10.03.2013

The President, The Congress, The Shut Down and You



Article by: Scott Hall (scotthall.cnj@gmail.com)
            Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free;  The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, Tempest-tossed to me I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
            These are the opening lyrics to the Statue of Liberty song, and though due to the shutdown of sections of our Federal Government, the link at the end of this article may or may not work, the words being spoken once reflected what the United States people and government once stood proud to defend and uphold; now, because it is a national park, it may suffer not letting anyone in, doubtful this will stop the millions who pass by to wave and reflect upon how proud or happy they may be to live in a land that has many freedoms.  These freedoms were never truly free as with each freedom or right, usually barbaric or violent unrest ensues as do protests and angry outcries then finally change due to enough people coming out to vote and to spin a wheel of chance, that the next or incumbent person will do a better job.  The Fe
Bill Clinton
Cover of Bill Clinton
deral Government for the “first” time in 17 years has shut its doors due to budget and spending unrest and includes a great divide of opinion as to whether or not a health care law is worth the money.  The word first of course is in parenthesis only because the “last” time in history it happened was during Bill Clinton’s term and it was with one Newt Gingrich and over, you guessed it, spending and budget woes. How can we be sure our tax dollars are being used wisely, who is making these laws and allowing this spending, why are we closing national parks rather than cutting pay and refunding necessary iconic outlets in our great country, the answer is right in front of us, known as Capitol Hill, aka, the White House.  As part of their budget, those elected officials who hold those seats collectively get paid per annum, a sum of $93,090,000.  This money is collected in tax and other avenues from the American people and others countries around the world.  Then we have to fund the army, civilian workers and other
English: Newt Gingrich at a political conferen...
English: Newt Gingrich at a political conference in Orlando, Florida. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
branches such as National Parks and Monuments with the rest of the avenues for revenue including things like Trade and Exporting Goods (like corn, but don’t even get me started on that fake stuff) any way we look at it, we HAVE to pay our bills in order to function, as it were, on the federal level.  We find several questions erupting as to the wisdom (or lack thereof) in our current house and senate seats and maybe it includes the presidential stance; in any case, this author decided to investigate and go back in time to see why this decision is either bad or good and what potentially each section of the executives in Washington may want to consider, starting with learning to compromise, meaning sit down, shut up and listen and that goes for both sides of the aisle.  Now, with truth glasses in hand, let us dip into political mayhem.
First Challenges, First Congress
      
United States Capitol
United States Capitol (Photo credit: Jack in DC)
      The era was 1789-1791, not long after the revolutionary war, the leaders of that time knew that without a congress (a gathering of brilliant minds) to help bring order in their new homes, chaos and confusion would abound, but this Congress had a huge responsibility, it’s main focus was, would the war be worth it or not, a success or fail on the aftermath of winning their “freedom” from being taxed on certain goods in an unfair manner, those efforts now before them.  Not a single seat was filled with a female in the First Federal Congress and a few died and had special elections to have their seats filled.  Names you will not find listed here are: George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton or any infamous name known in US History, none of them listed as either a senator or house representative member.  What they had to do: to debate and decide to compromise - on what was best for a growing and “birth” of a noble nation, noting specifically that on the initial roster, neither the word “Democrat” nor “Republican” nor even “Tea Party” or “Independent” being listed.  The first order of action, to declare that a Congress exists and where they should gather, it is this point that is crucial, because this congress formed itself it would also have to form the office of the President and early executive branch as well as establish their powers and other items necessary to form a method of governing the earliest of years for the United States, remember there were only 13 states in the original founding of this nation.
            In essence, the first congress had to decide to form a congress, vote on it, and then pass it themselves as there wasn’t a formal “President” to sign it into law, only them.  Along with this decision, they had to establish a way to raise revenue to pay those who helped them gain this opportunity and occupy those seats and had to pay the debts of the war from monies used to fund it as well as other early functions.  The stage was set and as the delegates headed to New York to start their work, they received a splendid send off and lots of anticipation of great things to be done was in the air, this via news papers and word of mouth. Senator Morris wrote these words in a letter during that delegation period:
            “public expectation seems to be so highly wound up that I think disappointment must inevitably follow after a while, notwithstanding that I believe there will be inclination and abilities in the two houses to do everything that reasonable and sensible men can promise to themselves, but you know well how impossible it is for public measures to keep pace with the sanguine desires of the interested, the ignorant, and the inconsiderate parts of the community.”
