Category Archives: Congress

‘Til Death Do Us Part

The other day while spending some time in the “contemplation room”… the place with all the porcelain equipment… I got to wondering how many years the leaders of Congress have served. This is the kind of stuff that bubbles to the surface of my brain when suitable reading material is not near at hand.

We know the current President is a little short in the experience department, but what about the Congressional leaders? And perhaps more importantly, what sort of experience outside of politics do they have?

Once again I tip my soggy cap to the Internet. I set my chubby fingers to work on Google and came up with some interesting statistics. I picked 20 well known leaders in Congress who are committee chairmen or simply well known. They are:

Joe Biden (Of course, he’s now VP and no longer in the Senate but hey, it’s my list.)
Robert Byrd
Ted Kennedy
John Dingell
Henry Waxman
Nancy Pelosi
Harry Reid

David Obey
Pete Stark
Pat Leahy
Chris Dodd
Ed Markey
Carl Levin
Richard Durbin
Steny Hoyer (Unknown but, Majority Leader)
Chuck Schumer
Daniel Inouye

Yeah, I know. These are all Democrats. But, they are in charge now. I’m confident many politicians on the other side of the aisle have similar backgrounds except, of course, all on my list are liberals.

The average amount of time served in federal office for the above list is 36.5 years. This does not include time served in elected office in their state legislatures. Robert Byrd, for example, has served 50 years in the Senate, seven years in the House and before that, 13 years in the West Virginia Senate. Harry Reid, the current Majority Leader only served 27 years in the House and Senate, but logged 15 years before that in the Nevada House. Hoyer only has 28 years in the House but did 15 years in the MD Senate first. John Dingell, the longest serving member of the House, has been re-elected every two years since 1955, two years after he graduated from Georgetown Law School.

These folks have spent virtually their entire working lives in the surreal world of Washington politics having their egos and bank accounts burnished and far removed from the day-to-day struggles of the average taxpayer. Chuck Schumer, who has 28 years in Congress and 6 in NY state government, never worked a single day outside of elected office. Only one (Pete Stark) has any business experience and only a few ever worked at a job in private enterprise at all except as lawyers. Of the 20 on my list all but two are lawyers. If you’ve ever wondered why Congress cannot bring itself to stop the runaway tort problem in the US, there’s your answer. They are all lawyers themselves.

The primary job of Congress is to spend money to run the government and to levy taxes to pay for it. Of course, over the years these professional politicians have come to believe that they can dictate nearly every aspect of our lives. From telling us how to educate our children to what labels must be on cereal boxes, from forbidding us to pray in schools to how fast we can drive, from how far a car must go on a gallon of gas to who can own a firearm, the politicians want to manage everyone’s life. And, with the above group in control, they want even more power. They want to tell corporations how much money they can pay their executives, what kind of toilets and light bulbs we have to use and how much carbon dioxide we can exhale. They want to take over and run major industries like banks and auto companies.

The question in my mind is: are these guys that smart? OK, nearly all graduated from law school so they must be smart. Well, Joe Biden actually graduated from law school so maybe that’s not a good test. Anyway, smart is not enough in my mind. How about a little practical experience?

Let’s face it, their primary objective in life has always been to get re-elected and they’re obviously pretty good at that. About 95% of them get sent back for another kick at the can every election cycle. Over the years they’ve re-giggered the Congressional electoral districts to create “safe” districts through gerrymandering to insure that either a Democrat or Republican automatically gets in. And, let’s not forget their control of the purse strings garners them substantial contributions for their campaigns. Think earmarks.

The current crop of Democrats in control wants to take it a step further. They already have the union, environmental and black vote locked up, but now they want to get as many people as possible on the government payroll and dole. They would also like to give amnesty to 12 million illegal immigrants who will likely vote for Democrats too. If they succeed you can pretty much bet the farm that they will be in control for generations to come. If you like the way Germany and France operate you might be happy with that development. On the other hand, you might want consider that the power of the US military backed by its industrial and technological vibrancy has been defending the socialist democracies of Europe against tyranny since WWI. Who’s going to do it when the US can’t?

And don’t kid yourselves; with all their social commitments, increases in government and anti-business policies, the US won’t be able to afford to be the protector of freedom for much longer.


Filed under Congress, Politics

This an’ That

Nancy Pelosi decided to send Congress home on a five-week vacation rather than allow a vote on a bill to allow drilling offshore. She feared the House might pass the bill. She was also mindful of the 70%+ of Americans who now want drilling and instructed her Democrat colleagues to tell their constituents they actually favored drilling. Cynical? Or, just politics as usual? Both me thinks.

The Democrats find themselves in a box. After years of opposing looking for oil in likely places and to stay in the good graces of the environmental movement (and keep the cash flowing), they are now facing an electorate pissed off at $4.00 per gallon gasoline. Pelosi and her associates have been spinning a lot of BS to attempt to confuse the issue.
· Drilling won’t give us any oil for ten years.
· The oil companies have plenty of leases to drill on and they are not drilling on them.
· The GOP favors the big bad oil companies and won’t consider alternative fuels or technologies.
· And, the most laughable of all: Nancy wants to “save the planet”.

