Mar 17

Is the Office Intelligence Artificial or ??

Here’s one of several reasons why I have been adament about using facsimile to write to members of Congress.  Understandably, all congresspeople seem to use a site restricted method to receive emails.  I have no problem with that.  I have a problem that I can’t receive a copy of what I email to them, but that is only part of the issue.  Staff competence is more irritating.

 

Senator Gardner:

I made a mistake!  Instead of sticking to my self-imposed routine of only communicating with you (well, your office) via facsimile, where we both have an audit trail of correspondence, I made the mistake of using your website email to voice a concern.  Of course by using that form I have no written record of my message to you unless I remember to make a copy of the text and save it before sending the email – something I never have to do with the three other email server systems I use.  But, either your staff or your AI (Artificial Intelligent – which by self-definition is…”artificial”) email system attempts to send a canned (form letter in office jargon) response.  I don’t recall having sent you anything regarding the government “shutdown.”  I may have referenced the “shutdown” regarding concern over the lack of an approved budget opening the door for a government shutdown when the seemingly never-ending “continuing resolution” method of funding our nation fails – a long term concern of mine.

On March 11th your office sent me the “form letter” shown on the left below.  I responded to the March 11th letter from you (again mistakenly using your no audit trail available email form) expressing my concern that you (well, again your office) seems to misunderstand the difference between budgeting and shutting down the government.  On March 15th I received a response (I’m assuming to my second email) from your office.  That response is shown below as well.

[Onlythe March 11th copy of the identical letters is shown here.]

Yep!  The two not only look the same, they are absolutely identical (except for the date they were sent.)  I’m confused.  What am I supposed to determine from this?  Is it that I am being served by an AI system rather than staff?  Is it that your staff doesn’t understand the difference between a budget and what happens when there isn’t a budget?  I want to know when Congress is going to pass a budget! 

Your constituents deserve better – We’re watching!

Tom Howe – Flying W Ranch – Hotchkiss, Colorado

 

Mar 11

Telling it like it Isn’t!

This weeks letter is to one of Colorado’s Democrat Congressmen from a Front Range (metropolitian Colorado from Ft. Collins to Pueblo along the east side of the Rocky Mountains) District .  This letter responds to Representative Ed Perlmutter’s newsletter (he so kindly sent to me) in which 2019 HR1 was his headline issue.  Congressman Perlmutter sits on the committee that modified (see image) HR1 and sent it to the House Floor for vote.  He just forgot to mention that much of what he outlined as reasons he was voting for the legislation  was either removed from HR1 by his committee or really isn’t under Congressional Control …

 

Congressman Perlmutter:

Thanks (I think) for sending me this update shown here from your office.  But wait, you didn’t tell me “rest of the story.”  You sit on the House Committee that reviewed 2019 HR1 and made many changes to this bill before sending it to the House for a vote:

[ See Image below]

Keeping your constituents and the citizens of Colorado informed is important.  Keeping them accurately informed is even more important.  I understand that sometimes information slips behind actions, but that still doesn’t provide excuses for releasing information that is incorrect.  You sit on the committee that made these changes.  Your office has no excuse for releasing this erroneous information.

I just highlighted the states’ rights invaded by this bill as an example of your efforts to undermine and control the states’ constitutional right to organize and conduct elections.

I doubt this legislation will make it through the Senate – but that aside, you owe it to your constituents to provide more accurate information about your actions.

We’re watching.

Tom Howe – Flying W Ranch – Hotchkiss, Colorado

 

Mar 03

2019 HR1 Steamrolling Constitutional States Rights

2019 HR1 now working its way through the House of Representatives is an atrocity!  The Federal Government has been slowly eroding States Rights since Congress realized it could actually propose legislation that would do so.  There’s a difference between slow erosion and using hydraulicking – high pressure movement of mountains.  2019 HR1 blasts away the States Rights provided by the US Constitution.  What states can afford to implement all this federal intrusion?  None!!!!  My thoughts to the Colorado Representatives addressed to Rep. Scott Tipton.

 

Scott –

Since the formation of our nation, voting has long been one of the foundational state’s rights granted by the Constitution.  State’s rights – even though decisively reinforced and pronounced in the constitution by Amendment Ten – seem to be a direct target of the federal government rather than the intended protectorate of the federal government.  What’s happening?