            Many thanks to the Cornell Library for allowing viewing of that very letter, a respectable staple in our history, showing the nervousness of being able to satisfy everyone’s needs while providing an avenue for growth, resources, revenues and most importantly, respect for this very young nation, huge pressure to get the job done.  The gathering and debating were not settled in New York alone, Philadelphia had a large part in the early debates as to where the initial Congress or the First Federal Congress should meet, hey, now that is some neat history, two “first” congress’s and each charged with shaping and reshaping our union into a strong and free country, though it was temporary, imagine if we had two congresses making decisions that both had to present to the president, I personally like the idea of options, that would be a great venture to consider.  Even in those early days news media played a part in that congress being welcomed to New York city, many mentions in the local papers of who and what appeared as well as warm welcomes, huh, and here I thought media influence was new to everyone, anyway, getting the word out was easy as again this young nation would be debating its own future and how best to make it thrive and pay their bills. Not forgetting their sworn duties, the first congress made sure to make quick work of setting up electoral votes for both the president and the vice president, establishing rules of business and who would govern these items (speaker of the house), agendas such as to assemble at least once a year, requirements of the committees and a executive framework, these early actions of course set a pace and tone for what was to come.
     Tuesday April 7, 1789 each house established its own rules of governance and how things such as notes would be delivered or handled and even debated how many persons should deliver them, committee rules as well as other protocols prevalent to their work at hand.  Each side had to establish a way to keep record of what was being said and debated and is still a part of their practice in that the Secretary of the Senate back then, Samuel A. Otis, whose records were perfectly preserved and frustrating to those who initially read them to correct them, his early work set the stage for reflection upon the historic pace for the struggles of an early economy, residence and establishing order.  Call it fate or luck, but when that Congress formed the office of the President, they pretty much knew that if George Washington were to fill the seat the first time, it would assist them with someone who could preside over their actions and buy them some time to finish up the early work of making our government function, neat eh?  One more notable note, then we will precede to modern day, a gentlemen from Virginia, one Edmund Randolph was our first Attorney General, wonder what cover ups he had to deal with during a smoldering end to an ugly war, remember we hid in bushes and did not fight conventionally which initially hurt our invaders as they were surprised by the attacks, hence “surprise attack” has a historical reference, never forget it.
            In summation form from all the bouncing around,  for our earliest First Federal Congress, they had to create jobs, settle a method on repaying for a war, establish a judiciary avenue with powers and responsibilities, establish the executive branch, establish revenue, establish a attorney general, allow for presidential elections (that were biased in favor of George Washington) and formed the makings of a Constitution that founded this nation, all this with just 66 Representatives and 29 Senators, presiding over 13 States and one section of our nation. The rest, as they say is “history” and once we open those pages of time, we learn from the best examples available and known to man, the examples of having no known 
Diagram of US Federal Government and American ...
Diagram of US Federal Government and American Union. Published: 1862, July 15. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
precedent and compromising anyway with debate and nervousness that what they decide is best for us all will always be best for us all, given adjustments to fit technology or development, let’s face up to a fact, no American is unproductive, we innovate and make things better every day, the problem is we have lost our foundation and to take a page from my own Engineering background, “no structure will stand, no matter how tall without a solid foundation”, structures are not always buildings, nor are they always about laws or governances, they apply everywhere there is an idea or a positive thought, a breakthrough or  rediscovering of truth.
 Congress now
            We are looking at the year 2013 from the year 1789, 234 years later and 113 Congress’s later and words such as filibuster, sequester, dissention, disagreement, partisan politics, party divide and shut down come into focus.  According to known, documented history our then delegates would have went to work to solve the problems and compromised while keeping the people in mind, no doubt they would be appalled at the behavior of this Congress and a few others.  Current history has shown certain members playing video poker while attending a crucial meeting involving a known global crisis, some members cheering when the shut down occurred, an inability to maintain a budget let alone pass a usable budget that prevents strain on established programs such as Medicaid, Social Security, Military Equipment and training, a debt ceiling that only grows larger by the day(and no idea how to stop it) and other items essential to the function of our nation, whether or not it should include ninety three million dollars in salary that still is paid
United States Capitol
United States Capitol (Photo credit: Jack in DC)
 when shut downs occur is debatable.  Note: There are two ways to stop the bleeding, stop the spending and pay your bills, everyone knows that the less bills you have the more money you have to put into bigger bills, so wise up you high dollar suit wearing procrastinators of our current Congress and Executive Branches, taxing people more with incentives that make only the rich richer or the poor poorer makes absolutely no sense, and with 535 potential minds sitting on their fat happy bums, make a decision - your challenges are far less overwhelming than the first congress and have a much deeper ripple effect. Sorry, had to vent, now on to why this Congress could also use a lesson in history.
