Congressional Resource Service — and the Public Can’t Get its reports Timely, or Easily, WHY??
In “A Testimony for these Times” I quoted some CRS reports, and got curious again about the history of this service, which provides reports that are wonderfully informative to people involved in custody hearings — about federal policy influencing them.
For example, Here is memo from Carmen Solomon-Fears and Gene Falk, dated June 26, 2009, Subject:
Not mentioned specifically — who got this memo? It helpfully (by means of a chart) compares HR 2979 (the above act) with current law. I see that in Sections 108 and 109 (see pp. 11ff) there are stipulations about partnerships between marriage/fatherhood and domestic violence experts, sought and recommended by the HR 2979.
Why shouldn’t the individual parents likely to be affected by this (particularly survivors) be informed BEFOREhand that this proposed legislation has taken place, giving them better opportunity and time to prepare to comment, or talk to their legislators, about those matters? Because they want to ramrod the legislation through before we, the plain people (not institutes, not think tanks, not “scholars” not the media)???
This is from a site (just found — maybe a nonprofit?) called “OPEN CRS”
About Open CRS
American taxpayers spend over $100 million a year to fund the Congressional Research Service, a “think tank” that provides reports to members of Congress on a variety of topics relevant to current political events. Yet, these reports are not made available to the public in a way that they can be easily obtained. Open CRS provides citizens access to CRS Reports that are already in the public domain.
CRS Reports do not become public until a member of Congress releases the report. A number of libraries and non-profit organizations have sought to collect as many of the released reports as possible. Open CRS is a centralized utility that brings together these reports.
Unfortunately, there is no systematic way to obtain all CRS reports. Because of this, not all reports appear on the Open CRS web site. We believe that it would be far preferable for Congress to make available to the public all CRS Reports.
Here’s paragraph 1 of Wikipedia’s Description of CRS (minus all the usual links that come with the territory of “wikiworld”
Congressional Research Service
The Congressional Research Service (CRS), known as Congress’s think tank, is a public policy research arm of the United States Congress. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS works primarily and directly for Members of Congress, their Committees and staff on a confidential, nonpartisan basis.
Its staff of approximately 600 employees includes lawyers, economists, reference librarians, and social, natural, and physical scientists. In fiscal year 2012, CRS was appropriated a budget of roughly $106.8 million by Congress.
CRS is joined by two major congressional support agencies. The Congressional Budget Office provides Congress with budget-related information, reports on fiscal, budgetary, and programmatic issues, and analyses of budget policy options, costs, and effects. The Government Accountability Office assists Congress in reviewing and monitoring the activities of government by conducting independent audits, investigations, and evaluations of federal programs. Collectively, the three agencies employ more than 4,000 people.
CRS reports are widely regarded as in depth, accurate, objective, and timely, but as a matter of policy they are not made available to members of the public by CRS, except in certain circumstances. There have been numerous attempts to pass legislation requiring all reports to be made available online, most recently in 2012, but none have been enacted. Instead, the public must request individual reports from their Senators and Representatives in Congress, purchase them from private vendors, or search for them in various web archives of previously released documents.
Footnote [5} is a March 20, 2007 memo to “All CRS Staff” on “Distribution of CRS material to non-Congressionals” Prior approval at the division or office level before distribution to members of the public (!!!). This policy in place after meetings with the “Research Policy Council.”
If I, LGH, had been aware of some of these CRS reports on the field which has affected the well-being of my children, and my ability to retain income, while in the process of divorce — it would’ve been far better. In my opinion, this is a clear statement of what our “Congressionals” think about “non-Congressionals,” which is to say, the people whose taxes pay their income. Please read!
The year 2007 was a horrible year, personally. It was still two years later that I learned about a grants system which had been in place, federally, which was specifically designed to give me, a custodial mother at first, LESS time with my own kids, and the kids LESS child support than they already were getting, while facilitating court hearings against me, seeking to completely eliminate contact with my own children, which eventually happened.
Why should I have taxes deducted from any wages to support antagonistic behavior and arrogant policies against me, based on profile (I’m female, like about 51% of people living in the United States, last I heard)? For that matter, why should I also have to witness grants being gived to faith-based outfits when the same are often hostile towards my gender?
