Hotwire Congress

The more you do of what you’re doing, the more you get of what you’ve got!

Fed up with Congressional leaders bribing each other using the quality of life for Americans as their ransom?  It seems that they do this now about every 90-120 days on average and I’m tired of holding my breath.  Hopefully the Tea Party movement can influence new politicians to bury “politics as usual”.  That’s a distrustful phrase that I have heard uttered for 50 years (I’m a youngin) and I hope we can do something to change the atmosphere on capitol hill.

The great American patriot Benjamin Franklin was asked, upon his emergence from the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, what form of government the United States was going to have. Franklin answered succinctly, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Political Apathy is proving to be the downfall of a great nation.  When approximately 45% of the eligible voters of this country fail to cast a vote, what would you call it?  It’s almost comparable to a term called the “unconscious incompetent” – they “don’t know and don’t know that they don’t know” the consequences of what their personal shirking of their responsibilities are doing to our country.  Most people that don’t vote, do so out of their inability to understand what is going on around them.  This apathy also happens because of a overall mistrust in elected officials.  They really feel as though their vote will not matter so why bother.  Just as important as anything, better education of our generations to come is needed.  I would suggest that school courses in Citizenship and Constitutional Law be as required for graduation as Math or English.  Our citizens need to understand that it matters and feel compelled to vote and take a active part in the direction our nation is headed.

In this day and age of computers, we no longer need to be stuck in 18th century models of how to communicate with our government officials.  For those that would say telephone calls, email and snail mail are working, I say look at what you presently have.  Did those methods produce any viable results?  You don’t know for a fact that either form of mail was ever read by your elected official.  How many times did you call and speak directly with your senator?  Hundreds of people write their officials every day and never even get a reply or if they do it is a form letter that barely comes close to addressing the subject of the letter.  Elections held every two and four years are acceptable, however why should we only communicate our acceptance or displeasure through a state or national election in that time frame?

Through todays technology, voting can be done daily and prior to some elected politician making a back room deal that very few constituents agree with.  I can not believe that a fair system of voting (daily if necessary) by computer can not be realized.  Fox News and CNN as well as other internet sites ask for by computer vote, what we think of different legislation every week.  Obviously the people in our nations capitol do not get the results.  We can do this and we must, lest we continue to live with non agreeable voting by power hungry and greedy politicians.

In seeking a better tomorrow we must start by admitting the truth, that the economic policies we have adopted have failed.  We took down our industrial production, shutting down our productive base, and putting our skilled workforce out on the street. We outsourced that production to the cheapest labor we could find. We turned the most productive workforce in the world into paper-pushers, retail clerks, burger flippers, and worse. We adopted the view that paying people a decent wage was something we could not afford to do, when in truth it is something we can not afford NOT to do, if we are survive. We deregulated our banking system, giving the most crooked among us the advantage over honest citizens. Worst of all, we adopted the view that people are cattle, to be herded and culled, turning our back on Franklin’s view that it is the people, with their creativity, and willingness to work together for the betterment of all, that is our true source of strength.

Americans need to take a better look at who’s minding the store!  Let’s really look at the senate and congress. We have people who have compromised their ethics. The first thing they do is line their pockets with taxpayer money.  Let’s do something to bring these people back into reality.

Concerning their salaries, set a limit, $100,000.00 per year to start and the same COLA they offer to Soc. Sec. recipients.

No medical benefits, outside of what is authorized for military veterans.  If VA benefits are cut, then so are the benefits they receive.

Retirement benefits equivalent to a 20 year Staff Sergeant should suffice.

Pay raises should be determined by the citizens of the state in which they legally represent.

Term Limits = More power for the parties, fewer independent politicians.  If we limit the term of a single person we dramatically increase the power of the political parties.  Any chance of having an independent thought will evaporate because politicians looking for their next job (state senate – congress – senate – governor) will be totally dependent and reliant on their party to move up.  People will vote “Democratic” or “Republican” rather than for a good person. We can limit their terms by paying attention and using the power of the polls with our “you’re fired” votes.

On Foreign Aid and our government spending our taxpayer money, I believe that any money we send to any foreign nation must be voted upon by the citizens of this country to allow or disallow the expenditure.

Partisanship really has ruined the Senate. Too many grandstanders who will not sit down to an honest discussion with colleagues and opponents. The filibuster was meant to be an extreme measure, used sparingly, not an everyday function to grind the Senate to a halt. The Senate needs to act like grown-ups. They don’t.  Both parties have these leaders.  It’s time for the people to stand up and say, enough!

Stand Alone Bills should be the only bills that are voted upon.  If pending bills have to be grouped together into one large bill to save time, it is clearly stating that Congress takes to much time off work.  They should be spending 40 to 60+ hours working 50 weeks per year.  Senators bribing one another to support a bill should be a crime dealt with by impeachment and imprisonment.  A situation in which we are now embroiled whereby the Republicans will not block a vote on the unemployment extension bill if the Democrats will not block extending tax cuts is an example of pitiful legislation.  There is an easy fix – or as those elected to office like to say reform – to the legislative process so that pork is reduced, spending is managed, transparency is afforded and accountability is paramount: demanding that Congress enact rules in both houses that would mandate each legislative item be voted on separately; as stand-alone, singular pieces of legislation.

After what Sen. John Kerry said on the floor of the Senate the other day: “Reading the Bill?, Why should the bill be read by the clerk? It will take hours and waste everyone’s time, when they could be working!” Amazing stuff – what comes out of a senators mouth, that in retrospect – is exactly what he and the rest of the Democrats think and do. John Podestra’s think tank will do their (the legislators) thinking for them, by having bills “pre-printed” and ready to go – then just a rubber stamp vote in either house and away we go to the Presidents Desk for signing. No reading! No debate! Just “Vote-n-go” – so “We” can get “a bunch done” regardless of the unintended consequences, or impact upon the electorate. Just “get-er-done” – because we have more important things to do! (Such as getting down to Rhode Island to the ship yard to check on how the repairs and refurbishing of “Mr. Heinz’s” boat is going!

Of course these are not the only areas that need revamping but they do represent a good starting point!

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