GUEST COMMENTARY: The Law of the Sea treaty will sink America’s economy.


The Law of the Sea treaty will sink America’s economy.

Guest Commentary By: Senator Orrin Hatch and Senator John Cornyn

 

Americans despise taxes.  After all, one of the key issues that paved the way for the American Revolution was the unfair taxation that King George III levied against the Colonies.

Now some in the US Senate want to say yes to an international tax.  It would be the first time in history that an international organization would possess taxing authority, and it would amount to billions of American dollars being transferred out of the US Treasury.

The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, or the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) is the vehicle through which such taxes would be imposed on U.S.-based commercial enterprises.

The treaty that Reagan refused to sign in 1982 is reappearing once again in the Senate.  The truth is, LOST contains numerous provisions that hurt the U.S. economy at a time when we need more jobs – not fewer.

Under the guise of being for “the good of mankind, ” LOST would obligate the United States to share information and technology in what amounts to global taxes and technology transfer requirements that are really nothing more than an attempt to redistribute U.S. wealth to the Third World.

At the center of these taxes and transfers is the International Seabed Authority (ISA), a Kingston, Jamaica based supra-national governing body established by the treaty for the purpose of redistributing cash and technology from the “developed world” to the “developing world.”

Ceding authority to the ISA would mean that the sovereignty currently held by the U.S. over the natural resources located on large parts of the continental shelf would be lost.  That loss would mean lost revenue for the US government in the form of lost royalties that the U.S. government collects from the production of those resources. According to the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf Task Force, which is currently mapping the continental shelf, the resources there “may be worth billions if not trillions” of dollars.

In case proponents of LOST have not noticed, the US is over $15 trillion in debt, and we still have more than 20 million Americans who can’t find a job. The last thing we need to do redistribute funds from our country to our economic and strategic competitors.

To make matters worse, the US would have no control over how or to whom the taxes and technology would be redistributed.

Undoubtedly funds that rightfully belong to the American taxpayer would be sent to corrupt governmental regimes, make dictators wealthier, and could even be used for activities directed against the United States and our interests.

Under the treaty, the transfer of these funds does not end with nation states.  These royalty revenues would even be extended to “peoples who have not attained full independence or other self-governing status.”  That means groups like the Palestinian Authority and potentially other groups with terrorist ties.

Proponents of the treaty will claim that the technology transfer portion of the treaty has been significantly changed.  In truth, nations with mining and resource recovery technologies like the United States will be obligated to share those technologies with Third World competitors, and that is one of the many issues, which trouble those of us opposed to the treaty.

In other words, US companies would be forced to give away the very types of innovation that historically have made our nation a world leader while fueling our economic engine.

Under the best of US economic circumstances, the Senate should say no to such an egregious breach of the trust Americans have placed in us. Our current economic struggles are all the more reason to say no to a treaty that is all cost and no benefit.

Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch is the ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee. Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn is a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee.

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House passes GOP 2012 budget plan


On Friday, the House Republicans won a  near unanimous passage of the 2012 Budget, 235-193, a proposal to slash nearly $6 trillion over the next decade. All but 4 GOP lawmakers backed the plan.

The plan, presented by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would cut $6.2 “T”rillion of dollars in spending and change Medicare and Medicaid programs- more than likely utilization of block granting and attempting to privatize the 2 entitlement programs with vouchers over the next 10 years.

Also, the 2012 budget plan would cut federal workforce by 10 percent and set a binding cap on total spending as a percentage of the economy.

Additionally, the 2012 budget  plan credits the fiscal commission with identifying ways to save on discretionary spending, including cutting corporate tax breaks, overhauling how the government manages real estate assets, and reducing the federal auto fleet by 20 percent.

Even though this budget has a slim chance of passing the Senate, it is commendable to see the Republicans put forth the effort to draft and pass a budget bill, something that House Democrats didn’t even bother with in 2010 (which is why we were being strung along for the past 4 months on Continuing Resolution after Continuing Resolution.)

House Majority Whip, Kevin McCarthy credited the success to an inclusive process, saying the budget was the first bill of the new Republican majority in which leaders were able to listen to members and incorporate their views.

