government socialism.  That is, unless he is not concerned with 100% failure rate or the success of the venture (we cannot call it an experiment since the experiment failed in a plethora of tests around the globe), and he is only seeking the control and power that comes to a few, not the masses, from the big government socialist venture.

The following is Barack Obama, when he was a state senator, in his own words describing why our constitution is flawed and in need of change.  If this does not send chills up your spine, then you have not been paying attention.  He feels that the constitution does not provide government with sufficient powers.  In this video Mr. Obama telegraphs just where he wants to take this country with the big government socialist approach.  The video was found on a blog Bob’s Bites. (Thank you Bob’s Bites).

This bullet train approach to CHANGE toward a big government socialist nation with an understanding that the constitution does not permit the kind of change being attempted, must be stopped.  Unfortunately, President Obama will be in office for four years and the current very left, very socialist Democratic Party controlled Congress will be intact for two years, making the stopping of this train very difficult, but not impossible.

We need to pressure the members of the U.S. Senate’s Democratic Party who hold the more moderate and conservative economic voting records in the Democratic Party Senate caucus and three Republican RINO’s (republicans in name only) to act as a buffer and to take steps to retard the hi-speed approach to socialist economic change.  We must pressure these Senators to slow the massive government spending for big government.  This government spending is not sustainable and simply cannot be repaid.  You see, right now, the government is a sub-prime borrower seeking an unsustainable mortgage – have you heard this before?  This is what got us into this mess and now we are attempting to spend our way to prosperity and borrow our way out of debt – show me one budget text book that portends a happy outcome when you spend more than you can produce for a sustained time.  One book does explain this unique economic plan – it is the bible – the new testament to be exact.  It is commonly known as the “Miracle of the Loaves and the Fishes”.  Unfortunately for us, while Barack Obama may think he can walk on water – he cannot and he cannot perform the “Miracle of the Loaves and the Fishes” or make wine from water!

Do what you can to stop this bullet train, before it is too late! Tell them (cut and paste the statement if you wish):

“Stop the over the top spending and borrowing now – don’t destroy our country!  Socialism does not work!”

The Democratic Senators in the Senate, with the most conservative economic voting records and the three Republicans (RINOs), who should be pressured are:

Baucus, Max – (D – MT)

 

511 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-2651
Web Form: baucus.senate.gov/contact/emailForm.cfm?subj=issue

 

Bayh, Evan – (D – IN)

 

131 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-5623
Web Form: bayh.senate.gov/contact/email/

 

Byrd, Robert C. – (D – WV)

 

311 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-3954
Web Form: byrd.senate.gov/contacts/

 

Carper, Thomas R. – (D – DE)

 

513 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-2441
Web Form: carper.senate.gov/contact/

 

Conrad, Kent – (D – ND)

 

530 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-2043
Web Form: conrad.senate.gov/contact/webform.cfm

 

Dorgan, Byron L. – (D – ND)

 

322 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-2551
E-mail: senator@dorgan.senate.gov

 

Landrieu, Mary L. – (D – LA)

 

328 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-5824
Web Form: landrieu.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm

 

McCaskill, Claire – (D – MO)

 

717 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-6154
Web Form: mccaskill.senate.gov/contact/

 

Nelson, Ben – (D – NE)

 

720 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-6551
Web Form: bennelson.senate.gov/contact/email.cfm

 

Tester, Jon – (D – MT)

 

724 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-2644
Web Form: tester.senate.gov/Contact/index.cfm

 

Webb, Jim – (D – VA)

 

248 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-4024
Web Form: webb.senate.gov/contact/

 

Wyden, Ron – (D – OR)

 

223 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-5244
Web Form: wyden.senate.gov/contact/

 

Collins, Susan M. (R – ME)

 

413 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-2523
Web Form: collins.senate.gov/public/continue.cfm?FuseAction=Contact…

 

Snowe, Olympia J. (R – ME)

 

154 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-5344
Web Form: snowe.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=ContactSenat…

 

Specter, Arlen (R – PA)

 

711 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-4254
Web Form: specter.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.Co…

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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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President Obama, I have a question.  Very often during your campaign for President, you were adamant about eliminating earmarks.  You stated that you would go line by line in every bill looking for earmarks and have the earmarks eliminated before you sign the bill into law.  The current $410 Billion Omnibus Bill before the Senate and passed by the House, with your encouragement and support, contains nearly 9,000 earmarks.  Some of these earmarks are absolutely insane, especially in a time of fiscal crisis.  One item in the Senate version of the bill was an earmark submitted by you when you were a Senator from Illinois.  This earmark has now had your name removed, but it is yours just the same, because while you name was removed, the earmark remains in the bill – you did not eliminate your own earmark.

Perhaps, after the Stimulus Bill, The American Recovery Act, it is too soon to challenge you on this earmark thing, because we have been told by you and you’re your spokesman, Mr. Gibbs, that the Stimulus bill did not contain any earmarks.  However, we know this was true only in the technical sense, but if pork looks like an earmark, spends like an earmark, is not debated like an earmark, and is slipped in like an earmark, then it is an earmark.  The current Omnibus Bill earmarks explanation from your Mr. Gibbs is even more strange.  It is that these were last years earmarks and thus don’t count toward your pledge.  Please understand that I and many others find this to be a moronic, disingenuous explanation from the Obama Administration.  

For two years you campaigned against earmarks and yet you will not come out against last years, as yet to become law, earmarks?  Mr. Obama, will you veto this bill if it ever gets through the Senate?  This pork laden earmark filled (9,000) bill was written by the Democratic leadership in the House.  Even that ultra small band of fiscally conservative former Democrat colleagues of yours in the Senate are choking on this bill and are joining the Republicans in fighting this bill.  If they have come out against it, why haven’t you?

Mr. Obama, I have noticed a pattern in your positions.  You have verbal positions that are presented to the people and you tell us what we want to hear and you have actionable positions on the same issue that are just the opposite of what you told us.  You did promise transparency, so is this lack of transparency in your actions on purpose?  Can we expect this I will tell you one thing and regularly do the opposite to continue throughout your term of office?  Yes I said one question, but I got carried away.

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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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