Saturday, December 9, 2017
The longest serving members of the U.S. Congress –both Democrats and Republicans—prove by their voting records that the longer they’re in there, the further from the people they drift. I flinch when I see the reference to “serving” because it implies that they serve the people by honoring the rule of law and keeping their oaths of office. A study of their records shows that, by far, most of them tend to serve themselves, --first, by making getting reelected Job One. Many have become very rich in office. Harry Truman said, “You can’t get rich in politics unless you’re a crook.”
They’re not all bad guys. But most have long since offered innovative ideas or examined long-outdated programs and damn few have tried to limit spending. Hence, our $20 trillion --and growing! -- national debt. This criticism applies to the hundreds who have been in Congress for too many years in addition to these old boys.
National Taxpayers Union (NTU) is the non-partisan Voice of America's Taxpayers. NTU mobilizes elected officials and the general public on behalf of tax relief and reform, lower and less wasteful spending, individual liberty, and free enterprise. It rates individual members of Congress by their voting records. We’ll use their ratings to some extent help understand each of those referenced here.The late Sen. Robert Byrd (D- WV), a former Ku Klux Klan leader, holds the record in the Senate at 57.5 years, he retired in 2010. Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) beat that record –he was At The Trough since 1955! –a total of 59 years!
--Connect to the links indicated by the blue letters for details on the members for whom we have produced posters. –
Those still in Congress with exceptionally long tenure are:
In office for 53 years is Rep. John Conyers NTU: Big Spender (D-MI) currently in the news for sexual harassment. He’ll not be running again in 2008.
Sen. Thad Cochran NTU:C (R-MS) has been in Congress for 45 years as has Rep. Don Young NTU: B- (R-AK)
Sen. Patrick Leahy NTU:F Big Spender (D-VT) and Sen. Chuck Grassley NTU:B (R-IA) are at 43 years and counting. Grassley doesn’t have the worst overall record, but he has insured his reelections by becoming the “Godfather of the Corn Ethanol Lobby” by pandering to farmers with the costly law mandating the addition of ethanol to gasoline.
Rep. Ed Markey NTU: D Poor (D-MA) and Sen. Orin Hatch NTU: C (R-UT) 41 years and still spending like mad. All but one of the career pols mentioned here have contributed more than their share to grow the national debt.
The exception in this 37+-years group that proves the rule is our one NTU: A Taxpayers’ Friend, James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI) who has served 39 years, so far. Also, still in there at 39 years and counting is Sen. Richard Shelby NTU: C+ (R-AL).
Several are still in there after 37 years in Congress: Of these, all Democrats, are rated “F” by NTU, Big Spenders, all. They are Sen. Ron. Wyden (D-OR), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD).
Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers NTU: B (R-KY), Sen. Pat Roberts NTU: B (R-KS), and Rep. Chris Smith NTU: C+ (R-NJ) are all at about 37 years, so far.
We’ve highlighted 15 of the top 110 who are still at the trough for more than 36 years as of this date and we’ll feature more of them in future posters. Interestingly, only nine of the entire 110 were defeated in a general election. Yet, some people wonder why we need term limits. On average, 95% of incumbents are reelected because of the advantages of incumbency with its name recognition and the massive amounts of money that lobbyists bestow on their “honest politicians.” BTW, they define their honest pols as those who, once bought, stay bought.
Most begin their “service” with good intentions and reasonable-sounding promises of spending restraint but the longer they’re in there the more they accede to their political party leadership and their supporting lobbyists’ demands for special interest favors and government spending on their behalf.
For the list of the 110 of those with the longest tenure in Congress, go here. You’ll find more interesting historical data on them.
As you would expect, all the Republicans are more taxpayer-friendly than the Democrats but, except for Sensenbrenner, they, too, have room for improvement.
Request of my readers: please send me the names of congress-critters you’d like to see profiled here as a poster child. You’re welcome to write the piece which I’ll work over with you for publication. -Thanks, -Geo.
Sunday, October 1, 2017
For Sale: Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
In 1986, 32-year-old lawyer Bob Menendez was elected Mayor of Union City, New Jersey.
In 1988, he was elected to the state legislature.
In 1992, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
In 2006, he was elected to the U.S. Senate.
Now, after 31 years of raking in dough as a politician, Menendez is on trial for corruption.
Prosecutors allege that Menendez took bribes from Dr. Salomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist, in exchange for special favors. Among the gifts Melgen gave Menendez were all-expense-paid Caribbean vacations via private jet and $700,000 in campaign cash. Menendez became such a frequent traveler on Melgen’s jet that the Doctor began directing his pilots to stock Evian water, the Senator’s beverage of choice.
Of course, Melgen didn’t lavish Menendez with gifts out of the kindness of his heart. He did it to obtain special access and favors that no ordinary person can get. In exchange for bribes, Menendez provided Melgen with:
- influence over immigration so foreign women could visit Melgen in the U.S.
