Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of the day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too plainly prove a deliberate, systematical plan of reducing us to slavery.
Has our Legislative branch of government become a mere legislature for the legislators? The only time either side of the aisle seems to be in agreement is when they legislate for themselves. Of course in regard to partisan politics the results are more egregious. But when it comes to the people of the United States, or in the larger sense, the United States itself as the people are the United States, the Legislative branch of government appears to be absent. Why is this the case? If you consider the fact that elected officials are supposed to serve the people, then why is it that they only tend to serve themselves? And how does this happen? To make matters even worse, it’s not just the Congress, it is our government officials at every level; Governors, Mayors, City Councils, you name it. While I’ll never understand how these degenerates get elected in the first place, I absolutely will never understand how they continue to get re-elected over and over again. These are the questions which will be the focus of this treatise and I believe the answers will shed light on an unfortunate, but very real set of facts; the Legislative branch of government or any type of legislator in general, only serves itself.
Illinois is a good example of the self-serving politician. In a 6 March 2012 report, “Just a week after Democratic Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois gave his State of the State address in which he announced massive cuts throughout the system due to the state being broke, the governor and other lawmakers have given themselves a pay raise[ii].” The truth is the U.S. Congress has been at this for quite some time. An article by Robert Longley reports, “For the fifth year in a row, lawmakers voted not to reject their automatic “cost of living” raise that will increase the annual salary of members by $3,400 to a total of $158,103 per year[iii].” Mr. Longley continues, “In 1989, Congress passed an amendment allowing for the automatic raises.” The report also states, “The fiscal year 2004 Transportation and Treasury Department Appropriations bill included Congress’ 2.2 percent pay raise.” It’s no wonder so many people look down on our elected leaders, these politicians only vote for themselves, and they do it time and time again. When the States, the nation and the people are broke, only the most shameless bunch of self centered frauds the United States has to offer would actually vote for automatic pay raises and accept them. Of course their childish, petty and partisan bickering must entitle them to these raises, because they accomplish nothing else. The Congress can’t even follow the U.S. Constitution as stated in Article I, Section 8. For proof of that I will cite two wars, one which is still ongoing, Iraq and Afghanistan. Our Congress was too cowardly to even Declare War, but they did allow them to last for a decade and even longer in the case of Afghanistan which is still ongoing. This is a perfect example of politicians thumbing their noses at the people.
This same obnoxious behavior by politicians happens at every level. I came across a letter to the editor for Cumberland County Voices in New Jersey. The letter starts out, “Our city government is underpaid for the hours of service they perform. Sitting for hours at a time puts a tremendous amount of stress on their decision-making muscle. Yes, this group has the nerve to take a 42 percent pay raise[iv].” The letter goes on to state, “They [the city council] want it retroactive…They even had the unmitigated gall to attach their raise to the salary schedule for city employees, so if it does not pass the city employees will have to wait for their raises, too.” The individual who is being talked about is the Mayor of Bridgeton New Jersey, James B. Begley. Apparently this man is the least visible Mayor in history and really only wants to secure pay raises for him and his fellow crooked city politicians, without actually working. That seems about right for a politician. Begley proves you don’t have to be in the House or the Senate to be a crooked politician. You don’t even have to be governor! Just a pathetic little city mayor, in a town where violence runs rampant throughout the streets and the mayor can only seem to secure himself a 42% pay increase! But I guess he’s been in office for about 20 years, so that tells you something about the voters. My suggestion would be getting Begley out of office and never vote him back in under any circumstance.
I saw an interesting article on the Yellow Hammer Politics web-site. Apparently, not surprisingly, there is a very self-serving Democratic Alabama Senator named Roger Bedford. This man was “The architect of the 2007 pay raise.” The report states, “In 2007, in some dark crevice of the Alabama State House, Democrat legislators hatched a plan to give themselves a 62-percent pay raise. With the next election still several years away, they figured that while the voters may be upset initially, they would have plenty of time to forget about this inexplicable violation of public trust. They were wrong[v].” Apparently, the people of Alabama didn’t take a shine to this sort of behavior. What eventually happened was, in April of 2012 the Alabama House passed a bill repealing the 62% pay increase, “And passed enabling legislation that will place a constitutional amendment on the ballot which will provide voters with control over legislative pay.” The idea behind this GOP push in the Alabama House was to make certain this could never happen again; voters would control pay raises for their State legislature. The Alabama Senate attempted to follow suit, but Senator Bedford “Jumped into action offering amendment after amendment in a death-by-a-million-paper-cuts strategy…his amendments allowed the legislature to retain control over legislative pay rather than giving that power back to the voters – which is the true spirit of the GOP’s plan.” This is a perfect example of politicians serving themselves. Even when there are some members who wish to do the right thing, the self-serving leaches somehow are able to maintain their advantage. What strikes me as funny is this so-called Senator, Roger Bedford, who is obviously an enemy of the people of State of Alabama, is able to walk free. Bedford is a public servant, but he is only serving himself. Why is this man not in a prison cell? The reason, is because the people of the State of Alabama allow this to happen (just as we all do). Fortunately, the fight isn’t over, “I’ve withstood as much hypocrisy as I can for one day,” Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh stated, “What came out today was a monstrosity that we want to correct in conference committee.” I wish the people of the Great State of Alabama luck with their endeavor.
