I don't watch television any longer as I cannot even distinguish faces, so I try to pick something relatively easy to follow by listening alone. It turns out that includes pretty much everything.
But I had to change the channel when I heard this, from the mouth of a very fuzzy headed Republican who looked like Paul Ryan but, really, who knows? The hot discussion was the likelihood of the latest gun control legislation making it to the floor, passing, or continuing its current use of solving the sequestration crisis of shortage of toilet tissue. The release of Joe Biden's report was being hailed as the undue influence at work this go-'round. Fuzzy-headed guy, though, reached deep down so as to give the country, his employer, an explanation for the likelihood of failure awaiting any killing machine measures:
"Well, listen. We have big legislation coming up on immigration and we don't want to get these things confused."
So I turned off the Idiot Box and turned on the oh-so-much-better laptop. This headline caught my eye:
53 Senators Blew Off Briefing On Secret NSA Program Because They Wanted to Go Home
Fifty three senators skipped Friday’s briefing on the secret NSA data mining program, because they wanted to go home early for Father’s Day weekend.
According to The Hill:
The Senate held its last vote of the week a little after noon on Thursday, and many lawmakers were eager to take advantage of the short day and head back to their home states for Father’s Day weekend.
Only 47 of 100 senators attended the 2:30 briefing, leaving dozens of chairs in the secure meeting room empty as Clapper, Alexander and other senior officials told lawmakers about classified programs to monitor millions of telephone calls and broad swaths of Internet activity. The room on the lower level of the Capitol Visitor Center is large enough to fit the entire Senate membership, according to a Senate aide.
The problem is that these same senators who skipped the briefing are in charge of overseeing the program. When congress doesn’t take its oversight duties seriously, or even worse, abusing their powers to chase empty scandals, the freedoms of every American are at risk.
It doesn’t matter how you feel about the Patriot Act and surveillance programs. This is about 53 members of the Senate who refused to stay at work, and do their jobs.
The problem of members not attending briefings is a rampant epidemic. Members of congress constantly blow off important briefings, and instead rely on special interest groups to tell them how to vote. This is how the NRA was able to stop wildly popular background checks legislation. Some members of congress vote how they are told to, because they fear that special interest groups will work against them in the next reelection campaign if they don’t.
The next time a member of congress claims that they didn’t know about something, the first question asked should be, “Did you attend the briefing?” The odds are pretty good that they didn’t.
Finally, explanations for the massive amount of congressional non-progress that I can understand!