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Entries in Bailouts (2)

Thursday
Jul152010

My Questions for the 2010 Candidates

Dear NH Insider,  

As a NH voter, I compiled this list of questions to send to the 2010 NH House and Senate candidates.     I would like to share it with all NH voters, and I challenge ALL NH candidates to answer my questions in detail - posting their responses on NHInsider.com for voters to read.   

Let's show candidates that they will need more than sound bites to get out the vote in their favor this November!  

Sincerely, Kylie of Nashua    

NH 2010 Candidates Questionaire

 

1. Many candidates running in the New Hampshire 2010 elections state they are "for spending cuts".  If you are such a candidate, how, specifically, would you propose to cut spending at the federal level?  Please state the names of budgets that would be cut, and give a brief justification for each choice.

 2. How does your policy of cutting spending square with your desire to improve education in the public schools? 

 3. Are you aware that the United States imports 80% of its seafood from Southeast Asia, yet the FDA only inspects 2% of this seafood before it enters the United States?  This has led to port-shopping by importers to get around what inspection stations do exist, and - by extension - serious safety issues with our seafood. The FDA states it does not have enough money to properly staff its inspection stations.  If elected how would you address this issue?

 4. Recent studies show that there may be a link between health problems and food-related additives and chemicals.  Still, many officials and lobbyists push for no regulation of these additives and chemicals until further proof of their harmful nature is available.  How much proof of harm would you require before you would be willing to regulate food additives, chemicals or genetic manipulation? 

 5. When George W. Bush was President he began the practice of using ethics waivers in order to declare persons with conflicts of interest fit to serve in government policy-influencing capacities.  President Obama has continued this policy, and used it to his advantage as well.  If elected, would you oppose the use of ethics waivers and fight to cleanse both our high government positions (such as Secretary of the Treasury) and our regulatory agencies of conflicts of interest?

 6. What is your stance on US involvement in foreign wars, like those in Iraq and Afghanistan?  Would you support US involvement in an additional war with Iran?  Why or why not?

 7. Politicians of every political affiliation state their opposition to the banker bailout.  Yet, many politicians have received money in election cycles past and present, from huge corporations - including large Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and JP Morgan.  If you (Bill Binnie, Paul Hodes, Kelly Ayotte, Jim Bender, Katrina Swett, Richard Ashooh, and Robert Bestani) received large sums of money in this election cycle from corporations that benefitted strongly from receipt of the bailout funds, how will you resist their lobbyists calls for continued bailouts, or deregulation of the financial industry once elected?  Do you support an audit of the Federal Reserve?  If not, why not?

8. Relatedly, what is your stance on the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 (which was a repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933)?  If elected, would you vote to reinstate Glass-Steagall, in order to allow the United States to reduce its massive deficit? (Glass-Steagall would separate speculative from commercial banking, making it possible to write off the bad speculative debt create by the TBTF banks, and passed on to American taxpayers by the TARP bailout.) 

9. What is your opinion on the methods currently being used to deal with the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico? 

10. What, if anything, would you have added or removed from the recently-passed Financial and Health Care reform bills?

11.  Name two pieces of legislation that have come before the 111th Congress which you would have co-sponsored, and tell us why.

12.  Finally, New Hampshire has a large number of voters who are strong supporters of the 10th Amendment.  What statement would you like to make to these voters?

Sunday
Dec272009

NOW WE KNOW: THE PRIME ISSUE IS HOW the “SAUSAGE” IS MADE

You know the old line: Anyone who sees how sausage is made wouldn’t want to eat it. This applies especially to political “sausage” -- how bills are made. Under Obama, we’ve come to see as never before all the warts and faultlines of the Congressional political process through which our present lives and those of future generations are being engineered. Bailout, Stimulus, Cap’n’Trade, the federal budget and Healthcare Reform -- you name it; all the big bills have been poorly crafted. Besides not well serving their stated goals, they have all served to put us, our children and our children’s children in hock up to our eyeballs. By the same token [of about 115 trillion "token" dollars in federal debt and unfunded liabilities), they also threaten to throw our country into bankruptcy.

