Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Direction We’re Heading

When I look at our government, what I see is an obvious chasm growing between the government and the citizens of this country. Who decides our government’s policies? Is it us? Who makes decisions in our communities? Is it the citizens of our communities?
Can we hold officials accountable? Does the government have the power to change laws that only benefit our government? Do we have a right to know what our elected officials are doing with our voice and our money?
They don’t seem to think so.

Local, state and federal government agencies are keeping more information secret from the public, making it harder for citizens to keep tabs on what elected officials and bureaucrats are doing.

"What is happening, especially at the highest levels of government, is basically un-American," says Hodding Carter, State Department spokesman in the Carter administration. "Americans should be treated as owners of their government and of their government's information, not as supplicants to whom you dole it out when you feel like it."

According to a national poll to be released Monday and commissioned by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, any increase in government secrecy flies in the face of what most Americans want, even in the post-9/11 age.
The poll shows that 59% of those surveyed said there's "too much secrecy" at the federal level. Also, 86% said they are "very interested" or "somewhat interested" in knowing what's going on inside state and local governments.
The AP investigation found that:
• States have steadily limited the public's access to government information since the Sept. 11 attacks. It analyzed legislation in all 50 states and found that, since the attacks, legislatures have passed "more than 1,000 laws changing access to information, approving more than twice as many measures that restrict information as laws that open government books."
• "Many federal agencies fall far short of the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act, repeatedly failing to meet reporting deadlines while citizens wait ever longer for documents." The act, like similar laws in each state, is designed to ensure that most government information is available to the public. It also spells out how to request the information.
Nine of 15 federal departments reported an increase in backlogs of requests for information during fiscal year 2004 vs. 2003, AP says.
The AP investigation's findings follow other recent reports about efforts by officials at all levels of government to lock information away. Most notably, The New York Times reported last month that "thousands of historical documents" that had long been available to the public at the National Archives have been "reclassified" as secret over the past seven years. The pace of that effort has "accelerated" since the 9/11 attacks, the Times concluded.
National security concerns aren't the only reason the public is being kept in the dark, media reports suggest. The Seattle Times reported on its examination of more than 10,000. Cases decided by the King County (Wash.) Superior Court since 1990. It found 420 civil suits that had been sealed entirely — and that in 97% of those cases the judges had disregarded rules about when cases should and should not be sealed. Some of these court records, the newspaper reported, "hold secrets of potential dangers in our medicine cabinets and refrigerators; of molesters in our day-care centers, schools and churches" and of other public threats.
Judges were more motivated by "go along, get along, clear the docket" than by the public's right to know, says Seattle Times investigations editor James Neff.
See Government Report Card at: http://www.openthegovernment.org

Posted by Andre M. Hernandez at March 14, 2006 7:30 AM
Comments
Comment #133302


Three cheers for Feingold, who is asking for the truth, finally.

Posted by: Squeaky at March 14, 2006 10:37 AM
Comment #133315

I’m curious how the right will respond to this one.
Will it be the “trust Bush to protect us?” or
will it be the “liberals are helping the terrorists”?
Something new perhaps? (I doubt they have the creativity, but they have other speechs to regurgitate…)

Posted by: Dave at March 14, 2006 11:56 AM
Comment #133335

Andre,

You said…

When I look at our government, what I see is an obvious chasm growing between the government and the citizens of this country. Who decides our government’s policies? Is it us? Who makes decisions in our communities? Is it the citizens of our communities? Can we hold officials accountable? Does the government have the power to change laws that only benefit our government? Do we have a right to know what our elected officials are doing with our voice and our money?

The answer to all your questions is: “NO!”

For the reason why that answer is “NO!”, please refer to the 14th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.

Posted by: Jim T at March 14, 2006 1:09 PM
Comment #133336

Good topic, Andre.

Just yesterday I read this Rawstory article:
U.S. quietly tightens access to classified information

From the link:

National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley quietly revised the guidelines for determining access to classified government information last year, increasing emphasis on allegiance to the United States and allowing the government broader latitude in rejecting candidates without a clearly articulated cause

Speaking of classified information, and in case you missed it, I also read this article yesterday:
What Bush Was Told About Iraq

Two highly classified intelligence reports delivered directly to President Bush before the Iraq war cast doubt on key public assertions made by the president, Vice President Cheney, and other administration officials as justifications for invading Iraq and toppling Saddam Hussein, according to records and knowledgeable sources.

