Posts Tagged Washington

Congressional pensions, lavish benefits for corruption, incompetence

Congress

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Chaka Fattah’s recent corruption conviction may result in his pension being stripped. Congressional pensions, lavish benefits for a load of incompetence and corruption coming from Washington. Fattah’s conviction has put some light on a subject rarely talked about, congressional pensions. Fattah may lose a $55,000 a year pension for his actions. Who cares right! But where did the $55,000 pension come from?

Fattahs salary, $174,000 a year. Congressional pensions by law take the highest 3 years in salary and cannot exceed 80% of the individuals salary. Fattah was elected in 1995 giving him 21 years of credit toward his pension. Or earning $2650 a year toward his pension for every year worked. 

NOW with declining corporate participation in pensions by closing pensions to new employees. Freezing pensions. Or eliminating and moving to a 401-k many of us regular folk won’t be getting a pension in this traditional sense. Also while state pension systems are going bankrupt and promises more than likely will not be kept Fattah and the rest of Congress enjoy these DEFINED BENEFITS.

Let us also keep in mind that Congress produces NOTHING. Say it aloud: “Congressional pensions cannot exceed 80% of the $174,000 salary” Rich pension? Considering many Americans do not have one. And many more see their pension teetering on bankruptcy. Congress motors along with a single digit approval rating racking up pension credits.

Congressional pensions are a lavish benefit for those who produce nothing. It is time for an eye for an eye, eliminate defined benefit pensions for Congress. Move them to what the majority of Americans are stuck with, the 401-k.

 

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Why I’ll seek alternative if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee

If you don’t vote for Hillary Clinton it is a vote for Donald Trump.

The above bold print will be stated many times, by many people, between the Democratic Convention and election day this fall. The accuracy of the statement quite honestly means nothing to me at this point. Who I vote for in November I am uncertain. What I am certain of, it will not be Hillary Clinton (if she is the nominee) or Donald Trump.

I am a registered Democrat and have voted Democrat consistently. The party has failed me and no longer will I just vote the column because they are better than the “other party”. They have failed in many areas:

Starting with the economy from NAFTA with Bill Clinton to President Obama’s trade agreements while in office and his pursuit of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). These trade agreements are why we have the current race to the bottom and such wealth separation.  Hillary Clinton has supported the TPP calling it the gold standard. Pressured by Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton has reversed her position for now because it was a political necessity. Change a page number and a President Hillary Clinton will be on board.

Failing Organized Labor: What has a Democrat done for the labor movement? The past 8 years under President Obama we have seen the further push toward Right to Work, most notably in labors backyard Michigan. Hillary Clinton who promises a seat at the table for labor? Isn’t this what we have had since Ronald Reagan? President Obama and the Democrats had control of both houses when he was first elected. This was the time for legislation, card check for labor. Why wasn’t labor’s issues front and center? Why wasn’t legislation pushed through? Because President Obama’s legacy was priority #1 with the Affordable Care Act and there was no time for labor. Since, with no majority labor sits and waits for their death blow.

WAR> There isn’t one that Hillary Clinton doesn’t like. From the YES vote in Iraq to adding troops in Afghanistan Clinton’s been a supporter. Arming Syrian rebels was a plan that HC devised with CIA Director David Petraeus, ultimately rejected by President Obama. Hillary Clinton has been referred to in the past as Bush-Cheney Lite, which says it all.

Wall-Street> Paid speeches by Wall-Street is well known and disturbing on it’s own. But you not need look past her son-in-law. Co-founder of the hedge fund Eaglevale Partners LP. So Hillary Clinton will reign in Wall-Street and the poor behavior of Wall-Street? If Wall-Street’s not worried why should you be?

My colleague Shane Johnson said it perfectly, “the difference between the Democrats and Republicans is this. The Republicans want you to take the poison in one gulp. The Democrats just give it to you a little at a time.”

The death of the middle-class,and the ever growing ranks of those living in poverty cannot be blamed just on the Republican Party. Hillary Clinton is part of the problem NOT THE SOLUTION.

 

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Congressional term-limits and the career politician

The current election cycle from both the Republican and Democrat side has had one consistency, contempt for the establishment. I myself am on board for an outsider as president (if that person is Bernie Sanders). Previously I have written about voting outside of the presidential election cycle being equally if not more important than the presidential cycle. Back in 2013, 75% of Americans supported term-limits for Congress. Over the years the idea of term-limits has been on the mind of the voters. But as time goes by opinions change. So in this moment of voter retaliation against the establishment candidate, are term-limits a priority? You might think so.

