Some in Congress Can’t Read?

On September 8th, Bloomberg News reported that two representatives, Mark Meadows and Walter Jones who indicated they mistakenly had their names added to a congressional brief that was sent to the Supreme Court in the hope that they will support restrictions of the practice of Gerrymandering.

The reason that they don’t want to be a part of the brief is that Republicans would be the last people to support such an effort.

Gerrymandering is the modification of district lines to allow for a representative to tailor their district boundaries in order to capture more GOP voters, thus bolstering the efforts of the party to maintain an advantage in the 2018 elections.

The practice was a tactic of democrats in the late 80’s in order to take over and maintain Democratic majority.  Now the democrats think that Gerrymandering should be stopped so that the Republicans can’t gain an advantage.

The truth is that their are two sides to the issue and the strategy will probably always be part of the divisive environment that is the people’s congress.

The bigger problem is not the support or lack of for legislation or legislative briefs.  The major problem is that a majority of the Senators and Representatives don’t read the full text of anything.

Healthcare and the Muslim ban are perfect examples.  Congress had supporters and detractors who would make statements that were general in nature and more reflective of what the media would report or what the leadership wanted everyone to know.  The fact is most of them did not read the legislation.  When they didn’t pass, many had no idea why.  This includes Democrats and Republicans.  During the healthcare debate, I heard a representative give an interview on cable news where he admitted that he didn’t read the bill and voted only the way his party wanted him to.  His explanation was that his staff is required to read the information and advise him.

How confident should you feel about the legislation they support and the insistence that they are looking out for their constituents.

Honestly, there is a significant number of Senators and Representatives who do know the entire content of the legislation they support, or don’t (you can easily tell who does in your state).  For the rest who don’t, I hope it is just laziness and not a problem with their ability to read.

 

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Government Control and Military Surplus

On Tuesday Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the repeal of a bill passed by the Obama Administration to regulate the transfer of some specific types of military surplus to local law enforcement agencies, schools, parks etc.

The original program was established by the Clinton administration to allow local law enforcement and government agencies to obtain several articles of surplus equipment from the federal government.

The list of items include a variety of things from clothing, safety gear, aircraft, land vehicles, tactical gear even military weaponry.  There is even musical instruments and big screen televisions.

It makes sense that the local agencies that qualify for the surplus transfer can find value in obtaining things like clothing, aircraft, construction equipment, communication equipment etc.  Equipment such as tractors, snow cats and benign vehicles of all types can enhance a departments resources, especially the smaller departments that just don’t have the financial resources to afford some of these items on their own.  As an example, major beneficiaries of acquiring such gear could enhance their search and rescue efforts.

The controversy as it stands now is the part of the transfers that include military weaponry, high powered military rifles, hand guns, armored assault vehicles, grenade launchers and even bayonets are the main concern. These were items that were to be reviewed and restricted by the Obama administration.  Many law enforcement agencies around the country are returning many of these items because the philosophies and principles of these departments do not include the use of purpose built military weapons and military tactical equipment.  The idea is that most, including law enforcement groups in places like Chicago, LA and Seattle are not interested in establishing a military presence within their communities.

Earlier this week the Trump administration lifted all of the restrictions imposed by Obama because according to Attorney General Sessions, this type of equipment can improve security, safety and combat the rampant lawlessness in our country.

Sarcastically, I have a conspiracy theory that puts all of these components including unrealistic immigration restrictions, foreign policy and border security together to create an autocratic and military society.  Manipulating and eliminating the free press is a perfect way to get the message out to the citizens that these policies would protect.

Although this theory has not been independently evaluated,  I am sure that most people will see the logic.

By building the wall we will divert drug trafficking from land to the open ocean.  Since the government is cutting funding to the Coast Guard, the new plan is really to apprehend  these bad hombres after they successfully navigate the waters off our sovereign shores without detection and land on American Soil.

By allowing local law enforcement  to arm themselves to the hilt, we can establish check points at all city, county and State lines.  There, we can capture anyone who appears to meet an arbitrary nefarious profile.  The best part is that we could stop, search, check for citizenship, confirm the identity, religious allegiance and social media activity of everyone including law abiding citizens and their passengers who are just passing through.

These check points will be manned by heavily armed officers dressed in military uniforms adorned with appropriate technology.  These tactics will ensure that undocumented border jumpers, drug traffickers and minorities (only the bad ones) would be caught and taken down.  Should you try to escape the check points you will be brought to justice by a very large caliber bullet, a grenade or be run down by an armed assault vehicle.

The benefit to our country is that these tactics will reinforce the President’s promise that he will not tolerate any “lawlessness” in our country.

Although these practices will require minor changes to our constitution, it makes perfect sense.  In order to ensure these methods work, our country will need to make a seamless transition to a government run by the government for the government which will require the dismantling of our pesky congress. We will need to expand the president’s role to include a governance more reflective of a dictatorship rather than a democracy.  Putin and Russia can be the perfect model to build from.

Problem solved, we will all be thrilled that our government will take these steps to make our country great again.

Ok, I made all of this up.  Actually, I am truly concerned that some parts of these ridiculous concepts could really happen and even be supported by some Americans.

We do not live in a disastrous and lawless society riddled with economic and monumental security shortcomings brought on by previous leadership.  America is already great.  Maybe we need to rethink who we allow to represent us.

 

Trans Pacific Partnership

The Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, more commonly called TPP was negotiated by President Obama, signed and awaiting ratification in 2015/2016.  This plan has been very controversial for years.

Ten allied countries would participate with the exception of China.

The ultimate goal was to give American companies more opportunity to export goods to the ten countries through innovation, competition and tax relief.  A product of the agreement was also designed to help foreign economies, employment and growth.

Some of the substance in the agreement, loosens thousands of tariffs and non tariff policies evoked by the US government.  The agreement also included environmental controls, transparency and dispute resolution for investors.

The plan was for this agreement to parallel the NAFDA agreements while modifying those agreements to be more interchangeable and similar.

President Trump stopped the ratification of the agreements citing that it would have a negative effect on American jobs because of the slow relocation of American businesses.

We will probably never know what the real results of the agreement would have been.