Thursday, December 31, 2009

At The Trough since 1955!

John Dingell is 83 and has been in congress since 1955, longer than anyone currently in the House. He is on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where some of the biggest legislative battles get started. From deregulating the telecommunications industry, to relaxing promotional standards for drug companies, to changing the nation's health care laws, this committee's members are often the subjects of intense industry lobbying to ensure committee members of continued strong financial support from some of the country's most powerful companies making this committee among the most desirable in Congress. His two largest individual contributors are the IBEW union and Comcast. Money is no problem for Dingell. As an entrenched career pol he has little or no opposition so he could stay in his seat as long as he lives. In his last five elections he raised about $10 million from lobbies of industries he regulates while his erstwhile opponents raised a total of $19,870. Guess why over 95% of incumbents get reelected.

What qualified John Dingell to be a congressman? He succeeded his father who was in congress. As with all of our other poster children so far he had no private sector experience. Yet, these are the people who regulate every facet of American life. John David Dingell, Jr. attended Capitol Page School, Washington, D.C., and Georgetown Preparatory School, Garrett Park, MD. He was given the job as a page in the House of Representatives, 1938-1943, went into the Army for 2 years and then got a law degree at Georgetown University. As a lawyer, he worked for US Circuit Judge Theodore Levin, 1952-1953.

While not an argument for term limits these votes are just to give an idea of where this poster boy stands on some issues. Not a big fan of Israel, in January 2009 he voted “present” on H. Res. 34 that recognized Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza and reaffirmed the United States’ strong support for Israel. He also voted in July 2006 against H RES 921: Condemning the Recent Attacks Against the State of Israel, Holding Terrorists and Their State-Sponsors Accountable for Such Attacks, Supporting Israel’s Right to Defend Itself. Another anti-Israel vote was a NO vote in December 2005 on H RES 575: Providing That Hamas and Other Terrorist Organizations Should Not Participate in Elections Held by the Palestinian Authority.

Of the few times he voted against his party line one was in May 2007 to fund the Iraq war without setting a withdrawal date (HR 2206). Just this month he voted NO to H Res. 915: Encouraging the Republic of Hungary to Respect the Rule of Law, Treat Foreign Investors Fairly, and Promote a Free and Independent Press. The Dems were mostly on the other side of the anti-Israel votes as well as these two votes but according to Open Congress he votes 98% of the time with his party.

Long an advocate of socialized medicine, Dingell's quest for government-run universal health care began in 1932, when his father, John Dingell Sr., was first elected to the House. The elder Dingell was one of the architects of the New Deal. "If you look at the picture of Roosevelt signing Social Security, you'll see a little skinny Pollack with a big broken nose and a mustache standing in back of him — that was my dad," Dingell said in an interview in his office on Capitol Hill last month. "And he was very, very proud of that." They both supported Medicare legislation and now the House version of the FedGov takeover of the country’s healthcare industry will bear the Dingell name as Lead Sponsor.

Dingell: "Nobody is going to be happy with this.” And he is so right. While the Dems are happy to pass this with their current one-party control of FedGov, many are unhappy with several provisions and most Repubs would like to see serious reforms as tort restraint, elimination of coverage mandates and allowing for competition of insurance companies in interstate commerce. This takeover of yet another industry by FedGov looks more like a grab for the enormous power it gives them over the people by making everyone dependent on them for health care. The Repubs, many of whom are for some real health care reform legislation, see only the downside of the “death panels,” rationing of care, greatly increased costs, stifling of innovation, higher taxes, loss of jobs and other economic effects as experienced in other countries as Canada and the UK. So, when it passed the Senate last week the 28-term congressman stood on crutches in the Senate halls and told reporters that lawmakers will have to accept a lot of what they don’t like in order for the bill to become law, no one disagreed with him.

In August at a town hall meeting of constituents Dingell was met by angry protests over health care legislation, spending and taxes. He told journalists, "The last time I had to confront something like this was when I voted for the civil rights bill and my opponent voted against it. At that time, we had a lot of Ku Klux Klan folks and white supremacists and folks in white sheets and other things running around." Yeah, sure. The non-partisan National Taxpayers Union rates him “F” denoting him as a “Big Spender” and that was really the thrust of the Town Halls and TEA Party protests. Another poster boy, Harry Reid, took a cue from Dingell and on the floor of the Senate cried about slavery having something to do with opposition to the health care takeover. The contempt these entrenched pols have for their constituents is boundless.

Another one of his ideas that didn’t please anyone was a bill to strip away the mortgage tax deduction on homes over 3000 sq. ft. He calls them “McMansions.” His motivation is perceived by some as envy-driven but it is of a piece with his socialistic inclinations. He was also on the losing side on congress-mandated fuel standards for cars that he knew would hurt the auto industry in Michigan. Which it did, of course. But at least on this one issue he took the side of the free market.

Isn’t it obvious that we need fresh blood in our national legislature? Sen. Jim DeMint has proposed a constitutional amendment that would limit terms of the US Congress. The time has come to get our country back to representative government by citizen legislators with real life experience. We must rid the FedGov of “the scourge of the 20th century –the professional politician,” as Paul Johnson has written in Modern Times. It is infinitely worse in the 21st century. You can help by signing the petiton at

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Steadfast and Loyal --To ACORN* but not to his oath of office

(updated 5/12/2014)  CAGW reacted with derision at statements made by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on April 15, in which he opened the door to the resurrection of congressional earmarking. Sen. Durbin’s comments are the latest in a disturbing trend among members of Congress from both sides of the Capitol and both sides of the aisle. The congressional earmark moratorium has been in place since 2010, and the House of Representatives and Senate have both claimed all legislation since then has been earmark-free. However, CAGW’s 2014 Congressional Pig Book, to be released on May 7, will show otherwise. “Just like the Easter Bunny, Sen. Durbin wants members of Congress to again hide pork-barrel goodies under every legislative shrub they can find,” commented CAGW President Tom Schatz. “If earmarks are revived in Congress, it will be a sad commentary on the moral compass of the institution.” Read more about the corrosive budgetary impact of earmarks.

(updated to report the term limit vote on 2/2/12) This poster boy for term limits, Illinois Senator Richard “Dick” Durbin, got his law degree in 1969 after already being an intern in the office of then Sen. Paul Douglas for a year. He immediately became counsel to Lt. Gov. Paul Simon until 1972 when he became legal counsel to the Illinois State Judiciary Committee. He ran for Lt. Gov. in 1978 and then was an associate professor for a few years all the while a delegate to the National Democrat party conventions before being elected to the US Congress in 1983 where he has been ever since. He is now in his third term in the Senate and is the Party Whip.

In other words: All politics all the time, just as our other Poster Boys and Girls.

The lack of real-life productive private sector experience is common among career politicians and probably explains the failure of most of their programs to reach their stated goals – and always at enormously higher costs than projected. Ironically, the longer they are in office, the more faith and confidence they seem to have in their ability to plan and execute new programs.

So, no surprise that he voted on 2/5/12 AGAINST the term limit amendment even though he knows full well that his constituents ovewhelmingly support them. See how your Senator voted: hint: All Democrats but Joe Manchin of WV voted AGAINST the reform amendment.

Also, because liberals embrace government for ideological reasons as well, it is not surprising that so many of our poster children are liberals. Sen. Durbin's record is a case in point:

* Rated 100% by NARAL, indicating an anti-life, pro abortion voting record.
* Rated 4% from Citizens Against Government Waste for being wasteful with tax money.
* Rated 0% by the Christian Coalition: an anti-family voting record.
* Rated F by the NRA, indicating an anti-2nd Amendment Rights voting record.
* Rated 85% by the AFL-CIO, indicating a pro-union voting record.
* Rated 14% by the non-partisan national Taxpayers Union ( indicating a "Big Spender" on tax votes.

Whether you consider yourself as leaning to the left or right of the political spectrum, you may be appalled by Durbin’s animosity towards those who defend us with their lives. Durbin called our soldiers in Iraq “Nazis.” He made a statement in 2005 morally equating U.S. treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, (zero killed) with prisoner treatment by Pol Pot (200,000 killed).

