Mr. GOHMERT. Madam Speaker, in the summer of 1973, it was a real honor for me to be selected to go on an exchange program. Of course I had to borrow the money to go and had to pay that back by working hard to take care of the loan, but I went on an exchange program to the Soviet Union, 1973, that summer. It was quite an eye-opener for me.
Despite how wonderful the country was made to sound and how great it was that the government, they proclaimed, was the safety net for everybody in the country, they were proclaiming because the government was in charge of everything and in charge of everybody's business, there was 100 percent employment. They talked about how wonderful their socialized medicine was.
There were eight Americans on this program that were allowed into the Soviet Union that summer, and we all had very different backgrounds, had different political views. There were a lot of big hearts in the group on both ends of the political spectrum.
But, for me, a kid growing up in east Texas, it was an extraordinary education. Because even though people talked about how wonderful it was to have socialized medicine, everybody had a safety net because the government was the safety net, that country's economic system was rotting from within.
I went to a medical school. It reminded me of pictures of American medical schools from 40 to 50 years before. We went to an economic exhibition, kind of like a world's fair in Moscow, at one point. It reminded me of the pictures from a 1940 or early 1950s world's fair, you know, things like tractors sitting out there with people oohing and aahing over tractors. I'm going, good grief, because I knew we didn't need a world's fair to see tractors like that. You could go to any used tractor dealer and find tractors that nice in the U.S., but everybody was told how wonderful it was.
During the course of the summer, during the course of my time down in the Ukraine, I got to be good friends with a few of the students there. They were very standoffish at first. I spoke some Russian back in those days, and they spoke better English than I did Russian. But one guy in particular, he'd bring his dictionary with him and translate, because both of us--you know, it's amazing. You take a language course--I had two years of Russian at Texas A&M. You know, you're taught to converse about, ``I'm going to the library'' and ``I have a dog'' and these kinds of things, but when you want to talk about really serious life issues, we weren't prepared for those things. We needed a dictionary so we could get our ideas across.
At one point he said, ``You seem surprised that our country wouldn't want
better.'' He grabbed my shirt and he said, ``We don't have material this good.'' I just had, you know, a regular polo-type shirt. He said, ``We don't have material this good for our individuals, and we fought two world wars on our soil. We don't have it as good as you do in your country, that's obvious. But people will always be reluctant to leave the best they've ever known for something they're not sure about.''
When we got to 1989 and the Soviet Union fell because of the economic disease and decay that was pushed into the death spiral by President Reagan's actions, followed by President George H. W. Bush, it collapsed. Then we began to see all of the economic problems that were eating away at that country because the government tried to be the safety net for everything and everybody, and it won't work that way.
At a collective farm, way out from Kiev, I was surprised. I have worked on farms and ranches, and you usually try to get your work done before midafternoon when the sun gets its hottest, and that means you start early, start as close to daybreak as you can, and midmorning is prime time.
Here it was midmorning, and these farmers were sitting around in the shade there in the farming village. I had been looking out at these fields. You could hardly tell what was cultivated and what wasn't. They looked terrible.
They had some really nice gardens right around their individual dwelling places. Yeah, those were kept up. Those they got to have for themselves. But the fields just didn't look good at all.
I tried to be nice, and in my best Russian I could, I said, ``When do you work out in the fields?'' They kind of laughed, and one of them said in Russian, ``I make the same number of rubles if I'm here or if I'm out there, so I'm here.''
Boy, was that a lesson in why a big, huge, nothing but safety net country can't work. Free markets work until they decide it's time to be socialistic, progressive, whatever you want to call it, and so they go that way. Then the free market forces fail because they have been taken over by progressive socialist structures.
Now, it's a good thought. I mean, it's a wonderful idea to think, gee, well, we'll just decree, as did the Pilgrims, as did the early New Testament Church, we'll just bring everything into a common storehouse and split it equally. It sounds like a great idea.
As the Apostle Paul found, as the Pilgrims found, eventually you have to say, You know what? This isn't working out very well. We're going to have to have some strict rules. The Pilgrims found, if you divide it up into private property and allowed people to eat what they grew, not only do they grow enough for themselves, but they actually would grow enough to use, trade, barter, sell, and that could be very effective.
I heard my friend across the aisle mentioning earlier about the so-called Ryan voucher care, and I know they know--and in fairness to my friend Paul Ryan, and it was great to see him on the floor this evening--that actually anybody over 55 gets Medicare. The Paul Ryan proposal, it's not exactly like the bill that I previously proposed, but, you know, my friend's brilliant. He's on the right track. He says, if you're over 55, you get Medicare.