- pressure on the State Department to honor an exclusive contract with a company owned by Melgen
- pressure on Medicare to end a $9 million dispute in which Melgen, the country’s top recipient of Medicare funds, was suspected of overbilling
This is a classic case of a career politician, unsatisfied with his $174,000 annual salary, trying to live the lifestyles of the rich and famous on taxpayer dime.
What’s more remarkable is that Menendez is no isolated case. The senator who held the seat immediately before him, Jon Corzine, was eventually sued by the federal government for running a financial firm that stole nearly $1 billion of its own customers’ assets.
And before Corzine’s scandal, New Jersey Senator Robert Torricelli took bribes including a plasma TV, suits, ties, watches and art statues in exchange for providing favors to his own megadonor.
Remember, these guys all refer to themselves as public servants. But the deeper one digs into Washington’s swamp, the more it becomes clear they are only serving themselves.
According to the Census Bureau, America’s four wealthiest counties are all suburbs of Washington, D.C. While cities like Flint, MI and Johnstown, PA are bleeding jobs, wealth and population, the trough of Washington has grown to its biggest levels yet. Elected officials face more temptation than ever before to put their power up for sale and join the ranks of the elite.
Are you sick and tired of seeing people go to Washington with good intentions but leave in handcuffs?
We must keep up this fight for congressional term limits. By restoring humility to public office, term limits can and will reduce corruption. Join the movement today.Phil Blumel, President
U.S. Term Limits
Saturday, September 2, 2017
Our last update in 2012 was to show how Sen. Schumer voted on the Resolution to limit the terms of congress. It is telling that the senators who voted against term limits have been in the Senate the longest and those in there for less than half the time voted for limiting terms. The longer people are in Congress, the more money and power they get, the more they lose touch with the voters who elected them. Of course, Schumer voted AGAINST the reform.
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 favor limiting the terms of congress.
Charles Ellis Schumer was elected to the New York State Assembly at age 23 in 1974, then was elected to the House of Representatives in 1981 followed by the U.S. Senate from 1998 to date. Again, as our other Poster Children, he never had a real job in the productive economy. He has a law degree from Harvard followed by 44 years in elective office making laws for others to live under. This why we oppose unlimited terms for career politicians –they make decisions we all have to live with yet they have no experience in areas of their lawmaking. No wonder most of their laws end up causing more problems than they solve. No wonder we as a nation have a debt of $20 trillion when our representatives spend with abandon on anything which directly helps certain of their supporters at the expense of taxpayers. Most of our Posters have little concept of money, for like Schumer, they have never earned any and certainly never had to budget as ordinary citizens do. Borrowing from future generations doesn’t bother them –it is all about making certain supporters happy at the expense of current and future taxpayers, thus insuring reelection.
Schumer is a party-line guy all the way –never missing a chance to help expand the size and scope of the federal government at any cost. Citizens Against Government Waste rates congress on their votes for or against taxpayers and Schumer is always near bottom so he is rated "Hostile" to taxpayers. Schumer joined CAGW's Hall of Shame as he was voted 2016 Porker of the Year for leading in the effort to create (supposedly) "debt free" college.
The National Taxpayers Union puts Schumer, at 5%, in the Big Spender category. Both CAGW and NTU are non-partisan congressional watch dogs. The same is true for The Club for Growth Scorecard a comprehensive examination of each lawmaker’s record on pro-growth policies. Again, Schumer is at the very bottom with 4% lifetime --favors FedGov controls over free markets.
Sen. Schumer was on the Banking and Finance committees. Guess where the bulk of his large contributions come from? His generous earmarks generated enormous contributions. Even the NY Times reported that he was one of the first to promote a Wall Street bailout and accused Schumer of "backing measures now blamed for the financial crisis.... Schumer took steps to protect (financial) industry players from Government oversight and tougher rules..." At one meeting, he told a group of 20 or so finance industry execs, “We are going to be effective, moderate advocates for sound economic policies, good responsible stewards you can trust.” The message clearly resonated as executives at firms represented at the breakfast sent in well over $100,000 in campaign donations.
He knows how to raise money using the power of his office. The Times article concluded with this sentence: “He is serving the parochial interest of a very small group of financial people, bankers, investment bankers, fund managers, private equity firms, rather than serving the general public,” said John C. Bogle, the founder and former chairman of the Vanguard Group, the giant mutual fund house. “It has hurt the American investor first and the average American taxpayer.”
A great site to learn how Schumer voted on all of the issues is OnTheIssues --he voted the party line and in favor of his lobbyist-supporters and for every liberal-left group.
Now, as Minority Leader in the Senate he seems to think his job is to thwart the newly-elected President Trump on every issue. One of Trump's leading issues is to stop illegal immigration --something Schumer was for in 2015 but in 2017 it brought (fake) tears to his eyes in opposing Trump's Executive order.