Squeaky:
“Three cheers for Feingold, who is asking for the truth, finally.”

Feingold is the best Senator we’ve got, IMO.
That man is always trying to get at the truth, and protect the public.
If the majority of Dems followed his lead, they’d currently be in much better shape.

Dave:
“Something new perhaps?”

Yes! Wouldn’t that be so special? ;^)

Posted by: Adrienne at March 14, 2006 1:10 PM
Comment #133337

Andre,

The only person our government (Rep and Dem) is responsible to is themselves.

Posted by: Jim T at March 14, 2006 1:11 PM
Comment #133341

Adrienne:

Feingold seems to be further left than many Democrats, and certainly further left than the ‘presumptive 2008 nominee’ Hillary Clinton. Not knowing much about him, I’m wondering whether you think he is a viable candidate. He’s been mentioned a bit of late.

The only thing I really know about him is the McCain-Feingold campaign financing law he introduced. While it was well intentioned, it sure had contrary effects, with money in politics increasing greatly as an unintended consequence.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at March 14, 2006 1:24 PM
Comment #133342

I don’t understand how King County, one of the bastions of liberalism, would do such a terrible thing…

Posted by: Cliff at March 14, 2006 1:26 PM
Comment #133344
For the reason why that answer is “NO!”, please refer to the 14th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.

Posted by: Jim T at March 14, 2006 01:09 PM


Please enlgihten me how the “equal protection clause”equals “no”.

Posted by: Dave at March 14, 2006 1:32 PM
Comment #133364

Silly Dave….it means that this administration can’t refuse your rights more than it can mine…..

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at March 14, 2006 3:05 PM
Comment #133366

I fear, for the road that the Bush Administration is leading the United States down to is an oppressive one. Do we really want to become like Communist China where information is restricted, all in the name of “security”? I just hope that the restriction of information stops here and doesn’t go to the press and internet…*shivers….

Posted by: greenstuff at March 14, 2006 3:26 PM
Comment #133367

jbod, re: Feingold
“Not knowing much about him, I’m wondering whether you think he is a viable candidate.”

I think he’s an exceedingly viable candidate, Joe. Because Feingold is a smart, honest, and scrupulously ethical man who takes his responsiblities extremely seriously. He’s a real mensch in every sense — and lots of people already know this about him.

A few interesting facts about Feingold:

He’s considered one of the Senate’s poorest members (a while back I read somewhere that he has a net worth of something like $50,000 or less) and lives in a mid-sized home in his state, with a mortgage under $100,000.

When the Senate is in session, he tries to spend every weekend in Wisconsin. IMO this is how Senator’s are able to keep in touch with the needs of their constituents.

Feingold graduated from the University of Wisconsin, went to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, then attended Harvard Law School. He’s a truly brilliant guy.

When he first ran for the Senate, he wrote these five promises on front of his garage door, and has lived up to every one of them:

I will rely on the Wisconsin citizens for most of my contributions.

I will live in Middleton, Wisconsin. My children will go to school here and I will spend most of my time here in Wisconsin.

I will accept no pay raise during my six-year term in office.

I will hold a “Listening Session” in each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties each year of my six-year term in office.

I will hire the majority of my Senate staff from individuals who are from Wisconsin or have Wisconsin backgrounds.

In ‘98 during his re-election campaign, Feingold once again did without big-money campaigning, placed a cap on his own fundraising, and refused to raise or spend more than $3.8 million (one dollar for every citizen of Wisconsin) during the entire campaign. Additionally he placed the same limits on his fundraising that he would have faced under McCain-Feingold legislation, and refused to allow the state party machine to raise any soft money to air ads for him and requested that the AFL- CIO and the League of Conservation Voters not air pro-Feingold ads on their pet issues. Following his lead, his Republican opponent also limited himself to $3.8 million in spending, but he allowed lots of soft money to be used by a whole bunch of pro-Republican groups. That almost cost Feingold the election, because barely squeaked by to win by less than one percent of the vote.

