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Posts Tagged ‘special interests’


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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The real no spin definition of most earmarks is a Member of Congress targeting a group with your money taken right from the ever flowing government monetary fountain to either get votes or campaign funds for reelection.  This keeps the “select” few in Congress.  Search high and low and you will not find much integrity in Congress or with those who use the system to keep getting reelected.

Who runs our government?  At any given time, the decision makers in Congress represent the 15% of the population who place party above country.  Most people who are registered Democrats or Republicans follow their party and generally agree with their party, but do not place party above country.  Most elected representatives are of the 15% of the population who are Democrats or the 15% who are Republicans – these are the folks who place party above country.  Under the Bush administration there was a push to expand the Republican Party by expanding government and spending more – sounds like the Democrats doesn’t it?  The theory was, if we give the people “stuff” they will vote for us, since this has worked for the Democrats for some time.

 The problem was that the Democrats had elevated giving stuff to those who don’t have stuff to an art form and thus the Republican plan badly backfired.  In the case of the Republican representatives, they placed party above country.  The problem with the Democratic Party, now that the backlash against the Republicans has given the Democrats essentially a majority in both Houses of Congress and possession of the Whitehouse, is that they are seizing the opportunity to take their art form of expanding government and giving stuff to those who don’t have stuff to a new level.  They are using this opportunity to forever move this country, in a series of well planned steps, to the far left progressive governance of socialism and control by their party.  Again this is party over country.

In a previous posting “Fix Congress, But How?” I suggested changes to our Constitution as a means of regaining control of the country from the parties.  It should always be what is best for the country, not what is best for the party.  That posting did not cover one other method of regaining control of our country and the re-establishment of bi-partisan governing or more importantly multi-partisan governing.  This type of governing is brings back checks and balances.

By allowing a third or even more parties to grow and prosper to major status, we will force compromise, build in check and balances, and blunt extremism from the two major parties of today.  This means changing state laws that have been put in place to make it very hard for other than a Republican or Democrat to run for federal office.    Today’s Democratic Party is not the party to which my father, a union bricklayer, belonged.  The Democratic Party of John F. Kennedy was more like the Republican Party today.  Both Parties have moved very left.  Within each party are those who represent the centrist, left and right camps of party members.  The Blue Dog Democrats are fiscally conservative members of the Democratic Party, and are mostly from the south.   They may be Democrats, but they do not control the party – the Far left does.  This group would bolt to a viable third party if it could achieve major status.  Do you think they were comfortable recently when Speaker Pelosi demanded a yes vote for the 1,000+ page American Recovery Act (stimulus bill of $787 Billion) with no time to read or digest it?  This was a case for these people to place party over country, because if they did not comply, the party would not support them going forward during the reelection primary campaign.

You can initiate change yourself.  Find a party of your liking and change or simply go independent.  However in most states independents lose out during the primary season by being shut out of the vote.  The two major parties are simply too powerful, with the Democrats being in an über power position.  This situation is incredibly dangerous for this nation.  The far left 15% of the population are now in control of our country.  Is this how you want this country managed?  Spinning off those other major parties is change you can trust.  Change you need to push for by contacting your state representatives to insure that getting on the ballot is equally easy for all parties.

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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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What are the impediments and the solutions to making the necessary changes to this country to get it back on track? The impediments are simple, the Presidency and the Congress. Perhaps you were going to answer special interests, lobbyists, and maybe partisan behavior by Congress and the President – any President, Republican and Democrat. The solution is not McCain-Feingold or other worthless legislation that is intentionally filled with loopholes. The solution is two fold and is very simple.

First, pass a Constitutional Amendment restricting the source of funds, personal property, real property, or in-kind services contributed to a campaign for the House of Representatives. Allow only individuals primarily residing in the district to contribute to a campaign for that district – allow no outside, political party, or corporate money to go to any congressional candidate’s campaign. No longer will a corporation or individual be able to contribute to the campaigns of candidates for Congress in districts where they have no stakeholder residence. An elected Representative will then be focused on his or her constituency and not the other folks who helped him or her get elected or reelected – who have no interest whatsoever in the people of that district. Any violation of this amendment, means forfeiture of the House seat. The opponent would sue in U.S. District Court – the loser pays all costs for the court and both sides of the litigation.

