The Hidden Truth of the Legislative Process

February 3, 2015

Washington D.C. (FCN)–  From childhood, we are told by teachers, politicians, military, and news anchors that the power and greatness of American democracy comes from the fairness and responsible nature of the legislative process. We are told elected officials are our political voices. They represent us. They represent our interests. We voted for them. We put them in office. They work for us. They empower the people. In theory, this is a wonderful system. However, like many theories, in practice it results in a very contradictory truth.

It was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt in 2000 and 2004 that a president could be elected without the consent of the citizenry. Legally, George W. Bush never won an election. In both cases, the other party conceded. This was the most colossal failure of Democracy ever witnessed by our country. Since then, a dangerous precedent of moral and political ambiguity has been set.

On December 4, 2014, Congress passed H. Res 758. This resolution, sponsored by Adam Kinzinger, [R-IL-16] “Condemns the continuing political, economic, and military agression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova and the continuing violation of their sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity.” It goes on to state the “…military intervention by the Russian Federation is in breach of its obligations under the United Nations Charter…and poses a threat to international peace.”

The hypocricy of these statements is astounding. According to factcheck.org, since Obama has taken office, the percentage of drone attacks in Pakistan and Yemen have increased by 665%. The Iraq Body Count Project states that the number of Iraqi casualties nearly doubled from 9742 in 2013 to 17073 in 2014. It also states that in 2015 there have already been 1640 reported casualties. That is nearly half of the the amount of the entire year of 2011 (4153). The year of the United States’ “withdrawl” from Iraq. With the United States’ storied history of perpetuating civil war in underdeveloped countries, (Nicaragua, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan etc.) pillaging them for their natural resources, and profiting from the sales of military expenditures used in these wars one has to wonder if the irony is completely lost on our leaders or is simply being ignored.

Berlin Wall

Berlin Wall

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last president of the Soviet Union, recently told Interfax, “Plainly speaking, the U.S. has already dragged us into a new Cold War, trying to openly implement its idea of triumphalism. What’s next? Unfortunately, I cannot be sure that the Cold War will not bring about a ‘hot’ one. I’m afraid [the United States] might take the risk.” Gorbachev himself was demonized by the Reagan administration during the 1980s. Those from that generation might remember growing up with a healthy fear of “Big Red Russia” and its nuclear arsenal. Gorbachev, however, once called for the complete disarming of all nuclear weapons at the Reykjavik Summit in 1986. Reagan, however, refused to end his “Star Wars Program” of space stations that generate an electromagnetic shield that disarms nuclear weapons while they’re still in the air.

President Obama recently remarked in his state of the union address, “In Ukraine, we stand for the principle that all people have the right to express themselves freely and peacefuly, and have a say in their country’s future.” Is that so? Well, Mr. Obama, you have, once again, used your own words against yourself.

Following the passage of H. Res 758, something much more frightening happened in Congress. On December 11, 2014, three members of congress passed H.R. 5859 using a little known loophole in the legislative process called “unanimous consent.” President Obama’s signature is on H.R. 5859. What is this bill and what is unanimous consent? Do not be embarassed if you do not know. I would wager that many Americans, both inside and outside of Congress, do not know either.

H.R. 5859 is also known by the democratic and patriotic moniker “The Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014.” The title is more than misleading. It is egregiously contradictory. This bill has both vague and specific language that is horrifying in its implications. You may read it in full here.

I will summarize the most disturbing portions. It santions Russia’s energy industry, defense industry, banking and investments, and its property aquisitions. It pledges provisions for privatization of Ukrainian infrastructure, electricity, oil and gas, and renewables using both World Bank and USAID funds. It pledges $350 million in defense aid to the Neo-Nazi paramilitary group that overthrew the democratically elected Victor Yanukovych. It pledges $30 million for brutal censorship initiatives of Ukranian tv, internet, and radio. It labels Russia, once again, as a nuclear threat to the U.S. and accuses it of violating international nuclear arms policies. It also demands immediate disarmament of Russia’s ground based missiles with a range of 300 to 3300 miles. Perhaps most disturbing is the proposed withdrawal by the U.S. from the INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty established in 1987. This could potentially allow the U.S. to regulate its own nuclear arms policy without interference from the U.N..

How could this blatantly antagonistic piece of warmongering legislation pass? As I said, it passed by means of “unanimous consent.” I will allow former congressman Dennis Kucinich to explain what “unanimous consent” is: “Under a parliamentary motion termed ‘unanimous consent,’ legislative rules can be suspended and any bill can be called up. If any member of Congress objects, the motion is blocked and the bill dies.”

This would mean that out of the 535 members of congress it would have only taken ONE of them to prevent this bill from being passed. How? How could not ONE of the 535 elected members of congress have the fortitude to say no to this disgusting bill that makes war a virtual certainty for the U.S.? Kucinich explains, “No one was watching for last-minute bills to be slipped through. Most of the House and the media had emptied out of the chambers after passage of the $1.1 trillion government spending package.”

No one objected because no one was paying attention. What a perfect example of the root cause of nearly all of the problems America is facing today. Our congress doesn’t care enough about the citizens that elected them to do their job. At all. Congress doesn’t read bills. It doesn’t know when bills are being passed. It doesn’t care that those are the most rudimentary requirements of its job. Imagine if you went to work at Mcdonald’s one day and said, “You know what? I am not going to cook these burgers today. That’s boring and it takes a long time.” Then you proceeded to do that every day when you came into work. You would be fired! No one would feel sympathy for you, either, because you REFUSED TO DO YOUR JOB.

Congressmen take money from corporate investors. They follow the guidelines these investors set for them. They spend their work days chasing sound bites and air time. They hold onto vague, baseline values of their partisan monikers to finagle votes out of us. They spend their time clinging to distraction tactic issues like marijuana, gay marriage, and abortion. They set the precedent that the rest of the country follows. If our government refuses to be informed or to care about relevant issues, chases celebrity status, controls us with lies, imprisons those that attempt to tell the truth, and solves problems with swift, brutal force, why shouldn’t we? After all, we elected them. They represent our values and interests, right? Citizens imitate government. Government imitates citizens. The convoluted nature of our political system has been corrupted so deeply, is so unfathomably ubiquitous that one cannot help but dread the future outcomes.

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