In 1914, Senator Robert LaFollette and Representative John M. Nelson, both of Wisconsin, promoted the inclusion in the legislative, executive, and judicial appropriations act of a provision directing the establishment of a special reference unit within the Library of Congress.
Building upon a concept developed by the New York State Library in 1890, and the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Library in 1901, they were motivated by Progressive era ideas about the importance of the acquisition of knowledge for an informed and independent legislature. The move also reflected the expanding role of the librarian and the professionalization of the profession.
The new department was charged with responding to congressional requests for information. The legislation authorized the Librarian of Congress, Herbert Putnam, to “employ competent persons to prepare such indexes, digests, and compilations of laws as may be required for Congress and other official use…” (The intent behind the creation of the agency can be derived from U.S. Senate, Committee on the Library, Legislative Drafting Bureau and Reference Division, 62d Cong., 3d sess., 1913, S. Rept.1271.)
Renamed the Legislative Reference Service and given a permanent authorization with the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946, it assisted Congress primarily by providing facts and publications and by transmitting research and analysis done largely by other government agencies, private organizations, and individual scholars.
The Library of Congress, the home of CRS, had experimented during the 1940s with unrestricted publication Public Affairs Bulletins, which were produced by staff of the Legislative Reference Service, and devoted to various public policy issues. They were promoted by Archibald MacLeish, the Librarian of Congress, and, among other topics, addressed timely policy issues, such as American national defense. About 100 Public Affairs Bulletins were generated before congressional appropriators ended their production in 1951.
OK, so Archibald MacLeish (1892 – 1982, interesting dates)…
MacLeish was born in Glencoe, Illinois. His father, Scottish-born Andrew MacLeish, worked as a dry goods merchant. His mother, Martha (née Hillard), was a college professor and had served as president of Rockford College. He grew up on an estate bordering Lake Michigan. He attended the Hotchkiss School*** from 1907 to 1911 before entering Yale University, where he majored in English, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and was selected for the Skull and Bones society. He then enrolled in Harvard Law School, where he served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review. In 1916, he married Ada Hitchcock. His studies were interrupted by World War I, in which he served first as an ambulance driver and later as a captain of artillery. He graduated from law school in 1919, taught law for a semester for the government department at Harvard, then worked briefly as an editor for The New Republic. He next spent three years practicing law.
Like one of the co-founders of Genzyme (see my post), he attended a private and well-endowed prep (boarding) schools that were members of a select society, and intended to send their sons to Yale, or members of the Ivy League schools:
The Hotchkiss School is an independent, coeducational American college preparatory boarding school located in Lakeville, Connecticut. Founded in 1891, the school enrolls students in grades 9 through 12 and a small number of postgraduates. Students at Hotchkiss come from across the United States and 37 foreign countries.
Hotchkiss is a member of the Eight Schools Association, the Ten Schools Admissions Organization, and a member of the G20 Schools group. In 2010 Hotchkiss joined in a partnership with The Affiliated High School of Peking University to form the basis of the International Division of Peking University High School.
As of the 2005–06 school year, the school had an enrollment of 595 students and 151 classroom teachers, for a student–teacher ratio of 4:1. Hotchkiss has one of the largest secondary school financial endowments in the country, and extremely competitive admissions, with a 12% acceptance rate in the fall of 2013.
