Ironic Isn’t It?

I copy and paste here an article pasted to an email I recently received from one who may not wish to be named. I thought it well worth passing on…..

545 vs. 300,000,000 People-By Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.
Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have
deficits? Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have
inflation and high taxes? You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The President does. You and I don’t have the
Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does. You and I don’t write the tax code,
Congress does. You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does. You and I don’t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country. I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.
I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator’s responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault.
They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.
What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall.
No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. (The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.)

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? (John Boehner. He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want.)
If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to. [The House has passed a budget but the Senate has not approved a budget in over three years. The President’s proposed budgets have gotten almost unanimous rejections in the Senate in that time.]

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility.
I can’t think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair.
If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red.
If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it’s because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan .
If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way
There are no insoluble government problems.
Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators,
to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take
this power.

Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation,” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.
Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible. They, and they alone, have the power.
They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.
Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.
We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

Who’s The Traitor?

Despite a Congress that seems unable to function we can still count on its members to issue forth with unsettling remarks from time to time. Their hands may be tied by their unwillingness to cooperate, but you can’t tie their tongues. Unfortunately. The latest profound utterance comes from House Speaker Boehner:

House Speaker John Boehner today called NSA leaker Edward Snowden a “traitor” who put Americans at risk by releasing classified information to the media.

“He’s a traitor,” the highest ranking Republican in the House of Representatives said in an extensive interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. “The disclosure of this information puts Americans at risk. It shows our adversaries what our capabilities are. And it’s a giant violation of the law.”

Boehner endorsed President Obama’s characterization of two programs, which allow the NSA to gather information about phone calls made in the U.S. as well as information on foreign suspects collected from major internet companies, as critical to the government’s ability to fight terrorism. He said that there are “clear safeguards” built into the programs to protect Americans.

You may recall that Snowden is the man who decided that it was in his country’s best interest to know what sorts of shenanigans their government is up to. And from what we read more revelations may be forthcoming. The man is consequently regarded as a traitor by this hard-line Republican who apparently knows what constitutes loyalty to one’s country — even though he is part of the contingent that has brought government to a virtual halt and seems to be bound to party, rather than the common good.

There are several problems with this story, of course. We might begin with the fact that this Republican leader is siding with a “liberal” Democratic president — strange bedfellows, indeed. Only a tad stranger is the fact that Democrat Dianne Feinstein has joined Boehner in calling Edwards a “traitor.” Talk is cheap.  If only they would cooperate on such vital issues as the economy and climate change. But more important is the fact that this sort of comment by Feinstein and Boehner clouds the issue of what constitutes true patriotism, loyalty to one’s country. When one is privy to information that one is convinced his fellow citizens are better off knowing — such as information about what their armies and navies are doing in the name of “Iraqi freedom”  — as in the case of Bradley Manning — or, as in this case, what their government is doing in the name of “national security,” then they feel a responsibility to tell what they know. And this despite the fact that they know they will be pilloried by people like John Boehner. Or they might even be court-martialed as is the case with Manning.

It is a tough call to determine what sort of information should and should not be made available to ordinary citizens who are probably better off being shielded from most of the ugly things the government is forced to do. And it may turn out, as Matt Miller suggested in a recent story in the Washington Post, that Snowden has a private agenda and is simply “indulging his precious conscience.” But as a general rule I tend to side with those who show the courage of their convictions and are willing to suffer serious consequences because their “precious” consciences demand that they do what they regard as the right thing. Given the stench that so often seems to come our way from the halls of government, one suspects that this country can withstand the fresh air that has been sent its way by the revelations about phone-tapping in the name of national security. Is it indeed the case that our nation is not secure? Really? After all, who is it exactly we fear? One senses that our leaders, not to mention self-styled “centrist” journalists like Matt Miller, are becoming a bit paranoid.

Who Will Annihilate Whom?

This HuffPost story caught my eye:

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) warned fellow Republicans this week, saying President Barack Obama’s inaugural address had convinced him that the president was undertaking an effort to “annihilate” the GOP.

“Given what we heard yesterday about the president’s vision for his second term, it’s pretty clear to me — should be clear to all of you — that he knows he can’t do any of that as long as the House is controlled by Republicans,” Boehner said during a speech at the Ripon Society on Tuesday. “So we’re expecting over the next 22 months to be the focus of this administration as they attempt to annihilate the Republican Party.”