After all of the evidence of election fraud by ACORN, Dick Durbin was one of seven Democrats that voted to continue funding it. He was well aware that The ACORN Housing Corporation has long been pushing the very loose-lending policies that helped destroy the housing industry. And recently it was exposed for being willing to finance underage prostitutes, as well. No problem – give them taxpayer money as all of their voter registration fraud efforts are on behalf of Durbin and his party. See: ACORN: A Criminal Enterprise Run Amok

Durbin went to Catholic grade school and calls himself Catholic yet is aggressively pro-abortion even voting against a ban on partial-birth abortion. In January 2006 he said that “I’ve stood for election more than 12 times in the House and Senate, general and primary, stating my position as pro-choice.” This was at the hearings on Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court. He was trying to get Judge Alito to say he converted to pro-abortion, too. And just last week he voted for the confirmation of David Hamilton to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. This is the District Court Judge who has ruled to suppress religious freedom, protect child predators, and rule leniently against career criminals. Judge Hamilton has ruled that prayers to Jesus Christ offered at the beginning of legislative sessions violate the Constitution, but that prayers to Allah do not. Hamilton worked for the ACLU and as a fund-raiser for ACORN. When originally nominated to the U.S. District Court by President Clinton, Hamilton was rated "not qualified" by the American Bar Association. What in Dick Durbin’s eyes qualifies this judge now for this high position? His connection to ACORN? update on ACORN, *click here One Bite at a Time

On spending and the economy, on education, he is all for FedGov being the major force regardless of Constitutional restrictions. He is for more government controls regarding the environment and energy production. He’d like to give the District of Columbia a seat in Congress. He voted yes on another congressional pay raise in the midst of this recession and to approve more gifts from lobbyists. Durbin is against requiring photo ID for voting. (Hmmmm that sounds like something to make ACORN’s job easier.)

Durbin voted against the Iraq war and against the Patriot Act’s provisions for wiretaps on foreign calls. He is for U.S. Constitutional rights for Guantanamo detainees. Other positions: For taxpayer funding for the “sanctuary cities” to protect illegal immigrants; for welfare and Social Security benefits for illegals; against the border fence; Against English as the official language of the US. Against more visas for skilled workers who, after obtaining advanced degrees at US universities, have to leave the country – we can always outsource to their scarce skills, I guess. Durbin is against the death penalty and three strikes mandatory sentences for repeat offenders.

He always votes against any limits on the national debt, he’s against personal retirement accounts like the Roth IRA and against a lock box or reserve for Social Security funds. You get the idea. So, if you like Statism, you’ll love Durbin.

Because professional politicians generally believe in the State as the ultimate authority as that gives them more power, they tend to dominate in our government. Challengers have so little chance of defeating an incumbent because of the overwhelming advantages of office – 95% are reelected, most without any meaningful opposition—so the statist-types gain control over us. And that is where we are today without checks and balances, without respect for the limitations of our Constitution. Tenure corrupts and we are up to our eyes in corruption because we have no limits on professional politicians.

There is hope: Sen. Jim DeMint has formally proposed a Constitutional Amendment, which is cosponsored by Senators Tom Coburn, Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Sam Brownback, that would limit U.S. Representatives to three, two-year terms, and Senators to two, six-year terms.

Said DeMint, "Term limits will increase legislative turnover, expand the field of candidates who run for office, and instill transparency and accountability in our public officials," and “the power of incumbency had created an almost insurmountable advantage for Washington politicians." You can help by signing the petition in support at

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Washington's Degenerate Elite

A few of our Poster Children are mentioned today by Capitol Guardian: Dingy Harry and those two champions of home ownership by those without an income, credit history or responsibility: Barney and Chris. Charlie gets a dishonorable mention, too.

In the Senate: as Reid races the clock to force a vote on the government takeover of healthcare later this week, the Banking Committee, meanwhile, will take up Sen. Dodd's "I Hate Capitalism With a Passion" financial services regulatory bill. As if the crushing burden of excess federal regulations and looming higher payroll, corporate, and excise taxes are not enough to force private firms out of business (or the country) this should help any chance at economic growth.

In the House, Rep. Frank is considering legislation that would break apart "too big to fail" financial firms. Ostensibly to prevent another economic meltdown, Congress is on the verge of (further) punishing the entire financial services industry for the egregious behavior of the few. Making matters worse, the seldom told story is that Frank and Dodd's protection of malignant Fannie Mae is one of the root causes of the mortgage market collapse, and these two gentlemen are driving the current "reform" effort!

Bottom Line: Post WWII East Germany is the economic model favored by the Democrat leadership. So do not be surprised at what comes out of House FS and Senate Banking in the coming day. It will inevitably be lauded as "consumer friendly" and "responsible government" -- as it drives unemployment numbers to record highs and crushes free enterprise.

At the other end of The Avenue, the Obama Administration is announcing this morning a "multi-level attack" on financial fraud. If Obama were really interested in rooting out fraud, he would demand his top tax-man, Charlie Rangel, step down as chairman of House Ways and Means Committee. Then, he could take a look at the unseemly relationship his Financial Services chairman, Barney Frank, has had with the now virtually insolvent Fannie Mae.

Bottom Line: Don't hold your breath.

Derek V. Baker *
Director of Congressional Affairs
Americans for Limited Government

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Max the Mouth

Update picture she offered as proof of global warming


Rep. Waters has a long-time reputation as the most corrupt person in Congress. She’s been investigated multiple times for ethics violations; using her position in Congress to secure business dealings for her family (via The Los Angeles Times).
In fact, Waters’ family made over $1 million in eight years by doing business with companies whom the California Congressman had helped with her legislation. Waters’ pay-to-play scheme would make Hillary envious!
Waters’ politics consist of little more than the typical inner-city race-baiting peppered with reckless pork barrel spending. Throughout her time in Congress, she’s been known for little else besides her constant ethics investigations.
The reason she’s come into the limelight at all over the last months is because of her cartoonish attacks on President Trump. Waters literally says she “will fight everyday until [Trump] is impeached” (via The Washington Examiner).

When we captioned this blog “the worst of a bad lot” we had Maxine Waters (Dist 35, CA) in mind. Even the most corrupt long-tenured pols –she’s been in congress for 20 years—have done something that could be considered good for the country. At her own website we found that she has labored diligently against mandatory sentencing laws. Well, the rapists, muggers, and repeat crooks liked that one. The former football player, Jim Brown, praised her as a “Mother Theresa of Watts” for these efforts. Remember how she defended the Watts rioters, looters, and arsonists when she remarked on national television: "Riot is the voice of the unheard." National Review said she was trying to shift the blame for the riots from the rioters to everybody and everything else and in the process was giving tacit permission to riot again. Waters ferociously attacked the U.S. Government as being responsible for "the economic, social, cultural and political factors” that caused the L.A. riots of 1992. She expressed sympathy for gangs and rioters involved and what she still calls a revolution. She disagreed with LA Mayor Tom Bradley's characterization of the 1992 rioters as "hoodlums and thugs."

She did join a coalition in 1994 against violent and sexually explicit song lyrics and came out against so-called "gangsta rap" –that was a good thing. But wait, she did not blame the actual rappers for the filthy, hateful and sometimes murderous obscenities and vulgarities. No, she pointed the finger of blame at industry executives for not exercising more control over their recording artists and said it was "…foolhardy to single out rap artists as instigators of violence among young people." We tried. (We don’t think the execs are blameless, either.)

Born in 1938, Waters was one of thirteen children living in a St. Louis housing project where her mother struggled to raise her children; no father is mentioned. After graduating from high school, she married and had two children. In 1960 the family moved to Los Angeles, where Waters worked at a few menial jobs before getting involved in the Head Start program in Watts. In the late 1960s she entered California State University to study sociology. By the time she earned her degree, she was divorced and raising her children alone. Water's background is frequently cited to explain why she fights so passionately for affirmative action programs. She had no successful experience in the free market economy having grown up on welfare, gone to school on affirmative action programs and then getting involved in mostly race-based politics.

She is currently married to Sidney Williams, a former football player and automobile salesman, who she got President Clinton to name Ambassador to the Bahamas. Her husband is a stockholder and former director of OneUnited Bank and the bank's executives were major contributors to her campaigns. In September 2008, she arranged meetings between U.S. Treasury officials and OneUnited Bank, to arrange for the bank to get federal cash. It had been heavily invested in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and its capital was "all but wiped out" after FedGov took them over. The bank got $12 million in TARP money as a result of her intervention. The matter is currently being investigated by the House Ethics committee.

Maxine Waters got her start in politics as the chief deputy to Los Angeles city councilman David Cunningham. She was actively involved in the campaigns of Senator Alan Cranston and Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley. She entered the California State Assembly in 1976. While in the assembly she worked for divestment of state pension funds from any businesses active in South Africa when it had the racist policy of apartheid. Republican Cathie Wright of Simi Valley, who served with Waters for fourteen years on the California Assembly, discusses Maxine Waters' accusations of racism: “The problem I have with her are her accusations that we were racists but she wasn't. She always assumed that everything you said was because you were white and she was black...Whenever Republicans disagreed with her, she said we took the position because we were racists.”