Americans like to point the finger [these days, in more ways than one!]. They look for someone to blame when things are going wrong. The latest set of culprits are the Congressional leaders, Pelosi and Reid. But 24/7 coverage of the proceedings of Congress have revealed that:

1. HOW things are done in Congress [what some media have come to call “the process“] leads to poor legislative results: The quality of the “sausage” depends primarily upon how it is made.

2. “HOW” is set by a layer-cake system of rules and procedures that the go-along/get-along culture of Congress makes adverse to change.

So, we now see and can truly say: “It’s the system, stupid!” This defines ISSUE #1 for 2010: Change the way Congress does our (We the People’s) business.! Because “the process” affects all issues. All bets are off is we don’t work to reform it. The examples of mishandling of the people’s business are legion. Let’s note some summary highlights that earn our disapproval:

1)       Closed sessions of House, Senate and Conference Committees;

2)      Failure of most legislators to read the bills that they vote on before they vote on them;

3)      Substantial amendments, hundreds of pages long, introduced in the dead of night;

4)      Shady deals cut and pork-laden earmarks provided to bribe legislators to vote for bills, including $300 million, about $100 million, $1 billion, additional “billions“ and $54 million, respectively. on behalf of Senators Landrieu (D, LA), Nelson (D, NB), Durbin (D, IL) and Reid (D, NV); and Speaker of the House Pelosi (D, CA); and…

5)       Distribution of “stimulus” funds to finance payoffs and vote-buying more than to promote economic recovery or jobs’ creation and help people through the hard times. Democratic districts have raked in nearly twice as much money as GOP districts.

Add to this that:

(1) The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) has closed their “inquiry” into the actions of Rep. John Murtha and two of his cronies. Now that Jack Abramoff, Duke Cunningham and others have earned jail time in the federal slammer, Rep. Murtha has become Exhibit #1 for Congressional corruption. The OCE board includes a bipartisan group of former House members and officials. This board’s role is strictly advisory to the House Ethics Committee. In this and other ways, Congress helps itself, free from independent oversight.

(2) Congress continues to favor the big boys. The big banks that got us into trouble have continued to grow in size and market share through the interventions of TARP bailout money. The same pattern will be aided and abetted by the healthcare “reform” legislation, which favors big health insurers and “big Pharma.” The Congress has declined to remove exemption of the health insurance industry from anti-trust actions. The potential for Congressional corruptions grows and grows. Campaign finance reform has failed.

Four movements have been building to change congress in ways other than parties, nameplates and underwear: “Change Congress” [www.Change-Congress.org], “Retake Congress” [www. Retake Congress.com], “Downsize DC” (www.DownsizeDC.org) and “Kick Them All Out!” [www.KTAO.org].  These are a mix of conservatives, liberals, libertarians and independents. Those who practice the old politics -- of divide and conquer, playing people off by focusing on “third rail,” media-driven, “conservative” vs. “liberal” issues -- their time is over. The new politics focuses increasingly on how things are done. It recognizes that the Constitution calls for a people’s House, not the best Congress money can buy.

The last attempt to change the way Congress does the business of We the People was initiated from the Republican side in 1994, led by Rep. Newt Gingrich. It’s now time for a 21st Century “Contract with America” that brings both conservative and liberal voices for change together to press for real change. For the key is empowerment of the American people to counter the cancerous concentration of power in Washington. If voters want to really make a difference in 2010, they need to look for different kinds of candidates for Congress -- innovators, entrepreneurs, renegades, whistleblowers and watchdogs. Otherwise, we’ll elect the same-old/same-old, go-along/get-along guys and gals.

After all, the over-riding incentive for members of Congress is indeed “go-along/get-along.” This means bum-kissing, minding your p’s and q’s; sit tight, wait your turn, and don’t rock the boat -- a formula for no change – for the Congress as dinosaur. Any 2010 Congressional election candidate that does not offer both a strategy and a program for reform of the Congress does not deserve our support. People are not only sick of being forced to eat the same old sausage; they are tired of seeing it made the same old way.

 

                PETER BEARSE, Ph.D., International Consulting Economist, and Independent-Conservative Candidate for Congress to represent New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District; Danville, NH, 12/26/09