Contempt of Congress – And They Earned It

by Diane Dimond on September 8, 2014

Loggerheads - And All Americans Lose

Loggerheads – And All Americans Lose

 

Labor Day is in the rear view mirror and the summer season has been officially declared as over, even though the calendar says autumn is still weeks away. With vacations behind us and the kids back in school this is the time we traditionally return full attention to our work.

That’s what we regular citizens do anyway. Then, there are the members of the U.S. Congress.

Now, keep in mind I’m talking about people we chose to be our leaders. We voted for these folks because they convinced us they could go to Washington and truly represent our interests.  

Also remember, each rank-and-file senator and representative earns $174,000 a year and enjoys liberal allowances for staff, travel and other amenities. Members of the leadership earn up to $225,000.

Republican Leader of the House, John Boehner

Republican Leader of the House, John Boehner

So, how are they doing? In a word:  Atrociously. And Congress has earned every bit of the contempt the citizenry now holds for them.

This 113th session of Congress has the highest disapproval rating ever recorded in the 30 years Gallup has polled American’s opinions. As of last month 83% of us disapproved of the job they are doing.

As the full effect of the humanitarian crisis at our southern border cried out for legislative action Congress went on a five week summer vacation. As Americas were learning the full extent of ISIS atrocities in the Middle East our “leaders” did nothing. As terrorists boldly beheaded an American with a camera rolling and took to the internet with a vow to kill more of us many members of Congress were busy raising money for their upcoming mid-term election campaigns. The rest of them? Well, Tra-la-la! it was time for them to get some R & R.

Relaxation from what, I ask? The House of Representatives did pass more than 356 bills, a majority of them with bipartisan support. But there they sit in the Senate with no action taken. If the two sides of Capitol Hill can’t figure out how to work together if does us no good. Ineffective governance helps no one but the politician drawing a paycheck.

Democratic Leader of the Senate, Harry Reid

Democratic Leader of the Senate, Harry Reid

There has been no definitive action to reverse the economically devastating trend of joblessness and under employment. The nation’s roads and bridges are in dire need of congressionally approved money to repair them. The tax code is a mess and few fully trust the IRS to be fair. Security concerns about the country’s power grid are disregarded. Obvious cost savings go ignored.

Here’s just one shocking example: Holding the 149 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay racks up an annual bill of $3 million — for each prisoner!  This year we taxpayers will foot the Gitmo bill to the tune of $443 million. Yes, I know there is an issue of national security involved but did you know 79 of the detainees have already been cleared for release? We just haven’t sent them away yet.

It is estimated we’ll spend up to $2 billion to house, feed, adjudicate and deport the Honduran, Guatemalan and Salvadoran migrants we allowed in over the last year. Thanks to the inaction of Congress, the list of money that should never have been needed goes on and on.

Our wallets continue to be raped to make up for the absence of any true political leadership. Our families go without to financially satisfy the federal government’s failures.

A Bastion of Inaction

A Bastion of Inaction

Where does the blame lie? With all of them, every member of Congress who fails to stand up and exclaim, “This is not right. The American people deserve better!”

It’s not a republican thing. It’s not a democratic thing – it’s a lack of leadership thing.

If you are the average American worker who gets two weeks vacation and all federal holidays off you spend 240 days on the job. This congress is scheduled to be in session just 133 days. That doesn’t, of course, count days the member might work in their home district.

In 8 weeks, the mid-term elections will give power back to us – the voters – if only for a day. When you step into the voting booth remember how hard you work to get your job done right. Demand no less from your lawmakers because they decide the direction of your future.

Voting on party lines or for sentimental reasons is a fool’s errand. Use the power of your vote wisely.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane Dimond September 8, 2014 at 12:48 pm

ABQ Journal Reader Ric Aragon writes:

“Ms. Dimond,

Obama is off the hook, I guess. What do you propose we do with the prisoners at Guantanamo? Release them to join ISIS? Make more 5-to-1 trades for deserters?

I have as much contempt for congress as you appear to, but they can’t push anything if the president refuses to sign it. The lack of leadership from the White House is appalling. You’re a crime reporter – why don’t you do a little investigative reporting on the IRS and Lois Lerner? The mainstream media actively avoids it. Now, there’s a crime. Please write a word or two about an Attorney General more interested in flacking for his president and pushing his personal agenda than enforcing the law. There are endless examples – should make a good column.

Regards

Reply

Diane Dimond September 8, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Dear Ric,

Since President Obama is not running for re-election in the upcoming mid-term elections I did not include the American public’s widely reported contempt for him. I stuck to those candidates who are actually up for re-election shortly. ~ DD

Reply

Diane Dimond September 8, 2014 at 12:53 pm

ABQ Journal Reader Terry Wilmont writes:

“Your article in today’s paper, “Congress’ failures earned contempt of voting public.”

How about something like this? May have to be tweaked a bit… but basically a very valuable and interesting concept:

“In ancient Athens, the world’s first democracy, they had a process called ostracism, where once a year the people could vote on the politician they thought was most destructive to the democratic process. The ‘winner’ was banished from Athens for 10 years.”

Reply

Diane Dimond September 8, 2014 at 12:59 pm

ABQ Journal Reader Mike Schoenfeld writes:

“Diane:
I read your article and it motivated me to send you what I wrote to The Tea Party last week. Your article reflects the real failings to our democratic way of life as two of our three branches have deteriorated to an irreparable point. The functionality within the third level is still ……..I’m not quite sure????

