Congress

Mitch McConnell Fails Oath of Office

mcconnellTeamTrump.jpg

Senator Mitch McConnell, as majority leader, gets a salary of $193,400 from the U.S. taxpayer. But he fails to do his job. Consider the oath of office that McConnell, and every civil servant, takes:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

Well, it seems McConnell fails to "faithfully discharge the duties of the office." Here are four notable cases.

The Kabuki now starts in earnest.

At this time (19:50 MST 12/18/2019) BBC World News is reporting that the US House of (Non) Representatives has voted to impeach President Donald Trump on two counts, "Abuse of Power" and "Impeding Congress".

(Never mind that the US Congress itself is the source of almost all the impeding Congress faces!)

Please feel free to add any and all new details in the Essay's Comments.

Students Keep Aim True against Gun Violence

March for our Lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C., March 24, 2018. (Phil Roeder from Des Moines, IA, USA (March for Our Lives)) (CC-BY)

Not long after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting massacre on February 14th in Parkland, Florida, many students of the school organized to cut gun violence in the USA. And their aim was true and clear. One of the students that expressed that aim was Emma Gonzalez. Just three days after the massacre, she gave a famous speech, which wound up with:

Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have been done to prevent this, we call BS. They say tougher guns laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS. They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS. They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We call BS. They say no laws could have prevented the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call BS. That us kids don't know what we're talking about, that we're too young to understand how the government works. We call BS.

If you agree, register to vote. Contact your local congresspeople. Give them a piece of your mind.

Let's look at some of the facts that back up Gonzales's statements, and call to action.

Internet Freedom Fight Keeps On

Senate Votes for Internet Freedom -- to Reverse FCC and Keep Net Neutrality. (CSPAN)

Internet Freedom Status

The clock has ticked down on net neutrality, and its guarantee of internet freedom. We won that freedom in 2015, after internet users sent four million comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC then classified all internet service providers (ISPs) as common carriers, which, by definition, must treat all communications equally regardless of who it comes from, who it goes to, or what it contains. But last fall the new Trump Republican majority on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to take our hard-won freedom, and give total control of your internet connection to your Internet Service Provider (ISP), be it AT&T, Verizon, Spectrum, or any other. The FCC net neutrality kill order officially took effect June 11, 2018.

But the people's love of internet freedom endures. In a recent poll, 86% of persons stood against the FCC net neutrality kill order. That number includes 82% of Republicans and 90% of Democrats. That broad public support should brighten the outlook for internet freedom, as the fight continues on several fronts.

A three party congress will almost certainly fail

Many of us have written about the necessity to abandon the two party system in favor of a multiparty system. Although a parliamentary system would be superior to the current set-up, providing it wasn't a duopoly, even a three-party system would most likely. This is a matter of simple arithmetic and past history. The Senate is easier to analyze for a few reasons. First, 100 is an easy number to deal, certainly handier than 435.

Here comes the law

Recently, JtC had posted "Federal Judge Says Embedding a Tweet Can Be Copyright Infringement." That was a very interesting post, and I had commented on that, but, to me, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) was blowing the situation out-of-proportion. And just the other day, a commenter on reddit said something like, "Sometimes the EFF makes mountains out of molehills, but they are right in "How Congress Censored the Internet". Here I agree with the reddit commentator, and with the EFF article. This is bad, very bad.

US Senate Greasing Skids for Next Bank Crash

Lehman Brothers 1850-2008 (AP Images)

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate voted to begin floor debate on a bill (S. 2155) that would weaken regulations of banks, large and small, and grease the skids for the next bank crash. After the severe bank crash of 2008, in order to guard against future such crashes, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank law, which enacted the regulations the bill would now weaken. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scored the bill for budget costs, and figured $671 million over ten years. But the CBO said its estimate was "subject to considerable uncertainty" due to a "slightly greater" "probability in any year that a systemically important financial institution (SIFI) will fail or that there will be a financial crisis." However, in 2008, we saw what some of the real cost to the country could be: $821 billion to the federal government, plus $3.4 trillion in real estate wealth and 5.5 million jobs lost.

The House Serfdom Caucus

The House SERFdom Caucus logo (The Paragraph (CC BY-SA 3.0))

The House Freedom Caucus of the U.S. Congress has built a reputation for bullheaded pursuit of far-right policy, but not for pursuit of freedom, as its name would indicate. It has pushed federal government shutdown, caused the speaker of the House to quit, and scuttled the Republican bill to cut health care for not cutting enough. But, measured against the four freedoms once set down by President Franklin Roosevelt, the caucus seems more in pursuit of serfdom than freedom.

In his "Four Freedoms" speech, given eleven months before the nation's entry into World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt set down a standard of freedom:

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression – everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way – everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want – which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants-everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear – which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor–anywhere in the world.

Let's see how the caucus measures up to those four essential human freedoms.

DMW's Congressional Rules of Order (Observed)

There are a lot of ethical guidelines with regards to proper conduct in our highest levels of government. For the most part, these are formalities that allow the proper flow of business. However, there are some unwritten rules which are the highest authority within the hallowed halls of congress.

Therefore, I present to you, the ACTUAL rules of Order that our representatives observe, and obey with almost slavish devotion.

Let's Pay Congress What They're Worth

A friend of mine passed along this message which urged me to pass it along to 20 people. Since I don't do social media, I will pass this along to those who haven't seen it before.

If everyone forwarded this email to a minimum of 20 people, and to ask each of those to do likewise.
In three days, most people in the United States will have the message. This is an idea that should be passed around.

The BUFFETT Rule

Pages