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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Time for REAL Representation! (Part VI)


This is the concluding segment on my comprehensive study of the occupations and fields of endeavor every single member of Congress had prior to being elected to the House or Senate. I now list the final states in this series, in alphabetical order, from Texas-Wyoming. Numbers listed refer to that state's particular congressional district number, S=Senator, D=Democrat, I=Independent, R=Republican, A=Attorney, P=Politician (one whose only real employment since leaving school has been in the political field, either as political assistant, mayor, etc.). Below these listed states will be my final summarization.

TEXAS
1. Louie Gohmert R A, Judge
2. Ted Poe R A, Judge
3. Sam Johnson R Construction Exec
4. Ralph Hall R A
5. Jeb Hensarding R A
6. Joe Barton R Engineer
7. John Culberson R A
8. Kevin Brady R Public Affairs Director
9. Al Green D A
10. Michael McCaul R A
11. Mike Conway R Accountant
12. Kay Granger R High School Teacher, Financial Exec
13. Mac Thornberry R A, Rancher
14. Ron Paul R Physician
15. Ruben Hinojosa D Grocery Exec
16. Silvestre Reyes D Border Patrol Agent
17. Chet Edwards D Real Estate agent, Communications Exec
18. Sheila Jackson-Lee D A
19. Randy Neugebauer R Real Estate Developer
20. Charles Gonzales D A, Judge
21. Lamar S. Smith R A
22. Pete Olson R A
23. Ciro Rodriguez D Social Worker, College Professor
24. Kenny Marchant R Construction Exec
25. Lloyd Doggett D A
26. Michael C. Burgess R Obstetrician
27. Solomon P. Ortiz D Law Enforcement
28. Henry Cuellar D A, Customs Broker
29. Gene Green D A
30. Eddie Bernice Johnson D Nurse, Therapist
31. John Carter R A, Judge
32. Pete Sessions R Telecommunications Exec
S. Kay Bailey Hutchison R A, Journalist, Bank Exec
S. John Cornyn R A
------------
UTAH
1. Rob Bishop R High School Teacher, Lobbyist
2. Jim Matheson D Energy Consultant
3. Jason Chaffetz R Business Relations Exec
S. Orrin Hatch R A
S. Robert Bennett R Public Relations Consultant, Technology Exec
------------
VERMONT
At large. Peter Welch D A
S. Pat Leahy D A
S. Bernie Sanders I Journalist
------------
VIRGINIA
1. Rob Wittman R Environmental Health Specialist
2. Glenn Nye D Foreign Service Officer
3. Robert C. Scott D A
4. Randy Forbes R A
5. Tom Perriello D A
6. Bob Goodlatte R A
7. Eric Cantor R A, Real Estate Exec
8. Jim Moran D Teacher
9. Rick Boucher D A
10. Frank Wolf R A
11. Gerry Connolly D Public Administrator
S. Jim Webb D Military, Author, Speechwriter
S. Mark Warner D Telecommunications Exec
------------
WASHINGTON
1. Jay Inslee D A
2. Rick Larsen D Public Affairs Director
3. Brian Baird D Psychologist, College Professor
4. Doc Hastings R Lumber Exec
5. Cathy McMorris Rodgers R Orchardist
6. Norm Dicks D A
7. Jim McDermott D Psychiatrist
8. Dave Reichert R Sheriff, Law Enforcement
9. Adam Smith D A
S. Patty Murray D Teacher
S. Maria antwell D software Exec
------------
WEST VIRGINIA
1. Adam Mollohan D A
2. Shelley Moore Capito R Career Counselor
3. Nick Rahall D Broadcast Exec
S. Robert Byrd D A, P
S. Jay Rockefeller D College Administrator, P
------------
WISCONSIN
1. Paul Ryan R Marketing Consultant, P
2. Tammy Baldwin D A
3. Ron Kind D A
4. Gwen Moore D Civic Affairs Specialist
5. Jim Sensenbrenner R A
6. Tom Petri R A
7. Dave Obey D Realtor
8. Steve Kagen D Physician
S. Herb Kohl D Dept. Store Exec, Pro Sports Team Owner (Milwaukee Bucks)
S. Russ Feingold D A
------------
WYOMING
At large. Cynthia Lunnis R A, Rancher
S. Mike Enzi R Accountant, Energy Exec
S. John Barrasso R Orthopedic Surgeon
____________

Well, there you have it, folks. There are currently 200 members of Congress holding law degrees or are practicing attorneys, equating to 37.24% of all members. That occupation or field is far more represented than even its nearest competitor, the banking/finance/investment field, whose members comprise 5.21% of Congress, or Realtors, who make up 3.91%. Farmers/ranchers come in at 3.72%; College Professors the same; Small Business Owners at 3.54%, and Physicians/Surgeons at 3.2%. It would seem that the proportion of lawyers is far above that of the general population in Congress. That is not entirely bad, because if there is a body whose function is to create laws, it is certainly important to have a number of those well acquainted with law contained therein. But when you look at the total number of Congresspersons whose professions prior to entering Congress were well above our median income, it is no wonder the legislation they produce heavily favors business or special interest groups rather than the average worker. They simply do not understand the common person in this country. For you'll note that there are absolutely no bus drivers in Congress. Nor are there any assemblypersons, carpetlayers, welders, foundry workers, cashiers, warehouse workers, or deliverypersons. Nor are there any gardeners, farm hands, cab drivers, draftspersons, hostesses, retail clerks, or wallpaper hangers. Catch my drift?

For this series, I have deliberately used the familiar "Mr. Monopoly" icon at the top of each segment. I did this deliberately, to reinforce how big money and upper income professions hold a near-monopoly on Congressional membership, and how regular workers and lower income people are all but shut out from direct participation. This is a travesty.

Running for Congress and maintaining one's seat is an increasingly expensive undertaking. It opens the door for influence peddlers like lobbyists, and it influences the kind of legislation that is (or is NOT) produced. That is why concentrated capital (big business) gets so much of what it wants in Congress, and you, the average ordinary citizen, get next to nothing or even get tramplewd on. It need not necessarily always be this way.

We obviously want a certain amount of brainpower and expertise running our government. We want to elect people with leadership ability, who have vision and can make sound economic, foreign affairs, and legal decisions. Surely it would be foolhardy to elect unqualified, undereducated people like paperboys or popcorn stand workers, or even ill-informed, frustrated types like "Joe" the phony Plumber to lead the country. But we do need a good amount of common folks with everyday, commonsense backgrounds. We need far more Harry Trumans than John Boehners looking out for the public good in Congress.

The late, great Senator Paul Wellstone once said, "The people of this country, not special interest big money, should be the source of all political power." I couldn't possibly agree more. That is why it is so crucial for everybody to write or email their Congresspersons on occasion to let them know of your situation and your views. You don't have to be a novelist or English major to do this. JUST DO IT! And, next year especially, I hope you will flood your party's precinct caucuses and put in your two cents worth on the type of candidates they will nominate and put forth to run for public office. For if we keep sending the same old out-of-touvh elites to Congress, we'll continue to get the same old out-of-touch results. And then, when you want to bitch about the poor job Congress is doing, you'll only be able to honestly blame yourself. THINK ABOUT IT, PEOPLE!

UP NEXT: "A TALE OF TWO DICTIONARIES"

Monday, May 25, 2009

LEGAL PRECEDENT: Waterboarding IS Torture and IS Illegal!




