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Posts Tagged ‘seventeenth amendment’


The following is an excerpt from the book-blog “U.S. Constitution: “Sine Die“.  It sets up what is now actually happening.  The list of executive branch regulations is growing exponentially and is heaping great cost on the fragile U.S. economy at a time when we need less regulation and lower cost to survive.

“Congress Abdicates Its Lawmaking Power”

In 1913, the progressive socialists destroyed the vertical checks and balance between the States and the federal government, with the seventeenth amendment.  Just as in 1913 with the action against the States, today, a critical milestone on the path to a socialist government and economy for the progressives was to destroy the horizontal checks and balance and the separation of powers among the branches of the federal government.  This has clearly picked up pace in the last eighteen months, with the progressive socialists chairing just about every committee in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.  With the extreme progressive socialist leadership of Nancy Pelosi in the House and Harry Reed in the Senate, the progressives enabled the passage of two major bills with no one given time to read the bills – yet like lemmings fellow progressives and liberals voted for; a health care bill; and a financial regulation bill.  Neither bill was truly about health care or financial regulation.  These bills were all about progressives taking over the economy and collapsing the separation of powers in the federal government.

These bills, combined, create numerous new federal agencies and thousands of rules to be written by executive branch and independent agency bureaucrats appointed by the Executive Branch – not by Congress.  Bureaucrat written rules will now carry the force of law.  These new and existing executive branch and independent agencies are empowered to write unchecked regulations – they have been empowered to write a massive amount of invasive law.  Essentially the progressives in Congress just transferred, by law, their Constitutional legislative authority to the Executive Branch and to independent agencies, like the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, also known as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  The Executive Branch and independent agencies now have the capability of writing law unchecked by your elected representatives and to selectively enforce existing law to control the future of this nation.

The horizontal balance brought about by the separation of powers and the checks and balances among the branches of the federal government are gone.  The vertical check on the federal government by the States is gone.  The executive branch and the CFPB are now able to control all aspects of our financial transactions, capital markets, and our health.  They will grow more powerful in 2012 as they write more new law.  The President and his appointee at the CFPB can now actually penalize one or more businesses or industries and even seize companies it considers a threat to our economy, without due process.  Where is the freedom from seizure found in the Bill of Rights?  As the new central government grows, our individual liberty will continue to shrivel until it is gone.

The progressives will now pick up the pace on their march to move us to failed socialism for the sake of power and world wealth redistribution.  The executive branch can and will engineer events that will continue to move our economy to total collapse and thus with a groundswell of despair from suffering citizens, the public will readily accept a totalitarian government’s help and an abandonment of what remains of the Constitution.  This will be the end game of the progressives and it is around the corner.  History repeats itself and if you look at how totalitarian government comes into power, you will find that it is by promising suffering citizens a bright future – “if you will just follow us”.  First, however, the progressives need to create the suffering and this is well underway.  Our economy is at a crossroads – continue the Obama and friends progressive socialist prescription, and they will have achieved this goal of extreme suffering.   Shall we rename this once great nation “The National Socialists of America” or “The EBCG of America” – “The Executive Branch Central Government of America”?-

It the last few months the Obama administration has enacted regulations:

  • severely limiting oil drilling in this country,
  • knocking on the door to impose a version of “Card Check”,
  • allowing an expansion of the use and volume of ethanol in a gallon of gas, despite its disruption of the food supply, increasing food prices, and being deterious to the engines it powers,
  • using the EPA to further regulate the biomass industry and requiring expensive controls on power company and industry emissions, raising energy costs when this country needs to seek cheaper energy to restart our manufacturing base,
  • adding to consumer product safety, and ear safety regulation and cost,
  • reinterpreting the laws on illegal immigration to minimize deportation on non-criminal illegal immigrants,
  • implementing “Net Neutrality” is the first step of taking over the internet,
  • opening up the opportunities for trial lawyers to sue the meat and the poultry industries, again adding to prices,
  • providing tax breaks for trial attorneys,
  • and instituting onerous and costly heavy truck fuel economy standards.

