Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Hoeven Votes to Confirm Man Deemed to Racist to Be a Judge

As expected, Senator Hoeven voted to confirm Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions as United States Attorney General. Sessions was rejected by the Senate for a federal judgeship in 1986 as being too racist.

Needless to say Breitbart News and white nationalists are celebrating this on Twitter. David Duke, former Grand Dragon of the KKK chimed in:

David Duke
Mr. Trump’s appointment of Bannon, Flynn and Sessions are the first steps in the project of taking America back.

Senator Hoeven Votes to Silence Senator Warren

Senator Hoeven, in lockstep with his Republican brethren, voted to silence Senator Warren on the Senate floor.

Warren's crime? Reading from a letter that Coretta Scott King sent to judicial committee members when Jeff Sessions was being considered for a federal judgeship in 1986. Warren read: "Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge." A copy of the actual letter is below.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cried foul and invoked the little used senate rule #19, which forbids a senator from impugning another. How ridiculous is it that during a debate about the fitness of Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions for Attorney General that no criticism of him is allowed because Sessions is still a senator?

Sessions was rejected for the federal judgeship in 1986 because of his past history of racist comments and actions. Now the GOP and Senator Hoeven think he is just fine to lead the office which is in charge on enforcing laws for all Americans. How sad.

With Senator Hoeven's blessing, Sessions will become the next Attorney General of the United States. Expect to see voter suppression increase, and civil rights of American citizens decrease.

The only good to come from this debacle, besides the awakening of millions of people to the GOP's hypocrisy? The line McConnell uttered will now be used as a rallying cry for women:  "She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted."

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Senator Hoeven and Rep. Cramer Vote to Eliminate "Disclosures of Payments by Resource Extraction Issuers” Rule

It comes as no surprise that Senator Hoeven and Rep. Cramer voted yes to eliminate the rule which would require American energy companies to disclose any payments to foreign governments. Hoeven's biggest industry donors are the gas and oil companies. Source

Critics of the rule say  the rule may force companies to release "trade secrets."  If that is the case, why don't the Republicans add language to the rule which forbids that? I think it is a case of big oil companies not wanting transparency in their dealings with other countries. In this case, sunshine is a good thing.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Senator Hoeven Voted Yes on Plagiarising, Lying, Unqualified Charter School Advocate Betsy DeVos

It is now official. Senator Hoeven ignored the will of North Dakotans and voted to install Billionaire DeVos as Secretary of Education. Hoeven is now on record as endorsing plagiarism, lying to senators and party over North Dakota citizens.

I wrote North Dakota Senator Hoeven two weeks ago to ask him not to support DeVos, who has been a fierce critic of public schools. She also wants to use taxpayer money to fund religious schools.

DeVos also lied during about charter schools in her testimony. From NPR:

"There's just one problem with these numbers, Pallas points out.

They're wrong.

The Nevada Virtual Academy, for example. Its graduation rate for the class of 2015 wasn't 100 percent. It was 63 percent, according to Nevada's own school report card.

Ohio Virtual Academy's 92 percent graduation rate? Try 53 percent.

Utah Virtual Academy's 96 percent rate? Cut it in half.

You get the point."

Here was the response I received from Hoeven, with my comments in bold italics:

Thank you for contacting me regarding President Trump's nomination of Betsy DeVos to be the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.    I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.
                    As a United States Senator, it is my duty to thoroughly review the record and qualifications of each nominee and vote on his or her confirmation accordingly.    I take this responsibility seriously and value having your input during the confirmation process.

Since the majority of North Dakotans are against her confirmation, I would say you don't give a hoot what your constituents say. You should put your state before party.
                    North Dakota has excellent public schools and teachers who work hard every day to provide our students with a quality education, which is why I have always strongly supported and will continue to support our public education system. When I met with Betsy DeVos, she told me she would not take away funding from public schools in North Dakota. I made a point to ask her if she supports public education   and state and local control. She assured me that she does   support both, and I have every intention of holding her to that commitment.

DeVos has been a vocal critic of public schools, although neither she nor her children have attended one. She has no experience with the system. DeVos is also a plagiarist. Is this a good example for our kids?

                    We   worked hard in the Senate during the last Congress to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act with strong bipartisan support. This legislation requires federal funding to go only to states, public school districts, and tribes. It provides both authority and funding for education at the state and local level to ensure that parents, students, and teachers determine how our children are educated. I have worked to make sure that North Dakotans, not the federal government, will make decisions about our children’s education.
If North Dakota wishes to make decisions on public schools without interference from the federal policies, they should not receive federal funds. Without federal standards, there is no accountability, such as with the charter schools DeVos pushed for in Michigan, and which have had poor performances.
                    Finally, DeVos has also committed to fully support the   Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funding and implementation in written follow-up to her Senate testimony.    While it is true she is not a career educator, she does have significant business and administrative skills. I believe that over time North Dakota educators will see that she will be very supportive of them and their outstanding work.