First of all, I am grateful that God has granted the power to Nancy to save the planet. But, before she tackles the global warming problem, I wish she would use these considerable powers to get rid of Iran’s nukes. They pose a more immediate threat to civilization than global warming, which, if it exists at all, is not likely to trouble us much until the end of the century.

The other Democrat excuses don’t hold much water. If the leases currently held by oil companies had oil, does any sane person believe that at $120-140 per barrel they would not be drilling like crazy? The ten-year excuse is simply smoke. Numerous reports indicate several deposits could come on line quickly. More importantly, some of the speculation in the market would diminish with the prospect of new supplies becoming available. (Note: I believe that the current fallback in oil prices reflects the oil producing countries pulling back from buying oil futures and bidding up prices. I suspect they fear killing the goose that lays the golden egg if prices stay at $140pb.)

Nowhere in the anti-drilling propaganda is there any mention of the $700 billion dollars sent annually to purchase oil from countries unfriendly to the US. “The largest wealth transfer in history” as many have described it. Not a word from Nancy. On second thought, perhaps she should concern herself with saving the US economy before devoting herself to saving the planet. Just a thought.

T. Boone Pickens, famous oilman, has been running expensive ads touting wind power. No one has questioned how big an investment T. Bone has in wind power and if his public relations campaign may be self serving. Studies I have read recently suggest that it would take an investment of several trillion dollars over the next decade to achieve even 20% of the USA’s electricity needs via wind and solar. And, the wind does not always blow, nor does the sun always shine. Backup conventional sources of electricity will need to be in place to cover shortfalls. So, why not just build nuclear plants? No carbon gases and it’s the least expensive solution. It would take solar panels covering roughly the area of New Mexico to generate the power produced from one 4000kw nuclear facility. Nah. Greens don’t like nuclear. Too risky.

Obama has been slipping in the polls since his triumphal visit to Europe and the collective pants-wetting of the MSM. Cooler heads dissected his lofty rhetoric and found a lack of substance in his speeches. Some objected to his presumptive attitude of having already won the Presidency. (Is that the Presidential Seal on the podium there Obie?) Back home he continued to tack to the middle on some issues, a not unusual approach by left-leaning candidates. However, his flip-flopping on critical issues leaves many Americans wondering what he really stands for and what he would actually do as President. This uncertainty, I think, explains his lack of success against what can only be described as a weak and confused McCain campaign. About the only thing of which we can be certain: Taxes under Mr. Obama will go up….. a lot.

I listened to BHO’s Michigan speech on energy. Of course, he proposed massive government spending to help displaced Michigan autoworkers. No surprise there. He’s got to carry Michigan to get elected. His big proposal is to take away ALL of the profits of oil companies and give every family a $1000 gift to offset high energy prices. Demonizing the oil companies has been a traditional approach of the anti-drilling Democrats. Exxon did report record profits for the quarter. However, if you actually look at the numbers you will see that they paid $10.5 billion in taxes and their profits were only 9%. Does Obama suggest we confiscate the entire profit margin of every company that makes a 9% profit? For the record… that would cover just about every major corporation in the US, most of which make substantially more than that. Insanity or socialism? Hmm… same thing.

Obama’s only mention of nuclear was to say we needed to investigate ways to make it safe and to safely store the waste. IOW, forget about it during his administration. More insanity. He did also mention encouraging fuel-efficient cars through subsidies. If inexpensive fuel-efficient cars are available, people will buy them. But first, they will have to run the old gas-guzzler that sits in the driveway into the ground since it is now worthless as a trade in. He also mentioned keeping your tires inflated as an important piece of his plan. Key the laugh track.

“Bush Lied, Thousands Died”: An update. Recently the US quietly shipped 550 tons (I say tons) of yellow cake uranium found in Iraq to Canada. Much has been made of the lack of WMDs in Iraq. If Saddam had no aspirations for nuclear weapons, why the yellow cake? This piece of news was widely ignored, as were previous discoveries of artillery shells filled with chemical weapons. No one seemed particularly concerned that Saddam had previously gassed 5000 Kurds or used chemical weapons on the Iranians during the Iran-Iraq War. Never understood how liberals could claim he didn’t have them when he had previously used them. Nor do I understand the claim the Iraq war was “all about oil”. If we invaded Iraq for the oil, how come it’s now at $130 bucks a barrel? Oh, I get it. We went after Iraq’s oil so there would be a shortage and therefore high prices and Dick Cheney and his pals would all get rich. Gee, sometimes I’m so dumb.

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Filed under Congress, Drilling, Economy, Environmentalism, Global Warming, Obama, Wind Power