28 December 2006

The Government We Deserve

It appears as if only Instapundit and precious few others have picked up on this story, but the incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has decided to use the power of her new office to silence the grassroots.

This surprises me as the blogosphere is usually pretty quick to pick up on these things. I found out about it from a friend of mine who sent me a link to an article on Human Events Online, but I have been able to find the story in other places as well.

Basically, Nancy Pelosi has teamed up with Naderite Joan Claybrook of Public Citizen to cook up legislation that would redefine grassroots lobbying "to include small citizens groups whose messages about Congress and public policy issues are directed toward the general public" according to Mark Tapscott's article in The Examiner, and "require any organization that encourages 500 or more members of the general public to contact their elected representatives to file a report with detailed information about their organization to the government on a quarterly basis", according to the Human Events Online article.

The bill also requires “grassroots lobbying firms,” to register with Congress and be subject to penalties whenever they are paid $50,000 or more to communicate with the general public during any three-month period. Interestingly enough, there are loopholes for labor unions, big corporations, and large non-profits.

For those of you who are paying attention, this legislation builds on the McCain-Feingold Incumbent Protection Act...excuse me, Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act...prohibition against criticism of congressional incumbents for 30 days prior to a primary and 60 days before a general election.

Pelosi earlier vowed to end the "Republican culture of corruption" that had imbued Congress. In order to do so she put forth the name of impeached judge Alcee Hastings for House Intelligence Committee and nominated "Mr. Abscam" Jack Murtha for House majority leader. It appears as if she is continuing down this same path.

Dostevsky wrote in "The Grand Inquisitor": "In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, 'Make us your slaves, but feed us'". I'm wondering how much longer we will have.

PS: I have been asked if I am going to say anything about the death of former President Gerald Ford. Here you go. Ford was a place-keeper between Nixon and Carter. He is the only man to serve as President who was not elected to either the Presidency or the Vice Presidency, being appointed to both following the resignations of the previous officeholders. This is the single thing that is significant about the Ford presidency, proof that the Constitutional system of succession actually works. He did nothing particularly outrageous during his term. The political debacle that was VietNam faltered to an end on his watch, and he issued a pardon to a man that had not been convicted of any crimes, thereby short-circuiting any possible action against Nixon. He did wield the veto pen with authority, but aside from that and the aforementioned pardon nothing else he did as President is particularly noteworthy. However, he was a good man, and did his best both for the country and to restore dignity and respect to the office of President of the United States. For that, if for nothing else, he deserves our respect. Thanks Jerry, goodbye and rest in peace.

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