How can Ms. DeVos support IDEA funding when she neither understands it, nor will support its implementation in charter schools?

What significant skills does she have that apply to educating our youth? It seems most of her experience has been in pushing for, and achieving, substandard charter schools.
                    Again, thank you for contacting me.    If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (202) 224-2551.
John Hoeven

Betsy DeVos and her family have donated tens of million to the Republican party. This is a classic example of pay to play. No one should be able to buy his or her way into a government position.

A good article to read on this subject is "Why Betsy Devos Is Riling Education Advocates."

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Are Senator Hoeven and Representative Cramer Pro-life?

Are Senator Hoeven and Representative Cramer Pro-life?

It depends on your definition of "pro-life." I take  the term to mean that a person is for protecting  ALL human life. Pro-life should mean you would never let a person needlessly die or suffer, not just in the womb but also after birth.

Senator Hoeven and Representative Cramer are not pro-life. With their stances supporting Donald Trump's ACA repeal and his Muslim refugee ban (none of the countries banned have had their people attack us!) they prove they are only pro-forced birth.

They fail to heed Jesus' words to care for the least of us.

Give Trump a Chance? No Way!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Going to Write to Representative Kevin Cramer? Don't Bother

I recently wrote to Rep. Cramer to voice my concern over the removal of health care from American citizens, specifically for my special needs son.  I wasn't expecting a hand written reply, nor something personally from Cramer. I did expect an answer to my question. All I received was a "canned" response filled with false information. 

I suppose with all of fewer then 700k people to represent (including children) he can't be bothered to have his staff actually think of a response. 

I lived in NC for 26 years and I received better communication from my rep there then from Cramer. But with ND being a red state, he probably isn't too worried about not being reelected. He's got the big oil people to keep happy. It's a shame.

The letter I received is below.

Dear Gable,

                              Thank you for contacting me to express your views regarding the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. 
                              I understand the implications of reforming our health care system—the prosperity of American lives, families, and businesses rely on an effective healthcare system. Congress is addressing reform because Obamacare is in a death spiral and will collapse under its own weight if nothing is changed. Obamacare has failed to meet its promised outcomes as the law has not achieved the goals of lower health costs and greater access for Americans. President Obama falsely promised a decrease in premiums and that Americans would be able to keep the plans that worked for them. In reality, new taxes and overbearing regulations have hurt individuals and small businesses, forcing families to pay higher premiums and businesses to cut jobs and hours in order to meet the requirements of the law. Since the implementation of Obamacare, average premiums in job-based coverage have increased by $3,775 and the average premiums for families enrolled in employer-sponsored coverage have soared to more than $17,000 annually. In 2015 alone, roughly eight million Americans chose to pay the individual mandate penalty instead of purchasing expensive health insurance that didn’t serve them well. Moreover, a majority of co-ops created under Obamacare have financially failed, and many major insurers have left the healthcare exchanges due to fiscal unsustainability. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, if Obamacare were to stay in place, the number of uninsured Americans would increase to over 26 million over the next 10 years as more employers choose to stop offering insurance plans. Before Obamacare completely implodes, Congress will take the proactive move toward responsible patient-centered, market-driven healthcare initiatives that work for all Americans. 
                              As a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, I have a direct role in helping shape health legislation this Congress. House Republicans have laid out a road map to replace Obamacare with policy reforms which seek to lower costs, expand care, and allow for greater autonomy over health care and insurance choices. Our plan will allow citizens to purchase insurance plans across state lines to increase marketplace competition, and give them the power to shop broadly for more affordable policies. It will also allow small businesses, trade associations, and other groups to pool together and offer insurance at lower prices through improved bargaining power. Notably, it will continue the ban on discriminating against individuals with pre-existing conditions, and protect patients by prohibiting insurers from imposing lifetime limits on benefits or unfairly cancelling coverage. Further, Americans enrolled in coverage will have the right to renew coverage and young adults under the age of 26 could remain on their parents’ insurance plan. 
                              As we move forward, the repeal and replace of Obamacare will happen over a transitionary period while the new plan’s policies replace the policies of Obamacare. For more information on the replacement plan, I encourage you to visit the Better Way website and check out the Full Task Force Report: . Thank you again for contacting me. 
Kevin Cramer
Member of Congress

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Red States Are More Likely to Be Dependent on Federal Dollars

One of the most common refrains from my Republican neighbors is that they are tired of paying for people to sit on their butts and collect welfare. Now this lie, and all of its imagery of the welfare queen, was started by Reagan as part of the GOP's "Southern Strategy" to keep whites voting for Republicans out of disdain and fear.

When I mention that the red states are more likely to rely on handouts from the government, Republicans refuse to believe it. Fox News and other conservative outlets have pushed the welfare lie so much, almost all people who identify as Republican accept it. "But what about California?" they ask. Actually California gets back only 77 cents for every dollar it sends to the federal government.

A list of the top ten states which are dependent on the American taxpayer can be found here:  State Dependent on Federal Government.

Most and least dependent states.