Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Waxman's Letter on 2013 Compared to Today -- and the Truth

In early February of this year (2013), Congressman Henry Waxman released the following email to his campaign/district followers.
Waxman cited three “major” issues, which must be qualified with quotation marks only because his efforts have only contributed greater problems to the already problematic policies and legislation promoted by the Obama Administration.

Dear Friends,

Earlier this month, President Obama gave his State of the Union address to Congress and laid out his priorities for the next year. As the senior Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, I will play a major role in advancing his initiatives, especially implementation of the Affordable Care Act and taking action on climate change.
As Chairman of the Energy Committee, he did not know what was in his own Cap and Trade bill. He also sped-read through a perverse and disconcerting passage of the Affordable Care Act (which would have permitted employers to remove employees from their insurance plans) He also claimed that the law would hold down health care costs, which has not occurred.
As for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the law has grown unaffordable, while also losing its first official moniker “Patient Protection”, since fewer patients feel protected under this law. President Obama’s signature legislation may sign off on the growing failures of his presidency, in which has buffered medical professionals with more paperwork, higher costs, and less time to care for patients. Doctors have indicated their growing reluctance to practice medicine, and the state of California now faces an unprecedented doctor-shortage in combination with an unprepared rate of demand for newly-insured to visit local clinics.
Local legislators have been holding forum after forum to educate Americans to enroll for online health coverage. Those who already have plans, however, have witnessed not just the marked increase in premiums, but a weary reluctance on the part of many to pursue a single-payer system, an abortive plan which will ensure waste, fraud, rationing, and poor quality health care for us.
In the last Congress, House Republicans voted 33 times to chip away at parts of the Affordable Care Act or repeal it altogether.  With President Obama’s reelection, Republicans know they can’t repeal the law, so they will try to cripple the Administration’s ability to implement its provisions.  I will work to make sure the law is fully realized and millions more Americans gain access to insurance coverage.      
Republicans have now passed a forty-second attempt to repeal Obamacare, and a growing majority of Americans support repeal of the law. President Obama’s campaign tours have diminished effect, and a plan of “repeat the lie often enough” is not working. Businesses and individual citizens reject his law, from inception, implementation, and implication.

House Republicans also voted 53 times to block action on climate change, even going so far as voting to deny its existence.  Study after study has shown that the effects of climate change are occurring sooner and with greater impacts than expected.  It is long past time to move forward to protect our planet for our children and future generations.  Because Republicans refuse to address this challenge, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and I have formed a bicameral task force on climate change to educate the American public about the urgency of addressing climate change and develop effective policies.
Which studies is Waxman referring to? Climate change has been disputed by thirty thousand and growing experts on climate, meteorological, and scientific matters. Even though politicians, skeptics, and experts have challenged these findings, the fact remains that the argument and consensus on climate change as a serious matter remains unsettled.
As you know, our immediate task is to prevent automatic across-the-board cuts that will occur on March 1 if we don’t reach an agreement on reducing the debt.  President Obama has offered to work with Congress on a comprehensive plan to reduce the debt, create a fairer tax system, and rebuild the middle class.  He and Democrats in Congress are insisting on a balanced approach, however, and won't allow the burden of deficit reduction to be put on the elderly, poor, and disabled.  We can find a solution without destroying the integrity of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.   
Since the release of this email, the sequester has been enacted, with negligible effect. The mainstream media could drum up very little action about the dangers of the automatic cuts. In a September town hall meeting, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles/Torrance) attempted to play up the devastating consequences of the automatic budget cuts. The effects have been unnoticed and unnoticeable, and a majority of Americans then and now approve the cuts, anyway. Besides, Waters outrageously inaccurate claim  that the sequester would cost 170 million jobs has simply not come to pass.
If there is a failure in Washington regarding compromise and fiscal responsibility, look no further than President Obama and the Democratically-controlled US Senate, which have ruled out lasting, substantial cuts and reforms to maintain our present and protect our future.

I deeply appreciate all of the support you’ve shown me in the past and look forward to working with you in the new Congress.

Henry Waxman

Waxman's Opposition to Keystone Pipeline -- and the Truth

The Democratic Party in Washington is divided on a number of issues. Blue state senators in red states defend the Second Amendment, placing themselves at odds with President Obama and the liberal caucus driving his policies.

Environmental regulations are also causing friction for the Democratic Party. Union interests and advocates for blue-collars workers demand the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would not only create jobs, but would pipe in expanded energy independence while strengthening political and economic ties with Canada, one of the United States’ strongest global allies.

Nevertheless, from 2012 until the present day, Congressman Henry Waxman has resisted the Keystone extension, claiming that “all that dirty oil” will cause irreparable harm to our nation’s groundwater without providing substantial benefits in bringing down gas prices or solving our nation’s energy concerns.

Earlier this year, Congressman Waxman issued the following email, championing his continued efforts to block Keystone.