In the 2004 election, Feingold earned a third term, but this time he didn’t impose the spending cap on himself as he had in the past (the Republican he was going up against was a multi-millionaire construction magnate). He raised and spent almost $11 million, and though the GOP attempted to use this fact to brand him a hypocrite, Feingold’s records showed that over 90% of the money he raised came from individuals (average contribution: 60 dollars) who were Wisconsin residents.

The majority of Feingold’s legislative focus has been on health care reform, fair trade policies (he has been an opponent of NAFTA, CAFTA, and several other free trade agreements) foreign policy, Social Security, the elimination of wasteful spending in govt., environmental protection, doing away with the dealth penalty, and of course, campaign finance reform.

He was the only Democratic Senator to vote against a motion to dismiss Congress’ impeachment case against Clinton. At the time he said: “House prosecutors must have every reasonable opportunity to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Clinton should be removed from office on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.”
Feingold ultimately voted against conviction on all the charges against Clinton.

Feingold was the only Senator who actually read and then voted against the first version of the Patriot Act. He thinks the unconstitutional provisions need to be removed (and of course, he is right). He just voted against the latest version again, but this time nine other Senators joined him in voting NO.

He voted against the resolution to go to war in Iraq.
You may want to read this: Why I Oppose Bush’s Iraq War Resolution
by Sen. Russ Feingold
October 11, 2002

Feingold is quite famous for being a budget hawk and is notoriously frugal about his own office’s spending. He’s long advocated for massive reductions in pork barrel and corporate welfare. Three non-partisan groups dedicated to furthering those same ideas have given him extremely high marks and awards for that: Citizens Against Government Waste, Taxpayers for Common Sense, and the Concord Coalition. When Feingold was first elected to Congress he promised not to accept pay raises while in office. He hasn’t. Instead of keeping the money from those raises, he has turned all of it over the U.S. Treasury.

Yet, even though he is a hardcore budget hawk, he is also thoroughly liberal and progressive.
Americans For Democratic Action, a group which rates members of Congress on a scale of 0 to 100 (zero being totally conservative and 100 being totally progressive), gave him a lifetime average rating of 96. After Paul Wellstone died, this left Feingold and Barbara Boxer tied as the two most progressive members in the entire Senate body.

In my honest opinion, true Liberals really don’t want to half-heartedly vote for someone like Hillary Clinton — the kind of politicians whose opinions are always changing with the polls. They want to proudly vote for a smart, ethical, honest, principled, stand-up people like Russ Feingold.

“The only thing I really know about him is the McCain-Feingold campaign financing law he introduced. While it was well intentioned, it sure had contrary effects, with money in politics increasing greatly as an unintended consequence.”

That isn’t Feingold’s or McCain’s fault, Joe.
When they first introduced their legislation their proposal was very broad and sweeping. Not only did they propose eliminating all unlimited, unregulated donations to federal parties (soft money) but their original initiative called for free television broadcast time for candidates, discounted postage rates for those who agreed to limit spending, and a whole bunch of other measures in an attempt to limit the influence of outside interests.
But in both the House and Senate, that orginal legislation initially failed. So, in an effort to gain support, McCain and Feingold pared the bill way down. IMO, it isn’t either of their faults that everyone has been finding ways around the legislation they did manage to pass.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 14, 2006 3:27 PM
Comment #133372

Congratulations, Andre. Very good and to the point.

First, I thought the reference to Feingold was off topic. But it is NOT. Feingold yesterday introduced a resolution to censure Bush because he broke the law - Bush secretly allowed spying on Americans. Feingold did not get anywhere because his fellow Democrats did not support him.

We need a bold Feingold, not a timid Clinton.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at March 14, 2006 3:41 PM
Comment #133374

Adrienne:

Not being particularly liberal (I doubt I’m shocking you with that revelation), I’m sure I’ll find areas of grave disagreement with Feingold’s political positions.

But I love the idea of being a deficit hawk, and a principled politician, assuming there actually is such a thing. I like how he hasn’t accepted payraises, and even though he moved his principles regarding fundraising a bit, I can understand the pragmatic rationale for doing so.

I scanned the link you provided, but didn’t like his rationale. In part he said he was happy to have Saddam removed, but didn’t like the rationale or method. I don’t see that there was any other possible method though, and if not, then the desire to remove Saddam was simply wishful thinking.