Waters was instrumental in the formation of the National Political Congress of Black Women in 1984. In 1996, she was elected to chair the Congressional Black Caucus. She called for investigation of the CIA for being involved in a plan to distribute drugs to African Americans in Los Angeles in the early 1980s. That, plus her propensity to play the race card reflected poorly on her and the Democratic Party’s ability at that time to wield real influence in Washington. After being named co-chairman of Clinton's national campaign, she called President George H. W. Bush a "racist" in a speech at the National Press Club. She found nothing wrong with President Clinton’s taking advantage of the intern and then lying about while under oath.

A fan of Castro and especially of Che Guevara, Waters visits Cuba often to see her friend, domestic terrorist Joanne Chesimard (aka Assata Shakur plus over 20 other aliases according to the FBI). In 1977, Chesimard was found guilty of first degree murder of a police officer she shot execution style, among several other convictions including armed robbery. She was sentenced to life in prison 1977 and then in November 1979, Chesimard escaped and lived underground before being located in Cuba in 1984. Rep.Waters has used her position to oppose extradition going so far as to write Castro that Shakur (she’s an aunt of a rapper of that name) was fleeing “political persecution.” The FBI has a $1,000,000 reward for her capture.

In May 2008, Waters told Shell Oil President John Hofmeister at the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing that if he did not “guarantee” reduced gasoline prices in exchange for Congress “allowing” the oil industry to drill where it wished, she would favor nationalizing American petroleum companies. She stated: "Guess what this liberal will be all about, this liberal will be all about socializing... taking over and the government running all of your companies." Rep. Waters clearly favors Statism as she understands it and this is just one example.

Among her other distinctions, Citizens Against Government Waste named her the June 2009 Porker of the Month due to her intention to obtain an earmark for the Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center. Her non-partisan National Taxpayers Union score is the lowest possible, as one would expect.

She opposed the Iraq War saying that the money could be used for affirmative action programs. She supported Jesse Jackson’s campaigns for president. It goes on… With Maxine Waters, it is all about race, welfare and socialism; nothing about the economy, freedom or opportunity.

Without term limits there is little chance to replace the entrenched incumbent no matter how bigoted, anti-American, pro-socialist and corrupt because of the advantages of office including the big bucks from special interests that benefit from her votes.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tyranny of Seniority --those most out of touch are most firmly in control

Update: On 2/2/2012 on the vote to limit the terms of congress it is telling that the senators who voted against term limits have been in the Senate for an average of 13.6 years compared to just 6.4 years for those who support them. The longer people are in Congress, the more power they get, and the more they lose touch with the voters who elected them. Of course, both Collins and Snowe voted AGAINST the reform.

See how your Senator voted: hint: All Democrats but Joe Manchin of WV and 24 RINOs voted AGAINST the reform even though they know full well that a super-majority of their constituents are in favor of term limits.

What happened to the New England rugged individualists of olde in Maine? Their present congressional delegation --Snowe, Collins, Pingree, Michaud-- goes along with the welfare state regardless that their oaths of office specify that they "shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation to support this constitution." Judging by their voting records they have not read the US Constitution as they vote for more freebies for some at the expense of others with FedGov as the middleman. (I realize that this is not uncommon in the congress –especially true among the Poster Children.)

Where in the Constitution of the United States is the federal government granted the authority to create a public option or otherwise be involved in health care? The Constitution grants no such power. James Madison, one of the authors of our Constitution, wrote, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence the money of their constituents.” Benevolence is their rationale for these power grabs.

Snowe and Collins are nominal Republicans (RINOs) each in their 3rd 6-year terms. Non-partisan National Taxpayers Union rates both at the low end of all other Repubs for their profligate spending. We’re naming Olympia Snowe our Poster Child at this time because she is going over with the left-wing radicals of the Obama regime to help them take over the entire health care system in the country. What tells her that we should emulate the socialized medical systems of Canada, the UK and other less free countries? Don’t people who can afford to, come here from those countries for their serious medical care? When ObamaCare turns out to be the disaster many expect it will be, history will look grimly upon liberal Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe.

If it was really about medical care, no one would vote for a government system; they would work on the problems in the system. As one blogger asks, “Why not just provide a voucher or grant for private coverage for the 5-10 million legal citizens who are uninsured and who actually cannot afford their own plans instead of this monstrous power grab and grotesque new bureaucracy?” Of course, it is not about medicine, it is about power. And professional politicians are part of the power-elite so they ignore the limited government restrictions of the Constitution and go along to get along and participate in the power structure. Without term limitations professional politicians predominate in congress. And their priorities are for their own continued participation in the power structure. Reelection is all that matters. That takes big bucks. So, they back the bills and programs that generate the most money from the lobbyists.

As with our other Poster Children, Olympia has been at the government trough for most of her life. After earning a degree in political science from the University of Maine she married Peter Snowe, a member of the Maine legislature. She entered politics by winning a seat on the Board of Voter Registration and working for Congressman and later Senator William Cohen. At age 26, her husband was killed in an auto accident and she ran for his seat in the legislature and won there and then won a State Senate seat and then she got elected to the US Congress for two terms. She then married the governor of Maine who had been in congress with her. When George McGovern retired she succeeded him in the Senate and has been there ever since. 35 years in government jobs --no real world experience at all, yet she determines how we live under and pay for all the FedGov programs that restrict our liberties and indebt our children as far as the eye can see. She was a full member of the Senate Finance Committee.

Remember when Snowe and Collins went to the defense of Bill Clinton during his impeachment? They didn’t think his perjury and the underlying acts were all that bad for a president of the United States. Sen. Snowe backs legalized abortion and “gay rights.”

Only Repubs Olympia Snowe, Lincoln Chaffee and John McCain voted against the Bush pro-growth tax cuts. Snowe is an avid protectionist voting against virtually all free trade agreements. Even Charlie Rangel said, “It's absolutely ridiculous to believe that we can create jobs without trade.” Does she know that? Does she care?

She is a co-chair of the International Climate Change Task Force. A favorite of the “environmental” lobbyists, Snowe is emphatically in favor of a cap-and-trade system to address climate change what she calls “one of the greatest challenges of this century.” “If we successfully implement a cap-and-trade system that will reduce long-term risk and provide market certainty, the economy undoubtedly will respond with ingenuity, entrepreneurship, and job expansion, while simultaneously addressing climate change,” How so? She has no clue but her vote for massive tax hikes on energy along with her vote for health care nationalization could cost the American economy growth for generations. The Club for Growth rates her votes at 12% --way down in the anti-growth category.

Would citizen legislators likely go along with these unconstitutional, costly hits to the economy and to our freedoms? Maybe, but not likely. At least we could expect that with new blood coming into the institution regularly they would not consistently be for ever greater spending, taxing and growing the size and scope of FedGov which is where they live. Rather, they’d likely be for the growth of the economy that they will live in for the prosperity that it brings. They’d be closer to the people. The recent Town Halls have demonstrated dramatically how far removed these pro-pols are from we, the people.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Me Disclose Assets? Me Pay Taxes? Me?

Born in Harlem, deserted by his father at age 6, dropped out of high school where he was often truant and in 1948 at 16 he joined the army. He fought in Korea and was wounded by shrapnel from a Red Chinese shell at Kunu Ri. He got a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for helping to lead what was left of his battered unit away from the Chinese army. After that experience, it was understandable when, in 2000, he said, "Since Kunu Ri – and I mean it with all my heart, I have never, never had a bad day.” Charlie Rangel has been living the good life ever since. He titled his 2006 book, And I Haven’t Had a Bad Day Since.

Upon honorable discharge in 1952, he finished high school and then earned a B.S. from the New York University School of Commerce in 1957, where he made the dean’s list and, on full scholarship, obtained a Juris Doctor from St John’s University School of Law in 1960. He joined a prominent black law firm and mainly represented civil rights activists for about a year and then was appointed by Robert F. Kennedy as Assistant U.S. Attorney and from then on, as we’ve seen with our other poster children, he never got off the public payroll for the rest of his life –and got rich! Rangel was legal counsel to the NY Housing and Redevelopment Board, associate counsel to the Speaker of the NY State Assembly, a law clerk to a Judge and general counsel to the Advisory Commission on Selective Service.

