Not only does the average American not fully understand the contents of legislation proposed by Congressional members, members of the House and Senate do not either. But sometimes they do. A spending bill to keep the government running was recently passed by Congress. Hidden within the 1,603 pages was an inclusion which basically pronounces any campaign reform dead. Other than politicians, the remainder of working class Americans believe reform is drastically needed; now it has been defeated.
Soon an individual will be allowed to increase the amount of money they can donate to the Democratic or Republican Party from $32,400 to $324,000. In addition, a married couple could donate as much as $1.3 million over a two year period to help pay for convention costs. Virtually all of the provisions of the 2002 Feingold-McCain campaign reform act have been reversed.
Naturally Speaker of the House John Boehner defended the provision; he is first and foremost a professional politician, and for him and his cronies, ‘the more money they better.’
A bill which should have passed in February of this year sadly failed.
When we are at war, (which is most of the time), our government continually thanks our veterans for all they have done for their country. When they come home, or for short periods of time when our nation is not involved in a war, they are forgotten and discarded as Congress removes support for them and their families.
A Veteran’s Benefits Bill was before Congress in February of this year. It would have cared for our postwar veterans. Health care benefits would have been extended for hundreds of thousands men and women returning from battle. It would have provided family planning aid to those injured in battle, and offer caregiver support to families from all U.S. wars.
During debates, Republicans moved the discussion away from the primary subject and into speeches about the Affordable Care Act, Benghazi, and sanctions on Iran.
Independent Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont led the fight for veterans. His primary foe was Republican Senator Richard Burr from North Carolina. He called it fiscally irresponsible to pass the bill which would have cost $21 billion. Sanders reminded him that he and his party voted to give a $3 trillion tax break to the wealthiest two percent of Americans. The bill failed.
Another issue which had hidden benefits for local, state and federal governments, is the ‘war on drugs.’ Several pieces of legislation added funds to law enforcement’s coffers, but a hidden proviso added much, much more.
Included in laws were forfeiture clauses, and through a period of more than six years those laws widened greatly. When suspected drug dealers were arrested and convicted for any level of crime, their possessions were confiscated by law enforcement and sold at auction. Even if the conviction was overturned, the suspect lost everything.
Today, with provisions of the ‘Patriot Act’ removing the fourth amendment from our Constitution, police can seize assets for a variety of reasons; and they don’t have to be for a serious crime. Valuable items in plain sight when a normal traffic stop occurs can be confiscated ‘if the officer feels threatened.’
If the general public believes that the war beginning within our nation is only between blacks and the police, they would be wrong. The battle has begun; it is now a war between the working class, our government, and the authorities who protect them.
By James Turnage