            Not only in 2013 have we added women to the growing roster of persons, but this year’s Congress also includes 5 African American Women.  A Huge Ethical leap in involving equality in all aspects of governance, but still is lacking on the proper thinking on what is best for the people.  It is good to have “minority” representation in those seats, don’t misunderstand the point, wisdom and direction and pro growth have nothing to do with skin color, ethnicity or even region of origin, it has to do with the ability to listen and make sound judgments based on what is known, not summarized, not jotted down for highlights by an intern, but known.  Countless examples exist of cases where members of the executive branch were surprised to learn of certain wording included in passed legislation that actually harmed or was not known, because, according to the “experts” none of them have time to read 1000 pages of rhetoric, interesting point, the people who summarize them do, so why don’t the legislators who create them? 
            We are going to take a look at what this Congress, who convened in January of this year (2013), has managed to do, aside from the 42nd and 43rd votes on the repeal on “Obama Care”.  First up was the election of the speaker, John Boehner one of the current catalysts of struggle (Clinton vs. Gingrich), that took place in January. Next was the Electoral College count (the very next day) for the election 2012.  Then on the 20th of that month, the inauguration of President Obama, February the State of the Union Address, March a filibuster to block the nomination of a new Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, July deal reached to allow nominations to come to a vote, September the longest speech in History against the Affordable Care Act, aka, Obama Care and not a filibuster as there was no impending vote, just a really long speech, and October a shut down, these are the “major” events that have occurred in this Congress.  March was a productive month for major legislation passing, in that the Violence against Women Act was decided upon, Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act was handled, Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act (Federal Budget stuff) was handled and the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act was handled.  Proposed items include the 2014 Federal Budget, Market Place Fairness Act which is also known as the internet tax, the house version of the farm bill (agriculture department), the immigration bill, and veteran’s affairs got a mention as well as the energy and homeland security departments.
            Just for a moment, let’s reflect back to history, when there were no precedents.  Some of these items have precedents so re-voting them back into action or deciding to allow them to continue should be somewhat “routine” in fact, most of those items that passed were voted on and decided in one day even given for adjustments to fit a modern day lingo or application, done in a day.  This does not include the countless measures and HR or S entries that are discussed allegedly every day, items like energy, global warming, silver plated hammers, laws that are implemented across the land to the tune of 300 (yes they do pass laws per session) or more per session not including those proposed to upwards of 1000 or so mentions, hearings on committee items and lots of other vastly unknown publicly items, things like that are decided daily, however, when it comes to select items, a shutdown is mandated, the side effect to Congress, no more dining in an in house restaurant, its paid for with the closed money.  50 states worth of citizens to consider, tons of avenues for communication including some hacked blackberry phones and candid shots (no reasonable expectation of privacy eh Senator) and here we are at shutdown.
            As an example of what a few of these new laws are, here are some to review for your enjoyment, items marked with an S are Senate public laws and HR of course is the house:
            An act to designate the United States courthouse under construction at 98 West First Street, Yuma, Arizona, as the ‘‘John M. Roll United States Courthouse’’. Approved Feb. 17, 2011. Public Law 112–2. – S
            An act to clarify the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior with respect to the C.C. Cragin Dam and Reservoir, and for other purposes. Approved Nov. 7, 2011. Public Law 112–45. – HR
            An act to amend the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act to extend the termination date for the Commission, and for other purposes. Approved May 12, 2011. Public Law 112–13. – HR
            An act to prevent abuse of Government charge cards. Approved Oct. 5, 2012. Public Law 112–194. – S
            Keep in mind, historically our Ancestors had a deeper gap to bridge and lots more issues than preventing the abuse of government charge cards, um hello responsible spending ring a bell, of course not, it is why we need to raise our debt ceiling, someone is abusing those charge cards.  This research is elementary, using known items such as recording all sessions, it was easy to uncover loads of this same type of information, by the way, these same online items are available in hard back form at the house or senate libraries, the electronic age mandated that the secretary make these items available online, hey anonymous, you reading this, there is a fresh website for you to DDOS, who knows you might learn a bit in the process about true freedom.  Okay, enough demonstrating the lack of wisdom in our Congress, if only there were someone to preside over them, to keep an eye on things so that no bologna comes out and the people are kept in mind, hey, I got it, we need a PRESIDENT.  A person of integrity, of natural born citizenry who isn’t too old and knows constitutional laws as well as political savvy, including a bit of accounting sense, we have only seen glimpses of this type of person, never anyone who has done the job efficiently or without error in judgment. 
