The Long Version

Retired broadcast journalist. Blogging helps scratch the itch. Recovering exRepublican – Sober and still Conservative.

Posts Tagged ‘Senate

Open Letter to Senator Orrin Hatch

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Senator Hatch,

Over the years I’ve watched you drift into a place which seemingly no politician can avoid. It’s a place where lifelong political animals always end up. You are now firmly a part of the establishment politico of Washington DC.

The (R) by your name is meaningless. Your public actions and words appear to be different from your colleagues on the other side of the aisle, but in reality the difference is virtually indiscernible.

The latest example is your implicit endorsement of the dirty politics seen in Mississippi and other states during the recent primary elections. How dare you? How could you be a part of the slander and support the outright lies told to minority voters about other conservative candidates? Are you so frightened of the “Tea Party” that you would sell your soul to the Democrats this way?

I can’t adequately express the utter disgust I feel after learning of the gang of seven Republican Senators, including you, who supported racially charged attacks against other conservatives.

With a president and Democrat led Senate running America into the ground and down the track to a Social Democracy, you’d think you’d be focused more on their failures than trouncing fellow conservatives who truly want smaller government unlike you and your cronies.

http://www.alipac.us/f12/shameful-seven-307422/
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/conservative-groups-spend-fortune-attacking-republicans-n99861

Can Republicans get any more foolish? The Democrats have to be laughing one moment and counting their lucky stars the next. The political atmosphere is ripe for conservatives to take the Senate and keep the House, but if it means pseudo-conservatives like you, McCain, McConnell, et al, steering the ship, NO THANKS!

I was once a strong supporter of yours Senator Hatch. You no longer have my support. In fact I will actively campaign against you and use my journalistic training to spread the word about your metamorphosis into something that is far from conservative. The ruse is over.

We share a faith but I seriously question your adherence to it. Honest in all our dealings with our fellow-men. Can you honestly say you are? I don’t see how. But then, maybe you’re one of those Mormons who separates his “business life” from his personal life. I’ve run into too many of those in my lifetime. You and Senator Reid are poor examples of the faith you each claim to adhere to. We elected you to be a beacon of truth, even when the truth hurts your position. That’s what integrity is. That’s what you once had, but have forsaken, for the trinkets of power your many years in office have afforded you.

Our constitution now hangs by the very thread early leaders of our church spoke of so long ago. Yet you have done nothing to prevent it. You sit in your comfort zone and just go along to get along. Inaction becomes a form of action Mr. Hatch. You now represent the beltway. You no longer represent the citizens of Utah.

It is because of Republicans like you that I no longer affiliate with the party.

You cannot leave office soon enough.

Sincerely,

Doug Long

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Roll Back Thursday – The Filibuster

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Today, Thursday, November 21, 2013 the United States Senate voted to change a centuries old parliamentary procedure in the Senate chamber and invoked the so-called “nuclear option” making it possible to confirm presidential nominees by a simple majority vote rather than the 60 votes necessary to override any filibuster attempt by the minority party.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Democrats claim Republicans have become career obstructionists holding up judicial and executive nominees from an up or down vote for too long.  So with that in mind Harry Reid said, “It’s time to change the Senate, before this institution becomes obsolete.”  (Now remember this quote when you watch the videos below)

Of course there is fantastic irony at play here that simply can’t be ignored, nor should it be.

A little background.

In the 2005 Senate, Republicans held 55 seats and the Democrats held 45 including Jim Jeffords, an independent from Vermont who caucused with the Democrats. Confirmation requires a plurality of votes, and the Republicans could easily confirm their nominees if brought to the floor. Earlier in 2005, Democrats had blocked the nomination of 10 of George W. Bush’s nominees, saying they were too conservative and that Republicans had blocked many of their nominees back in the 1990s. The old tit for tat response.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist then threatened to enact the nuclear option.

