We Have Gridlock

In politics, gridlock or deadlock or political stalemate refers to a situation when there is difficulty passing laws that satisfy the needs of the people. A government is gridlocked when the ratio between bills passed and the agenda of the legislature decreases. Laws may be considered as the supply and the legislative agenda as demand. Gridlock can occur when two legislative houses, or the executive branch and the legislature are controlled by different political parties, or otherwise cannot agree.

With that thought in mind, if the fix for gridlock in Congressional matters was simple, we would not have seen it during the first two years of the Trump presidency: Republicans controlled the House of Representatives, the Senate, AND the White House. Using the above definition of “gridlock” means there certainly should have been none in those years. Yet, in comparison to previous Congresses, very little was sent to the President’s desk regarding passed legislation for his signature.

The same held true in Obama’s first two years in office — 2009 and 2010. Though Democrats controlled the House and Senate with him in the White House, several meaningful and certainly critical pieces of legislation could not clear both houses of Congress.

And it’s not getting better! Today, the U.S. Senate considered two versions of legislation that would have funded the government and reopened it after 34 days of 800,000 workers being off. But, as usual, both bills failed to pass: one was proposed by Democrats, one by Republicans. What is at fault for the government remaining closed? 

GRIDLOCK!

“If I sponsor a bill declaring apple pie American, it might fall victim to partisan politics,” declared Barack Obama when he struggled with a Republican controlled Congress. His statement came in a speech on the border crisis, (yes, there was a border crisis then and still is!) but could have been made about any number of issues. From the federal shutdown to gun control, stalemate is America’s political norm. Congress is more interested in playing politics than solving problems. Even discussions about congressional gridlock have come to resemble the gridlock itself: tired. Language, like politics, goes NOWHERE.

In a study for the Brookings Institution, a research project sought to place the discussion on firmer “factual” ground. The study examined America’s history of legislative logjams in order to put in context the modern congressional stalemate. Part of the challenge involves measuring legislative success: what’s the baseline against which to compare finished legislation? At what point does a system designed to encourage healthy checks and balances become hopelessly deadlocked?

To get a look at legislative gridlock minus the emotions that swarm around it, let’s look at the system from a historical perspective so we can fairly compare.

Let’s look at the productivity of Congress from 1947 to 2012 by looking at the ratio of failed measures to all major issues on Washington’s agenda. (For an issue to be “major,” it needed to inspire at least four New York Times editorials in a given Congress. I know: you can’t believe I’d use that as a source for comparison!) By this comparison, Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society Congress holds up as the most productive post-war session—just 27% of major legislative issues remained unresolved. By contrast, three-quarters of the major issues on Obama’s 2012 legislative agenda went nowhere. Even during the Democrats’ filibuster-proof majority in 2009-2010, proposals to address big issues, such as education, campaign finance, climate change, immigration and gun control, stalled in legislative limbo.

That same study found that the Obama stalemate fits a well-established pattern: when elections yield more polarised parties and chambers—as they did during Bill Clinton’s second turn and Teddy Roosevelt’s Progressive era and the current D.C. mix—bargaining becomes strained and compromise is out of reach.

The data confirms that gridlock has gotten worse and worse over the past half-century. Between 1947 and 2000, for instance, conference agreements averaged about 100 per congress. Between 2001 and 2012, however, the number was just over 20. This number plummeted even further during the 112th Congress, from 2011 to 2013, when only seven final agreements were reached via conference committee.

During the Trump presidency, even with a Republican controlled House and Senate, legislation virtually squeaked to a crawl regarding major issues. It is obvious that politicians can’t quite even agree on what constitutes a “major” issue — like illegal immigration which is burning up Congressional debate and in the American public.

Remember this? When Clinton pushed for health care reform in 1993-1994, the GOP insisted there was no health-care crisis. Today, the parties disagree about whether budget deficits are problematic, whether the minimum wage needs to be raised, and whether campaign-finance reform is needed. At times they even argue about basic facts! Both parties have specific talking points and ideas, and Hell will freeze over before either bends through compromise!

What Has Changed Since the 1960s?

Findings in the study point to the nature of electoral change. Before President Johnson passed civil-rights legislation in 1964, the South was Democratic and the parties were politically diverse. There were liberal and conservative Republicans and liberal and conservative Democrats. It was easier for legislators to find common ground because there wasn’t the same ideological gulf. But the passage of the Civil Rights Act changed partisan politics in the South: the Republican Party gained a foothold and lost many moderates. Liberal Republicans are pretty much GONE, and centrists are becoming an endangered breed. Liberals are now aligned with the Democrats and conservatives are with Republicans—and never the two shall meet!

Americans have grown accustomed to this “us” versus “them” mentality. And there is no indication that current levels of partisanship will diminish soon. In fact, the Brookings study shows that the policy distance between the parties has returned to differences  not seen since the end of the 19th century.

Because control of the House and Senate now swings back and forth, parties see no need to compromise. Politicians know they can simply wait till their party is back in charge, and seem to stop lawmaking just waiting for the change of the guard. Example: After losing the White House in 2008, the Republican party shifted towards the right. This political divide gets worse each time a party finds itself in minority status; it’s easy to oppose everything when you’re not in charge of governing. They don’t think the public will hold them accountable—so they can get away with being unco-operative.

Can such a system correct itself? It might help if negotiations were taken out of the public eye. Legislators in the spotlight feel pressure to stay true to their base, but behind closed doors they might have an easier time coming up with solutions. Take immigration reform. Republicans want border security; Democrats want a path to citizenship. A deal could put each party’s demands together, but legislators hold-out—particularly before an election as we saw in 2018—because they don’t want to risk being portrayed as disloyal by the public. And we ALL know the Leftist media would destroy Republicans just as Conservative media would do to Democrats.

Some think the answer might lie in the power of a strong personality—as happened in the case of Teddy Roosevelt, who was able to push Congress from its standoff. When Barack Obama was first elected president, many had hoped that he, too, could push through partisanship and get more cooperation. But he made no real effort to do that. Remember his “uniting” proclamation: “Elections have consequences.” In other words, he put Republicans on notice that all he needed was his pen and his cellphone.

Summary

At its basic level, politics can be a very personal game, requiring trust and mutual respect, much of which seems missing from today’s political scene. “Nobody knows anybody up here,” observed Joe Manchin, a moderate West Virginia Senator. “There just aren’t enough real relationships.”

If trust and mutual respect are necessary for Congressional action to discuss and pass meaningful legislation, I think we are in for a long wait. As we have seen in the current environment in D.C., nobody in Congress or the White House is jumping to embrace compromise of any kind. That’s sad, because the very nature of tackling major issues in Congress demands meaningful and honest discussion of the ideas of each side. I think that may be being done. But, infortunately, it seems gridlock jumps in right at that point. To get to an answer, each side must understand and accept that in negotiations, nobody can get everything they think is right and that they want. Both sides MUST give a little to find consensus.

Regarding this President, Donald Trump has a pretty convincing background in making deals in business. But even he as the great deal-maker that he is struggles to find consensus with those in Congress with different ideas. He’s shown flexibility in negotiations — often more than those in Congress with whom he negotiates.

But just as President Trump finds himself negotiating with very resolute and political lawmakers, those same lawmakers find themselves negotiating with the guy who wrote The Art of the Deal. They don’t yet show that they understand holding out in negotiations is part of the success in accomplishing resolution.

Lost in all this are those in the American public who can do nothing but stand and watch. That includes 800,000 federal workers who will now miss their second paycheck. It is sad that those innocent workers find themselves in the bullseye of Gridlock through no fault of their own. But it is even sadder that the very ones who could have taken actions to prevent the shutdown in the first place still are feeding the logjam.

It is ironic to hear Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer say again and again, “Trump could stop this shutdown and reopen the government in one day. We passed a bill in the House that will fund the government. It’s a shame that he will not put the welfare of Americans over his demands for an immoral border wall.”

Where’s the irony? They are telling Americans that Trump giving up and relenting on southern border safety measures that a majority of Americans want is the ONLY way to make government funding happen. They never mention the OTHER action that could do the exact same thing in one day: Democrats could fund and reopen the government in one day as well. How? Fund the bill that insures border security and funds the wall. They have all over and over in numerous interviews and speeches demanded those same measures themselves — including the Wall!

