items tagged with congress
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Category: National Politics
Most people know that there’s a wealth of information available online about members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. But while it’s not hidden, it’s often scattered among several Web sites, and it’s hard to make head-to-head comparisons without a lot of clicking and note-taking.
Here is our attempt to bring some of the available data together in one place for members of Congress representing the Quad Cities. We include Representative Bruce Braley (a Democrat who currently represents Scott County in the House), Representative Dave Loebsack (a Democrat whose redrawn district will include Scott County beginning next year), Representative Bobby Schilling (a Republican representing the Illinois Quad Cities), and four U.S. Senators: Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), and Mark Kirk (R-Illinois). All the information was drawn from four Web sites: OpenSecrets.org, Legistorm.com, GovTrack.us, and VoteSmart.org.
Beyond the basics – their ages and professions, how long they’ve been in office, and when their terms end – we include information on committee assignments and leadership, how many roll-call votes they’ve missed, personal net worth and investments, earmarks (and earmarks that went to campaign contributors), aggregate staff compensation, top-paid staffers, how campaign contributions break down from individuals and political action committees (PACs), whether they completed Project Vote Smart’s survey of candidates, and assessments from various interest groups.
Read More About By The Numbers: Getting To Know Your Members Of Congress...
Written By: Kathleen McCarthy
It is hard to imagine our leaders approving plans and/or legislation that would suspend the U.S. Constitution under any circumstances, but that is precisely what has occurred. This is not a conspiracy theory, but very real authority that the national government has granted itself under the guise of protecting the country during a declared national emergency.
After 9/11, a series of legislative events took place, most without congressional debate, and nearly all under the people’s radar. These include the Homeland Security Act of 2002; the USA PATRIOT Act in its original and renewed forms (which removed due process and allows warrantless searches of and seizures from citizens deemed a threat to “the continuity of government” without probable cause based on the Department of Homeland Security’s “Domestic Extremism Lexicon”); the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act (HR 5122); the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (HR 4144); the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (HR 6166, which removed the writ of habeas corpus, allowing permanent imprisonment without benefit of counsel or petition to the court); the REAL ID Act (attached to an emergency appropriations bill); the FISA Amendments Act (which gave telecom companies retroactive immunity for providing access to customers’ private phone lines); and National Presidential Security Directive 51 (which dictates that Congress has no authority during national emergencies).
Combined, this legislation is dangerous because it asserts the authority to suspend the U.S. Constitution and transfer all governance (city, county, and state) to the federal government. All that is required to assume this transfer of power is a presidential declaration of a national emergency and martial law.
Read More About Nationally Declared Emergencies Seek To Suspend The Constitution...
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Category: Ted Rall
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Category: Guest Commentaries
"I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell, 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore.' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad! ... You've got to say, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it." -- Howard Beale, Network (1976)
Imagine a world exempt from parking tickets, where gym membership is free and health care is second-to-none. To receive these benefits, you also only have to work two, maybe three days a week -- a time period during which you will be shuttled around in a nice car. The other days of the week you can spend at home with your family. Luckily, every weekend is a long weekend, and you won't have to be back at work until Tuesday evening.
This job description might seem too good to be true, but for our so-called "representatives" in Congress who enjoy incredible job perks ranging from free meals to membership in swanky health clubs, all at taxpayer expense, it seems that there is such a thing as a free lunch -- literally and figuratively!
Read More About Why Your Representatives Should Make You Mad As Hell...
Written By: Todd McGreevy
Category: Guest Commentaries
Imagine for a moment that somewhere in the middle of Texas there was a large foreign military base, say Chinese or Russian. Imagine that thousands of armed foreign troops were constantly patrolling American streets in military vehicles. Imagine they were here under the auspices of “keeping us safe” or “promoting democracy” or “protecting their strategic interests.”
Imagine that they operated outside of US law, and that the Constitution did not apply to them. Imagine that every now and then they made mistakes or acted on bad information and accidentally killed or terrorized innocent Americans, including women and children, most of the time with little to no repercussions or consequences. Imagine that they set up check points on our soil and routinely searched and ransacked entire neighborhoods of homes. Imagine if Americans were fearful of these foreign troops, and overwhelmingly thought America would be better off without their presence.
Imagine if some Americans were so angry about them being in Texas that they actually joined together to fight them off, in defense of our soil and sovereignty, because leadership in government refused or were unable to do so. Imagine that those Americans were labeled terrorists or insurgents for their defensive actions, and routinely killed, or captured and tortured by the foreign troops on our land. Imagine that the occupiers’ attitude was that if they just killed enough Americans, the resistance would stop, but instead, for every American killed, ten more would take up arms against them, resulting in perpetual bloodshed. Imagine if most of the citizens of the foreign land also wanted these troops to return home. Imagine if they elected a leader who promised to bring them home and put an end to this horror.
Imagine if that leader changed his mind once he took office.
The reality is that our military presence on foreign soil is as offensive to the people that live there as armed Chinese troops would be if they were stationed in Texas. We would not stand for it here, but we have had a globe straddling empire and a very intrusive foreign policy for decades that incites a lot of hatred and resentment towards us.
According to our own CIA, our meddling in the Middle East was the prime motivation for the horrific attacks on 9/11. But instead of re-evaluating our foreign policy, we have simply escalated it. We had a right to go after those responsible for 9/11, to be sure, but why do so many Americans feel as if we have a right to a military presence in some 160 countries when we wouldn’t stand for even one foreign base on our soil, for any reason? These are not embassies, mind you, these are military installations. The new administration is not materially changing anything about this. Shuffling troops around and playing with semantics does not accomplish the goals of the American people, who simply want our men and women to come home. 50,000 troops left behind in Iraq is not conducive to peace any more than 50,000 Russian soldiers would be in the United States.
Shutting down military bases and ceasing to deal with other nations with threats and violence is not isolationism. It is the opposite. Opening ourselves up to friendship, honest trade and diplomacy is the foreign policy of peace and prosperity. It is the only foreign policy that will not bankrupt us in short order, as our current actions most definitely will. I share the disappointment of the American people in the foreign policy rhetoric coming from the administration. The sad thing is, our foreign policy WILL change eventually, as Rome’s did, when all budgetary and monetary tricks to fund it are exhausted.
Orginally published March 9, 2009 at Congressman Ron Paul's House website blog entitled Texas Straight Talk.
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