There was a conservative visitor to this site recently who took issue with some comments I had made about Dick Cheney and the topic of waterboarding as torture. He posted a comment defending Cheney's assertion that waterboarding is not torture and that its use was not only beneficial, but legal as well. I replied to the visitor, and returned later to see that he had commented again, in rapid succession, 4 or 5 times in a row. Some months ago, I had been victimized by an obsessive leftist crackpot I and others jokingly refer to as "War and Peace" for his frequent, repeat, pages-long rambling comments. Seemingly seeing a similar pattern developing this time with this visitor, I quickly skimmed his first two replies and determined they were of the similar hair-splitting variety as had been "War and Peace"'s. I then made the decision to delete them all, as I had done with those from "War and Peace". (These are the only two persons' comments I have ever deleted from this blog and I hope they will be the last). I looked the visitor up and saw he had his own blog, so I visited it and left him a comment explaining that I had deleted his seemingly obsessive and successive comments for an added personal reason, which I won't go into here. I assumed he would understand my reasoning for no longer wanting to carry on the discussion, but I was wrong. He apparently took exception to what I had done (even though many other sites I have visited routinely moderate submitted comments BEFORE they are even allowed to appear, and some are blocked if the site's administrator deems them objectionable. This is standard practice with many). But this fellow evidently didn't see it that way and apparently wanted to make a federal case out of the matter by posting our back and forth point by point on his blog. Even after I had commented I would no longer discuss torture or waterboarding with him. It would appear he is indeed obsessive and may be attempting to make me and what I have written a cause celebre among his friends on the right who support waterboarding and deny it is a form of torture. No doubt he is making an effort to show how supposedly narrow-minded I and we others on the left are who oppose the use of waterboarding. I consider this to be a bit over the top, in view of the circumstances, but I do recognize and acknowledge his right to free speech and interpretation, even though I, as administrator of this site, do find his arguments supporting waterboarding and denying it to be a form of torture personally and morally objectionable, as I do Mr. Cheney's. So I haven't even bothered to revisit his site, nor will I again. The information I present below will make his presentation a moot point, and is directed at all who share his viewpoint.

My visitor has alleged repeatedly that waterboarding is not torture. I maintain that it IS, and that its use by us damages not only our credibility and standing throughout the world, but the future safety of our soldiers and citizens as well. I further believe that its use, as well as other forms of "enhanced interrogation", serve as a dangerous recruiting tool for terrorists the world over. My visitor quotes a number of "experts" including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, George Tenet (of "it's a slam dunk" fame), the Bush administration's rubber-stamp Attorney General Michael Mukasey, several Vietnam vets who were tortured by the North Vietnamese, and a number of others, who all make the assertion that waterboarding is not torture and that it yields useful information. I counter below, with numerous sources of legal precedent which repeatedly establish waterboarding's status as torture AND an ILLEGAL act which has been successfully prosecuted domestically, most recently in 1983 by the REAGAN Department of Justice, as well as internationally. Get that, folks? Legal PRECEDENT, FACT. Which means it has been decided in numerous court cases and set into law that the practice is indeed TORTURE and is ILLEGAL. Recent history has shown, though, that facts and precednt mean apparently little to hard core conservatives (look at the Bush administration and the Limbaugh crowd as examples of those who let their prejudices cloud their legal and practical reasoning, and who spin those facts to fit those very same prejudices). But I know most moderates, independents, and liberals who read this information will see and agree that what is presented below is relevant and true, meaning, of course, that it is based on established and solid legal foundation and is therefore rationally undeniable. It is, of course, my visitor's prerogative to accept or reject this data, as it is anyone's. My bet, though, would be that, if and when the case of waterboarding ever is presented to the Supreme Court, the Court will side with established legal precedent rather than with Dick Cheney's or my visitor's seemingly selective interpretation of the practice's legality. For there is nothing conservative justices Roberts, Thomas, Scalia, and Alito despise more than reinterpreting law so as to be effectively "legislating from the bench"! Below, then, are proofs that waterboarding is torture, illegal, and must not be used by our government or military as a method of interrogation.

Evan Wallach, a judge at the U.S. Court of International Trade in New York, and who also teaches the Law of War as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School and New York Law School, has prepared an outstandingly well researched and well documented article for the California Journal of Transitional Law. It was written after the passage of the Bush administration's Military Commissions Act of 2006, (parts of which have already been deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court), and gives a detailed accounting of prior domestic and international waterboarding prosecutions and convictions. The article is highly critical of Bush administration attorneys John Yoo and Jay Bybee, and even Mukasey himself, for overlooking so much legal precedent and for attempting to spin the act of waterboarding in a new light. Find it as I did by clicking on "Drop by Drop: Forgetting the History of Waterboarding in U.S. Courts" in the related piece found at;

http://www.theothereveningnews.com/2007/11/waterboarding-is-still-illegal.html

An interesting "digest size" listing of waterboarding convictions can be found by Googling "waterboarding conviction history". Scroll down to and click on "timeline results for waterboarding conviction history". Voila! You will find 10 instances since 1920.

Jonathan Turley, noted constitutional scholar and George Washington University Law Professor, to whom even members of Congress go for legal and constitutional advice, presents his views on the topic of waterboarding as an illegal form of torture at this site:

http://news.lawreader.com/?p=2169

There are scores of other related articles out there, citing established, legally decided cases which prove my point. I am through splitting hairs with, and will not get into a pissing contest on this very unpleasant practice with my visitor or anybody else. I will no longer personally debate the legal or functional aspects of this most disgusting and reprehensible act. I will instead let these examples of legal scholars and legal precedent serve to illustrate my position. And, until the Supreme Court has proven otherwise, I will continue to insist that waterboarding IS torture, IS illegal, and that Dick Cheney, for this and many other reasons, is a war criminal for instituting its use who must someday stand trial for this and other actions during and leading up to the Iraq War.

NEXT UP: "Time for REAL Representation! (Part VI)", the concluding segment of my series on how unrepresented most average Americans are by their Congresspersons, who have very little in common with them.

WATCH OUT FOR THIS GUY!


This is Tim Pawlenty, current Minnesota Republican Governor and a man who is being touted in some circles as a possible GOP candidate for President in 2012. Whether he chooses to run for President, or even for Senator that year, he is a Republican to look out for. In the best Norm Coleman style of Republicanism, he is a very smooth, double-talking and ambitious politician. He practiced law for a time after college and also served as Vice President of a software services company before being elected to the Minnesota House in 1992. After serving as Minnesota House Majority Leader beginning in 1998, he initially planned to run for the US Senate in 2002, until Dick Cheney talked him out of it. Cheney urged him to instead throw his support behind Norm Coleman and run for Governor. He dutifully followed Cheney's wishes. And, just like Coleman, Pawlenty portrays himself as a moderate with new ideas, but in reality always votes along and supports the same old tired George W. Bush social and economic conservative line. He is apparently the only Republican Governor who will appear on liberal Rachel Maddow's MSNBC-TV show, so she seems to get little goosebumps every time he agrees to be on it. I would advise her to not get too excited, though. For while Pawlenty isn't as bombastic or unpleasant as Rush Limbaugh, his political outlook doesn't differ greatly from the big blowhard. Just his demeanor.

Conservative columnist Robert Novak (one who would definitely know) referred to Pawlenty as the most conservative Minnesota Governor since the 1920s. Pawlenty has been a consistent supporter of Clinton and Bush-era free trade policies. In fact, he took the largest state trade delegation to China in U.S. history in 2005. I haven't noticed any great upswing in jobs, wages, or quality of life here in Minnesota since, though. Like John McCain, he favors market-driven approaches to our horrific health care problem and is a supporter of Medical Savings Accounts as one method of enabling people to pay for health care. Of course, this approach does nothing to guarantee universal coverage, put pressure on insurance companies to keep costs down, or hold back that industry's rising power and influence concerning the type of care and treatment patients receive.