2019 H.R. 1, in somewhat humorously inept and stumbling manner, is directly attacking the state’s right to control voting.  There is only one federal elected office, that of the President of the United States, that the citizens (mostly) cast ballots.  As expressly clarified and pronounced in Amendments 14 and 15, citizens have the “right” to vote for the Electors (of the Electoral College) by casting a presidential ballot. The federal government has the authority to enforce the citizen’s rights to cast that vote, but the ability of the federal government to control the state’s voting process is limited if allowed at all.

2019 HR1 contains wording that in effect would allow the federal government the means to not just control the state’s election methods, but massively micromanage all the state’s election processes.  While not a direct comparison, the Colorado State Statutes Section 1-1, Elections, has 115 different sections and is covered in 52 pages.  HR1’s Division A is 277 pages and has 123 sections in just Title I of six different Titles of mandated election rules.  Micromanagement is not nearly a strong enough adjective to describe the Federal Government’s intrusion.

Just how much money is the State of Colorado (via citizens taxes) supposed to invest in implementing this blatant abuse of federal rule over state’s rights?  The federal government can print its own money (a great excuse for spending money) – Colorado cannot.

I don’t want our state being told to spend my tax dollars attempting to implement often contradictory rules and regulations, i.e., my mail-in ballot counts if postmarked, “…on or before the date of the election.” [HR1, Section 1621 “e”, page 141.]  But wait, the date of the election, “…shall be treated in the same manner as a legal public holiday described in section 6103 of title 5, United States Code.” [HR1, Section 1903, page 163.]  There are many post offices throughout Colorado where you could never get a postmark on a holiday!

And why is it so critical that this most likely unconstitutional, poorly conceived, poorly written legislation must be implemented by 1/1/2020?  I could guess, but, of course, it would just be a guess on my part.

You have a responsibility to your constituents, your state, and yes, even to yourself, to ensure this sort of legislative gobbledygook is trashed!

We’re watching!

Tom Howe – Flying W Ranch – Hotchkiss, Colorado

 

CC:     CO Rep. Diana DeGette        202-225-5657

CO Rep. Joe Neguse            No Fax – staff email

CO Rep. Ken Buck                 202-225-5870

CO Rep. Doug Lamborn       202-226-2638

CO Rep. Jason Crow            No Fax – via facebook

CO Rep. Ed Perlmutter         202-225-5278

Feb 23

Court Arguments in Congressional Legislation?

HR-1 2019’s first “change things as fast as possible” bill is working its way through the legislative process – or Congress would like you to believe.  If the House truly honored the “legislative process” this bill would be ripped to pieces.  It’s not legislation at all.  Here are my comments regarding just one small part of this “Legislation?”

 

Scott –

I’ve been reviewing 2019 H.R. 1 that is so misleadingly titled “For the People Act of 2019.”

Is this indicative of the type of so-called “legislation” we can expect in our newest Democrat-controlled House?  While being concerned about many, many parts of this shotgun approach to change, I’ll cover just one concern in this letter:  SEC.  5001. FINDINGS RELATING TO CITIZENS UNITED DECISION.  This Section can be found on page 366 (of the 570 pages.)

I’m hoping you or your staff can explain to me how (or more importantly, why) legislation such as this is used to present an entire argument (almost 1200 of the 108,000 words) against a list of Supreme Court decisions.  I can understand a partisan movement against decisions levied by the Supreme Court not in favor with party desire, but am I wrong assuming the venue for arguing a case is not in House legislation?  It makes me wonder who the legislators are trying to convince – their constituents, the courts or themselves.  To what purpose does this long, amateurish legal argument serve within legislation?

And the legal arguments presented are so definitive – using long established legal terms like, “…tidal waves of unlimited and anonymous spending.”[1]  Just how much spending is that?

And then comes a self-descriptive legislative reaction like, “The Supreme Court’s misinterpretation of the Constitution to empower monied interests at the expense of the American people in elections has seriously eroded over 100 years of congressional action to promote fairness and protect elections from the toxic influence of money.”[2]

Am I to believe the Supreme Court has run off “misinterpreting” the Constitution – again?  But wait, isn’t interpreting the Constitution the primary job of the Supreme Court?  And our Congress using another legally explicit phrase to express how hard it (the Congress) has worked to avoid, “…the toxic influence of money.” has to be hilarious in the face of our $22,000,000,000,000 national debt.  Who spent all that money – no “…toxic influence…” there?

This is just one small item!  There is so much more in H.R.1 that needs review and clarification.

