Why Congress Won’t Change Until We Make Them

When I read articles like the one following I just get so mad. I want to kick everyone in Congress, the top Military brass, etc. to the curb for their betrayal of We the People. I want it illegal for Lobbyists to go anywhere NEAR a politician, and I want government accountable and transparent to We the People! I want true reform, not platitudes and business as usual.

90% of the American People want bush, cheney, and his administration impeached and fired, but Congress does nothing, or worse, tells us it is off the table. Any bets why? You got it, pay offs. It isn’t because there isn’t enough evidence to damn the administration, there is. It is because those in Congress are being paid not to notice the lies and deceits, the cover-ups, the breaking of US Laws, and the breaking of treaties signed Internationally. Corruption is rampant and while you may have a favorite Congresswoman or Congressman, don’t think for a second they aren’t part of the problem.

The revolving doors from Congress to Special Interest/Lobbyists and back again is unchecked, unmonitored, and unconscionable. That it happens right in our faces is the slap that should make every American stand up and say ENOUGH!

The mortgage industry problems, defense spending and outsourcing, the executive branch illegal activities, all can be layed at the feet of those revolving doors and all the money flowing into Congress. bush and company would never have gotten the idea they could flaunt the laws of this country if there were any accountability in government. You think your guy is a great guy? Try opening up his financial records and following the money trail. You will find just how wrong you can be.

Sure, they pick a category and do one or two things right. It doesn’t make up for all the times they either looked the other way or voted something in that was flat out wrong! Most don’t even bother to hide the fact that your opinion means nothing. It is business as usual no matter what you say or do.

In the age of terror and natural catastrophe, knowing the right people is still the right way to get rich.

The Department of Homeland Security Web site includes a section — titled “Open for Business” — that is designed to assist companies seeking to win part of the $10 billion in procurement contracts doled out annually to enhance our security. The array of goods and services needed to protect the homeland ranges from detection equipment for explosive, radioactive, biological, and chemical agents to private security guards, surveillance, computer and telecommunications equipment, as well as port, border, railroad, and aviation security, and the management of immigration detention centers. Yet while the Bush administration has promised that good government and good old American ingenuity will yield world-class innovations, the product has been considerably less than advertised. The newest bureaucracy is not only open for business, it is wide open for business as usual. This is nothing new or different, but the same old way that Washington has worked for many, many years. The difference is in the stakes: While the politicians, contractors, and lobbyists pursue their familiar agendas, what is the cost to our safety?

The corporate exploitation of the new department became inevitable even before it was founded, during the first dark days after 9-11, when Tom Ridge was appointed to direct the White House Office of Homeland Security. With the former Pennsylvania governor came three aides who had no apparent experience in the field of homeland security but a keen understanding of the business of politics. Mark Holman, who was appointed deputy assistant to the president in the Office of Homeland Security, had been Ridge’s chief of staff for 18 years, both in Congress and later in the Pennsylvania statehouse. Ashley Davis, a former lobbyist who had worked on Ridge’s gubernatorial campaigns, the Bush-Cheney campaign, the Florida recount, and the Republican National Convention in 2000, became Ridge’s special assistant. Joining them was Carl Buchholtz, the former general counsel to Ridge’s gubernatorial campaigns and a partner in the Philadelphia-based law and lobbying firm Blank Rome LLP, who took a year away from the firm to help the White House plan the DHS. Blank Rome’s chairman, David Girard-diCarlo, a former Ridge fundraiser and Bush Pioneer in 2000, is among Ridge’s closest friends.

More bush cronyism! This administration has infiltrated every aspect of government there is it seems. Is there any wonder that impeachment is off the table? Is there any doubt in your minds why Congress isn’t listening to you, or me, or anyone else not lining their pockets with buckets of cash? Why should they worry about the mortgage crisis when they won’t have to deal with it??? Why should border security worry them when they can ACT like things are being done to secure our borders??? Smoke and mirrors, songs and dance.

When you vote this year, think long and hard about what Congress has ACTUALLY done. Think about them bailing out the builders while leaving those losing their homes to fend for themselves. Think about the flood of illegal immigrants. Think about the high cost of food and gas. Most of all, think about the money being allocated to programs that don’t seem to be working. It is your tax dollars, your money, the dollars that are being deflated as the market is flooded with more money, as prices go up, as big oil gets fat and you pay more at the pumps. Think…

Did gas prices go down? Or are the Oil companies still reporting record profits??? Did anything change along the border? Or is the flood of immigrants only slowing because local law enforcement is taking steps to curb it? Did your mortgage company work with you or is it only the home builders that got bailed out? Think long and hard before you vote. If the choices offered are the same old ones, take steps NOW to make sure you have other choices. We need a change in this country, REAL change, not the tokens that have been tossed out that mean NOTHING!

