How to Track Legislation, The Commerce Clause, and Designated Survivor

Congress

Congress

First, I wanted to lay out some tips on legislation and Congress. For the first time, it seems that people are focusing on what is happening in the country. Welcome to the insanity of politics.

One of the main reasons that I have began to use this blog to write through An Almanac of Liberty is to remind myself and you that we have been in bad times before. It also helps to put in perspective our history – for better or worse.

It’s incredibly important to stay invested but stay educated and stay calm.

Whether you are looking at state or federal legislation and trying to follow along, remember these tips:

  1. Lots of insane bills are introduced into the legislature that do not go anywhere. Federally, you have seen stories about bills to dismantle the UN and the EPA. These sort of bills show up every year.
  2. If you have a bill number, go to Congress.gov, which used to be thomas.loc.gov. Type in the bill number (i.e. HR861, to abolish the EPA).
  3. You will get a lot of information on the bill. But focus on a few things. Look at the Tracker. Look at the Committees to see if any committees have voted on or created reports.
  4. If you’re incredibly interested in the bill, create an account and send yourself alerts.

There were 133 bills introduced in Congress on February 7. It’s very hard to keep up, but do you best and remember – breathe.

My Country – The Commerce Clause

As a young and idealistic law school student, you enter into Constitutional Law dreaming of the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause. And then you get stuck in the world of Commerce Clause.

[The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

Justice Douglas believed that the Commerce Clause allowed for free trade across the states. It prevented a “Balkanization” of the country through the erection of custom and trade barriers. He uses a cause regarding the “gathering of gas,” which was taxed in Texas.The tax was defined so that a pipe-line company that did nothing  but transport the gas from Texas to other states needed to pay.

Douglas stretched for the Almanac on this one as this case, which was decided on February 8, 1954, doesn’t really even have an interesting opinion.

Overall, Douglas did not seem to like how the court rested much of its decisions on the Commerce Clause, especially in regards to discrimination in public forums.

I would bet that the Commerce Clause returns somewhere in this book.

Daily Briefing

  • The EPA’s panel on children’s health is in jeopardy in this new administration. Children’s Health
  • I continue to believe Jeff Sessions will be the worst part of the new administration. This story of how he hurt voting initiatives does not bode well for our democracy. It’s one reason why I donated to Let America Vote, a PAC put together by Jason Kander of Missouri. If you care about democracy, I recommend you do as well.
  • Silicon Valley needs immigrants. Of 87 start-ups worth over $1 billion, “More than half of them were founded by one or more people from outside the United States. And 71 percent of them employed immigrants in crucial executive roles.” You want the best and the brightest and we are glorifying the dumb and dumber.
  • Why do lobbyists not want to put guards on trucks to stop these deaths?
  • What happens if a terrorist does attack the US under the current administration? Ryan Lizza warns us.
  • I want football to end. Mike Adamle has been mocked for years for slurring words, misspeaking, and seeing unable to do his job as a sports anchor. Now we know why – because we have ruined his brain for our entertainment. Football is disgusting.
  • Who would think that a rich man who never had to work hard for a day in his life doesn’t even understand basic economics? Anyone who listened to him talk and did not focus on his race-baiting. Nothing about the President speaks to anything but white anger.
  • Republicans want to eliminate a committee created by President George W. Bush to oversee election administration. Wonder why?

Foreign Policy Stories

  • One of my goals is going to be determining where the lines in the sands are for me and the Democratic Party because I don’t want to sound like this professor and his support of Trump, regardless of facts or incidents.
  • If Merkel remains in Germany and Marcon wins in France, Europe will be the shining city on the hill for liberal democracy. But they are not prepared to defend NATO allies from the march of Russia.
  • After civilian deaths in a raid in Yemen, we no longer have permission for ground missions in a country that holds many Al-Qaeda agents. This is why intelligence briefings are important.

Daily Distraction

Brian and I have watched most of the episodes of Designated Survivor. It’s a dumb show where I don’t understand why anyone is so calm. The premise is that the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (in the real world, Ben Carson) is the designated survivor during the State of the Union address where almost everyone in Congress died in what is assumed to be a terrorist attack. Of course, no one knows who this man is or why he is not President. Yet, no one seems that concerned that a terrorist attacked. You have weird love subplots. Governors all meet together in Washington in one room, at one time, even though the last time many government officials went to one building they all died. Concerns about refugees and other modern issues continue to plague the new administration – when the Capital is gone.

Yet, we watch it. It defines distraction.

One Sentence Story

Two people sat at a table in a restaurant filled with emotion but no other people.

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