Your thoughts?  We’re watching.

Tom Howe – Flying W Ranch – Hotchkiss, Colorado

CC:     Rep. Diana DeGette  202-225-5657

Rep. Joe Neguse      No Fax – staff email

Rep. Ken Buck                   202-225-5870

Rep. Doug Lamborn  202-225-1942

Rep. Jason Crow      No Fax ?? email blog ref.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter    202-225-5278

 

 

[1] 2019 HR1, Page 367, lines 8 & 9

[2] Ibid – lines 19 to 24

 

 

Feb 17

“Myopicy” My What???

OK – I made up the word.  I couldn’t come up with a word to describe some of the myopic viewpoints of our Congresspeople.  I’m traveling the early part of the week hence the early posting.

 

My Colorado Representatives:

“Myopicy” – not a word according to our dictionaries, but how else does one say “the condition of being myopic?”  I can’t help but think that many of our more progressive leaders certainly suffer from such a condition.

Myopic, of course, means “lacking imagination, foresight, or intellectual insight.”  Some might say that’s harsh (we won’t go into the meaning of “harsh.”)  We certainly shouldn’t criticize our “progressive” thinkers for lack of Imagination.  Who else could come up with ideas such as Global Warming going to inundate our coastlines with 20 feet of sea (by 2017?) or that all the polar bears will die?  But we digress into the doomsday scenarios – the latest, of course, coming in 12 years.

I’m more concerned with the progressive myopicy that prevents consideration of issues like:

The 22 Trillion Dollar National Debt – evidently not recognized as an issue by the progressive Democrats.  Have you heard of any progressive plans to recognize this as a problem much less plan to reduce the debt?  Me neither – sort of myopic, eh?  $22 Trillion – unfathomable!

The creation and implementation of the 2020 National Budget –  All of the government seems focused on other issues – many caused by the lack of a 2019 budget, therefore, government funding still being “Continued” to keep the government from Shutting down.  FY 2019 will be half over in six more weeks!  Know of any progressives pushing for an approved 2020 budget?  Me neither.

That continued investigation created by lack of intellectual insight does not mean an eventual desired result!  We’ve all recognized that to progressive myopicy; it’s the investigation, not any investigative substance that matters.

Guns exacerbate violence.  If guns go away, violence must go away – another example of the lack of intellectual insight.  Maybe more myopic focus on violence, rather than guns, would be more productive – even though much less dramatic.

I could go on and on.  But until both major political parties realize that partisan myopicy serves no purpose other than disruption and lack of evolvement, many of the overinflated issues of the day that consume legislative and leadership resources deserve little more than a side glance – rather than … myopicy!

We’re watching

Tom Howe – Flying W Ranch – Hotchkiss, Colorado

Feb 14

Oh, this should work!

My Colorado State Legislature is blasting ahead with progressive solutions – here’s another that deserves national attention – hence this additional letter this week.  Tounge in cheek?  Don’t I wish!

 

My Colorado Representatives:

According to my newspaper[1], a bill before the Colorado Legislature will provide for a third party firm to send text message reminders (twice – I guess it must be easy to forget the first reminder) to defendants that they have a date and time to appear in court.[2]  And then if they still miss their court date, they will receive another text message (third time is a charm?) that a warrant has been issued for their arrest.

My first reaction to this was that Colorado must have a lot of uncaring defendants or many that will only appear if dragged into the courtroom in cuffs and leg irons.  On a subsequent page, the same newspaper described a defendant (driving under the influence of both alcohol and drugs) had written and carried along a reminder note (not a text message) to “sell drugs” and “sell food stamps.”  You wouldn’t want to forget to do that!

Why am I bringing this up to my federal representatives?  Simple!

One of our biggest border security problems over the past years has been Illegal aliens crossing our borders, facing a judge and being told to reappear at a (way) later date for a disposition of their criminal case.  I’m told many never reappear.  Perhaps texting those defendants will solve that problem?  Sending two messages will certainly help.

But then initiating such a program would certainly require some special funding.  Perhaps contracting with Google (they know where everybody is) to issue the messages would work.  Google might even give the government a discount if they are allowed to send an advertisement with each appearance message:

Need an extra charge for your cell while waiting in the courtroom?  Need to keep up with twitter and facebook?  Get a YretTab plug-in power supply for your cell (or pad.)  Do it immediately when next month’s welfare check comes in.  Be sure to ask for the “Defendant’s Discount” available at almost all pawn shops. 