The story struck me because I had been thinking that the Republican Party was doing a pretty good job of annihilating itself without help from Barack Obama — or anyone else for that matter. Clearly there are deep divisions within the Party among the far right spiritually certain and Tea Party types, the mainline Republicans, the intellectual conservatives (with whom I share many values), the moderates, and the left-leaning Republicans who are open to antithetical points of view (a rare thing these days on both sides of the aisle). There’s even a group of Republicans that has started to pull away from the Party. Given those divisions and the recent failed attempts like those of candidate Romney to please them all, the Party could be said to be on the brink of annihilation.

It is true that Barack Obama has said publicly that he will no longer be “Mister Nice-Guy.” He spent four years trying to reconcile conflicting points of view and play the compromise game — playing it a bit too enthusiastically for my blood. It didn’t work. Now he says he will take off the gloves and get serious. We shall see. It could get interesting.

Consider the fact that a recent report indicates that when Barack Obama was elected to his first term a group of Republican politicians (and their sponsors, I dare say) met in Washington and swore to oppose anything the President attempted to do. For the most part the strategy worked, though the Affordable Health Care Act slipped through the cracks. But the sort of opposition that denies the possibility of compromise a priori makes it impossible for anything to get done — as we have seen first-hand. This last Congress was the least productive on record and the newer version will continue to be unproductive until or unless those who are elected to public office recall that their ultimate responsibility is to further the common good — not special interests or their political party.

But that may never happen. In the meantime, the Republican Party will continue to overwhelm us with its many divisions within its own house and its leaders like John Boehner will continue to point in the wrong direction in his effort to determine the cause.

Is It Broken?

A causal story in Yahoo news caught my eye. It has to do with a botched ploy on the part of this Administration to sell guns to a cartel in Mexico in order to trace the movement of illegal guns and eventually prosecute the guilty parties. The idea went terribly wrong when one of the guns ended up killing a border guard and the Republicans are out to “get” the Administration presumably in behalf of the family of the man who was killed. The Administration is claiming executive privilege in order to keep secret the details of the story and the Republicans are going to take the Administration to court to force them to divulge details of the scam. The story reads in part,

House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday that Republicans are preparing to file a civil suit in an attempt to gain access to more information pertaining to the Justice Department’s botched Fast & Furious cartel gun tracking program.

We have heard this story before. The only thing that changes are the parties involved. I am not going to question the notion of executive privilege, but I want to note the extraordinary limits to which partisan politics has gone in the country. England has a system that allows the government to “dissolve” itself if it reaches an impasse and it is clear that is has ceased to function. We have no such proviso and it has come to the point that we are stuck in the rut of an intransigent political system where parties are “at” one another constantly and are therefore unable to come together to solve the problems the nation faces on a daily basis. All they seem able to do is to call one another names and throw stones  — or take one another to court at the nation’s expense.

The health care plan that was recently upheld by the Supreme Court is a case in point. It is going to be challenged by the Republicans — not because it is a bad plan (it is precisely the same in all major respects as the one Mitt Romney pushed through in Massachusetts) — but because it is plan pushed through by a Democratic President. Horrors! And now there will be a court case to force this Administration to disclose information that may or may not be of national importance. It doesn’t matter what the issue happens to be, one side or the other is going to throw stones and the other will necessarily respond in kind. And nothing important will get done.

The framers in their wisdom imagined a system that would be fluid and would make it possible to get things done, or the pieces would be changed. The electorate would be small enough and active enough and if politicians didn’t do their jobs they would be voted out of office. Term limits were not necessary because elections would happen on a regular basis: if a man [sic] is ineffective, he would be replaced. It’s that simple. One quick look through the Federalist Papers reveals the high levels of optimism and the obvious conviction that this system will work because elections would be a constant corrective.

As it happens, it is not that simple, because we now have corporations supporting wealthy politicians who find their niche in political office and cannot be removed with a keg of dynamite. The citizens of the country have become mere spectators of a comic spectacle, so far removed from what is happening in the seat of power that they are, in effect, disenfranchised. The system is broken. Clearly. The government ought to be dissolved; it has become stagnant and we are helpless to do anything about it.

We cannot really fault the framers. They wrote the Constitution for thirteen tiny, disparate colonies that regarded themselves as autonomous and were separated by distance, coinage, customs, laws, and at times even language. They couldn’t possibly have foreseen the present state of affairs. They never conceived of the power that multinational corporations would have to back their chosen men and women and accordingly never mentioned them in their writings. I have said it before and I will say it again. The Constitution is an obsolete document, remarkable as it is, and it is in need of radical revision. But that will not happen because those who might initiate revision are comfortable in their seats of power from which they will not, they cannot, be moved.