(Source: The American Spectator, December 2011/January 2011, pages 23 through 25)

So many of these federal regulations have been enacted over the overt objections of Congress, it is safe to say that we have lost our federal republic form of government.  We have gone from limited power with the states still in charge to unlimited power centered in the executive branch with a feckless Congress and powerless states.  This must change or we are doomed to a new form of government, with central planning at the executive branch, a continued weak economy, people dependent on the state, and loss of individual freedom in the free market: Socialism.

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At the founding of our country, we had thirteen sovereign states come together and create a new federal government.  These sovereign states were desirous of building a common defense, improving trade amongs themselves and with foreign nations.  The states held that a representative form of government was needed and that a House of Representatives, similar to the lower or “people’s” house of England, the House of Commons, was needed to ensure that the peoples wishes were heard at the new federal level.

However, these states wished to only cede limited power to this federal government.  They knew that a local form of government was best for local issues and that the federal government was only necessary to handle the larger defense and international issues.   These states knew that they would be sharing power with the people under this new federal arrangement.  The intent was for both the people and the states to remain masters of the new federal government.

To accomplish this new limited power arrangement, the founders, representing the states, created a senate.  Under this arrangement the senators would be elected to their federal senate position by the legislatures of the “states united” for a six year period.  The founders placed some key controls in the new constitution to insure that the federal government could not usurp the states and take on un-ceded power, which could and would make the states subordinate to the federal government.

The new senate was given the sole right to try all impeachments, approve treaties, and approve the appointment of ambassadors, public ministers, and consuls (counselors to the president), Supreme Court and inferior court appointments, and officers of the federal government, all with a two thirds approval.

This new senate was specifically provided these controls over the federal government to ensure that the power ceded to the federal government remained limited.  Beyond these specific controls over the president and the federal government, the founders knew that having senators appointed by and representing the respective states would insure that the federal government answered to the states and would remain subservient to these states.

For added measure the founders, more correctly the early Congress and the States, added an amendment in the Bill of Rights.  Number ten states: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

This power sharing arrangement worked very well from 1787 through 1912 – 126 years.  It was not until a populist progressive movement got a headwind from the Hearst newspapers around the country that a push for the people to directly elect their senators became a seemingly correct thing to do in a democracy.  Remember, we are a republic and that Randolph Hearst and the progressives stirred up public opinion to believe that there was no reason why in a democracy the people should not directly elect the senate.

The real motive was to have the Hearst publications, at that time found in most states, drive public opinion to select Senators suitable to Randolph Hearst and the progressives – the goal was to enlarge the federal government and to remove the necessary control of the states.

The seventeenth amendment was ratified in 1913, thus ending the careful plans of the founders to ensure balance between the states and the federal government through power sharing.  Today, Senators are subject to the will and money of lobbyists, rather than the will of their state.  Some Senators have created a power base so strong that they have been in office for more than forty years.

If you really want to take back your government, then you must repeal this ill advised amendment, stampeded through ratification by, Big Government Progressives (read “What The Progressives Want”) holding public office at that time and most importantly by the highly influential Randolph Hearst and his powerful national dailies.

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Of the people, by the people, and for the people – apparently not!  When you look at the polls and look behind them you see an electorate (democrat, republican, libertarian, etc.) that is in such discontent, even spitting angry, over the politics and governance of this country.  Neither major party is held in high regard as both parties have placed party and special interests above country.

Look inside the Democratic Party, and you will find two very distinct parties.  The party has old line democrats who have not yet realized that their party has been taken over by left wing radicals – well there are so many “radicals” that perhaps we cannot call them radicals any longer.  Radical thinking is no longer radical when the number of proponents reaches a critical mass, and it has.  It is a movement of such strength that it can topple our Republic.

These radicals are the socialist, wealth, and health care re-distribution advocates.  Their climate change philosophy is centered on America literally paying monetary tribute to the less developed nations of the world. They claim we owe these underdeveloped nations our wealth since we have been successful and have destroyed the atmosphere with carbon dioxide –stuff plants and trees love.  This is the core driver of this crisis of climate change or global warming.