Like nearly all Republicans, Tim Pawlenty strongly supported George W. Bush's ridiculous tax cuts for the wealthy put forth in 2001 and 2003. The Governor has even advocated that they be made permanent, though they did not create millions of high paying jobs here as was promised, and also added tremendously to our federal deficit. Former Republican Minnesota Governors Arne Carlson, Elmer Anderson, and Al Quie, none of which were flaming liberals, have all criticized Pawlenty's pledge of using no new taxes to balance the state budget as a move too far to the right. It is interesting to note how conservative Republicans like Pawlenty see nothing wrong with giving billions in deductions and refunds to the wealthy and corporations, but can't stand the idea of spending tax dollars on the very needy. Just this past May 14, for example, the Governor vetoed a bill for General Assistance Medical Care which will cut off funding for health care for 34,000 very needy Minnesotans, 70% of them mentally ill or chemically dependent or both, and all with annual incomes less than $7,800. That's what a supposedly fiscally-responsible Governor must do when facing a budget crisis caused partially by his cutting corporate and wealthy taxes, I guess. In fact, it would seem that Pawlenty is quite clueless as to the needs of poor or average, middle income people. He and his wife, a conservative former district judge, have lived quite comfortably for many years and could hardly be termed "wanting" or "struggling." In fact, on the June 22, 2008 CNN show "Late Edition", Pawlenty was quoted as saying, "...but now that they're [Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy] are going to expire, I think they should continue. And keep in mind, when you talk about tax cuts for the wealthy, that involves those reductions in corporate taxes, or increasing the AMT, or the exemptions I had talked about. And when you look at it as a basket, it's the kind of thing we need to do to grow jobs, expand the economy...we can't tax our way out of this. We're going to have to grow our way, in part, out of it." During that same interview he voiced his opposition to an increase in the Social Security tax cap, currently at $97,000 annually, saying, "When you look at $97,000 of income, I think that's people who are clearly middle income or upper middle income..." I guess that's what you get for thinking, Gov. Pawlenty. $97,000 in annual income is far above median income in this country, and it shows how miserably out of touch he is with average Americans! On the question of our energy problem, Pawlenty also endorses the conservative Republican cry of "drill, baby, drill." His view on how to solve the problem is the same as Sarah Palin's and the rest of the GOP: increasing supply of oil will solve all problems, so let's drill in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge and take care of our immediate pressing needs. He has yet to express strong support for raising mileage standards or developing alternate green energy sources for the future.

So in the months and years ahead, do not be fooled by Tim Pawlenty's kinder, gentler, friendlier Republican approach. It is a facade for the same old conservative economic theory which has greatly enabled cororate America and the rich while hurting everyone else and all but destroying our economy. And beware claims of his reaching across the aisle or having a broad base of support. We in Minnesota have now had Paw-lenty of Pawlenty! The man has never enjoyed overwhelming support here. His highest vote total in his two races for Governor was only 46.7%. In fact, a Fox-Rasmussen Poll released May 19 asked this question: "Generally speaking, do you think things in Minnesota are going in the right direction, or have they gotten off on the wrong track?" Right direction received a meager 19% response. Wrong track came in at a resounding 62%, and Undecided was 19%. Hardly an enthusiastic endorsement of the way Pawlenty has run this state! Still, his smooth talk may fool some down the line. That's why I'm warning you all now to watch out for this guy!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

FAR BIGGER THAN CHENEY'S BIGGEST LIE!


"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it..."
- Joseph Goebbels -

"Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it."
- Adolf Hitler -


Dick Cheney must have studied his history of tyrants well. For he has been a massive liar who used the massive lie as a political tool for many years and continues that practice to this day. He is apparently delusional as well, or wishes we all were, so that we would accept all he says as gospel truth. Cheney is also a very paranoid man who is now apparently worrying that his misdeeds from 2001-3009 will forever tarnish his legacy or land him in prison. He has, of late, been behaving like a terrified animal running from a pursuing predator. For he has been out publicly lambasting President Obama's end-to-torture policy on a daily basis for weeks now. A day doesn't pass where he fails to make an appearance on a news show, or make a public speech defending the war in Iraq or the Bush administration's use of torture. He has even had his wife and daughter out on the attack to back up his absurd and discredited claim that torture of suspected terrorists was legal and yielded useful information which saved American lives, is beneficial, and should be continued or the country will be in grave peril. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention: the guy is also insane.

The gargantuan lies we have been fed over the past 7 or 8 years by Cheney, his boss, George W. Bush, and his collaborator, Donald Rumsfeld, are so plentiful and so heinous it is difficult to limit them to only the few you will see here. Rest assured, there are thousands more.

The lie that Saddam Hussein had direct contact and was working with Al Qaeda on the 9/11 attacks has been proven totally false, but Cheney was repeating it even as recently as this past January. We know now, of course, that Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush, Wolfowitz, and a number of other far-right ideologues had all formed and been members of the crazy conservative "think tank" called "Project for a New American Century" since the mid 1990s. This group advocated, among other things, a pre-emptive military strike against and occupation of Iraq, Syria, and Iran. I find it highly suspicious that, as late as August 6, 2001, the Bush administration had been warned specifically about an Osama Bin Laden plot to use American planes in a terrorist attack on American soil, but Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld all ignored it. I also find it highly suspicious that the outgoing Clinton administration had provided warnings about Al Qaeda which were also ignored. But what I find most suspicious is how, immediately after the 9/11 attacks, Bush suspended all airline flights throughout the country, save for those by the FBI to round up Bin Laden's visiting Saudi relatives within our borders to fly them safely back home. It is clear in hindsight that 9/11 was used successfully to fulfill the dream of mounting an invasion of Iraq. To further "justify" this action, Cheney and the boys fed us the lie about Saddam Hussein having nuclear weapons (WMD in Cheney/Bush spin-speak). Along with it came the hefty benefits of having our hands directly on Iraqi oil, plus being able to award billions and billions of federal dollars in non-bid military contracts to Cheney's former company, Halliburton, and its subsidiary, KBR.

Even Cheney's beloved "war on terror" seems to have been a big lie. The original stated aim was to capture Bin Laden and destroy his Al Qaeda network in Afghanistan. But once we had our hands on the coveted jewel of Iraq, this was pushed way back on the back burner. Meanwhile, our ports and borders remained wide open with lax border patrol enforcement. Surely, if Al Qaeda was the highly organized, well financed organization with numerous cells operating worldwide that Cheney and Bush told us it was,we would certainly have made a strong effort beginning on 9/12 to tighten up security on our borders and ports! Yet this was never done. Our southern border, in particular, was allowed to leak like a sieve ever after. Had we REALLY been serious about homeland security, this would not have occurred. My theory is that Bush and Cheney, union haters both and friends of big business, didn't wish to impede the flow of very cheap illegal immigrant labor coming in. That way, wages would be kept in check and unions all but destroyed. Not only that, but the administration's lax border policy surely seems to indicate they had little real concern that Al Qaeda or any other terrorist group would enter this country! And that exposes another big Cheney myth and lie, that their pro-active approach to terrorism prevented another attack on our soil. Pro-active? Hardly. Not only were Cheney and Bush directly responsible for 9/11, being asleep at the wheel as they were, but they did virtually NOTHING to shore up port or border security ever afterward. Other than start an illegal war overseas, they were not pro-active against terror in the least.

