Ending the Charade, a new ethos in Washington
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Democrats To Take Control of Senate (guru)..
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 13:21:11 -0500
From: Roy Beavers <email@example.com>
Organization: EMF-L List
To: guru <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This column is a joy to write today. Why?? Because my opportunities to PRAISE the political decision of a Washington politician are so rare as to force me to admit (on the spur of the moment) that I cannot ever remember doing so before. Surely I must have -- but I honestly can't remember it......
Senator Jefford's decision to become an "Independent" and to vote with the Democrats for purposes of organizing the Senate -- however -- presents a genuine opportunity to say "something nice" about an American politician.
I also believe that it is GOOD NEWS for the cause of getting the truth about EMF health hazards to the American people ... and to the world.
That will occur, I think, not so much because the Democrats will gain control of the Senate (they are no more to be trusted than the Republicans), but rather because a new political ethos (integrity) has suddenly appeared in Washington. And Senator Jeffords is the man who has introduced it!!!
Anyone who watched the Senator from Vermont's announcement -- as I did on CNN -- must have realized that his decision was motivated by one major factor above all others: the need to live comfortably with his own conscience!!!
In a word, he finally admitted to himself ... that the political party which had been the party of his father and ancestors, the party which he had served for nearly thirty years on behalf of his Vermont constituency, was no longer a party that he could continue to serve in good conscience.
After much personal soul searching, he had come to realize that the agenda, goals and ideology, of the George W. Bush Administration and the Trent Lott-led Senate were NOT the agenda which he was comfortable with ... and which, in his opinion, DO NOT represent the best course for America to take.
His comments expanded in some detail about which issues he had in mind: environmental and energy policy (He is likely to become Chairman of that Senate committee.); passage of the Campaign Finance legislation (The McCain-Feingold bill, which the White House and Trent Lott are still attempting to kill -- in spite of its passage in both houses of congress.) The future make-up of the Supreme Court and other federal judicial appointments..... The list was longer; HMO and health care legislation, a higher minimum wage, etc. (See the article below.)
Senator Jefford's statement made it clear that the sum total of his discomfort with the direction of the 'Bush-Trent Lott Republicans' would not allow him to continue the charade of being a member of a party which he had served so loyally for more than thirty years, but which no longer was true to the principles he believed in.
I think it is not really very important to answer the question: "who" or "what" had changed, Jeffords or the party, to bring about this discomforting dichotomy?
What IS important is to recognize how REAL it was in his mind ... and (I submit), indeed, how REAL IT IS TODAY IN THE MINDS OF MANY REPUBLICANS and "INDEPENDENTS" alike.....!!!
Many of us -- who are not really Democrats (Certainly not Clinton Democrats!!) -- consider that there is no place for us today in America's two-party system...... Neither of our parties is pursuing an agenda that is important to US.....
The Republican obsession with the tax issue, for example. That is/was an important item for the ten or fifteen percent at the TOP of America's wealth heap (or heap of wealth, if you prefer). They may care about an end to the inheritance tax -- do you??? Do you think that those at the top of the "heap" really need that tax break -- or deserve it??? Or would not more Americans be better served by a substantial and genuine increase in the minimum wage???!!!
How about the de-regulation of the electric industry? A concept embraced by both the Clinton White House and the Republicans? Who do you think is going to benefit from that? Hint. It starts with "General." ..General Electric, etc., and on down "the line" (electric line, that is) from there.
So it is with all the "deregulations" that are so prominent in the agenda of the George W. Bush Republican party. (And which were obviously so troubling to Senator Jeffords.) The "deregulation" agenda item is aimed directly at the thin veneer of protective environmental legislation that has been created over the past 30 years since Richard Nixon (of all people) presided over the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency. "Dubya", on the other hand, makes no secret of his intention to DISMANTLE most all of the environmental regulations that he can.......!!!
I could go on in listing the dichotomy of goals that has come about in recent years on the American political scene ... between what MOST of the people want, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, what the TWO political parties want. (Because the Democrats are just about as bad as the Republicans in my mind.)
But, that is not my real goal here.... My goal is to suggest that this dichotomy has come about:
BECAUSE THE TWO MAJOR PARTIES ARE CATERING TO THEIR CONSTITUENCIES....
AND THEIR CONSTITUENCIES ARE NOT "THE PEOPLE" ... AS YOU MIGHT ASSUME.
THEIR CONSTITUENCIES ARE THE BIG $$$$$$$ SPENDERS WHO CONSTITUTE, IN FACT, AMERICA'S RULING OLIGARCHY -- THE VERY WEALTHY AND THE BIG $$$$$$$ CORPORATIONS -- WHO ENJOY THEIR OLIGARCHIC STATUS BECAUSE OF THE WAY AMERICA'S POLITICIANS (and THE PARTIES) ARE FUNDED........
George "Dubya" was PICKED for the Presidency by the oligarchy and GIVEN some $70 million $$$$$$$ BEFORE EVEN ONE CITIZEN IN AMERICA HAD CAST A SINGLE VOTE IN ANY PRIMARY!!!! After that start, he was unbeatable. Even candidate Elizabeth Dole (a Republican) acknowledged as much...... ("Dubya" is surely fulfilling his obligation to those who coughed up the $70 million. THEY will get their money's worth..... Al Gore, who lost, was given half as much ... by virtually the same oligarchy.)
To my readers, I ask: examine carefully the reality of the American political alternatives today. Examine the "agendas" of the two parties. And use exactly the same process (and conscience) that Senator Jeffords used!!! Ask yourself -- are they working on MY agenda or the agenda of their BIG $$$$$$$ contributors......