True liberals might like a truly liberal Feingold more than a politically crafty and calculating Clinton. I’m not sure that would hold true in a general election. Most Presidential winners veer to the center prior to the election (as Clinton has been doing) and I’m not sure Feingold would do that on principle.

I’ll read up on him more, because he seems to certainly have some very honorable traits, even if I might disagree on his politics. Thanks for the info.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at March 14, 2006 4:14 PM
Comment #133383

Paul:
“We need a bold Feingold, not a timid Clinton.”

I agree 100%.

jbod:
“Thanks for the info.”

You’re welcome, Joe. Since I admire Feingold so much and think most other Democratic Senators pale in comparison to him, I was very happy to oblige.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 14, 2006 4:54 PM
Comment #133386

Adrienne,

Thanks for the information.
I like what Finegold tried to do.
It was very disturbing to see the lack of support(spine) from the rest of the party.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at March 14, 2006 5:04 PM
Comment #133390

Andre:
“I like what Finegold tried to do.”

Me too, Andre. But then, it seems I’m always on the same page with that guy!

“It was very disturbing to see the lack of support (spine) from the rest of the party.”

IMO that lack of spine and their unwillingness to speak and act boldly on behalf of what they truly believe is the very reason their approval ratings aren’t higher.
Btw, in his usual fearless fashion, Feingold is now firing back at the Dem’s who are attacking him for once again standing up for what he honestly thinks:
Feingold Accuses Senate Democrats of “Cowering” To Bush

Posted by: Adrienne at March 14, 2006 5:14 PM
Comment #133397

Adrienne & Andre,
Right on! Feingold’s one of the very few politicians worth a damn. His speech about censuring Bush was on C-SPAN yesterday, and will probably be replayed this weekend.

It’s a sad day when Sandra Day O’Connor warns us to avoid taking the path towards dictatorship. The number of people in DC who can be counted on to represent what made this country great are few indeed. Feingold is one.

Posted by: phx8 at March 14, 2006 5:42 PM
Comment #133400

///
The Direction we are heading is Crony Capitalism, a form of government where specific interests hijack the government for their own profit. Feingold is not one of the hijackers in the brand-name Senate. Wisconsin, with no large federal installations, is not a state that receives as much pork from the Federal government as many others. I do not think his censure motion will go anywhere.

My main worry about the elections in 2008 is whether or not Bush will start another war before the end of his term, like Bush41 going into Somalia just before he left office.

///

Posted by: ohrealy at March 14, 2006 6:06 PM
Comment #133412
The Direction We’re Heading When I look at our government, what I see is an obvious chasm growing between the government and the citizens of this country.
Yes, it is.
Who decides our government’s policies? Is it us? Who makes decisions in our communities? Is it the citizens of our communities? Can we hold officials accountable?

Theoretically, yes, it is possible to hold government accountable.

Many reforms are badly needed, but no reforms are possible without first replacing all irresponsible incumbents with newcomers (many that want to pass reforms). Incumbents always outnumber newcomers, and incumbents will not allow any reforms that will reduce the incumbents power, reduce opportunities for self-gain, or reduce their chances to retain their incumbency.

The Problem and The Solution:

Responsibility = Power + Education + Transparency + Accountability
Corruption = Power - Education - Transparency - Accountability

For many, Education is the starting place.
The problem is one rooted in a basic human trait.

Education is needed to understand that Power and sufficient (or insufficient) degrees of Education, Transparency, and Accountability will lead to varying degrees of Responsibility (or Corruption).

The human factor must be understood and accounted for. Some have understood this and tried to build in checks and balances. But, the old rules and checks-and-balances are no longer sufficient. Given time, some people can learn ways to abuse any process. Transparency and simplifications must keep up with attempts to reduce both, to create opportunities for abuse.

Education is needed to understand how the root problem works for irresponsible incumbents, and how it works against voters.

Laziness is at the root of the problem, but laziness works for corrupt politicians, and works against voters.

Corrupt politicians have power by virtue of their office, and their laziness works for them, because they can simply create more opportunities for self-gain by simply do nothing, or actively creating more chaos. And, politicians get paid while doing this. So, incumbent politicians spend their time, on the job, making their incumbency more secure. Incumbents have many unfair advantages.

