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This pathetic U.S. Congress

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Message Michael Payne

This pathetic U.S. Congress

Since the Democratic Party assumed majority control in 2006, this Congress and the Democratic leadership has had a brilliant opportunity to lead this nation, to restore its credibility and reverse the damaging direction that Bush & Co. had created. But this craven, pathetic Congress has not risen to the occasion and has not seized the moment. Rather, it has turned out to be a colossal failure during one of the most critical periods in the history of America.

This failure to govern in the best interests of the American people must be laid upon the members of both sides of the aisle. Starting with the GOP House and Senate members, by now everyone knows that they have literally sold their souls to march in lock-step with the many illegal and immoral actions that this Bush administration has taken. Is there any form of American patriot on the GOP side of this Congress? Not even the remotest chance. The American electorate can never forgive them but, at least, their failure to represent America is not difficult to understand. For they have been programmed to be obedient non-thinkers and they are just doing their job.

What is not understandable, and is plain incomprehensible, is the behavior and actions by the Democratic Party and, particularly its leadership. When Democrats came into power in 2006, I and the majority of Americans were overjoyed and we were waiting for great things to happen – but they simply did not happen and it is now clear that the Democratic leadership has no intention of following the mandate that the American people gave them when they voted for a complete change in direction. For reasons that millions of Americans cannot begin to comprehend, the Democratic leaders seem to have adopted an agenda that is passive, submissive and, yes, complicit in the furtherance of the Bush agenda. At almost every instance of critical confrontation they have capitulated and even collaborated with Bush and his colleagues.

Think not? Let's prove my premise by a short history of the conduct of the leaders of the House and the Senate, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, respectively. Upon taking charge of the House, Pelosi quickly took impeachment "off the table". She completely muzzled the potential actions by John Conyers to begin impeachment proceedings. House Reps. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and Robert Wexler of Florida, two developing patriots, are fighting hard to initiate impeachment or hearings to review the evidence, but so far to no avail. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, the Blue Dog Democrats and many other House Democrats show no inclination or have any stomach to pursue this critical issue of impeachment.

The Senate has shown about the same lack of energy and conviction to change America's course, mostly carrying on business as usual. Harry Reid, a man who has enormous power apparently can't yet figure out how to use it for the good of America. He has said time and time again that Bush will not be given a blank check for further funding of the Iraq War without a timetable. But every time that the issue comes up, he not only gives Bush a check but actually gives him the exact amount or even more than has been requested. As Senate leader he has the power to bring or not bring legislation to the floor but even when legislation clearly detrimental to America's future is put before him he caves in, folds his tent and sends the legislation to the floor. Here, I'm speaking of the FISA bill.

The FISA bill, officially named the Protect America Act, is just one more shining example of what the Bush administration is once again ramming through Congress, right under the noses of the Democratic leadership. The latest version, that once again grants retroactive immunity to the telecom companies, passed the House by an overwhelming 293-129 margin. Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, the Blue Dog Democrats and many other Democrats willingly gave Bush exactly what he wanted. Why did Pelosi not fight this legislation and why did she actually help to pass it? Think about that for a while.

A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate where Russ Feingold, Chris Dodd and a few others are threatening a filibuster. While it has been temporarily tabled, does anyone want to place a bet that it will not follow the same basic script played out in the House? So far, Barack Obama who could really show that he is the leader of the party by rallying the troops to oppose it, has not chosen to step up to the plate. Is there some kind of virus or other illness that attacks the courage of every Democratic leader when they are faced with the prospect of standing up to the terrifying presence of the Bush administration?

The conduct and performance of the Democratic Party and their leadership could be debated without end. It is truly mystifying, incomprehensible, yet extremely sad and, to say the least, it should truly scare Americans as they contemplate what the future might hold. The more that I think about it and what may be behind it, about the only conclusion that I can draw is that these "representatives of America" are now so addicted to the favors and money that lobbyists and special interest groups feed them, that they cannot break themselves free of this deadly vise-grip. What else could it be that results in this Congress simply refusing to follow the mandate given them by the American electorate?

It's amazing just how naïve and totally trusting of the Bush administration this Congress has been. They were not properly vigilant in 2002 when this administration used smoke and mirrors, tricks and lies to simply bypass them to bring shock and awe upon Iraq. Congress apparently learned nothing from this trickery as chapter 2 of the expansion of power over the entire Middle East is even now being prepared right before their eyes. Articles abound, even in the corporate media, of the intense desires of Bush and Israel to launch an attack upon Iran due to the "threat" posed by Iranian plans to develop nuclear weapons. Should we call them WMD's?

Congress knows this, sees this just as you and I can. But are there any alarm bells going off in the Congress with the dire warning that a second pre-emptive attack on a nation in the Middle East might be imminent? Don't the leaders in Congress connect all the ominous signs looming on the horizon to understand that they should act now so that the second coming of shock and awe cannot be allowed to happen? Has there been any hearing of any kind on the matter to discuss it at length, to determine just how serious this situation might be, and then steps taken to prevent such an action from taking place without the approval of Congress? That is exactly what they should be doing, that is the responsibility of the leadership, but they are apparently doing nothing and basically ignoring this serious threat.

And not only has this Congress failed to initiate any hearings or do anything to try to throw a roadblock into any Bush attempt to attack Iran, but they seem to have taken the completely opposite position – is this inept, controlled group of facilitators now paving the way for another escalation of this War on the Middle East? I am speaking of House Resolution 362 which calls on the president " to impose severe restrictions on all shipments of refined petroleum products from reaching Iran, additional restrictions on movements of persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains and cargo entering or departing Iran". Middle East experts say that this would effectively require a US blockade of the Strait of Hormuz. Those same experts say that this blockade would amount to an act of war. Amazingly, in the Senate, a sister resolution S.RES 580 has been introduced and will be brought up for vote in the very near future.

What in the world is going on here? This entire movement to begin a process of actions leading to a blockade and the potential to ignite a Middle East war is being promoted by AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israel lobby that is pushing for the rapid endorsement of the bills. Since the government of Israel seems to be hell-bent on attacking Iran in the very near future, things now become more clear. But why the US Congress would so easily condescend to the pressures of this special interest group is more than baffling, considering the fact that this legislation could provide the Bush administration with a mandate for yet another pre-emptive attack on a Middle Eastern nation?

There is a stench emanating from this Congress that is becoming unbearable. Americans have no faith or trust in this body of facilitators that is letting our Constitution be shredded and totally ignored. There is something going on behind the scenes that reeks of secrecy and collusion but at this point the cover cannot be penetrated. Some journalists such as the esteemed Seymour Hersh are trying hard to put the spotlight on what may be happening. In his article, "Preparing the Battlefield" in the July 7 New Yorker magazine he states that the Democratic leadership in Congress agreed to commit hundreds of millions of dollars to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran. This, if it were fact, would be clear proof of congressional complicity in matters that could lead to war.

Where America will or can go from here is uncertain. We as a nation have dug ourselves into a massive hole, literally an American black hole. And it seems that, under the leadership of this totally inept, corporate-controlled Congress, we are in the process of digging in a never-ending spiral downward. There is something terribly, terribly wrong going on in this Congress and, at this point in time, we do not have the means to reverse it.

Barack Obama, the proclaimed agent of change, if he is elected President of the U.S. in November, will inherit the majority of the current members of Congress. I support Obama and hope that he becomes our next president. But from the actions and inactions that I have repeatedly seen coming out of this Congress, I believe that he will have to be some sort of ultra-magician to bring about the change that America must have, given the fact that this pathetic body of politicians will be one of his chief means of governing.

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