If we were to institute all the changes the climate change supporters want, we would see worldwide abject poverty grow and widespread food shortages.  The result will be that we will only affect man made climate change by about 1% in the next 100 years.  (This statement can be supported by many prominent scientists and economists, but this writing is not the place for this debate.  If you must digress into this argument then view John Stossel’s information on the topic or do your own research.) As we have recently seen with the exposed emails of leading climate change scientists, Jones (the UN’s key scientist for the IPCC) and Mann, among others, climate change is certainly not settled science and their manipulation of the data findings, destruction of the raw data, and their overt attempt to squelch professional, educated dissent makes this a political wealth distribution gambit and not science.

Climate change is a well disguised and well planned assault on our Republic and the free market system.  The current populist movement is fermented by those who seek national wealth redistribution and to expunge capitalism, because capitalism is supposedly a detriment to the people of the world.  This is also driven by these former radicals, now just far left believers.  Our President and many in Congress are drivers of this movement.

Capitalism is not the problem. The problem facing our Republic is the marriage of government and big business that enhances the corporate profit motive – largess for the elites at all cost is the result of this unholy alliance.  The relationship between our federal government and Goldman Sachs is almost incestuous.  The number of government officials in and around the White House and Treasury, who were Goldman Sachs executives, is staggering   – true under both the Obama and Bush administrations.  Why has our government become wed to these corporations?

For the government, mostly made up of democrats, this means that small business enterprise can be squeezed out and unions supporting the democrats will prosper.  Unions do not do well when small business creates 70 plus percent of the jobs in this country.  When the government eliminates small business as a major jobs grower, the government will grow, foster more pro democrat union memberships, and the democrats will have a built in support system to simply stay in power.  Take a look at the government payrolls.  The salaries of government workers average nearly double those of the private sector.  Remember this is tax payer money being paid in large grants to those who economically produce nothing for the country.  The nature of government work is to manage government and not to produce goods and services.

For corporations this means government capital availability and big profits.  This also means special interests rule Congress and no longer is “What is good for the nation” the top agenda item.   “What is good for the small echelon of corporate elites” moves to the top of the Congressional legislative calendar.  This means that Congress no longer represents the people – can we say it is official now?– that the goal of Congress is to make more than half the nation beholden to the Democratic Party and to raise money from the corporate elites.  We are seeing a government coup occur center stage as we look on.  The Congress through the last stimulus bill, omnibus bill, and now the health care bills has written enough empowerment to bureaucratic regulators and entitlements for the tax takers of America that what has been done, might never be undone.  Government bureaucrats continue to be given the ability to make law, without Congress’ approval and the requisite signature of the President.  Entitlements are targeted to those who pay little or no taxes, but have a vote.  Current decisions by our government, mostly against the growth of small business, are focused on keeping the number of tax takers at a voting majority level and yes, keeping them beholden to the Democrats.

By now you are thinking this writer is just bashing the Democrats.  Well, it is the Republican’s turn.  Two Congresses ago, the Republicans attempted the same un-American plan that the Democrats are carrying out with perfection, they just did not know how to do it well.  Look through the ranks of the Republican Party leadership and you will find a host of Congressman and Senators who also regularly put party ahead of country.  The problem is that too many Republicans are dependent on democrat voters and special interest money – they may wear different uniforms in the Congress, but they sell their souls to the same devil.  No longer is it “Damn Yankee!” – it’s now “Damn American!”  The powerful moneyed special interests are Lola and “What Lola wants Lola gets.”  Climate change just serves to make them richer.

How did we get here?  Well the Constitution has and had a number of protections against this coup that is taking place, but sadly some powers are lost and new ones need to be enacted.  First, the states, you know, those sovereign powers that created the United States Government in 1787 and actually super cede the Federal Government under the Constitution in Article 1, Section 8 and the Tenth Amendment, need to push for a repeal of the 17th amendment.

The Founders looking for a way for the states to control a centralized Federal Government created a control rod for the states, called the Senate.  Senators were appointed by the states’ legislatures and not directly elected by the people.  This made the Senators accountable only to the states’ legislatures and governors.  The states, via the Senate, were given the power to provide advice and consent on appointees, including judicial, and to ratify treaties with two thirds of the Senate voting in the affirmative.  Most importantly, the states through the Senate were given the power to keep the House of Representatives in check and continue the rights which their sovereignty brought them.

