Friday, April 17, 2015

Postal worker lands small aircraft on Capitol Grounds, and the question, "What if?" … by gimleteye

Of the "what if" scenarios relating to the gyro helicopter pilot landed on the grounds of the US Capitol, the only contingency sober minded TV pundits and reporters failed to ask is; "what if this man was right about the need for Congress to change a corrupt campaign finance system?"

Hah. On TV news, here parades an array of government officials ("yes we take our mandate to protect Washington DC air space very seriously") and senators and congressmen offering heart-felt concern and deep-set worry that the next postal worker might take aim at the Capitol or, Heaven forbid, the White House not with a satchel filled with 535 letters but with malice in his heart.

None had the guts to stand up, "By George, what if this guy is right! We have to do something to change Citizens United!"

The People's House is under attack by wealthy corporate interests who can spend unlimited and untraceable amounts of money on elections. A postal worker lands a gyro copter on the grounds of the Capitol to make the same point, and the TV cameras and talking heads run to the fence of the White House, "Build a better fence!" "Tighten up the airspace around us!"

So, Eye On Miami offers our elected officials -- any elected official -- the opportunity to use our air space to ask the only question that hasn't been asked by the mainstream media: "What if that guy is right, and why is it that campaign finance abuses are so rampant we have people resorting to outrageous acts because no one in Washington DC has the guts to step forward and demand and end to the flood of anonymous money polluting our political system?"

Where is the Congressman or Senator to come to the microphone and cameras and say, "This tactic has caused me to reevaluate my silence on Citizens United and the tidal wave of campaign money flooding our democracy. I will vote for a change to federal campaign finance law as soon as Republicans bring one to a vote!"

Click 'read more' for the full text of Douglas M. Hughes, the postal worker, and his letter to Congress:

Dear ___________,
Consider the following statement by John Kerry in his farewell speech to the Senate —
"The unending chase for money I believe threatens to steal our democracy itself. They know it. They know we know it. And yet, Nothing Happens!" — John Kerry, 2-13
In a July 2012 Gallup poll, 87% tagged corruption in the federal government as extremely important or very important, placing this issue just barely behind job creation. According to Gallup, public faith in Congress is at a 41-year record low, 7%. (June 2014) Kerry is correct. The popular perception outside the DC beltway is that the federal government is corrupt and the US Congress is the major problem. As a voter, I'm a member of the only political body with authority over Congress. I'm demanding reform and declaring a voter's rebellion in a manner consistent with Jefferson's description of rights in the Declaration of Independence. As a member of Congress, you have three options.
1. You may pretend corruption does not exist.
2. You may pretend to oppose corruption while you sabotage reform.
3. You may actively participate in real reform.
If you're considering option 1, you may wonder if voters really know what the 'chase for money' is. Your dismal and declining popularity documented by Gallup suggests we know, but allow a few examples, by no means a complete list. That these practices are legal does not make them right! Obviously, it is Congress who writes the laws that make corruption legal.
1. Dozens of major and very profitable corporations pay nothing in taxes. Voters know how this is done. Corporations pay millions to lobbyists for special legislation. Many companies on the list of freeloaders are household names — GE, Boeing, Exxon Mobil, Verizon, Citigroup, Dow …
2. Almost half of the retiring members of Congress from 1998 to 2004 got jobs as lobbyists earning on average fourteen times their Congressional salary. (50% of the Senate, 42% of the House)
3. The new democratic freshmen to the US House in 2012 were 'advised' by the party to schedule 4 hours per day on the phones fund raising at party headquarters (because fund raising is illegal from gov't offices.) It is the donors with deep pockets who get the calls, but seldom do the priorities of the rich donor help the average citizen.
4. The relevant (rich) donors who command the attention of Congress are only .05% of the public (5 people in a thousand) but these aristocrats of both parties are who Congress really works for. As a member of the US Congress, you should work only for The People.
1. Not yourself.
2. Not your political party.
3. Not the richest donors to your campaign.
4. Not the lobbyist company who will hire you after your leave Congress.
There are several credible groups working to reform Congress. Their evaluations of the problem are remarkably in agreement though the leadership (and membership) may lean conservative or liberal. They see the corrupting effect of money — how the current rules empower special interests through lobbyists and PACs — robbing the average American of any representation on any issue where the connected have a stake. This is not democracy even if the ritual of elections is maintained.
The various mechanisms which funnel money to candidates and congress-persons are complex. It happens before they are elected, while they are in office and after they leave Congress. Fortunately, a solution to corruption is not complicated. All the proposals are built around either reform legislation or a Constitutional Amendment. Actually, we need both — a constitutional amendment and legislation.
There will be discussion about the structure and details of reform. As I see it, campaign finance reform is the cornerstone of building an honest Congress. Erect a wall of separation between our elected officials and big money. This you must do — or your replacement will do. A corporation is not 'people' and no individual should be allowed to spend hundreds of millions to 'influence' an election. That much money is a megaphone which drowns out the voices of 'We the People.' Next, a retired member of Congress has a lifelong obligation to avoid the appearance of impropriety. That almost half the retired members of Congress work as lobbyists and make millions of dollars per year smells like bribery, however legal. It must end. Pass real campaign finance reform and prohibit even the appearance of payola after retirement and you will be part of a Congress I can respect.
The states have the power to pass a Constitutional Amendment without Congress — and we will. You in Congress will likely embrace the change just to survive, because liberals and conservatives won't settle for less than democracy. The leadership and organization to coordinate a voters revolution exist now! New groups will add their voices because the vast majority of Americans believe in the real democracy we once had, which Congress over time has eroded to the corrupt, dysfunctional plutocracy we have.
The question is where YOU individually stand. You have three options and you must choose.
Douglas M. Hughes

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