- Associated Press - Monday, August 4, 2014

Fort Dodge Messenger. Aug. 2, 2014.

Altering Constitution is wrong move

Frustrated that the Constitution enshrines Americans’ freedom of speech, including that in which they spend money to speak out on political candidates, a few members of the U.S. Senate have become so eager to curb that liberty that they are adopting a new strategy: change the Constitution.

Democrats who control the Senate Judiciary Committee have proposed broad new limits on political spending. They are so expansive they would require scrapping part of the First Amendment.

Conservatives say the plan is no more than a political stunt intended to give liberals traction during the current campaign season. Some of them, such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, already have begun to sound like broken records as they decry political spending by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch.

For some reason, Reid and company never seem to mention political spending by ultra-rich liberals such as George Soros and Tom Steyer.

Some of those skeptical about the proposed constitutional amendment say it could result in serious limits to freedom of speech far beyond the curbs on big spenders that liberals claim they want.

Fortunately, the nation’s founders anticipated some in government would attempt to use constitutional amendments for transient political purposes. The founders made it very difficult to alter the nation’s basic document of government. It is unlikely the new proposal will go anywhere.

But it is a reminder to Americans that in order to gain advantage, some politicians are willing to chip away at our basic freedoms.

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Telegraph Herald. Aug. 1, 2014.

What motivates U.S. Congress?

By almost any standard, this session of the U.S. Congress has been noteworthy for how little it has accomplished. At virtually every turn, one political party or the other has bottled up even the simplest measures. The goal seems to be making the opposing party look bad, not doing what’s right and necessary for the good of the country. The complicated stuff? Don’t even think about it.

However, just when it appears that Congress can’t agree on anything these days, federal lawmakers let down their partisan ways just enough to take care of a few issues. What is their motivation? Apparently it’s their August vacations.

That’s right. Lawmakers traditionally take off the entire month of August and return to Washington after Labor Day. Their five-week summer vacation is on top of the other time off they give themselves, including two weeks around Easter, a week around Independence Day, and a week for Martin Luther King Day. In fairness, some of this time out of session is labeled “in-district work days” or some such, when many lawmakers meet with constituents (especially when they are up for re-election). And don’t forget the full month from early October through Election Day, which can be unofficially labeled Election Campaign season.

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