On Monday and Tuesday of this week, all of Nebraska's representatives in Congress sent up white flags of surrender...
Flag 1: Upholding and defending the Constitution
Flag 2: Ensuring federal spending will escalate another $2.5 trillion
Note: Considering the margins by which "the debt deal" passed, if you're not in Nebraska, at least some of your representatives may very well have done the same. For the Senate roll call on the measure, click here, for a House roll call, click here.
Two pressing questions about these flags:
- Did Nebraskans see them?
- What will Nebraskans do in response?
For the record, voting "YAY" on the "debt-limit deal", listed in order of Congressional District number...
- Jeff Fortenberry - District 1
- Lee Terry District 2
- Adrian Smith - District 3
Voting "YAY" in the Senate...
- Mike Johanns
Voting "NAY" in the Senate...
Note that I said "all" of our delegation sent up white flags of surrender. Ben Nelson sent up a white flag, too, but his is very different from the others and will be dealt with separately.
On Monday evening, our article "Debt Ceiling Debacle: 2% TALK, 98% DUMB A$$ Suicide" emphasized four key problems with the bill:
1. Largest debt ceiling increase in American history, putting debt to GDP ratio well over 100% (current calculations are approximately 113%)
2. The bill contains no real spending cuts; it's all proposed reductions in growth of spending, projected out ten years, no enforcement mechanism, and includes a number of ways to declare "emergencies" to get around cutting
3. Further discussion of the debt ceiling has been moved beyond the 2012 Election - President Obama got exactly what he wanted (and perhaps Republicans did too)
4. "Tea Party" is responsible for the whole thing
But, as is now standard operating procedure in Washington, D.C., legislation was written and passed in a crisis environment, so...
We had to pass the bill to find out what was in it
And...Washington, once again, has followed the mantra...
Never let a crisis go to waste
It's very important to note that "the crisis" was entirely manufactured. While screaming the sky was going to fall via prospects of default and inability to get out some 80 million government checks per month, the administration was privately assuring top bank executives that they would not allow default to occur.
Manufactured "crisis " was actually used in ways that are more troubling than what we'd mentioned earlier this week.
Trojan Horses in the actual language of the bill are still being discovered.
Nebraska's Fortenberry, Terry, Smith, and Johanns actually voted away their fundamental Constitutional duties and increased the likelihood of tax increases.
The bill contains provisions which creates a 12 member select committee, which has been dubbed "Super Congress". Huffington Post, has been decrying these provisions (most likely out of pure partisan logic).
Fox News' Judge Andrew Napolitano explains:
Summary of unconstitutional provisions:
- Takes fundamental powers away from sitting members of Congress to appropriate funds and set taxation levels
- Disenfranchises members of Congress and therefore, the constituents who elected them as their representatives in federal government
- Conglomerates legislative power into hands of just 12 members
- Binds their own hands and the hands of future members
- Upsets the necessary balance and separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches - look for a separate article tomorrow on this subject which was actually written weeks ago
Further potential unconstitutional provisions not mentioned by the Judge:
- Upsets Constitutional provision for the House of Representatives to originate all revenue (tax) bills and attendant historical practice regarding spending bills
- Disenfranchises voters in the 2010 election, which elected a majority of Republicans by setting membership on the select committee at equal levels for both parties
Did Nebraska's representatives in Congress...
1) Know what was in the bill? If NOT, WHY did they vote for it?
2) If they knew, WHY did they vote for it?
The first rule for a good legislator should be...
IF IN DOUBT - VOTE NO
If the Nebraska delegation did not know, why are they not publicly decrying the fact that they were purposefully duped by their leadership? GOP members of the House violated their own pledge to post all legislation online for at least 72 hours prior to a vote. (Check out the full Pledge here, the GOP web page on the subject here.)
Turns out that the idea to create a "Super Congress" was quietly being discussed by dynamic duo McConnell and Reid, supported by House Speaker John Boehner as early as July 23 (see Huffington Post article linked, above). News Max reported on July 24:
"House Speaker John Boehner reportedly supports the idea, although he has not pressed the concept publicly."
Constitutional, fiscal conservatives should be scratching their heads. How on earth did details about the "Super Congress" fail to be the lead story for such outlets as Drudge Report, Fox News, or Wall Street Journal? I mention these three sites because they are, arguably, the top three news sources for conservative / right-leaning Americans (it's not exactly a secret that top conservative talk show hosts use Drudge heavily). The "Super Congress" information, which began leaking out at least ten days before the House vote, if reported on by those three media outlets, was done so quietly neither Linda nor I can find any traces prior to last evening. It should have been the central story. Instead, Drudge emphasized the political gamesmanship, Fox placed a countdown clock to the deadline on the screen for days, thereby playing into the "crisis" atmosphere, and Wall Street Journal's editorial board was busy calling opponents to a debt ceiling increase "hobbits".
GOP engineers and supporters of the debt ceiling debacle are crowing over what a victory it was in "changing the conversation" in Washington, D.C. and a "first step" towards cutting spending, while also saying that Republicans did "all they could" in the debate.
According to these pinheads, if we really want to see some accomplishments, we're going to have to wait until after the next election in November 2012, when we MUST give Republicans control of the White House and the Senate. Then they can really get things done.
When ISN'T it about the next election?
But, I do think we should all focus on that subject.
There are certain votes that should constitute a Waterloo moment for an elected official. Considering that the debt debacle utterly failed to accomplish anything besides helping America become Greece and subvert the Constitution, we firmly believe this vote is one of them.
But, very soon, we will be publishing an article that actually makes a case that the debt debacle is just a very visible manifestation of the way Nebraska's representatives in Congress vote far too much of the time.
Nebraskans think they have conservatives representing them in Washington, D.C. That's a myth and we can prove it by examining their voting records.
For now we will conclude by dedicating the classic country song "Waterloo" to our Nebraska representatives in Congress: