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Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

The Approaching Storm. The 2010 Congressional Elections and the Democratic Party.

As the attention shifts to Joe Lieberman and his new found power in being able to kill any remaining meagar progressive aspects of the Senate Health Care Bill and any cost containment mechanism except in reduction of care that health care insurers and their representatives in the Republican Party and their allies in the Blue Dog coalition and the DLC Democrats seek, public anger continues to build among the Democratic voters and the Progressives who sought change. This month, actor and activist Margot Kidder had the following to say about Democratic Party politicians in an op-ed titled “Ax Max, Time To Declare War on Democratic Blackmailers” ,

The absence of democracy in a congress whose votes are bought, sold, and traded like pork bellies by big corporations in exchange for highly profitable votes and amendments on bills is a bi-partisan infection. And the pus is everywhere.

Give me a nut job for an enemy anytime. You can take aim at the obviousness of the problem and roll a strike 99 times out of a hundred. But if your enemy is disguised as a boring but harmless friend, and wears the same logo on his sweatshirt as you do, then landing a punch is like trying to slug mist. There’s no connection, no delicious smacking sound, there’s no obvious win. The fact that 20 to 25 percent of Americans support policies and politicians that are bat shit crazy is not as much a concern as the fact that 50 to 60 percent of Americans support politicians whose policies are for sale to the highest bidder, and exist independent of any underlying morality or consistent philosophy of government. Arlen Specter calls himself a Democrat for God’s sake. And so does Ben Nelson. And Blanche Lincoln. These are not Democrats; they’re Republicans in Donkey suits. And somewhat tasteful donkey suits at that. None of them would have strings of tea bags dangling from THEIR cowboy hats, you can bet the ranch on that. They are much more dangerous than Rush Limbaugh could ever hope to be.

She had this to say about her Senator Max Baucus who has led the Senate disaster on health care reform,

The hideous truth is that this empty suit-person almost single handedly took the reform out of health care reform, has introduced and somehow passed more legislation to abet the cornucopia of crime that is our banking system than anyone else in congress, and has stalled the funding of any, if not all, modern programs that would give financial lifeboats of one kind or another to families in need. He did it by pretending he was a Democrat and by hanging in there long enough to get appointed, almost by default, as chair of the banking committee. And he gets elected in a state with the fourth lowest per capita income in the country by consistently “bringing home the pork.”

She had this this to say about “centrists” and the portrayal of them,

The mainstream media calls Max Baucus and other Democratic blackmailers “centrists”. As compared to what, Chiang Kai-Shek? “Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold. Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,” said Yeats, but that was in 1919 and he was referencing the Russian revolution. America’s centre has been tap dancing to the right since Ronald Reagan was loosed upon the world and it hasn’t taken a backwards step yet, so our centre is way out in right field and has no intention of coming back of its own accord. It’s up to us, unfortunately.

And it’s not just “liberals” or progressives that are realizing they are continually sold out by their party and that the Democratic Party itself has changed. In an op-ed titled “The Twin Frauds of Obama” , Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration had this to say,

There was a time when Democratic presidents represented the little man, and Republicans represented business. Today both parties represent the moneyed interests. On December 3 at the jobs summit with business leaders, Obama said, “We don’t have enough public dollars to fill the hole of private dollars that was created as a consequence of the crisis.”

In other words, all the public’s money has been spent on the banks and the wars.

Despite Democratic majorities in the House and Senate and the ease with which Obama won the presidential election over McCain/Palin, the Democratic Party has totally collapsed. The Democrats have abandoned every constituency. Democrats have discarded the American people. Democrats, in pursuit of campaign contributions, represent the moneyed interests on Wall Street, the munitions companies, the insurance companies, the agri-businesses that have destroyed independent farmers, despoilers of the environment, unaccountable police, and the builders of detention centers. The exception is Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

The Democrats have become brownshirt Republicans.

And what about the 60 vote excuse in the Senate? John Avarosis shoots that excuse down in his piece titled “The GOP had at most 55 Senators during Bush’s presidency” at AMERICAblog. He wrote

I’ve heard people say that it’s not fair to criticize the Democrats for botching health care reform because the Democrats never truly had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Sure, they have 60 votes in principle, the argument goes, but with Lieberman, Nelson, Landrieu, and Bayh counted as four of those votes, it’s not really a solid 60.

Perhaps. But then how was George Bush so effective in passing legislation during his presidency when he never had more than 55 Republicans in the Senate? In fact, during Bush’s most effective years, from 2001 to 2005, the GOP had a grand total of 50, and then 51, Senators. The slimmest margin possible.

And on the accomplishments of the Bush Administration’s actions of ramming things through that have transformed America for probably over a generation into something authoritarian and corporate in nature, he wrote

And look at what George Bush was able to accomplish in the Congress with fewer Senators than the Democrats have today:

– John Ashcroft nomination
– Iraq war resolution
– Repeated Iraq funding resolutions
– 2001 & 2003 tax cuts
– Patriot Act
– Alito
– John Roberts
– Medicare Part D

And of course there is the growing realization that the Obama administration is not a progressive administration from its DOJ defending Constitutional crimes of the Bush administration to its Wall Street economic team. This is producing a severe splintering away of the voters that have brought the Democratic Party its election victories in Congress since 2006 and the Presidency in 2008 and sets up what could be a base voter rebellion going forward. As Jane Hamsher put it concerning the Senate Health Care Bill, “I’ll add that whether they vote for it or not, it’ll be a bloodbath for anyone with a “D” next to their name in 2010 if it passes.”