But, voters laziness works against them, because their lack of motivation to observe and monitor politicians, and go vote them out takes time and effort, and voters don’t get paid for their time or effort.

So, the corrupt incumbent politicians have an advantage. Voters can restore a balance of power, if they will simply vote wisely and do the one simple thing voters were supposed to be doing all along: vote out (or recall) all irresponsible incumbents, always.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 14, 2006 8:06 PM
Comment #133449
Feingold was the only Senator who actually read and then voted against the first version of the Patriot Act.

Adrienne,

This one sentance speaks volumes about what we have representing us in Washington. It makes my stomach turn that only ONE senator read the Patriot Act before voting on it. That is truly scandalous!

Feingold is also one of the co sponsors of a bipartisan bill that would make it more difficult to slip earmarks into spending bills. And is pushing once again to reinstate the pay-go system.

In my honest opinion, true Liberals really don’t want to half-heartedly vote for someone like Hillary Clinton — the kind of politicians whose opinions are always changing with the polls.

Amen to that, sister!

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at March 14, 2006 10:44 PM
Comment #133489

If Feingold sounds too good to be true, remember how quickly republicans turned a genuine war hero, John Kerry, into a sniveling coward.

Posted by: Thom Houts at March 15, 2006 3:24 AM
Comment #133498

I find it deeply disturbing that our Congress is not supporting Feingold’s call for investigation into Bush’s violations of the Constitution. Feingold is the only politician I would trust enough to lend $5 at this point.

Is he a viable candidate? I doubt it… Ask yourself, how did we end up with Congressmen who place so little value on our Constitution? Two reasons: poor education nationwide, and poor media coverage.

(Last election I had to search online to actually find any of Kerry’s speeches - couldn’t find them on any news channel.)

My point is, we need a candidate who can be accepted by disillusioned Conservatives. This is the only way to stop, right now, the slippery slide into being a bankrupt country without freedoms, full of uneducated people who will continue to believe these things are good for them.

Posted by: Squeaky at March 15, 2006 7:18 AM
Comment #133514
My point is, we need a candidate who can be accepted by disillusioned Conservatives. This is the only way to stop, right now, the slippery slide into being a bankrupt country without freedoms, full of uneducated people who will continue to believe these things are good for them.

We can not hope to find a large number of exceptionally good, honest candidates and leaders. Instead, the key is not letting them become corrupt. Many start out with good intentions, but incumbents will not let newcomers pass any badly-needed, common-sense reforms that would reduce their power, security of their incumbency, or opportunities for self-gain.

Therefore, government will not reform itself.
Voters must stop neglecting to do their part, and vote out all irresponsible incumbents, always (or suffer the consequences of their neglect, again and again).

Two reasons: poor education nationwide, and poor media coverage.

Yes, education is where to start. Voter education, that is. Human psychology is part of it too. We have to understand ourselves better, to account for the human factor that leads to corruption, and that can be accomplished with education, transparency, and accountability.

The voters have the tool to remedy the situation (their vote), but haven’t learned yet how to use it wisely. Voting for the same irresponsible incumbents over and over isn’t working is it? So, why continue to do it ? Because we stupid sheep? Because we are brainwashed? Because we wont’ take off our partisan blinders? Because we are too fond of the distracting, petty, partisan warfare? Because we lack education to see how we are being seduced into a circular pattern of thought and behavior that secures the incumbency of those that use and abuse us? Because we are too lazy? If so, then we only have ourselves to thank for it. Especially when we have (at the moment) the right to vote, but squander it over and over.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 15, 2006 9:00 AM
Comment #133515
The Direction We’re Heading

When I look at our government, what I see is an obvious chasm growing …

Yes, we are moving in the wrong direction, and have been for many years now.

And, it’s not too hard to see where it may be headed.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 15, 2006 9:08 AM
Comment #133530

Good post. Lots to think about. However, a few comments.

First, I agree that we need to do some housecleaning in Congress. The long term members, for the most part, have forgotten who hired them in the first place. They have become like long term bureaucrats who have been in place so long, they think they are not accountable to anyone. Sweep the scum out! On both sides of the aisle.

