I will make an admission. I don’t want anyone to think that here at Ryan for Kentucky we are not fair. Our Congressman, Exxon Ed Whitfield, besides supporting Big Oil, Energy, and their record profits has managed to do a little good. Yes, Exxon Eddie has managed to be a defender of horses. Now, at Ryan for Kentucky, we love animals too, and applaud Whitfield for being a defender of horses. But, we must ask, what about the PEOPLE?
Yes, Whitfield won praise for his work on horses, we cannot deny. He even won a huge endorsement for this work. However, we would like to ask the Congressman, what about the people of this district? Where was Exxon Eddie when the PEOPLE of this district needed him? In fact, where was he when the Constitution needed him?:
On June 20 2008, Representative Ed Whitfield broke faith with the Congressional Oath of Office, in which every member of Congress solemnly swears to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Rep. Whitfield swore to do this, and yet failed to vote against H.R. 6304, the FISA Amendments Act. The FISA Amendments Act not only makes the misnamed Protect America Act permanent, but even expands upon it in its gutting of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. H.R. 6304 sets up a system:
* For the federal government to spy on you electronically
* Reading your email
* Listening to your telephone calls
* Watching what web pages you visit
* Following your financial transactions
* More than that, for the federal government to engage in physical searches
* Of your home
* Of your office
* Of your car
* Without any explanation of why they are doing it
* Without the ability of a judge to even stop it
* Without oversight by Congress
* Letting the government use information it obtains illegally
* Giving telecommunications companies retroactive immunity for helping the government do this, even when it was expressly against the law to do so
When a President of the United States has this kind of power at his disposal, she or he cannot be stopped. The power of the president becomes total and the president becomes a totalitarian. By failing to oppose this bill, Representative Ed Whitfield aided and abetted the advent of American totalitarianism.
It seems very ironic to us that Exxon Eddie, who constantly seeks to lecture all of us on the size of the Federal Government votes to vastly expand the powers of that entity. Yes, the people of this district needed their Constitutional rights protected, and Exxon Eddie was nowhere to be found:
Rep. Ed Whitfield failed to vote against the ironically named Protect America Act. The Protect America Act is a law now passed by both houses of Congress which replaces judicial warrants with executive prerogative and substitutes blank checks for reasons. The Protect America Act gives the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence the power to spy on your emails, your web surfing, your telephone calls and other electronic communications. All this is carried out without a warrant, which is required by the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
There is no supervision of the spy programs put in place by Gonzales and McConnell, except by Gonzales and McConnell. No one has the power to stop them any more. They can search your records, sift through your private messages, watch you go from web page to web page, on the pretext of protecting America from terrorists, all without a search warrant. No one has the power to tell them no.
Gonzales and McConnell have the power under the Protect America Act to order any American to help them conduct their electronic spying against other Americans. Under the new law, if they order you to take part in their spying operations, and you say no, they can throw you in prison. If you do not keep their spying on other Americans a secret, even from your family, they can throw you in prison.
The Protect America Act institutes Big Brother government in the United States. It betrays American liberty. And Representative Whitfield failed to vote against it.
Of course his opponent, Heather Ryan spoke out in support of our Constitution. From an email:
Later this week, the Senate will be considering passage of the compromise on the FISA Bill. Since many voters in the First Congressional District of Kentucky have contacted me wondering what my stance on this legislation is, I felt compelled to speak on this issue.
While I was in Washington on that terrible day of Sept. 11, 2001 when planes crashed into the World Trade Center and in Western Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon, I can understand the passion that has fueled this bill. Having said that, I must urge the Senate to reject this FISA compromise as proposed and passed by the House of Representatives with H.R. 6304.
There are several reasons why I feel this bill is unnecessary. First, I think that we have lost focus on the fact that a competent Administration could have actually gone a long way in preventing this tragedy. The Bush Administration was warned in advance of 9-11 and did nothing at the time to prevent it. I believe if the Bush Administration would have acted on the intelligence provided them, then the 9-11 tragedy could have been avoided through the laws that existed at the time.
I believe this law is an extension of the Bush Administration’s attempts to politicize the Justice Department. Prosecuting entities are provided by the Constitution with checks and balances on which to operate. They already have very broad powers and if they found a credible threat would have no problem getting a warrant in a timely fashion.
I believe that FISA and this compromise are an abomination to the Constitution because it seeks to circumvent the checks and balances provided all of us by that document. I strongly oppose giving the Telecom Corporations immunity when they knew they were breaking the law when the Bush Administration asked them to break the law.