Mister President
            One of the most stressful jobs in the world is the President of the United States, I specifically say one of them as every world leader, whether in developed countries or not, are faced with many of the same questions we all have and each decides what is right in their own way, granted success depends on the nation and resources and intricate thinking, I firmly believe in the power of people, but without resources in general people would be stuck.  George Washington, according to history was the obvious choice, what the people didn’t know is Washington himself longed to be in his cozy home in Mount Vernon, being a participant in the earliest fighting in the French and Indian War to the Revolutionary battles where Cornwallis surrendered, Washington had seen the Articles of Confederation waiver and begin to fail, and nonetheless accepted the office and retired after two terms, only to enjoy a short period after before dying of a throat infection.  In those days, Alexander Hamilton was in charge of the Treasury and Thomas Jefferson was the Secretary of State, each weighed pressure on Washington during the French and English skirmish, Washington refused to give in to either, instead turning to a neutral path and in his goodbye speech, warned of long term alliances with foreign allies, foreign policy was his own forte. 
            Today, in 2013 though soundly re-elected, President Obama, according to some, is the most debated and scrutinized President in History.  Starting with the Birth Certificate show down and leading up to the eventual arming and killing of Libya’s Dictator and the HUGE Risk in finding and killing Osama Bin Laden, this current President has been faced with large amounts of economic unrest, the failed knowledge background is most of them started 2 full years before his (Obama) own beginning, our country sagged in revenue and the housing industry buckled, jobs fell, lots of infrastructure went haywire, bailouts that drove debt into our grandchildren’s work life and a host of items that turns all president’s hair grey long before their bodies catch up. 
            Amongst the duties established and performed in the office of president are, giving the state of the union address (this is a heads up of what the president will suggest or propose in legislation), suggesting certain legislation gets passed, call into session each or both houses in the event of a national emergency, if the house and senate cannot agree on adjournment the president can intervene, receives ambassadors and public ministers of foreign powers, the ability to veto or sign into law legislation laid upon the desk (think about those public law listings of credit abuse), propose a budget which the Congress has to approve and pass, manage national affairs and the workings of the federal government, issue executive orders (rules and regulations) without congressional approval and have the binding force of law, the commander in chief of the armed forces, meaning the president in times of war may be given broader powers to manage the economy and protect the security of the United States and before taking office, must establish around 6,000 appointments of Federal positions as well as giving the president executive privilege which is the power to withhold information from the public.  Fun fact for those of you who say, no, George Washington was not the first President, technically he is as elected by the First Federal Congress as the President Elect John Hanson under the Confederation (met mostly in Philadelphia), was eventually dissolved after a series of disasters and faith in the First Federal Congress grew, especially with Washington as its presidential candidate, the electoral votes were counted up and Washington was given the seat, food for thought.
            In summation, the President, The Congress and The executive branch hold the keys to a Federal level of prosperity which includes paying the debts you create, according to our early and ongoing history, compromise, heated debates, invigorating speeches and logic with wisdom should be the normal approach, however, in most modern settings (including twitter items) when tempered with greed and massing millions of dollars of other citizens money in order to sit around and ignore major legislation that closes national parks, concerns national security or harms the people, is itself a slap to the face of historic discontent without such malice warranted especially when the proverbial lobbyist ask for items or money to be placed that really could have been spent avoiding this current situation, Monsanto knows about lining pockets, right guys?  The number of times our country has been faced with worse situations is unmeasured in total and is spoken of in all of our history books, which only through interpretation can be understood and only to a certain degree.
            How many times have we as a nation been “close” to solving irrational items with temperance and thought and then laid back and let it go after disaster or major setback. Even FDR had 13 million unemployed to handle while dealing with the effects of a major depression while battling his own life’s illness and leading into World War II, who are you persons now to claim any greater or lesser responsibility in the basic preservation of this nation?  My vote will be against any incumbent or anyone who has served more than two terms, career and politician will not be a platform I will support, nor do I believe that any of these readers or voters will support after this latest disaster from Washington in general. So, I have to ask our citizens now, looking back on history and given time for the information in this article to absorb, what are your rights are your rights, what are laws are laws, responsibility to get the job done means paying our debts and we the people know this lesson best, don’t any of us find it odd that our own “elected” government does not, even with all the levels of education and experience available to us to select from, why should it be certain members who are in a certain party should be in the spot light for holding office, are there not millions to choose from? 
            My question to the millions of eyes that will finally read this article, in either contempt or agreement, current or historicially, would you be willing to support a bill that officially places the vote, “None of the above” upon the ballot and if that bill should be ratified into law, do you think your vote then still would not change a thing?   Feel free to email me or the staff here with your own answers or suggestions for what it is going to take to make our Free lands, ring out that we are free because we can work together to overcome any obstacle, including bombings of a marathon and historic buildings, we are Americans with a purpose and that purpose is to correct the errors of history with the same wisdom used that founded it, truth glasses down.  Good day.      
Web links where all information was retrieved or studied


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