His elected political activity began in 1964 when his mentor, NY State Assemblyman Percy Sutton, became Borough president and Rangel took his seat in the NY Assembly. He was there for two terms from 1964 to ’68 where he became friendly with Governor Nelson Rockefeller. So friendly that Rockefeller arranged to have Rangel run on the Republican ticket at the same time he ran on the Democrat line. You can do that in NY. So, I guess you can say that Charlie was a Rockefeller Republican. He ran for congress on both Repub and Dem lines in 1970.His district is the smallest geographically in the U.S. He’s been in congress now for 38 years!

Sad to say that in all those years he has done little to further freedom and prosperity of the citizens of our Republic. In fact, he voted for taxing and spending so much that he consistently earned the lowest “F” rating from the non-partisan national Taxpayers Union. To his credit he has usually been a supporter of free trade. In a discussion of the Peru free trade agreement Rangel made the comment that, “It's absolutely ridiculous to believe that we can create jobs without trade.” But he also pushes to remove trade barriers with Cuba at the same time he wants to impose restrictions on China for humanitarian reasons. Seems like a contradiction but a lot of the poster children have a soft spot for Castro.

He has favored laws to require more hiring of women and minorities, in favor of abortion rights, much more federal welfare on all levels, same-sex domestic partner benefits and FedGov takeover of health care. One of his goals is to reduce the concentration of wealth & wage inequality on the socialist model. He has opposed privatization of Social Security as a way to solve that programs inevitable insolvency.

Probably, at least partly, because he feels that his US Army service was a positive turning point in his life he wants to re-impose the mandatory draft so he sponsored the National Service Act. The purpose of Rangel’s bill is: “To require all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security . . . .” Here is how the civilian service is described in the bill (sec 102(b)): a civilian capacity that, as determined by the President, promotes the national defense, including national or community service and service related to homeland security.

We can’t find where Charlie Rangel ever referred to the US Constitution for any guidance as to what bills to support or how to vote. That is common among those who consider themselves the “ruling class.” And it is the attitude of hubris and arrogance that prevails in the lifetime tenures of congress.
From the Washington Examiner: “…the powerful committee chairman in charge of writing America's tax laws is a financial wheeler-dealer, a serial asset-hider, and a tax offender.” Not unlike most of Obama’s appointments, I might add –see Michelle Malkin’s The Culture of Corruption.

As the powerful chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, along with Speaker Pelosi and fellow Dem power brokers Waxman and Frank (poster children all), Rangel is playing a key role in the effort to push the president's health care, environmental, and financial initiatives through the House. The fact that he has filed grossly dishonest financial disclosures seems not to have affected his power and position. So, how serious are his ethics violations? Specifically:
 Rangel’s effort to preserve a tax loophole for an oil-drilling company at the same time that its chief executive pledged $1 million to the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College of New York, which was itself built with a $1.9 million earmark -- he has been soliciting donations on his congressional letterhead for his monument;
 Rangel had a credit union account worth at least $250,000 and maybe as much as $500,000 -- and didn't report it;
 Rangel didn't report and didn't pay taxes on income from a villa in the Caribbean – when caught, the IRS gave him sweetheart treatment --Rangel paid about $10,000 in back taxes but was not required to pay any penalty or interest;
 He had undisclosed investment accounts at JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch, Oppenheimer and BlackRock worth hundreds of thousands;
 Then there’s the three unreported pieces of property in Glassboro NJ on which he has not paid the taxes;
 He has four rent-stabilized apartments at New York City's fancy Lenox Terrace while he lists his residence in Washington D.C. I could keep looking but you get the idea.

Rangel's doings are under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, which of course hasn't taken any action. Dems are standing behind their chairman, and minority Repubs can't do anything about it. We can assume that Members of Congress consider that rules are for other people, and sadly, the ethics committee does nothing to correct that assumption. Here’s a kicker: Rangel has contributed money to the campaigns of the Ethics Committee members of whom three are known as Charlie’s “Angels” –they are Congressmen Chandler of KY, Butterfield of NC and Welch of VT. All have received donations from Rangel. In fact, Rangel has given money to 119 Congressmen since the ethics probe began last year. Pay to play.

Does Charlie believe that he is above the law and smarter than the rest of us? In response to reporters’ questions about his failure to disclose hundreds of thousands in assets, House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel had this to say: “I recognize that all of you have an obligation to ask questions knowing that there's none of you smart enough to frame it in such a way that I'm going to respond.”

Given where he started and his war service and his efforts to get through college and all the opportunities given in him this great country, he could have turned out to be a great man. Instead he took advantage of us all for his own benefit. The professional politician is indeed the scourge of our time.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Boxer: Physically Modest at 4’11” But Intellectually, More So

(updated for the term limits vote on 2/5/12) Prior to being a US Senator, Barbara Levy Boxer, was in the US House of Representatives from 1982 to 1992, and on the Marin County, CA Board of Supervisors from 1976 to 1982. In 1972, her husband had planned to run for the Marin County Board of Supervisors, but decided it would interfere with his law practice in Oakland. So Barbara ran instead. She was supported in that election by Marin Alternative, a broad-based, liberal political organization which she had helped found a few years before. Prior to that she had stints as a journalist, an aide to Congressman John Burton and a stockbroker for three years. As our other Poster Children, she had no real accomplishments of any consequence on her resume yet is now in position to make decisions affecting virtually every aspect of life in the USA.

Update: On 2/2/2012 on the vote to limit the terms of congress it is telling that the senators who voted against term limits have been in the Senate for an average of 13.6 years compared to just 6.4 years for those who support them. The longer people are in Congress, the more power they get, and the more they lose touch with the voters who elected them.
See how your Senator voted: hint: All Democrats but Joe Manchin of WV voted AGAINST the reform even though they know full well that a super-majority of their constituents are in favor of term limits.

As a member of the House Armed Service Committee she took credit for exposing, with the help of the Project on Military Procurement, the '$7,600 coffee pot and successfully passed more than a dozen procurement reforms while all the time in her entire career in Congress amassing a voting record of profligate spending, including for the $787 billion Porkulus Bill. The non-partisan National Taxpayers Union never scored her spending record above “F,” their lowest rating. Her concept of money is hazy as her wild check writing spree during the House Banking Scandal illustrates. She wrote 143 overdraft checks over a period of three years. When caught, she issued a statement saying, "In painful retrospect, I clearly should have paid more attention to my account…" and wrote a $15 check to the Deficit Reduction Fund for the overdrafts.

As a Senator she found time to write a couple of novels. A Time to Run published in 2005 was about a battle for a Supreme Court nominee. When Anita Hill accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, Boxer led a group of women House members to the Senate Judiciary Committee demanding that the all-white, all-male Senators take Hill's charges seriously. Her second novel, Blind Trust, released in June 2009, was about how self-interested right-wing politicians used the fight against terrorism to create problems. Both books were written with Mary-Rose Hayes who has written many novels.

Decidedly anti-military as exemplified by her grandstanding and lecturing of General Petraeus at one Senate hearing when she called him a liar. And her rude treatment of General Michael J. Walsh when he called her “Ma’am” during testimony before Boxer's Senate Committee on Environment. Boxer interrupted him and demanded he call her “Senator.” "It's just a thing, I worked so hard to get that title,…” she said.
A Captain for Alaska Airlines had this for her ‘You were so right on when you scolded the general for using the term, "Ma'am," instead of "Senator". After all, in the military, "Ma'am" is a term of respect when addressing a female of superior rank or position. The general was totally wrong. You are not a person of superior rank or position. You are a member of one of the world's most corrupt organizations, the U.S. Senate, equaled only by the U.S. House of Representatives.” I admit I had to include that here because in doing the research for these long-time members of Congress I have to agree with this guy and with Mark Twain, “It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress.”

In another recent insulting situation Boxer was hearing testimony from Harry Alford, CEO of the Black Chamber of Commerce on the topic of green jobs. Ms. Boxer thought she could corner him by citing studies compiled by "black organizations." If she thought that pandering to Mr. Alford on race would cower him she misjudged her subject. She quoted the NAACP's study on Global Warming. Here’s a so-called civil rights organization weighing in on global warming as if weather has become racist against black people. Bill O'Reilly interviewed Alford and asked if he didn’t think Boxer actually cared about Black people. Alford answered, "Yes, she and her colleagues love Black people-- when they're in their place'!" He then recounted the disgusting treatment doled out by her and other "Liberals" to Clarence Thomas, Ken Blackwell, Condi Rice, et al. She once even criticized Condi Rice for not having children.