Given the fact, that the Democrats feel that we can be taxed out of  a recession (in comparison, to the Republicans who feel that we can cut wasteful and abusive current spending to dig our way out and in which, I concur)- I  feel that this budget bill will be dead on arrival in the Senate as there are two very different ideologies at play.

However, the fact that the Republicans pushed a bill through the House not only sets spending guidelines for the future but also shows the American People that the Republicans are willing to make the hard cuts in order to ensure financial security for our children.

Now the ball is in the Democrats court.  Let’s see how they propose to get us out of this financial crisis.

Considering they havent given us a true solution with accurate analysis in over a year this will prove to be interesting.

Note to the Senate Democrats: Instead of being LAZY and taxing higher income brackets- let’s get to work and find ways to eliminate abusive and fraudulent practices in Medicare, Medicaid and Welfare so that we can reduce our funding and pay down our debt so that our children can live a life better than what we were given.

To read the GOP “Path to Prosperity” 2012 budget plan, please visit: http://budget.house.gov/UploadedFiles/PathToProsperityFY2012.pdf

Copyright (c) April 17, 2011. All rights reserved.

Published in: on April 17, 2011 at 12:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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ATTN MILITARY- SB 724 has garnished 61 votes (list inside) allowing military to get paid despite a govt shtudown.


ATTN MILITARY- From what I understand we have garnished enough Senatorial votes needed to pass SB 724 that will entitle military members and defense contractors to get paid.

A similar bill is being pushed through the House. Will keep you updated as it develops. ♥

Here are the cosponsors of SB 724, please call their office and thank them.

For my Floridian friends, please note that Senator Bill Nelson (Democrat) is NOT on the list and vote accordingly come 2012.

However, Senator Marco Rubio has supported this legislation so a big THANK YOU goes out to Senator Rubio.

Is YOUR Senator on the list?

Sen. Alexander, Lamar [R-TN]
Sen. Ayotte, Kelly [R-NH]
Sen. Barrasso, John [R-WY]
Sen. Baucus, Max [D-MT]
Sen. Bennet, Michael [D-CO]
Sen. Bingaman, Jeff [D-NM]
Sen. Blumenthal, Richard [D-CT]
Sen. Blunt, Roy [R-MO]
Sen. Boozman, John [R-AR]
Sen. Brown, Scott [R-MA]
Sen. Burr, Richard [R-NC]
Sen. Casey, Robert P., Jr. [D-PA]
Sen. Chambliss, Saxby [R-GA]
Sen. Coats, Daniel [R-IN]
Sen. Collins, Susan M. [R-ME]
Sen. Corker, Bob [R-TN]
Sen. Cornyn, John [R-TX]
Sen. Crapo, Mike [R-ID]
Sen. DeMint, Jim [R-SC]
Sen. Durbin, Richard [D-IL]
Sen. Ensign, John [R-NV]
Sen. Enzi, Michael B. [R-WY]
Sen. Graham, Lindsey [R-SC]
Sen. Grassley, Chuck [R-IA]
Sen. Hagan, Kay [D-NC]
Sen. Hatch, Orrin G. [R-UT]
Sen. Hoeven, John [R-ND]
Sen. Inhofe, James M. [R-OK]
Sen. Isakson, Johnny [R-GA]
Sen. Johanns, Mike [R-NE]
Sen. Johnson, Tim [D-SD]
Sen. Johnson, Ron [R-WI]
Sen. Kirk, Mark [R-IL]
Sen. Klobuchar, Amy [D-MN]
Sen. Kyl, Jon [R-AZ]
Sen. Lee, Mike [R-UT]
Sen. Lieberman, Joe [ID-CT]
Sen. Lugar, Richard [R-IN]
Sen. Manchin, Joe [D-WV]
Sen. McConnell, Mitch [R-KY]
Sen. Moran, Jerry [R-KS]
Sen. Murkowski, Lisa [R-AK]
Sen. Portman, Rob [R-OH]
Sen. Pryor, Mark [D-AR]
Sen. Risch, James E. [R-ID]
Sen. Roberts, Pat [R-KS]
Sen. Rockefeller, Jay [D-WV]
Sen. Rubio, Marco [R-FL]
Sen. Sessions, Jeff [R-AL]
Sen. Shelby, Richard [R-AL]
Sen. Snowe, Olympia J. [R-ME]
Sen. Stabenow, Debbie [D-MI]
Sen. Tester, John [D-MT]
Sen. Thune, John [R-SD]
Sen. Toomey, Pat [R-PA]
Sen. Udall, Mark [D-CO]
Sen. Udall, Tom [D-NM]
Sen. Vitter, David [R-LA]
Sen. Warner, Mark [D-VA]

Attached is SB 724, if you want to read it in its entirety.

