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.