The only problem with this approach is the attitude of voters that the problem is always with someone else’s incumbent. “Don’t vote Harry out, he’s brought millions of dollars in Federal money into my district/state.” We forget too quickly that the Federal or State government has no money. Both get their money from us, the taxpayers. We should have the power to decide where our money is going to be spent. NOt on a microeconomic scale, that would be ridiculous. But, we should have people in Washington that are more concerned about the good of the country and not the next election cycle.

I say stop all private fundraising whether it be from corporations, PACs, unions, or whereever. Go to public financing, with a carefully crafted wording that does not preclude smaller parties. Then pass a Constitutional amendment limiting terms for both Senators and Representatives. Next, a strong ethics and corruption code. One strike and out.

Before this however, mandate our schools to teach government and responsibility. When I was in school, many years ago, we had a subject called “Civics”. It started somewhere around fifth grade and continued through High School. We learned about the workings of the three branches of government. There was no political leaning to the courses, just the facts and our responsibilities as citizens. Today, I guess such a thing is impossible.

Last, but not least, mandate a sunset clause in every spending bill that is passed. Agencies and programs should be given a reasonable amount of time to prove themselves, but if the ones in charge can’t justify the cost, it goes.

Just some ideas about governmental change. Someday, I might find a candidate that feels the same way. If I do, I will do everything within my power to send himor her to Washington. Maybe we all can find someone like that.

Posted by: John Back at March 15, 2006 10:15 AM
Comment #133537

John Back,

Great ideas.
We have to push hard for reform.
We have to do it now.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at March 15, 2006 10:31 AM
Comment #133540

The anti-incumbent agenda seems based on lack of knowledge of how districts are apportioned. I would never vote against Jan Shakowsky, my current rep , or either democratic senator in my true blue state.

Before the last redistricting, I was in Henry Hydes district, and it would not have mattered if I cast ten thousand votes against him.

Previous to that, I lived in McCollums district in Florida, and he always had enough absentee ballots to cover anything, included getting GWBush in the White House . One time his name was not even on the ballot. I called the board of elections and they said he did not need to be on the ballot to be elected, since he had no opposition. I called in to CSpan about this, and they told me to run myself.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 15, 2006 10:53 AM
Comment #133541

The anti-incumbent agenda seems based on lack of knowledge of how districts are apportioned. I would never vote against Jan Shakowsky, my current rep , or either democratic senator in my true blue state.

Before the last redistricting, I was in Henry Hydes district, and it would not have mattered if I cast ten thousand votes against him.

Previous to that, I lived in McCollums district in Florida, and he always had enough absentee ballots to cover anything, included getting GWBush in the White House . One time his name was not even on the ballot. I called the board of elections and they said he did not need to be on the ballot to be elected, since he had no opposition. I called in to CSpan about this, and they told me to run myself.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 15, 2006 10:53 AM
Comment #133585

phx8:
Right on!

Jay Jay:
Amen to that, sister!

Well hallelujah, you guys! ;^x

Andre:
“We have to push hard for reform.
We have to do it now.”

As I was just saying in Paul’s thread on Feingold, I honestly think that liberals need a new party. One which isn’t afraid of reform, and that is comprised of people who won’t cower before the Neocon’s and the far-right religious extremists.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 15, 2006 1:49 PM
Comment #133632

Wonder if this also falls under the president’s newly expanded authority — Signing laws that didn’t pass:

Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) has alleged in a letter to White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card that President Bush signed a version of the Budget Reconciliation Act that, in effect, did not pass the House of Representatives.

Further, Waxman says there is reason to believe that the Speaker of the House called President Bush before he signed the law, and alerted him that the version he was about to sign differed from the one that actually passed the House. If true, this would put the President in willful violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 15, 2006 3:59 PM
Comment #133710
The anti-incumbent agenda seems based on lack of knowledge of how districts are apportioned.

I am not anti-incumbent.
Only anti-irresponsible incumbent.
Big difference!

But, does it matter much if most (if not all) incumbents are irresponsible?
That is why no one can ever name but a few names, much less 268 (half of 535) in Congress that are responsible, don’t pander, don’t troll for campaign money, don’t vote on pork-barrel, don’t vote themselves raises, and don’t look the other way, won’t eliminate the marriage penalty tax, and continually refuse many other badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer reforms year after year, but incumbents can vote themselves perk$ and raises in a heart beat.