The 17th amendment removed the Senate as an arm of the states in 1913.  This was a crucial mistake by the Congress and the states ratifying the amendment.  Senators were now subject to the money and power of specials interests, instead of the one special interest they represented – their state.

What if this “angry electorate” votes out the incumbents?  Will this change the special interests’ impact?  Will the elite corporate echelon disappear? No! They will just have new meat to work with, new people to make rich.  Members of Congress have learned that entry into the club of representative government means that they can retire rich, give us our own money to buy votes, and provide for a cushy retirement and a wonderful lifetime medical plan.

Unless and until we successfully remove the money and largess of riches bestowed on our lawmakers nothing will change.  We are told that term limits already exist – called voting for the other guy.  Well, sitting Representatives have the decked stacked in campaign contributions and in name recognition, so that they are returned to Congress over 90% of the time.  Does this sound like to you what the Founders intended for the “People’s House”?

Our Republic founded in 1787 , with its “People’s House” and its upper house, the Senate, formerly representing the states, is in serious danger of morphing into what it was never intended to be, an inefficient socialist  economy and an oligarchy government with no real representation of the people.  It was intended to be the best form of government possible – not perfect, but better than all the rest.

Ill conceived changes to our Constitution and 21st century forces from corporate greed and special interest money, never anticipated by the Founders, are seriously threatening this grand and successful form of republican government.

If you want to vote out the incumbents go ahead, but then unceasingly demand of your candidate a constitutional amendment that will:

  • prohibit any campaign money received by a congressional candidate from any source other than a source predominantly domiciled in the candidate’s district;
  • prohibit all earmarks, limiting all appropriations to openly debated expenditures;
  • prohibit a congressional representative from accepting gift funds or in-kind services  from any person or organization, until five years after leaving office;
  • repeal the 17th amendment;
  • establish Congressional term limits at three terms;
  • prohibit retirement from the House; and
  • prohibit Congressional medical benefits one year after leaving office.

If your candidate commits to this amendment, then vote him or her in, otherwise find and support a candidate who will.

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I have had enough with the Congress, both Democrat and Republican – the lies and half truths by Dodd, Rangel, Pelosi, and Frank, feigned indignation from Republican leadership, and on and on.  Take a good look and you will see that the snake oil salesmen and women of the world have determined that Congress is the best gig in town.  Yes there are a few patriots in Congress, but the majority only care about staying in Congress and retiring rich.

I have had enough from the Bush and Obama administrations – each administration with its own gross degree of hypocrisy.  Does anyone really think we can spend our way out of debt?  Does anyone really think that the push for cap and trade is not a tax?  Does anyone really think that either administration really cared or cares about the future of the American people – we know they cared or care about the future of their ideology, but what about the future of the American people?  Main stream America is an afterthought to these parties.  I don’t mean sending stimulus checks – I do mean the overall health of this nation.  All we seem to believe in is short term appeasement of the voter in exchange for votes.  We use earmarks to gain campaign funds – how wrong is that?  Main stream America has been ignored by both parties, in favor of both right and left wing zealots and the progressives from both parties – oh and let’s not forget those very uber rich who are now buying our Congress and perhaps the presidency – you know – the George Soros types through tentacled organizations, with their own agenda.  Who do we blame?  Us, that’s who – not the U.S., but the people who are simply not engaged with their government.  Our government is no longer of the people and by the people.  It is now of the fringe and by the fringe – the 12% on each side.  Too many Americans are just interested in what is in it for them.  Too many Americans know who was thrown off American Idol, but not who the Speaker of the House is – yet they vote.

Unless and until we begin to care enough about our own future and how much the government should play in that future, we will continue down the path of letting the fringe of America – from each party – be in charge.  The Federal Government is out of control and has been out of control for nearly a dozen years.  In fact, we could say the Federal Government has been out of control since the seventeenth amendment – that was when the states abdicated their constitutional role of watchdog of the federal government.  Look it up.

Had enough?  If so, then do something about it.   Start by finding good people running for state office or in state office and get behind them.  Likely they have not been corrupted and if you find really good patriots to support, likely they will not be corrupted.  Push for the states to take back the watchdog role of the federal government.  Push for the states to control the federal government.  Sit on your hands and you will get what you deserve – a non-functioning nanny state, run by the fringe in power.  Soon they will tell you how to eat, drink, rear your children, and how to live, or are they already doing that?  They can’t help themselves because they believe they are much smarter than you.