By the time DHS opened its doors in 2003, Buchholtz had returned to Blank Rome, taking Holman and Davis with him. All three quickly turned to lobbying the department whose creation they had helped to oversee. When Blank Rome signed up 18 companies as new homeland security clients that year, and added homeland security to its lobbying duties for half a dozen existing clients, no ethics rules barred Buchholtz, Holman, and Davis from lobbying the new department — because technically, none of them had worked there. Blank Rome had just merged with Dyer Ellis & Joseph, a firm that employed several former Capitol Hill aides with ties to influential members of Congress and expertise in maritime and transportation issues — important knowledge because DHS had absorbed the Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which are now the top dispensers of procurement dollars in the DHS.

The Philadelphia-based law firm formally launched a separate lobbying arm in Washington, Blank Rome Government Relations, which included the three former White House staffers and the Dyer Ellis principals. Later that year, the firm also brought on Barbara Comstock, a former congressional staffer who had served as the chief spokesperson for then-Attorney General John Ashcroft — after becoming notorious as the head of the opposition research team at the Republican National Committee (RNC) in 2000; The Washington Post dubbed her a “one-woman wrecking crew.” Since joining Blank Rome, Comstock also has led a public relations campaign on behalf of Tom DeLay and is spokeswoman for former Cheney aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s legal defense fund.

How cozy! Maybe we should look under the beds to see how many bush cronies are hiding there? Seems the bush administration has fingers reaching into everything. The revolving doors have got to be shut and the Lobbying done away with. Government needs to come back under control of the American People and common sense needs to prevail. These programs where billions of tax dollars are thrown to “special” groups has got to stop.

When you consider the warrentless wiretapping of American citizens who have done nothing to be spied on for, you will see just how paranoid the government is that you will take notice of what they are doing, worse yet, that you might actually DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Here too it is get you before you get them. ~rolls eyes~

In 2004, after signing on with Blank Rome, the company won three major DHS deals: a $229 million contract for its “eMerge2” software, designed to integrate the financial management of the department’s 22 component agencies; a $12 million contract to develop a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) to improve security at seaports, airports, railroads, pipelines, and mass transit facilities with biometric credentialing; and an up to five-year, $30 million contract to study development of an integrated terrorist screening system for the Terrorist Screening Center, in partnership with a small business through the department’s mentor-protégé program. (The mentor-protégé program benefits large companies that piggyback on the procurement advantages offered to small and minority businesses. In another familiar pattern, BearingPoint’s partner on the Terrorist Threat Integration Center project is a small, minority-owned firm whose principals formerly worked at kpmg.)

While BearingPoint was landing those lucrative government contracts, the company was ladling out money to Republican causes. During the 2004 election cycle, BearingPoint’s PAC donated almost $40,000 to federal candidates, of which more than 80 percent went to Republicans — including $5,000 contributions to both Jerry Lewis, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, and Thad Cochran, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. In late 2003, the company’s PAC paid $15,000 for membership in the RNC Majority Fund, described on the RNC’s Web site as a “leadership group supporting President Bush, his bold agenda for America, and Republican members of the U.S. House and Senate.”

Within a year, the TWIC and eMerge2 contracts were drawing skeptical scrutiny. TWIC’s costs had more than doubled to $24 million, provoking Republican Senator Susan Collins, chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, to ask the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate. Last summer, the eMerge2 program was put on hold, after DHS had spent $10 million on it. Trade magazines reported that by November 2004 the Coast Guard already had developed its own financial management system that potentially could be used department-wide, an effort that cost a tiny fraction of the $229 million budgeted for eMerge2.

Read the full article, the disclosures there are incredible. Too bad it was written in 2005. Why this stuff doesn’t see mainstream media more is a testament to the strangle hold corporations have on the media. Between that strangle hold and the bush administration’s disinformation networking, is it any wonder that corruption is so rampant? Is there ANY hope to correct these problems? I don’t know. It would depend on the fortitude of those we choose to elect from here on out. To continue to elect those who have fostered this attitude and practices is stupid to say the least. If we want our country back, it is up to us to see to it. It is patently obvious that the corruption goes so deeply that it will take time to root it out and imprison or heavily fine those who are responsible.

For example, the fact that Boeing executives could over charge TSA $49 million and TSA not only DIDN’T GO AFTER BOEING TO RECOUP THE OVERCHARGE, they even extended the contract to the end of the year, speaks volumes for the depth of corruption, payoffs, and Lobbying efforts on behalf of Boeing executives. Another slap in the face of taxpayers.

Congress throws money this way and that in the billions of dollars, never seeming to think for a moment that this is taxpayer money. They seem able to create it out of thin air. Screw the national debt, forget a balanced budget, some future generation can deal with the consequences. Screw accountability. Pork barrel projects, special interest groups, anything and everything that can line the pockets of these legislators is OK with them.

Makes you just want to open the whole can of worms to see exactly WHAT they have been up to and for how long doesn’t it? Congress seems to have forgotten WHO exactly they work for. Not for the special interest groups, not for Boeing, not for major corporations, not for the bush administration, they work for you and I. It is time to help them remember that. It is time to make this government for and by the People!

Wake up and smell the coffee before your children are left with such a mess it can never be cleaned up. There is still time to correct the problems, still time to take appropriate actions, still time to leave our children with the country we remember. But if you do nothing soon there will be nothing you can do.

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~ by justmytruth on May 1, 2008.

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