For years it's been apparent that members of congress have not been doing the will of the American people, despite that poll, after poll, after poll clearly shows what the majority of the people want from our government. Take oil subsides for example, yet congress refuses to end them.
We know that corporate interests are always the very first to be considered by our elected "representatives" in congress. That's because the corporations spend millions of dollars on lobbyists, who are always the first in line and are better able to get the attention of a congress-person whenever they wish.
The oil companies get billions of dollars every year from the taxpayers, then spend millions of those same tax dollars to lobby congress against the taxpayer's best interests. Does paying someone to hurt you make any sense at all?
Then later, once they get familiar with the game, members of congress leave congress to work as a lobbyists. Over 400 former U.S. lawmakers have made the jump to lobbying.
But whenever we complain, we're told to "get involved, start a petition, write congress."
Take congressional reform as another example. How can the people get congress to pass a bill to reform congress if congress blatantly refuses to pass a bill to reform congress? If Pete and repeat were in a boat, and Pete fell out, who was left? It's a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.
Why are we told to write congress if congress never writes back? What's the point if all you receive for a response is an auto-generated email from their website or a standard carbon-copy of a form letter from their secretary in return?
What good is calling your congress-person when whoever answers the phone is usually only a low-level staff member, who may or may not, just take a message?
The only people who can get the ear of their congress-person (either on the phone, in a return letter, or with a personal meeting) are those who are their biggest campaign contributors (or members of the media, who they think will give them positive coverage).
People with the most money have the loudest voices and are the only ones who are heard by our congressional leaders. People with very little money can only "talk to the hand".
And the people with the most money have completely different concerns that those like me, who have no money at all. Only the wealthier people are represented by congress --- yet at election time, the people in congress have to make promises to the masses to get their votes --- to get themselves elected. But after they're elected, the masses are once again ignored.
Pete and repeat.
It's a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.
It seems like during every election cycle the same old problems arise, and very few are ever addressed. And on the rare occasion when something BIG can be accomplished, members of congress still refuse to do anything. Take filibuster reform as just the latest example.
Or take tax reform as another example, when congress refuses to raise taxes on themselves or eliminate the tax loopholes that they themselves enjoy, because many are also multi-millionaires.
If we need food stamps to survive (because we're either under-paid or unemployed), we have to pass a "means test" to qualify --- but members of congress still get all their lavish healthcare plans and pension benefits without having to pass any such test. Why is someone who's only earning $27,000 a year (and has no healthcare at all) paying for the healthcare and pension funds of multi-millionaires? Is that fair?
It's a shame that Senator Bernie Sanders calls himself a "Socialist", because most Americans equate that to the governments (and genocides) of Joseph Stalin, Chairman Mao -- and even Adolf Hitler. Albert Einstein fled Germany to escape fascism, but as a genius, he also advocated for a certain brand of "socialism" (read halfway down this page).
And if you've ever read anything by Vladimir Lenin, you might also believe that even he was a Class Warrior. That's why the Republicans always play on these fears, calling Obama a "Socialist" and accusing him of trying to "redistribute the wealth" (Ex-congressman Allen West told the American people that at least 80 members in the Democratic party were Communists).
But in truth, for the past 80 years, the majority of the wealth has been redistributed from the poor to the rich, not from the top down. If you think about it, what are "taxes", if not a form of redistributing the wealth?
Virgil Bierschwale at Keep America at Work - "We need a government that realizes that it has to be the mediator to provide a balance between the business community's need for profit and the People’s Right to a life; one that should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each, according to their ability or achievement, regardless of social class or circumstances of birth."
And if congress continually refuses to do the "will" of the people, and when elections and government policies are being corrupted by money and corporate power, haven't we already lost our democracy and are now being ruled by dictators in congress -- by people who are only doing the will of plutocrats and oligarchs?
MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell of The Last Word also calls himself a "Socialist". If what they believe in is called socialism, then maybe I too am a Socialist. But then again, that would also make Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Socialists too. And if that were true, then that would also make people like Allen West in the Tea Party Fascists (practicing radical authoritarian nationalism).
The other day I saw Senator Bernie Sanders doing another interview on PBS (and this might be why the Republicans want to de-fund PBS). During the interview Bernie makes these points:
We all know that congress-people can talk the talk BEFORE they are elected, or they wouldn't have been elected, but very few will actually walk the walk AFTER they are elected.
Harry Reid vowed using the "nuclear option" if necessary to reform the filibuster, and the very next day, he did practically nothing. All along Harry Reid had just been blowing hot air, just like most people in congress. That's why Senator Bernie Sanders had voted against Harry Reid's bill, because it had no meaningful reforms.
In Senator Bernie Sanders' PBS interview, for those of you who don't know him , he is also very concerned about such issues as:
- the collapse of the middle class
- the fact that over 46 million Americans live in poverty
- the income gap between the very rich and everybody else
- the real unemployment rate and job creation
- the full protection of Medicare and Social Security;
- tax loopholes for the rich and large corporations
- real comprehensive immigration reform
- our Veterans
- global warming
- the filibuster and Republican obstructionism
The people of Vermont are very lucky...they don't have to worry about writing their congress-person....Bernie already has their backs.
I had always considered myself to be a Republican since the days of Ronald Reagan. Even after Obama was first elected, I watched Fox News and admired Glenn Beck. I sided with the Tea Party --- and I even used to swear at Nancy Pelosi and Lawrence O'Donnell, almost breaking my TV.
But since late 2009, I delved into political history and studied government polices, foreign affairs and tax laws, almost making myself a self-taught political science major. Since then I've realized that I had been hoodwinked most of my life, just as were millions of other Americans. I morphed from a "conservative" Republican to a "progressive" Democrat.
But if by wanting the ultra-rich and multi-national corporations to pay their fair share of taxes, and wanting a job to pay a fair and "living" wage, and wanting Social Security and Medicare for those who are too old and/or sick to work any longer...if that is now called "Socialism", then I guess that now makes me a Socialist.
Dear Congress, Please write. Sincerely Yours, Bud Meyers --- P.S. You can just add a comment to this post.
Here is the link to the complete transcript of Senator Bernie Sanders being interviewed by Tavis Smiley on PBS on February 4, 2013
Please sign my petition to Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner for Congressional Reform.
Please sign this petition at the Daily Kos urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to re-open filibuster reform in light of recent Republican obstructionism on federal nominees.