Why won’t they? Political expediency is more important than the financial welfare of those 800,000 workers and their families. THAT is the sad part of this debacle.

 

The Face of the Democrat Party

From 2008 through 2016, the Democrat Party face was that of former President Barack Obama. Though many of his policy positions changed during his 8 years, it was certainly obvious “when” he made those changes and “where” specific changes ended up. In today’s Democrat Party, not only is the determination of who is the face of the party impossible, so is the determination of the Democrat Party platform. Let’s see if maybe we can narrow the options for those determinations.

The DNC

So who is the Democrat Party’s leader? Is it House Speaker Nancy Pelosi? Or is it new Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? Are Democrats looking to get governing ideas from the left-leaning, aging, yet experienced and powerful California Speaker, or from the young, energetic, Socialist from New York? Here we are two years after Obama gave the White House keys to Donald Trump and we still don’t know who is leading his party. Rank and file Democrats don’t even know!

Consider this: they made it through the 2018 midterm elections and fared very well. But the question that many Americans are asking today is “Can the Democrat Party not just survive the 2020 election, but can they wrestle control of the Senate and the White House away from Republicans? I don’t have a crystal ball, but if history plays a role here, it is doubtful Dems will gain control of both while maintaining their House majority. And that should weigh heavily in their decisions regarding legislation and how the House operates in the next two years. And, quite honestly, they’re not getting off to a good start.

The House

Oh, the House of Representatives is in session? Few know that answer with certainty. All we seem to hear (because all the mainstream media want to “report”) is “Trump’s government shutdown.” They forget that the President has put four different offers for resolution on the table to which Pelosi and Schumer have not only declined but refuse to make counter offers. Maybe that’s the way the House Democrats feel they can win control of the entire government!

Yes, there ARE things happening in the House of Representatives — but nothing substantive. They have offered at least 6 bills passed by the Democrat majority for government funding. But they did so purely symbolically, knowing there was nothing going to happen across the Hall. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear weeks ago that the Senate would not waste time considering those bills or any that the President would not sign into law — and that was NOT going to happen for any legislation that did not contain funding for the southern border wall. If we rely on what’s happening now in the House, there is NO party leadership at all.

House Speaker Pelosi is back in charge. She wielded her substantive power and apparently cut deals with those Democrats in the House that opposed her return. But she is known as by far the best campaign fundraiser for Democrats in House history. For that, they needed her in their corner.

But is she the best “Face” for the Democrat Party? Who can forget this:

Remember that statement? She was referring to what history will probably show as the most expensive law in U.S. history: The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Remember this: the Speaker of the House — Nancy Pelosi — told EVERYONE she did NOT know what was in the bill nor did any other Democrat in the House or Senate. But we needed it passed so we could “find out what was in the bill.”

You can’t fix stupid. And that statement was and is stupid.

The Senate

Over there sits Chuck Schumer — New York’s “Obstructor in chief.” If you look up the definition of “Obstructor,” you’ll see Chuck’s picture!  He forgets there is YouTube that documents EVERYTHING we say and do. Here’s a collage of Schumer’s very obvious flip-flops on a myriad of policies:

Cabinet appointments, policy questions, judge and other position appointment confirmations: ALL — at least according to Schumer — should be handled in the Senate whatever way DEMOCRATS say they should! His hypocrisy in these videos is actually hilarious. Why? BECAUSE HE RIGHT NOW IS ONE OF THE DEFACTO LEADERS OF THE DEMOCRAT PARTY! It would be funny if it was not for the fact we need someone in HIS position who is really ready-enough to deal with legislation strictly on the grounds of what is best for the country. And in Schumer’s own words: “How can any President not get confirmations for the appointments he makes. Good God, he’s the President!”

Oops…it seems that Chuck only believed that when Obama was in office. He planned on that working the same way during a Hillary Clinton two-term stint at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But the American people thought otherwise.

So who is running the Democrat Party? Let’s go BACK to the House of Representatives:

AOC: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

The new member of Congress from the New York suburbs has set the political world on fire. She’s young, she’s energetic, AND SHE’S A SOCIALIST! But let’s correct that: she’s really not a Socialist — she’s a “Communist-light.” As she speaks more and more in the public in interviews, rallies, and appears on television and radio talk shows — basically everytime she opens her mouth — she proves just how virtually incoherent she is discussing “facts” about all things American. Putting it mildly, she doesn’t have a clue:

Let’s put this freshman member of Congress and her political views in perspective: she has shared her ideas and ideals throughout her campaign to many who live and work in New York, fellow members of Congress since her election, on all these talk shows on television and radio, and still the Mainstream Media are fawning over her simply because she’s young and attractive, speaks well, and is a minority Congressional member of the House of Representatives! Apparently, those are the only traits necessary to be considered a potential leader of the Democrat Party.

Do Americans really support that concept?

  • 60% of Americans polled support AOC’s plan to assess a 70% federal income tax rate on wealthy Americans;
  • She stated that the very existence of billionaires is evil and that no one in the United States should be a billionaire;
  • While appearing on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show following President Trump’s address to the nation on the crisis at the U.S. Southern border, she attacked Americans opposed to illegal immigration and glossed over the recent murder of a legal immigrant police officer Cpl. Ronil Singh;
  • A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey found that, if the 2020 presidential race was between Trump and Ocasio-Cortez, 43% of Likely U.S. Voters would vote for Trump, while 40% would vote for Ocasio-Cortez. A sizable 17% are undecided;
  • And then there’s this:

Summary

In AOC’s own words, “Call me a radical.” I remember Americans pretty much saying the same thing about that junior Senator from Chicago when he ran for President. Democrats (and enough “other” Americans) felt the U.S. needed a president that would bring radical new ideas to the nation. Obama’s views were radical when compared to the mainstream. And for eight years, he did his best to fulfill his promise to “lead the nation in fundamental change.” Unfortunately for the U.S., his leadership drove us in economic devastation and eroded almost all of our international credibility while killing our military might.

Are Democrats ready for new “radical” leadership? Are U.S. citizens ready for that including Democrats, Republicans, and Independents? Thankfully, the New York radical is not old enough to make a bid for the White House. But, the leadership of the Democrat Party is in her sights. And mind-dumb Millennial and Generation Z-ers are enough in number to probably see that happen.

70% Tax Rates: hopefully we will NEVER see that — at least not in my lifetime!

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Pelosi Power

“She’s Back!”

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a return trip to the House podium to accept the gavel as the “old,” new Speaker of the House. The 78-year-old California Representative is and has been one of the most powerful members of the House. I don’t think anyone knows for certain exactly where that power comes from, other than she is extremely persuasive, is historically the best political campaign contributions fundraiser, and smoother and more effective at garnering and using Washington political might and power than most others in Congress. Some say “She knows where all the bodies are buried!” And there certainly are MANY bodies that were victims to D.C. political fallout she, is if not responsible for, witnessed most of the burials.

What Power does Speaker Have?

The Speaker of the House is the presiding officer of the United States House of Representatives. Typically the head of the majority party in the House, the speaker outranks the Majority Leader. The salary of the Speaker is also higher than that of the Majority and Minority Leaders. The Speaker rarely presides over regular meetings of the full House, instead delegating that role to another representative. The Speaker does, however, typically preside over special joint sessions of Congress in which the House hosts the Senate.

The Speaker of the House serves as the presiding officer of the House. In this capacity, the Speaker:

  • Calls meetings of the House to order;
  • Administers the oath of office to new members;
  • Ensures that order and decorum are maintained on the floor of the House and in the visitor galleries;
  • Makes rulings on disputed House procedures and parliamentary issues.

As any other Representative, the Speaker may take part in debates and vote on legislation, but traditionally does so only in exceptional circumstances such as when his or her vote could decide very important issues such as resolutions declaring war or amending the Constitution.

The Speaker of the House also:

  • Appoints the chairpersons and members of standing House committees and select and special committees;
  • Appoints a majority of members to the important House Rules Committee;
  • Exerts power over the legislative process by setting the House legislative calendar determining when bills will be debated and voted on;
  • Often utilizes this power to help fulfill his or her responsibility of making sure bills supported by the majority party are passed by the House;
  • Serves as chair of the majority party’s House steering committee.