This is how then Senator Barack Obama, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, and Senator Hillary Clinton reacted to that threat, and their staunch defense of the rules of the Senate and the filibuster.

So what changed folks?

What happened to “as long as I’m the leader, the answer is no!” eh Senator Reid?

Tsk tsk tsk…the lengths we will go to get what we want. Even if it means a complete reversal of ourselves at any moment in time.  Look up the word integrity. You won’t find this behavior exemplified anywhere in its definition. This rebuke isn’t reserved exclusively for Democrats either. Republicans are just as stained when it comes to this kind of gerrymandering to get their way.

Shame on this governing body.  Shame.

The Politics of Gerrymandering or Vice Versa

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Democrats and Liberals and Progressives (OH MY) are up in arms over a rule change by the House Republicans.

Late in the evening on September 30, 2013, the House Rules Committee Republicans changed the Rules of the House so that the ONLY Member allowed to call up the Senate’s clean CR for a vote was Majority Leader Eric Cantor or his designee — all but guaranteeing the government would shut down a few hours later and would stay shut down. Previously, any Member would have had the right to bring the CR up for a vote.

This is what we’ve come to in Washington DC politics.  The division between the two major parties has become so large and so corrosive that neither will work with the other.  Rather than even try they simply look for ways to get around whatever impediment the other side puts in their way.  In other words, they gerrymander the system to get what they want when they want it.

It happens on both sides and its wrong in either case.

But we can’t let Liberals squawk about this rule change without reminding them of the underhanded tricks, procedural gimmicks, and gerrymandering that took place when Obamacare was voted into law without a single Republican vote in 2010, even though the Senate did not have the super majority it needed to ram it through.

Here is the story behind that gerrymandering fiasco.

How Obamacare Became the “Law of the Land”.

senator_nancypelosi_obamacareYou may recall the Democrats in the Senate weren’t able to pass their version of the Healthcare law because all revenue bills must originate in the House of Representatives.  So the Senate found a bill that met those qualifications: HR3590, a military housing bill.  They took that bill and basically stripped all the language out of it and turned it into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which we now all know as Obamacare.  Dirty trick number one.

Oh but It gets better.

At the time the new fangled HR3590 was passed and moved to the Senate, the Democrats had 60 Senators, just enough to pass this gerrymandered bill.  However, after that bill passed the Senate, Democrat Senator Ted Kennedy died.  In his place, Massachusetts elected a Republican, Scott Brown, to replace him.  Now the Democrats no longer had the super majority needed to rubber stamp the Healthcare law, Obama’s signature legislation.

That meant, if the House made any changes to the bill, the Senate would not have the super majority to push the bill through without Republican help and Republicans were not on board with Obamacare.

So the Senate Democrats made a deal with the Democrats in the House with no input from any Republicans.  The House would agree to pass the Senate bill without any changes, IF the Senate agreed to pass a separate bill by the House that made changes to the Senate version.  This second bill was called the Reconciliation Act of 2010.  It made some detail changes and added some language to the bill.  You scratch my back I’ll scratch yours.  Dirty trick number two.

So the House passed the PPACA, the Senate bill, and their Reconciliation Act.  Making the PPACA ready for the President’s signature, but the Senate still needed to pass the Reconciliation Act from the House.

Confused yet?

Now remember the Senate only had 59 votes to pass the Reconciliation Act since a Republican, Scott Brown, replaced Democrat Ted Kennedy.  That meant in order to pass the Reconciliation Act the Democrats in the Senate had to change the rules.

They declared (because they were the majority and could) that they would use the Reconciliation Rule to pass the Reconciliation Act — the Reconciliation Act and Reconciliation Rule are not the same thing but the irony is simply amazing!

Stay with me.

