uses current events as a platform to teach civics, with emphasis on the U.S. Constitution. I clarify the history, rationale, policies, and procedures surrounding government operations and events, relating civics to real life. I don’t report the news. I explain it.
Right-wingers trembled with glee when Sen.
James Inhofe said that President Obama might be impeached for the events in
Benghazi.Few rank-and-file Americans
understand impeachment or the odds of it happening.It does not mean that the president is fired.
Most members of Congress and the media understand what
impeachment means, but our schools work very hard to produce politically
ignorant citizens.Impeachment means charging a public official with an offense.Impeachment does not mean firing a public
official from her/his job.
Only to the House
of Representatives can impeach.The
House can impeach hundreds of public officials:the president, vice president, all federal judges – including Supreme
Court justices – cabinet secretaries and other high-ranking officials. If the full House approves impeachment,
then the official has been impeached.But that just begins the process.The accused still faces trial in the Senate.
Public interest in Congressional activity surged in recent
years. Confusion, misinformation, and outright lies abound. But we can get
accurate information without extensive web searches. All official Congressional
activity is available on one website.
Have you ever wanted to read the text of a bill for
yourself, while Congress debates it? Do you want to know which committees
consider nominees for particular cabinet positions? Or the status of the
federal budget? It’s much easier to find that information than you might think.
Thomas.gov. It’s easy to remember. And it’s your link to all
Most Americans have no idea how Congress works, who their
representatives are, how laws are made, or what committees do. That’s because
our schools do an excellent job of producing politically ignorant citizens.
They spend far too much time on historical minutiae instead of teaching our
children how their government works. And those clueless children become
Members of Congress introduce thousands of bills every year.
Those bills absorb tens of thousands of person-hours in meetings, hearings,
briefings, debates, and reports. Only about five percent ever become laws.
Pittsburgh Activist Molly Rush His Inspiration.
In a building dedicated to those who have fought in
America’s wars, about 250 people gathered in Pittsburgh on Saturday to honor a
man who has dedicated his life to working for international peace and social
Pittsburgh’s Thomas Merton Center honored actor and activist
Martin Sheen with its Thomas Merton Award at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial
Hall and Museum on Saturday, April 13. Thomas Merton was a writer, Trappist
monk, and social activist.The center
named for him has been a hub of the city’s peace and justice activity since
Pennsylvania State Senator Jim Ferlo, another lifelong
activist and friend to many in attendance, served as Master of Ceremonies. Guitar
soloist Moko, folksinger Anne Feeney, and Mike Stout and the Human Union band
provided musical entertainment.Pittsburgh’s city council proclaimed April 13 as Thomas Merton Center
Day in the city.The city’s Congress
member Mike Doyle (D) attended the event and issued his own declaration
honoring the Merton Center and Martin Sheen for their work.
Every two years, Congress reboots. Like a bright New Year’s
Day, it’s fresh, and clean, and brief. The 113th Congress assembled on
Thursday, January 3 – a day for family and tradition, smiles and handshakes.
They’ll return to the backstabbing soon enough.
For some reason, many Americans think that “Congress” is only
the House of Representatives. It is not. Article I, Section 1 of the United
States Constitution says:
All legislative Powers
herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House
That means that Congress makes the national laws and authorizes
all federal spending. Yes, that’s right. The president can’t spend a dime
without Congressional approval.
The Constitution requires that a new "Congress"
convene every two years. In even-numbered years, every one of the 435 House
seats and one-third of the 100 Senate seats, called a “class”, are up for
election in November. The new Congress opens early in the following January.
There are two sessions of each Congress; each lasts one year. The first
Congress was elected in 1788 and assembled in 1789. The 112th
Congress officially closed at noon on Thursday, January 3, 2013 and the 113th
Congress opened moments later. The second session of the 113th will
open in January 2014.