Dear Friends,

On May 22, the House of Representatives voted for the fourth time in two years to give a special deal to TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.  H.R. 3, which passed the House with heavy Republican support, would effectively exempt TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline from all federal permitting requirements, including environmental requirements every other construction project in the U.S. must meet.  It is an extreme proposal, and it shows how far House Republicans are willing to go to let the oil companies set the agenda.

The matter is not about oil companies setting anything but more pipeline for Americans to receive more access to hydrocarbon. Does the Congressman insist on forcing Americans to pay high prices at the pump? Not even six years ago, the average cost of fuel was $2.50 a gallon. Even though the drivers in the United States have not been reduced to waiting in lines and visiting their gas stations on certain days, hard-working men and women are still hurting just to drive from work to home.

I have fought hard against the Keystone XL pipeline, which would triple the production of tar sands, the dirtiest form of fuel on the planet.  Each gallon of tar sands-based fuel burned releases up to 40% more carbon pollution than a typical gallon of gasoline.  This increase in pollution would only make our job to avoid catastrophic climate change that much harder.  That makes no sense. 

What are the stats on tar sands production and pollution?

There is indeed significant research and reports which confirm the dangers of tar sand spills in general. I would counter that following the crash and massive oil spill of the Exxon Valdez in the early 1990s, the world did not stop shipping oil on large barges.

Then The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality conducted its own study, even after TransCanada agreed to divert the flow of the pipeline away from a major aquifer.  Despite the horrific consequences of oil-bearing trains which collide and explode, the incidence of such accidents is rare, according to policy experts who were commenting on a recent explosion in Quebec. The rising number of trains transporting oil has increased, with fewer accidents.

There will always be risks, whether building bridges or pipelines. The world is fraught with risk, yet the resiliency of men and women in our communities cannot be discounted, either. If politicians and policy makers followed the arguments and advocacy of environmental activists to their logical limits, we would never drill for oil, we would not cut one acre of wheat, and very likely, the pursuit of any forms of fuel would be futile.

I offered a modest amendment to H.R. 3 that would have required TransCanada to offset the increased pollution associated with the tar sands fuels with projects that would lower greenhouse gas emissions.  My amendment failed, as did all of the sensible environmentally-friendly amendments offered by my Democratic colleagues.

What proof did the Congressman provide to prove this pollution? These amendments are frustration in their obscurity. TransCanada is in the oil production business, not the greenhouse gas demission-emission trade.

H.R. 3 would trample American laws to get Canada’s dirty tar sands oil to the Gulf, where it could be refined and exported to other countries.  It would be a boon to tar sands developers and refiners like the Koch Brothers, Valero, and Shell, but it would be a terrible deal for the American public.  You can count on me to continue to work hard against the Keystone XL pipeline and every Republican effort to rig the process in favor of the oil companies.

How would this project be terrible for the public? Because other nations would be purchasing the oil? Congressman Waxman should have considered that if other nations are able to purchase oil from a greater expansion of reserves, then the greater availability of hydrocarbon would bring down gas prices.


Henry A. Waxman

The arguments against Keystone XL  are insincere and unverified. There will always be potential dangers, including spills and explosions, associated with the expansion of oil production. Yet research and reported responses relate that such concerns should not prevent the construction of the Keystone Pipeline.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Waxman's Thoughts on Syria Are. . .?

President Barack Obama faces overwhelming domestic conflicts in his second term. Department of

Then there's Benghazi, in which the President and his diplomatic corps presented a narrative of sudden surprise attacks rising up against the Libyan consult because of an offensive YouTube video. The reality has proven quite different, including reports from the consulate that terrorists were planning an attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. Even though embassy officials requested more security, the State Department never delivered, and four Americans died on September 11, 2012. Every major network covered a one-year anniversary tribute to the victims.

In spite of his domestic failures and the growing scandals assaulting his administration, President Obama has attempted to distract the country from the pressing issues of high unemployment, his train wreck of an insurance mandate, and our nation's diminished standing in the world.

He wants to attack Syria and end the humanitarian crisis overseas.
Justice officials were seizing phone records of AP reports. The NSA has been spying on everyone's cell phone and reading emails. The IRS was targeting conservative groups, refusing to grant them tax-exempt status. The EPA was also engaged in this invidious discrimination. Operation Fast and Furious permitted Department of Justice officials to run guns to Mexican drug cartels, weapons which killed American law enforcement officers.

Former Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) asserted that if President Obama insisted on attacking Syria without Congressional approval, he will face impeachment. For administrative cover, Obama finally sought Congressional approval (as if he did not have to)

I recently contacted Congressman Henry Waxman's office regarding Obama's request for authorization to strike Syria. According to his staffers, Waxman has not issued a public opinion on whether to authorize President Obama to engage Syria with military strikes or not.

