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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee


A few days ago the Washington Times ran an article by Robert Knight, Impeaching the Truth, about Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat from Texas. A few excerpts:

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Texas Democrat, impugned the motives of Mr. Boehner for bringing to a floor vote Wednesday a resolution to sue Mr. Obama for usurping powers delegated by the Constitution to Congress. The measure passed on a party-line vote of 225 to 201.

"I ask my colleagues to oppose this resolution for it is, in fact, a veiled attempt for impeachment and it undermines the law that allows a president to do his job," Mrs. Jackson Lee said...

She claimed, as reported by the Daily Caller's Chuck Ross, that Democrats who were upset over the war in Iraq "did not seek an impeachment of President Bush, because as an executive, he had his authority. President Obama has the authority..."

Mrs. Jackson Lee seems to have forgotten that she was one of 11 Democratic co-sponsors of a resolution introduced by then-Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, Ohio Democrat, in June 2008, titled, "Impeaching George W. Bush, President of the United States, of high crimes and misdemeanors." 

In January, she said that Americans have done little to help the poor, and that the word "welfare" should be replaced by "transitional-living fund."

As noted on the website DiscovertheNetworks.org, she declared in 2005 that the United States has been a constitutional republic for 400 years (not 217 years at the time), and that astronaut Neil Armstrong planted an American flag on Mars (not the moon).

She outdid herself in 2010 when she took to the House floor to say that, in Vietnam, "Victory had been achieved. Today, we have two Vietnams, side by side, North and South, exchanging and working. We may not agree with all that North Vietnam is doing, but they are living in peace."

The North won the war in 1975 and absorbed the South into the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in 1976.

This article is reminiscent of those lists of dumb mistakes that high school students make. You know, the ones which give you a good chuckle about how amazingly stupid some teen-agers are.

But Jackson Lee is a United States Congresswoman. She is, theoretically, one of our foremost experts when it comes to understanding and implementing complex legislation.

Jackson Lee got her undergraduate degree from Yale University in 1972 and graduated from the University of Virginia Law School in 1975.

What's most mind-boggling is that at one point Jackson Lee served on the House Science Committee and on the Subcommittee overseeing space policy and NASA.

(Everybody who knows that Neil Armstrong went to the moon and not Mars would seem better qualified than her for that role.)

It certainly gives the lie to all those lectures your parents gave you about how you had to study hard to get ahead. It makes you wonder if studying hard for those history exams in high school was really worth it.

It make one question how much of a meritocracy we live in. It even makes one question the value of democracy.

About the only thing not in question here is the level of Ms. Jackson Lee's intelligence.

17 comments:

Steven said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkhXweJFtJI&t=12m34s

John Craig said...

Steven --
Amusing, but I don't think Jackson Lee was putting on a "dumb act" to make her constituency feel she was one of them.

What time is it over in the UK right now? It sometimes occurs to me that you write in what must be the middle of the night over there.

Steven said...

The point was the first bit...his impression that the politicians he met really weren't bright.

Its 1am now, which is about when I usually go to bed. I've probably commented in the middle of the night before but its not normal. Occasionally I put the laptop in my bedroom on but that is a very bad idea as I usually stay on it too long and end up only getting a few hours sleep. Goodnight!

John Craig said...

Steven --
Aha, gotcha. But Jackson Lee seems to be in a class of her own in that regard.

Okay, good night.

hooter tooter said...

She was probably vacationing with Hank Johnson on Guam, and her gray cells are still water logged.

If you haven't seen it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnk0tIqsbYM

John Craig said...

Hooter --
I have seen that, thanks. Amazing.

For those of you who haven't seen the clip, I recommend it highly. If someone described the exchange to you, you probably wouldn't believe it.

jova said...

the people who get elected in America has lead me to question democracy.

our founders also feared democracy, which is why the constitution limited democracy to the election of members of the House of representatives. Senators were chosen by the governors and the President is chosen by the electors (not directly by the people)

one of my pet peeves , the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929 which sealed the number of House members at 435.

today each House member "represents" about 725,000 people. Before 1929 each house member represented ~240,000 people. If I had my way, Senators would still be chosen by governors and we would now have over 1,210 House members. More house members would dilute their individual power, and with so many running for election the campaign donations would be spread thinner and the lobbyist would have to work twice as hard. It would be more difficult for the big special interest groups to gain too much power, as they would need to buy influence among many more elected officials to get their agenda passed..would work better with term limits for congress.

John Craig said...