5639556_Obama_Obamacare_Signature_600x515_xlargeThe Reconciliation Rule was only used for budget item approvals to allow budgets to be approved and passed by a simple majority vote of 51 Senators rather than the usual 60 super majority.  The Reconciliation rule had never been used nor was it ever intended to be used to pass legislation of the magnitude of Obamacare, but that wasn’t about to keep the Democrats from getting their way come Hell or high water!  So they used this obscure rule with some very liberal interpretation (pun intended) to pass the bill.  Dirty trick number three.

Both of the “Acts” passed both houses of congress and were then signed by President Obama.  All done by Democrats without a single favorable Republican vote.  To quote Democrat Representative Alcee Hastings of the House Rules Committee during the bill process: “We’re making up the rules as we go along”.  They certainly couldn’t have passed this law without doing so.

I don’t care what party you align yourself with, show me the integrity in that process. Defend the actions of the Democrats and President Obama. Some of you Liberals may have done so at the time the law was passed.  I don’t know how, but maybe you figured out a way that sat well with you. But what about now? Now that we’ve seen what a disaster the implementation of this law has become. Do you still defend the method of its passage? Do you still say Republicans should have been shut out of the process? That it was right to ignore their ideas and input on the law?

And now, as Republicans use the same dirty underhanded tactics to get what they want you scream foul!?!  Really?

What goes around comes around. The Republicans have figured it out.  They’ve finally succumbed to using the same political guerrilla warfare they seen used on them by Democrats for decades.  Principles be damned.  To Hell with integrity, decorum, and fairness.  Win at all costs.

That’s how we got here and it’s only going to get worse.  The power brokers on both sides in DC think they are “winning” while the rest of us are losing.

Big time.

The Day the Public Realized its Government was Playing Them

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The government shut down is a week old.  What?  You didn’t notice?

In all seriousness, 15% of the government is shut down. What company is so lean that if they shut down 15% they go into massive chaos? Look at this list of a few things that have been inexplicably impacted by the shutdown and tell me who’s inflicting pain on the American people and who’s negotiating.

