Saturday, July 21, 2007

Congressman Tim in Manchester

I was able to attend the Congressman's meeting at The Whistlestop Cafe in Manchester this morning. There were about 12-15 attendees.
I was 5 minutes late (fitzy, the meeting started at 12 noon, not 1:00 p.m., was glad I called the restaurant!, How do you get on the calling list, anyway?)

When I arrived, I caught the Congressman talking about the Farm bill...
He said, in explaining his position on it; we should be indexing the farm bill to make it less of an entitlement program, and that we should get to where less people are using food stamps by growing the economy where they can get jobs and benefit themselves. He is opposed to the Davis- Bacon prevailing wage rules in the bill for work done at energy and ethanol plants, as they will hinder the growth of those industries, and may even prevent the plants from being built.
He was asked about the Indiana CRP and also talked about the CSP which is being pushed by Sen.Harkin. (To be honest, not being a farmer or getting subsidies for undeveloped land, I didn't really understand the issues).

He then moved to Education and said that while he was ok with testing, education is not a function of the federal government in the constitution (more on the constitution later). He said local control is best, talked about his A+ proposal, and that he had met with Secretary Spellings recently who said there was room for flexibility.

A question was asked about people being sued for turning in others regarding suspicions over terrorism. He said that to put law abiding citizens in a quandary as to whether they should report suspicion and then be sued is concerning to him. One person asked for facts regarding this (as I have not heard of it either), and he said that there are people being sued right now.

I asked about his no vote on the Iraq redeployment and his statement that we must go forward with "quantifiable goals and measurable results". I asked that since the "satisfactory progress report (8 of 18 areas) and the fact that the Iraqi parliament was taking August off was satisfactory? He said no, but like President Bush said, we need to be there til we win. I asked what that meant, how long? He said when the Iraqis have a government that is consistently capable of running police and military, hold democratic elections, and have local governments. He talked about the progress in Anbar province and was challenged by another member of the audience. He also said that the intelligence he has seen makes him worried about attacks in the US, as they have had in Europe. After the discussion got heated, he said that maybe we should move on to other issues and he cut off the war talk.

He was asked about the illegal alien problem and he sounded positive about a national id card for guest workers that would be 99% foolproof.

He was asked about perpetual budget deficits and said the answer was to "stop spending and reduce taxes" He said that the booming Michigan economy in the 1990's was due to cutting taxes in the state legislature and that he was proud to have never supported a tax increase.

Abortion and Same Sex Marriage were asked about, but his position is clear on both issues and well known.

I asked about a couple of his votes, HR 980, National Collective Bargaining for Firefighters, on which he was the only no vote in committee and voted no on the floor. He said that his position was consistent with the 10th amendment, and that those issues belonged to the state. He talked about being a "constitutionalist" (my words), and that is what he swore to do, uphold and defend the constitution.

I also asked about his no vote on HR 1362, the Accountability in Contracting Act. I explained what it was (stopping no bid contracts, sole-source contracts, and notification of Congress if no-bid contracts were awarded to foreign owned companies in countries sponsoring terrorism). He said that at times we benefit from sole source contracts in government projects. He said he would check back at the Washington office and get back to me.

There was discussion about food stamps and how difficult it is for a person to eat on $21.00 a month. The congressman was asked by a lady to consider joining a challenge by the IWLPJ to live on $7.00 per week in September, before the food stamp vote in October.

A Hillsdale college student asked about agriculture and ethanol and the potential for growing sources in Hillsdale county.

The meeting broke up after that, with the Congressman thanking us for being there.

On the "constitutionalist" issue, my follow up would have been, regarding the grab for power by the Bush administration, the signing statements, the executive privilege claims surrounding his staff, the Tillman report, and the direction by the administration to not allow the justice department to prosecute congressional contempt citations on administration officials, Does he believe that the President is following the constitution, and if not, why is he not being impeached for violating his oath of office to "preserve, protect, and defend the constitution"? Could someone try to get an answer at the next public appearance?


Sounds like a decent meeting. While I may disagree with Timmy's politics, he does seem like a good person.
I'm kinda bummed as I live only 15 minutes from Manchester, but was unable to attend today. I would have made a "statement" asking for him to join in supporting H.R.333 (impeach Cheney and Bush), but it sounds like I would have been a bit of a rabblerouser considering everyone else's conversations and points sounded a lot "calmer". That is, regarding the above anonymous' post about a "decent meeting", I think that if I were there, I'd turn it into a protest.

