Now that we have had a few days to look at the new Democratic majority in Congress and kick the tires a bit, lets see how it is sizing up:
1) Majority Leader Pelosi pushes for Murtha, and the party rank and file pushes *back*. Now considering John Murtha's ties to Abscam which USA Today gives a look at from 2004. If you watch the video of Congressman Murtha, from that investigation he is clearly stating that if 'you invest in my district we can work something out'. He also gives some hint as to which banks and businesses would be good ones, but does not come out further than that. But the 'quid pro quo' is definitely set in place with hints of 'future arrangements' for direct contributions once the 'Arabs' are in the US. Now this is a very funny man to put forward after campaigning AGAINST the 'Culture of Corruption', because quite some few us remember that BOTH PARTIES are quite corrupt. Sort of like finding out the local indivdual running a Catholic bookstore is going to put a known organized crime affiliate in charge of operations. Well, that actually gives far too much respect to Congress and disrespects the Catholics... so make that a Chuck E. Cheese establishment as the animatronics pretty well scope out the two parties. But my own problems with Congressman Murtha stem from his views starting in 1994 on his priorities after looking at his stances on Rwanda and Haiti. Apparently Mr. Murtha was willing to give an open-ended, blank check to a commitment to fight! In, Haiti.... but after all that killing in Rwanda, well that could be a quagmire. So, to remind everyone, Congressman Murtha sees something like Haiti as way more important for an open-ended fight than Iraq. But then, what do you expect from someone in the Congressional Class of 1974 - the post-Watergate, post-Vietnam Congress? Notably the Congress that had shorn itself free of LBJ and the legacy of JFK.
2) Majority Leader Pelosi pushes for Alcee Hastings to head up the Intelligence Committee over that of more senior member Jane Harmon. Now it is bad news when the highly biased and clueless Washington Post comes out against such a move! And why is it a bad move? Well, when a Federal Judge has been impeached by the House and tossed out of office by the Senate, you have an individual that just might not be 'up to snuff' on a few things. And Congresspedia gives some background (yes it is a biased source, but a fun one at times, but they do try to stick to just the facts here) on Congressman Hastings and the Dept. of Justice gives a quick overview of the case, which has Judge Hastings giving oversight to a Federal Wiretap and then letting a friend know to stay away from the target of the investigation because that target is 'hot'. Over at TCS Daily J. Peter Pham and Michael I. Krauss also reveal that Congressman Hastings is under multiple investigations for violation of the Ethics rules and that he is one of the more 'absentee' members of Congress. All of this being done, apparently, to appease the Congressional Black Caucus, so as to get their preferred member into a Leadership Post. Now, what was that about the 'Culture of Corruption'?
3) Next up is Congressman Charlie Rangel and his wondrous idea of re-instating the draft! Remember this is the very same party that lobbied AGAINST the draft during the Viet Nam war. So how is this playing out? Lets take a look at a bit from Newsday.com 21 NOV 2006:
WASHINGTON - Senate Democratic leaders have said Rep. Charles Rangel's call for military conscription of Americans, age 18 to 42, will go nowhere if any member introduces it. And Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles Schumer joined the anti-draft chorus yesterday - even though both support getting tough with Iran and North Korea and both have decried troop shortages in Iraq.Yes, you really do have to love the knee-jerk reaction by a Congressman to bring up the draft at every opportunity he gets to show his 'bona fides' for the Nation. Because it is the exact same thing he suggested in JAN 2003 as seen from CNN on 08 JAN 2003:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Rep. Charles Rangel introduced a bill in Congress Tuesday to reinstate the military draft, saying fighting forces should more closely reflect the economic makeup of the nation.Does Congressman Rangel really want to demean those that take up the defense of this Nation in a voluntary manner? It looks that way to me. And do note that it is being introduced to try and STOP military activities by bogging down the Pentagon in having to restart the SSS, put together draft boards, having to determine who can and cannot get 'waivers', deciding on fitness of the likely candidates and, generally, making everything grind to an absolute halt for a few years because, even with a Joint Congressional Authorization to use Force in Iraq, we are STILL in a peacetime economy. Now he wants to do that very same thing in a long, slow fight to help Iraq stand-up and remove insurgents from their midst? Why, that would be such a distraction to the Nation and such a large vote of NO CONFIDENCE by Congress that it would demoralize the current, highly capable and competent Armed Forces that just happened to have liberated over 50 million people from tyranny in 2 years. But, I guess undoing that fight, throwing the Middle East into turmoil as the US loses its resolve and then starting up a home front quagmire is worth it to Congressman Rangel.
