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In an article published in Townhall.

com, the author decries the level of corruption in
Congress, and attempts to explain it by a historical change in public funding from
being largely controlled by state and local government, to infrastructure project
monies now almost totally appropriated by the Federal Government.
The Attack of the Body Snatchers
In a classic 1956 film, Invasion of he Body Snatchers, normal people were
transformed into creatures without feelings, yet, in all other ways, indistinguishable
from normal human beings. This transformation occurred after being attacked by
alien creatures from outer space. These transformed humans could only be
recognized by a swelling on the back of the neck. This swelling resulted in naming
these captured, dehumanized individuals, the label, “Pod People,” who I’ll simply
call “PPs.”
We too, have our own very real PPs with whom we must contend. We call them
sociopaths , psy chopaths , or an ti- social p er sonal ities . It has been
estimated that from 1 to 4% of the U.S. Population is composed of sociopaths
(almost entirely males). While there are many behavioral variants, the sociopath is
recognized by his complete and total indifference to the effect of his actions on
other people.
“… characteristic of the psychopath are shallow emotions, the
utter absence of empathy, guilt, or remorse,
glibness/superficial charm, manipulativeness, inconsistency,
deceitfulness/lying and a grandiose sense of self-worth.
These very characteristics when coupled with high intelligence, a drive for success
and personal power, point this individual to a successful career as a religious leader,
business executive, elected official, or political appointee. Once having achieved
initial success, the PP is quick to ensure continued success. If a member of
Congress, he is reelected, becoming more secure and holding greater control in
each successive term in office. At the same time he builds layer upon layer of
protection allowing him to expand his predatory wealth and power building activity
with complete impunity from either detection or consequences.
Of course, every so often, their actions catch up with them. William Jefferson and
his money in the freezer, Ted Stevens and the current conflict of interest
investigations, Tom Delay, Mark Foley and the page boys – the list goes on and on.
Getting caught comes from a number of factors. In many instances, the scandal
simply was too egregious to keep hidden or be ignored. FBI or other agency
Informants often play a significant role.
This certainly was the case with Foley. He had been engaged in predatory behavior
directed at underage boys for many years, while posing as a protector of children by
sponsoring legislation designed to protect these same victims. When the scandal;
came to light, there was no surprise; his colleagues not only knew what he was up
to, but had covered up for him. The brotherhood of PPs take care of their own, but
this one got just away from them. Those who knew had to run from him to protect
themselves.
Consider your expectations when the results of the ’06 election came in. You
expected that there would be a change in course in Iraq, some beginnings of
limitation and control on the Bush/Cheney administration’s destruction of the
Constitution and the rights granted by it, efforts at stopping the endless corruption
in Congress. Have you seen any of progress on any of those things?
By no means is it to be inferred that all, or even a majority of Congress are PPs. Yet,
because they have, over time, achieved positions of leadership, power, control, and
influence, they systematically direct the legislative process to meet their own ends.
Because any efforts at reform ultimately would require the assent and approval of
these PPs, we have the classic problem of the “foxes guarding the chicken house.”
The Counterattack Begins
If reform cannot come from within, then how can it be accomplished? The solution
lies with a concerted effort to replace the PPs with decent human beings. To
accomplish this, several steps are essential to this process:
• Identify targets for removal
There are plenty of warning flags available which can separate the PPs from the
humans. One of the easiest way to do this is to look at the “Pork Score” achieved
by each of the suspects.
As but one example, an examination of one of the leaders of the Anti-War, Troop
Withdrawal movement, John Murtha, is well in the running for the “Pig of the
Year” award.
INDIANA, Pa. — In April 2004, Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.)
celebrated the groundbreaking for a gleaming new office
building here, designed around its anchor tenant, a Rockville,
Md.-based technology company called Aeptec Microsystems.
Mur tha pursued millions of dollars worth of legislative
earmarks for the company, and Aeptec's federal contracts
blossomed after it opened a branch in his district in 2001,
rising from about $13 million in 2000 to $45.6 million in 2003
and $33 million in 2004, according to fedspending.org, a
database of federal contracts. The company had been
represented by two lobbying firms with close ties to Mur tha :
KS A Consulting and the PMA Gr oup .
If we turn to the big Murtha campaign contributors, sure enough, PMA Group is
sitting in the 4th rank with a donation of $31,000 for the ’05-’06 election.
This is by no means the end of the Murtha pork story. Take a look at just some of
his recent activity with respect to Defense Appropriations earmarks.