Yep, and Mrs. Hotchkiss was the widow of a man whose fortune (or at least fame) was made in machine guns, World War I (obviously after the school was founded in 1891…), and its current Head of School is from Wales, and a Rhodes Scholar…. Cream of the crop stuff, right? A bit more of a look, so we understand clearly that America is the land of opportunity and how “essential” the traditional public school system, with class sizes of 25 to 35 or so, and with a track record of barely being able to produce people who can read English or do math, is to our children’s success in life. ALL KINDS of people who attended schools like Hotchkiss (and Yale, and Harvard) are convinced that this is just how life should be: compulsory, below-grade education for most, and “captains of industry (and giants in literature)-producing schools like Hotchkiss, for some. Run by Rhodes Scholars as appropriate:
“ROUND SQUARE” Hotchkiss is one of four U.S. schools in Round Square, a global conference of more than 50 secondary schools. Students have the option to go on an exchange for a semester to another participating school, or they may meet other Round Square students while working together on a project in an area of need. Hotchkiss has recently hosted students from Australia, Germany, Peru, South Africa, and India
From the “ROUND SQUARE” website I learn that this is a London-based charity (started in 1966), whose Board appears to include one King (Constantine, of Greece (read) (older sister, is queen consort of Spain, he’s also “by birth Prince of Denmark.” He’s smart AND athletic; Greek monarchy abolished in 1973, etc.) and one Duke, His Royal Highness, the Duke of York, before marriage making him Duke (and Baron, etc.), formerly known as “Prince Andrew,” whose education went about like this:
Prince Andrew’s education was conducted in three phases. (information courtesy “The Official Website of The British Monarchy“)(it does read “royal.gov.uk”)
He was taught initially by a governess at Buckingham Palace.
When he was aged eight, Prince Andrew was sent to Heatherdown Preparatory School, Ascot. He studied there until he was 13, when he moved on to Gordonstoun School in Morayshire, Scotland, where his father and elder brother were educated before him.
On completion of his ‘O’ levels (equivalent to GCSEs), he spent two terms in 1977 at Lakefield College School in Ontario, Canada on a Round Square exchange programme. Prince Andrew returned to Gordonstoun to study for his ‘A’ levels before leaving to join the Royal Navy.
The marriage (which lasted ALMOST 8 years, but was on the rocks at least by 1992), 1986-1996 and produced two daughters in succession, eventually, for the throne):
Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson were engaged on 19 March 1986. Sarah Ferguson, born on 15 October 1959, is the second daughter of Major Ronald Ferguson and Susan, the late Mrs Hector Barrantes. They were married in Westminster Abbey on 23 July 1986. At the time of their marriage Prince Andrew was created The Duke of York and Sarah became The Duchess of York.
The Duke and Duchess’s first child was born on 8 August 1988 at the Portland Hospital in London and was named Beatrice Elizabeth Mary of York. Their second child was also born at the Portland Hospital on 23 March 1990 and named Eugenie Victoria Helena. They are fifth and sixth in line of succession to the throne.
In March 1992 it was announced that The Duke and Duchess were to separate; they were divorced in May 1996.
We are still on the theme of Archibald MacLeish (Library of Congress), and his Hotchkiss prep school’s, although not while he attended there, its eventual connection with ‘The Round Square’ association.
. A third Round Square Board Members I looked up, “Simon Bruce-Lockhart” is head of a posh private school in Victoria, British Columbia (Canada, obviously). Here’s an article with residents complaining about its tax breaks on the property (interesting), also considering its tuition, it taking property off the municipal (residential) market which might better help their public schools.
He also has a BA in English from Yale (1971). Nice how Yale people stick up for and to each other in later life.
Simon Bruce-Lockhart has a VERY famous great-uncle, whose life adventures (self-explanatory) intersected with the Bolsheviks, the Kremlin, and etc. but otherwise is supposedly all Scottish (no “English”) and most of the family were schoolmasters>
Sir Robert Hamilton Bruce Lockhart KCMG (2 September 1887 – 27 February 1970), was a journalist, author, secret agent, British diplomat in Moscow and Prague, and footballer. His 1932 book Memoirs of a British Agent became an international bestseller, and brought him to the world’s attention.
Bruce Lockhart was Acting British Consul-General in Moscow when the first Russian Revolution broke out in early 1917, but left shortly before the Bolshevik Revolution of October that year.
He soon returned to Russia at the behest of Prime Minister Lloyd George and Lord Milner**(Freemason, see — and don’t ask why it’s on there — “Getting it Out without going PTSD” post, under “Rhodes” section) as the United Kingdom’s first envoy to the Bolsheviks (Russia) in January 1918 in an attempt to counteract German influence.
Lockhart, on his return, was also working for the Secret Intelligence Service and had been given £648 worth of diamonds to fund the creation of an agent network in Russia.
