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Lawless Nation - Congress

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By Michael Collins
Part II of III (Part I)

WASHINGTON - Placed in office through legalized bribery, supported by public funding for their every need, protected against the laws that we're expected to obey, Congress represents the epitome of lawlessness; lawmakers who have no regard for the law. (Image)

Members of Congress are different. They get to retire at age 62 with lifetime pensions and health benefits. To qualify, they need just five years of service. They get free phone, mail, and other communications plus paid domestic and foreign travel. Supposedly, they're not allowed to take gifts but the list of exceptions offers plenty of room for luxurious appreciation.

The biggest gift of all - a six to seven figure job with a major corporation or lobbying firm right after retirement - is still fair game for any member. The revolving door never stops.

But supposedly Congress passes laws for the public benefit. They come to power based on contributions from their patrons, usually large donors. Then members resolutely deny that these contributions translate into legislation favorable to the donors. If pressed, member's state that the contributions merely buy access not votes.

In fact, members routinely vote the interests of their largest patrons. Thus, the contributions are a form of legalized bribery ("a favor or promise given to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust.").

The financial industry contributed hundreds of millions to current members. When Wall Street was about to fail in late 2008, they called in their markers and got an immediate bailout of $700 billion and "total potential Federal Government support (that) could reach up to $23.7 trillion" from the Federal Reserve and other government sources. This was in the midst of the 2008 federal election cycle when members solicited funds from the very people they bailed out.

Would this have happened without years of contributions by the financial industry?

What other incentives were involved that were not revealed?

The people face a health care crisis of epic proportions, losing insurance, under coverage for life threatening conditions. They have to delay or cease medication due to ever rising costs. Health care is unaffordable to many.

Congress addressed the problem much like they did the financial crisis. A bill was passed that left health insurance companies at the center of health care taking a handsome profit for doing little to nothing. Prior to passage of the health bill, the insurers raised rates shamelessly and did so again after the legislation was enacted, using the very health reform passed for the people to gouge the people for more money.

In the midst of total unemployment at about 20%, with the poverty on the rise, what has Congress done? The vast majority of citizens get little or not attention while those who cause the financial meltdown are handsomely rewarded. Members of Congress fret that they simply can't get the votes to help the people. But we know different.

It's planned failure that serves their wealthy donors. That's not a system of laws. It's an oligarchy with a strong dose of kleptocracy.

Congress routinely ignores the Constitution. Article I outlines "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress." Section 8 of the article lists this power: "To declare War." When presidents make war without congressional authorization, Congress passes legislation that negates its war making powers in order to legitimize the illegal act by the executive branch.

These wars are funded by Congress even when a war was found to be based on lies, as was the case in Iraq. Congress continues to fund the efforts claiming it is necessary to protect the troops. They fail to acknowledge that the absence of illegal wars harmful to the nation is the best troop protection available.

With the illegal wars underway, Congress passes legislation to address the problems created by the illegal wars in the name of national security. As they do this, the real issues of national security, the legal rights of citizens and the economic well being of the nation, are violated or ignored.

A key function of Congress is oversight and investigation. When the nation was attacked on 9/11, the hapless response by the executive branch was on full display. A 2002 House - Senate Joint Committee detailed the extensive government knowledge of the emerging plot over years without effective executive action to stop it. Nothing came of the report. It is as though it never occurred.