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Professional Congressmen – Why?  Today there are 251 members of the House of Representatives serving for more than ten years or five terms.  This is nearly 58% of the House of Representatives.  Remember the House is the people’s house and the representatives serving in this house were intended by our founding fathers to be of the people and from the people.  When representatives serve in the House for more than two terms they become insolated from the people.  They begin to work the system for their own benefit and not for the benefit of their constituents.  Mostly this is caused by the treatment they receive from lobbyists and the personal wealth they begin to obtain.  The more time in the House, the more power they can build and the more they can build an organization that will keep them being reelected, by making contribution connections – contributions most often originating out of their district.  This means that they are now representing contributors of other districts and not the people of their district.  The old adage that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” is simply how our Congress works.

The numbers about tenure become more frightening as you look at the more senior members of the House.  Today there are 42 Democrats and 20 Republicans serving for more than twenty years.  Nineteen representatives, fifteen Democrats and four Republicans, are now serving for more than thirty years or an unconscionable fifteen terms.  Two Democratic representatives are serving for more than forty years.  The number and dollar amount of earmarks is almost in a direct ratio with the time in Congress and the power achieved. As a Congressman delivers more earmarks, they build a contribution base and name recognition to aid them in reelection.  Remember that many of these earmarks are payback to political contributors and are not in the best interest of the district, the state, or the country.

Still not convinced that this professional Congress needs to change?  Consider that these people represent old thinking, with little recent real world experience or real world business or management skills, and a heavy dose of cronyism.  Most committee chairs are based on longevity and have the power and connections to kill bills or fast track bills on their own.

The Senate, the upper house with longer six years terms, suffers it own brand of professional legislator.  Ten Democrats and zero Republicans are now serving for more than twenty-four years or four terms in the senate (update – 9 with the loss of Senator Kennedy).  Of this group, three members are serving for five terms or thirty years and three are serving for more than thirty-six years or six terms.

Only fifty-four members of the House are freshman representatives (32 Democrats and 22 Republicans).  This group represents little more than 12% of the House.  In reality, there are enough members of the House of Representatives serving longer than most members of the Senate that determining which body is the upper house or the lower house is difficult.  Statistics indicate that voters (that’s us) return their Congressman and Senator to Congress at an alarming repeat rate of over 90%.  Does this absurd unrealistic return rate represent a love affair of the voter with his or her representation or does it reflect a broken system where power makes it nearly impossible for an incumbent to lose and allows little opportunity for new blood?

When did serving in Congress become an occupation? When did it stop being a noble calling of fellow citizens who put real careers on hold to serve their country for a limited time?

If we are to have a country of the people, by the people, and for the people, then we must make changes.  Congress will not change on its own.  We need term limits applied to both the House and the Senate. We need to limit both Congressional Representatives and Senators to no more than two consecutive terms – but how?  We need a constitutional convention called by the states with two goals.  The first is to limit congressional terms and the second is to make changes to reinstate state’s rights over a massive out of control incompetent federal government.  Return this country to the vision of the founding fathers.

Contact your representative to your state’s legislature (not your U.S. representative) and push for your state to call for a constitutional convention to achieve these two goals.

Listed below are the twenty year plus Congressmen and women who have been in power far too long and need to move on to a real job, if they are able.  They are grouped by state with party affiliation and district following the name.  Those with 30 and 40 years in Congress are so indicated.  Click on the name and see a summary of the rereprsentative’s background and congressional status, including committee assignments.

If you wish to breakdown your Congress by other attributes than term go to Contacting the Congress: Power Search.

