Tag Archives: house of representatives

Another Reason to Despise the Republican Congress

House Votes to Outlaw Horse Slaughter,” by Libby Quaid, Associated Press, 7 September 2006, http://www.forbes.com/entrepreneurs/entrelaw/feeds/ap/2006/09/07/ap3001590.html (from Democratic Underground).

The United States is the world’s oldest and most successful multinational economic and political union in the world” – “50 members strong.” The founding fathers gave us the wonderful system of federalism, which allows Massachusetts to experiment with Left-wing governance, South Dakota to experiment with Right-wing governance, and everyone else to judge the success or failure for themselves. Federalism rejects the failed notion of Modernity — the idea that there is One Right Way For Everyone Best Decided By Experts — and instead returns decision making to distributed and (informally as possible) networked centers of control.

But if you’re a House Republican, you don’t care about what those old fogeys thought, do you?

The House brushed aside objections from horse doctors and the White House and voted Thursday to outlaw slaughtering horses for people to eat.

“It is one of the most inhumane, brutal, shady practices going on in the U.S. today,” said Rep. John Sweeney, R-N.Y., a sponsor of the ban.

Sweeney argued that the slaughter of horses is different from the slaughter of cattle and chickens because horses, such as Mr. Ed, Secretariat and Silver, are American icons.

Mr. Ed Could Not Really Talk. The Show Was a Sitcom, Not a Documentary

In case that didn’t make you want to kill yourself, the House Republicans tried even more:

Added Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn.: “The way a society treats its animals, particularly horses, speaks to the core values and morals of its citizens.”

The administration had the backing of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the biggest horse doctors’ group. The American Quarter Horse Association also supports the practice.

It is hard to conceive of any action that more clearly ignores the 10th Amendment to the Constitution

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Did the Congress, aware that horse-butchery was not an issue which Jefferson, Madison, & Co. were unprepared to trust the wisdom of distant federal officials, stay out of the matter, allowing the People in the several States to act?
Did the Congress, aware that horse-butchery was not an issue which Jefferson, Madison, & Co. were unprepared to trust the wisdom of distant federal officials, stay out of the matter, allowing the People to directly act, supporting horse-butchery or not as was their conscious?

For that matter, did Congress realize that a literalist interpretation of Mr. Ed may lead to spurious laws?

Nope. Instead a worthless, nanny-state law of the worst sort.

Don’t Vote Republican. Vote Democrat.

India Against Freedom, and the Congress Against Connectivity

Chickens, Eggs, & Connectivity,” by Stephen DeAngelis, Enterprise Resilience Management Blog, 14 July 2006, http://enterpriseresilienceblog.typepad.com/enterprise_resilience_man/2006/07/chickens_eggs_c.html.

Report: Indian gov blocks Blogspot, Typepad, Geocities blogs,” by Xeni Jardin, Boing Boing, 17 July 2006, http://www.boingboing.net/2006/07/17/report_indian_gov_bl.html (from Digg).

In a prescient article last Frday, Enterra cofounder Stephen F. DeAngelis criticized the proposed law Global Online Freedom Act of 2006 that is currently in the House of Representatives. The bill would begin firewalling the Old Core, particularly the United States, away from the New Core, especially China. It would make disconnection in one area (technological freedom) as an excuse to roll-back connectivity in other market arenas. It’s a bad idea all around — it will isolate America from her allies in this Global War against Terrorism, it isolates American businesses from their partners abroad, and by imposing regulations on technology companies it will lesson our nation’s advantages over competitors.

Steve’s post is worth reading, especially this bit where he emphasizes the need for economic growth. Economic development enables freedom, or as he says

Not only is such a bill likely to make the U.S. even less well liked abroad, it is unlikely to achieve the goals it desires. While some may see it as a chicken-and-egg discussion (which comes first freedom or capitalism?), historically economics have had a greater impact on the politics than vice versa. Whatever Tienanmen Square represents symbollically, Shanghai is the real face of change in China and it is driven by economics. For all intents and purposes, Shanghai is developed, capitalistic, world-class city despite the controls the central government has tried to impose on Internet content.

Don’t believe it? Then compare China to India — both are developing states, but China is a party dictatorship and India is a multiparty democracy. A perfect test case is blogs, and thus it is no surprise that India is attacking free speech on blogs:

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) passed an order to ISPs Friday to block several websites. The list is confidential. Indian ISPs have been slowly coming into compliance. SpectraNet, MTNL, Reliance, and as of Monday afternoon, Airtel. State-backed BSNL and VSNL have not started yet but likely will soon. The known list of blocked domains is *.blogspot.com, *.typepad.com and geocities.com/*.