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s112-724

 

Senate rejected House Budget Cut of $57 Billion.


Senators voted largely along party lines Wednesday afternoon to reject a House-passed proposal to cut an additional $57 billion in federal spending this year.

The vote was 44 to 56. All Democrats, and two independents who caucus with the Democrats, voted against it. Republican Senators Mike Lee , Jim DeMint and Rand Paul also voted against it.

The controversial legislation would have eliminated funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Planned Parenthood and would have made steep cuts to the women, infants, children nutrition program,  job training programs and ethanol production.

Meanwhile, House GOP leaders have begun behind-the-scenes negotiations on another short-term stopgap spending measure to keep the government operating beyond March 18 with House Republican leaders taking some the $6.2 billion in cuts Senate Democrats included in the alternative package they put on the floor this week.

Very clever from a strategic standpoint as it would be difficult for Democrats to vote against a short-term continuing resolution that includes the cuts they’ve proposed.

Democratic leaders, however, will insist on passing a long-term continuing resolution so they can concentrate on other legislative priorities, such as energy legislation and their jobs agenda.

“I don’t like this death by a thousand cuts but I also don’t want a government shutdown,” Senator Barbara Mikulski said last week.

If the Democrats dont want a government shut down nor want “death by a thousand cuts”- then why dont they quit their crying and buckle up and take a serious hack at the budget?

They need to use the $100 billions of govt waste that the GAO just found (read more: https://theheartofamerica.wordpress.com/2011/03/01/sound-off-34-major-areas-of-wasteful-spending-found/) as a starting guide and then throw on the cutting of the REAL ID Act that ranks in at $11 billion, for good measure.

That’s $111 billion start, right there.

Unfortuantely, the Democrats have only been able to must up $6 billion in cuts and even then, they will not reveal any of the details.

Much like the healthcare bill, we will have to vote on the cuts to find out what is in them.

Sigh. Is it 2012 yet?

Copyright (c) March 9, 2011. All rights reserved.

2011 Defense Spending was cut $26 billion.


For the Pentagon, Senate appropriators’ 2011 defense spending measure is a mixed bag.

The long-awaited bill grants defense officials’ wishes by zeroing funds for the F35 alternative engine they do not want, but it misses their funding target by $26 billion,  proposing to give the Defense Department $514 billion in its base budget.

That level likely will not please Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who has said the Pentagon needs at least $540 billion for its 2011 base budget.

Congress has yet to pass a full defense spending measure for 2011 and instead passed a year long continuing resolution (CR) that contains a $526 billion defense bill, $14 billion under what defense leaders say is sufficient.

A large chunk of the Senate appropriators’ cuts were “taken mainly in savings identified due to revised economic assumptions and a freeze in civilian pay,” according to a Senate Appropriations Committee summary of the bill.

The summary noted despite being $26 billion lower than the Pentagon desires, it fully funds military healthcare and a pay raise for U.S. troops.

While the Senate and Pentagon are $26 billion apart, they are in agreement about an alternate engine program for the F-35 fighter. In a dramatic floor vote last month, the House slashed $450 million for the engine program during consideration of its full-year CR.

Like the House’s defense measure, the Senate appropriators included $157.8 billion to pay for the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts.

The Senate summary also highlights several areas where senators disagree with the House defense measure under a section titled “irresponsible cuts,” including nuclear weapons modernization and economic assistance for Iraq and Afghanistan.

On the former, the Senate summary states the House’s proposal to cut $312 million from the Pentagon spending plan “would have put at risk the United States’ ability to begin much needed investments in rebuilding our aging nuclear weapons infrastructure and meet the highest priority goals laid out in the Nuclear Posture Review.”