Perhaps most clearly indicating the importance of the position, the Speaker of the House stands second only to the Vice President of the United States in the line of presidential succession. Pelosi is the first person to serve a second term as Speaker in the last half-century.

What are Pelosi’s Already Known Power-Plays?

Seven Promises made by Pelosi for Congressional action “IF” she was returned to the House Speaker position:

1. More Investigations of Trump

2. Campaign Finance Reform

3. More LGBT Protections

4. Legal Status for ‘Dreamers,’ No Border Wall

5. Push for New Gun Laws

6. Changes to Obamacare

7. More Infrastructure Spending

Just keep these seven in the back of your mind while her agenda for the House is being rolled out. But while we’re watching and waiting, let’s revisit some things about the “stellar” past of the current Speaker:

Pelosi “Stuff”

Martha Stewart went to jail. Pelosi continues to walk the streets of Washington after making money on insider information—Congress gives itself a pass on the laws that apply to the rest of us. Newsmax noted:

  • “Pelosi, D-Calif., and her husband have participated in at least eight IPOs while having access to information directly relating to the companies involved. One of those came in 2008, from Visa, just as a troublesome piece of legislation that would have hurt credit card companies, began making its way through the House. “
  • Pelosi’s brother-in-law got a sweetheart deal from the US Dept. of Energy when taxpayers coughed up more than $700 million to a firm where her brother-in-law is a partner.
  • Obamacare: Pelosi told Americans, “We have to pass the bill so you can see what’s in it.” Ilya Shapiro with Cato recently said more than 2,000 waivers have been given to organizations and companies across the country. Early on in the waiver process, however, of a sampler of 204 new Obamacare waivers, 38 were for restaurants, nightclubs, and hotels in Pelosi’s Northern California district. Many of the remaining waivers went to labor unions and other Dem-affiliated groups.
  • Pelosi, hands down, is an open borders proponent. She wanted to include everyone, even foreign nationals who had no intention of seeking citizenship,  in ObamaCare—she didn’t come right out and say it, but if you want to cover anyone who’s in the country, we should take you at your word. Democrats in Congress did nothing about border security; they simply didn’t address the issue. Furthermore, if you’re an American who wants our borders secured, Pelosi says you’re ‘un-American.’
  • (TruthNewsNet.org published this 11/18/2018) “A report from the Washington Free Beacon revealed that Pelosi is alleged to have enriched herself and her husband, Paul, through her efforts to “steer taxpayer funds” to a San Francisco-area light rail project. Pelosi’s support for the project caused local real estate prices to escalate such that a large parcel of land owned by “high-dollar Democratic donor” Marc Benioff’s company received a huge profit upon selling it to the Golden State Warriors of the NBA. Pelosi’s husband is also a significant investor in the company. Pelosi pushed for taxpayer subsidies for the rail project for over ten years, and that project did much to boost the real estate market in the area, according to commercial real estate experts. The report says that “liberal billionaire hedge fund manager” Tom Steyer — best-known for funding millions of dollars for national television ads promoting the impeachment of President Trump — may also have been further enriched through Pelosi’s efforts to provide federal subsidies to the project.

Pelosi’s ethical lapses on oversight

  • Rep. Charlie Rangel’s (D-N.Y.) tax shenanigans are public knowledge. Despite that, Pelosi left him in charge of the committee that writes tax regulations. An average American would go to jail—Rangel kept his committee chair despite not reporting half his net worth among other lapses. Rangel wasn’t the only shady politician Pelosi tolerated—there’s a long list. Among the names, former Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.), the late Rep. John Murtha (D-Penn.), now imprisoned Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.)—there’s a very long list.
  • Nancy Pelosi is facing accusations of cronyism after a solar energy project, which her brother-in-law has a stake in, landed a $737 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy, despite the growing Solyndra scandal. The massive loan agreement is raising new concerns about the use of taxpayers’ money as vast sums are invested in technology similar to that of the doomed energy project. The investment has intensified the debate over the effectiveness of solar energy as a major power source. The SolarReserve project is backed by an energy investment fund where the Minority Leader’s brother-in-law Ronald Pelosi is second in command. PCG Clean Energy & Technology Fund (East) LLC is listed as one of the investors in the project that has been given the staggering loan, which even dwarfs that given to failed company Solyndra. Other investors include one of the major investors in Solyndra, which is run by one of the directors of Solyndra.

Although the following is not about corruption or legislative evil conducted by her, this is important to note:

  • As evidenced recently in a number of press conferences, Pelosi clearly seems to be losing it. She has often forgotten her train of thought, stumbled for words or names, slurred her comments, experienced pregnant pauses, etc. Something is not quite right. Last year, a Washington, D.C., pharmacist made a very disturbing revelation. He reported providing Alzheimer’s drugs for some members of Congress. In making this revelation, he stated the obvious concern we all should have, “They’re making the highest laws of the land and they might not even remember what happened yesterday.” While we do not know if Pelosi is among this pharmacist’s customers, at a time our nation is in such turmoil, we simply cannot afford to keep members of Congress in office who are suffering from mental health issues.
  • Then there’s “Pelosi-Speak: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had a different position on borders. In 2008 she said, “Because we do need to address the issue of immigration and the challenge we have of undocumented people in our country. We certainly do not want any more coming in.”

Summary

Many things concerning Speaker Pelosi’s past actions supported by American taxpayers concern me. We could spend hours discussing each. But let’s summarize it in this statement: Nancy Pelosi (as have many other members of Congress) found ways to — most-times within the law, maybe sometimes “skirting” the law — enrich herself, family members, Democrat donors, and others with opportunities discovered or created through her power that came from Congress. (Is that statement over-the-top to you?)

The “Power” problem was NOT invented by Pelosi. It has existed in Washington for many decades. Actually, it probably began in the early years of Washington D.C. when legislators discovered the power they had simply from representing voting constituents from their states and districts. Think about this: THEY write and pass laws; THEY determine what taxes to levy against Americans and American corporations; THEY determine what to pay themselves; THEY determine all their own personal benefits; THEY determine how much in “allowances” they are to receive just for being Congress members; THEY determine on which days they work and which days they do not. Members of Congress by giving themselves the ultimate power created the abilities to exert power over people from Washington.

Lord Acton, the 19th-century British historian, famously made this statement: “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Are there examples to which we can point that illustrate this premise? Absolutely! Choose any one of the examples given above (and also in the TruthNewsNet.org story published here 11/18/2018) to see the results of the power that emanates from Congress. You see: everything — yes EVERYTHING — that does or does not happen in Washington is the product of one and only one thing: POWER. “What’s best for the country,” “What voters want,” “What I committed to do or not to do during my campaign,” mean NOTHING! All that matters is what the power-brokers in Congress and elsewhere have placed on the political agenda for members of Congress to do.

Is Pelosi caught-up in this thirst for ultimate power? I have never heard her admit to that. But when suspicious things happen or suspicious things are said, people should at least stand at attention and watch closely so as to garner truths or lies being given. There are too many times and too many examples of Pelosi’s aberrations of her promises given and statements made to detail here. But there are many.

In my opinion, there are only a few things that Pelosi has committed would occur if she was named Speaker I’m certain will happen. And 6 of the 7 she gave that are listed above will she push for. The one “missing” will be Campaign Reform. Why not Campaign Reform? Oh, the House will pass a bill called Campaign Reform. But it will NOT be about meaningful or real reform. Think about it: why would they want reform when Hillary raised twice as much money as did Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election? What they will call “Campaign Reform” will be nothing more than an attempt to change existing law regarding voting (not campaigning) so as to give currently non-registered voters the ability to vote in federal elections. Additionally, any campaign measure they bring up will be an effort to handicap Republicans in elections.

What will happen in Congress? Hopefully in the Senate now with a larger Republican majority, nothing fundamentally structured to further hurt the nation or change the Constitution will be allowed to succeed. But I will guarantee this: the House will do everything possible to find a way to get rid of President Trump. And to do that, they must find some way to rid themselves of Vice President Pence, too. He would replace Trump. And Pence is even more conservative than is the President. What they may do to achieve their ultimate goal of regaining total control of the U.S. government is frightening. I am NOT a conspiracy theorist, but the fact that the Left hates Trump for interrupting their united efforts to take the U.S. toward a totalitarianism system of government than they hate him personally. And I think everyone knows how much they personally disdain Mr. Trump.