Legally, the Electoral College chooses
our president, but our votes DO control that result. And until we can remove
the marketing geeks from the election process, we do still need the Electoral
As usual on election night, news
reporters announced each state’s vote totals as the polls closed and kept a
running tally of electoral votes. Incumbent President Barack Obama won re-election
by 4,602,212 popular votes and earned 332 Electoral College votes. Former
Gov. Mitt Romney won 206 electoral votes. Other
candidates won 2,227,841 popular and zero electoral votes. A candidate needs
270 electoral votes to win the election. But what’s the point of having the
Our founders were afraid to permit the
uninformed and uneducated public to elect the president and vice president, but
didn’t want to give that much power to Congress. The Electoral College was
their compromise. The constitution allots each state the same number of
electors as it has members of Congress – both in the House of Representatives
and in the Senate. There are 435 House of Representatives members and 100
senators. The 23rd amendment allots three electors to the District
of Columbia, just as though it was a state, so there are 538 total electors.
To date, there are forty-eight petitions asking President
Obama to approve the secession of 40 states.
This is just another in a long list of examples of the
pathetic state of civics education in the United States. The president has no
power to approve a state’s secession, yet tens of thousands of people signed
petitions asking him to do so. And they think it’s going to work. Most of the
petitions contain glaring spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors,
illustrating their authors’ illiteracy.
Many other Americans are under the impression that the U.S.
Constitution prohibits secession. It does not. Yes, it is possible to secede.
No, the president does not have the authority to permit it. Most believe that
the Civil War settled the secession question permanently. Wrong again.
But, if Congress did agree to a peaceful secession, it would
open up a whole new can of worms.
People who ask this question usually want to start a fight
or are pathetically ignorant. Our Constitution emerged 225 years ago today. It matters
as long as the United States exists. Yet Americans still argue about it, file
lawsuits about it, claim to love it, and swear to uphold it. They accuse each
other of violating it. But most have never READ
IT. So let’s look at it.
first attempt at creating a government in 1781, the Articles of Confederation,
didn’t work very well. So six years later, they tried again and gave us the
United States Constitution.
and businessmen, serving as Constitutional Convention delegates, contributed
their ideas. James Madison and Gouverneur Morris wrote most of the text,
consisting of 4,400 words. The founders didn't want to write an intricate daily
operating manual. The Constitution is an outline for our government. Madison
and Morris deliberately included some very general language.
Constitution contains three parts – the Preamble, the Articles, and the
Join Your Friends and
Neighbors in the Labor Day Parade
On Monday September 3, Americans will observe the 131st
Labor Day celebration. The Allegheny County Labor Council will host its 31st
consecutive parade downtown.
Pittsburgh’s parade is one of the largest Labor Day events
in the United States, with nearly 200 groups and 80,000 people participating.
Everything good about your standard of living came to you through the organized
labor movement. First celebrated by the Knights of Labor in 1882, Congress
proclaimed a national holiday in 1894.
Labor unions brought benefits to every working person in
America, whether they belonged to a union or not. They are primarily
responsible for establishing the middle class. We take these things for
granted, but none of them existed before the rise of the unions.
Unions created the day to honor the contributions of all
workers – union and nonunion – to our economic and social life. It’s especially
important now when corporatists and political thugs are attacking American
workers like never before. Do you REALLY
believe that teachers caused the Wall Street crash in 2008? Really? Do you REALLY believe that abolishing unions
will fix everything that’s wrong with the economy? Really?
Today, our unions are still fighting for our families while the
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Republican Party, and others are trying to
destroy them. They’re not only trying to destroy unions. They’re
coming for you next. Unions made our lifestyle possible. If you want to
keep it, then support our unions.
Since our schools don’t teach this stuff, this is what the conventions are all about.
This week and next, Americans will conduct the most intense
stage in the presidential election process. The 2012 Republican National
Convention is in progress in Tampa, FL until Thursday, August 30 and the
Democrats will convene in Charlotte, NC from September 4 through 6. The conventions’
primary purpose is to nominate the parties’ presidential and vice presidential
candidates for the November election. However, there are other goals as well.
Please be sure that you are registered and that you vote. Voter registration is painless. Forms are available in many
locations –government offices, public libraries, schools, and others. You can
even register online. Election Day is November 6.