On the latter, the Senate appropriators say a House-passed 28 percent cut to the administration’s “Economic Support Fund” request would “cripple efforts to stabilize Afghanistan and transition responsibility for U.S. operations in Iraq from the military to civilians.”

Perhaps instead of taking money away from our national defense, we should have taken a hard look at Welfare/Medicaid (two programs that were left completely untouched) and see what we could have saved within those programs.

Looks like our military will have to get creative. God bless them.

Copyright (c) March 6, 2011. All rights reserved.

WI Democratic Senators under arrest for theft & fraudulent use of tax dollars.


Wisconsin’s Senate Republicans have voted to order police to bring their AWOL Democratic colleagues back to work by force if they don’t return by late afternoon.

The 14 Democratic senators deflected on their job responsibilities and ran across state borders to Illinois two weeks ago to prevent a quorum and block pass of the bill for Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to balance the state budget by taking away Union’s collective bargaining rights. The Unions pay is not under contention nor has any Union workers would lose their job under this measure.

These Democratic senators should step down. Even though they are in the minority, the balance of their Senate was elected by the people. A group of senators should not be allowed to run away and hole up across state borders in an attempt to delay a vote.

Not only are they not doing their job as elected to do but they are wasting the taxpayers money.

They are technically an asset of the state and they essentially stole themselves. The Democratic senators should be charged with theft and fraudulent use of tax dollars vs. the people of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Democrats will be fined $100 per day of absence.


Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate have voted to begin fining Democrats $100 for every day they’re absent without leave. The Democratic senators, who fled the state to quash a bill that would limit public-employee unions, say the threat of a fine won’t sway them.

With Wisconsin Senate Democrats staying in Illinois to prevent a vote on a bill curbing collective bargaining rights, Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is turning up the pressure.

Fitzgerald and the Republicans will begin imposing fines of $100 a day Friday on members who are absent without leave.

“This majority is trying to compel those senators to come back and do their job,” Fitzgerald said.

Republicans have also taken away parking spaces and photocopying privileges from the Democrats’ staff.

Democratic Minority Leader Mark Miller calls the moves petty, and school-yard bully tactics. He added that his caucus would come back in a minute, if Republicans would only compromise.

Wait a minute, who s being petty? The Democratic Senators ran across state lines in an effort to stall the vote.

Congratulations to the Wisconsin Republicans for using all means necessary to bring them back so they can do their job that they were elected to do.

Copyright (c) March 2, 2011. All rights reserved.

2 Week Continuing Resolution. Spending and earmark cuts inside.


The House Appropriations Committee  unveiled a short term Continuing Resolution (CR) to provide funds to keep the government operating over the next two weeks until a compromise can be reached on a year-long funding bill.

The CR, which includes $4 billion in spending reductions, will prevent a government-wide shut down that would occur on March 4th – if no agreement between the House, Senate and White House is reached on a longer-term funding bill.

The CR contains funding to allow all government agencies and programs to continue operating at the current level of spending for the next two weeks, until March 18, 2011, except for several programs that will be terminated or cut. (See below).

A statement from Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers,

“A government shutdown would halt critical and necessary services and programs that Americans across the country rely on, and it is not reflective of the kind of leadership that the American people expect or deserve of their representatives in Congress. While I would have greatly preferred that the Senate act on the hard-fought and thoughtfully crafted funding legislation that the House passed last week – which saves the taxpayers $100 billion compared to the President’s request – it is clear that more time is needed. This short term, two week CR will provide more time, while cutting $4 billion in spending as a symbol of our continued commitment to getting our nation’s fiscal house in order.

“It is my hope that this CR can be passed quickly in the next week and that the President will sign it before the March 4th deadline. It is also my hope that it will garner broad support, given the short timeframe for action and given that these spending cuts have been previously supported in a bipartisan way by Members of the House and Senate, as well as the White House. It is critically important that we do what the Democrat majority failed to do – complete the budget process, pass funding bills in an open and transparent fashion, reduce spending to rein in our deficits and debt, and do this all on time so that we avoid these budget uncertainties in the future.”

A summary of the $4 billion in cuts included in the two week, short term CR follows:

Program Cuts/Terminations:

This CR terminates funding for eight programs. These terminations include:

• Election Assistance Grants = -$75 million. This termination was requested in the President’s budget request. The states have yet to spend large amounts of funding provided by this program, and both the House and Senate proposed eliminating the program last year.