Perhaps the biggest and most aggravating lie of all concerns torture. First, the claim was made by Bush and Cheney that we do not torture, when in fact, we already had done so. Then came the devious attempt by Justice Department underlings John Yoo and Jay Bybee to rewrite the definition of torture to make it exclude torturous techniques we were using. Bush and Cheney again denied our use of torture. Then the claim was made that our "enhanced interrogation" techniques (aka TORTURE) yielded tremendously useful information. That, too, was a lie. Those directly involved in the actual interrogations of the three tortured terrorists have stated that all useful information had been gathered by traditional, legal interrogation methods practiced first by the FBI. Once the CIA took over interrogation, and torture began, the prisoners stopped yielding information. If torture had been so effective, why was one prisoner waterboarded 183 times in one month, and another more than 80 times in a month? Surely, had torture been as effective as Cheney claims, there would have been no need to repeat the process that often. Not only that, but had torture been so effective and so necessary for our security, when then was it discontinued in 2005 or 2006? Why hadn't it been used right up until Inauguration Day? The evidence strongly suggests that torture DIDN'T produce the results Cheney and Rumsfeld were really after, namely, a confession that Saddam Hussein really did have ties to Al Qaeda.

No amount of continued lying or alibying on Cheney's part will absolve him from the fact that his administration began an illegal war and broke domestic and international law with its practices of rendition and torture. He and his cronies must be made to stand trial and pay the penalties for such crimes. For the actions his administration took were rash, foolhardy, corrupt, immoral, and in direct contradiction of all other methods which had been used throughout our entire history. Rather than defeat Islamic terrorism, they actually provided it with a powerful recruitment tool. This did not make us safer. It has instead make a terrorist retaliation in the future all but a certainty. So Cheney can continue to practice Goebbels' and Hitler's theories on telling lies, but it won't do him any good. Unlike in the days of Hitler, we now have 24/7/366 satellite news and the internet. The truth from numerous sources now available will correctly portray his dark, deceitful, and murderous legacy. And the mounting evidence against him is a truth far bigger than even Cheney's biggest lie!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Time for REAL Representation! (Part V)


Here is part V in my six-part series illustrating how the average American is not truly represented in Congress, because very, very few Congresspersons entered Congress upon leaving common, everyday jobs paying average-sized paychecks.

Below you will find states in alphabetical order, listing both the Representatives and Senators for each state. After each Congressperson's name is their party affiliation, followed by the types of occupations they held prior to coming to Congress. The numbers refer to that state's Congressional district numbers. S=Senator, A=Attorney, D=Democrat, I=Independent, R=Republican, and P=Politician (a person who never worked in a significant private industry job and instead served as a mayor or political assistant and rose up through party ranks).

As you will see, nearly all of the occupations listed are from high paying fields of law, business, or elevated positions in education. I have still not found any dishwashers, custodians, shoe salespersons, foundry workers, deliverypersons, retail clerks, painters, beauticians, or other average, everyday workers that are in our Congress (but I will keep looking). Perhaps this is the reason Congress often seems to pass legislation beneficial mainly to big business or special interests, but not to the general public. They evidently just don't know or understand us, our concerns, and our real needs. For some reason we have apparently been brainwashed into thinking people just like us don't belong in Congress, and that we should be represented solely by upper class and upper income professionals. This is curious, as many "average" folk display more common sense, fairness, conscientiousness, and thriftiness each day than do many of these so-called professionals in an entire term.

I hope each of you will flood your party's precinct causes next year and think about this as you nominate prospective candidates for U.S. House and Senate!
------------
NORTH CAROLINA
1. G.K. Butterfield D A
2. Bob Etheridge D Farmer
3. Walter B. Jones R Distributor
4. David Price D College Professor
5. Virginia Foxx R College Professor, Administrator (sure doesn't show it!)
6. Howard Coble R A
7. Mike McIntyre D A
8. Larry Kissell D Teacher, Textile Worker
9. Sue Wilkins Myrick R Advertising Exec
10. Patrick McHenry R Realtor
11. Heath Shuler D Former NFL Quarterback, Farmer, Realtor
12. Mel Watt D A
13. Brad Miller D A
S. Richard Burr R Sales Exec
S. Kay Hagan D A, Banker
------------
NORTH DAKOTA
At large. Earl Pomeroy D A
S. Byron Dorgan D Aerospace Manager, Author
S. Kent Conrad D Tax Commissioner
------------
OHIO
1. Steve Driehaus D Educator
2. Jean Schmidt R P
3. Michael R. Turner R A
4. Jim Jordan R P
5. Bob Latta R A
6. Charlie Wilson D Mortician
7. Steve Austria R Financial Planner
8. John Boehner R Business Consultant
9. Marcy Kaptur D Urban Planner
10. Dennis Kucinich D P
11. Marcia Fudge D A
12. Pat Tiberi R Real Estate agent
13. Betty Sitton D A
14. Steve LaTourette R A
15. Mary Jo Kilroy D A
16. John Boccieri Military, P
17. Tim Ryan D P
18. Zack Space D A
S. George Voinovich R A
S. Sherrod Brown D Teacher
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OKLAHOMA
1. John Sullivan R Real Estate broker
2. Dan Boren D High School Administrator
3. Frank Lucas R Rancher
4. Tom Cole R College Professor
5. Mary Fallin R P
S. Jim Inhofe R Insurance Exec
S. Tom Coburn R Physician
------------
OREGON
1. David Wu D A
2. Greg Walden R Broadcasting Exec
3. Earl Blumenauer D A
4. Peter DeFazio D Gerontologist
5. Kurt Shrader D Veterinarian
S. Ron Wyden D Legal Services Exec
S. Jeff Merkley D Budget/Policy Analyst, Congressional Budget Office
------------
PENNSYLVANIA
1. Bob Brady D Union Leader
2. Chaka Fattah D P
3. Kathy Dahlkemper D Landscaping Contractor
4. Jason Altmire D Health Care Exec
5. Glenn Thompson R Health Care Exec
6. Jim Gerlach R A, P
7. Joe Sestak D Military
8. Patrick Murphy D A
9. Bill Shuster R Auto Dealer
10. Chris Carney D College Professor
11. Paul E. Kanjorski D A
12. John Murtha D Sm. business owner
13. Allyson Schwartz D Clinic Executive Director, P
14. Michael F. Doyle D Insurance Agent
15. Charlie Dent R P
16. Joseph R. Pitts R Teacher
17. Tim Holden D Real Estate/Insurance Agent
18. Tim Murphy R Psychologist
19. Todd Platts R A
S. Arlen Spector D A
S. Bob Casey Jr. D A
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RHODE ISLAND
1. Patrick J. Kennedy D P
2. James Langevin D P
S. Jack Reed D A
S. Sheldon Whitehouse D A
------------
SOUTH CAROLINA
1. Henry E. Brown Jr. R Grocery Exec
2. Joe Wilson R A
3. J. Gresham Barrett R Businessman
4. Bob Inglis R A
5. John Spratt D A
6. Jim Clyburn D P
S. Lindsey Graham R A
S. Jim DeMint R Marketing Consultant
------------
SOUTH DAKOTA
At large. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin D A
S. Tim Johnson D A
S. John Thune R Association Exec, P
------------
TENNESSEE
1. Phil Roe R Gynecologist
2. John J. Duncan Jr. R A, Judge
3. Zach Wamp R Real Estate Broker
4. Lincoln Davis D P
5. Jim Cooper D A
6. Bart Gordon D A
7. Marsha Blackburn R Retail Marketer
8. John S. Tanner D A
9. Steve Cohen D A
S. Lamar Alexander R A
S. Bob Corker R Construction Exec, Real Estate Magnate
------------
Part VI, the grand finale of this series, will appear toward the end of next week. It will include the states of Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. I will also feature some concluding remarks.