The Indian Empire: Freer Under the Crown?

Anyone who believes that a bill that restricts trade with countries that censor information will only hit dictatorships is misguided. Underdeveloped countries generally begin turning on themselves, from China to India to France. Slapping de facto sanctions on those states only hurts their economies — and their citizens’ freedoms — more.

Support freedom. Support economics. Oppose the Global Online Freedom Act of 2006.

Tancredo-Ally Pushed Back

, an ally of Congressman (R-CO), lost his bid to unseat (R-UT) in a party primary. The vote was 55.7% to 44.2%. This election is important because Jacob attacked Cannon for being “soft” on immigration. (Tom Tancredo is the leader is the current leader of the Know-Nothing wing of the Republican Party.)

The victory is even sweeter for pro-growth Republicans because Tancredo weakened his own ally:

Tom Tancredo’s PAC sponsored some particularly nasty ads against Cannon, that had Jacob apologizing on radio constantly for the last two weeks about non-authorized ads. Big momentum loser and got Jacob significantly off message.

Immigration is good for America. It’s our destiny. It’s the right thing to do.

Let the Voting Rights Act Expire

Bigotry Beneath the Fog,” by Eugune Robinson, Washington Post, 23 June 2006, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/22/AR2006062201466.html (from MyDD).

My old nemesis, the Voting Rights Act, took a powerful blow because of wily House Speaker Dennis Hastert

Speaker Dennis Hastert was ready to move forward with a feel-good, election-year extension of the landmark 1965 act that guaranteed voting rights for African Americans disenfranchised by Jim Crow law and custom in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina and Virginia. In 1975 the act was expanded to cover Alaska, Texas and Arizona, where citizens with limited command of English — Latinos, mostly — were being treated as if they were black folks in the South.

Hastert understood that reauthorizing the act would be useful in efforts to convince voters that the Republican Party as presently constituted is just ultraconservative, not actually racist. But Hastert was sandbagged by fellow Republicans who rebelled in a private caucus meeting Wednesday. The renewal probably could have won easy approval on the House floor, since Democrats would have voted for it, but Hastert’s policy is to not bring out any bill that lacks majority support from Republicans, so he had no choice but to yank it.

This is great news.

I’ve written before on the unAmerican nature of the Voting Rights Act, so I won’t belabor those point now. Suffice it to say that the VRA attacks both democracy and the complex adaptive system we call the United States.

What’s interesting to me is the line that it is Hastert’s policy is to not bring out any bill that lacks majority support from Republicans.. If this is true, it means that the same philosopher which makes the Speaker stall on immigration reform also makes him stall on renewing the VRA (hopefully leading, of course, to the VRA’s expiration in 2007).

Given the choice between pushing immigration reform package against the Republicans in the House, or stopping the VRA with the Republicans in the House, I choose stopping the VRA. America’s greatness lies, partly, in her rule-set, her protection of the fifty united States as they try this and that, evolving their way to fitness. We need workers, but ultimately the ratio of capital and labor is a quantitative benefit to the United States, while the nationalist straitjacket of the VRA is a qualitative loss.

So quality over quantity, and sinking the VRA over reforming immigration this year, if it comes to that.

Thank you Dennis Hastert. You made the right call.

Gotchas v. Swarms

Rhetoric Takes Nasty Turn in Congress,” by Jim Abrams, Associated Press, 21 June 2005, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/21/AR2005062101034_pf.html (from South Dakota Politics).

A good AP story that illustrates the difference between swarm attacks and opportunity attacks in politics

A Republican accuses Democrats of demonizing Christians. A Democrat talks of Nazis in connection with the treatment of terror suspects. Both sides cry foul, and apologies are hard to come by.

It’s just another day of vitriolic gotchas at the Capitol.

House Republicans on Tuesday were all over Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate’s second-ranking Democrat, because of recent comments in which he referred to Nazis, Soviets and Cambodia’s Pol Pot in describing the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

On Monday, House Democrats stopped debate on a defense spending bill to protest a comment by Rep. John Hostettler, R-Ind., that, “like moths to a flame, Democrats can’t help themselves when it comes to denigrating and demonizing Christians.”

Swarms are pulsing like a heartbeat or a lighthouse — the intensity rises and falls. Think of swarming like the hydrological cycle, with warms “raining” (condescending from vapor to water) and evaporating (dispersing from water back to vapor) over and over again.

Congress isn’t that advanced in its thinking yet, perhaps because the Congressional environment doesn’t support the coordination and medium-term thinking swarming needs. Instead, Congressman fight like regular guerrillas, with little thought of the big picture.