The New York Democrat told reporters his goal is two-fold: to jolt Americans into realizing the import of a possible unilateral strike against Iraq, which he opposes, and "to make it clear that if there were a war, there would be more equitable representation of people making sacrifices."
Now, I really have a hard time trying to figure these Democrats out... they are, blatantly, trying to remain in 1968 to 1974 and their ascendant period when the Republicans took it on the chin due to Watergate and Viet Nam. But here is the question: which Party was seen as corrupt and advocating a hated draft system during that point in time? Yes, the Republicans.
Which party lost out due to this? Yes, the Republicans.
And which party would lose out for re-instating corrupt Members and advocating a draft? Yes, the Democrats.
Now, far be it from me to be impertinent to ask one basic question, but since I have asked it before, I will do so again:
Personally I find it particularly damning that Congress no longer recognizes this power nor exercises it in the modern age. In this era of using asymmetrical means to achieve ends, the response needs be asymmetrical on all fronts: political, military and economic. The Executive through CinC, law enforcement and Head of State capabilities holds a fair hand in this, but in going after international commerce it is particularly hamstrung as that is the sole power of Congress. If Congress were serious about putting real teeth into the fight against Transnational Terrorist Organizations, it would either properly fund asymmetrical branches for fighting on the economic front within the Federal government, or take a direct hand by authorizing individuals and companies to do so under its direct supervision. As it is this fight is being done on the cheap using a peacetime economy, which, while huge, is not properly dedicated to bringing down Transnational Terrorist Organizations.Yes, apparently these fine and lofty individuals have never bothered to actually peruse the Constitution to see what their actual Powers to wage War are! And do note that the 'asymmetrical branches' would need to come directly under DoD to properly wage war, which is not going to happen. So we are left with: the People as Individuals.
Wherefore art thou, Congress?
Busy pulling wool over the public's eyes with show hearings?
Or herding together like sheep *hoping* another wolf does not lurk nearby?
No one in this Congress will get my vote ever again so long as the wool is upon them.
To Congressman Rangel, who loves Big Government and involuntary servitude, 'spreading the burden' means forcing it on individuals via Congressional fiat.
How about this: Let Congress set up a system of judging if an Individual or US Company is worthy and capable of finding the Enemies of the Nation, put up a list of said Enemies, authorizing War Powers to said Warranted Individuals and Companies and handing out Bounty, Reward or letting Individuals sell at Auction entire vessels, ships, aircraft, ground transport or any other thing carrying goods to Our Enemies and also authorizing Reprisals against targets for similar pay for Completed Missions?
Thus those that are NOT fit for the Armed Forces could find a way to contribute either directly or indirectly, as Individuals or via Companies, to take the Fight to the Enemy on the most personal basis allowed by the Constitution. Because We the People can go many places Our Government can NOT go to and get to those Enemies by weighing the Risk against the Reward.
And no Treaty can take that power from Congress as it requires Amending the Constitution to do so. Treaties do NOT take powers from the Constitution, only We the People may do that. And when a Treaty is in conflict with the Constitution, it is the Constitution that has Force and Power as it is OURS and fully representative of the Will of the People to Make a Nation.
Wherefore art thou, Congress?
I see the wool is still there and now gaining depth.
And the wolves still stalk the Night waiting for Your resolve to weaken, oh Congress.
You will damn us All if You do, oh mighty Congress.