Now, I would go a step further, because I know what's being proposed for those under 55 is going to end up being so much better giving control back to patients, getting control back between the doctor and the patients instead of having an insurance company or the government between the patient and the doctor.
This business is a safety net. Clearly, they're not talking safety net. They're talking government takeover of everything.
But Paul Ryan's plan would make sure that those under 55 had health care--and had it affordable. And so there are all kinds of reforms that need to be made. We did not need a full takeover of health care by the government.
My friend had mentioned that, because we kept passing bills to repeal ObamaCare--and actually there were very few bills that dealt with a massive repeal of ObamaCare, but there were many bills that picked out specific parts. Look, friends across the aisle, you surely don't want to be responsible for this terrible part of ObamaCare. So when people go back and say, Oh, you voted to repeal it 33 times, well, there were different aspects, and we couldn't even get our friends to vote to repeal parts that they knew, once they found out after they passed it, what was in it. Wouldn't even vote for things to be repealed that they knew would not be good.
My friend said that, basically, the President called us here and asked us to pass his American Jobs Act. And I was so glad he brought that up. I'd about forgotten about the American Jobs Act. He came and stood right there, Madam Speaker, and told us, I forget, 16, 17 times: Pass my bill, right here, right now, over and over. And so I kept wanting to get a copy of the bill. He was chastising us for not passing it. Well, show it to me. Let me see it. So we kept calling the White House trying to get it. A week later, it was clear there was no bill.
So I figured, well, if there's no bill, and he keeps running around the country spending all the taxpayers' money flying around on Air Force One, what sounded and looked like campaign stops, but government paid for it all--so he's out there saying over and over and over, Tell Congress to pass my American Jobs Act. Pass the American Jobs Act. He had banners: Pass the American Jobs Act. American Jobs Act. I thought, Well, good grief, if he's going to keep telling us we need to pass the American Jobs Act, there really ought to be one. So I put a 2-page bill together that would eliminate the 35 percent tariff that we put on all American-made goods here in America, made by any company in America. It's called a corporate tax; an insidious tax because it deceives people into thinking that, gee, if you tax the evil old mean corporations, then we don't have to pay it. Baloney. If a corporation, a company doesn't pass that tax on to its customers, clients, people buying its services, then they go out of business. That's how it works. Thirty-five percent tax. The highest tariff that any country in the world puts on its own goods. And we were doing that. So mine says, let's eliminate that. And we'd heard from people around the world that, good grief, if you just dropped your corporate tax 12 percent, manufacturing jobs would come flooding back into this country.
You want to talk about pro-union. I know this side of the aisle wants to see the government unions grow more and more. I can never understand that. I can understand retired government workers needing a union because they don't have leverage. But to have government workers in a country where the government is the people. All of us that are elected here, we're public servants. Everybody that is hired by the Federal Government is supposed to be a government servant. We work for the people of America. Why in the world would you need a union to conspire against the people of America? Because, obviously, the role of any government union would be to get government bigger and bigger and more and more benefits, to the detriment of those who are paying for all of that. So, anyway, I don't understand why we need Federal Government unions. Neither did Franklin D. Roosevelt. But that's where all this goes.
By the way, when we eventually got a copy of the President's idea of a Jobs Act, we found that although he had been telling everybody in America he was only going to increase taxes on millionaires and billionaires, what he did was increase taxes on everybody that made over $125,000 individually. He said he was going after Big Oil. He's going to end the giveaways to Big Oil. But when you look to around page 130 or so, the pages that dealt with oil companies, they were not going to affect the Big Oil companies at all. But since 94, 95 percent of all the oil and gas wells in America are drilled and operated by independent oil companies, run by Americans, you look at what was eliminated, it was really only the things that were going to devastate the independents, some of them basically mom-and-pop-type services that worked on oil wells, gas wells. It's going to shut them down. They wouldn't be able to afford business. It would eliminate the passthrough deduction for investing in wells. If the
independents can't get people to invest in the wells, they can't drill them. But the Big Oil companies, they don't have to get people to invest in oil wells. They've got enough money to do that.
It was incredible. I couldn't believe it. I got it to CPAs that do work for independent oil and gas companies, small ones, and they were saying, Oh, my word. If this goes into law, we'll be out of business. We can't stay in business. What does that do? It ends 94, 95 percent of the oil and gas wells in America. It also means that gasoline goes up even further than the doubling that this President has already done.