Twenty Years Plus
Representative Don Young (R – Alaska At Large) 30 Yrs
Representative Wally Herger (R – CA02)
Representative George Miller (D – CA07) 30 Yrs
Representative Nancy Pelosi (D – CA08)
Representative Fortney (Pete) Stark (D – CA13) 30 Yrs
Representative Elton Gallegly (R – CA24)
Representative David Dreier (R – CA26)
Representative Howard L. Berman (D – CA28)
Representative Henry A. Waxman (D – CA30) 30 Yrs
Representative Jerry Lewis (R – CA41) 30 Yrs
Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R – CA46)
Representative Cliff Stearns (R – FL06)
Representative C. W. (Bill) Young (R – FL10) 30 Yrs
Representative John Lewis (D – GA05)
Representative Leonard L. Boswell (D – IA03) 30 Yrs
Representative Jerry F. Costello (D – IL12)
Representative Peter J. Visclosky (D – IN01)
Representative Dan Burton (R – IN05)
Representative Harold Rogers (R – KY05)
Representative Richard E. Neal (D – MA02)
Representative Barney Frank (D – MA04)
Representative Edward J. Markey (D – MA07) 30 Yrs
Representative Steny H. Hoyer (D – MD05)
Representative Dale E. Kildee (D – MI05) 30 Yrs
Representative Fred Upton (R – MI06)
Representative Sander M. Levin (D – MI12)
Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D – MI14) 40 Yrs
Representative John D. Dingell (D – MI15) 40 Yrs
Representative James L. Oberstar (D – MN08) 30 Yrs
Representative Ike Skelton (D – MO04) 30 Yrs
Representative David E. Price (D – NC04)
Representative Howard Coble (R – NC06)
Representative Christopher H. Smith (R – NJ04)
Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (D – NJ06)
Representative Donald M. Payne (D – NJ10)
Representative Gary L. Ackerman (D – NY05)
Representative Edolphus Towns (D – NY10)
Representative Charles B. Rangel (D – NY15) 30 Yrs
Representative Eliot L. Engel (D – NY17)
Representative Nita M. Lowey (D – NY18)
Representative Louise McIntosh Slaughter (D – NY28)
Representative Marcy Kaptur (D – OH09)
Representative Peter A. DeFazio (D – OR04)
Representative Paul E. Kanjorski (D – PA11)
Representative John P. Murtha (D – PA12) (update – now deceased) 30 Yrs
Representative John M. Spratt, Jr. (D – SC05)
Representative John J. Duncan, Jr. (R – TN02)
Representative Bart Gordon (D – TN06)
Representative John S. Tanner (D – TN08)
Representative Ralph M. Hall (R – TX04)
Representative Joe Barton (R – TX06)
Representative Lamar Smith (R – TX21)
Representative Solomon P. Ortiz (D – TX27)
Representative Rick Boucher (D – VA09)
Representative Frank R. Wolf (R – VA10)
Representative Norman D. Dicks (D – WA06) 30 Yrs
Representative Jim McDermott (D – WA07)
Representative F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R – WI05) 30 Yrs
Representative Thomas E. Petri (R – WI06)
Representative David R. Obey (D – WI07) 30 Yrs
Representative Alan B. Mollohan (D – WV01)
Representative Nick Joe Rahall, II (D – WV03) 30 Yrs

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Tired and frustrated about Washington, D.C.?  Do you believe that Congress is out of touch with the people?  Do you believe that Congress does not represent us and instead represents special interests with their legions of lobbyists and big campaign donations.  It also seems clear that those in Congress have a sole purpose of continuing to serve and this purpose is to do everything and anything they can to remain in Congress.  Have you noticed that those who retire usually retire very wealthy?

Where else can we be told time and time again how the Congress will clean up its act, yet we suffer powerful committee chairpersons and rules designed to keep and grow the status quo.  The affliction of power brought about by seniority affects both parties.  Our two party system appears to be the problem and not the solution – ideology takes second place to capturing power and remaining in office.  Their real constituent is reelection!  We routinely return the incumbent to Congress at greater than a 90% rate.  Something is radically wrong when the very people who complain about the Congress, us, routinely return their representatives to Congress more than 90% of the time.  Perhaps this 90% return rate is not totally our fault, but can be traced to the design of the election system, campaign funding, and the support of special interests.  Does it seem right that your Congressman or Congresswoman is more influenced by money from outside his or her district?  Why should some agricultural company in Hawaii be allowed to monetarily influence a Congressman from an industrial district in Pennsylvania?  It happens that money flows in to Congressional campaigns from all over the United States and yes, Europe and China, among other places.  Why is it okay for everyone in the world to buy the loyalty of your representation in Washington?