Second, repeal the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution. This amendment foolishly took away the power of the States to control Congress by eliminating the State Legislature election of Senators. It replaced it with the direct election by voters. At first blush, you might say what is wrong with Senators being elected by the Citizens of the State? Well our two house system , the bicameral Congress was specifically designed to allow the Senate to represent the States of the United States of America and for the House of Representatives to represent the people. The special duties and authority given to the Senate were structured to enable the Senate to be a check in balance for the House and the Executive Branch. The Seventeenth changed all this and eliminated any control over the Federal government by the States.

Repealing the Seventeenth or modifying it will bring back the balance needed in Congress to control, lobbyists, special interests, and out of control campaigns for the Senate. It will make the Senate directly accountable to the States’ Legislatures who put them in the Senate. The only change needed would be to limit the recall of a Senator by requiring a two thirds super majority of each house of the States’ Legislature for bicameral and the one house of the unicameral Nebraska Legislature, and the concurrence of the governor of that legislature’s state. Once members of Congress are representing the right parties – the people of the district and the state legislatures, this country will start to be more bipartisan, and start to correct the problems we face. Read more at: https://brokengovernment.wordpress.com/2008/05/02/1913-was-the-true-birth-of-our-federal-government/

https://brokengovernment.wordpress.com/2008/05/11/awash-in-special-interests-the-solution/

Updated May 17, 2008: The following is a link to a web site which discusses the repeal of the seventeenth in more depth. While I feel the seventeenth should be repealed, I do not fully accept the verbiage of the proposed amendment to repeal the seventeenth. I specifically oppose the liaison committee concept and the recall by a majority vote. I do, however, totally endorse the repeal of the foolhardy seventeenth amendment.

http://www.articlev.com/repeal_the_17th_amendment.htm

The following is a link added May 21, 2008: Barnstablepatriot

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When an individual decides to run for the House, the first challenge that comes to mind is “I need money”. The second challenge that comes to mind is “Where can I get it”? If you have a little free time, do a little research on your Congressional Representatives. Odds are good that they received more money in donations from political action committees and individuals located outside their district, than from inside. This means their virtual constituency extends across the nation and maybe into foreign countries. How can any representative to Congress adequately focus on the needs of their local constituents, when they are beholden to so many outside their constituency for so much?

We continually hear how the special interests have taken over Congress. They have! Is it the candidate’s fault – No! Yes we have our share of unethical or even criminal candidates, but for the most part they are good people who know the other guy will raise oodles of money from the special interests, and they know that unless they raise as much, they have no chance to get elected. So the good people pander outside the district to raise money. Mostly the problem is the system and not the candidate. The fix is relatively simple.

Can we only allow fund raising from individuals whose primary residence is located in the district of the candidate? Unless there was an amendment to our Constitution, court challenges would be made that the rule violates the first amendment. If the elected folks in Congress really wanted to stop this carousel of political favors, fund raising, and special interests, they could propose a constitutional amendment to fix this problem forever. It might simply state that “Candidates for The House of Representatives, may accept campaign contributions of gifts in kind – media, money, personal property or real property only from individual Citizens of the United States, who primarily reside in the district the recipient candidate would serve, if elected. A candidate deemed to have failed to abide by this amendment would forfeit his or her seat in the House, upon a formal challenge brought to the House by the candidate’s opponent or opponents”

The Senate suffers the same special interest problem, but the fix there is different. The only special interest the Senate should serve is the State they represent. The Senate years ago lost its way as the Upper House of Congress representing the interests of the States. The solution here is straightforward, repeal the Seventeenth Amendment. Read more at: https://brokengovernment.wordpress.com/2008/05/02/1913-was-the-true-birth-of-our-federal-government/

Of course, the repeal amendment would have to right wrongs the Nation tried to correct with the Seventeeth. The repeal amendment, would have to control the method of recall of the Senator. It should require a super majority vote in each House of the state legislature and the concurrence of the state’s governor.

Follow this recipe and the special interest grip on Congress would be broken.

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