I’ve said this to you before and say it here: “Buckle in. We’re in for a heckuva’ ride!”

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Investigate!

In just a few days, control of the U.S. House of Representatives will be officially handed to Democrats as the new Congress begins its two-year lifespan. I am certain that Americans who live in those 40 Congressional districts from which enough new members were elected to the House to wrest House control away from the GOP are excited to FINALLY see the logjam of almost zero legislation from the House end and NEW and exciting governance begin, right? WRONG! Here’s what House Democrats who are about to take control are preparing to do: INVESTIGATE! CNN put it best:

(CNN) The House Judiciary Committee is looking for a few good lawyers.

A recent committee job posting reviewed by CNN asked for legislative counsels with a variety of expertise: “criminal law, immigration law, constitutional law, intellectual property law, commercial and administrative law (including antitrust and bankruptcy), or oversight work.”
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee needs lawyers, too, posting jobs for “executive branch investigative counsel.”
The advertisements give a window into the Democratic recruiting that’s ramped up ahead of the party gaining subpoena power for the first time in eight years when it takes over the House in January.
2016 Presidential Election Investigation Fast FactsWhile Democrats publicly talk up their interest in focusing on legislative priorities like health care and voting rights — not to mention ending the ongoing partial government shutdown — they are quietly preparing for what will likely be the largest congressional investigation of a sitting president in recent memory. Party leaders and committee chairs have spent months ironing out potential targets, from President Donald Trump’s taxes and business dealings to the conduct of current and former Cabinet members.
To handle all this investigative work, House Democrats are expected to double the number of their staffers. Though they can’t officially hire anyone until the new Congress is seated, plans are well underway, with House members saying that candidates — especially those with specific investigative skills, from money laundering to contracting — are coming from all directions.
“They’re finding us,” said Rep. Adam Smith, a Washington state Democrat who will be taking over the House Armed Services Committee, which will have a significant piece of foreign policy oversight. “There are a lot of Democratic refugees out there after the Republicans took over the House, the Senate, and the White House.”

2019: A Very Special Year

If you think that with a new House of Representatives we will finally see legislation passed in Congress to initiate a slew of new and meaningful bills to address the very necessary but forgotten deficiencies in Americans’ lives, you are sadly mistaken. First, a divided Congress is doomed to fail to get anything meaningful passed. Think about it: with a House and Senate with relatively small GOP control over the past two years, very little legislation could get passed. It seems that GOP Congressional leaders could never get enough of their members on the same page to get anything done. Just imagine how much more fragmented Congress will be in 2019.

What do Americans really want Congress to get done?

  1. Immigration. This is probably the most contentious, most ideological, and most necessary issue to tackle and get resolved. Yet Congress after Congress has failed miserably to take any meaningful action since before Reagan. Sure, Reagan cut a deal and gave citizenship status to a host of illegals. But there was a “pro quo” to that deal: southern border security to stop the flow of illegals into the U.S. was to be enacted in exchange for the “quid” of that deal: citizenship for millions. Democrats laughed and did nothing. Clinton did nothing during his eight years in spite of numerous promises. Bush 43 the same as was the case under Obama. Trump hit hard the proverbial immigration continuously in his first two years, even with a United Congress. (ha!)
  2. Healthcare. Nobody doubts over the past couple of decades a problem with the U.S. healthcare system existed. Unfortunately, politicians tagged the problem as being with the entire healthcare system. It was and is not with the entire system — the problem rests in healthcare finance alone. The “new” Left-wingers in the Democratic House ran during the election promising and are still crying about “Medicare for All,” or even Universal Healthcare. Nobody has tackled the REAL healthcare issue of finance. American healthcare itself is the best on Planet Earth! Beginning with Obamacare, sadly we have seen healthcare professionals by the thousands run to different job sectors or retire prematurely. Why? Government messing with Healthcare and ruining its amazingly positive results. This new House is full of those who are hell-bent on totally destroying the entire system when all that should be addressed is healthcare finance. The two buzz terms regarding healthcare finance that has everyone up in arms for years are “pre-existing condition coverage” and “premium costs.” Those can and should be addressed and fixed without blowing up the entire healthcare system! Oh…”Medicare for all” cannot be done in the U.S. — PERIOD. The costs are impossible to sustain in any way.
  3. Government Spending/Nat’l Debt. Do we even need to mention this? Congress after Congress, Administration after Administration: Americans want the same thing and no one in Congress or the White House seemingly pays attention — or CARES. Running any home, business, local, state, or federal government, continuously spending more than that entity makes can end in only one way: Disaster. Americans know that sooner or later, the American debt holders will come calling for repayment of what the country owes. There are only two options if this happens: pay the bill or default. We cannot pay the bill. So what would default look like if the U.S. has no other option? Answer: there’s never been a country like the U.S. default on government debt. We don’t know what the results would be, other than that they wouldn’t be good. But with certainty, we are headed toward that Armageddon.
  4. Fix Congress. There’s nothing wrong with Congress itself — right? That’s incorrect if you ask the average American. Americans want Congress to change in the new House. Here’s what they want to be changed: 1) Members of Congress are paid a base salary of $174,000, and that’s way too much, according to public-opinion polls.  A majority of Americans believe members of Congress – a majority of whom are already millionaires – should earn less than $100,000 a year, somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000. 2) The House of Representatives has averaged 138 “legislative days” a year since 2001, according to records kept by the Library of Congress. That’s about one day of work every three days, or fewer than three days a week. Americans know there’s more to work in the House than just what happens on the floor. But it seems to most that when serious issues that need serious results are on the “table” for Congressional action, House members simply do “other things.” 3) It’s not very responsive. How would you feel if you took the time to write a detailed letter to your member of Congress explaining your concerns about the particular issue, and your representative responded with a form letter that began, “Thank you for contacting me regarding ________. I appreciate your views on this important issue and welcome the opportunity to respond.” This kind of thing happens all the time, though. 4) They waffle too much. It’s called political expediency, and elected officials have mastered the art of taking positions that will maximize their chances of getting re-elected. Most politicians will cringe at being labeled a waffler, but the truth of the matter is all elected officials and candidates would agree their positions shift constantly. 5) Bi-partisanship. Let’s be honest: Americans really don’t want it. What Americans want is for members of Congress to forget about party politics and do anything necessary to work with other members to get done what voters elected them to get done. Nothing else they can do really matters.

Summary

Robert Mueller and his team have already spent a reported $25 million investigating collusion during the 2016 election cycle between Russians and members of the Trump Campaign. $25 million! So far, not one person has been found guilty. Sure, partisan hacks scream that multiple indictments have been issued, several arrests have been made, and some are going to jail. None of them were charged or convicted of doing anything having to do with President (or “Candidate”) Trump or any members of his campaign. Don’t you find it odd that such a whopping amount of taxpayer dollars would so flippantly be thrown away in this manner? What price is a justifiable price for the wrongdoing that Mueller and his team have unearthed?

Don’t you think that enough is enough? (If you don’t, you’re probably an elected official, Democrat Party hack, or someone that simply hates Donald Trump)

We are about to enter a never-seen-before time in the United States in which a political party is going to take over the “purse” of the American people and direct additional millions of dollars to investigate Donald Trump! Why? Simple: They want him gone.

Their vitriolic hate for this President is far beyond normal distaste and even disgust from one party’s members for another party’s members. It is so intense and so vicious, it makes me wonder what is REALLY going on? Why do they REALLY hold so much hatred for this President?

The answer to that question lingers. But one possibility continues to creep into my consciousness more and more regularly: what are they trying to hide from Americans? What do they not want the populace to know that they feel that on the watch of this leader and his aggressiveness toward Democrats might be exposed? What could it or those be?

While you are wondering too, you might ask these questions:

  • The Clinton Campaign obviously colluded with Russia and Russians during 2016. Why has the Mueller probe left THAT collusion alone?
  • Knowing that Hillary herself violated federal laws regarding the handling of classified information, documents, and communications, why has Mueller not even visited those felonious actions?
  • Did you know Hillary through her unsecure email server communicated with Barack Obama himself, (him using a secret Gmail address) and in doing committed multiple felonies? To our knowledge, so far none of that has been examined by Mueller.
  • Why have Congressional GOP committees been totally unsuccessful at taking the horrendous information unearthed in their investigations into election wrongdoing to federal authorities for prosecution of offenders? Why have their multiple criminal referrals against many who have been found in criminal wrongdoing simply been ignored and for which no criminal action initiated?