She’s been there so long that she doesn’t feel like she has to keep to facts in a debate. It is the hubris and arrogance that comes with time in office.
At another hearing she ridiculed Dr. Roy Spencer, the leading climatologist at NASA when he testified that the science of “global warming” and the IPCC and climate models are totally flawed. At the end of his testimony:
SPENCER: In conclusion, I am predicting today that the theory that mankind is mostly responsible for global warming will slowly fade away in the coming years, as will the warming itself, and I trust you would agree, Madam Chair, that such a result deserves to be greeted with relief. That concludes my testimony, and I’d be willing to answer any questions.
BOXER: Okay…. I guess is a certain congratulations, Rush Limbaugh referred to you as the official climatologist of the Rush Limbaugh Excellence in Broadcasting Network.
SPENCER: Yeah, that’s tongue-in-cheek reference.
BOXER: Right. But I just want to point that out for people to understand. I just want to make sure everybody knows what’s really happening.
So, for her, what is REALLY happening has nothing to do with the science. Her vendetta with Rush discounts the learned scientist’s testimony. That is the kind in-depth thinking that runs our Senate Environmental Committee.

Barbara Boxer considers Occupy Wall Street, Code Pink and protestors to be ‘her base,’ so it’s understandable that she would ridicule the TEA Party demonstrators. Boxer says she can tell that they’re fakes, because “they’re too well dressed.” How does she know? Because well-dressed people told her to get the hell out of Florida in the Bush-Gore recount, too. That is how she thinks after 27 years in Congress.

Here’s a quote from her on why we should not drill our own oil in our own country: "Now we face the ultimate special interest issue: Drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. For six months of oil, not to be realized for ten years, my colleagues seem bent on handing over this most pristine land to the big oil companies. Never mind that we can save the equivalent of an infinite number of ANWR fields by simply raising fuel economy a modest amount -- that doesn't matter. The Republicans don't care about the native peoples whose lives will be ruined; they don't care that President Eisenhower set this land aside; they don't care about the more than one hundred species of wildlife that depend on this refuge." She had no clue about the huge volume of oil reserves there, how long it takes to get it flowing and the fact that the native people there are in favor of drilling and that the drilling would have no affect on the wildlife refuge. The area to be drilled is but a pin prick on the map of ANWR. I doubt that she knows the meaning of “infinite,” either.

Reasonable term limits would at least give US a chance to raise the competence level of our representatives.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


John Conyers (D-MI) is the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and you can be sure that it is not his intellect or his accomplishments on behalf of the nation that he has achieved such a powerful position. It is because he has been in Congress since January 4, 1965! Don’t take my word for it, listen to him: “What good is reading the bill if it's a thousand pages and you don't have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?" He’s referring to the 1300+ page bill that details the government takeover of the healthcare industry in the US. [This is funny: One pundit has proposed, The Help John Conyers Read The Damn Bill Act of 2009. See it at –you’ll enjoy it as I did.] Too much for him to read or understand without lawyers --he has a law degree –but that was long ago. Of course, it wouldn’t give him a reason to not vote for the Bill. In his 44 years in congress he has signed just about every costly bill laid in front of him by his leadership. His National Taxpayers Union rating “F” is the lowest possible grade going way back.

None of our Poster Children have done anything before politics that might give them some insight or expertise in the market segments that they are regulating, or lately, taking over. Conyers is no exception. Before his election in 1965, he was an assistant to Congressman John Dingell who is still in Congress –another Poster Boy candidate. He is married to Monica Conyers, former President Pro-Tempore of the Detroit City Council and the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation into political corruption in the city. She has pled guilty to conspiring to commit bribery. Conyers himself ran for mayor of Detroit a couple of times while on our payroll in Congress. Reading about and seeing videos of Monica’s antics on the Detroit council are alternately pathetic and very funny. No wonder Detroit is in the dumpster. BTW, she was born a couple of months before John was elected to Congress.

Conyers has had his ethics problems over the years, too. He violated House rules by using his congressional staff to work on campaigns and forced them to baby-sit and chauffeur his children. The Ethics Committee let it pass as they usually do for their colleagues. I guess they figure, “I may be next.” This is a body not renowned for their high ethical standards –currently there are 17 ongoing ethics investigations n Congress, 4 Repubs and 13 Dems.

One of the most liberal members of Congress, Conyers was one of the founding members of the hard left Black Caucus. He was also one of the original sponsors in 2003 of The United States National Health Care Act, a single-payer plan like the one that is being debated in Congress at this time. When Obama was considering naming Dr. Sanjay Gupta to the post of Surgeon General, Conyers went ballistic. It seems that Gupta once got into an argument with Michael Moore, a friend of Conyers, over Moore’s movie “Sicko” which advocated socialized medicine. Conyers was afraid that Gupta would not be a backer of the one-payer system. Conyers’ signature issue is the one-payer socialized medicine plan for the masses. But, notably, the Bills proposed specifically exempt members of Congress. THAT is the arrogance of self-service as opposed to the ideal of public service.

A consummate Bush-basher, he offered a Report, The Constitution in Crisis, which purported that President Bush violated the Constitution in prosecuting the Iraq war. It called for censure of both the president and vice president. Before that he issued another Report, What Went Wrong in Ohio, to try to have the votes for President Bush not counted because of some of the discrepancies between exit polls and actual vote tallies. He even filed a lawsuit, Honorable John Conyers, Jr., et al. v. George W. Bush, et al, seeking a restraining order to prevent the execution of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. He wanted it declared unconstitutional. The case was dismissed for his lack of standing. Don’t forget Conyers has a law degree –he knew he didn’t have standing but went out of his way to harass the president. He also introduced a bill to set up a "truth commission" panel to investigate alleged policy abuses of the Bush administration.

Conyers has proposed a Resolution to condemn religious intolerance for Islam which he said needed special protection from acts of violence and intolerance. It states that “it should never be official policy of the United States Government to disparage the Quran, Islam, or any religion in any way, shape, or form,” and “calls upon local, State, and Federal authorities to work to prevent bias-motivated crimes and acts against all individuals, including those of the Islamic faith.” A strictly political act as there are now a lot of Muslims in his district. We already have freedom of religion in the US.

We can’t cover much of a 44 year career but we try to illustrate that 6 or 8 years would be plenty for any representative to get something done and then go home to live under the laws and pay the taxes he imposed on the country. And that is the way it would work IF the representative was there for “public service.” Career pols do not give a thought to their oaths of office.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Godfather of the Corn Ethanol Lobby

We evaluate our poster children by their votes for unconstitutional spending and regulations over time. I’ve been criticized by some for putting only Dems on the posters, so far. I’m just getting started and logically, to my mind, we should begin with the worst offenders –and demonstrably, Dems are generally worse offenders than Repubs. My first Repub, Arlen Specter, converted to Dem –he was right on the line as the worst of the self-serving Repubs who are very close to the least worst Dems.

Our new boy on the poster, Sen Charles Grassley of Iowa, doesn’t have the worst overall record of Repubs or Dems but he has, by virtual of his longevity in Congress, reached a position where he has been able to influence enactment of some of the most damaging legislation to our freedoms and well-being. The ethanol disaster is one and now, Obama’s plan to take over healthcare has Grassley in position to enable Obama’s power grab. He’s working on a “compromise” that he says won’t concede the entire health care system of the USA to the State –just a part of what is left in the free market. Government already controls about half of healthcare through Medicare and other federal programs. Where is THAT in the US Constitution? Who benefits from a FedGov command of health care for each and every one of us commoners? Note that all of the plans offered so far by the Obama regime exempts royalty --federal officials and Congress-- from the restrictions and regulations.