Moura Budberg, the widow of a high-ranking Czarist diplomat Count Johann von Benckendorff, became his mistress.
Later, Bruce Lockhart spoke out for Arthur Ransome, saying he had been a valuable intelligence asset amid the worst chaos of the revolution. As the chaos worsened in Russia and purges took hold among the Bolshevik leaders, Lockhart recommended official assistance to bring Trotsky’s secretary, Evgenia Petrovna Shelepina, to England.
Lockhart from then on was involved in numerous espionage plots against the Bolshevik government, including a plan to snatch Tsar Nicholas II from their custody.
The Round Square approach promotes six IDEALS of learning: Internationalism, Democracy, Environment, Adventure, Leadership and Service. These are incorporated into the curriculum throughout all member schools.
Internationalism, British-style, with a good dose of nobility and a few royals….
Back to Wiki-MacLeish. Look at the timing
In 1923 MacLeish left his law firm and moved with his wife to Paris, France, where they joined the community of literary expatriates that included such members as Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway. They also became part of the famed coterie of Riviera hosts Gerald and Sarah Murphy, which included Hemingway, Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos, Fernand Léger, Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, John O’Hara, Cole Porter, Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley. He returned to America in 1928. From 1930 to 1938 he worked as a writer and editor for Fortune Magazine, during which he also became increasingly politically active, especially with anti-fascist causes. By the 1930s, he considered Capitalism to be “symbolically dead” and wrote the play “Panic” in response.
Congressional Research Service, continued (Wikipedia), we see the emphasis on KEEPING THE PUBLIC OUT and PREVENTING THEM FROM HAVING A SEARCHABLE DATABASE OF WHAT CONGRESS IS BEING FED, ON THE TOPICS, AND AS LEGISLATION IS IN PROGRESS:
Even though we pay over $100 million per year for THEM to ahve this access. Also, go back to the top and re-read the March 20, 2007 about access to “non-Congressionals,” but who gets at least SOME more access than, John and Jane Doe…
Since 1935 the Legislative Analysis and Information Section (formerly “Bill Digest”) of CRS has had statutory responsibility for preparation of authoritative, objective, nonpartisan summaries of introduced public bills and resolutions and maintenance of historical legislative information. Detailed revised summaries are written to reflect changes made in the course of the legislative process. This CRS office also prepares titles, bill relationships, subject terms, and Congressional Record citations for debates, full texts of measures, and Member introductory remarks. The bill summaries are released to the public via THOMAS, the Library of Congress’s online database.
Constitution Annotated. The American Law Division of the Congressional Research Service prepares the Constitution of the United States of America — Analysis and Interpretation (popularly known as the Constitution Annotated, a continuously updated legal treatise that explains the U.S. Constitution as it has been interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Current Members of Congress and their offices may access the CRS website (www.crs.gov) and CRS’s Legislative Information Service (LIS) website (www.congress.gov). The two sites are the most comprehensive and integrated sources of information regarding workings of the federal government, and are arguably the best sources of information regarding the legislative process of the United States.
These sites provide all information necessary to become informed about any aspect of government. They also have the information needed to keep up-to-the-minute on most legislation including information from past bills similar to the current legislation; historical information about the legislation; biographical data about the Members who introduced it; the ability to track the legislation as it moves through committee hearings to the Floor; and links to information about the legislation in the Congressional Record, Floor and committee schedule information, and the Federal Register.
Neither of these websites is available to the public. In order to prevent public access to the websites, CRS has erected an elaborate firewall to keep the public out. Taxpayers are only allowed access to THOMAS (thomas.loc.gov). In fact, when the public tries to access the LIS, they are automatically forwarded to THOMAS without warning.
http://www.crs.gov. The CRS website provides CRS publications on current legislative issues, electronic briefing books, information on the legislative and budget processes, a searchable database of all CRS products, and other information about Congressional procedures and activities.
The rest of Archibald MacLeish’s story is interesting, including that it was FDR who wanted him in the position, and that he was instrumental in getting Ezra Pound out of criminal incarceration.
I want this published, may supplement later.
Talk about offensive! This tells me what our Congress thinks about Us People. Apparently we non-Congressionals are an impediment to the legislative process.