Every year the “working days” for Representatives in the House have been less and less. That brings us to the 2016 calendar year. This was recently released by Majority leader, Kevin McCarthy and no doubt approved by the newly elected House Speaker, Paul Ryan.
If they “work” (and, I use that term loosely!) only 110 days of the year, that means they take 255 days off work! With a salary of $174,000. 00 for 110 days of “work” that gives them $1,582.00 a day! Based on an 8 hour day (?) that comes to $197.75 an hour!! Yet, they will not vote for a minimum wage (for the “real workers”) of $15.00 an hour!! This is absurd!
This is a Republican led House of Representatives. They have the entire months of August and October off! They have 10 working days scheduled in December! Even though the Republicans set the work days on the calendar, the Democrats are included as well. These salaries are just the beginning of all the benefits these members get. Here are a few:
- They can earn outside income of $27,225. An income some families have to live on for a year!
- They are allowed to deduct (income tax) living expenses up to $3,000 a year for being away from their home states. What other employer does this?
- Before the ACA they participated in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program which is for Members of Congress only. Even now, members may elect to be covered through the DC Health Link.
- They can participate in the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Program.
- The Office of the Attending Physician provides emergency medical assistance for Members of Congress, Justices of the Supreme Court, staff and visitors. What other employer does this?
- They get a “Members Representational Allowance (MRA) to help them in their duties. This allowance for each member includes:
. personnel: $944,671.
. official office expenses (this varies)
. official (franked) mail (this also varies)
These three components are combined and result in a single MRA authorization for each Representative. This MRA total amount can be used any way the Representatives choose.
Making above the $174,000 annual salary is The Speaker of the House. He has a salary of $223,500. The Majority and Minority Leaders of the House annual salaries are $193,400.
For all MRA expenditures go to http://disbursements.house.gov/.
Also on the House 2016 calendar, the few Fridays the members are actually there, the vote closes at 3pm, which essentially means the day is done! On the Mondays following days off the votes are postponed until 6:30pm! I guess it takes everyone that long to get back to D.C.!! There are no votes at all on some days following days off..
Ted Cruz raves about his tax plan. There will be no income tax for a family of four if the income is $36,000 a year! Over that amount there will be a 10% flat tax for everyone no matter what your income (even the 1%)! I’d like to see Ted and his family living on $36,000 a year! Ben Carson and Rand Paul have also stated they would have a 10% flat tax for everyone. Of course, Carson’s plan ends up being much more than the 10% and Rand Paul’s plan takes away all government programs that help the less fortunate!
The irony of all this is the fact all members of the House (and Senate) receive money from government. Lots of money! Yet, they want to do away with all government programs! As I said, this is just absurd!
It is a fact most southern states vote for the Republicans who want to take away all help from the government. It is also a fact that many of those southern states receive the most government help. Again, this is absurd! Somehow, the people who get government help in these states have to be “informed” as to what would happen to them if there is no more government!!
With the exception of too few in the House, they are nothing but a bunch of pathetic sycophants! There is not a leader among them! They have no courage, morality or conscience. They are arrogant, greedy and self-serving. They have no soul!
**Preface: This article was written March 4th of this year when every media was paying attention to this subject. Here it is seven months later and I still don’t understand!
WHY DOES PRESIDENT OBAMA WANT FAST TRACK ON TPP PARTNERSHIP ??
I cannot understand President Obama’s insistence to Fast Track the TPP! I do not understand why he is not giving the US Congress the details of this agreement before they have to vote on it. Nor do I understand why he does not go to the citizens of this country and explain his reasons (not the short explanations he has given). This is contrary to everything I believed about this president. I believed he would always be transparent and open about what his agenda is. He took a much longer amount of time to explain his health care program, which was needed. Why won’t he do the same concerning the TPP Agreement? This agreement needs the same amount of explaining, if not more.
It is common knowledge that all the previous trade agreements have resulted in the loss of jobs for Americans. The pay for the foreign workers who make these products is minimal. These workers are made to work long hours with no overtime in appalling work conditions. These agreements have certainly not helped the poor in these countries. These countries continue to break the rules without any consequences. The only people these agreements have helped are the corporations who make outrageous profits at the expense of American jobs and the labor of people who have no choice.