Since 1989 healthcare special interest lobbyists have paid $300 million to the professional politicians. In the last few years Finance Chairman Max Baucus got $3.8 mil and Grassely, the senior Repub on the committee got $2.5 mil. Big stakes, big bribes. Baucus is in his 6th term and Grassley in his 5th 6-year term. Have you seen the NASCAR drivers with all the decals on their clothes, cars, etc. showing who their sponsors are? Well, I think the professional politicians should have to display the logos of all of the companies and groups that pay them. It would help taxpayer/voters to understand why they do what they do for certain interests.
Ethanol made from sugar is a viable product –Brazil has proven that it can be produced efficiently without subsidies and without hurting the food supply. But our politicians mandate that our ethanol be made from corn even though it creates more smog than gasoline. It is so corrosive that it can’t be delivered through pipelines. Cars get fewer miles per gallon when gas has to be mixed --by law-- with ethanol. So, why don’t we just import ethanol from Brazil? Because Sen. Grassley and his friends put a 54 cents a gallon tariff on it so their friendly corn farmers and ethanol producers don’t have competition. Why don’t the American sugar producers make ethanol then. Because they have their own Congress-critters taking care of them with supports and protections, so why work?
Grassley is known as The Godfather of the Corn Ethanol Lobby. He even threatened to hold up confirmation of Obama’s choice to be U.S. ambassador to Brazil because he feared the guy personally favored ending a U.S. tariff on ethanol imports.
Like our other poster boys and girls, Grassley, now 75, never had a real job in the real economy –he went into the Iowa House of Representatives in 1959. He graduated college in 1956. His bio says he was an assembly line worker and farmer in the 3-year interim. Then followed a stint in the US House followed by the US Senate since 1980. And this experience qualifies him to be a major influence in determining how our agriculture, energy and healthcare sectors of the US economy should be run? I don’t think so. If we had term limits, say 3 or 4 terms in the House and 1 or 2 (max!) terms in the Senate then in that turnover we might have some experienced business or professional people with actual real life experience in the various sectors of our economy.
As Paul Johnson the great historian has concluded in his history of the US, the professional politician was the “scourge of the 20th century.” And now they are even worse in the 21st century as is being made clear by the major problems we face as a nation demonstrably caused by these self-serving career politicians. All that we’ve achieved through our freedom with individual responsibility under a Constitution that guaranteed our rights is being destroyed by the monster we know as FedGov. There are no more checks and balances and that must change if we are to again be a free and prosperous nation. Term limits on Congress would go a long way towards regaining control by the people through elected reps who might truly “serve” the people and not themselves as the professional pols do.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Serrano: End Term Limits on Presidency

Of the 535 members of Congress, at least 400 are there too long as measured by non-partisan researchers on the fiscal responsibility and Constitutional integrity side. On the single issue special interest side they love longevity in their “honest” politicians which they define as those who, once bought, stay bought.

So, when selecting who is next I have lots of choices. I ran with Byrd and Kennedy recently because they were such egregious examples for term limits and they will soon both be gone simply because they can’t live forever. I picked Waxman and Markey because of their disastrous Cap & Tax Bill that was current. Now, I select Jose Enrique Serrano because of recent developments in Latin America with ramifications for the US.

Born in Puerto Rico and raised since age 7 in the Bronx, Serrano is one of the most liberal members of congress getting the lowest (F) rating from the non-partisan National Taxpayers Union (NTU) and single-digits score out of 100 from the Club for Growth. He says he’s a Roman Catholic but he’s a divorced father of four who votes consistently pro-abortion. He was in the NY State Assembly from 1974 until he was elected to Congress in 1990. He gets reelected with over 90% of the vote in one of the poorest and most densely populated districts in the country, the South Bronx. Like the others he has had no practical business or professional experience to bring to the Congress –it is all politics with him as with our other poster children. And his record shows that it is not American Constitutional Republic politics, either.

Poster Child John Murtha in November 2005 proposed a bill in congress for immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq – there were only three votes in favor of it: Serrano and two other extreme leftists, Cynthia McKinney of Georgia and Robert Wexler who represents a district in Florida, but who lives in Maryland. Even Murtha didn’t vote for it. Go figure.
Serrano calls Puerto Rico a US “colony” to make it sound like a bad thing. Actually, it is a benign protectorate if you can call it anything; it is such a unique situation. Puerto Rico has three times voted against becoming a U.S. state despite the Democrats spending millions to promote Statehood that would give them two additional U.S. Senators and 6 to 8 additional Members of the House. That’s more Reps than half of our states. H.Con.Res.11, introduced by Serrano, includes in it an attack on English as our national language and demands that the federal government "oppose" our many state laws and bills that designate English as our official language. Serrano's statehood bill, H.R.900, would have set up two plebiscites that rig the process to deceive Puerto Ricans into voting for statehood.
The Puerto Rican independence faction is tiny but they are militant and have been responsible for domestic terrorist incidents in the United States. In 1954 they shot up the House of Representatives injuring six congressmen. Altogether the FALN as they are known killed six and injured many more in 130 bombings from 1974 to 1983. Serrano was one of the most zealous advocates of clemency for the terrorists and President Clinton finally did grant them clemency at his urging. Some say he promised the Puerto Rican vote in NY for Hillary’s Senate run.
Serrano and fellow poster child Sen. Dodd offered legislation that would end restrictions on trade or financial transactions with Cuba. They also would end bans on travel and related transactions as well and their Bill would abolish limits on the amount any person can remit to Cuba. Both poster children have been Castro-friendly for a long time.
One of Serrano’s favorite people is Hugo Chavez: He told reporters, “When Hugo Chavez was scheduled to come to New York for the U.N., I, as you know, have been a strong supporter of his attempts at bringing social justice to Venezuela, and I have been a strong critic of our administration’s desire to undo his government and to try to overthrow and who knows what else. So I thought it was a great opportunity to invite him to the Bronx. And he wanted to meet with community organizations, and you all reported on that visit. It was a wonderful visit.” Those types are strong on community organizing.

One recent event in Latin America that brought Serrano to my attention was Chavez’ elimination of term limits on his office so that, like his friend Castro, he, too, could stay in office for life. Then, the president of Honduras, with help from Chavez, tried to force an unconstitutional referendum to give himself an unlimited term in office. The legislature and the Supreme Court have tried to keep President Manuel Zelaya from his illegal power-grab and the Army had to come in and deport him to prevent a Chavez-backed coup. This brings us to Serrano and term limits.

Rep. Serrano has submitted the following proposed Amendment that could conceivably end up giving Obama lifetime tenure in office. Is that why Obama supports would-be dictator Zelaya in Honduras rather than the Honduran Constitution, Supreme Court and their duly elected legislature?
Serrano’s Proposed Amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President:
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:
‘The twenty-second article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.’

It may get down to the 22nd amendment some day. An Obama regime, a one-party State supported by armies like ACORN, AmeriCorps and other supporters using the climate change scheme could succeed in turning our Constitutional Republic into just another version of the Soviet Union, if we are not vigilant. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Hero of Chappaquiddick

For many of us who lived during the time in 1969 when the drunken playboy Senator caused the drowning of a 20-something year old girl, we can’t help but recall that horrible night whenever Edward “Teddy” Kennedy’s name comes up. His drunken irresponsibility and his subsequent self-serving lies earned him the appellation “Hero of Chappaquiddick.”

So, let’s get that sordid event out first and then proceed to find out what redeeming accomplishments he may have had subsequently in his 47 years in the US Senate. His supporters call him “The Lion of the Senate” or ‘Conscience of the Democrat Party.” Most Americans under 40 have never even heard the story of how he drove off that bridge after a night of drinking at a party on Chappaquiddick Island and left Miss Mary Jo Kopechne behind to die trapped in the back seat of his Oldsmobile limousine gasping for air as he swam to safety. He then walked back to the party passing several houses and a fire station and got two friends to go back to the scene of the accident with him. He went on to try and formulate an alibi –even trying to get his cousin Joe Garghan to say that he was behind the wheel. He did not make a police report as his friends advised him to; instead Kennedy made his way to his hotel, called his lawyer, and went to sleep. When he did call the police the next morning they had already found the wreck and noted that Kopechne had scratched at the upholstered floor above her head in the upside-down car trying to get out.

The politically powerful Kennedy family called in favors, ensuring that any inquiry would be contained and that the inquest would be conducted in secret. Mary Jo’s corpse was whisked out-of-state to her family, before an autopsy could be conducted. He pled guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, and was given a SUSPENDED SENTENCE OF TWO MONTHS. There was later an effort to have her body exhumed and autopsied, but her family successfully fought against this in court, and Kennedy's family paid their attorney's bills... a "token of friendship?”

Before we go on to Teddy’s wonderful accomplishments in the Senate we should also note that that he had a few other socially embarrassing times like when at Harvard, he paid another student take a test for him causing him to expelled. He got back in but was caught cheating again and was expelled a second time. So he enlisted in the Army for four years but his father, Joseph P. Kennedy, former U.S. Ambassador to England, pulled the necessary strings to have his enlistment shortened to two years, and to ensure that he served in Europe, not Korea, where a war was raging. Kennedy was assigned to Paris, never advanced beyond the rank of Private having been refused a commission for cheating; he returned to Harvard upon being discharged. While attending law school at the University of Virginia, he was cited for reckless driving four times, including once when he was clocked driving 90 miles per hour in a residential neighborhood with his headlights off after dark. Yet his Virginia driver's license was never revoked. He passed the bar exam in 1959.

