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The Culture Of Influence

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Message Larry Sakin
It's incredible! For the first time since George W. Bush became Commander in Chief, Congress is actually standing up to him over a matter of constitutional law. Did they censure the president over illegal wiretaps on American citizen's phones? Did they draw up Articles of Impeachment over his secret NSA phone records plan? Oh, my no. What has Congress in a flurry is a perceived breach of the separation of powers inherent in the Articles, when the Justice Department raided a Congressman's office.

Congress slept while the president grabbed more power for the Executive Branch and abrogated citizen's rights, but now that their privacy has been invaded, our truly patriotic and faithful representatives have awakened to fight to keep their turf to themselves. So let's see if I've got this straight: step on the rights of people who we're supposed to represent; fine. Step on our rights, and you'll have hell to pay. f*cking brilliant! Apparently, a compromise has been reached between the legislative and executive branches regarding this issue. President Bush has ordered that any records taken from Congressman William Jefferson's office be sealed for forty-five days until the legalities of the seizure can be figured out.

Tell me, who do we see to strike a compromise about the seizure of our private records? What agency exists to make sure the Justice Department, the NSA, and Defense Department are careful not to use our records against us? Just recently, a Veterans Affairs employee took a laptop with millions of records of veterans, including their names, addresses and social security numbers on it, and the laptop was stolen from the employee's home. Who do these veterans see about that?

The fact is many in Congress are upset by these events because they have something to hide. They don't want federal prosecutors to know just how deeply immersed Congress is in "pay to play" legislation, the kind practiced by Congressman Bob Ney, former Congressman Tom DeLay, Congressman Jerry Lewis and the aforementioned Jefferson. Gosh, if the people found out how corrupt Congress really is, they'd vote incumbents asses out of office. And Congress is asserting a great amount of pressure upon the president to make sure that won't happen.

On the other hand where the general public is concerned, our records are just grist for the mill. We're supposed to be scared that terrorists are walking among us. Who knows? We could all be conspiring with Muslims, atheists, humanists and God forbid, liberals to upset the balance of powers in Washington, and our elected officials certainly can't have that!

I'll tell you something. The real terrorists in this country aren't named Osama or Zacharias, they aren't Muslim extremists and they don't hijack airliners. The real American terrorists are our leaders themselves, hijacking the rights of individuals, creating alliances with corporations to extract more out of our wallets, and diminishing our power to do anything about it. Our current Executive and Legislative branches have done a hell of a lot more damage to this country than any potential shoe-bomber or Muslim gang member could ever hope to. And worse than any violent extremist, our leaders take umbrage when the harsh light of scrutiny is on them, claiming all kinds of Constitutional privilege.

Enough! The time has come to clean house and get rid of every last one of them from the President of the United States to the Congressional Sergeant-At-Arms. After that, we need to change the laws so politicians no longer need to be in the pockets of corporations to retain their incumbencies. In order to end the Culture of Corruption, we first need to end the Culture of Influence.
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Larry Sakin is a former non-profit medical organization executive and music producer. His writing can be found on Mytown.ca, Blogcritics, OpEd News, The People's Voice, Craig's List and The Progressive magazine. He also advocates for literacy and (more...)
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