His opposition to Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is "dead wrong" as even CNN admits. Danny Cevallos, CNN Legal Analyst: "Schumer argued that Gorsuch is biased toward the powerful in his rulings. However, Gorsuch is a true judge who makes decisions on the basis of the law and not politics,"
With just this sampling of self-serving use of power accumulated over a lifetime, Sen. Schumer's responsibility for so much of our country's debt and obstruction of markets is indefensible. In any business run by inexperienced managers with no concept of profit and loss, no cost/benefit considerations and no concern for the future would go bankrupt. Schumer is one of many career pols directly responsible for the financial condition of the country today. See the other Posters and you will be convinced that we desperately need term limits on Congress. Please go to www.termlimits.org and sign on to limit terms of congress.
Saturday, August 26, 2017
Today, McCain joined Democrats slamming President Trump for pardoning 85 year-old Sheriff Arpaio. I submit that McCain had countless pardons to get where he is today.
Succeeding Barry Goldwater in the Senate in 1987 was our poster boy John Sidney McCain III (born August 29, 1936). Before that, McCain had already spent a couple of terms in the House of Representatives, putting his Congressional tenure at 34 years. His current term ends in 2023. Before that he spent 23 years in the U.S. Navy following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, both of whom were admirals.
His life was far from exemplary with much drinking, carousing and womanizing. He was at the bottom of his class at the naval academy. A couple months before his plane was shot down in Vietnam and his subsequent capture and imprisonment, his naval experience included a series of accidents including a serious one that killed many sailors aboard the USS Forrestal in 1967. Some blamed McCain’s cocky maneuver of doing a “wet start” of his plane but some believe that because of McCain’s admiral father, the incident was buried. (A pardon?)
Here’s his bio in a TV documentary: https://www.biography.com/people/john-mccain-9542249 Some of the following text adapted from that bio.
The purpose here is to reflect on his political career as an example of the need for term limits on Congress.
McCain's introduction to politics came in 1976, when he was assigned as the Navy's liaison to the U.S. Senate. In 1981, after marrying his second wife, McCain retired from the Navy and moved to Phoenix, AZ. While working for his father-in-law's beer distribution business, he began establishing political connections.
He was first elected to political office on November 2, 1982, easily winning a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives based on his being a POW. McCain was a loyal supporter of the Reagan administration and found his place among conservative politicians.
After the retirement of Goldwater in 1986, McCain won election to the U.S. Senate. From 1987 to 1989, he underwent a federal investigation as a member of the "Keating Five," a group of senators who were accused of improperly intervening with federal regulators on behalf of Charles H. Keating, Jr., a bank chairman whose Lincoln Savings & Loan Association eventually became one of the biggest S&L disasters of the late 1980s. He was cleared of charges, although investigators found that he had exercised "poor judgment" by meeting with the regulators.
He weathered the scandal and easily won re-election to the Senate five more times. His reputation as a "maverick politician" with a quick temper only increased, as his views became more liberal.
In 1999, he unsuccessfully ran against Gov. George W. Bush for the Republican presidential nomination and then partially supported President Bush while often differing on issues including torture, pork barrel spending, illegal immigration, a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and global warming. He also defended the Vietnam War record of Bush's opponent, Sen. John Kerry, which Kerry lied about during the campaign. Why? McCain as POW in Viet Nam.
He ran again in 2008 when he and his running mate, Sarah Palin, were defeated by Barack Obama. At the Republican National Convention in 2012, McCain showed his support for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
During the historic 2016 race he got into a dust-up with Donald Trump, one of his opponents for the nomination. In response to McCain's criticism that Trump "fired up the crazies" in the Republican party, Trump mocked McCain's military service on the campaign trail. “He was a war hero because he was captured," Trump said. "I like people who weren’t captured.” Some think that McCain could not get over that insult and it may have influenced his vote on Obamacare repeal.
July 14, 2017, as McCain underwent a procedure to remove a blood clot from above his left eye doctors found a brain tumor (Glioblastoma). After a short recovery period and consulting with his doctors, he decided to return to the Senate for the crucial vote to repeal Obamacare.
Like most of his Republican colleagues, McCain promised to repeal Obamacare, yet he was one of seven Republican Senators who voted against a full repeal and when the final effort came to vote on the so-called “skinny repeal” three senators voted against even that. Nominal Republicans Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) weren’t a big surprise but McCain, who had just run in 2016 again solemnly promising constituents he would vote to repeal, shocked all when he dramatically stood up and turned his thumb down.
Ted Cruz called that vote a betrayal of the millions suffering under Obamacare. His vote was, indeed, the ultimate betrayal of his constituents, the country and his president. He lied. Was it to hurt the president he never forgave for the POW insult?