  • “Treatments for children suffering from cancer. The Republicans have agreed to a compromise by funding the part of the government, including the National Institute of Health, which offers children with cancer last‑chance experimental treatment… The NIH was told by the President, ‘You can’t start any new testing of anything.’ As soon as the Republicans found out about it, they said, ‘Not a problem. Let’s make sure that we fund the NIH. We’ll pass a special bill to fund the NIH so we can save children,’” Glenn explained. “If that’s what you really picked out of the 100% of the pie, you only need to shut down 15%, if that’s what you pick, we’ll fund that. So [Republicans] said, ‘We’ll pass it.” The President said he will veto it if it gets to his desk. That’s the compromise.”
  • “World War II Memorial is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It doesn’t have a staff to it. It is maintained with private financing, built by private financing, maintained with private financing. The White House knew in advance that these flights come in all the time… And so what do they do? They put a chain‑link fence around the World War II Memorial… You have your National Park Service coming out and saying, ‘We were told to inflict as much pain as possible,’” Glenn explained. “Then when the GOP finds out about it, the congressmen remove the barricades. When one of the park rangers says, ‘Hey, you can’t do that’ and starts yelling at the people in the wheelchairs, what happens? The president raises the stakes and then says, ‘I’m going to put guards around that memorial.’ So he’s spending money. Does that seem reasonable to you? By the way, the GOP has offered to cover any costs to keep the memorial open for the greatest generation.”
  • “Then there’s the furloughed military chaplains. The military chaplains are not allowed to work for free. They have all said, ‘We will celebrate mass. We will do our services. We will do baptisms for free.’ They have been told they will be punished if they do it,” Glenn explained. “So you have a baby to be baptized; the military priest cannot baptize your child or he’ll go to jail. He can’t celebrate mass anywhere for free or he will go to jail. Does this sound reasonable to you at all?”
  • “In the Florida Keys small businesses, hunters, and commercial fishermen can no longer practice their trade,” he said. “They have tried to close down the ocean. The Feds are saying, ‘You can’t do any fishing on the ocean.’ Does this seem reasonable to you?”
  • “The American Forces Network, AFN, these are the people that carry shows like mine, they carry shows like… 50% of the shows have to be liberal. But they also not just broadcast the news and talk,” Glenn said. “They also bring our Armed Forces all of the sporting events, all the football games and everything else. The golf course at Camp David is deemed essential, but AFN carrying the football games, carrying them, carrying them. Not doing them. Carrying them… By the way, Camp David, the golf course and Camp David is open.”
  • “The D‑day Memorial. The GOP has offered to compromise and fund all of the National Parks,” Glenn explained. “The President has said he will veto any compromise on legislation. So the D‑day Memorial in Normandy has now been barricaded.”
  • “Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home, is privately funded. The Feds blocked the visitors from entering the parking area because the National Park Service maintains the lot… No federal money is used to operate any of these parks. In fact, the federal government makes money through the operation of these parks,” Glenn said. “He had them all closed down and so the 400 to 500 private employees have been furloughed. And by the way, they don’t get any of their money back. They’re just destroyed. Because, I forgot to tell you: The GOP and the Democrats did get together in some emergency legislation. They don’t give a crap about the 400 to 500 employees that are privately. But those government workers, they raced to make sure they knew, ‘Oh, don’t worry. You’ll get your money.’”
  • “A self‑sustaining colonial farm that hasn’t received a dime of government money since 1980 has been closed for the first time in 40 years. The National Park Service has succeeded in closing the farm to the public. In the previous budget dramas, the farm has always been exempted because the government pays nothing, provides no staff, nor do they provide any resources to operate the farm,” he explained. “The President has closed the Vietnam Memorial. The GOP passed the compromised legislation that would fund the memorial, keep it open to the public, but the president said he would veto it.”
  • “The operator of a 51‑room inn located on U.S. Government‑owned land in North Carolina abandoned his defiant stance on Thursday to keep his property open despite being ordered to shut down as part of the federal government shutdown. October is this inn’s prime season,” Glenn said. “The GOP has offered a compromise to open this particular park, but the President said no to that compromise. So here is a private individual that will lose out on the money that he makes in his prime season. State troopers, by the way, have blocked the customers have entering the parking lot. How much are they spending on the state troopers? Again, Park Service ranger said, ‘We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can.’”
  • “The President has forced residents out of their private homes – the government shutdown being felt close to home for some locals. They say they’re being forced out of their private homes on Lake Mead because they sit on federal land,” Glenn said. “Acadia Park, Maine, ‘We’ve been training at two years at Crossfit for this hike, no kidding.’ She said the shutdown now is going to keep everybody off of Acadia Park.”
  • “A historic restaurant opened during the last shutdown, forced to close. An iconic Philadelphia restaurant been forced to close its doors and turned away book parties because of the government shutdown,” he said. “That is a private restaurant. They won’t get any money back.”
  • “There’s a road that goes through a Colorado park,” Glenn said. “The forest service announced the Pitkin County commissioners to order that Maroon Creek Road be shut down at the height of the tourist season, ahead of what is supposed to be one of the busiest weekends of the fall. The road is to be closed at T Lazy 7 Ranch pending the resolution of the shutdown.”
  • “And here’s my favorite. We joked about this. They actually did it. They are now blocking access to trails, roads, and programs at South Dakota’s most popular attraction,” Glenn explained. “The National Park Service has now placed cones along the highway outside of Mount Rushmore this weekend, barring visitors from stopping and looking at the mountain. You cannot stop on the road. And they have officers there to ticket you if you do.”
  • “The U.S. Department of Agriculture has gone turned off its entire website in response to the government shutdown, leaving farmers, reporters, and others with no way to access any of the agency’s information online,” Glenn said. “The USDA’s total website goes far beyond response of other federal agencies. Seems to be part of an effort to make people feel the effects of the shutdown. Thursday morning calls to the USDA’s press office seeking an explanation were not answered.”
  • “The President has closed the Military Commissary. Military members and veterans and families who shop at the local tax‑free store were shocked to discover that the store’s doors had been locked. They have closed the PX. This is where you go and you shop if you’re a military family. This is at Andrews Air Force base. They have shut the commissary and they have shut the PX,” Glenn said. “So you can’t go buy any groceries, you can’t go buy any clothes, any medicine. You can’t go buy meat, nothing.”