Oh, wind energy. We heard about wind energy, smart grid. Think about it. We've had these hearings in our Natural Resources Committee. Doc Hastings has done a fabulous job. Amazing the stuff you find out. And what we found out even just this week, last week, actually, when you talk about using wind or solar energy, since wind doesn't blow all the time and sun doesn't shine all time, and since we don't have an effective way to hold electricity, there's no massive battery that we've developed yet that holds significant amounts of electricity, so you have to use that electricity immediately, because you can't hold it. When we get to the point where we have some way to hold electricity, then we're on our way. Then solar, wind, those things will be a whole lot more helpful. But as it is, if you declare we're going to have to have wind energy and we're going to have to use solar energy, then for those times when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining but people still need electricity, then you're going to have to have a coal-fired power plant, you're going to have to have a natural-gas powered plant, a nuclear powered plant.
So you're going to have to have all of those things standing by to produce the energy when these other things don't. You're going to have to have different sets of wires taking electricity from the regular power plants and also send them out to the windmills way out wherever they are, where they're out there chopping up endangered species, birds and all, and bring that electricity in. You're going to end up having to have different wires going out to solar places. And so actually you're going to be paying two and three times as much for energy because you have to have two to three times the infrastructure just so that you can say we're getting some of our power from wind and from sun.
What it did was set up more government. You read the bill like I did--and yes, I'm anal enough, I read some of these stupid bills, including the President's idea of a Jobs Act. It created more government. It took over more control over the Internet. It took over more control of cable. It's just a disaster.
So I hear about the President's great ideas for helping the economy, and I say thank goodness the President didn't pass that disaster because the economy would be doing even far worse. Well, except for the people that suck out the millions and hundreds of millions and billions, like the President's friends at Solyndra and things like that.
By the way, I see today this article, September 13, 2012: ``AP reports weekly U.S. jobless aid applications jump to 382,000,'' by Christopher Rugaber.
Anyway, jobless claims jump to a 2-month high. Not exactly the progress the President says was happening.
I've been mentioning, ever since I found out from Gold Star parents Billy and Karen Vaughn, they told me two-thirds of the deaths and the wounds of our military in Afghanistan have occurred under President Obama. I couldn't believe that. So we got the official numbers. I've got a poster around here somewhere. I don't have time to use it right now.
But when we got the official numbers, it turns out 70 percent of those who have been killed in Afghanistan have been killed under President Obama's command, even though he's been in command in Afghanistan only half the time of President Bush. Eighty-four percent of those people losing arms, legs, hands, terribly disabling wounds from IEDs and other injury sources, 84 percent of those have occurred under Commander in Chief Obama compared to the 16 percent that occurred under President Bush in Afghanistan.
Article here from Breitbart by Tony Lee:
On the somber 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, nearly 2,000 members of the U.S. military have died in Afghanistan since the war started in response to the attacks in 2011.
By the way, this President Obama, when he was running for President, called it the ``good war.''
But this article by Tony Lee goes on and points out what I've been talking about ever since Billy and Karen brought that to my attention, and I was greatly sorry that I did not know that without them pointing it out to me.
It was also interesting to read an article by John Nolte, 12 September, 2012. Obviously, I like the guy. I like his cynicism. He says:
Oh, that awful Mitt Romney. Just a few minutes before the White House itself disavowed the Cairo Embassy apologizing for free speech, Romney rightfully condemned the appeasing statement in no uncertain terms. And as a result, all day long, the corrupt media has been on a rampage to make Romney pay for the unpardonable sin of criticizing Their Precious One.
You see, there's no precedent for a political opponent immediately criticizing a sitting President after a foreign policy crisis. Oh, wait.
Then it has reference to other articles where that's gone on, a flashback to Kerry slamming Bush. Over and over it's happened when it's a Republican President.
The article says:
So with the entire institution of the media circling the wagons for Obama today, in a futile attempt to rescue him from his own foreign policy blunders, we now have CBS News riding to the rescue in order to give the same President who condemned Romney before he condemned the terrorists an opportunity to further politicize this tragedy:
``There's a broader lesson to be learned here. Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later.''
That's what President Obama had to say. Yes, that's the President talking about spouting off too quickly.
But the President is right about Mitt Romney: guilty as charged. Romney did shoot first to defend the principles of free speech that the people who work for Obama in Cairo were so eager to fritter away. Yes, that damn Mitt Romney saw this outrageous example of simpering in the face of terror coming from American officials and immediately spoke out against it.
It goes on to make a great point. Romney stood up for free speech.
The movie that's been fussed about sounds like a ridiculous thing that should not be done, except that this is America where people, whether it's Howard Stern or anybody else, they have a right to say things, no matter how offensive they may be, unless they go so far that they actually harm other people.