I understand how much our president cares for the “downtrodden” (whatever country they live in) and I appreciate his concern. However, this agreement falls short of actually helping them in any true sense. As much as I am sure he wants to help them, he must remember he is President of the United States, not the world. I believe he would serve the citizens of this country better if he continued to work on the many problems here in America.
This article is not intended to “criticize” our president. It is to ask for clarification on every one of the details in this agreement and the hope he will consider the will of the American people on this Fast Track proposal.
While the U.S. media is giving Trump and Hillary’s e-mails 24/7 coverage, men, women and children are losing their lives trying to find a little piece of “humanity” left in this world!!
A Norwegian aid worker carried the lifeless body of a small child from the ocean where he and others have lost their lives while fleeing from the horrors of war. The father of this child also lost another son and his wife when their boat capsized. He lost his entire family. They were trying to get to Canada where they had an aunt. Now, he has no family, home, food or shelter and he is treated shamelessly by the Hungarian government! The surviving refugees are looking for help. What they have received is the exact opposite of that. Hungary has been erecting a barbed wire fence along its more than 100 mile border with Serbia to prevent migrants crossing. This mass of humanity is left to live in the streets of Hungary with no food or a place to sleep.
Hundreds of these refugees who had expected to board trains to Austria and Germany had Hungarian police officers stopping them at the rail station. A spokeswoman for the station said the problem is “proper documentation”. Many have been at Keleti station in Budapest for five days with no food or sleep. Thursday a train with some refugee passengers were finally allowed to board only to be stopped by Hungary at a refugee camp in the town of Biske. The latest report said refugees in three trains are now surrounded by police in Biske.
Meanwhile, today refugees still at the train station left to walk to Austria, 100 miles away! No one driving on the highway stopped to help them and taxi drivers were told not to pick anyone up! The only help they have received is from caring Hungarian volunteers who went to the highway to give them water! Another problem is Italian authorities have been requested by Bavarian authorities in Germany to reinstate border controls at the Italian-Austrian line and Austria and Slovakia borders are closed.
Italy and Greece have the largest numbers of refugees who have already arrived. President Erdogan of Turkey has accepted one and a half million refugees. A Netherlands TV program blamed the European Union (EU) as partly responsible for refugee deaths because the EU is 5.5 times bigger than Turkey.
Members of the EU, Germany, France and Italy have asked the 28 nations to take in their fair share of refugees. EU member states did agree in July to take in more than 32,000 migrants to ease the burden on Italy and Greece. President, Francois Hollands said he and Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel are proposing ways to deal with the crisis. Their proposals will be submitted to a meeting of European interior ministers on Sept. 14th. However, meanwhile nothing has been set up to take care of the refugees.
There has only been help from small organizations and private individuals who have distributed food, clothing and provided basic medical needs. Spokesman for the United Nations said municipal authorities in Budapest have not accepted the U.N. refugee agency’s offers of help with the growing crisis there. These refugees need immediate help on a large scale. Hungary is unwilling to deal with this. The Budapest government will create the legal framework to deploy the army against refugees! Hungarian official policy is to put refugees in camps until asylum claims can be processed.
There are signs of acceptance and welcome for these refugees. Italy’s South Tyrol governor, Arno Kompatscher has asked the Italian government for permission to help Bavaria. Meantime, the region of Alto Adige will host 300 to 400 refugees with shelter and food. In Reykjavik, Icelanders want to accept more refugees. After 60% of the German public said they support welcoming the refugees Merkel got “on board”. There needs to be many more “getting on board” to help these refugees. Although the U.S. has promised to accept thousands of refugees, where is the immediate help? I find it hard to believe a country as small as Hungary can dictate to the rest of the world they cannot send help to these refugees now!!
I can’t say that the U.S. is handling the immigration problem in our own country any better. Of course, there is a huge difference between “wanting to live in America” and fleeing your home country because of war! Nevertheless, wherever people seek refuge, they should be welcome.
Jamie Utt posted an article written by David Leonard that literally told me to “mind your own business”! I am writing this post as a response to that article because after a few comments, the comment section was closed. Leonard was writing about the incident in Seattle, Washington where two black women jumped on the stage, took over the microphone and would not give it back to the Bernie Sanders organizers. There were 10,000 people waiting to hear what Bernie Sanders had to say but because these two would not stop their “rant”, the event was ended before it even got started!