Of course, legislators who give themselves pay raises need even more. According to a Washington Post analysis, “One hundred-thirty members of Congress or their families have traded stocks collectively worth hundreds of millions of dollars in companies lobbying on bills that came before their committees, a practice that is permitted under current ethics rules[vi].” Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines ethics, “The discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation; a set of moral principles: a theory or system of moral values; the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group; a guiding philosophy; a consciousness of moral importance; a set of moral issues or aspects (as rightness)[vii].” It would appear as though members of Congress believe their moral duty, obligation and guiding philosophy is to amass as much wealth as possible while in office. I had to laugh when I read, “The Post analysis does not provide evidence of insider trading, which requires showing that Lawmakers knowingly used confidential information to make trades benefitting themselves.” The article only stated that this, “Raise[d] questions about potential conflicts and illustrate[s] the weaker standard that Congress applies to itself.” Fortunately, Martha Stewart wasn’t a lawmaker or the government wouldn’t have been able to throw her in prison for five months for lying about dumping ImClone stock before the price plunged. Yet the Washington Post article states, “Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) sold between $50,000 and $100,000 in General Electric stock shortly before a republican filibuster killed legislation sought by the company.” What strikes me as funny about this is, politicians are the biggest liars on the planet, so why go after Stewart? The Post analysis did state an interesting fact, “Almost one in every eight trades – 5,531 – intersected with legislation…The party affiliation of the lawmakers was almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, 68 to 62.” It’s good to know there is a little bipartisanship in Washington. That being said, this is still the worst type of so-called leadership; it’s self-serving and arrogant to say the least.
Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust be men of unexceptionable characters. The public cannot be too curious concerning the character of public men.
But legislators have even more unscrupulous ways to make money. Fox News reported on a deal made by former Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, “In February 2004, Hastert…through a trust…bought up 69 acres of land that adjoined his farm…transferred an additional 69 acres from his farm into the trust…Two months later, Congress passed a spending bill into which Hastert inserted a $207 million earmark…in August 2005..Hastert and his partners flipped the land for what appeared to be a multi-million dollar profit[ix].” The Fox documentary which was called ‘Porked: Earmarks for Profit’ named other wastes of taxpayer money which benefitted politicians and their families, “A $223 million “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska, a $500,000 teapot museum in North Carolina, a $10 million extension to Coconut Road in Florida.” Personally, I think these ‘pigs’ are already fat enough and don’t need our taxpayer money to fill their troughs or to line their already golden pockets.
Of course there is more. Democratic Rep. Norm Dicks of Washington State is also crooked, according to the Seattle Weekly, “In 2008, Dicks, as an appropriations chairman, secured a $1.82 million earmark for a Washington State environmental agency where his son worked as executive director…the congressman also sent $15 million to the Environmental Protection Agency, which gave the funds in noncompetitive grants to his son’s agency, the Puget sound Partnership[x].” I cannot believe we allow our money, our tax dollars to be siphoned from our bank accounts only to fuel the engines of the depraved, so-called leaders who have absolutely no shame or honor. These are just a few examples; I could easily go on with many more examples. If an individual citizen (who wasn’t related to a politician) did this, then I have no doubt there would be jail time involved. Is it a surprise our legislators continue to increase their wealth, but we continue to get closer to poverty? But the truth is once again, when it’s connected to an elected legislator, we can see how they are given (or give themselves) carte blanche to do as they please. Where does the service to your constituents or to your country fit into this type of leadership?