In 1995 the Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that states could not impose term-limits on their congressional seats. The majority opinion believed that the qualifications for Congress were clearly covered by the constitution. An individual has to meet age, residency and years of citizenship minimums. The states cannot impose additional restrictions as requirements need to be the same across all 50 states. In his dissent Clarence Thomas wrote “Our system of government rests on one overriding principle: all power stems from the consent of the people.” U.S. Term Limits V. Thornton

The only way we will ever see term-limits for Congress will be by amending the Constitution. And in the end is it worth the work? U.S. Term Limits thinks so who according to their web-site are a grassroots movement standing up against government malpractice. But if the constituency desires to vote in a candidate year after year for 30 years shouldn’t that be honored. The division between the federal government and states should be maintained, right? This the Libertarian argument and hardcore Tea-Partier.

What is the answer? Do you believe term-limits would have a positive impact on government? I am with the majority in the belief that change is needed. Getting it done at the voting booth, a difficult task the preferable method, but not realistic. Money is at the root of the problem from all sides. Campaign contributions by corporations, individuals, foundations fronting for people like the Koch’s. Take the money out of politics and you might find a different game. Could federally sponsored elections be the answer?  Or a spending cap on elections. The salary cap worked for parity in the NFL, why not elections?

Many questions asked. So what is the answer?

 

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Political revolution, voter participation beyond 2016

A running poll on fox news.com on the approval rating of Congress last updated in October 2015 has their approval rating at 13%. A dismal number. The poll also shows since August 2011 Congress approval has never exceeded 21%. So what is coming up to 5 years, the vast majority of Americans have disliked their job performance but have basically continued to allow it to go on? Re-electing at rates that have not been so historic. In fact, data on Open Secrets.org  show Americans have re-elected above 85% of incumbents since 1964 in the House of Representatives.  In the Senate the rate has fluctuated more but still has been at or above 80% since 1986.In the 2 elections since 2011 for the Senate, it has been 91% and 82%.

If we are to consider this presidential election cycle as a rebellion against the establishment (Sanders, Trump) what do these numbers mean? Regardless of who wins the presidency the rebellion will not have any meaning if we don’t vote in mid-term elections. Voter turnout is much lower which is why incumbents in both house win most races. It may also be why voter satisfaction never seems to change.

So who’s the Jackass? Congress who we continue to disapprove of? Or the voter for not participating in the mid-term elections and voting them out?

 

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America’s stupid, the headline heard around the world on Super Tuesday results

If all the polls are correct, Donald Trump will sweep Super Tuesday all but handing him the nomination. The shot heard around the world this time will not be a gunshot. It will be a collective gasp from the world. Followed by, when did America become so stupid?

One may believe that it is the politicians to blame. Life-long Senators, Congressmen and women, screwing up the voting-minds of the people simply by screwing them.  We hear quotes like “the voter is fed up” and the answer is Trump. We the people can blame these politicians all we want for pulling the lever for Trump. But we may want to take a hard look in the mirror before we do.

The collapse of the American family and where to begin. Lets start right at your dinner table. The family breaking bread together and sharing their day and actually talking! How many of you have rules of “NO CELL PHONES AT THE TABLE or NO ELECTRONICS” I know I instituted such a rule, for one just so there was no beeping and chiming going on. Sure my kids weren’t happy and they rushed through dinner to get back to texting and talking. But I tried to advance discussion on a myriad of subjects while we ate, have YOU?

Video games: how have these gaming systems improved our overall intelligence? Sitting around, maybe in a video chair!? For hours at a time, killing zombies, or stealing and driving a car around killing people. Or maybe you’re an active video gamer where you pretend to play tennis, bowl or practice archery? I think they were intended for amusement not for being a lifestyle.

right-wing crap

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Reality television is damn near on every channel. I haven’t watched much of it. So I did some research on what were  the hits of reality television.  I’ve seen a few briefly. What are  we the people learning  from the Kardashians? Has our children learned anything from watching shows like The Flavor of Love or Jersey Shore over the years? Well I guess if you wanted your kids to become drunken whores they had educational value.

America, the land of the free. Free to waste your time doing nothing. Free to complain that everyone else is to blame for your particular plight. Free to stand up and cast a ballot for a candidate who has proven himself to be  xenophobic, sexist, and racist. A dumb candidate for a dumb America.  WE OBVIOUSLY NEED FREE COLLEGE BERNIE!

 

 

 

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