Jova --
I've always had a hankering for a more direct democracy, in the form of referendums, I suppose simply because a lot of them would go the way I want them to. If we made policy decisions by referendum, we would seal up our borders immediately. we would not have affirmative action. And we would not be giving 25% of all our foreign aid to israel. (That last figure is dated, but whatever the number has been for the past several years, it's a hugely disproportionate amount.) In fact, with referendums, we would hardly be giving any foreign aid at all. And we wouldn't be getting involved in all these conflicts in the Middle East.

But, I suppose, if the population were majority black and Hispanic, I would not favor referendums, as they would simply vote to redistribute all wealth.

I agree completely with your second (larger) point, about the power of lobbyists. They make for an incredibly corrupt form of government. I think the simpler solution would be to simply ban campaign contributions altogether, have some form of purely public financing of campaigns. (I instinctively shudder at the idea of more Sheila Jackson Lee's).

jova said...

I am opposed to any campaign donation limitations, as restrictions on free speech for citizens increases the power of the media and incumbents.

incumbents love to restrict criticism, which is why they voted to outlaw political speech attacking them 90 days before an election.

if we had over 1200 representatives in the house, political donations would be more spread out, which dilutes their influence. currently lobbyists only need to buy influence from about 150 house members to get their agenda passed. with 1,200 + congressman they would need to spend even more mo

It’s been far too long since the House expanded to keep up with population growth and, as a result, it has lost touch with the public and been overtaken by special interests. When the House met in 1789 it had 65 members, one for every 60,000 inhabitants.

The result is that Americans today are numerically the worst-represented group of citizens in the country’s history. The average House member speaks for about 700,000 Americans. In contrast, in 1913 he represented roughly 200,000, a ratio that today would mean a House with 1,500 members — or 5,000 if we match the ratio the founders awarded themselves.

This disparity increases the influence of lobbyists and special interests: the more constituents one has, the easier it is for money to outshine individual voices. And it means that representatives have a harder time connecting with the people back in their districts.

Moreover, with additional House members we’d likely see more citizen-legislators and fewer lifers. In places like New York or Chicago, we would cross at least one Congressional district just walking a few blocks to the grocery store. Our representatives would be our neighbors, people who better understood the lives and concerns of average Americans.

More districts would likewise mean more precision in distributing them equitably, especially in low-population states. Today the lone Wyoming representative covers about 500,000 people, while her lone counterpart in Delaware reports to 900,000.

The biggest obstacle is Congress itself. Such a change would require the noble act — routine before World War I but unheard of since — of representatives voting to diminish their own relative power.

John Craig said...

Jova --
You make a lot of good points. The only thing about 1200 Representatives is, wouldn't it be awfully expensive ti provide for them all? Maybe I'm being penny-wise and pound-foolish here, but….yikes.

I agree with you about the power of the incumbency and media, but wouldn't it be possible to establish rules which would negate these? I see campaign contributions by special interests as an evil which can only be wiped out one way: entirely. I know the Supreme Court has ruled against restrictions on the basis of free speech principles, but to me, the corruption engendered by them is at the heart of much of the rot in our country.

I'm completely with you on term limits, btw.

hooter tooter said...

It hardly makes any difference whatsoever if you tweak the system of government. Imagine the worst governmental system you can think of with good folks running it and that would be better, by leaps and bounds, than what we have now. For a good society, you need a good people.

Btw, proving one is not a robot is really annoying, as even with a magnifying glass I, sometimes, can't make out what the letters are.

John Craig said...

Hooter --
Sorry about that, I've had other complaints in the past, but I lifted that requirement once and ended up getting about 50 to 70 spam emails a day as a result.

Anonymous said...

I remember as a girl sitting watching the nightly news with my dad (Ronald Reagan was on the t.v.). He said, out of the blue, "this country is settling for mediocrity." Some of our politicians are mediocre, deficient. What I observed about the photo of Sheila Jackson Lee is that her braid (on top of her head) sort of resembles a crown. I know that she thinks that she's a queen. Is she deliberately wearing this hairstyle for a reason? The woman is a narcissist, that's for sure, an unpleasant one.

-birdie

John Craig said...

Birdie --
Your Dad must have been a Democrat if he didn't like Reagan.

I hadn't thought of that hairstyle as being a "crown" until you pointed it out. I doubt that resemblance is intentional, I think it's just a certain kind of black hairstyle.

Your assessment of her personality is right on the mark.

Anonymous said...

My dad liked Ronald Reagan. I don't know why he said what he did, but I agree with him. He also was a conservative, a Republican.

-birdie

John Craig said...

Birdie --
Aha. My parents, unfortunately, voted for Obama.

Anonymous said...

That's okay. Once his term is up, hopefully we can elect a good President (wouldn't that be wonderful if it actually happened, a dream come true).

-birdie