• Broadband Direct Loan Subsidy (U.S. Department of Agriculture) = -$29 million. No funds were requested for this program in the President’s budget request. This program is duplicative of several other federal programs, and the Agriculture Inspector General has uncovered abuses and inconsistencies in the program as well as a lack of focus on the rural communities it is intended to serve.

• Smithsonian Institution Legacy Fund = -$30 million. No funds were requested for this program in the President’s budget request. The Legacy Fund was intended as a one-time only appropriation for revitalization of the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building. Sufficient private contributions were raised and the Legacy Fund monies were released in December, 2010.

• Striving Readers program (U.S. Department of Education) = -$250 million. This termination was requested in the President’s budget request. This program has a large amount of unused funds, and is essentially duplicative of the Title 1 program that provides $14 billion annually in reading assistance to at-risk students.

• LEAP program (U.S Department of Education) = -$64 million. This termination was requested in the President’s budget request. This program has accomplished its original objective of “stimulating” all states to establish need-based student grant programs, and federal aid is no longer required.

• Even Start (U.S. Department of Education) = -$66 million. This termination was requested in the President’s budget request. Three national evaluations have found that participants in this program make no greater literacy gains than non-participants. The Office of Management and Budget has identified this program as “ineffective.”

• Smaller Learning Communities (U.S. Department of Education) = -$88 million. This termination was requested in the President’s budget request. Both governmental and non-governmental research has shown no evidence that creating smaller learning communities within high schools makes a difference in academic achievement.

• Highways – Additional General Fund spending (Federal Highways Administration) = -$650 million. No funds were requested for this use in the President’s budget request. This one-time, non-recurring funding addition was provided in fiscal year 2010 and distributed to all States through the existing, authorized highway formula. Removing these funds will have no impact on the authorized, mandatory side of the highway program and its limitation of obligations.

TOTAL Terminations Savings = $1.24 billion

Earmark Terminations:

The CR eliminates funding that was made available in fiscal year 2010 that would have gone to earmarked programs and projects. These earmark cuts include:

Energy and Water

-$56 million – Army Corps of Engineers, Investigations
-$341million – Army Corps of Engineers, Construction
-$80 million – Army Corps of Engineers, Mississippi River
-$39 million – Army Corps of Engineers, Operations and Maintenance
-$38 million – Bureau of Reclamation, Water and Related Resources
-$292 million – Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
-$13 million – Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability
-$3 million – Nuclear Energy Research and Development activities
-$37 million – Fossil Energy Research
-$77 million – Office of Science – science research
-$4 million – Defense Environmental Cleanup
-$3 million – Other Defense Activities
-$13 million – National Nuclear Security Administration – Office of the Administrator
-$0.3 million – Nuclear Nonproliferation – equipment upgrades

Homeland Security

-$1 million – DHS Undersecretary for Management – logistics training
-$1 million – Customs and Border Patrol Salaries and Expenses – solar powered batteries program
-$43 million – Customs and Border Patrol Construction – facility construction projects
-$1 million – Transportation Security Administration – National “Safe Skies” Alliance
-$4 million – Coast Guard Operations and Expenses – Operations System Center
-$17 million – Coast Guard Acquisition, Construction, and Improvements – shore construction projects
-$4 million – Coast Guard – alteration of bridges
-$20 million – National Programs and Protection Directorate – cyber-security and infrastructure projects
-$5 million – Office of Health Affairs – bio-preparedness
-$103 million – FEMA State and Local Programs – university and emergency operations center grants
-$25 million – FEMA Pre-disaster Mitigation Grants
-$41 million – Science and Technology – research projects

Labor, HHS, Education

-$49 million – Training and Employment Services
-$1 million – Mine Safety and Health Administration
-$40 million – Labor Department, Salaries and Expenses
-$397 million – Health Resources and Services
-$21 million – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
-$15 million – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
-$3 million – CMS, program management
-$21 million – Children and Families Services program
-$1 million – Child Care Development Block Grant
-$6 million – Administration on Aging
-$2 million – HHS Office of the Secretary, departmental management
-$5 million – School Improvement Programs
-$229 million – Department of Education – Innovation and Improvement
-$32 million – Safe Schools and Citizenship Education
-$22 million – Special Education
-$5 million Rehabilitation Services and Disability Research
-$129 million – Higher Education
-$16 million – Institute of Museum and Library Services