Do you not find that YOU, too, share a close affinity with Senator Jefford's feelings, his dilemma, his decision!!! I do........!!!
Neither one of our two major parties represent the aspirations of the vast majority of Americans today. They are representing the aspirations of those who PAY THEM ... to put it bluntly.....
If you want a different kind of system. A different choice. Or set of choices. If you want political parties that care more about YOUR agenda and not so much about the agenda of BIG $$$$$$ corporations, then you must demand change. Demand that America must change!! The method of funding America's political parties and political campaigns ... must change.....
America, too, like Jeffords, must stop living that charade of having to pretend that we are something we are not.
America, too, must stop the charade of pretending to be "democratic." Our campaign funding laws -- the wide open and unrestrained role of $$$$$$$ in our political system -- have allowed us to become oligarchic. We can no longer pretend that we are "democratic."
Like Jeffords, we will feel a whole lot better and we will start to do something about it -- when we admit the reality of our present situation.
Cheerio......(Good article below about the Jeffords decision.)
Roy Beavers (EMFguru)
It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.....
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
........Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
In two-thousand four, follow your heart... That's John McCain and Dick Gephardt!!!
Democrats Take Control of Senate
Updated: Thu, May 24 10:37 AM EDT
By LARRY MARGASAK, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - In a seismic shift of power, Democrats gained control of the Senate for the first time since 1994 when Vermont Sen. James Jeffords abandoned the Republican Party and declared himself an independent Thursday.
He said he found himself increasingly at odds with President Bush and Republican leaders on issues from abortion and education to tax cuts. He said it had become difficult in recent months for Bush and other party leaders "to deal with me and for me to deal with them."
"Looking ahead, I can see more and more instances in which I will disagree with the president on fundamental issues," Jeffords told a news conference in Burlington, Vt.
Jeffords' move not only cost Republicans the fragile control they held over a 50-50 Senate but also the ability to move Bush's agenda through Congess and ratify his judicial nominees.
The 67-year senator said he promised Bush not to make the switch effective until Congress sends the White House a $1.35 trillion tax cut over 11 years. The Senate passed the measure Tuesday and a compromise with a House version could win approval as early as Friday.
In an attempt to keep Jeffords in the party, Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott had promised more money for Jeffords' favored education programs and a waiver of term limits to let him remain chairman of the Education Committee beyond the end of next year.
But Democrats also dangled offers, including the chairmanship of the Environment and Public Works Committee.
With Jeffords' move, Democratic proposals on health care, education, the minimum wage and other issues will now move to the forefront in the Senate. South Dakota Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle will replace Lott as majority leader and Democrats will take all the committee chairmanships away from Republicans, except for the newly independent Jeffords as head of Enviornment and Public Works.
Jeffords' announcement sent a wave of jubilation through the ranks of Democrats. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the party's whip, encountered Sen. Patty Murray of Washington just outside the Senate chamber. "Congratulations," she said with a smile. He replied with a hug.
Republican senators marched somberly into a closed-door meeting - and political uncertainty. "We need to take some inventory here," said Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, "...and maybe make some adjustments."
The impact of Jeffords' switch was unprecedented, the situation on the Senate floor no less so. Never before in the nation's history has control of the Senate changed parties other than through an election.
"It's not only just chairmanships. It's staff, the country, the presidency. We're not just talking about a singular moment," said Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, a moderate and close friend of Jeffords.
"This isn't about a single Senate seat," said Sen. Robert Torricelli, D-N.J. "It's about controlling the legislative agenda ... and it's about the federal judiciary. This is an enormous shift of influence in the federal government."
Sen. Dick Lugar, R-Ind., one of the GOP veterans who tried to keep Jeffords a Republican, said the Vermonter thought about his decision with a sense of history and urgency in mind.
"He was thinking ... about the effects upon the country, the Senate and governance in this country," Lugar said. And he was "probably reflecting on 20 years of public life in which he has felt many rebuffs and much disappointment."
With Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota leading a Democratic majority, the party could thwart Bush's conservative judicial nominees, including future selections for the Supreme Court that could affect generations of Americans.
Democrats would become committee chairmen, controlling the pipeline of legislation moving to the full Senate.
Jeffords' loss also would be a defeat for Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, who began the year and this week as majority leader.
Lott defended Jeffords several years ago when conservatives upset with his liberal voting habits wanted to replace him as chairman of a Senate committee.
"This is a significant embarrassment for Lott, partly because he and Jeffords were good friends," said Norman Ornstein, a political analyst with the American Enterprise Institute.
The blame game began among Republicans as soon as it became clear that Jeffords' unhappiness with his party's move to the right became an immediate crisis.
"We have no one to blame but ourselves," said GOP consultant John Weaver, who clashed with the Bush team as a presidential campaign adviser to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., said the attempts to persuade Jeffords to remain in the fold "were a little late in coming."
GOP sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said top White House adviser Karen Hughes conducted a conference call with congressional GOP aides Wednesday, telling them the White House wouldn't be pointing fingers of blame, and she hoped they wouldn't either.
Jeffords' relations with the White House have been strained for weeks. He backed reductions in Bush's original 10-year, $1.6 trillion tax cut in favor of increasing federal support for education.
He was among the moderates of both parties who advocated changing Bush's proposal, so that more of tax cut would go to Americans with more moderate incomes. With those changes made, Jeffords voted with the majority Wednesday in the 62-38 Senate passage of an 11-year, $1.35 trillion tax relief package.
Jeffords also let it be known he was unhappy not to be invited to a teacher of the year ceremony at the White House following his earlier vote on the Bush tax plan. The recipient was from Vermont, and he is chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
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