If and when you call your representative in Congress, you will most likely get voice mail that asks you to leave a message about your issue.  They keep raising the funding for the staffing of their offices, yet there is no one to answer the phone?  These people feel so insulated that they have openly and brazenly discussed, and in committee voted to add a voting representative in Congress to the District of Columbia and the State of Utah.  This is highly unconstitutional behavior – the Constitution is crystal clear on how representation is handled and representation is not established by the Congress at their whim.  This vote in committee and soon to be a floor vote represents the ultimate example of people serving in Congress suffering the aphrodesiac of unchecked power.

What can we do about our Congress?  Can we amend the Constitution?  Congress controls the Constitutional amendment process or do they?  Our Constitution provides for an alternate amendment process, one initiated by the states.  A state can call for a constitutional convention and if two thirds of the states agree, i.e. 34 states, it convenes.  The states send representatives to the convention and any amendment coming out of the convention needs ratification by three fourths of the states, i.e. 38 states, to become an amendment of the United States Constitution.   Now you can petition your state legislators, your representatives in your capitol, for a constitutional convention to change Congress and to restore lost rights back to the states.

We can seek a change in how Senators are elected.  When the Constitution was adopted, it provided for election of Senators by the states legislatures and not direct election of the senators by the people.  While this method was subject to politics and political maneuvering, it gave the States a say in the size of the federal government, the judiciary, and foreign affairs through the Senate.  It was the seventeenth amendment that made this change.  We need to repeal the seventeenth and replace it with an amendment that provides for election of senators by their respective legislatures, with a restriction on recall requiring a two thirds vote in all houses of legislature of the state – Nebraska has only one house of legislature, while the others have two.  This would take the pandering and special interests out of the Senate, since Senators would not need multiple millions to run for reelection.  This amendment would add an additional check and balance – the state itself through its Senators.

We can seek an amendment that would limit campaign contributions in cash, property, or services to an individual residing or a corporation headquartered in the district of the congressional candidate – no political party contributions, thus only constituents are important to the member of Congress.

We can seek an amendment that requires all spending bills and any spending appropriation to be of like kind in a bill, be in the body of the bill with no spending amendments, and have gone through committee and been approved by the majority of the committee.  This will eliminate earmarks. 

We can seek a change in ballots across this nation for candidates for a federal office.  No longer can states make special rules that make it hard for third party candidates to get on state ballots for president and vice-president, or congressional representatives.  This would stimulate the candidacy of members of parties other than Democrat or Republican parties.

We can seek term limits on members of the House of Representatives to three terms.  This will eliminate the individual absolute power some members of Congress have achieved.

These few amendments will re-establish this republic and fix the now forever and perpetually corrupt Congress.  Members of Congress are addicted to a drug of Congressional power and will never give it up on their own.  We need to make this change through the states – push your state representatives to make these changes.  Tell them these amendments will provide the states with more rights and make it easier and less costly for the state representatives to run for federal office.

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What’s wrong?

  • Gas at the pump soaring!
  • Food used as fuel – ethanol – adopted without an understanding of its impact – pushed by lobbyists!
  • Oil Companies still receive federal subsidies!
  • Food prices soaring!
  • Congress intentionally slowing completion of the border fence.
  • Earmarks costing the taxpayers billions!
  • Congress using earmarks to return favors to campaign contributors.
  • Lobbyists / special interests contributing to Congressional campaigns, heavily influencing your Representatives.
  • Congress regularly deferring to lobbyists over the voter.
  • Seniority system in Congress fueling almost absolute power to a select few Senators and Representatives.
  • Congress riddled with ethics violations, both rule violations and moral violations.
  • Rampant disregard of the public trust.
  • Senators and Representatives entering Congress with little personal wealth and leaving with great personal wealth.
  • Partisan politics nearly always trumps what is good for America and good for the American people.
  • Funds wasted on earmarks and redundant Federal programs.
  • America’s sovereignty and national security at risk due to oil.
  • America’s oil independence abdicated by Congress in favor of lobbyists.
  • Congress is 38% lawyers.