NEXT UP: Something more current and topical. Watch for it!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Time for REAL Representation! (Part IV)


Here is Part IV in the continuing series showing how little in common our Congresspersons share with average, everyday Americans, which explains why they often pass legislation which benefits the wealthy and big business but does little for, or actually hurts, the poor and regular citizens. For very, very, VERY few, if any, of our elected contingent have ever been secretaries, wallpaper hangers, factory workers, retail clerks, mechanics, or involved in any of the gundreds of other common jobs paying at or near median income. Instead, they have overwhelmingly come from higher-salaried occupations like law, business, and higher education. For we have apparently been brainwashed into thinking only those from the upper income brackets are worthy of being sent to represent us. We evidently think this even though we average folks often show far greater common sense, fairness, responsibility, and thriftiness in our everyday lives than they do. Hopefully, each of you will flood your precinct caucuses next year and give this serious thought when it comes time to nominate candidates for U.S. House and Senate!

The list below illustrates the types of jobs each Congressperson held prior to coming to Congress. As with parts I, II, and III of this series, you will see I continue listing each alphabetical state's Representatives and Senators, district by district, along with their party affiliation. As before, the numbers refer to the congressional district number of the listed state, S=Senator, D=Democrat, I=Independent, R=Republican, A=Attorney, and P=Politician (one who rose through the ranks of their particular party [political assistants, mayors, etc.] without ever having held a long-term job in the business world.
------------
MINNESOTA
1. Tim Walz D High School Teacher
2. John Kline R Defense Strategist
3. Erik Paulsen R P
4. Betty McCollum D High School Teacher, Sales Manager
5. Keith Ellison D A
6. Michele Bachmann R Tax Attorney
7. Collin Peterson D Accountant
8. Jim Oberstar D P
S. Amy Klobuchar D A
S. Al Franken (soon to be seated) D TV and Radio Personality, Author
------------
MISSISSIPPI
1. Travis Childers D Realtor, A
2. Bernie Thompson D High School Teacher
3. Gregg Harper R A
S. Thad Cochran R A
S. Roger Wicker R A
------------
MISSOURI
1. William Lacy Clay Jr. R Paralegal
2. Todd Akin R Engineer, Plant Manager
3. Russ Carnahan D A
4. Ike Skelton D A
5. Emanuel Cleaver D Methodist Minister
6. Sam Gates R Farmer
7. Roy Blount R College Administrator
8. Jo Ann Emerson R Association Exec ?
9. Blaine Luetkemeyer R Banker, Insurance agent
S. Kit Bond R A
S. Claire McCaskill D A
------------
MONTANA
At large. Denny Rehberg R Rancher, P
S. Max Baucus D A
S. Jon Tester D Farmer
------------
NEBRASKA
1. Jeff Fortenberry R Publishing Exec, Economist
2. Lee Terry R A
3. Adrian Smith R Realtor
S. Ben Nelson D A
S. Mike Johanns R A
------------
NEVADA
1. Shelly Berkley D A
2. Dean Heller R Stockbroker
3. Dina Titus D College Professor
S. Harry Reid D A
S. John Ensign R Veterinarian
------------
NEW HAMPSHIRE
1. Carol Shea-Porter D Social Worker
2. Paul Hodes D A
S. Judd Gregg R A
S. Jeanne Shaheen D Teacher
------------
NEW JERSEY
1. Rob Andrews D College Professor
2. Franl LoBiondo R Sm. business owner
3. John Adler D A
4. Chris Smith R Retail Exec
5. Scott Garrett R A
6. Frank Pallone D A
7. Leonard Lance R A
8. Bill Pascrell D High School Teacher
9. Steve Rothman D A
10. Donald M. Payne D Financial Exec
11. Rodney Frelinghuysen R P
12. Rush D. Holt Jr. D Physicist, Professor
13. Albio Sires D Insurance Exec
S. Frank Lautenberg D Information Processing Exec
S. Bob Menendez D A
------------
NEW MEXICO
1. Martin Heinrich D Businessman, P
2. Harry Teague D Oil Co. Exec
3. Ben R. Lujan D P
S. Jeff Bingaman D A
S. Tom Udall D A
------------
NEW YORK
1. Tim Bishop D College Administrator
2. Steve Israel D Public Relations Exec
3. Peter T. King R A
4. Carolyn McCarthy D Nurse
5. Gary Ackerman D High School Teacher, Newspaper Publisher
6. Gregory W. Meeks D A, Judge
7. Joseph Crowley D P
8. Jerold Nadler D A
9. Anthony D. Weiner D P
10. Ed Towns D Social Worker
11. Yvette Clarke D Economic Development Specialist
12. Nydia Velazquez D College Professor
13. Michael McMahon D A
14. Carolyn B. Mahoney D P
15. Charles Rangel D A
16. Jose Serrano D P
17. Eliot Engel D High School Teacher, A
18. Nita Lowrey D P
19. John Hall D Musician (former member of Orleans, of "Still The One" fame)
20. Scott Murphy D Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist
21. Paul Tonko D Engineer
22. Maurice Hinchey D Factory Foreman
23. John M. McHugh R Insurance Broker
24. Michael Arcuri D A
25. Dan Maffei D Journalist, businessman
26. Chris Lee R Sales Director
27. Brian Higgins D P
28. Louise McIntosh Slaughter D Market Researcher
29. Eric Massa D Military, Business Consultant
S. Chuck Schumer D A
S. Kristin Gillibrand D A
------------
Part V (soon to come) will feature 9 more states: NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SD, and TN. I'm STILL looking for a barber, seamstress, or bus driver!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

18,857



"For years, we've talked about shutting down overseas tax havens that let companies set up operations to avoid paying taxes in America. That's what our budget will finally do...we're closing one of our largest tax loopholes that lets subsidiaries of some of our biggest companies tell the IRS that they're paying taxes abroad; tell foreign governments that they're paying taxes elsewhere; and avoid paying taxes anywhere."
- President Barack Obama -

--------------------------------
I stand solidly behind the President in his effort to close these shamefully ridiculous tax loopholes huge corporations have been expoliting unethically for many years. I wrote about U.S. corporations setting up phony tax havens offshore in my March 27, 2009 blog titled "WANTED FOR TREASON: I.S. CORPORATIONS." At the time, I had no idea of the extent of this problem. Thanks to a very illuminating Rachel Maddow Show segment on MSNBC last week, I now know, and I am outraged now even more than before.

A total of 18,857 phony companies supposedly reside in that 5 story building pictured above. It is called "Ugland House" and it, as well as those 18,857 phony companies, all share its same address on S. Church St., George Town, Cayman Islands. Of the 18,857 phony companies with supposed mailing adresses and company headquarters based right there, half had billing addresses right here in the U.S.A., according to a 2008 Government Accounting Office (GAO) study! In 2007, 83 of the top 100 U.S. companies used offshore tax havens, including an astounding 25% of our government's largest contractors! The names of corporations using these handy tax dodges reads like a Who's Who of American business: Coca Cola, Intel, General Electric, Tyco, Seagate, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, and many, many others. The last three I listed here by name even received government bailouts totaling BILLIONS as part of the controversial TARP program. So much for corporate morality and patriotic loyalty. Kids, if you want to be rich when you grow up, don't bother robbing banks. Just set up a corporation with phony offshore subsidiaries, and then never pay your taxes. To hell with your country.