I would never vote against Jan Shakowsky, my current rep , or either democratic senator in my true blue state.

That’s is why voters will most likely have to learn the hard, painful way (again).

So you think Jan Schakowsky (not Shakowsky, BTW) is responsible?.
What about this pork barrel?
________________________
$100,000 added by the House in the district of Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) for the Walkable Edgewater Initiative in Chicago. Rep. Schakowsky admitted asking for the favor, which she said would have environmental, social and economic benefits because the project will result in an increase in pedestrian traffic. “The federal government must do its part to ensure [the project’s] completion,” Rep. Schakowsky said.
________________________
But, irresponsible incumbents will not allow a ONE-PURPOSE-PER-BILL or LINE-ITEM VETO amendment, nor will they allow any other common-sense reforms that might reduce their power, the security of their cu$hy incumbency, or reduce their opportunities for self-gain.

And here’s some other stuff that needs explaining:
________________________
Jan Schakowsky:
Voted NO on reducing Marriage Tax by $399B over 10 years. (Mar 2001)
Voted YES on funding for alternative sentencing instead of more prisons. (Jun 2000)
Voted YES on $156M to IMF for 3rd-world debt reduction. (Jul 2000)
Voted NO on authorizing construction of new oil refineries. (Oct 2005)
Voted NO on passage of the Bush Administration national energy policy. (Jun 2004)
Voted NO on implementing Bush-Cheney national energy policy. (Nov 2003)
Voted NO on prohibiting lawsuits about obesity against food providers. (Oct 2005)
Voted NO on restricting frivolous lawsuits. (Sep 2004)
Voted NO on prohibiting suing gunmakers & sellers for gun misuse. (Apr 2003)
Voted NO on allowing suing HMOs, but under federal rules & limited award. (Aug 2001)
Voted NO on federalizing rules for driver licenses to hinder terrorists. (Feb 2005)
Voted NO on adopting the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. (Oct 2004)
Voted NO on reporting illegal aliens who receive hospital treatment. (May 2004)
Voted YES on extending Immigrant Residency rules. (May 2001)
Voted NO on end offshore tax havens and promote small business. (Oct 2004)
Voted YES on $167B over 10 years for farm price supports. (Oct 2001)
Voted NO on providing tax relief and simplification. (Sep 2004)
Voted NO on permanently eliminating the marriage penalty. (Apr 2004)
Voted NO on eliminating the Estate Tax (“death tax”). (Apr 2001)
_____________________________
Here is what congress does while our troops risk life and limb.
Does all of that look responsible to you?

Posted by: d.a.n at March 15, 2006 8:21 PM
Comment #133715

Trollin’ for dollars.
You’d think we’d have a much better government based on what we pay to buy it …
___________________________________________
JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D-IL)
Contributor Detail
State of Illinois $5,300
American Nurses Assn $5,000
Chicago Board of Trade $5,000
Films Inc $5,000
Illinois Retired Letter Carriers $5,000
Leadership 98 [Leadership PAC for Vice President Al Gore] $5,000
United Steelworkers $5,000
Women’s Campaign Fund $5,000
Communications Workers of America $4,500
Marco Consulting Group $4,500
Grippo & Elden $4,000
IMC Global Inc $4,000
Cook County $3,950
University of Illinois $3,950
Metro Provider Services $3,850
Jenner & Block $3,750
Anesi, Ozmon & Rodin $3,500
Operating Engineers Union $3,500
Skadden, Arps et al $3,500
Sonnenschein, Nath et al $3,500
Chicago Public Schools $3,110
Alden Management Services $3,000
… more …

Government is FOR SALE.
___________________________________
2001-2002 Total Receipts: $861,461
2001-2002 Total Spent: $864,506
Cash on Hand: $159,824
Debts: $0
Date of last report: December 31, 2002
First elected: 1998
Next election: 2004
____________________________________

She’s certainly not as bad as some, but they’re all FOR SALE.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 15, 2006 8:28 PM
Comment #133722

WOW, D.A.N., thanks for all the information on my wonderful congresswoman. I really am voting for the right person. I am in favor of every single one of the votes you mentioned, but a little iffy about the lawyers. They are a pain in the ass until you need one, but then you find out why.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 15, 2006 8:52 PM
Comment #133742

Interesting. Then that means you support:
[] the marriage penalty tax?
[] $100K of federal tax dollars for pork-barrel for a sidewalk?
[] allowing illegal aliens to go unreported? Perhaps, you would feel differently if your state was being negatively impacted as badly as bad as California, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico?
[] voting NO to 9/11 commission recommendations? Hmmmmmm.
[] and trollin’ for dollars and government FOR SALE is OK?