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Without the assistance of official Federal, State ... by Blaine Kinsey on Thursday, Oct 7, 2010 at 9:43:37 AM
There's a long tradition of election fraud in this... by Michael Collins on Friday, Oct 8, 2010 at 12:36:18 AM
Michael, my previous comment was in response to th... by Blaine Kinsey on Thursday, Oct 7, 2010 at 9:52:49 AM
It was a good one. ... by Michael Collins on Friday, Oct 8, 2010 at 12:37:32 AM
we have to start from stratch. All offices must b... by Michael Morris on Thursday, Oct 7, 2010 at 10:52:33 AM
... in which Dr. King called "the arc of the moral... by Michael Collins on Friday, Oct 8, 2010 at 12:39:26 AM
unless the people take back control in one swift m... by Michael Morris on Friday, Oct 8, 2010 at 6:04:31 AM
would be a more apt title, Mr. Collins. I dare say... by John Shriver on Thursday, Oct 7, 2010 at 11:51:25 AM
You must be joking!If voting would truly make any ... by Vaikunthanath Kaviraj on Thursday, Oct 7, 2010 at 12:32:02 PM
That's the problem. The contract that I appended ... by Michael Collins on Friday, Oct 8, 2010 at 12:46:53 AM
It is good to see this here on op-ed... by Michael Olympia on Thursday, Oct 7, 2010 at 12:49:33 PM
OEN doesn't shy away from featuring work that ques... by Michael Collins on Friday, Oct 8, 2010 at 12:48:45 AM
Incisive and penetrating article that gets to the ... by Henry Pelifian on Thursday, Oct 7, 2010 at 1:38:05 PM
You are right on target: "Ethics and honesty are l... by Michael Collins on Friday, Oct 8, 2010 at 12:51:27 AM
The man who best reflects the intent of the foundi... by Arthur Avalon on Thursday, Oct 7, 2010 at 2:48:27 PM
Thanks!!!!!!!!!... by Michael Collins on Friday, Oct 8, 2010 at 12:54:45 AM
What is happening has happened so many times in hu... by Donald on Thursday, Oct 7, 2010 at 3:47:15 PM
Internet Voting can stop the Legalized Bribery by ... by William J. Kelleher, Ph.D. on Thursday, Oct 7, 2010 at 6:00:33 PM
This is the way it should happen now.The recent CN... by Michael Morris on Thursday, Oct 7, 2010 at 6:14:42 PM
This suggested risk of candidates controlling vote... by William J. Kelleher, Ph.D. on Thursday, Oct 7, 2010 at 6:28:27 PM
and they do control the votes. Re-districting is ... by Michael Morris on Friday, Oct 8, 2010 at 6:21:57 AM
Sorry about my misreading of your statement.I am g... by William J. Kelleher, Ph.D. on Friday, Oct 8, 2010 at 5:00:59 PM
it should be a national vote on the ballet by 2012... by Michael Morris on Friday, Oct 8, 2010 at 8:22:32 PM
I mean, with so many OpEdNews articles on Diebold,... by Taylor on Friday, Oct 8, 2010 at 9:29:45 AM
It actually looks like he will be siding with home... by Michael Shaw on Thursday, Oct 7, 2010 at 10:46:24 PM
...deserves a shout out too, although we'll not li... by Michael Collins on Friday, Oct 8, 2010 at 12:59:42 AM
I think it was Elizabeth Warren! We may never know... by Michael Shaw on Friday, Oct 8, 2010 at 11:28:08 AM
I read a webmaster's response on the website "What... by Taylor on Friday, Oct 8, 2010 at 9:42:06 AM
investigating and prosecuting these lenders and th... by Michael Shaw on Friday, Oct 8, 2010 at 11:38:19 AM
And it is unfortunate, because Obama has what it t... by cosmic J. on Sunday, Oct 10, 2010 at 10:03:05 AM
But rather than the politics of politicking I imag... by Michael Shaw on Sunday, Oct 10, 2010 at 10:53:44 AM
meant Cosmic J sorry!... by Michael Shaw on Sunday, Oct 10, 2010 at 11:06:54 AM
old song: "Our leaders are the finest men.And we e... by msedano on Friday, Oct 8, 2010 at 9:01:57 AM
Deserves a Pink Slip Vacation.Seriously.There shou... by Taylor on Friday, Oct 8, 2010 at 9:50:57 AM
The song quoted is "What Did You Learn in School T... by Perry Logan on Friday, Oct 8, 2010 at 11:06:34 AM
Its time for Direct Democracy. Then We The People ... by Daniel Penisten on Friday, Oct 8, 2010 at 7:53:30 PM