I saw where my opponent in this race, Exxon Ed Whitfield voted for this Legislation. I think it is pretty ironic when the very Republicans that lecture us about the size of the Federal Government propose, and push through the House of Representatives a bill that broadens the powers of the Federal Government vastly. I think this is one issue that Liberals, Moderates and Conservatives should all be able to agree on. There are certain things that none of us should ever compromise on, and the Constitution is one thing I will never compromise on as Representative of Kentucky’s First District.
His work against the Constitution did not stop there:
When the Head Start program of early childhood education came up for reauthorization in May of 2007, Rep. Howard McKeon tried to offer an amendment that would provide special permission for religious organizations to engage in employment discrimination when using government-provided funds to hire Head Start Workers. That sounds complicated, but what it boils down to is that the McKeon amendment would have let churches take government money to hire workers for the government-funded Head Start program, and yet refuse to hire particular workers because they were from the “wrong” religion.
The Head Start program is not a religious program in its content, so there is no substantive reason for this discrimination to occur. If churches want to run a preschool and discriminate on the basis of religion, they can already do so — they just have to pay for it themselves. If churches want to grab government money to run a government program, on the other hand, then the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is perfectly clear — government resources can’t be used to establish advantages for a religion or its adherents.
The McKeon amendment would have let government resources be used to discriminate against people who were not religiously correct. It fortunately was rejected in a roll-call vote. But Rep. Ed Whitfield didn’t help in that regard. By failing to vote against the McKeon amendment, Rep. Whitfield showed a disregard for the constitutional basis of American government.
Then consider his failure to lead on H. Res. 68:
For more than three decades, the United States has been a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, better known as the Non-Proliferation treaty. This treaty requires the United States to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.” George W. Bush has been fond of using images of mushroom clouds and nuclear proliferation to push the country into war. Yet under George W. Bush, the United States has failed to pursue negotiations in good, middling or even bad faith on nuclear arms or nuclear disarmament, marking a violation of this treaty which is essential to international peace.
H.Res. 68 is a bill that calls on President Bush to issue a report indicating the means by which the United States will meet its numerous, legally-binding treaty obligations. Asking the president to obey the law seems like a no-brainer, right? Well, not according to Representative Whitfield, who has failed to cosponsor this bill. When you get the chance, please contract Rep. Whitfield and ask what gives.
Of course the last thing in the world Exxon Eddie would want to be caught doing is questioning any of the failed policies of the Bush Administration.
Whitfield also failed to lead in insuring that every vote cast in America is counted fairly in
Any reasonable person who believes that trust in America’s democratic institutions is important can see the value in being able to determine with assurance how a person has voted. It should be a matter of common sense, for instance, that when an electronic voting machine malfunctions and loses votes (as has happened in the past), a backup paper record of the actions of the machine would help elections officials set things right and make sure that every person’s vote has been counted. Yet today, despite a history of malfunctioning electronic voting machines, there is no requirement for a backup paper trail. It’s as easy as attaching a printer to a voting machine. It’s a matter of simple common sense for those who are interested in reliable verifiable, democracy. So why has Congressperson Whitfield failed to lend formal support to H.R. 811, a bill which would require the establishment of such a paper trail? It’s a mystery to me. Ask Congressperson Whitfield to leave a verifiable paper trail of support for H.R. 811 — in the Congress, that’s called cosponsorship.
Of course, with
H.R. 897 Whitfield failed to stand up to Corporate corruption and war profiteering:
H.R. 897 is a bill before the House of Representatives that would “require the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, Secretary of the Interior, and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development to provide to Congress copies and descriptions of contracts and task orders in excess of $5,000,000 for work to be performed in Iraq and Afghanistan.” When Republicans controlled the Congress, they killed efforts to uncover corporate corruption and war profiteering. If there is really nothing going on with the contracts, then why is there a problem with looking at those contracts? Only those who think there is a problem and want to hide the problem could be opposed to Congressional oversight. Ed Whitfield apparently is comfortable with something being hidden, since the name of Rep. Whitfield does not currently appear in cosponsorship of this legislation. Contact Rep. Whitfield and ask why.
Of course, it would be a shame if Whitfield stood up to the failed leadership of President Bush, and the fleecing of the American taxpayer by Corporate America.
With H.R. 1255 Whitfield once again showed failure of leadership, and cowered to the Bush Administration:
H.R. 1255, a bill that passed the house on a vote of 333-93 in the House of Representatives, was the work of a large congressional majority which believes that White House records belong ultimately to the people of the United States. When he entered office, George W. Bush issued an edict which assigned past presidents and their heirs the right to do with presidential records what they personally saw fit. This is a recipe for historically disastrous revisionism. H.R. 1255 reverses the Bush edict, returning the ownership of presidential records to the people of the United States and making them available (after a period of time) for complete and accurate, not gauzily redacted, historical research. Representative Whitfield failed to vote for this bill, prioritizing the prerogatives of those in power above the historical value of accuracy and the political value of openness.