I think now is a good time to take a look at one of our elected legislators and see just what we uncover. Let’s look at Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), who according to Citizens for Ethics states, “Her ethics issues stem from the exercise of this power to financially benefit her daughter, husband and son. Rep. Waters’ family has earned a total of more than $1 million in the last eight years through business dealings with companies and issue organizations Rep. Waters has assisted[xi].” Among the organizations are, “L.A. Vote, the African American Committee 2000, the firm of Siebert, Brandford and Shank, and the Chester Washington Golf Course. It would appear that Rep. Waters believes her position in the House of Representatives entitles her to make backroom deals which benefit her family to the sum of $1 million. This is actually a perfect example of how politicians in the U.S. get rich on our taxpayer money. The report states, “Of the $1.7 million collected by L.A. Vote over the past 8 years…$450,000 has gone to Karen Waters and her consulting firm, Progressive Connections, and $115,000 to Rep. Waters’ son, Edward.” The report also notes, “Karen Waters also has collected $20,000 from…African American Committee 2000 & Beyond…Many corporations and organizations seeking to win Rep. Waters’ favor have donated…The non-profit has used this money to pay for parties hosted by Rep. Waters at the Democratic national conventions. Sponsors…include Fannie Mae.” Apparently, Rep. Waters believes non-profits exist to fill the bank accounts of her family members for her favors as a member of the House. Rep. Waters and her children weren’t the only beneficiaries, “Rep. Waters’ husband, Sidney Williams…working as a part-time consultant for…Siebert, Brandford and Shank…collected close to $500,000 by making valuable introductions for Siebert to politicians who have received his wife’s support.” The report gives an example, Waters “Guaranteed a $10 million loan from the Department of Housing and Urban Development…to handle a $40 million school bond sale, they chose Siebert. Mr. Williams earned $54,000 in commission from the deal.” A $500,000 payout for a part-time consulting job, that’s a pretty sweet deal. Of course as we all know, ordinary Americans work for peanuts and allow these criminals to ‘govern.’ And then there was the Chester Washington Golf Course, “Waters’ son, Edward Waters…her husband Sidney Williams…won a 20 year lease to run the county-owned Chester Washington Golf Course in South Los Angeles. The key decision-maker for the deal was County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke…Rep. Waters handed the County Supervisor a victory just several months earlier…Mr. Williams and Mr. Waters earned between $140,000 and $400,000 through the golf venture.” It really does pay to go into politics, especially if you are Rep. Maxine Waters or one of her family members.
I should mention, the report also states, “Rule 23 of the House Ethics Manual requires all members of the House to conduct themselves “at all times in a manner that reflects credibility on the House.”” I’m guessing that House Ethics Manual has collected a lot of dust over the years.
Before I move on I would like to mention one more item in the CREW report, “5 CFR §2635.702(a)…An employee shall not use or permit the use of his Government position or title or any authority associated with his public office in a manner that is intended to coerce or induce another person…to provide any benefit, financial or otherwise, to himself or to friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a non-governmental capacity.”
How can I put this? It is blatantly obvious that Rep. Maxine Waters did everything she wasn’t supposed to do with regard to her position in the House of Representatives. As we all know, Maxine Waters hasn’t been charged, tried or convicted with regard to any of the above offences. If you are asking yourselves why, the answer is quite simple. Our elected so-called leaders are nothing more than a gang of unethical, self-serving criminals who are above the law. But I urge each and every one of you, don’t get caught smoking a joint on the street, because you will go directly to jail. Are any of you starting to see the problem here? It’s really quite simple as demonstrated by Maxine Waters; the legislators only legislate for benefit of themselves, their families and their confederates.
Let’s take a look at how our legislators spend our money. We have already seen how Governor Pat Quinn, Mayor James Begley, Senator Roger Bedford, Representative Ed Whitfield, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, House Appropriations Chairman Norm Dick and Representative Maxine Waters serve themselves and their families. But there are more.