Why should my tax dollars from Texas be spent on a sidewalk in Chicago? Have you seen the pork-barrel per capita? So, you don’t mind Illinios being 42nd on the list? Cause, you’re state is gettin’ screwed almost as bad as Texas (at 45th)?

Yep. Voters will have to learn the hard, painful, way (again).

Posted by: d.a.n at March 15, 2006 10:05 PM
Comment #133768

///
D.A.N.
You are really waving a red flag in front of me by mentioning Tejas. I am in favor of moving the border from the Rio Grande back to the Nueces, at least, where it belongs. The northern part that came from the Louisiana Purchase should really belong to Oklahoma.

Yes, I am in favor of every one of the expenditures mentioned by you. I believe I have mentioned many times that congressWOmen are in Washington to represent their districts, not the nation. But honestly, I did not even know that the district extended into Chicago.

Do I think that this is an ideal system, or even represents the best interest of Illinois? No, I do not. Until GWBush was selected as POTUS, I always believed that federal taxes were well spent.

After all, when we pay them, we get The Government Of The United States of America, Top Nation on earth, and formerly the source of much goodness and righteousness, and pride for us all.

I do resent most of the local taxes, which are spent far more wastefully than anything you are talking about.
There was a street across from me that was widened, then torn up and narrowed, then torn up and eliminated, and now it is reappearing again, all in ten years.

I do not know if your figures are accurate for Tejas, but I am sure that most blue states generally lose money in dealing with Washington. But we are a nation. Those pesky red states are annoying, but there are some good people living there.

I believe there was an amendment saying that we can not secede and become part of Canada, although I certainly think it would be better if Texas was still part of Mexico. We should trade it for Baja California.

Bush will go away eventually, and hopefully we can recover our reputation, and put his years of torture and mayhem behind us, and move into the future.

Oh, and West Texas could just be one large penal colony, to house all the people that we want to put in jail, about 5 million if some folks get their way.

Good night and good luck.
///

Posted by: ohrealy at March 15, 2006 11:16 PM
Comment #133775
Yes, I am in favor of every one of the expenditures mentioned by you.
Really? Even these that were listed above? OK, so pork-barrel doesn’t bother you. You think things are very good. Hmmmmmmmm. You’d fit right in over in the rose-colored column where they always try to paint a rosy picture and advocate mediocrity, also.
But we are a nation. Those pesky red states are annoying, but there are some good people living there.

So, you prefer to wallow in the petty, partisan warfare, while you advocate mediocrity too.
That’s your right of course.

All of the childish Texas bashing is wasted on me, regardless of what state I live in at the moment. I also own property in Oklahoma and New Mexico. Want to bash those states too?

And, all of the bashing of red states doesn’t bother me. I’m neither Republican or Democrat. But, I am entertained by the petty bickering between both. Please continue.

But honestly, I did not even know that the district extended into Chicago

_______________

WOW, D.A.N., thanks for all the information on my wonderful congresswoman. I really am voting for the right person.

Great. Now you know. After all, it is your state and your congress person.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 15, 2006 11:43 PM
Comment #133799

Andre Hernandez,
Keep up the good work.
Your compass seems accurate to me.
The sign posts up ahead do not look rosy.
Cautious optimism, at the very least, is recommended.
We can’t keep printing money, unless we all buy a wheel barrow, which will be needed when you need a wheel barrow of U.S. currency to buy a loaf of bread.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 16, 2006 12:47 AM
Comment #134164

The government is no longer by, for, or of the people. It’s for the people in power, and the lobbyists and corporations that have enough money to bribe senators and buy their way in the government.

Posted by: John at March 17, 2006 3:46 PM
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