But that's me, I'm kinda loud that way, only because the polite approach hasn't been working for me.

A Very noisy Duck
Thanks for the report elviscostello.

This part about suing over being turned in under suspicion of terrorism puzzles me too.

First of all, it's strange language, but maybe that was just how it was written up. Usually turning someone in involves oneself! And in cases where it doesn't, it usually involves a direct witness who may even have been something of an accomplice. In other words, "turning in" to me implies more than just a citizen calling on a "hunch".

And since presumably these turners-in were not in that close to terror, they were seemingly more likely just taking hunches. Which leads me to think that maybe when someone takes a hunch that you're a terrorist that you get treated to a lot more crap (as if you were being "turned in") by police/FBI than if they took a hunch that you were some other kind of criminal. Otherwise why would there be suing for this but not for when the lady down the road calls the cops on you because she thinks you're the one who did the lawn job? It makes me think that there are serious damages to sue for enough that a lawyer would take a case (usually on contingency). Also, if there was no merit to the suits whatsoever, they'd either be tossed or there would be no need for the turner-in to worry about it, as Walberg seems to think they would.

So - to me, the part here that would be good to find out is what the plaintiffs went through (and on what basis) that makes their damages tangible more than damages from the lawn job example. Is it grandstanding or do these accused plaintiffs really get jobbed on civil liberties/rights to the extent that it even trickles down to the turner-in? My guess is that some of these poor people probably did get put through the wringer when they were nothing more than brown or Muslims or maybe even just not preppie.
Hey anonymous,
I'd like to take issue with your description of him as a "good person".
I thought about it overnight, and I think your values and actions determine a description like that.
Tim rubber stamps the President on the war, believes in tax cuts for the rich, bootstraps for the poor, no equal rights for gays in partnerships, a theocratic government with no oversight by the courts in matters of "religious freedom", voted against government contractor accountability, against raising the minimum wage, and against stem cell research. He is for most positions set by the Club for Growth, whose funded 86% of his last campaign. Tim is not only out of the mainstream, he is out of the GOP's mainstream.
Does he have heartfelt positions and values, yes? Are most of them wrong? In my opinion, yes.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe the FEC has ruled on his 2006 campaign violations and complaints that Schwarz filed (and rightfully so!) against him?

Did I miss something? Or is that issue still on the radar?
Hey Michael, please check out this story in the Star Tribune, Congress Stalls Bills to Shield the Vigilent:

Also the Wall Street Journal recently had an article (, it's titled the "John Doe provision". It looks pretty bi-partisan and it appears it came out of that US Air case from last fall when the passengers reported suspected activity and I guess some of them are getting sued now. However, it appears a lot of backroom deals are being made in the Democratic Congress..
Anonymous of 7/24,

Thanks for the post. I read the first one but the second one I don't have full access to and didn't feel like doing the trial or whatever it is. Then, as usual, I found myself an hour later still looking at various takes on the web.

My questions are at least two. First, why suits all of a sudden? Americans have been reporting their fellow man since the Founding I would imagine, and I'm sure that plenty of the reports ended up being false alarms and producing damages in the legal sense. Haven't there been suits in the past regarding things other than suspicions of terror?

Secondly, why even bother dragging John and Jane Doe into it? I don't have a law background per se but I have taken a few paralegal courses and read the news before. The idea of a lawsuit for monetary damages is to go after the proverbial "deep pockets". Maybe it's more a symbolic thing to go after the Does - to send a message about bigotry.

My conclusion on the legislation is that I would go against it for I think similar reasons as the non-supportive Senator from MN had. This is a form of tort reform and deserves more attention and thought before simply chucking it onto an unrelated bill as a rider.

The way I see it, it's wrongheaded to single out immunity for reporters of behavior suspected of being terror related. All forms of public reporting should be addressed, whether one is in favor or not in favor of immunity.

Clearly the Flying Imams case was one of hunch instead of hardcore "turning-in" (per my previous comment on this topic). Turning in, to me, would have to occur after a crime had been committed.
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