In the meantime, the southern border is leaking like a sieve and illegal migrants are pouring into the U.S. While border officials watch in dismay, federal judges apparently in cahoots with Leftists continue to tie the hands of President Trump as he tries to fulfill Americans’ wish for border security and meaningful immigration law enforcement.

Does anyone but me feel aghast that American citizens must scream at Washington D.C. to enforce federal laws, to beg for our government to stop illegals from murdering, raping, and terrorizing legal Americans? When will this nonsense stop?

I can tell you when: not until Americans stop simply saying “Enough is enough” and take actions to either stop it themselves or put people in office who will stop it by forcing everyone to abide by legally passed laws. And the practice of using liberal federal judges to rule against duly passed laws allowing open-borders philosophies propagated by the Left must be stopped for that to happen.

I don’t know for certain when it will happen. But what I DO know for certain is that the 116th Congressional House of Representatives is not planning for ANY OF THE THINGS WE HAVE DISCUSSED IN THIS STORY TO HAPPEN!

Oops….I’m wrong. They ARE planning on spending more of our money conducting dozens of “new” investigations into Donald Trump. For what?

“I heard that he took two sugar packages and stuck them in his pocket when he and Melania stopped for lunch at Bubba’s Cafe in southern Alabama in October of 2017. The cad! He needs to be forced out of the White House for that! Which is he guilty of by stealing that sugar: High Crimes or Misdemeanors?”

 

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What Now, Congress?

Americans are waiting with many questions about what and how Congress will act regarding legislation — what Congress is designed to do. That comes as control of the House of Representatives crosses the aisle to the Democrat Party in January 2019. Though the GOP picked up several Senate seats that increased their Senate majority, all “fiscal” matters — matters driven by government funding — must come from the House.

Yes, it is true that for the first two years of the Trump presidency Republicans controlled both houses. But because of rules put in place — rules passed by each house of Congress that are NOT Constitutional mandate –, restrictions regarding even taking up measures for floor debate and what can and cannot be done in the House and Senate lie entirely at the feet of members of Congress. Why?

Congressional Identity Politics

Americans look on as Congress continually defeats completion of legislation for extremely important matters. examples: each year the Constitution requires Congress to prepare, pass, and the President to sign into law a fiscal budget. And each fiscal year the budget that controls government spending expires the same time. Yet each year, Congress waits until the last minute, delaying even a vote on a budget bill, passing temporary spending resolutions, due exclusively to partisan wrangling that seldom has anything substantive to do with the overall budget. Most often those delays are direct results of the current “legislative hotspot item of the week.” The repair of illegal immigration, funding healthcare, and building a southern border wall are the latest hot spots that have delayed a new budget. Of course, stop-gap resolutions for temporary spending have to be put in place to prevent a government shutdown. But even the threat of a shutdown is turned into a political football everytime one is rumored: either Democrats or Republicans hold out wanting this legislation or that legislation included or excluded, and it’s always “the other Party’s fault.”

In the past, members of Congress were really concerned about how Americans felt about Congress and the job they do. Their approval ratings among the public were important. But in past years Americans watch as Congress demonstrates, again and again, their lack of concern for the will of Americans in legislation. Their approval ratings as a result of their lack of concern for the will of Americans hover around just 10%. And they don’t care.

With that in mind, and with Democrats reclaiming control of the financial mothership in Congress — the House of Representatives — don’t you think Congress would want to get back to work and diligently move legislation for Americans and government operations forward? One would think that. And one would be wrong.

What legislative matters do you think Congress should be concentrating on? Let’s name a few: Further tax relief for the middle class; meaningful comprehensive immigration reform; sealing both U.S. borders to stop the rampant influx of illegals from the north and south; revision of healthcare financing and regulation to make it affordable for all Americans without tampering with healthcare’s effectiveness; taking control of runaway U.S. government federal deficit spending. There certainly are others. But I feel almost all Americans would be tickled if Congress would make at least honest efforts on these during the next two years. But it won’t happen. Even with a fresh start with a new House of Representatives, NOTHING substantive will be accomplished in the next Congress — nothing but passing a budget after several spending resolutions are passed at the last minute. The cycle of Congressional lunacy just rolls over — again, and again, and again, and again.

Did you notice as I did the lack of party platform promotion in the 2018 midterm campaigns by either Party? There were none. All the campaigning were against those running on the other side. Voters heard very little from either Democrats or Republicans about any ideas to fix any of the broken government process mentioned in the last paragraph. In fact, the election conversation was driven primarily by just one thing: Donald Trump. And seldom did you hear at campaign rallies or in television, radio, or print ads “new” ideas from either Party’s candidates. They each simply drew a line in the sand: either for or against President Trump.

Hardly anyone spoke about the amazing accomplishments in the nation on his watch in just his first two short years. (I won’t list them here, but we all know about most) Regardless of the claims made by his predecessor for initiating all of those successes, most Americans are smart enough to look at their payroll deposits and see deposits for corporate bonuses, pay increases, and more net pay because of the reduced federal income tax deductions. They see their 401K values have risen rather than leaking away as under the last President. Americans also saw their neighbors who had previously struggled to find work get not just jobs, but jobs in sectors that not only had completely stopped hiring were moving operations to foreign countries. Americans know Obama promised exactly opposite, telling Americans that manufacturing would never come back to the U.S.

It happened because Donald Trump changed the way people at the top in Washington think. Let’s call it “Trump Change.”

But, wait: not EVERYONE in Washington changed — or wanted “Trump Change.” Enter members of the Deep State — inhabitants of the Swamp. They didn’t want “Trump Change.” They still don’t.

With new House control by Democrats, one would think Democrat Party leadership would be excited about looking ahead at new ways to build on existing successes and find new ways to initiate new ones. But that’s not happening. Want to know what Democrat Party upcoming House leadership and committee leaders are planning?

  • Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on Sunday said that President Trump might “face the real prospect of jail time” after prosecutors indicated last week that he directed illegal payments during his 2016 presidential campaign. “There’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him. That he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time,” he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Schiff’s premise has NO basis in fact, rather relies totally on information contained in Robert Mueller’s memo released Friday, December 9th. Specifically, Schiff’s comments were based on allegations contained in that memo stating Cohen lied to Mueller and his investigators. According to the memo, Cohen admitted that he had lied to Congress about when he stopped pursuing a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow — which was June 2016 instead of January 2016, and about other statements he had made. It said he also offered new information to the special counsel’s office. The memo said Cohen admitted he lied to Congress to “minimize links between the Moscow Project” and Trump, and to “give a false impression” that the Moscow Project had ended before the Iowa caucus and the first presidential primaries, in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia investigations being conducted by Congress and the special counsel’s office.

Cohen also said he had lied to Congress about a 2015 radio interview, in which he suggested that Trump meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in New York City during his visit for the United Nations General Assembly. Cohen had told Congress that his comments were not discussed within the campaign, but later said that he had “conferred” with Trump about contacting the Russian government to gauge interest in such a meeting.

Congressman Schiff disclosed that Democrats are in talks with counsel for former Trump attorney Michael Cohen to “bring him back” for further testimony, less than two weeks after Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in 2017.  Schiff suggested Cohen will return voluntarily. If Schiff becomes the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee when Democrats retake the House in January, as expected, he would have the power to subpoena Cohen to testify and provide documents — but Cohen would retain the option of pleading his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination.

  • Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, revealed Friday, December 7th that he will end the Republican-led probe into decisions made by the FBI and Department of Justice during the 2016 presidential election. “Yes, [I will end it] because it is a waste of time to start with,” Nadler told reporters after momentarily stepping outside the closed-door hearing of fired FBI Director James Comey. He branded the probe a political stunt designed to divert attention from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the election. “The entire purpose of this investigation is to be a diversion of the real investigation, which is Mueller. There is no evidence of bias at the FBI and this other nonsense they are talking about,” the Democrat claimed.
  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), promised the following legislation to be taken up if she retakes the gavel as Speaker of the House: a package for campaign finance reform as Dems’ first bill of the 116th Congress; Democrats will pursue reducing drug prices, something the Trump Administration is doing successfully already. Then, they will make an effort to work with Republicans on a bill on background checks for gun purchases, as well as address protecting “Dreamers.” That refers to young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. “I don’t see any of us voting for wall funding,” referring to President Donald Trump’s plan for a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. In addition, Pelosi said she would like Democrats to make sure there is integrity in the U.S. voting system.
  • And then there’s Maxine Waters (D-CA). Throughout the campaign and since she speaks about nothing but impeachment. I am not for sure, but I believer her ardent supporters from her California district would rather she work with all those in D.C. to reduce illegal immigration that has resulted in lost jobs for those voters and others, further reduce taxes and help find ways to fix healthcare finance, stemming the flood of ever-increasing federal spending that is driving our national debt far beyond any hope of repayment, and the constant logjam in Congress due exclusively to partisanship from both sides of the aisle. Yet, Ms. Waters still chants in rallies and meetings, “Impeach 45, Impeach 45!”

Summary

There’s very little any non-elected American can do to right this ship. At best we can continue to communicate with our elected federal officials and encourage them to take care of the enforcement of existing laws, pass new laws to fix bad laws, to cut runaway spending, close our borders to illegals, and take care of American citizens before spending billions on illegals who invade our country.

Regarding the likes of Schiff and Nadler and Pelosi and others who hail from the Democrat Party far left, they still hold the belief that their political false narrative has captured the minds of most Americans. I laugh every time I hear Nadler or Schiff or Pelosi or Waters in interviews spouting their talking points. Remember this: Schiff is the one that on numerous occasions has stated he “factually” knows and has evidence that proves that President Trump colluded with Russia to help get him elected in 2016. Nadler knows that everything he said that I quoted above about the current House investigation into Department of Justice and FBI wrongdoing and even illegal actions during the 2016 election is not only legitimate, but it is also necessary to simply hold government officials accountable for partisanship that has led to unbelievable illegal activities that put Watergate to shame!

Schiff, Pelosi, Nadler, and even Waters are oblivious to this one fact that cannot be forgotten or ignored: all Americans are not drinking from the trough of Political Elitism from which Democrat Party leadership live by. Americans understand things in D.C. are not right. And most Americans — even proven in polling results — want the process in D.C. fixed and those responsible for wrongdoing to be held accountable.

In all of this, don’t be dismayed: the Sheriff that took charge in 2016 is far from working alone in his so-far successful quest to clean out the Swamp. Schiff and Company want to intimidate the Sheriff into believing he has no hope and that they’re “gonna’ get him!” He doesn’t care. He came to D.C. a very successful entrepreneur. He’ll leave D.C. the same.

And Americans will still be in control of the United States of America!

 

 

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“She’s Baaaack!”

Yes, the “new” Speaker of the House of Representatives for the upcoming Congress has yet to be chosen. But odds are that former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will receive the gavel from current and outgoing Republican Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). Even though Pelosi hails from the “old school” Democrats and a new breed of even more liberal Democrats are populating the majority party in Congress, Pelosi is the odds-on favorite to be Speaker. How so? She has amassed the reputation of being the best fundraiser by far for her party, has shown through her years in office her total commitment to the Democrat Party, and probably too because she knows where all the Democrat Party skeletons are hidden! (She probably hid a few herself)

As we prepare for the changing of the guard, I thought it beneficial for us to take a look forward to a Pelosi Congress by looking back to the way the House under her leadership — and specifically as House Speaker — operated in years past. Yes, “She’s Baaaack!”

Nancy: Who Is She?

Nancy Patricia D’Alesandro Pelosi, born March 26, 1940, is an American politician serving as the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives since 2011, representing California’s 12th congressional district. She previously served as the 52nd Speaker of the House from 2007 to 2011, the only woman to do so. Her ascent to House Speaker also made her the highest-ranking female politician in the history of the United States. She is the odds-on favorite to replace outgoing speaker Paul Ryan.

A member of the Democratic Party, Pelosi represents California’s 12th congressional district which consists of four-fifths of the city and county of San Francisco. She served as the House Minority Whip from 2002 to 2003, and was House Minority Leader from 2003 to 2007, holding the post during the 108th and 109th Congresses under George W. Bush.  After the Democrats took control of the House in 2007 and increased their majority in 2009, Pelosi was elected Speaker of the House. After the Democrats lost House control in the 2010 elections, Pelosi was elected as the Democratic Leader by House Democrats and therefore the Minority Leader in the Republican-controlled House from.

During and after her tenure as Speaker, Pelosi was perceived as a contentious political figure, with Republican candidates frequently trying to tie their Democratic opponents to Pelosi and with moderate Democrats seeking to show their moderate bona fides by expressing opposition to Pelosi. Pelosi is expected to run for Speaker of the House of Representatives on the opening of the 116th U.S. Congress on January 3, 2019. If reelected Speaker, Pelosi would become the seventh individual to return to the Speakership on non-consecutive terms of office and the first since Sam Rayburn in 1955.

Scandals

Speaker Pelosi was mired in a host of scandals during her years in the House. It is fair to say, however, that Pelosi and other Democrats are not on an island which contains ALL Congressional and other D.C. scandals. But Pelosi’s illustrate really well the apparent “in-your-face” attitude from many lawmakers on the left.

We detail just a segment of some of her scandals here. However, probably the most visible, obvious, and talked-about scandal involving Pelosi was a legislative one. Who can ever forget this:

While the Obamacare incident was really bad, it is just one of many under the watch of Pelosi.

SunEdison

Nancy Pelosi’s husband bought up to a quarter million dollars of stock in SunEdison (a now financially troubled green energy company that has just recently emerged from bankruptcy) just weeks before it announced a major 2014 acquisition that sent its stock price soaring. SunEd’s 2014 purchase of wind energy company First Wind “further bolstered the reputation of the company,” wrote one market-watcher at the time. “Perhaps unsurprisingly, SunEdison’s stock soared 29% on news of this acquisition alone.”

Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, had invested just in time. He bought between $100,000 and $250,000 in SunEdison stock on Oct. 24, 2014, according to congressional financial disclosures. The company announced its First Wind acquisition on Nov. 17, just 3 weeks after Paul Pelosi’s stock purchase. Coincidence?

Pelosi has previously been accused of trading stock based on information gleaned through her official duties. A law passed in the wake of the SunEd controversy prohibits members of Congress from using nonpublic information for personal gain. Language in that measure was informally dubbed the ‘Pelosi Provision.’

“RailGate”

A report from the Washington Free Beacon revealed that Pelosi is alleged to have enriched herself and her husband, Paul, through her efforts to “steer taxpayer funds” to a San Francisco-area light rail project. Pelosi’s support for the project caused local real estate prices to escalate such that a large parcel of land owned by “high-dollar Democratic donor” Marc Benioff’s company received a huge profit upon selling it to the Golden State Warriors of the NBA. Pelosi’s husband is also a significant investor in the company.

Pelosi pushed for taxpayer subsidies for the rail project for over ten years, and that project did much to boost the real estate market in the area, according to commercial real estate experts. The report says that “liberal billionaire hedge fund manager” Tom Steyer — best-known for funding millions of dollars for national television ads promoting the impeachment of President Trump — may also have been further enriched through Pelosi’s efforts to provide federal subsidies to the project. Let’s see: Tom Steyer, who is a billionaire Democrat activist who hates Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, former House Speaker who wants her job back, and a financial windfall for both through the use of taxpayer subsidies. Sound familiar?

“AirGate”

Overall, according to documents uncovered in January 2011, Pelosi used US Air Force corporate aircraft for a total of 43 private trips, covering 90,155 miles, from January 1 through October 1, 2010. Previous documents show the former Speaker’s military travel cost the USAF $2,100,744.59 over one two-year period — $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol. Purchases for one Pelosi-led congressional delegation traveling from Washington, D.C., through Tel Aviv, Israel to Baghdad, Iraq May 15-20, 2008 included: Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey’s Irish Crème, Maker’s Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewars scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey, Corona beer and several bottles of wine.
Previously uncovered internal Department of Defense (DOD) documents email correspondence detailed attempts by DOD staff to accommodate Pelosi’s numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft as well as the speaker’s last minute cancellations and changes. For example, in response to a series of requests for military aircraft, one DOD official wrote, “Any chance of politely querying [Pelosi’s team] if they really intend to do all of these or are they just picking every weekend?…[T]here’s no need to block every weekend ‘just in case’…” The email also notes that Pelosi’s office had, “a history of canceling many of their past requests.”