Now get this, while the American people are feeling the stress and strain of the closing of privately funded businesses, monuments, and memorials around the country, the President can still get in 18 anytime he wants.

Conservative radio and TV show host Glenn Beck had even stronger words for the president’s cam-pain against the American people.  Beck said, “…the President’s golf course remains open. But he said that’s because the golf course is paid for by private funds. Wait a minute. So is the World War II Memorial. So is the farm. So is the restaurant. So is the damn road that you just put cones on.  This is a strike and a slap across the face. This, I’m warning you, America, this is the sign of a dictator. He is slapping you across the face and saying, ‘You will behave. You will do what I tell you to do or I will punish you.’ If your friends don’t wake up and see the nonsense and see what they are in store for, when you’re spending money to put cones on the highway so people can’t stop and even see Mount Rushmore, we get everything we deserve. And we are about to get a lot.”

Thanks to GlennBeck.com and TheBlaze.com

 

The Path to the Government Shutdown You Didn’t See

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By: Soren Dayton (Diary)  |  October 2nd, 2013 at 07:05 PM As seen on Redstate.com

The press has been falling over itself to attack Republicans for the shutdown and claiming that they are the source of all the irresponsibility in the process. They have conveniently forgotten several important things about how much the Democrats have broken the budget process in the last couple of years and in this year in particular. I wrote back in January about how the Senate Democrats were dismantling the budget process. While the Senate did pass a budget resolution this year, in many ways the situation has gotten much, much worse. A shutdown is, purely for procedural reasons, a natural and logical consequence of the massive failure of the Senate to do its job.

Let’s work through the details.

The budget process starts every year with the President offering his budget in the first week of February. But that’s not what happened. He offered it on April 10, two months after the statutory deadline. In fact, he offered it after both the House and the Senate had passed budget resolutions, so his budget plan was already a moot point. He didn’t do his job, so Congress had to move on without him. (Incidentally, this was the first time that the Senate had passed one since April 29, 2009)

But then the Senate ground to a halt. The Library of Congress offers a very helpful scorecard about how the budget process is proceeding this year that makes it very easy to compare how each chamber did, and how that compares to the past.

This year, the House passed four appropriations bills:

Military Construction and Veterans Affairs on June 4, which passed 421-4. This bill cost $158 billion.
Homeland Security on June 6, which passed 245-182. This bill cost $39 billion.
Energy and Water on Jule 10, which passed 227-198. This bill cost $30 billion.
Defense on July 24, which passed 315-109. This bill cost $516 billion.
The least controversial of these, Defense and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, totaling $674 billion is over half of the $1.15 trillion that President Obama requested. The Senate could have done something with these and moved the ball forward. The House vote totals prove that these weren’t controversial.

By contrast, the Senate only put a single appropriations bill on the floor, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, nicknamed, appropriately, THUD. This bill cost $54 billion, less than 5% of the President’s proposal. And they brought it to the floor at the end of July, at the last possible minute before the August recess.

This bill was filibustered by Republicans. Why? Because it pretended that the bipartisan sequester didn’t happen. It returned to pre-sequester spending. In fact, the spend-thrift Senate Democrats spent even more money than the President wanted:

“The vote we just had was symbolically very, very significant,” McConnell told reporters. “There is no question that if cloture had been invoked on this particular appropriations bill, which was even more than what the president asked for, your story line tomorrow would have been Congress on a bipartisan basis walks away from the Budget Control Act.”