Frankly, the majority of voters in this country are tired of foreign wars, tired of military ventures into the Middle East, which strengthens radical elements while displacing allies and destabilizing Israel's stance.

Syria does not post a direct military threat to this country. Our reconnaissance operatives have little knowledge about the rebels fighting against Syrian dictator-President Bashar al-Assad. The embattled President has taken back Damascus, and the rebel forces are a muddled amalgam of secular and Islamic extremist forces, including Al Qaeda. If the United States military insists on military strikes, our leaders will have no idea whether they are assisting "

If conservative Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
has made up his mind, if liberal Democrat Brad Sherman has published his views on the matter, then Congressman Henry Waxman has no excuse for taking so long to published a reasoned opinion.

Urge Congressman Henry Waxman to vote "NO!" on any resolution which authorizes the President to send American troops to Syria. Call Congressman Henry Waxman's office, and demand that he vote "No!" on any resolution to strike Syria. There is no reason for our troops to invade Syria, nor is there any reason for our air force to attack the region.

Friday, September 6, 2013

What Would You Like to Tell Them, Henry?

"Together, those two pension funds lost millions of dollars of their retirement money [for the 2009 auto bailouts], and my question to you as a supporter of the bailouts is What would you like to tell them?" (Congressman Mick Mulvaney)
Congressman Henry Waxman claims to lead the fight for workers, for the poor, of the environment; however, in a 2012 budget committee hearing, he was caught off-guard, first failing to acknowledging (or rather refusing to acknowledge) that General Motors went bankrupt in 2009.
Then he dodged questions about the bailouts which saved the industry in Detroit cost public employees, teachers and police officers in Indiana, hundreds of millions of dollars.
Mr. Waxman could only muster: "People get hurt."
The retired teachers and police officers were robbed by the Obama Administration in order to pay off the unions who had supported him in 2009, but less so in 2012, and probably not at all in 2014, and 2016.

What would you like to tell those retired teachers and police officers, Henry? What about the unions whom you claim to support?
Other constituents have been hurt by Congressman Henry Waxman's ignorance, lack of oversight, and attention to less pressing matters.

The thousands of homeless veterans in Los Angeles County have languished for decades without proper food, shelter, and medical treatment, all of which should be theirs through the Brentwood Veterans Administration, a property which deeded to the veterans primarily and exclusively.

The ACLU just launched and won an injunction against the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the current secretary Eric Shinseki for the poor use of the facility.

Congressman Henry Waxman has done nothing to support these legal measures, and has instead grandstanded in local veterans receptions, or has blamed House Majority Leader Eric Cantor for attempting to sell the land. For forty years, Waxman has represented the Westside, and the veterans have received nothing from their representatives. Majority Leader Cantor was wearing diapers when Waxman entered office, so for him to blame a younger legislator for his lack of oversight is just reprehensible immaturity.

What would you like to tell the homeless veterans, Henry?
Steroid abuse in baseball was all the rage in the Sports pages these past few months, yet Waxman said nothing. However, six years ago, as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, he was investigating steroid abuse in baseball. A concerned citizen, who featured in the documentary "Bigger, Faster, Stronger" asked for his advice and information on the matter. Waxman inadvertently exposed that he did not the basic laws regulating steroid abuse, or even cigarette and alcohol us, and he also had no knowledge of $15 million earmarked for steroid abuse education.

What would you like to tell the youth in athletics and the major sports franchises, Henry? How do you explain your lack of investment and interest in this subject after so many years?

Postal workers face losing their Saturday hours, and residents throughout the 33rd Congressional District face losing the service because of the bankrupted United States Postal Service. Of course, Henry Waxman contributed to this problem because he cosponsored legislation in 2006 which forced the USPS to supply seventy-five years worth of healthcare benefits in ten years.

What would you like to tell our overworked postal workers, Henry?

While Congressman Henry Waxman continues to demand government intervention regarding climate change, he resisted legislation which would prevent the abuse and waste of federal subsidies for green teach companies, nineteen of which went bankrupt in the last two years.

What would you like to tell the taxpayers, Henry?

Waxman hosted a gun violence forum in Santa Monica in July, claiming that friendship circles in Manhattan Beach, or that more gun control legislation in Washington, would limit the gun violence in the Santa Monica Bay. The same Congressman believed that anyone who suspects the federal government of taking away his or her rights should have their guns confiscated alone bears witness to Waxman's hostility to the United States Constitution and the individual rights of his constituents.

Doctors, nurses, and other health practitioners are fleeing the healthcare industry because of Obamacare, which has increased the red tape, the costs, and the difficulty of accessing quality healthcare. Eight health insurers have left the state of California, and the massive confusion surrounding Obamacare has only worsened.

What would you like to tell the doctors, nurses, patients, and health practitioners, Henry?

From homeless veterans to health care professionals, from postal workers to professional athletes, Congressman Henry Waxman has been leading the fight for no one.

And all we can ask is:

"What would you like to tell them?"