Here's how the little scam works: American corporations, headquartered and realistically based here, file the name of a dummy shell company subsidiary with the Security and Exchange Commission, giving its address as being Ugland House in the Caymans, or elsewhere outside the country. They take tax deductions for phony overseas expenses and then don't report any of the overseas income. Citigroup listed an astonishing 427 foreign subsidiaries , including 91 in small Luxembourg, 90 in the Cayman Islands, and even 12 in the tiny Channel Islands! Bank of America showed 115 foreign subsidiaries in the Caymans, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Luxembourg, and even on the miniscule rock of Gibraltar! And good ol' Morgan Stanley listed 273 foreign subsidiaries supposedly operating in the Caymans, the Marshall Islands, and even the Island of Jersey. The list goes on and on and on, and has increased steadily since 2004.

This shows how immoral, wholly self-serving, greedy, and obsessed with profit our corporations and business community have become. Our corporate tax rate stands at 35% today, much, much lower than it was 60 years ago. Huge corporations have successfully shifted the burden of tax paying away from themselves onto wage earners, mainly in the middle and working classes. Yet American corporations still scream for tax relief and resort to phony scams to avoid paying taxes like I outline here today. Though most middle income Americans are taxed at an effective rate of 25% and actually pay right around that amount, by using dummy foreign subsidiaries, huge corporations can effecrtively pay only 3%, 1%, or even ZERO income tax on real earnings totaling BILLIONS. This wouldn't even be so bad except for the fact that many of these corporations have exported good paying American jobs overseas to cheap foreign labor markets while freezing or lowering American wage and benefit scales on the jobs still performed here. When placed in the context of ever-rising food, fuel, and pharmaceutical costs as well as skyrocketing corporate board member pay and benefit paxkages, this greedy corporate behavior is inexcusable and indefensible. Everyone is belt-tightening and suffering, especially those on fixed incomes, except the piggish, cheating corporations and their insulated and heartless executives. They, too, MUST pay their fair share and tighten THEIR belts too! ESPECIALLY, since we the taxpayers who actually PAY taxes, recently bailed out a number of these freeloading corporations who DON'T pay taxes, or who pay very, very little!

Naturally, conservative Republican crybabies like Grover Norquist, the Club for (Corporate) Growth, and Senator Mitch McConnell are all screaming foul at Obama's loophole-closing effort. McConnell even had the unmitigated gall to suggest that the President's action amounted to some kind of unfair tax increase on business. That, of course, was a typically distorted statement coming from a lamebrain conservative who obviously places the wants of big business far above the needs of ordinary citizens. For this action is not at all a tax increase, but rather a way of enforcing the existing tax laws. The anti-tax crowd also claim that the move will cripple business and curb economic growth. That, too, is an absolute lie and rubbish. In their zeal to stop Obama, they don't even bother to consider that a good chunk of the revenue which the government will now recover will go directly into a Research and Development Tax Credit for business to develop new products, services, and industries here within our borders.

I wish Obama and congressional Democrats would put some real teeth into enforcing the closure of these phony tax havens and prosecute those who have defrauded the government by using them. For the greedy and traitorous act of deliberate and fraudulent tax evasion, in a time of war for the country, when nearly 1 in 7 of us cannot afford health insurance and have none, when the middle class and poor are facing unparalleled modern economic hardship, when elderly and poor on fixed incomes sometimes have to choose between food or medication, here are filthy rich CEOs, CFOs, and huge corporations cheating on taxes and pocketing the cash. Were it up to me, I would like to see long jail terms at hard labor coupled with heavy fines for these offenders. Unfortunately, I will probably have to settle for a mere closing of their disgusting loopholes instead. Either way, you corporate executives had better start toeing the line, because the overwhelming majority of this country is fed up with your immoral and unethical business practices coming at our expense. We're tired of you using our taxpayer-funded roads to transport your imported goods for sale to us but not paying for it. We're tired of you using our taxpayer-funded police and fire departments to protect your property but not paying for it. We're tired of your using our taxpayer-funded schools to educate children but not paying for it. If you don't want to follow Sheriff Obama's rules, I'm sure a number of us average folk would be more than happy to form economic posses to run you down and string you up. The days of your unchallenged arrogance and shenanigans are over, boys. This is NOT an economic wild, wild west where you can do whatever, whenever, and however you damn well please and to hell with the rest of us! You had better adopt a new, permanent mindset---NOW!

Oh, by the way, the REAL occupant of Ugland House, ALL of it, is the dubious law firm of Maples and Calder, whose specialty is apparently setting up American corporations with phony shell companies using their Ugland House address for tax evasion purposes.

NEXT UP: "Time for REAL Representation! (Part IV)"

Friday, May 8, 2009

PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION





















SMALL CHILD: Who are those mean and scary looking men, grandpa?

GRANDPA: They're some very bad men who hurt people, tortured them, or started wars to kill innocent people, or made it possible for that bad stuff to happen.

SMALL CHILD: Oh. Why did they do that, grandpa?

GRANDPA: Nobody knows, honey. They were just very bad men the devil got to do evil things for him.

SMALL CHILD: Were they all soldiers?

GRANDPA: Some were, but some were leaders, and others were people who made a big mistake by helping the leaders do bad things.

SMALL CHILD: Oh. Grandpa, are they in jail?

GRANDPA: Some of them lived a long time ago and are dead now. Those were put into jail and then were put to sleep forever for doing such bad things.

SMALL CHILD: What about the rest, grandpa? Are they in jail now?

GRANDPA: Not yet, angel.

SMALL CHILD: WILL they ever go to jail, or get put to sleep too for being so bad?

pause

GRANDPA: I don't know, sweetheart. I don't know...

Time for REAL Representation! (Part III)


Here is part III in my series illustrating why our Representatives and Senators seem so out of touch with most of the country. As you view the occupations they had prior to getting to Congress, you will see that nearly all of them were in elevated income brackets or jobs paying much higher than those most Americans hold today. It is no wonder, then, that our Congresspersons do not really understand many of us, our concerns, or our needs. If you're a cosmologist, carpetlayer, bartender, illustrator, bus driver, stockboy, telephone salesperson, pipefitter, or draftsman, chances are your won't find a kindred spirit in the halls of Congress. I hope you will think about this next time you are set to nominate or elect a candidate for U.S. House or Senate.