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN IN THE TEA PARTY;
I am a 70 year old individual who shares your organization’s anger and frustration about the turn of events during the last 6 years under Obama’s leadership.

However, in following the Tea Party’s initiatives from my emails, there is an omission to acknowledge that half of the ownership pertaining to today’s state of affairs belongs to another party.

At this stage in today’s crises, our situation has expanded beyond Obama being the PRIMARY cause. Our state of affairs has another undisclosed major villain whose participation now establishes Obama’s role as a byproduct enemy to this nation. This second participant “enables” Obama to spread like a cancerous disease throughout the country. His rise to power is nothing more than history repeating itself from the 1920-30’s in Germany. (See below web-sight)

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=rrjU-HBkmLE

The real destruction to democracy in our society is identified through the statement “I’ve met the enemy and the enemy is us”. (1) Congress (as a functioning body) and (2) the naive American people living in ignorance and complacency.

The fires in our modern day Rome have risen to the tune of Obama’s violin as the chains of events orchestrated under his leadership continue to unfold uncontested.

CONGRESS: The American people remaining rock solid and consistent in polling our Congressional leaders below 10% in “vote of confidence”.

Our Legislative branch continues to administer this country under a mission of self serving purposes, greed and denial to their own congressional obligations at the expense of our nation. Their perspectives in leadership (or lack there of) have evolved from serving the country to serving the party. This evolutionary mindset has resulted in an overwhelming neglect by them to fulfill their sworn responsibilities to serve and protect our country as guided by the Constitution.

By either ignoring or avoiding their oath of office, members in the Legislative Branch in government have relinquished their ownership to their inherited responsibilities. As a result, these members have basically defaulted the Legislative powers to the Executive branch. In essence, Obama’s ultimatum to congress is “LEAD (in my direction) – FOLLOW (by passing my bills) or GET OUT OF THE WAY” (ignore the transfer of powers from your branch to my office: ie: executive orders and actions; especially when Congress is adjourned).

Congressional impotency has permitted Obama to “seduced” or “bully” Congress into following all his irresponsible initiatives under the guise of “hope and change”.

In my limited understanding of history, the founding fathers constructed a 3 tiered government in order to establish checks and balances with power. This structure was to protect the integrity of our democracy from mismanagement by human fallibility. Unfortunately, our founding fathers had no conceivable notion as to how dysfunctional the human element could become in self-destroying their own country’s democracy.

Today’s gross negligence by members in Congress is vividly exhibited by the nation’s consistent polling held throughout the nation. As a result in their inability to carry out their legislative responsibilities, Congress is defaulting their powers and authority over to the Executive branch.

The critical problem in this subtle transfer of power is that it is not understood by the public and it goes unnoticed by the main stream media. The public’s focus remains excruciatingly on Obama’s destructive leadership while Congress gets a pass with their complicit participation by not doing their job to uphold the Constitution in keeping the executive office in check.

THE AMERICAN VOTERS:
The voting data indicates that 90% of Congress was reelected to return to office and to continue fanning the flames of this country’s demise. This result indicates that the American voters clearly reflect a majority in the population possessing a mindset full of ignorance and complacency. It becomes quite obvious by their short attention span that the populous forgets blood has been shed needlessly due to disasters created by this administration during the past two terms.

In closing, I believe the Tea Party’s energy should be devoted to fight the direction this nation is headed by creating a “Congressional witch hunt”. The public needs to be educated and informed because Obama’s leadership in office is maintained by the direct proportion of effectiveness from the Legislative branch doing their job. Congress MUST applying Constitutional standards in their decision making in order to protect democracy from dictatorial management.

Instead of being led to perform by a standard of “we have to pass a bill in order to read it” or “what difference does it make?!!!”, each member must be culled out of their sanctuary of anonymity and individually displayed in public as to whether their performances in office protects this country from enemies both foreign and “DOMESTIC”. Findings should then be publicly displayed back to their state’s constituents as to whether each member’s decision making is supporting or damaging the democratic way of life.

Mike Schoenfeld
Albuquerque, NM

I welcome your feedback as am not as articulate as to what you wrote but this frustrated angry guy (who is an Independent) would very much like to receive your input.

I’ve written to both Rand and Ron Paul and Ted Cruz but all I get are more requests for money!!!!

Reply

Diane Dimond September 8, 2014 at 1:03 pm

You’re absolutely correct on each point you raise, Mr. Schoenfeld.

The problem seems to be that our elected leaders are like cattle, blindly following the “rustlers” of their individual parties. Where have all the leaders gone?

When will the citizenry rise up and demand more for their money – and their country?

I have no answers to that. Thanks so much for writing.

Reply

Dave Hesse September 8, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Mike..I am an Independent, too, and I am 76..I once didn’t give a Tinker’s Damn about government activities..the last few years since 2000 have perked up my ears..you make some points, and dance about a very particular issue..the problem with our Congress is simple..they have to be reelected, and they are scared to death to do anything that might jeopardize their reelection..Their terms need to be limited just like the President’s.and that should also include the Supreme Court..

Reply

Dave Hesse September 8, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Diane..it’s hard for me to admit that I took issue with something you said once upon a time not long ago……you come so very close to my kind of thinking it is almost spooky!!

Reply

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