In investigations into Pelosi’s rampant use of military planes at taxpayer expense, documents further detail former Speaker Pelosi’s abuse of military aircraft when House Speaker. She provided sweetheart travel deals for her adult children. But it did not stop there. Members of the House are able to obtain permission from the Office of the Speaker for the use of military luxury and military-supported travel for congressional delegation trips. These trips, known as CODELs, exploded in number and cost under House Speaker Pelosi.

As a footnote here: 1) Pelosi complained to the Air Force that the jet first offered for her trips back-and-forth from D.C. to San Francisco was not sufficient for her needs. How so? It had to refuel during each trip. She demanded a replacement jet that could fly non-stop from Washington to the Bay Area. When her demands were made public, there was a huge outcry, especially in light of her abuse of taxpayer funds for her private jet flights.

So what have former and current House Speakers have and do about their air travel? Former Speaker John Boehner flew commercially. Current House Speaker Paul Ryan flies commercial between his home and D.C., skipping private jet usage. Incidentally, Air Force private jet flight for House Speakers IS allowed, but neither Boehner nor Ryan uses it.

There is nothing wrong with finding good investment opportunities or investing successfully in startup companies or even in real estate trading. That’s not what Pelosi and her husband did to get wealthy. The Pelosi family made most of their wealth through Insider trading. She is privy to information she wouldn’t otherwise have if not for her position in Congress, and she uses this so that her husband can create active trades which have made millions of dollars.

In the meantime, Pelosi leads the throng of Democrats who clamor for Trump to release his tax records. So, why doesn’t Pelosi give over her financial and tax records? Why doesn’t every Democrat who has a problem with Trump’s taxes bring out their own documents in a show of solidarity? After all, they’re more than content to spread Trump’s business every which way. People seem to forget that during the 2012 Presidential campaign, Pelosi and other members of Congress refused to release their tax returns and that was brought to light.

Facing questions about why she and other top Congressional officials won’t release their tax returns, Pelosi downplayed her previous demands for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to release his, calling the issue a distraction. Pelosi had strongly urged Romney to provide further disclosure of his tax returns. But while maintaining Romney should release more documents because of “custom” and “tradition,” Pelosi when facing media demands for HER tax returns said the issue “was trivial compared with economic issues.” She responded, “We spent too much time on that. We should be talking about middle-income tax cuts,” Pelosi said after answering two questions about the issue.

The Minority Leader faced questions about the issue after a McClatchy News report showed only 17 of 535 Members released their tax returns when asked.

Summary

Bringing back memories of these Pelosi scandals and the unethical if not illegal abuse of her position in Congress for personal enrichment for herself, her husband, and friends and campaign contributors simply leave a bad taste in the mouths of American citizens. Is it any wonder that the approval ratings for members of Congress hover close to single digits. And yet they still are re-elected again and again and go on taking advantage of political might and power at every opportunity. Why does its allowance continue?

It’s simple: Washington D.C. is so far removed from the sight and minds of most Americans, unless a scandal that negatively impacts Americans personally occurs, politicians are most often given a free pass. Shame on us! How can any of this be rectified if WE don’t do it? It is foolish to expect that someone who is allowed to cheat the system again and again with no accountability would stop cheating! Congressional actions by many that have been exposed prove that point. What is horrifying is to think that even with the multiple scandals we discover, how many remain unknown to us? Honestly, we’d probably all gasp if we knew.

We must stop burying our heads in the sand. Americans must begin to hold our elected officials accountable for all the improprieties they are guilty of and for all the financial waste of taxpayer dollars that are included. How?

  1. Term Limits. House members at the establishment of our government were elected from towns and villages for two-year terms. They would then return home to be replaced by local citizens for a two-year term in D.C. Without term limits, we watch daily as politicians become “career politicians” who make a lifetime of milking the system for every dime and bit of power they can get — AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE! We must stop the gravy train and get our officials back to just serving the people;
  2. Outlaw lobbying. Very few who serve in Congress leave Congress poor, or even in the same financial class as the day of taking their oath of office. Almost every member of Congress becomes a millionaire. How? In addition to personal enrichment when serving, most end their political careers as D.C. Lobbyists who open doors to the clients of D.C. firms who seek special access to lawmakers and those firm pay big bucks to receive that access. It is common for former members of Congress — who at most make $174,000 a year when in office — to make $1 million + per year as lobbyists;
  3. Tie the total compensation of every member of Congress to the total compensation for those in similar positions in the private sector. Base salaries in Congress may compare disproportionately to the advantage of those in the private sector. But when the expense accounts and health and retirement benefits are included, members of Congress have a much shorter path to financial security than their private sector counterparts — often guaranteed government income for life. Members of Congress should have NO different path to retirement and health security than Americans that are not in government;
  4. Members of Congress who violate any federal statutes or violate any tenets of their fiduciary responsibility to Americans in general, and their voting constituents in particular, should be publicly chastised, fined severely, and expelled from Congress for any multiple infractions. What specifically would comprise these infractions? The House and the Senate each have disciplinary and ethics committees already with written rules and written violation penalties defined. The details of any such infractions and any and all penalties assessed must be immediately made public while being investigated and after findings and whatever penalties are carried out. This process is critical. Without transparency to the public, the process would continue to be “prisoners guarding the prisoners.”

Will any of this happen? CAN any of this happen? The answer to both is “Probably Not.” Why? Congress has the power to write or not-write legislation, personally follow Congressional guidelines, and hold or refuse to hold themselves and fellow members accountable. It’s too easy for them to just push the ball down the road not making any waves. “Quid pro quo” is pretty much the everyday occurrence. Term Limits would stop that ball from rolling, but Congress would have to pass Term Limit laws. Do you think that will happen? It’s doubtful. After all: Congress gets to decide how much they make personally, how much they can each receive in personal benefits, and the budgets for their offices, including staff payroll. AND THEY JUST TELL US HOW MUCH WE NEED TO SEND TO THEM TO PAY FOR THESE!

Don’t forget: they’re not like you and me. When our checking accounts get emptied, we must wait until the next paycheck. If you’re a member of Congress and the “candy store” — the Treasury — gets empty, they just raise the debt limit and borrow some more money! You and I get to pay the bills AND PAY THE INTEREST ON THE MONEY THEY BORROW.

Sounds like a pretty good deal……for them!

 

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“Lock Them Up!”

It’s crazy how many people who are legally subpoenaed by Congress to appear before its committees for testimony or to provide documents simply ignore those subpoenas and simply don’t comply. But what is crazier is that Congress does NOTHING to hold them accountable other than a possible vote to hold them in contempt. Even with that contempt charge hanging over their heads, NOTHING IS DONE!

What CAN be done — what SHOULD be done? We have the skinny on all that and more that we’ll talk about tomorrow at TruthNewsNet.org in our story and podcast titled “Lock Them Up!”

Make sure you don’t miss it: your mind will be blown, I promise!

Here’s a hint: make sure you don’t miss another story or podcast by logging your email on the bottom right of the site homepage. That will guarantee any time a new story or podcast is posted, you’ll receive via email a link to the story or podcast first thing the morning it goes live. No one else ever sees your email address, we don’t email you anything BUT such links, and we certainly don’t sell anything. You’ll just get notices!

Enjoy today’s “bottomless pit” story and we’ll see you tomorrow as we “Lock Them Up!”

The “Bottomless Pit:” The U.S. Congress

It is almost humorous to watch as the ineffectiveness in government in Washington is exposed every day — especially in legislative matters. Obtaining Congressional action is a sham. Its operations are comical. It seems to the American public to be unmanageable and its leadership is purely political with no real legislative objectives visible. And the apparent disarray in operations at Congress seems to carry over into every other division of government.

If this chaos of operations in American government was specific to one department alone, it would certainly be simple enough to analyze its issues, devise a fix or two, and implement those corrections. But it is NOT exclusive to the Legislative branch. But today we restrict this conversation to the U.S. Congress. 

Congressional Chaos

I honestly do not understand how Congress gets anything accomplished regarding legislative matters. Actually, there are those who feel Congress gets NOTHING (or very little) done at all.