I continue this series, going alphabetically state by state, district by district. The numbers refer to the state's congressional district number, D=Democrat, I=Independent, R=Republican, A=Attorney, S=Senator, and P=Politician (one who has always been in politics rather than having worked in the "real" world).
------------
INDIANA
1. Pete Visclosky D A
2. Joe Donnelly D A
3. Mark Shouder R Sm. bus. owner
4. Steve Buyer R A
5. Dan Burton R Insurance agent, Real Estate broker
6. Mike Pence R A, Talk Show Host
7. Andre Carson D Law Enforcement Officer
8. Brad Ellsworth D Law Enforcement Officer
9. Baron Hill D Financial Analyst
S. Richard Lugar R Maufacturing Exec
S. Evan Bayh D A, P
------------
IOWA
1. Bruce Braley D A
2. David Loebsack D college Professor
3. Leonard Boswell D Farmer
4. Tom Latham R Sm. bus. owner
5. Steve King R Construction Contractor
S. Charles Grassley R P
S. Tom Harkin D A
------------
KANSAS
1. Jerry Moran R A
2. Lynn Jenkins R Accountant
3. Dennis Moore D A
4. Todd Tiahrt R Aerospace Exec
S. Sam Brownback R A, Farmer
S. Pat Roberts R Newspaper Publisher
------------
KENTUCKY
1. Ed Whitfield R A, Railroad Exec
2. Brett Guthrie R Military Officer
3. John Yarmuth D Newspaper Publisher
4. Geoff Davis R Manufacturing Consultant
5. Harold Rogers R A
6. Ben Chandler D A
S. Mitch McConnell R A
S. Jim Bunning R MLB Pitcher, P
------------
LOUISIANA
1. Steve Scalise R Systems Analyst
2. Joseph Cao R A
3. Charlie Melanson D Sm. bus. owner
4. John C. Fleming R Physician
5. Rodney Alexander R Insurance Agent
6. Bill Cassidy R Physician
7. Charles Boustany R Surgeon
S. Mary Landrieu D Real Estate Agent
S. David Vitter R A
------------
MAINE
1. Chellie Pingree D P
2. Mike Michaud D Factory Foreman
S. Olympia Snowe R P
S. Susan Collins R Businesswoman
------------
MARYLAND
1. Frank Kratovil D Prosecutor
2. Dutch Ruppersberger D A
3. John Sarbanes D A
4. Diana Edwards D A
5. Steny Hoyer D A
6. Roscoe Bartlett D College Professor, Farmer
7. Elijah Cummings D A
8. Chris Van Hollen D A
S. Barbara Mikulski D P
S. Ben Cardin D A
------------
MASSACHUSETTS
1. John Oliver D College Professor
2. Richard Neal D High School Teacher
3. Jim McGovern D P
4. Barney Frank D A
5. Niki Tsongas D A, Social Worker
6. John Tierney D A
7. Ed Markey D A
8. Mike Capuano D A
9. Stephen Lynch D A, Union leader
10. Bill Delahunt D A
S. Teddy Kennedy D A, P
S. John Kerry D A
------------
MICHIGAN
1. Bart Stupak D Police Officer, A
2. Pete Hoekstra R Marketing VP
3. Vern Ehlers R College Professor
4. David Lee Camp R A
5. Dale E. Kildee D High School Teacher
6. Fred Upton R P
7. Mark Schauer D P
8. Mike J. Rogers R Investigator
9. Gary Peters D Professor
10. Candice Miller R Sm. bus. owner
11. Thaddeus R. McCotter R A
12. Sander Levin D A
13. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick D High School Teacher
14. John Conyers Jr. D A
15. John Dingell D A
S. Carl Levin D A
S. Debbie Stabenow D Social Worker

Part IV (to come late next week) will include 8 more states: Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, and New Jersey. Just prior to that I will do a little blurb on corporations bankrupting our Treasury by ducking taxes offshore.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Time for REAL Representation! (Part II)


Here is Part II of a not necessarily consecutive multi-installment series illustrating how UNLIKE us most of our U.S. House and Senate incumbents are. As you will see, nearly all came to Congress from occupations paying salaries much higher than average, as the vast majority are attorneys, well-to-do business owners, or other highly paid professionals. If you're a customer service clerk, painter, musician, retail sales clerk, secretary, repairman, hostess, or mechanic, to name but a few, forget it---chances are you won't see any of these Congresspersons who has much in common with you or really understands your daily struggles. They have certainly not experienced life from the confines of your income bracket! That is why few of the laws they pass directly benefit you. I HOPE ALL OF YOU WILL FLOOD YOUR PRECINCT CAUCUSES NEXT YEAR AND REMEMBER THIS WHEN IT COMES TIME TO NOMINATE CANDIDATES FOR U.S. HOUSE AND SENATE. For we have apparently been brainwashed into thinking that we cannot, or should not, send average, common-sense folks just like us to Congress, and must instead send only lawyers, businesspersons, professionals, or the wealthy to make decisions for us. The time has come, though, for REAL representation in this country! If we, the people, are EVER going to truly take this country back, this will not occur if we continually send back to Washington those in collusion with big money, or those who look down on us.

Below is this installment's listing of U.S. House and Senate members, alphabetically state by state and district by district, along with their party affiliation and the type of occupation they performed prior to being elected to Congress. This installment covers incumbents from eight states. The numbers refer to the state's congressional district, S=Senate, D=Democrat, I=Independent, R=Republican, A=Attorney, and P=Politician, or one who rose through their party's ranks without having first held a job in business or industry. See how many of these Congresspersons came from your type of employment or had a job in your income bracket!
------------
COLORADO
1. Diana DeGette D A
2. Jared Polis D Internet Exec
3. John Salazar D Rancher
4. Betsy Markey D Sm. bus. owner
5. Doug Lamborn D A
6. Mike Coffman R Real Estate Exec
7. Ed Perlmutter D A
S. Mark Udall D Teacher
S. Michael Bennet D A
------------
CONNECTICUT
1. John Larson D High school teacher
2. Joe Courtney D A
3. Rosa De Lauro D P
4. Jim Himes D Financial Exec
5. Chris Murphy D A
S. Chriss Dodd D A
S. Joe LIEberman I A
------------
DELAWARE
At large. Michael N. Castle R A
S. Tom Carper D Economist
S. Ted Kaufman D P
------------
FLORIDA
1. Jeff Miller R Real Estate Broker
2. Allen Boyd D Farmer
3. Corrine Brown D College Professor
4. Ander Crenshaw R A, Investment banker
5. Ginny Brown-Waite R P
6. Cliff Stearns R Engineer, Sm. bus. owner
7. John Mica R Communications Exec
8. Alan Grayson D A
9. Gus Bilirakis R A
10. Bill Young R Insurance Exec
11. Kathy Castor D A
12. Adam Putnam R Farmer
13. Vern Buchanan R Auto dealer, Insurance Exec
14. Connie Mack IV R Marketing Exec
15. Bill Posey R Real Estate Exec
16. Tom Rooney R A
17. Kendrick Meek D Policeman
18. Ilena Ross-Lehtinen R Teacher
19. Robert Wexler D A
20. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz D College Administrator, P
21. Lincoln Diaz-Balart R A
22. Ron Klein D A
23. Alice Hastings D A
24. Suzanne Kosmas D Real Estate Broker
25. Mario Diaz-Balart R P
S. Bill Nelson D A, P
S. Mel Martinez R A
------------
GEORGIA
1. Jack Kingston R Insurance Agent, Agribusiness
2. Sanford Bishop D A
3. Lynn Westmoreland R Construction Exec
4. Hank Johnson D A
5. John Lewis D P, Civil Rights Leader
6. Tom Price R Physician
7. John Linder R Dentist
8. Jim Marshall D A
9. Nathan Deal R A
10. Paul Broun R Physician
11. Phil Gingrey R Gynecologist
12. John Barrow D A
13. David Scott D Advertising Exec
S. Saxby Chambliss R A
S. Johnny Isakson R Real Estate Exec
------------
HAWAII
1. Neil Abercrombie D Bus. Consultant
2. Mazie Hirono D A
S. Daniel Inouye D A
S. Daniel Akaka D Teacher
------------
IDAHO
1. Walt Minnick D A
2. Michael K. Simpson R Dentist
S. Mike Crapo R A
S. Jim Risch R A
------------
ILLINOIS
1. Bobby Rush D Insurance Agent, Civil Rights Leader
2. Jesse Jackson, Jr. D P, Civil Rights Leader
3. Dan Lipinski D College Professor, P
4. Luis Gutierrez D High school teacher, Social Worker
5. Michael Quigley D A
6. Peter Roskam R A
7. Danny K. Davis D Non-profit program coordinator
8. Melissa Bean D Sales Exec
9. Janice Schakowsky D Non-profit program coordinator
10. Mark Kirk R A, P
11. Debbie Halvorson D Sales Rep
12. Jerry Costello D Baliff, Sheriff
13. Judy Biggert R A
14. Bill Foster D Physicist
15. Timothy V. Johnson R A
16. Donald Manzullo R A
17. Philip Hare D P, Union Leader
18. Aaron Schock R P
19. John Shimkus R High school teacher
S. Dick Durbin D A
S. Roland Burris D A
------------
Part III in this series (soon to come) will include 9 more states: Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Michigan.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Time for REAL Representation! (Part I)



