Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

NOTE The views I express on this site are mine and mine alone. Nothing I say should be construed as being "official" or the views of any group, whether I've been a member of that group or not. The advertisings on this page are from Google, and do not constitute an endorsement on my part.

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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Let's talk Congressional Reform

Both parties are under fire for the way they're conducting what is supposed to be the Nation's business, but what has become nothing but a partisan "Gotcha" game. It's time for our duly elected representatives to put their childishness behind them, and prove to us they're actually adults.

There's a lot Congress can do. Changing the weather isn't one of them. There is little doubt now that those that push "anthropogenic global warming" have little in the way of facts to back their claims. There are growing mounds of evidence that water vapor, the sun, and a dozen other factors play a greater role in global climate change than anything mankind has been able to do. Yet Congress, after being petitioned by 31,000 degreed scientists, continue to push to correct a non-problem. It's time to stop the nonsense.

The oil market is going crazy. Demand has finally outstripped available supply. Yet the United States sits on billions of barrels of oil that isn't being tapped, because a few people are against it, supposedly for environmental reasons. The "Environmentalists" constantly scream about "polluting unspoiled natural beauty", while the rest of us are screaming about $4/gallon gas. It's time to tell the environmentalists to shove it, and begin exploiting the resources we have. There are plenty of protections in place that have proven their usefulness in minimizing ecological damage, and no good reason NOT to open up these areas for production.

We also need to build at least five new refineries in the United States, as well as upgrade, expand, and modernize the ones we already have. Those refineries need to be built close to where the people are, to cut down on transport costs and the potential for spills that would endanger the environment. The same people that don't want us drilling for new oil also don't want us to build new refineries. How did such a small minority gain so much power, and why is Congress surrendering to them? Maybe the rest of us need to get organized and start putting our own pressure on Congress.

Americans are a mobile nation. Congress has taken a giant step in trying to curtail our mobility. Most Americans are going to be angry unless this self-inflicted injury is set to right. Most Americans are also intelligent enough to point the finger at the true culprit, not the "greedy oil companies" who make about a quarter as much as the government gets on each gallon of gas.

The ethanol nonsense is an excellent example of the law of unintended consequences. By mandating (and subsidizing) that a certain amount of ethanol be distilled and added to gasoline, Congress has had a major hand in raising food prices for the rest of us. While I'd love to see the demise of high-fructose corn syrup being added to everything, whether it's needed or not, that's just a small part of the problem with burning food. Corn is both a food for people to eat in itself, and is used as feed for beef, poultry, hogs, and dozens of other animals that end up as meat on our table. In fact, the entire farm subsidy fiasco is long overdue for a major overhaul, if it isn't ended completely.

Congress is also trying desperately to force another defeat upon the American military, simply because of their unreasonable hatred for George Bush and everything connected to him. The lies told about this administration would have everyone in Congress with noses twelve feet long, if they had the same response to telling untruths as Pinocchio did. When the history of this era is written by totally unbiased historians fifty or seventy-five years from now, it will be Congress, not the President that will be painted in the most unflattering terms. In this Internet age, it's virtually impossible to rewrite the present and get away with it. Too many people have the ability to confront and challenge those who will try to shade the truth in their favor.

Well before either party has held their formal caucus to announce their presidential candidates and the platform those candidates will run on, one fact stands clear - the Democrats are bound and determined to raise taxes. They try to hide the fact by saying they only plan to raise taxes "on the rich", but they intend to soak us all. They intend to ensure that the "Bush tax cut" will expire, generating one of the largest tax hikes on the American citizen that has ever been imposed. They also plan to tax anything else they can find a way to tax. This will trigger the biggest recession this nation will have seen since the 1930's - something else a Democratic president mucked up. That last president was "rescued" by a world war. The sitting president when those tax hikes kick in will be a dead duck, no matter who he is. So may Congress. That kind of a blow to the US economy may be the trigger event that sees Congress tarred and feathered, and run out of Washington on a rail. Americans rebelled once before because of an unjust tax system. We have every right to do it again.

There are countless other places the Congress has helped set us up for a whopping loss of purchasing power and income. Something is going to have to be done about the solvency of Social Security, and it's going to have to be done soon. In fact, all the "entitlement" programs that have been created are about to overwhelm the government that created them, and refused to properly manage them. No matter what Congress does, and even moreso if it does nothing, the American people are going to get VERY angry at the shortsightedness of our politicians. Voting them out of office may be the most gentle and least used method angry Americans may employ.

This may be the last free-spending congress to be elected. Most Americans are also frustrated and angry with another pet fiasco of politicians - the "earmark". These are items the congresscritter slips into bills to benefit their district, and frequently their major campaign contributors. The rest of us would call these by their true name - bribes. You have to be a pretty p-poor Representative or Senator if you have to bribe your constituency to re-elect you. Whatever use earmarks are applied to, the practice needs to end - immediately.

Congress has pointed fingers at President George Bush, calling him the worst president ever, based on very low opinion poll results. Those same results show Congress' rating to be half that of the President's. What does that make them - the worst Congress ever? Maybe not the worst, but in my opinion, they're certainly in the bottom ten!