But then I realized how wrong I am to think this way.  The reason that most of these defendants do not appear is that, like our driver, they are so messed up on drugs (beyond their control, I know) they can’t remember, or care, about their silly “appearance” or whatever…

Go for it!  Such a program would probably only cost twice as much (every two years or so – or infinitely – like every good government program) as securing the border, stopping a big portion of the drug flow, reducing the number of illegal entry “defendants”  awaiting court dates, reducing crime…etc…but I digress.

We’re watching!

Tom Howe – Flying W Ranch – Hotchkiss, Colorado

 

[1] Grand Junction Daily Sentinel 2/12/19

[2] I’m guessing the assumption is that all defendants have their own O’Bama Phones

Feb 11

Could This Happen? You tell me…

Colorado’s State Legislature is considering (passed Senate – in House now) joining the Popular Vote Agreement – an agreement among states that all the members of the Agreement will cast all their Electoral College votes for the candidate that receives the most popular vote among the agreement member states.

What could possibly be wrong with that?

The scenario presented below was sent to every member of the Colorado House this morning with this preamble:

 

Please take a few minutes over a warm drink to review the possible scenario regarding the impact of the Popular Vote Agreement. 
 
At a minimum look at the last section, last page. 
 
Your constituents weren’t allowed to vote … not good for you! 
 
Is this what you want?

 

Jan 28

…And I’ll Say it Again!

As I had said in an earlier letter, there is a way to operate our federal government without the danger of it coming totally apart because the two major parties have a disagreement driven by personal ideologies.  Congresspeople have a responsibility.  When politicians are able use government leverage to push personal agendas well past the negotiation table – the government system has been broken.  Government has the responsibility to fix itself!  Remember – there are damn few nations on the planet that would even consider that action.

 

My Colorado Representatives:

What to do about our self-inflicted “Border Security” issue that is like mana from heaven for the non-stop media?  Please help set the negotiating stage to actually negotiate about something tangible – instead of constant bloviating about differing philosophies that generate unending hyperbolic hearsay, verbal hypocrisy, and general idiocy.

The right says we need a wall – the only quasi proven solution.  The left says we need to apply more technology – technology being the “modern” operative way to solve problems.

OK – Stop speculating and let’s find out which answer is the best.  Quickly[1] form the necessary government action (you guys are government’s action crew, right?) to establish two comparable sites (same amount of illegal crossing activity, where traffic can be monitored accurately and where historical data is available for accurate comparison,) toss a coin and put a section of proposed wall along one site and implement the proposed technological barrier along the other site.  Start a closely monitored and reasonable testing period to see what happens.  Then the method (Wall or Tech) demonstrated to be the most effective will be the primary border security method budgeted and implemented in the future.

Or do we continue to stumble ahead with speculation, accusation, and stipulation which is twisted, turned, and…?  Oh yes, that would be a real service to your constituents and the nation.

While discovering what proposed solutions actually work, recognize this whole issue is your fault!  Yep, the whole political gnarl referred to as the “Border Wall Controversy” is your fault.  Had the 115th Congress (that was you) done its job, this dispute would never have become an issue, and the government’s “Temporary Shutdown” could not have happened. Now we face the coming February 15th Crescendo that we all fear will, in time, hurt the nation more than it will help the nation.

Had you and your colleagues in the 115th Congress done your job and approved a budget (including any border security portion thereof) for FY2019, the threat of a government shutdown due to lack of funding wouldn’t exist. The government funding “can” would have been opened up on October 1, 2018, dumped, and the “can” thrown in history‘s trash.  The nation wouldn’t still be stumbling over that “can” after you lawmakers kept kicking and kicking and kicking that “can” down the road to where we are now.

So…perhaps an exemplary effort (more than a decade late) to follow the law, negotiate and approve a 2020 budget (including border security) would make the future of our nation more serving to all.  Stop bickering and start functioning.  The other guy is not always completely wrong.

It isn’t easy watching from this end, but we’re still watching.

Tom Howe – Flying W Ranch – Hotchkiss, Colorado

 

[1] While I think this is a reasonable approach, my wife thinks there is no way this method could be defined and implemented by our current federal government in a practicable timeframe.  She is probably correct – it requires collaboration and  partsianship.

 

Jan 21

Embarrassments!

This will probably seem like more of same…and unfortunately it is.  Congress is doing more of same – totally shirking their Congressional responsibilities.  How do we make it stop? 