Legislative Branch

-$0.2 million – Library of Congress Salaries and Expenses – digitalization program

Transportation, Housing and Urban Development

-$22 million – HUD Neighborhood Initiatives
-$173 million – HUD Economic Development Initiative
-$293 million – Surface Transportation priorities
-$25 million – Rail Line Relocation

TOTAL Earmark Savings = $2.7 billion

TOTAL CR Spending Cuts = $4.01 billion

Note: This CR legislation is scheduled to be on the House floor today.

For a copy of the bill text, please visit http://rules.house.gov/Media/file/PDF_112_1/legislativetext/March-18-CR_xml.pdf.

Life on the Run for Democrats in Union Fights


Life on the Run for Democrats in Union Fights

Guest Commentary provided by: Monica Davey

At first it was unsettling: the essentials were forgotten — extra slacks, socks, even underwear — in a last-minute race to get south of the state line. But gradually the lawmakers restocked, thanks to packages delivered by family members and trips to discount stores.

And while they seem to be adjusting to the rhythms of life on the lam, they are still trying to come to grips with being part of a sudden Democratic diaspora that everyone knows about but that the lawmakers themselves do not want to reveal. Speaking by telephone, many of them will say merely that they are staying “somewhere in northern Illinois,” in hotels or homes or something else, together or separately or both.

(HoA’s cross post for more information on “the exact location of the hiding Democratic Senators”: https://theheartofamerica.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/o-where-o-where-have-the-democrats-gone-o-where-o-where-could-they-be-answer-inside/)

“It all feels very spylike,” said Senator Chris Larson, who managed to get a belt from his Milwaukee-area home with help from a friend who met him in a parking lot. “It’s almost like a reality TV show,” Mr. Larson said, ticking off some in the melting pot of personalities who find themselves together — a lot: a pregnant mother, a dairy farmer, an urban senator, a lawmaker who was first elected in 1956, and Mr. Larson himself, who took office less than two months ago.

As battles over limits to public-sector unions and collective-bargaining rights erupted in capitals in Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio, Illinois suddenly found itself as the refuge of choice for outnumbered Democrats fleeing their states to block the passage of such bills.

By Wednesday evening, most of Indiana’s 40 Democratic state representatives were living in rooms (“plain but all we need,” in the words of one) at the Comfort Suites in Urbana, Ill., about 100 miles west of the state Capitol in Indianapolis. Wisconsin’s Senate Democrats were preparing to mark their first full week, on Thursday.

Republican leaders left behind in the various Capitols fumed, but Gov. Patrick J. Quinn of Illinois seemed to delight in the new arrivals, some of whom said Mr. Quinn, a Democrat, had telephoned them to offer his personal welcome. “We believe in hospitality and tourism and being friendly,” Mr. Quinn said on Wednesday, quickly adding, “I also believe in unions.”

The main reason Illinois was suddenly a magnet for vanishing lawmakers was a matter of geography. From both Wisconsin and Indiana, getting over the Illinois line before state law enforcement authorities might be able to find them and haul them back to their stately chambers was a matter of a few hours by car.

Still, the state seemed a fitting getaway. As Republicans seized control in a number of Midwestern capitals in November, Illinois was one of the few where Democrats held on to theirs.

“It seems like very friendly territory,” said State Representative Win Moses, 68, one of the Indiana Democrats who say they have been meeting in a hotel conference room, working on business as usual (so far, they have drawn up 105 amendments to the Republicans’ proposed state budget), dining at the Cracker Barrel, and waiting for some sign from Indianapolis that efforts to limit unions will be dropped.

The theory of these lawmakers from Indiana was the same as those from Wisconsin: the only way to slow bills to which they were opposed was to leave, since Democrats control only 40 of the 100 seats in Indiana’s House, but a bill cannot pass without 67 representatives present.

“It was time to do something different, so I went and got my clothes,” Mr. Moses said. In the case of the Indiana crew, they openly divulged their location only hours after disappearing from the Statehouse. The way they understood it, the Indiana law enforcement authorities could not follow them over the line anyway, so why bother keeping secrets?

