Archive for the 'Congress' Category

Racial Profiling

A letter to Congress to address the House’s passing of legislation that will make profiling illegal:

According to the Congressional Research Service, profiling is defined “as
the practice of targeting individuals for police or security interdiction,
detention or other disparate treatment based primarily on their race or
ethnicity [or religion], in the belief that certain minority groups are more
likely to engage in unlawful behavior.”

Well, the fact is that certain minority groups ARE more likely to engage in
unlawful behavior.  Look at statistics.  It is simply common sense to
acknowledge this fact.  It is foolishness to deny it.  When certain minority
groups stop doing the majority of the crimes, then it will be appropriate to
stop profiling. 

While profiling based on race, religion or ethnicity is not guaranteed to be
100% effective law enforcement (Timothy McVeigh and John Walker Lindh, both white males, would not be identified), the majority of people committing
crimes WOULD fall into one of the profiled catagories.  How can you deny
this to be true?  Your first instinct might be to call me racist, but is
anything I’m saying not factually true?  And is it racist to call something
what it is?  Let’s get a grip on our thought processes here and use facts
instead of feelings to make policy decisions.  Look at the way the world is
today, the problems we have now that we didn’t used to have, and deal with
them in an intelligent way.  Maybe there are things we don’t want to do that
are just necessary now.  This is important stuff, lives depend on it.  The
right choice might be a tough one, it might be an unpopular one, but that
doesn’t make it less right. 

The Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees the right to be safe from unreasonable search and seizure without probable cause. Perhaps what needs to be addressed is the definition of what is “unreasonable”
today under the current circumstances. 

It’s a fact that the majority of terrorist activity in the world today is done by Arab-looking males between the ages of 18 and 40.  It is nothing less than incompetence to ignore this fact.  Another thing to consider; what are gangsters and gang members known for?  Charity work?  I don’t think so.
That is another very specific look, and to not suspect people who insist on
adopting that look is just plain stupid.  When a guy who looks like he might
put a gun in your face actually puts a gun in your face because you ignored
common sense and didn’t keep a distance between you and him, will you still say profiling is wrong?   Will you not learn from that lesson, assuming you’re still alive, and do some intelligent profiling next time you’re in that situation?

Profiling works.  To outlaw it so we don’t hurt anyone’s feelings shows a
complete lack of common sense and an inability to act intelligently.

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Make A Noise

I received an email from my local congressman’s office in response to an email I sent objecting to a bit of legislation.  Here’s what his office wrote:

Thank you for your recent correspondence in opposition of the lobbying reform amendments included in House Resolution 6.   As written, this resolution would negatively limit grass roots lobbying, but would not regulate other forms of lobbying and special interests.  Because of this unfairness, I opposed this bill, which unfortunately passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 232-200.    
Had this legislation been sent through the normal committee process, as opposed to being thrown into an agenda to be quickly passed through the House, these ‘loopholes’ would have been acknowledged.  The Senate, which allowed amendments, defeated the provision pertaining to grass roots lobbying.  I believe through a bipartisan effort we could have produced meaningful legislation that would affect all areas of lobbying and not only attempt to regulate the voices of the heart of America. 

Okay, now here’s what I have a problem with.  We REALLY need to stop the practice of throwing legislation “into an agenda to be quickly passed through the House”.  That should be illegal.  Nothing should be able to be sneaked in and passed before anyone has an opportunity to voice opposition.  It’s completely inapporpriate for a Congressman to misuse the trust given to him by his constituents.  Like I said recently in a comment on another blog site; we put you in office, we can take your ass out.

Do you guys realize what it will take to fix this situation if we don’t reign in these maniacs soon?  Revolution.  An uprising of the citizens against their government.  I don’t believe the people of this country have the backbone to do something like that, so we’re screwed, but that is what it will take in the not-so-distant future.  In our lifetime.

Write to your congressmen when they do things you don’t agree with.  Make a noise, otherwise you won’t be heard.  It’s not that hard, doesn’t take that much time, and it works if enough of us do it.  Stop letting yourselves be told what to think.

The Senate

Thoughtful representatives who have your best interest at heart, or lying powerhungry crooks?  You be the judge.

On January 11 there was an amendment on the floor to the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007.  It was introduced by Senator Jim DeMint of S.C. and it’s purpose is to make the Senate’s spending more “transparent and accountable”, in other words so we can see what they’re spending money on.  That will make it harder for them to get away with the special-interest crap that is so common.  It’s the same thing that was approved in the new House rules.  Sounds like a great idea to me.

Now here’s where it gets interesting.  There was a motion to kill the measure.  Some people in the Senate didn’t like the idea of being accountable.  The motion failed by a vote of 51 to 46.  Almost half of those bastards voted to kill it.  The way it’s supposed to work is that a winning vote approves the measure.  However, some Democrats objected which put it on hold.  The Senate’s new leadership is using the hold time to convince more to vote their way.  These are the people who promised to end the “culture of corruption”. 

The fact that almost half of them don’t want us to know what they’re spending money on is something I find despicable.  We can’t shoot them (legally), but we can at least let them know we disapprove of them.  You might think that calling or sending an email to your Congressman is pointless because they don’t have to listen to you, you’re just one person.  But here’s how it works:  they know that most people aren’t going to take the time to contact them.  Most people will just complain to their friends and leave it at that.  They figure that out of 1,000 people, 50 will contact them.  This gives us a huge advantage.  The opinions of 50 people who write in equal the opinions of 1,000 voters.  That means it takes just 50 people letting them know what they think to make an issue a higher priority.  Suppose 300 people contact a particular Congressman.  That translates to 6,000 voters’ opinions.  A lot of people not liking what a politician is doing is his greatest fear (even more than being caught with his hand in the cookie jar) because it means a lot of people won’t vote for him next time around.  Most of these people can be counted on to do two kinds of things:  things that make them wealthy and things that get them re-elected.  Let them know that second thing isn’t going to happen if they don’t do what their voters demand.  Spending wisely and being accountable should be on top of that list.  If we don’t force them to make the right decisions, a lot of them won’t.

UPDATE:  The Senate has unanimously approved Senator Jim DeMint’s amendment due to thousands of people emailing and calling their Congressmen.