So that’s the real history, not the mythical one driven by White House talking points, of this year’s budget process. The House started to do its job. The Senate barely got off the ground, and then only operating in a fantasy-land in which the sequester never happened. Sorry for all the wonky details here, but it is really important to see just how much the President and the Senate Democrats have failed in the budget process and how much of this lays at their feet.

 

Bad Passport Forgery? No Worries You Get 2 More Tries!

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Forging a passport is a federal crime.

Yet for some reason the Senate immigration bill created by the Gang of 8 has language in it allowing three forgeries to be made before a crime is committed.

Yep, the bill, which passed the Senate 68-32 with 14 Republicans voting in favor, would essentially change the current law from one forgery per crime to three.

Why? Well, perhaps we should ask Senator John McCain (R-AZ) that question.  CNSNews.com did and guess what? He didn’t know. A prominent member of the Gang of Eight who wrote the bill was clueless, as was Senator Marco Rubio.

Now who in the world added that provision?  Was there any discussion about it?  Who was in on the discussion?  What exactly was the discussion or the thought process that led to a decision to give people 3 shots at getting their forgery right before being punished?  Do those sound like fair questions?  Is anyone in the major media asking them?  Does the MSM even know about this interesting provision?

ganfof8Who will ask the others in the “Gang?  Who will ask Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Schumer (D-AZ), Richard Durbin (D-ILL), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Michael Bennet (D-CO) about this odd item and why they thought it was a good idea?

On Capitol Hill on Wednesday [July 17, 2013], CNSNews.com approached McCain, “Senator McCain, can I ask you a question about the Senate immigration bill? Under the bill, how many passports can someone forge before it becomes a crime?”

McCain said, “You’re going to have to ask our folks that, I don’t think that we stand for any forgeries.”  Let me get this straight.  McCain a signer on the bill doesn’t know but his “Folks” might and he doesn’t THINK his group stands for forgery.  Maybe the folks know the answer to that one too…

CNSNews.com followed-up, “Can you tell me why that would be part of the bill in the first place?”  McCain answered, “ I cannot tell you that it is part of the bill.”  And the “folks” in Washington DC wonder why their approval rating is in the teens?

Well Senator let me help you and your folks. On Page 777 the legislation states, “any person who, during any period of 3 years or less, knowingly – (1) and without lawful authority produces, issues, or transfers 3 or more passports; (2) forges, counterfeits, alters, or falsely makes 3 or more passports; (3) secures, possesses, uses, receives, buys, sells, or distributes 3 or more passports, knowing the passports to be forged, counterfeited, altered, falsely made, stolen, procured by fraud, or produced or issued without lawful authority; or (4) completes, mails, prepares, presents, signs, or submits 3 or more applications for a United States passport, knowing the applications to contain any materially false statement or representation, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.” Source CNS News

Crazy how bizarre items like this pop up in these hastily penned laws isn’t it?

When the question was put to Rubio two days later, he said forgery is a federal crime. He was then informed of Section 3707 of the immigration bill (S. 744) titled, “Reform of Passport, Visa and Immigration Fraud Offenses.” It makes no mention of any “waivers, but it does specifically amend Section 1541 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, which currently requires criminal penalties for issuing “any” unauthorized passports. As amended by S. 744–the Senate immigration bill Rubio co-sponsored–a person would not be dealt criminal penalties until they forged “three or more passports.” Source: CNS News

I’m no sleuth but it appears this provision allows anyone trying to get into the country illegally with a forged passport, two extra tries if caught.

We truly are a caring nation.

Who Needs a Birth Certificate?

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Illinois Senator Dick Durbin seems to have a small problem understanding the most basic requirements for becoming President of the United States. Mr. Durbin completely overlooks the part about candidates needing to be BORN IN THE USA!

Yes Senator they can become our doctors, our teachers, our nurses, our engineers, our scientists, and our soldiers, but they cannot become our Presidents…not until your party abolishes the US Constitution anyway….