How does Congress work? The Majority party runs everything. For those people who insist there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans, bear in mind the majority party selects the committee Chairs, who select which issues come up in their committees and which do not. Further, the majority party elects the Speaker of the House and the Leader of the Senate who choose which issues come before the entire body, and which are suppressed.
What issues have been suppressed you may ask. The list is long, but for example:
Despite the fact that there has been irrefutable proof that this war has been privatized giving companies like Halliburton the opportunity to steal billions that should have gone to feed, clothe and protect our troops, and billions more to fix the infrastructure of the ravaged Iraq, an investigation of this thievery has not come up before the House or the Senate. Why hasn't it? Because the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, and Leader of the Senate, Bill Frist are Republicans, and as leaders of the majority party they control the agenda.
Dennis Kucinich showed disturbing evidence that the Congress was given false facts about Iran's nuclear capablilities, facts which head of Intelligence, John Negroponte, signed off on. Why did this outrageous lie not come up for investigation before the House as demanded by Kucinch? Once again, because the Republicans are the majority party and they pick the Speaker of the House. Together they tremble at the feet of Bush and Cheney who don't want their lies challenged. Iran is to become Iraq revisited. Congress has been warned; don't mess with that.
In his book HOW BUSH RULES, Sidney Blumenthal points out:
"On any matter that might cause irritation to the White House, hearings are quashed. The intelligence committees and the House Armed Service Com have covered up administration malfeasance. The Senate Intelligence Com skewed and distorted its report on intelligence leading up to the Iraq war to acquit the administration of responsibility and it refused to conduct a promised investigation into administration political pressures on the intelligence Committee."
This is why, despite the numerous plans submitted to withdraw our troops from Iraq so few have come to the floor of Congress. It is why the Military Commissions Bill, which endorses torture while destroying a suspect's right to a court hearing, got passed so easily in Congress (254 Republicans to 177 Democrats). Bush ordered it. The trembling majority gave it to him.
The 109th Congress has accomplished nothing except the funding of a gothic, unnecessary war, the shredding of our Constitution and the ordering of an idiotic fence at the Mexican border that will do nothing to stop illegal immigration, but is sure to make an enemy of one of our few remaining friends.
Mel Brooks said: It's good to be the king, and we believe George W. Bush would agree. Of course those who want the Republicans to continue to control all issues that come before the committees and both houses of Congress, those who pofit from the war, those who believe social programs and government itself are more efficient when privatized, those those who think it's good to have a king, will vote to have the Republicans back.
But those of us who want to save our country recognize that we cannot do it unless we change the majority. This is not to say that every Democrat who's running for office is a day at the beach. We know how uneven that party is. But realistically every Republican elected, no matter how small the office, no matter how pleasing the personality, adds muscle to the plutocracy the Bush cult is seeking. The 110th Congress may decide whether we are governed by our Constitution or by martial law.
Nov 7th is election day. Be there!
Lila Garrett is an Emmy Award winning writer and host of KPFK Pacifica Radio's popular political talk show, "Connect The Dots," which airs on 90.7 FM in Los Angeles.