I think the place to wind this up is Solyndra. In a report from The Center for Public Integrity, “Time and again, the government handed breaks to Solyndra Inc.; an upstart California solar panel firm backed by a major supporter of the president…benefits flowed from Washington despite warning signs that the government’s $535 million investment was a risky bet, at best[xii].” First I must say, it wasn’t the government’s $535 million, it belonged to the people of the United States, the taxpayers who got fleeced. A major backer of Obama, in this case “George Kaiser, an Oklahoma oil billionaire who raised at least $50,000 for Obama’s 2008 campaign and is a frequent visitor to the White House,” received over a half a billion taxpayer dollars for his efforts. I can’t blame Kaiser, if I thought I could give $50,000 for over 10,000 times that amount in return, I suppose I would. The report went on to state, “The House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations escalated its examination of DOE spending by focusing on Solyndra.” Of course, it is the Congress who holds the purse-strings in the United States. Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 of the U.S. Constitution states, “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law[xiii].” So it would appear the Congress was in fact involved just as much as Obama with giving $535 million in taxpayer money to Solyndra. The result was 1,100 employees got fired in the end; that’s a little over a $486,000 investment for each employee to have a job. Solyndra as we all know went bankrupt and the company has been shut down. But I believe this is a perfect example of the short-sightedness of our government. From the top down, both the President and Congress are fools and crooks. What the taxpayers get in return is a U-6 unemployment rate of about 15% according to Portal Seven[xiv], and as of 28 August 2012, according to Ed Hall a national debt of $15,988,985,503,358.85[xv].
It’s fitting that Mars (Nimrod) guards the entrance to the U.S. Capitol Building as our legislators spew gibberish out of their mouths whenever they speak. It’s also fitting Persephone; the Queen of the Underworld (Semiramis) sits atop the U.S. Capitol Building looking down upon us, as our legislators by all appearances look down upon us as mere fodder for their arsenal of evil misdeeds. Our forefathers believed in service to the people, the State and to the nation. Now our elected officials, the so-called leaders of our nation, have elevated a self-serving and egocentric way of life and quasi-form of governance and/or leadership to new highs, which effectively, have left the people of this nation in a position of servitude and poverty. Service to the people is a spectre; it no longer exists. It really makes you proud to be an American when you see how our elected leaders behave. Nepotism, cronyism, unethical behavior at every turn, self-serving criminal attitudes and actions; these are what the people of the United States receive from their elected officials. And in return, we continue to re-elect the same set of reprobates so they can continue to serve themselves.
I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.
God Bless this Great Republic, the United States of America
Brett L. Baker
[i] Founding Father Quotes; Thomas Jefferson, http://www.foundingfatherquotes.com/father/id/6/s/75
[ii] The Conservatory; Illinois Politicians Vote themselves A Pay Raise, Dan Collins, March 6, 2012. http://www.conservativecommune.com/2012/03/illinois-politicians-vote-themselves-a-raise/
[iii] About.com, US Government Info; Congress Votes Itself a Pay Raise, Robert Longley. http://usgovinfo.about.com/cs/agencies/a/raise4congress.htm
[iv] NJ.com, Cumberland County Voices; Letters to the Editor/The News of Cumberland County, http://www.nj.com/cumberland/voices/index.ssf/2012/07/bridgeton_leaders_put_themselv.html
[v] Yellow Hammer; Democrat Senator Maneuvers to Muck Up Pay Raise Repeal, Cliff Sims, 19 April 2012. http://yellowhammerpolitics.com/blog/democrat-senator-maneuvers-to-muck-up-pay-raise-repeal/
[vi] The Washington Post; Members of Congress trade in companies while making laws that affect those same firms, http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/members-of-congress-trade-in-companies-while-making-laws-that-affect-those-same-firms/2012/06/23/gJQAlXwVyV_story.html
[viii] Founding Father Quotes; Samuel Adams, http://www.foundingfatherquotes.com/father/id/2/s/15
[ix] Fox News; Fox News Documentary Shows Congressmen Sent Millions in Earmarks to Their Own Families, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,361061,00.html
[x] Seattle Weekly; Washington Reps. Norm Dicks and Doc Hastings Called Out in Congressional Earmarks Investigation, http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/2012/02/washington_reps_norm_dicks_and.php/
[xi] Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW); Beyond Delay; The 13 Most Corrupt Members of Congress, http://www.citizensforethics.org/page/-/PDFs/Reports/Most%20Corrupt%20Reports/Most%20Corrupt%20Report%202005%20-%20Beyond%20DeLay%20Report.pdf?nocdn=1
[xii] The Center for Public Integrity; Solyndra: Recurring red flags failed to slow Obama administration’s race to help Solyndra, http://www.publicintegrity.org/environment/energy/solyndra
[xiii] Charters of Freedom; Constitution of the United States, http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html
[xiv] Portal Seven; Unemployment Rate - U6, 2007-2012, http://portalseven.com/employment/unemployment_rate_u6.jsp?fromYear=2007&toYear=2012