The powers of the United States Congress are set forth in Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution. The constitutionally granted powers of Congress are further defined and interpreted by the rulings of the Supreme Court, and by its own rules, customs, and history. The powers explicitly defined by the Constitution are called the “enumerated” powers. Of all the powers of Congress, none is more important than its enumerated power to make laws. The Constitution sets forth the powers of Congress in specific language. It states, “Congress shall have Power … To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.” Laws aren’t simply conjured out of thin air, of course. In fact, the legislative process is quite involved and designed to ensure that proposed laws are given careful consideration.

In addition to the explicit powers of the Constitution, Congress also has additional implied powers derived from the Necessary and Proper Clause of the Constitution. Through the Supreme Court’s many interpretations of the Necessary and Proper Clause and the Commerce Clause—the enumerated power to regulate interstate commerce—such as McCulloch v Maryland, the true range of the lawmaking powers of Congress extends far beyond those enumerated in Section 8.

Congress can also investigate pressing national issues and it is charged with supervising and providing a balance for the executive and judicial branches. It is this power and responsibility of Congress that seems to perpetuate the feelings of Americans that Congress doesn’t get very much done. Congress seems to spend more collective time looking for issues of others in government and chasing those involved in those issues they find to “fix” them. The problem is that in these cases, those in Congress seems to forget the primary role it serves in government is “To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.”

Maybe all the effort required to “make all laws” is so exhausting that members of Congress forget all the other stuff and they just continually run in circles chasing rabbits. But to most Americans, Congress seems to accomplish very little!

2017 U.S. Congress “Big” Accomplishments

In that most Americans doubt Congress does much of anything, Congressman John Shimkus (R-IL) argues that the U.S. House of Representatives is getting things done. The Congressman on his website published a list of the greatest accomplishments of Congress in 2017. Let’s look at them:

(If you want details of any of these bills, click on the hyperlink to be transferred to see the actual bill)

These ten Congressional accomplishments — according to Congressman Shimkus — are the MOST important Congressional accomplishments of 2017! Obviously, his list includes specific bills that originated in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate passed some bills, too. But it takes both Houses to pass bills that find their way to the President’s desk to be signed into law. Of those ten bills listed by Congressman Shimkus as THE significant legislative 2017 accomplishments, only two were actually signed into law! None of the others — including any that the U.S. Senate passed — even made it to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for presidential signature. Shimkus did NOT mention the tax bill that passed just before Christmas, 2017. But it did not go into effect until January 1, 2018.

Regarding U.S. Senate:

The role of the Senate was conceived by the Founding Fathers as a check on the popularly elected House of Representatives. Thus, each state, regardless of size or population, is equally represented. Further, until the Seventeenth Amendment of the Constitution (1913), election to the Senate was indirect, by the state legislatures. They are now elected directly by voters of each state.

The Senate shares with the House of Representatives responsibility for all lawmaking within the United States. For an act of Congress to be valid, both houses must approve an identical document.

The Senate is given important powers under the “advice and consent” provisions (Article II, section 2) of the Constitution: ratification of treaties requires a two-thirds majority of all senators present and a simple majority for approval of important public appointments, such as those of cabinet members, ambassadors, and judges of the Supreme Court. The Senate also adjudicates impeachment proceedings initiated in the House of Representatives, a two-thirds majority being necessary for conviction.

It was in this role that in 2017 the Senate confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, replacing Justice Antonin Scalia who passed away. SCOTUS confirmations in tandem with the confirmation of several hundred other federal judges is the most critical role of the U.S. Senate. While there were numerous judicial nominees whose appointments were confirmed in 2017, the Senate finished the year with many more empty federal judgeship nominations awaiting confirmations.

U.S. Congress Operational Budget

There are 535 members of Congress: 435 in the House of Representatives and 100 members of the Senate. Obviously, each member of Congress has a support staff and offices and must operate in Washington D.C. AND in their respective districts because they represent people — voters — and therefore must interact with their constituents. Needless to say, operating this branch of the government must be REALLY expensive, right? How much does it cost to run Congress?

Getting that information should be pretty simple: one just does a Google search for “Congress annual operating budget,” right? Wrong! I tried that. I spent the better part of one hour trying to find the annual operating budget of Congress. When I searched, I found numerous links to the GOVERNMENT’S operating budget. In fact, those searches resulted in copious documentation detailing the budgets of EVERY department of the U.S. Government for every year for the last 15 years. But I found just one reference to the actual operating budget of JUST Congress. And that reference was for one year. Based on an article on Huffington Post dated 2/25/2009, the current annual operating budget is $4.4 Billion. That is roughly $8.2 Million per member of Congress. Or $3348.55 per second! That “Congress current annual operating budget” was for 2009 — 10 years ago.

$4.4 Billion sounds like a lot of money. It sounds like a lot more when it’s broken down into $8.2 Million per member. Based on “normal” U.S. Government operational practices, who thinks that $4.4 Billion number is probably quite a bit higher than the current number?

I DID find this information buried in an article: “The 2011 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill, which includes Congress’ operating budget, totaled $4.63 billion, which includes $926 million for the Senate, $1.371 billion for the House of Representatives, $337.2 million for the Capitol Police, which includes 1,800 Capitol Police officers and 393 civilians, and $147 million for the Government Printing Office.”

Summary

Americans are aghast at how little legislative work is completed in Congress. If Americans all were aware of how slim their accomplishments are, there would be a revolt. It is unfathomable that with the edicts given to members of Congress in general elections by voters, the will of voters is summarily pushed aside when Congress is gaveled into session.

In 2016, Americans gave Donald Trump an electoral landslide for the presidency. Why? Americans — with the exception of most from big coastal states and a spattering in between coasts — agreed with his policy commitments he would push through if elected. Americans forgot that a president cannot pass laws: it takes two houses in Congress to put a bill on a president’s desk to be signed into law. This Congress has done very little of that. And in doing so, Congress has (on the most part) ignored the Trump policy promises to Americans for which he was elected.

Americans know the failure to fund a border wall, defund and replace Obamacare, fix immigration laws, and cut runaway government spending have not happened — not because of President Trump, but because of Congress. Here’s Trump in a speech the day after the Senate rejected even consideration of a bill to repeal a portion of Obamacare:

He unfortunately had to make similar speeches about the failure of Congress to reform immigration laws, (and he presented a bill to Congress to do so that failed in a vote) the total funding of a southern border wall, cuts in federal spending — all of which were promises he made during the 2016 presidential campaign. None of these have been implemented. Their failed implementation is NOT the President’s fault — the fault lies at the feet of members of Congress.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (who is on his way out of Congress) has claimed famously that the House of Representatives has passed numerous bills that the Senate has failed to pass or simply refused to consider, let alone pass. But that’s just politics: every American who studies how Congress works knows that the House Speaker and Senate Majority Leader together decide which issues will be considered in each House long before they are added to the House or Senate agenda.

The lack of legislative accomplishments in this Congress is due primarily to the failures of Congressional leadership: in this case, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. And their failure was with Republican majorities in both Houses WITH A REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT WAITING TO SIGN THOSE BILLS INTO LAW.

Who knows if Americans can achieve changes in Congress to break the roadblock that keeps the legislative will of voters from being actualized. Members of Congress on both sides tell their party members they simply need large majorities to achieve legislatively the will of the people.

Here is my opinion on the matter: there needs to be a unified effort on the part of American voters that does NOT rely on participation by current members of Congress or those who will run for Congress in the future. This unified effort needs to be concise, intense, and demanding of all those in office or those running, and needs to be transparent to every American.

One example of such an effort that worked dramatically was former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America” that was used by G.O.P. members of Congress to push through meaningful legislative changes during the Clinton Administration. Americans rallied around that “Contract” because it was a specific group of legislative agenda items that members were each asked if they would support or not in Congress. And Americans held them responsible for not only those commitments but their votes when those items came up.

We need to see that or something similar happen again — IMMEDIATELY. It’s too late for the midterm elections. But it’s not too early to get started for 2020. Getting a document with items agreed to will not be easy. But “Anything worth having is worth hurting for.” This is definitely “worth having.” I don’t mind (and don’t think other Americans will mind) hurting a little.

Oh. One other thing: What should we  call it? Let’s hear from YOU! Comment in the home page Comments section or email me your suggestions at dan@TruthNewsNet.org.

 

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