Friday, June 19, 2009

That's Our Man, Richard

Credit for this summation of Richard Durbin is at the bottom of this blog. All my readers, or now ex-readers, who think Durbin is a friend of ALL the people can "have a go" at refuting this compilation. Otherwise, I think this is a fairly accurate background on our man in D.C.

My re-publication of this article should not cause the reader to believe I support all the statements printed on this page. Durbin has supported causes that did and do benefit most people of all parties.


June 18, 2009

U.S. Senator representing Illinois
Compared America's treatment of Guantanamo Bay prisoners to the manner in which prisoners were treated by the Nazis, the Soviet gulags, and Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge
Staunch supporter of gun control, abortion rights, and organized labor

The Washington Times reports that on September 18 of last year, Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois participated in a closed-door meeting with then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr. and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who briefed Durbin and other congressional leaders on the gravity of the financial crisis. The next day, Durbin sold off $42,696 in mutual-fund shares, and subsequently sold off another $73,000 during the remainder of that month. Then the stock market collapsed. By October 3, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had plunged by 9 percent; by October 17, it was down over 22 percent. In 2002 Durbin, who has been one of the Senate's most outspoken critics of the alleged greed of Wall Street bankers, complained that corporate executives guilty of insider trading did not face sufficiently severe criminal penalties. "I think it is odd," he said, "that a shoplifting actress in Hollywood [Winona Ryder] is facing more time in jail than any officer in Enron."

Born in November 1944 in East St. Louis, Richard Durbin was raised in southern Illinois by parents who were active trade unionists. After earning his undergraduate degree (in Foreign Services and Economics) at Georgetown University in 1966, he attended Georgetown Law School and received his Juris Doctorate in 1969. Durbin worked as Legal Counsel for the Illinois Lieutenant Governor from 1969-73, and for the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee from 1972-82, before serving in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983-96. He has been a Democratic U.S. Senator representing Illinois since 1996.

As a freshman member of the Senate Government Reform Committee in 1997, Durbin skillfully helped deflect the well-substantiated allegations that the Bill Clinton White House and the Democratic National Committee had received campaign contributions from Communist China to influence the 1996 elections. In 1998-99, Durbin was one of Mr. Clinton's most ardent and effective defenders during the President's impeachment proceedings.

In the aftermath of the Clinton administration, Durbin consistently provided vocal opposition to the presidency of George W. Bush. In 2004, the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a report blasting the CIA for its inaccurate pre-war judgments about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and absolving the Bush White House of any blame for the intelligence failures. Nevertheless, Durbin wrote a column in The Washington Post claiming that senior Bush administration officials "should have been more diligent in challenging the validity of analytical assumptions and the adequacy of intelligence collection and reporting."

Durbin's voting record on immigration issues is worthy of note; on most occasions, he has voted against bills designed to strengthen the integrity of America's borders and to maintain firm control over the influx of foreign-born immigrants. For example:
In 1996 Durbin voted against mandatory workplace-verification programs.
In 1997 he voted in favor of amnesty for nearly a million illegal aliens from Nicaragua and Cuba.
In 1998 he led an effort to grant amnesty to 50,000 illegal aliens from Haiti, plus their families.
In 2000 he voted in favor of amnesty for illegal aliens from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Haiti.
In 2002 he supported a bill to grant amnesty and in-state college-tuition benefits to illegal aliens; in 2003-2004 he co-sponsored another bill that contained similar provisions.
In 2003, 2004, and 2005 he co-sponsored bills creating amnesty for illegal agricultural workers.
In 2005 he voted against an amendment to provide funding for additional border-patrol agents.
In 2006 he voted in favor of an Immigration Reform Bill that would have created a path to citizenship for all illegal aliens who had resided in the U.S. for at least five years.
Twice in 2006, and again in 2008, he voted against bills to finance the construction of several hundred miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border.
In 2007 he voted in favor of a proposal to end the use of a point-based immigration system, (I.e., a system that seeks to ensure that people with skills that society needs are given preference for entry into the United States).
Also in 2007, he voted in favor of a bill to fund the REAL ID Act of 2005, which proposed to set minimal security requirements for state driver licenses and identification cards.
During his years in the Senate, Durbin has supported the use of military force by Democratic presidents but opposed it during Republican administrations. For example, on January 12, 1991 (during the George H.W. Bush presidency), Durbin voted against authorizing the invasion of Iraq pursuant to U.N. Security Council Resolution 678, in the wake of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. A few years later, however, the senator voted repeatedly to support President Clinton's military ventures in the Balkans and Iraq. But in October 2002 (when Republican George W. Bush occupied the Oval Office), Durbin voted against the joint resolution authorizing the use of military force against Iraq.

Although Durbin voted in favor of the Patriot Act in October 2001, he has repeatedly criticized it for what he perceives to be its excesses. In 2005 he introduced legislation, the "SAFE Act," proposing to repeal several key elements of the anti-terrorism measure.

For an overview of additional key votes that Durbin has cast during his legislative career, click here.

In 2004 Durbin took advantage of the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal to capitalize politically, introducing legislation to reaffirm the U.S. ban on torture and grilling White House counsel Alberto Gonzales on the issue during the latter's confirmation hearings to be Attorney General.

Durbin also joined with several of his Democrat colleagues in calling for the closure of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, where al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists and enemy combatants were being held. On June 14, 2005, Durbin went to the Senate floor and likened American techniques of interrogating the Guantanamo detainees to methods used by Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and the Khmer Rouge. Specifically, after reading an account which claimed that detainees were being held in rooms that were either too cold or too hot, and where loud rap music was being played, Durbin said:

"If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners."

Durbin's remarks were subsequently exploited for propaganda purposes by anti-American organizations like Al-Jazeera and others. Nevertheless, Durbin initially refused to express remorse for his comments. Eventually, however, he issued a tearful apology on the Senate floor.

Senator Richard Durbin's Voting Record

Senator Richard Durbin's Voting Record
June 2009

During the course of his legislative career, Senator Richard Durbin has voted:

in favor of a 2003 bill to ban oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge;
against major tax-cut proposals in 1999, 2000, 2000 (again), 2001, 2003, 2005, and 2006;
in favor of a 2008 bill imposing a 25 percent tax on the "windfall profits" of major oil companies;
against a 2006 proposal to create military commissions to try unlawful enemy combatants for war crimes they had committed against the U.S.;
in favor of separate proposals (in 2006 and 2007) to impose an arbitrary timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq;
in favor of a 2008 amendment removing telecommunications companies' immunity from the FISA Amendments Act of 2008;
in favor of affirmative-action policies awarding preferential treatment to business enterprises owned by nonwhite minorities and women;
against separate proposals (in 2004 and 2005) to ban lawsuits against gun manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and importers for damages resulting from the misuse of their products by others;
against separate bills (in 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2003) designed to ban the late-term procedure commonly known as "partial-birth abortion"; and
against a 2004 proposal to make it an added criminal offense for someone to injure or kill a fetus while carrying out a crime against a pregnant woman.

Forwarded to me by Robert Huschen, a staunch Republicn and pro-life supporter. Bob is a resident of Woodford County and Mayor of Roanoke, Il.

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