The longer McCain was in the Senate the further he got from his conservative beginnings where Goldwater left off. In recent years the conservative scorecard Heritage Action shows only 49% for spending, regulating and even for drafting women –see recent bills he voted for/against here.
Other ratings show the decline from core American values over time: The Club for Growth current rating 71% compared with 83% lifetime; National taxpayers Union gives him a B after many As since 1993; Citizens Against Government Waste still rates McCain highly.
So, not the worst Republican Senator over time on economic issues but all is overshadowed by his disastrous vote to save Obamacare – a vote that guarantees further chaos in the 15% of the economy that is health care. Not to mention its negative ripple effect throughout the entire economy. And it was a vote to cripple the Trump administration on many levels.
Had he been replaced by a term limit on congress, his early exemplary record of protecting taxpayers would have been his legacy. And our country would be back on its way to a freer medical system.
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
In January, I received an email asking me to endorse the Muslim Rep. Keith Ellison (D-5th MN) for Democratic party chairman, it began “We’re in the middle of a battle for the soul of the Democratic party. Ground Zero in that battle is the election for DNC Chair…” It continued to name supporters of Ellison: Senators Warren, Sanders, Franken, their leader Schumer and a few others. Ellison came in second behind Tom Perez who Pam Geller calls “…the lapdog for hardcore Muslim supremacists when he was Obama’s Assistant Attorney General…”
So, the soul of the Dem Party seems dependent on Islamists. How can that be? Let’s look at the record.
We always look at our poster’s personal history and voting record in Congress –for, as we say, “it is by their votes, ye shall know them.” Given Ellison’s involvement in suspect Islamic groups and the world-wide threat of Islamic Jihad terrorism, we’ll look deeper.
Ellison was raised Catholic in Detroit but converted to Islam when he was just 19, “…when I looked at my spiritual life, and I looked at what might inform social change, justice in society…I found Islam.” He and his wife Kim had four children that he raised as Muslims but she did not convert and he divorced her.While studying to be a lawyer he reportedly wrote for the student newspaper, The Minnesota, using the name Keith Hakim, where he defended Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. He further wrote about reparations for slavery and demanded a separate homeland for African-Americans. He was elected to the Minnesota legislature in 2002 under the name Keith Ellison-Mohammad, then to the U.S. Congress in 2007. He took his oath of office on the Koran, not the Bible. On Fox News a Muslim explained, “The Sharia(h) law is made by God, by Allah. And the Constitution is made by people, so it’s not the same.”
A good place to begin on his voting record is with the Heritage Action Scorecard that lists all the bills with a brief description. Suffice to say that he voted for more power for fedgov and much higher deficit spending, scoring only 14%. The Club for Growth ranks congress on how they vote on economic policies that strengthen our nation’s economy and shrink the size of government. Ellison’s lifetime score is an economy-killing 9%!The NationalTaxpayers Union gives him an “F” with the title of Big Spender –of your money, not his! Citizens Against Government Waste with a score of 5 out of 100 calls him “Hostile to Taxpayers.” Other rating services are in line reflecting his leftist “Progressive” views and affiliations.
Ellison has advocated for a socialized medicine, a carbon tax, 63% tax rate for high earners, and cutting the defense budget. Naturally, he’s pro-abortion and against the Second Amendment. He’s called for a separate black state within the U.S. See The Black Sphere’s Kevin Jackson here on fox.
Islamist immigrants are gaining influence through sheer numbers in England and Europe and are inflicting terrorism worldwide, including in the U.S. Isn’t it fair for Americans to be worried about Islamic inroads in our government? Rep. Ellison and the other Muslim in congress, Rep. Andre Carson (D-17 IN), have participated at Muslim Brotherhood-connected events with the topic "Effective Strategies for Muslim Political Advocacy.” Get this: they want schools modeled after Koranic Madrassas.
Someone called Ellison a shill for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) that raised big bucks for his election and he has spoken at numerous CAIR events. CAIR officials have repeatedly refused to denounce Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist groups.
Islam is NOT The Religion of Peace It is not even a religion as we know religion –it is a totalitarian socio-political doctrine that Islam calls Shariah, a comprehensive legal and political framework. See http://shariahthethreat.org/
There is much more to report on Ellison as a solid argument for term limits but we’ll just mention a bit on his poor personal record of responsibility. He’s had repeated suspension of his driver’s license for failure to pay fines and failed to pay income taxes in five separate years forcing the IRS and the state to put liens on his home.
Finally, he likened George W. Bush to Hitler implying that Bush was responsible for 9/11 to consolidate power as Hitler did after the Reichstag fire. (See video ) and accused President Trump of trying to ban a religion with his temporary ban on states that harbor terrorists.
For more detailed Ellison history --it gets worse-- go to Keith Maurice Hakim Ellison-Mohammad