Of course all this is probably confusing to many Americans, especially the Palin Teabag base and regular Fox viewers who think they are locked in a battle against either “liberalism” or the fantasy “Marxist Leninism”. Of course they will say what is needed is more tax cuts, more deregulation, less civil liberties, more war spending, and all the things that have led us to this point. It’s a pretty pitiful of a situation we find ourselves in.

After Karzai’s Speech Where He States U.S. Troops Are Needed For Another 15 To 20 Years, Dennis Kucinich Announces His Intentions To Reinstate Congressional Constitutional Authority Concerning War In 2010. He Plans To Invoke The War Powers Resolution In The Next Session Of Congress Along With Article 1, Section 8 Of The U.S. Constitution.

After the press conference with Secretary of Defense Gates and Afghan President Hamid Karzai in which Karzai says US troops and money will be needed an additional 15 to 20 years, Kucinich (D) Ohio took to the floor of the House to announce his intentions to invoke the powers given Congress concerning war. Citing Article 1, Section 8 which gives Congress the Constitutional power to determine matters of committing this nation to war and troops and material to war zones and also the War Powers Resolution of 1973, he cited the erosion of this authority over the years as the US has moved towards an imperial Presidency, and his plans to reassert these powers in 2010 in the next session of Congress. Doing this would require the executive branch to report to Congress pursuant to 4 a.1 of the War Powers Resolution of 1973. He then circulated a letter to members of the House.

F.B.I. Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds Gives Deposition In Ohio Election Fraud Case: Testimony Could Reverberate Through The DC Beltway

Sibel Edmonds was subpoened in the case of Schmidt v Krikorian and gave her sworn testimony Saturday at the National Whistleblowers Center at 3238 P St. NW, Washington DC. The significance of her testimony is huge given her status of being the most gagged person in the United States and the implications for many past and present in US government agencies and Congress. Leading up to the deposition, drama unfolded as it looked as if challenges from the FBI and the Department of Justice might once again silence her with the usual invocation of the “state secrets privilege”. The event was live blogged by Brad Friedman of Bradblog .

Krikorian’s press release stated the things he wanted provided in Sibel’s deposition. Krikorian told Bradblog that his legal team intended to determine answers to questions concerning whether “The Government of Turkey had illegally infiltrated and influenced various U.S. government institutions and officials, including the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and individual members of the United States Congress” according to Bradblog. During a break in the testimony, Brad Friedman said Edmonds told him by phone that she had been asked, and has answered, questions on Dan Burton (R-IN), Dennis Hastert (R-IL) (who is now a lobbyist for Turkey), and Stephen Solarz (D-NY), as well as other questions on those high-ranking officials and lobbyists in her “State Secrets Gallery.” . Krikorian told Bradblog “From my opinion, if I’m some of the current members of Congress, I’d be very very worried about the information that’s going to come out of this. There are current members of Congress that she has implicated in bribery, espionage. It’s not good. It’s crazy, it’s absolutely crazy. For people in power situations in the United States, who know about this information, if they don’t take action against it, in my opinion, it’s negligence.” According to Bradblog, [Other people implicated included] Livingston (R-TX), Hastert (R-IL), Dick Gephardt (D-MO), other non-Congressional members, people like Brent Scowcroft, other appointed members of the U.S. government.” According to Bradblog, Krikorian went on to say “Did not have very flattering things to say about former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert. … Actually, I stopped taking notes because I was o fascinated by what she was saying. … She talked about the Rand Corp., Brewster-Jennings, nuclear secrets…” Also, the testimony included Turkish American groups such as ATC, ATAA, TACA, how some tried to recruit Edmonds and also how the OIG report exonerated her regarding her discoveries as an FBI translator and her subsequent dismissal by the FBI. According to Bradblog, Edmonds said “I told them how [third-ranking State Dept. official in the Bush Admin and former Ambassador to Turkey] Marc Grossman disclosed” that Brewster Jennings was a CIA front company to the target of an FBI investigation”. Bruce Fein as counsel for Rep. Jean Schmidt R (OH) when questioned after the deposition said Krikorian “can say anything he wants can say whatever he wants about the Armenian Genocide, but what he’s not allowed to do is state lies. We don’t want to close anybody’s mouth when it comes to taking about the Armenian Genocide…What we’re trying to do is promote freedom of speech. Some versions are trying to harass individuals who are trying to dispute history.”

For Sibel Edmonds and all of us that have followed her story over the years since Ashcroft invoked the “state secrets privilege”, this all has been a long time coming. For any of you who are unfamiliar with all this, I suggest you visit her website, her organization’s website, her blog, Luke Ryland’s blog, and of course Bradblog who did yeoman’s work on Saturday. I hope to have an interview with Sibel Edmonds possibly sometime in the fall and I will post it here.