Maybe a Convention of the States will be required?

 

My Colorado Representatives:

You’ve embarrassed me, you’ve embarrassed yourselves, you’ve embarrassed the nation!

I see the House this holiday-shortened week might (after all the 15 or so bills to be considered “under suspension of the rules”) by Wednesday, or so, might consider talking about[1]:

H.R. 648 – Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 [emphasis added, twh] (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Nita Lowey / Appropriations Committee)

Postponed Vote of H.J.Res. 28 – Further Additional Continuing Appropriations Act, 2019 (Sponsored by Rep. Nita Lowey / Appropriations Committee)

Legislation Related to FY19 Appropriations

We’re two thirds the way through January 2019, which puts us about ten days from being one-third of the way through all of FY2019 and Congress is still trying to appropriate monies for the government to operate?

H.R.648 is only 1103 pages of funding legislation that should have been approved more than five months ago as part of the Budgeting process.  Now the new 116th Congress, including all the returning Congresspeople, is faced with cleaning up the miserable mess left by the 115th Congress.  How can you returning representatives not be embarrassed?

But wait, the new Congress can fix this.  H.J.Res 28 will fix this problem – fix it in the preferred Congressional way.  H.J.Res 28 will extend (“kick the can”) down the road more than another month – all the way to February 28th.  Which option will our new Congress choose?

Most of our nation’s populous are aware that the government is “temporarily” shut down because Congress won’t fund the President’s request for border security funds – aka, “the wall.”  Fortunately, for Congress at least, many of the nation’s populous aren’t acutely aware that the previous Congress (115th) should have completed all this work before September 2018 – almost four months ago.  Shame on them.

The sinful part of all this is not Congress failing to fund the Administration’s request for securing the border, but Congress betraying the entire nation by not properly funding the entire federal government.

“Embarrassing” is too kind a word to describe this massive failing!

We’re watching!

Tom Howe – Flying W Ranch – Hotchkiss, Colorado

 

[1] Kevin McCarthy, House Republican Leader’s Weeky Schedule, Week of January 21st, 2019

 

Jan 17

Government Shutdown – How did we Really Get Here!

The editorial in today’s Grand Junction (Colorado) Daily Sentinel rubbed my feathers the wrong way a bit so a response was drafted and sent.  The government shutdown and our Congress are the main topics so I thought my Congress People needed to know.

 

My Colorado Representatives:

Below is the text of a letter to the editor of the Grand Junction Sentinel.  You are the topic so you get your very own copy:

Government Shutdown – How did we Really Get Here?

President Trump ran for office with the Campaign Guidon, “Build the Wall.”  Anyone in this nation that knew there was going to be a 2016 Presidential election expected that President Trump (if elected) would do whatever necessary to build a Wall. 

The bottom line is that the shutdown is Congress’s fault – pure and simple.  The government is designed to operate such that circumstances should never exist for either Congress or the Administration be in a position that would allow this illogical operational outcome.  If both Congress and the Administration were doing their jobs as defined by law[1], the circumstance creating this shutdown could never have happened. 

If Congress had negotiated and approved the Fiscal Year 2019 Federal Budget back before October 2018, then the wall would have been approved, partially approved, or not approved as part of the official budgeting process.  Fiscal year 2019 would have begun on October 1, 2018, with all funding defined and approved within the confines of the budgeting process.  But NO!

Following the FY 2008 budget, our Congress has been unable to (according to them) approve and pass a federal budget in accordance with the intent of The Congressional Budget Act of 1974.  Just because Congress hasn’t done its job for 10 years is not a license not to do their job now.

Yes, the law provides for actions should Congress fail to approve a Budget Resolution or fail to approve the Budget Legislation within the defined time prescribed. When the all too familiar “reconciliation bills” begin to appear, they should not be the expected (pseudo approved?) method to fund our government.  Yes, they are part of the Budget Law, but the part that is only supposed to be used when Congress has failed its assigned duties. 

The defined budget process appears to be lost in the “can kicking,” “reconciliation bill” partisan and political process that repeatedly has, year after year, created the environment for this government shutdown.

Point all the fingers in all the directions there are, but had Congress done its job – there would be no government shutdown!

Tom Howe – Flying W Ranch – Hotchkiss, Colorado

 

[1] www.cbpp.org/research/policy-basics-introduction-to-the-federal-budget-process

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