The legislators from Wisconsin have been far more cryptic. Some said they had received threatening e-mails and phone messages, and a comment on one newspaper Web site read, “Looks like I need to go hunting south of the border,” Mr. Larson recalled.

Not long ago, a handful of people who said they were Tea Party members turned up in a regular meeting spot at which the senators had come to gather, taking photographs of the senators’ cars. They would not, Mr. Larson said, return to that location (wherever it was).

For many, days look like this: wake up, talk on the phone with the other senators, call your Madison office, talk on the phone with the other senators, handle constituents’ e-mails and calls, talk on the phone with the other senators. Food has often been room service.

The 14 secretly gathered last Thursday morning in Madison, hours before a floor vote was to take place, and agreed to disappear — a move no one could remember having seen before. Standing in a circle, they sealed the plan, all putting their hands in like a sports team.

For now, these senators say, most people from their home districts still seem supportive, and their families, if confused as the days dragged on, still seemed patient.

But pressure is mounting: Those left in Madison this week, supporters of Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to limit collective bargaining and cut benefits, agreed to a brand new rule about paychecks. Direct deposits to senators’ bank accounts are now barred for anyone who misses two or more days of the legislative session. Those who wish to be paid their salary must collect their checks in person, on the Senate floor.

“I really miss my kids, and I’m going to have to find a Laundromat soon, said Mr. Erpenbach, who is living, he says, out of a duffel and a backpack. “But I can deal with this. When we come home is up to the governor.”

In which, Heart of America’s CEO, Denise Haywald replies to Mr. Erpenback.  If you really misses your kids and you want to get your laundry cleaned for free while enjoying the comforts of home- come back to your town and go to work. That is what people are expecting of you. Governor Scott Walker is not at fault here, you were the one who decided to cross state lines and run away from your civic duty that you were elected to do. You have nobody to blame here but yourself. Come home and get back to work or run the risk of losing your job and possibly getting fined for being awol.

Copyright (c) February 24, 2011. All rights reserved.

Democrats lackluster attempt at supporting the Egyptian Pro-Democracy Demonstrators


Rep. Jim Moran and five other Democratic House members will send a letter to House Speaker John Boehner on Monday asking for an emergency resolution to stress support for Egyptian pro-democracy demonstrators.

“In view of the tragic violence unfolding in Egypt, we write to request that the House take up an emergency resolution in support of the Egyptian people and their struggle for freedom and democracy as soon as possible upon returning to session,” the letter says.

“Congress can and should send a strong message calling on the Egyptian government to immediately halt any aggression against the Egyptian people by forces aligned with their regime.”

“It has become clear the Mubarak regime has exhausted its credibility and done irreparable harm to its relationship to the Egyptian people. Therefore, now is the time for Congress to help amplify President Obama’s message calling on President Mubarak to respond to the urgent and legitimate demands of the Egyptian people.”

The House has not yet passed a resolution pertaining to massive protests against the Mubarak regime that have swept across Egypt over the past 11 days. The Senate passed a resolution late Thursday night that called on Mubarak to take steps to transition to a democratic government.

While I appreciate the sentiment, I feel that just passing a mere resolution showing supporting pro democracy is meaningless. Especially when the President refuses to come out and take  a side on the Egyptian conflict.

It would be one thing if Mubarack took the US’s advice but it appears that instead he is doing the exact opposite.

The Egyptians People are at a point where they cannot back down from their stance. They are “pot committed” in the poker game of Freedom.  They cannot back down now and the word on the street is that they wont.

While I do not feel that we should come straight out and discard Mubarack- as he has been an ally of ours for 30 years. It is imperative that we work with him to help him with transiting quickly before any further turmoil occurs.

While the Democratic resolution of support for the Egyptians is appreciated, it lacks any strength or backbone. If we are going to take sides- we need to truly take sides and pass a resolution stating that if the Egyptian government does not quickly transition by April 2011, the US will start progressively reducing foreign aid to Egypt.

If not, then we end up getting involved in a quickly escalating tension and irritating both sides of the fight with our lackluster response.

Copyright (c) February 5, 2011. All rights reserved.