H.R. 1309 proved once again that Whitfield supports a move toward an authoritarian government, in another capitulation to President Bush:
H.R. 1309, a bill that has passed the House on a vote of 308-117, removes the authoritarian stain placed on the government of the United States shortly after George W. Bush took office — well, at least one of them. It used to be that citizens could access government documents through the Freedom of Information Act unless the government could affirmatively demonstrate the need for the document to remain private. George W. Bush changed that with an executive order in 2001, mandating that unless a citizen affirmatively demonstrated a lack of national security reasons for the disclosure of a document, the government could keep its documents off-limits. This is another authoritarian step in a nation founded on principles of openness and liberty. Ed Whitfield failed to vote for this bill. Rep. Whitfield made a most unfortunate stand against openness in favor of authoritarianism.
Even more disturbing are Whitfield’s failed leadership for children at home and abroad. Just look at H.R. 2620:
H.R. 2620, The Child Soldier Prevention Act, prohibits the government of the United States of America from providing military aid to any foreign government that uses child soldiers in its military, paramilitary forces, or other official or sanctioned armed groups. The Child Soldier Prevention Act also requires the Executive Branch to research and publish reports on the use of child soldiers around the world, providing important information that can be used to more effectively counter the use child soldiers.
There are some clauses that make the bill less strong than it could be. One gives the President of the United States to issue a waiver to the law when he decides that giving military aid to a government that uses child soldiers is in the interest of the United States. However, the President is required to register every such waiver, and report on the justifications for each waiver to the Senate and to the House of Representatives. Another clause permits support for armies that recruit volunteer child soldiers as young as 16 — because that’s what the U.S. Military currently does.
These clauses make the Child Soldier Prevention Act of 2007 an imperfect piece of legislation, but it’s pretty darned good, and it’s the only legislation to even address the issue. It is therefore a piece of legislation that all decent Americans ought to be willing to support, regardless of political party affiliation.
So why hasn’t Representative Whitfield offered cosponsorship of even this mild, unobjectionable bill? Something seems askew with Representative Whitfield’s priorities.
Not only did he fail to show leadership for children around the world, but he voted against children right here at home:
Voted NO on Veto override: Extend SCHIP to cover 6M more kids.
OnTheIssues Explanation: This vote is a veto override of the SCHIP extension (State Children’s Health Insurance Program). The bill passed the House 265-142 on 10/25/07, and was vetoed by Pres. Bush on 12/12/07.
CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: This Act would enroll all 6 million uninsured children who are eligible, but not enrolled, for coverage under existing programs.
PRESIDENT’S VETO MESSAGE: Our goal should be to move children who have no health insurance to private coverage–not to move children who already have private health insurance to government coverage. My Administration strongly supports reauthorization of SCHIP. [But this bill, even with changes, does not meet the requirements I outlined].
Yes, Exxon Ed Whitfield actually stood with a failed President and the Insurance Companies over even uncovered children, AMERICAN CHILDREN!!!
What a sickening disgrace!! Exxon Ed Whitfield is so out of touch with the voters of the First Congressional District of Kentucky, ITS EMBARRASSING!!!
Heather Ryan on the other hand, believes all Americans have a fundamental right to healthcare, whether the insurance companies profit from it or not:
It is an absolute travesty that 50 million Americans struggle without health care in the wealthiest nation in the world. What’s worse is when our representative votes against improvements in access to health services for children and the poor. Unfortunately, these are both realities that we’ve experienced under the current leadership. I propose that health care for every American is more important than tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. It is time we had a representative who thinks about more than just how much money he can make when he helps pass legislation that benefits drug and insurance companies. As the leaders of the free world, it is an embarrassment that we are the only industrialized nation that does not offer health care for our citizens.
As you can see, although Exxon Ed Whitfield has shown leadership for horses, and has followed blindly behind President Bush and the insurance companies, he has failed to show leadership in defending the very rights that generations of Americans have fought and died for. Exxon Ed Whitfield offers more of the same failed leadership, and cowardice in standing up to his party when it is wrong. Heather Ryan has already shown the courage to stand up for what is right against many in her party’s leadership on FISA. She offers courage, and new leadership for the voters of Kentucky’s First Congressional District:
Please join us in the fight to oust Exxon Ed Whitfield and replace him with a “Fighting Democrat”, who is not afraid to fight for what is right. Heather Ryan is a veteran, mother, and citizen of the First Congressional District that brings new ideas, new hope, and most of all courage to the citizens of this district. Please, help us fight for Progress, and expanded Congressional majorities here:
Best wishes everyone!!