Today will begin a series of not-necessarily-successive posts in which I will demonstrate how UNLIKE most of the population our Representatives and Senators are, and why this leads them to pass some of the seemingly insane legislation they do from time to time. It will also help explain why it is that so many initiatives are passed in such watered-down versions as to make them almost ineffectual.

A large number of Americans correctly feel their needs and concerns are not being adequately represented in Congress. The reason for this is simple: we almost never send common, everyday, average people just like us TO Congress. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's State and County QuickFacts, median HOUSEHOLD income in this country in 2007 was $50,740. I can guarantee you that FEW, if ANY, of our Representatives or Senators earned less than $50,000 annually individually, in today's dollars, before entering the hallowed halls of Congress. Overwhelmingly, they came to Congress from lucrative law or business careers. That's right: Congress is loaded with attorneys, bankers, business owners or executives, physicians, and other professions from which none earned a mere $25,000, or very few earned less than $50,00 to $75,000 per year. They nearly all came to Congress from upper income bccupations. When, for example, have we ever in recent history sent to Congress a person whose primary job had been one of these: artist, baker, barber, bellhop, blacksmith, cab driver, carpenter, cashier, cook, dietician, electrician, factory worker, firefighter, fisherman, flight attendant, garbageman, gardener, grocer, hairdresser, interior designer, janitor, librarian, locksmith, mechanic, plumber, printer, receptionist, retail clerk, sanitation worker, secretary, street sweeper, tailor, therapist, toolmaker, usher, waitress, welder, or zookeeper? Not experienced or qualified enough, you say? I know barbers and janitors with more common sense, and who can manage a budget far better, than some of the so-called experienced professionals currently in Congress. It makes me wonder why we don't send at least SOME average, everyday folks to represent us in Washington, D.C. For it is becoming abundantly clear that today's Congresspersons are far divorced from, and have little in common with, the huge majority of people they are supposed to, and are paid to, represent. Most are clueless as to the needs, concerns, or struggles of the everyday citizen. I HOPE ALL OF YOU WILL FLOOD YOUR PRECINCT CAUCUSES NEXT YEAR AND REMEMBER THIS WHEN IT COMES TIME TO NOMINATE CANDIDATES FOR HOUSE ASND SENATE! For the time has come for REAL representation in this country, not just the cosmetic variety we have been experiencing with such poor results! If we, the people, are ever going to take this country back, how will this be done if all power is handed right back to the same old, same old economic and professional elite?

Below is a listing, alphabetically state by state, and district by district, of every person serving in our current 111th Congress. I have also listed their party designation (D for Democratic, I for Independent, and R for Republican) as well as their primary occupation prior to election to Congress. I list "P" for Politician, for those who climbed up through the ranks of their party, as opposed to having previously worked in a trade or business. For brevity, and because there are so many of them, "A" will denote Attorney, "S" will denote Senator, and the numbers reflect each state's congressional district number. Part I here will feature 5 states, with all the rest to follow in subsequent posts.
------------
ALABAMA
1. Jo Bonner R P
2. Bobby Bright D A
3. Mike D. Rogers R P
4. Robert Aderholt R A
5. Parker Griffith D Oncologist
6. Spencer Bachus R A
7. Artur Davis D A
S. Richard Shelby R A
S. Jeff Sessions R A
------------
ALASKA
At large. Don Young R Mariner, Construction worker, Miner
S. Lisa Murkowski R A
S. Mark Begich D Financial Exec
------------
ARIZONA
1. Ann Kirkpatrick D A
2. Trent Franks R Oil Exec
3. John Shadegg R A
4. Rd Pastor D High school teacher
5. Harry Mitchell D High school teacher
6. Jeff Flake R Public Affairs Director
7. Raul M. Grijalva D College Administrator
8. Gabrielle Giffords D Businesswoman
S. John McCain R Military, P
S. John Kyl R A
------------
ARKANSAS
1. Marion Berry D Farmer, Pharmacist
2. Vic Snyder D Physician
3. John Boozman R Optometrist, Rancher
4. Mike Ross D Sm. businessman
S. Blanche Lincoln D P
S. Mark Pryor D A
------------
CALIFORNIA
1. Mike Thompson D Vineyard owner
2. Wally Herger R Oil Exec
3. Dan Lungren R A
4. Tom McClintock R P
5. Doris Matsui D P
6. Lynn Woolsey D College Professor
7. George Miller D A
8. Nancy Pelosi D P
9. Barbara Lee D Social worker
10. Ellen Tauscher D Investment banker
11. Jerry McNerny D Engineer, Energy scientist
12. Jackie Speier D A
13. Pete Stark D Banking Exec
14. Anna Eshoo D Communications Exec
15. Mike Honda D Teacher, Principal
16. Zoe Lofgren D A
17. Sam Farr D P
18. Dennis Cardoza D Rancher, Sm. bus. owner
19. George Radanovich R Banker, Vineyard owner
20. Jim Costa D Rancher
21. Devin Nunes R Farmer
22. Kevin McCarthy R Sm. bus. owner
23. Lois Capps D Nurse, College Professor
24. Elton Gallegly R Real Estate Banker
25. Howard McKeon R Bank Exec
26. David Dreier R Real Estate exec
27. Brad Sherman D A, Accountant
28. Howard Berman D A
29. Adam Schiff D A
30. Henry Waxman D A
31. Xavier Becerra D A
32. open until July, 2009
33. Diane Watson D Psychologist, College Administrator
34. Lucille Roybal-Allard D Public Relations Officer
35. Maxine Waters D Teacher
36. Jane Harman D A, P
37. Laura Richardson D Printing Exec
38. Grace Napolitano D Automotive Exec
39. Linda Sanchez D A
40. Edward R. Royce R Tax Consultant
41. Jerry Lewis R Insurance Broker
42. Gary Miller R Real Estate Exec
43. Joe Baca D Public Relations Officer, Travel Agency owner
44. Ken Calvert R Sm. bus. owner, Real Estate Agent
45. Mary Bono Mack R Sm. bus. owner
47. Loretta Sanchez D Financial Analyst
48. John B. T. Campbell III R Accountant, Auto Dealer
49. Darrell Issa R Electronics Exec
50. Brian Bilbray R Tax Consultant
51. Bob Filner D College Professor
52. Duncan D. Hunter R Military
53. Susan Davis D Social worker
S. Dianne Feinstein D P
S. Barbara Boxwer D Journalist

As you can see, none of these members listed come from "ordinary" jobs, and few, if any, from jobs paying below median household income. Government by the upper class for the upper class, you say? We shall see. Part II (soon to come) will feature the states of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, and Illinois.