There were numerous other incidents of womanizing, drunkenness and other conduct unbecoming…. He often caroused with fellow Senator and fellow Poster Child for Term Limits Chris Dodd -- twice in 1985 they were in drunken incidents in Washington restaurants, with one involving unwelcome physical contact with a waitress. In ’91 he took his nephews out on the town in Palm Beach and that night one of the nephews was credibly accused of rape but he got off, eventually. Reading of this behavior of a US Senator wouldn’t you expect that he would have been replaced by someone who was more respectable? But no, he gets reelected eight times! Incumbency is almost impossible to overcome, especially with a politically connected and powerful family. In predominantly Roman Catholic Massachusetts Kennedy was a prominent Catholic having received his First Holy Communion from Pope Pius XII in the Vatican and married by Cardinal Spellman in 1958 to Virginia Joan Bennett, a beauty queen. It is said that his womanizing drove her to drink and they divorced. They had three children.

Now for the socially redeeming part: considering his longevity, his accomplishments seem scant. He authored or argued for legislation that ensured a variety of civil rights, increased the minimum wage in 1981, made access to health care easier for the indigent, and funded Meals on Wheels for fixed-income seniors and is widely held as the "standard-bearer for liberalism." Kennedy became a committed champion of so-called women's issues and of special rights for homosexuals.

In his very first Senate role, he was the floor manager for the bill that turned U.S. immigration policy upside down and opened the floodgate for immigrants from third world countries. Since that time, he has been an author of every expansion of and increase in immigration, up to and including the latest attempt to grant amnesty to illegal aliens. He has always been the unions’ man for socialized medicine and now the Obama regime is using his name on their bill to take over the health care system of the US. His brain tumor has kept him out of the Senate as this debate goes on.

Kennedy backed the IRA terrorists in Ireland against the British; opposed Nixon’s “vietnamization” of the war after having supported his brother, President John F. Kennedy’s instigation of the Viet Nam war. He fought Ronald Reagan on almost everything –taking the side of the leftists in Nicaragua and El Salvador and in opposing Reagan-supported weapons systems, including the B-1 bomber, the MX missile, and the Strategic Defense Initiative which helped win the Cold War. Kennedy became the Senate's leading advocate for a nuclear freeze. He opposed President Bush on Iraq but worked with him on other issues, including immigration reform and the further intrusion of FedGov into education, the No Child Left Behind Act.

The ACLU, the gun control advocates and the pro-abortion groups rated Kennedy highly while the pro-life groups and the NRA had him at or near zero. His respect for the US Constitution as written was also around zero as his opposition to Supreme Court nominees Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas for their “originalist” interpretation proved. It was Kennedy’s staff that turned Anita Hill against her former boss and Kennedy’s libelous “Robert Bork’s America: speech reached a new low for incendiary rhetoric:
"Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens ..."

We featured the two oldest Senators with the longest tenures –Kennedy and Byrd-- as they are on their way out and we thought there were lessons to be learned by our lack of term limits on Congress. Much is left out -- nearly fifty years takes a book or more to tell the whole story. The points I make here tell of self-serving rather than public service and all because these men were permitted to stay in office forever –they’ll probably both die in office. Power does corrupt. Tenure corrupts.

Friday, June 5, 2009

How Do West Virginians Spell Pork? It's B-Y-R-D

Robert C. Byrd was born in 1917 and has been in the US Congress since 1952. He worked as a gas station attendant and grocery store clerk before being elected to the W. Virginia House of Delegates in 1946 and to the W. Va. Senate in 1951. Sometime after he was elected to the US Senate he obtained a law degree. He did have some extra-curricular activities, if not any real job experience, to inform his law-making career. F’instance, he joined the Klu Klux Klan in 1942 and was elected Grand Cyclops and then Kleagle (recruiter). It wasn’t until 1947 that he dropped out as the KKK affiliation was apparently beginning to affect his political life. During that period he made racist remarks, so vicious, that I wouldn’t print them here. Since leaving the Klan he has disavowed them and apologized over and over again.

But when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 came up for a vote, Byrd filibustered against the bill for 14 straight hours! Of course, it passed with 80% Repubs and 63% Dems voting Aye. Byrd is the only Senator to have voted against the nominations of both Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, the only two African Americans to have been nominated to the court. The Dems still call Byrd “the conscience of the Senate.”

He loves animals, though. As proof he was honored by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) as their 2007 Person of the Year. Then he was honored by the Humane Society as a defender of animal rights and the headline was "The Prince of Pork Now Tries to Save the Hog."
Citizens Against Government Waste has an entire page called Byrd Droppings dedicated to Sen. Byrd in honor of his “fiscal incontinence.” CAGW quotes him there, "They call me 'The Pork King,' they don't know how much I enjoy it." (Sounds like our Poster Boy John Murtha.) “After he secured $97 million in fiscal 1999, Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W. Va.) became the first person in CAGW's Congressional Pig Book history to obtain more than $1 billion in pork for his voters and contributors. So entrenched is he as a result of his enormous earmarks that he has never really had any serious opposition. He explained how career politicians think: "One man's pork is another man's job. Pork has been a good investment in West Virginia. You can look around and see what I've done." If you look around in W. VA you’ll find no less than 40 buildings and projects of all kinds named after him. He set a new standard for taxpayer-funded narcissism by convincing the West Virginia Legislature to erect a statue of himself in the state Capitol. The statue violates state law prohibiting statues of government officials until they have been dead for half a century. Rule of law? Not for entrenched career pols. [Byrd's statue is currently housed in the Capitol Rotunda, as shown in the picture, and it is said if you stand under the statue the senator's hand points directly at your pockets.]
Some other positions: He opposed the Iraq war saying that of the more than 18,000 votes he has cast as a Senator, he is proudest of his vote against the Iraq war resolution. Byrd has also voted for funding the Iraq war with a timetable for troop withdrawal. He voted against the ban on partial birth abortion, then subsequently voted for it. In February 2009 he was one of only two Democrats to vote against the District of Columbia Voting Rights Act of 2009 which provided a voting seat in the House of Representatives. These are just to fill in a quick sketch of the man.
Our point is that when a politician is in congressional politics as a career he does what he has to to stay in office –that is his goal. It is not to “serve” the country by adhering to his oath of office. He “serves” by extracting taxes from one group to serve up to another group who will contribute to his campaign or vote for him. This is vote-buying, not serving. It has been like this for so long that it is hard to remember the citizen-legislator who goes to Washington to perform a civic duty and then goes home and lives under the laws he helped to pass. (There have been a few lately, generally self term-limiters.)
When we had citizen-legislators from The Founders on until 20th century they were men of accomplishment successful at a business or profession and they applied that experience to the benefit of the country. Our Poster Children have not had real-life experience, only political experience, which means that they have no successful insights to apply to those problems that they attempt to solve through legislation. Is it any wonder that our career pols invariably exacerbate virtually every problem they address? Usually, I must add, they are trying to solve problems that they themselves have caused by their taxing and regulating. This current financial crisis is a case in point –see the posters on Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, below.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Pelosi Lies...

Nancy Pelosi is in her 12th term in Congress but, like our other poster children, her experience prior has been all politics –no real life business or professional experience. Her father was a congressman from Maryland; her brother was mayor of Baltimore. She interned for Senator Dan Brewster (D-Maryland) along with Steny Hoyer who is now House Majority Leader as she is now Speaker of the House. After moving to San Francisco in 1969 where her husband’s brother was on the Board of Supervisors, she worked in politics and got to be the Dem party chairman. Then she joined with Congressman Phillip Burton, a vociferous anti-anti-communist at the time. When Burton died his wife took the seat until she died and then Pelosi succeed Mrs. Burton and she’s been there ever since. All of her political experience has been within the radical left or liberal wing of the Dem party.

As one of the richest members of Congress –net worth in excess of $20 million --at age 69 she is not in it for the money at this time, if she ever was. Her motivation seems to be perks and power. She is third in line of presidential succession. Heady stuff.

Investors Business Daily (Apr 27 2009) remembers how outraged Pelosi was when President Bush commuted Scooter Libby’s sentence. “The President's commutation of Scooter Libby's prison sentence does not serve justice, condones criminal conduct and is a betrayal of trust of the American people," she said. "Scooter" Libby went to prison because his memory of events and who said what to whom regarding Valerie Pflame differed from the recollections of others, particularly news reporters. Alleged contradictory statements were portrayed as a deliberate and malicious obstruction of justice. So what about Pelosi? She flat out lied on national TV about CIA briefings she received. On April 23, Pelosi told reporters "we were not, and I repeat, were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation techniques were used." Rather, she said, she recalled being told by the CIA that the techniques "could be used, but not that they would." However, according to a CIA document compiled by Obama’s CIA Director, Leon Panetta, Pelosi was one of the first lawmakers briefed on the interrogations in 2002. In fact, the document lists 40 briefings provided to lawmakers on intelligence, judiciary and other panels, the first of which was provided to then-House intelligence committee chairman Porter Goss and Ms. Pelosi, the ranking Dem on on the committee, Sept. 4, 2002. That briefing is described as covering "enhanced interrogation techniques." It included the use of the techniques on detainee Abu Zubaydah, background on legal authority, and "a description of the particular [enhanced interrogation techniques] that had been employed." Libby differs with a reporter on a time line for inconsequential matters and gets prison; Pelosi lies about national security matters and gets a pass. Mr. Goss (btw, a self term-limiter when in Congress) complained about her and others who “… crossed the red line between properly protecting our national security and trying to gain partisan political advantage.”

