Category Archives: Government

I Will Vote On Tuesday

I will vote on Tuesday. 

US Presidential Seal

How does one decide?  Some say choosing the lesser of two evils or least frightening is the way to choose, but is that a wise basis for a decision?  Keeping up with the news is impossible if you eat and sleep, let alone work.  The best I can do is consider what the candidates “bring to the table”.  I will vote based on my own opinions and analysis.

This is what I consider important when researching candidates:

Key Elements / Sources

Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump

1.      Past performance Senate Voting Record

GAO Reports

House Committees

Senate Committees

Benghazi

Trump:  The Art of the Deal

The America We Deserve

Donald Trump Investments

 

 

 

2.      Money trails Federal Election Commission

Top 10 Contributors

Federal Election Commission

1995 Tax Return

3.      Transparency Read from your trusted sources.   How much information are they willing to share?
4.      Company they keep Any mainstream and special interest media outlet.   These days it is a free-for-all.
5.      Policies Candidate Issues and Policies

Speeches

Candidate Issues and Policies

100-Day Action Plan

 

Other sites to consider:  Be warned, every web site has an agenda that may not support your views.  Though they read “non-partisan”, they will report with an agenda in mind.  Read carefully and you decide.

  1. Brookings: 2016 Election
  2. On the Issues
  3. Where They Stand on Foreign Policy

I review sites like govtrack.us for Clinton’s voting record.  I look at the GAO reports from the Inspector General regarding issues during Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State.  I’ll read and reread “Trump:  The Art of the Deal” and “The America We Deserve” to fill in the blanks for Trump.  Did you know or remember he ran for President in 1999?  I’ll pay attention to the trail of money into their campaigns to determine influences.  I’ll read and read some more between the lines to understand just how consistent and timely are the statements they make.  I’ll visit and revisit their campaign web sites to check on their current policies; both Clinton and Trump have changed their stances on issues over the years.  Changing ideology is not a bad thing, it can be about growth.  As we learn, accumulate knowledge and skills, we change.  I hope it is good change for political candidates.

I also support Article V for a Convention of States.  I consider it a backup plan.  And, of course, I pray and keep praying.

Best wishes!

Does Your Vote Really Count?

As U.S. citizens, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves about our vote.  Don’t count on one source of information, as all information, even historical data are biased in some way.  Read and educate yourself from many sources.  Compare this with your own experiences.  Education in combination with your own experiences is critical to becoming a well-informed individual.

Now, back to the topic.  The U.S. political system is fraught with confusion for the average American, and understandably so.  Our educational system spends little time on the practical application of politics compared to the amount of time spent on ideology.  The end result is that the average American is unaware of the many entities involved in the U.S. Presidential election and why.  The average American is unaware that the President is elected by electors, not by popular (citizen) vote.

Actually, there are many entities involved in electing a U.S. President, and it is important to understand their impact, including our own.  Electing a President in the U.S. involves more than the direct application of democracy, it is about indirect-democracy, a principle adopted by our founding fathers to address individual and state’s rights while maintaining democratic principles for the nation at large.  They knew it would be not be easy, but it is worth the effort to maintain a great nation.

Who are these ‘entities’ and what is their impact on our vote?  These include citizens, candidates, party leaders, local and state representatives, electors, party delegates, and the House of Representatives.  Of course there are many other behind-the-scenes party affiliates and lobbyists who also work to get their party reps, delegates and electors chosen in anticipation of the final election for President.

Does your head ache just thinking about it?  Mine does!  There is so much information and so many opinions and perspectives regarding our political system, it can be difficult to make sense of it all – but it can be done, one step at a time.  And I found a site that helps.

ProCon.org is a “nonprofit nonpartisan public charity that provides well-sourced pro, con, and related research on more than 50 controversial issues …” including information on current national elections.  I came across this site during the 2012 election, but after the election, it was relegated to a link in the depths of my Favorites list – until today.  Take a look, visit other sites (links below), dig out your old history books, keep up with the candidates and how they will deal with your favorite issues, and VOTE.

Why does it matter you may ask, because every vote counts.  Every vote in every local, every state, and every national election adds up and leads up to the Presidential election.

2016 Presidential Election:  The Candidates and Where They Stand on the Issues

2016 Democratic National Convention

2016 Republican National Convention

5 Things You May Not Know About U.S. Political Conventions

Do You Understand the Electoral College?

Electoral College – History.com video

How Do Different States Allocate Their Electoral Votes?

How Political Party Convention Delegates are Chosen

How the Electoral College Works

How to Become the US President: A Step-by-Step Guide and poster

  1. U.S. Citizen announces intention to run for President
  2. Primary Candidate raises campaign funds and campaigns for popular vote and party election
  3. States’ party leaders (typically members of congress) elect Electors at district or state levels or party conventions (varies by state and based on previous local and state elections – individual voter rights)
  4. States run primary elections or caucuses by political party (states’ rights)
  5. Party leaders choose delegates for party conventions (supposed to secure pledges for nominations)
  6. Delegates nominate Presidential candidate at party convention; Presidential candidate announces running mate, the Vice Presidential candidate (supposed to support voting to-date, but delegates may not be required to vote as pledged)
  7. Presidential candidates campaign for Presidential election (unites parties behind a candidate)
  8. U.S. Citizens cast ballots in the Presidential/general election as popular vote by state – this determines party Electors (confirms voters’ preference by state)
  9. Electors cast ballots for President (Electors are not required to vote as pledged, though most of the time they do)
    – IF no candidate receives the majority of electoral votes …
  10. House of Representatives elects President; and the Senate elects the Vice President – each state gets one vote in both cases.

