Tag Archives: accountability

$400 Million?

Ok, that’s it.  I’m upset.  Who decided that we could afford $400 million on Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” program?  She was lamenting that poor families often have to take 3 city buses or pay some expensive taxi to go to another community to buy healthy foods; that often, all they have available locally is a mini-market or a corner gas station to get food for their kids.  Hockey puck!!!  The majority of people live closer to a supermarket than I do!!!

She said that low-income families should have “fresh food retailers right in their communities, places that sell healthy food at reasonable prices so that they can feed their families in the way that they see fit.”  Really???  Who’s gonna run those places?  Is she going to force those mini-markets to sell fruit and vegetables?  Is she going to force a discount superstore in every community across the nation?

And if those retailers don’t agree with the concept, are they really going to keep fresh food in their establishments, after they take the government money?    What if the fresh food is not bought?  How much food will be wasted, rotting on the shelves, because people prefer buying peanut butter and jelly because they last longer in the pantry?  Fresh food is too expensive to waste these days.

And give me a break!  She has a program to stop serving French fries and soda in school cafeteria’s because she doesn’t trust the parents to make sure their kids are eating healthy.  So, does she trust the parents making decisions “in the way that they see fit” or not?

I’m sorry, but when the government is $14 trillion in debt and they are trying to find ways to cut spending, couldn’t that $400 million be used toward helping to pay our government’s current debts rather than starting yet another program that our free market system should be handling?

Whoever made this decision in this economy should be fired!  Grrrrr.



Let’s Help Everyone In The World!

What did he say???  I’m sorry but the only thing I understood in President Obama’s speech was that he was trying to answer his critics … from all sides … and said absolutely nothing!

I have a theory and his speech just reinforced what I thought.  I think that he wants to look good, by helping people.  I can understand that.  I would like to help lots of people too but I just don’t have the extra cash to give some to every homeless person in this country.  This country doesn’t have the extra money to help the world either.  But he just set a precedent that we will help every country being ruled by a dictator who has brutalized his/her own people.  What happens when the next country demands our help via the UN? 

He does NOT want to take the blame for anything that goes wrong however.  That’s why he left on the trip to Brazil and sent Sec. Clinton instead to meet with the world leaders on Libya.  If it doesn’t go well, he can just blame it on Clinton and Gates for not running it well, for not being on the same page.  Now we’re going to turn it over to NATO.  Oh, great.  Now, if it doesn’t go well, he can add NATO to the blame-game.  It’s not HIS fault!  He gave general instructions and everyone else screwed it up!

So far, it looks like he thinks everything is going just fine.  We’re helping lots of people from genocide.  That’s true, but what happens if the rebels don’t win and Qaddafi stays in power?  Who do you think Qaddafi will retaliate against?  Yes, his own people would be first in line but then he would go after US.  If that happens, it’s NATO’s fault for not helping the freedom-fighters enough. 

If the freedom-fighters win, who takes over power?  Is there anyone strong enough to rule that country?  I don’t see anyone stepping up to the plate yet.  That means almost any organized group can come in and take over the country and we could be in a much worse situation than when Qaddafi was in power.  Then it’s still NATO’s fault for not sending people in to help set up a democratic republic. 

If WE had taken the lead, we would’ve handled it a lot differently!  Yes, Pres. Obama would have to take the credit OR THE BLAME for everything.  I may not have agreed totally with Pres. Bush, but at least he took a stand and everyone knew what he thought.  I can’t figure out exactly WHAT Pres. Obama is thinking … except that he wants to help everyone in the world … at our expense!

Federal vs. The People

Today, being a U.S. legislator is not as easy as it once was.  Today, we have lobbyists who campaign for their issues and interests, just as our legislators campaign for election.  Today, there are PACs, Political Action Committees, who can  not only campaign for their issues and interests, they can donate massive amounts of funds, called soft money contributions, for specific causes that are not tied to specific candidates.  Voters cannot donate as much cold hard cash as they want, but the PACs are allowed to.  The last I read, there are over 4,600 business, labor and special-interest PACs.  I can’t find one but I wonder if the state of Texas has a PAC?  San Diego has a PAC.  Does Texas have one?  If a single city has the need for a PAC, does a single state have a need for one, especially since senators are no longer appointed by the state governors?

Just how are the two sides of Congress different in the power they wield?  They share many powers because they looked at issues differently in the beginning.  The House members wanted to make sure they were re-elected by the people.  The Senate members wanted to make sure they were re-appointed by their respective states.  But there are some differences and in most cases, they must work together.