Once she requested a military plane to fly her to a Democratic Party retreat in Williamsburg, Va. - just a two-hour drive from the nation's capitol. The Defense Department said no. Her ally, Poster Boy John Murtha who chairs the subcommittee that controls the Pentagon’s money, according to a Washington Times report, called Bush officials demanding that they give her the plane. The implied threat that Murtha made: You want money for the Iraq war? You better give the speaker her plane. It was in the same week that Pelosi endorsed a resolution that the president's troop surge is "not in the national interest of the United States," she asked that military resources be diverted to her personal travel. What's her concept of national interest? She is soft on national defense-- on January 5, 2007, reacting to suggestions from President Bush that he would increase troop levels in Iraq, Pelosi joined with Poster Boy Harry “the war is lost” Reid to condemn the plan.

She really enjoys the perks of office at great expense to taxpayers. She insists on commuting to San Francisco using military aircraft to shuttle her, friends and family around the country. Judicial Watch, which obtained e-mails and other documents from a Freedom of Information request, said the correspondence shows Pelosi has abused the system in place to accommodate congressional leaders and treated the Air Force as her "personal airline." Richard Miniter writing in the New York Post says that “She wants to travel in luxury. The Air Force jet is the same size and airframe as the Boeing 757-200, which carries about 300 passengers. The C-32 boasts 42 business-class seats plus a wood-paneled state room, big-screen TV, full-size bed and crew of 16, including uniformed stewards who bring drinks and meals on request. Cost to taxpayers? A round-trip to Rep. Pelosi's home in San Francisco could easily run $300,000. Meanwhile, the same flight on a commercial jet can run less than $300.”

After his reelection President Bush made a valiant attempt to tackle one of the most urgent looming financial problems facing the country: Social Security will be broke in a few years time. He wanted to look at the alternatives and find a solution, including possible privatization. Pelosi strongly opposed the privatization of Social Security, and as minority leader imposed intense party discipline on her caucus, leading them to near-unanimous opposition of Bush's proposal and defeating any efforts to get at the problem.

Pelosi campaigned on the promise that she would clean up the GOP's waste and abuse of taxpayer's dollars. So why doesn't she use the little commuter jet that the Air Force lent to Dennis Hastert, the previous speaker? She said it was "not big enough" to accommodate her staff, supporters and other members of the California delegation. Pelosi doesn't understand why the vice president and first lady rate a bigger plane than she does, when she is two heartbeats away from the presidency. As bad as the Repubs were the Dem speaker has them beat on both wasteful spending and elitism. Then there are the speaker’s concerns about global warming. In flight, the C-32 pumps out 10,000-plus pounds of carbon an hour. How can she have her plane and complain about global warming too?

Her National Taxpayers Union rating going back to 1992 gives her the lowest grade for profligate spending, “F.” In January 2007, a Democratic congressional majority was sworn in that was elected in part by promising fiscal responsibility. The Democrats specifically pledged to limit spending increases and employ pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) budgeting to keep the budget deficit in check. It was a constant refrain from the Speaker. Listening to her one strains to find a grain of truth --she failed to deliver on anything she promised. Pelosi, one of the recipients of largesse from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, helped cause the financial crises agreeing and cooperating with Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, et al. (See those Posters below.) Immediately upon taking over she rewrote House rules to ensure that the Republican minority is unable to have any influence on legislation. On it goes, we could find no socially redeeming value to her political career. What an enormous savings to the republic had she been term-limited at, say, eight years. As we say in Florida, 8 is Enough!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dingy Harry

In his 4th 6-year term in the US Senate, he is like our previous poster boys –never had a real job in the real world. He was elected to the Nevada Assembly in 1967 at age 27 and he has been at the public trough ever since, including two terms in the U.S. House. He was chairman of the Nevada gaming commission for five years, a government job but not an elected political position. Here we have the Majority leader of the U.S. Senate making decisions that affect virtually every business and profession in the country yet he has little personal experience to guide him. Virtually every person reading this has had much more real life experience than this powerful career pol. He has not lived under the rules he makes for the rest of us.

He had a tough early life. His mother did laundry for a bordello; his father, a miner, killed himself. They didn’t have indoor plumbing in the hot desert where they lived. Maybe that is why he is so bitter and hateful in using his power.

He is a most hateful partisan who is disrespectful and doesn’t hesitate to use personal insults often calling President Bush a “liar, a “loser” or “King George.” He has insulted Clarence Thomas, Alan Greenspan and many others with whom he had disagreements. His vitriol for supporters of the war on terror was never more on display than when he told the world that “I believe myself that the secretary of state, secretary of defense and — you have to make your own decisions as to what the president knows — that this war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything as indicated by the extreme violence in Iraq.” He voted for the war but then did all he could to hinder the effort. Imagine how the troops in the field felt when they heard the Dem leader tell them they lost the war.

We try to say something positive about each poster boy and with Harry Reid, a Mormon, we found that he does evidence some moral conviction saying “abortions should be legal only when the pregnancy resulted from incest, rape, or when the life of the mother is endangered.” He has voted to ban the partial birth abortion procedure but voted for funding groups that perform abortions. Regarding same-sex marriage, Reid has stated he believes "...marriage should be between a man and a woman." However, he voted against the Federal marriage amendment. He has opposed some gun-control measures, to his credit.
On spending he’s a major-leaguer. The National Taxpayers Union gives him an “F” rating for every year, scoring a lowly 15%. Of course, he supported the massive bailouts and with Nancy Pelosi delivered Obama the $800 billion Porkulus Bill. He voted against the bill to put a one-year moratorium on earmarks, a very modest attempt to control pork spending. Never having earned much money of his own, he has no problem spending ours. He spends money that has not been earned yet putting our children in multi-trillion dollar debt.
He opposed all attempts by the Bush administration to reform Social Security and when asked why on Meet the Press, he said, “President Bush is the worst president we’ve ever had,” as if that was a valid answer. David Gregory asked if he had any regrets about his persistent criticism of Bush, Reid responded, “I am who I am.” His adamant refusal to work with the Repubs on major fiscal reforms and his support of virtually all spending bills loaded with pork provided no offset to the big-spending Repubs, either. His constant public denigration of the president was especially damaging to the country because it was during wartime. Remember the old concept of “loyal opposition?” No more.

Reid is against drilling in ANWR, for imposing stricter emission standards, for adhering to the UN’s treaty regarding global climate change opening the political class further opportunities for control threw energy regulations and restrictions. As bad as these positions bode for our freedoms, our economy and therefore, our prosperity, Reid is also protectionist in his trade policies. He opposes Nafta, other regional trade agreements, GATT, WTO and fast-track authority for moving trade agreements through congress with an up-or-down vote which deprives our exporters of new markets. He is for more tariffs like the 54 cents a gallon on Brazilian sugar-ethanol so that it doesn’t compete with our highly subsidized and inefficient corn-ethanol. He’s for increasing the national minimum wage which deprives so many young students and low-skilled workers the opportunity to get a job. It deprives them of the opportunity to get on the first rung of the ladder.

When asked if he supported term limits on congress, he answered NO. But imagine if he was term-limited after, say, 6 or even 12 years –we may have had an experienced businessman or professional whose life experience included living under the ever increasingly restrictive federal laws and mandates. And maybe even less partisan, more open-minded Senators whose goals might not be primarily for power. It is not guaranteed but term limits of governors and state offices have proved effective in encouraging good, patriotic people to offer themselves for service to their country –the way it is supposed to be, but isn’t. Professional pols are self-serving –maybe not at first, but demonstrably so over time. Tenure corrupts.

With term limits we may not have this mind-numbingly ignorant person in a position of such power. Here’s Harry himself telling how dumb he really is:
as he explains that paying taxes in America is voluntary. He doesn’t even know about FedGov mandatory withholding taxes from paychecks in the USA! Forty years of being in the political class one loses track of how the people live. Career pols do not “serve,” they rule.