Presidential Election Process

The Articles of Confederation

The Articles of Confederation: The Constitution Before the Constitution

The Popular Vote vs. the Electoral College

The Top 10 Political Conventions That Mattered the Most

U.S.A. Declaration of Independence

Understanding U.S. Political Conventions

Who are the Electors?

Contact your state political party for additional information.

Roll Call for your Representative

I’m really liking this service, GovTrack.us.  It tracks not only your representative’s voting activity, but all votes, details, and summaries of the legislation as it moves through the Legislature.  The details regarding the bills is phenomenal.   Give this a try if you are interested in tracking representatives’ votes and current legislation.

I’d recommend you take the 3-step approach, but you can get what you need in just 1 step.  You will need to sign up for Roll Call to get started.

I’m using H.R. 699 as an example.  The Email Privacy Act is a popular bill which impacts our privacy.  This bill would require government agencies to seek warrants to gain access to communications older than 180 days.  This is a big change as previously they could access this information with only a subpoena.  You can read the latest text version of H.R. 699 on the GovTrack site.

Step 1, Link to the voting record and summary of the legislation – select title of bill in email

Step 2, Check out the history of the legislation from introduction to current status – select legislation – Example:  H.R. 699

Step 3, Read the actual text of the legislation and compare it to changes made as it works through the process

Joshua Tauberer, the creator and self-proclaimed ‘civic hacker’, established GovTrack.us as a legislative tracking tool in 2004.  It may have started out as a hobby, but it has become a rallying point for the open government data movement.  He’s also written a book about it, which can be accessed online at Open Government Data (The Book).

About GovTrack.us

GovTrack.us in the Press

Civic Impulse, LLC

PERFORMANCE APPRAISALS FOR OUR REPRESENTATIVES

We regularly chastise our representatives about politics, but it is we who voted them in, yet once they are in office, we often abandon them to the “wolves of Washington.”  I’m assuming we vote for people who have the same values we have, but politics have a way of changing people, even though they may struggle against it.  Our representatives are only human, and they need us to keep them on the promised path; after all, are they not our representatives? So, don’t let them down.

Write to your representatives on a regular basis; they need to know if they are representing your interests as promised.  After all, you are their employer, are you not?  You pay taxes to support them while they are in congress.  If they are too busy to reply, there are a number of ways to find out how your representative is voting and protecting your interests.  Writing to them directly does not always garner a response, and if it does, it is often too late or too little.  As one who likes to see and act upon what is going on in DC, I like to not only write to my representatives just to check up on their responses, but I like to see how they vote.  Action speaks louder than words.

And action is what I find at the govtrack.us site.  This site tracks congressional voting records by individual, so you can select your representatives and receive immediate access to find out if they are voting as promised.  Think of it is a performance appraisal.  We all got them if we worked outside the home.

An appraisal is meant to inform us how we are performing in relation to the goals we set.  If our representatives are not performing as promised, we need to let them know.  If they continue to perform poorly, we need to let them go.  So, please, don’t let them down!

Side note:  Govtrack.us wants to increase awareness of U.S. legislation through “… more and better legislative information …” and improve government transparency. Isn’t that what we want and need?

There is a lot of information on government sites (:gov), but it is not available in an easy-to-read format by representative.  It is overwhelming and convoluted, just like our government.  Together, Thomas.gov and govtrack.us make it much easier to check in on our representatives and provide immediate feedback when necessary regarding upcoming legislation.

Find your elected officials

ATTN HORSE LOVERS – URGENT! 

I ask you to please contact your state senator if s/he is on the Senate Appropriations Committee, and ask him/her to vote “YES” for the amendment to defund the opening and inspection of horse slaughter plants on U.S. soil.  I’ve researched the pros and cons for horse slaughter, and I recommend against it.  In the past, I thought horse slaughter was a humane way of managing the huge number of neglected and abused horses in the U.S., but I was wrong.  Horse slaughter only encourages breeders to produce more horses, creating even more cases of neglect and abuse, justifying offshoot industries that would do the same.  We need to discourage indiscriminate breeding that would produce throw-away horses and destroy bloodlines.  Breeders and all horse owners are responsible for the humane treatment and euthanasia of their animals, not taxpayers.  And that is what would happen if we ignore this vote.  Every US taxpayer would be condoning and supporting horse slaughter if we fund horse slaughterhouse inspections.

The amendment It is expected to be up for a vote with the Senate Appropriations Committee in May, so quick action is necessary; please contact your senator now.

Meanwhile, we need to ensure a complete ban on domestic horse slaughter and the export of their meat to other countries to safeguard the future of our pets and our food sources.  Please call or email your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor the Safeguard American Food Exports Act, H.R. 1942/S.1214You can find additional details on the SAFE Act here.

Senate Appropriations Committee members are from these states: 

1.       Alabama

2.       Alaska

3.       Arkansas

4.       California

5.       Connecticut

6.       Delaware

7.       Hawaii

8.       Illinois

9.       Kansas

10.   Kentucky

11.   Louisiana

12.   Maine

13.   Maryland

14.   Mississippi

15.   Missouri

16.   Montana

17.   New Hampshire

18.   New Mexico

19.   North Dakota

20.   Oklahoma

21.   Oregon

22.   Rhode Island

23.   South Carolina

24.   Tennessee

25.   Vermont

26.   Washington

27.   West Virginia

28.   Wisconsin

Mary Nash’s Horse Slaughter Website

Habitat for Horses:  Slaughterhouses

Horse Fund Organization

Vets for Equine Welfare

Animal Welfare Institute

Watch the SAC calendar