In early August 2007, it was revealed that Rep. Murtha,
Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on
Defense, secured the most earmarked money in the FY2008
Defense Appropriations bill. According to the congressional
watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense, Murtha
garnered 48 earmarks totaling $150.5 million. Coming in
second was subcommittee ranking member Bill Young (R-Fla.),
with 52 earmarks totaling $117.2 million. The $459.6 billion
defense appropriations bill, which included an overall 1,337
earmarks, costing $3.07 billion, was expected to be considered
on the House floor on August 3. Despite those earmarks, the
measure still included less than half of the earmarks included
in the previous year's appropriations bill, in keeping with a
House commitment to reduce earmarking by 50 percent.
However, the earmark total only consisted of earmarks
disclosed by the committee, and many undisclosed earmarks
may still be present.
Murtha has also managed to get himself entangled in some very nasty scandals,
including the famous Abscam bribery deal with some “Arab Sheiks.”
Abscam was the FBI's operational name for its 1980 "Arab
Scam" sting. The sting was executed using FBI agents posing
as two fictitious sheiks seeking to bribe local, state and federal
officials and eventually netted the convictions of seven
members of Congress. Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) was
videotaped agreeing to help one of the sheiks in exchange for
an investment in his district and showed a willingness to
possibly accept money in the future, but took no bribe and was
not indicted in the scandal.
Murtha is known as a dealer of earmarks, trading earmarks for
votes on bills. On the floor of the House he occupies a corner,
known as the "Murtha corner", where minority Democrats
come to ask for earmarks and majority Republicans come to
ask for votes for their legislation. Murtha has delivered votes to
help Republicans block a number of Democratic initiatives: "to
investigate federal contracting fraud in Iraq, to reform lobbying
laws, to increase financing for flood control, to add $150
million for veterans' health care and job training, and to
exempt middle-class families from the alternative minimum
tax." Those who vote with Murtha have been rewarded with a
large supply of earmarks for their districts.[8]
In 1989 Murtha became chairman of the Defense
Appropriation Subcommittee. There he imposed new rules and
procedure that forced Defense appropriations bills to be
decided behind closed doors. The practice has continued since
Republicans took the majority in 1995.
Murtha’s history is prototypical of many of the 535 members of the House and
Senate. However pure the original motivation for candidacy, once having been
elected, the temptation to take advantage of the opportunities for corruption are
far too overwhelming to ignore.
• Removing the Pod People
Identifying the PPs is the easy part of the problem. Finding candidates with the
integrity, intelligence, and the ability to oppose incumbent members of Congress
in their respective party primaries presents an even greater challenge.
Regardless of party, the existing organization has every reason to support the
incumbent, especially one who has served multiple terms.
To successfully elect such candidates, it would seem the most effective point of
attack would be through the mechanism of Independent candidacies. While next
to impossible to mount a campaign at the presidential level, the localization of
state and district boundaries makes feasible an attempt to storm the barricades.
• Ending Party Control
Just what is it that support by either of the political parties brings? Two things;
money and endorsement. By far, money is the greatest element necessary to
win a party based election. In the past a major part of campaign expenditure
was directed at media buys, and organizing large public appearances. The Net,
with free video broadcasts available to candidates in many forms, an unlimited
opportunity for presentation of position statements, and interactive
communication between voters and candidates, money is no longer a barrier to
entry to a contested election.
Party endorsement and support has always been an essential requirement for
election. In years past party identification had value for the voter; it provided a
clear definition of political philosophy (the “Party Platform”), and offered
candidates vetted (in theory) to being individuals committed to the platform,
qualified to hold office, and demonstrated good character. That service may well
have had utility for the voter when he could only rely on the daily newspaper and
the 6 o’clock news for information about a candidate. Not so, today. Without a
consistent and coherent political philosophy nor reliable background information
regarding its proffered candidates, the party has nothing of value to offer its
voter membership.
The freshman Representative or Senator can best be seen as an indentured
servant to the party that sponsored him. He is expected to follow the dictates of
party leadership, with swift and certain denial of perks and opportunities certain
to follow, should he deviate from their issued marching orders. Support for party
legislative positions is a foregone conclusion. So too is the expectation of silence
regarding the corrupt activities of party elders. Perks awarded, withheld, or
removed can range from the location of office space to choice committee
assignments. The party is a major source of support in getting.
Clearly, the Independent faces none of these problems or temptations. He has
no primary campaign battles nor costs of any consequence. He can devote his
full attention to convincing voters that he will represent their needs. Campaign
costs, in the age of the Internet, will be orders of magnitude less than those
incurred in the traditional Media Buy/Crowd centered campaign.
Return of the Humans
There will be no instant solution to the entrenched corruption existing within
congress today. With but four Independents (two in the House, two in the Senate),
their overall influence on legislation is slight, at best. An incremental Independent
addition, built in election following election, seems certain to send a message to
incumbents that their perch, once far from the reach of the rest of us, is no longer
the secure nest once perceived. Instead, it should provide ample warning that the
Americans are coming to take back their stolen country.