The House is the only side that can initiate revenue bills.  It takes both sides to pass the same bill to send it to the President but only the House can actually create a new revenue bill.  The House is the only body that can impeach a President, but the Senate is the body that actually tries a President for impeachment.  So, the people’s representatives can decide to impeach a sitting President but the state’s representatives decide whether to convict or not, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court runs the impeachment trial.  At least that was what the founding fathers intended.  Checks and balances; no longer available in this instance.

So what can the states do that Congress can’t?  Basically, the states have the authority to do anything that the federal government is not specifically charged with doing and anything that the states are not prohibited of doing.  In other words, anything that’s not specifically given to the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches of government and is not specifically prohibited to the states in the Constitution is up to the states and the people.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  However, section 8, clause 18, of Article One of the Constitution, called the Necessary and Proper Clause, is commonly used to give Congress expanded powers by both the Congress and the Supreme Court. 

The 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.

Ooookayyyyy.  So what does that mean for the states?  Have the Congress and the Supreme Court totally usurped our state’s rights?  To a great extent, I think they have because legislation at the federal level now seems to have become more about the power the federal government wields rather than the rights of the people.  Are there abuses nowadays?  Sure.  Were there abuses before the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913?  Definitely.  There will always be abuses if the people allow it.  Are there checks and balances today between the federal government and our state governments?  Not really.   For example:

  • The states regulate intrastate commerce and the federal government regulates interstate and international commerce; e.g. the feds can regulate what comes into the country but the states regulate where it goes once it is here.  Come on, once an item has been imported to a state, do you honestly believe that the people can’t get it, no matter where it is in the state?   That just feeds a black market for that item.
  • The federal government can print money, both bills and coins, and the state cannot; a national currency that is used all across the U.S.  That’s good.  Yet if more money is created, the states are definitely impacted and they don’t seem to have a say as to whether or when that money is created. 
  • The states provide for public health and safety, yet the federal government now has a federal health bill.  I can’t find anywhere that the U.S. Government has the authority to provide for my health. 

Ahhh, that good ol’ Necessary and Proper Clause strikes again!  Or maybe it’s the Commerce Clause?  Who knows but it’s in there somewhere.

Alright, you are probably thinking that I’m a Tea Party Member.  You are wrong.  I am not.  I am just a citizen who is pissed off that the feds are taking more and more of the power and leaving us, the people, with less and less.  And that’s what all of this seems to be about … power.  Power corrupts.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely.  I do NOT want to see the federal government have absolute power over the states, the districts, and the cities of this nation.  I do NOT want to see the federal government have absolute power over me. 

Back off, bub!

Federal vs. State

What is the difference between the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives?  If the people have the power to elect them, where do our state governors go to make their voice heard?  Is it up to the people to elect state and federal representatives with the same values and concerns or do states have any authority when it deals with the federal government? 

Let’s look at the basics first.  There are 435 U.S. congressmen and 100 senators.  In Texas, there are 150 members of the Texas House and 31 members of the Texas Senate.  Those are our state and federal representatives only and it doesn’t even touch on our city and county representatives. Thankfully, each of us only needs to vote on one U.S. senator, one U.S. congressman, one state senator, and one state congressman, so it shouldn’t be difficult to research four people at most after an election and know what they believe in.  Yet how many people can name all four of their representatives?

Ok, we can elect them but how are they supposed to work together?  It’s fairly easy to see how the federal representatives work (or not) together and how the state representatives work (or not) together.  We have seen recently that the federal government has sued Arizona, but can a state sue the federal government to make sure that the federal government is doing what the state needs?  The simple answer is no.  The federal government has sovereign immunity and can’t be sued UNLESS it waives this immunity.  Good luck with that!

Effectively, there are no checks and balances for our states and federal representatives.  I found an Office of State-Federal Relations in Texas, but it doesn’t seem to have any explicit authority.  All it does is funnel information from the federal government to the Texas governor and legislative representatives.  Obviously, the state receives funding from the federal government and administrates federal programs here within the state but I can’t find anywhere on the state level where we can hold the federal government accountable to the states.  Seriously???

Originally the U.S. Congress was elected by the people and the U.S. Senate was appointed by the individual state governments, therefore the congressmen were accountable to the people and the senators were accountable to their states to do what their states needed and wanted.   What it boiled down to was that the larger states, ones with large populations, had the most congressmen and all of the people were represented equally, yet all states had only 2 senators and therefore all states were represented equally within the federal government.  The Seventeenth Amendment changed this and our U.S. Senate was then elected by popular vote in the states.

In one respect, this was good, in that the senators had to be concerned with public opinion and not state opinion, politics and the Good Ol’ Boys network.  Yet it also undermined the authority of our state governments.  Now the state has no one in Washington, D.C. who is accountable to our state legislatures.  The state governors have banded together into the National Governor’s Association, which helps a little but it tends to help states in general, not states in particular.

So what is the difference between the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate? 

To Be Continued…