In the article Leonard wrote “whether the action was strategic and whether targeting Bernie was the right move the dialogue should continue to take place within Black liberation space, but white folks, that’s not our business.” !! He also wrote “we as white folks would do well to remember that people and Black organizations aren’t monoliths”. What is this “we” business?? Leonard didn’t ask me if I wanted him to speak for me! Leonard would do well to remember that white people aren’t monoliths either!!
I would like to know what exactly “Leonard’s rules” are for “blacks commenting on white behavior or whites commenting on black behavior”. Last time I looked, this is a “free speech country” and whether black or white, we have a right to express our own opinions! When does any person (black/white; man/woman) have the right to comment when two people (black/white; woman/man) take over an event that had been planned for a presidential candidate and a crowd of 10,000 were waiting to hear him speak? What is the difference when white people speak up about the injustice black people have suffered in this country? Leonard’s words are actually pitting black against white and this is not the way to promote “good race relations” within any community!
Leonard has the right to express his beliefs but he does not have the right to include all whites or all blacks in anything he writes about. As he said himself, we are not monoliths! We are separate individuals with our own opinions and have as much right as he does to express them! He does not have the right to tell anyone “that’s not your business”!! This is the most “arrogant” statement I have ever heard!!
If anyone questions my reason for this post, just read what I have written about how badly blacks are treated in this country! In particular, the post entitled “AFTER THE 4th of JULY – WHAT CHANGES?”.
AFRICAN AMERICAN CHURCH FIRES –
IT IS WHAT IT IS – PURE RACISM!
Anyone who says the African American Church fires are nothing but coincidence are no better than those who set these fires! The Justice department should be looking for the arsonist(s) and prosecute them. These church burnings are more acts of on-going hatred that exists in mostly the southern states. Racism exists in all states but to a much lesser degree than what has happened in these southern states. As everyone is aware, it goes back to the worst time in our history when African Americans were slaves!
As I said in a previous blog, no one is born with hatred. It is a “learned experience”, taught and passed down from generation to generation. Until a new generation is no longer taught this hatred, it will remain. If the white Christian community would “rally” and speak out against this hatred, show love and equality for everyone, as Jesus taught, maybe it would make a difference. No matter how small. It has to start in the communities where this hatred is fostered and lives.
I understand there is no simple solution to the years of racism many people in the south have been able to perpetuate without any real consequence to themselves. This cannot continue if we are to call ourselves the “United States of America”! Yes, the Civil Rights Act has given some help but it won’t take away the hatred. We cannot “legislate” that. This has to be done with “people to people” working together to do what is right. We have to stand together, as a nation to keep all African Americans from this kind of terrorism!!
Poor Benjamin Netanyahu! The world is ignoring him and he is having a “hissy fit”! I see he has not lost his “huff and puff” rhetoric! In response to the three rocket attacks from Gaza that caused no injuries or damage, he made a statement he hopes the world will respond to….….” “It will be interesting to see if this silence continues when we use all our strength in exercising our right to defend ourselves,” Netanyahu said. “It should be clear: The hypocrisy that is sweeping the world will not chain our hands from defending the citizens of Israel.” It has been reported that supporters of the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for these rocket attacks, not Hamas. Hamas is trying to crackdown on this group. The Israeli military did strike the Gaza Strip with rockets. Thankfully, there were no injuries or immediate damage there either. I do not condone the rocket strikes on Israel. I understand Israel must defend itself. That is a whole other issue.
The issue is Netanyahu’s ego! Ever since his “dubious” re-election as Prime Minister, “the world” has been silent around him. Has he asked himself why? Netanyahu needs to “contemplate” his actions prior to his election. When he interferes in other country’s foreign policy, goes to one of those countries Congress and makes a speech against the policies of their President (when he knows perfectly well the President did not approve this visit or speech), what does he expect?
When, during his election campaign he tells “the world” he will not agree to a two-state solution for peace between Israel and Palestine as long as he rules. When he uses “fear mongering” to pit some Israeli citizens against other Israeli citizens to win votes, what does he expect? When he makes “racist” remarks, what does he expect?
Netanyahu blames everyone but himself for the “cold shoulder” he is getting from “the world”. He still doesn’t understand his actions have caused other countries in “the world” to doubt his ability to lead and his “trustworthiness”. If he cries “Wolf!” too many times, he may be ignored completely!
The United States has always said they support the people of Israel. I hope Netanyahu doesn’t do anything more to undermine this support for the people of his own country!