Another article: ``No Record of Intel Briefings for Obama Week Before Embassy Attacks.'' This was written by Wynton Hall, 12 September, 2012, and it points out:
According to the White House calendar, there is no public record of President Barack Obama attending his daily intelligence briefing--known as the Presidential Daily Brief (PDB)--in the week leading up to the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and the murder of U.S. Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens and three American members of his staff.
I've got to say. I read an account and a story of the administration reporting the name of one of the other three killed as part of the Libyan Embassy personnel. They gave that man's name, pointed out he was a former SEAL team member but was in a private security force. Then, according to the article, the administration reported that he was killed while running for cover.
Madam Speaker, I know something about SEAL team members. In the mind of a SEAL team member or a former SEAL team member, he is never running for cover. He is running for a place, if at all, from which to launch a better attack. Even in death, this administration can't be respectful to the people that have laid down their lives for this administration.
Even though the White House says that, gee, the President does read briefings, he just hasn't been getting them personally, I would hope that he would start doing that. There are people's lives at stake, and he is President. He's such a fantastic campaigner, and I know it's inconvenient, but I sure hope that he'll get back to being President.
To give credit where credit is due, it was very wonderful of the President to
take a minute and a half or whatever it was, a minute, minute and a half, to pay tribute to those who laid down their lives for their country at the Libya Embassy where they didn't have adequate security, and where this administration enabled al Qaeda and others to take over the government. It was nice of him to take a minute and a half to pay tribute to them giving their lives in the middle of his campaign event before he went on with the celebration.
I recall President George W. Bush. People here know we certainly had our differences, and I certainly disagreed with him on a number of things. But I had great respect for the man. He said:
How can I go play golf when I am Commander in Chief and I have sent soldiers, our military, into harm's way? It just doesn't feel right for me to be out on a golf course having a good time when our men and women are in harm's way.
But it did look like a fun celebration there that President Obama was having in Las Vegas.
Another article: ``Libyan Official: U.S. At Fault in Attacks.'' Written by Awr Hawkins, 12 September, 2012.
He points out that although the head of Libya's National Assembly has formally apologized for the killing of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, other higher-ranking Libyan officials refuse to apologize and continue to contend the U.S. is to blame.
The story talks about those contentions. Hey, it was our fault. Kind of like the ridiculous claims that sometimes those of us who were judges or prosecutors heard from a guilty rape defendant who said, ``Well, you know, she was asking for it.'' Excuse me?
That was abominable what happened at the Libyan Embassy. It is a tragic fact that this administration, against the will of Congress, without even asking what the will of Congress was, said, Well, gee, the U.N., Organization of Islamic Conference, they want us there. So, why not? We ought to go. That's all he needed. He didn't care what Congress thought.
He enabled them. He used American bombers. And then when the American public obviously was upset, eventually, that it was taking so long--hey, hey, keep in mind, it's not the U.S.; it's NATO. He may not have gotten a briefing that let him know that over 60 percent of the NATO military is American military.
Here's a flashback article. I just think it's important, when these terrible things are happening around the world, that we take a quick look at how we got where we are so maybe we don't keep doubling down on things that get Americans killed and hurt our national security. This article by Dana Loesch, 12 September 2012, ``Flashback: Obama Admin Endorsed Muslim Brotherhood,'' it points out from a New York Times article even August 1 this year, it said:
Leon E. Panetta, the United States Defense Secretary, said on Tuesday that President Mohammed Morsi of Egypt was ``his own man,'' a strong declaration of American support for Mr. Morsi, a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood whose future course in Egypt remains a great unknown to the Obama administration.
Well, it didn't keep us from enabling him to be there.
Another article: ``Obama Admits He Lost Egypt As American Ally.'' It goes on to talk about how the President, because of our turning our back, or stabbing a man with whom this administration had made agreements, who was trying to uphold the Israeli-Egyptian Accord that was brokered by President Carter--one nice thing that President Carter did. President Obama now admits, well, they're not really an enemy, but they're not an ally. We lost them as an ally because of the incompetence of this administration.
``Obama Declines Meeting With Netanyahu,'' and let me just finish with this. Although he doesn't have time for Netanyahu, apparently he has time to attend a Jay-Z and Beyonce fundraiser. They're fabulous entertainers, I understand that. But there's a country to run, there are Americans being killed, and it's time somebody around this town picked up the responsibility and acted responsibly. I don't think doing a CR is the way to do it, but certainly not running off to fundraisers when people are giving their lives for you on foreign soil is the way to go either.
With that, I yield back the balance of my time.