This list should be enough of an indictment on Congress and how it functions to warrant changes – big changes. Today’s Congress does not run as was intended by the founding fathers. Why should your Representatives be listening to and acting upon requests from constituents of other Districts and States and not you? Why would a Senator or Representative take actions contrary to the well being of their constituent and nation? It is all about money! Money for reelection to perpetuate this non-representation of constituents. Money to be able to leave Congress very wealthy. Congress has become a lure for those who seek power and money from that power. Lobbyists provide the money to power campaigns in all sorts of devious ways. Senators and Representatives repay campaign contributors with un-debated and often weakly disclosed earmarked projects. Congress is almost the definition of broken government or more aptly corrupt government. Our Congress often makes the Iraqi and Mexican Parliaments look like a Boy Scout Jamboree.

Why is it wrong?

The Senate: The founding fathers placed checks and balances in the Constitution for the States to control the Federal Government. This was done to ensure that the States remained an equal partner. It was also done to keep power from being concentrated. In 1913, Congress, after years of trying to make Senate elections direct and not serve the legislatures, with the help of a powerful newspaper chain (Hearst Newspapers – Randolph Hearst felt he could control elections of Senators if they were directly elected, by swaying public opinion about the candidates) pushed through the Seventeenth Amendment – the House Joint Resolution 39 and the Ratification process are still questioned today as whether the Constitution was followed. The Congress with a strong popular movement by the voters due to the wide reaching Hearst chain’s agenda journalism was in an absolute rush to push the amendment through.

What did the amendment change? From the founding of this nation until the Seventeenth in 1913, Senators were elected by the States’ Legislatures and represented the States. Senators were obliged to mind the wishes of the States’ Legislatures. The Senate, the upper house, was the voice of the States in the Federal Government. The only lobby the Senators could really listen to was the lobby that elected them – their legislature. After the Seventeenth Amendment, the Senate was elected by directly by the voter, but this made them subject to the growing threat of lobbyists. Senate campaigns now run between ten million and one hundred million dollars, depending on location. This requires money from people, PAC’s, and corporations, not of your state, seeking to influence future votes on matters concerning them that may be contrary to your state’s needs. The direct election of Senators removed any control your State had over the growth of and the operation of the Federal Government.

The House of Representatives: The founding fathers intended the House to be the lower house, made up of citizen legislators. It was not to be a permanent home for Representatives serving for up to 50 years, as is the case of Representative John Dingell. These citizen legislators were to be the direct representative of the people of their district, serving the needs of the people of their district, and listening only to the people of their district. Today, to run for the House of Representatives, it will cost upwards of $5 Million for both the primary and general elections. This money primarily comes from outside your Congressional District. It comes from lobbyists in devious ways, corporations, again in devious ways, and from political parties. Since most of the money for the campaign does not come from the District, you do not get represented, the contributors do. Someone or some entity in Florida does not contribute to a campaign in a Texas District, without expecting votes in return. Votes often not in your best interest.

What do we do about it?

First, fix the Senate and return checks and balances back to your State. Push, plead with, and prod your State Legislature, through a Constitutional Convention, to repeal the Seventeenth Amendment.

Second, return your House Representative to his or her role of Citizen Legislator. Take the big money out of the job. Remove the overarching influence on these Representatives away from people and entities not in your District. Push, plead with, and prod your State Legislature to, through that Constitutional Convention, to amend the Constitution to restrict campaign contributions to House candidate campaigns. Require candidates for the House of Representatives to only accept campaign contributions of money, property, or services in kind from INDIVIDUALS PRIMARILY RESIDING in the candidate’s district. No money from lobbyists outside the District, no money from Corporations, and no money from political parties. The cost of a campaign will drop dramatically, creating a level playing field for candidates. The elected representative from your District, will only have you the voter/constituent to serve.

Third, at that Constitutional Convention, push, plead with, and prod your State Legislature to, through the Convention, propose a Constitutional Amendment that restricts all spending bills to be of like nature, military, agriculture, health, etc, and spending provisions may not be including in an amendment – it must be in the main body of the bill and clearly disclose in the bill if it is a targeted expense to one District or to one State and not a broad based spending bill. This will eliminate earmarks.

Fourth, Simply do not vote for an incumbent in November. This will replace 468 sitting Senators and Representatives for the 111th Congress in 2009. How is that for a message to Congress?

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