In Congress We Trust…Not

Responding to Questions & Clarifying a Few Points

I can’t believe it’s already been a week since my last op-ed piece, ‘In Congress We Trust…Not,’ was released. Where did the ‘week’ go?! Interestingly, the latest on torture and the Democrats who had known it all along and for too long has revived the e-mail spree with comments on relevancy or applicability of the piece. So, the piece is not completely dead yet, and it may not be too late to respond to a few points brought up by readers…

Most people got the irony of my quoting Senator Kerry, but some misunderstood and mistook me as an admirer of his:

For this piece I am going to break with tradition and start with an appropriate quote from a living current senator, John Kerry: “It’s a sad day when you have members of congress who are literally criminals go undisciplined by their colleagues. No wonder people look at Washington and know this city is broken.”

The main reason I quoted Kerry was to show the ‘hypocrisy’ of these politicians. The unwritten obvious there being ‘When was the last time you called for disciplining of a fellow corrupt or criminal congressman, Mr. Kerry.’ And, here, on record, no, I am not an admirer of Senator Kerry. Paleeeeze! Oh, and I am still not over that ‘Duck Hunting’ fiasco of his during the 2004 Campaign!

Some readers ‘couldn’t believe’ I was so naïve and or uninformed to have hoped for ‘real’ change via electing Obama.

Please read the corresponding paragraph:

I, like many others, believed that changing the congressional majority in 2006 was going to bring about some of the needed changes; the pursuit of accountability being one. We were proven wrong. In 2008, many genuinely bought in to the promise of change, and thus far, they’ve been let down.

As you can see, the first sentence includes ‘me.’ Yes- I was naïve or excessively optimistic (all right, let’s say it - even stupid to a degree) to entertain that hope for the 2006 congressional elections, but not for the 2008 Presidential Race. I did not vote for Mr. Obama. I went by his record, not by his ‘elegantly crafted’ words. Neither did I vote for McCain. Okay, that’s as far as I’ll go in terms of whom I did NOT vote for. Let’s leave it at that 😉

There are those who argued that it wasn’t fair to ‘write off’ President Obama’s change so soon, about 100 days or so into his presidency.

I understand their point, and I must say I envy their purity and optimism, but I differ. In fact, I can turn that ‘only 100 days’ logic and make the opposite point. If in a hundred days, give or take, he’s done so much to either continue (stay) or expand upon the previous administration’s abuses, how much more damage is he going to do in ‘(4 X 365)-100’ days?! I am talking about Obama not only continuing but actually expanding upon the State Secrets Privilege to gag and bury information; completely forgoing accountability on torture - first starting with the torturers, then the previous White House cabal, and now extending it to those who drafted it; sustaining the illegal NSA wiretapping; deciding to bring back the Bush style military commission…just don’t get me started on this. Currently I am working on my next piece, exactly on this particular point, so, more on this, soon.

A few, including a friend whom I admire a great deal, Coleen Rowley, thought that the emphasis on changing the representatives, “If we have Senators and Congressmen there that can't protect themselves against the evil temptations of lobbyists, we don't need to change our lobbies, we need to change our representatives.”---Will Rogers, should be accompanied by an emphasis on needed ‘systemic changes’ to help prevent the new-comers from succumbing to the same temptations and ending up in the same place many are today: in the pockets of this or that interest.

I wholeheartedly agree, but we must also make sure that we’ll go further than putting in place some Act(s), such as Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), or, passing some new lengthy laws with exceptions and loopholes galore in a myriad of footnotes…Without enforcement we will still end up in the same place. How do we come up with truly ‘independent’ bodies to oversee and investigate congress? Who will be given the power to enforce? Etc., etc., etc... For instance, take a look at those ‘Inspector General’ offices- they lack independence (report to the head of the department they oversee!), and they have ‘zero’ say over implementation of recommended changes, even if they had a certain degree of integrity…But do you know how it started? People got fed up with abuses, waste and fraud in Executive branch offices, and said: let’s pass some legislation, establish overseeing entities, and have a place where people can go and report wrongdoing/waste/fraud/abuse. And, they got it; all in theory: The Office of Inspector General (OIG). Did it solve anything? Forget about solving, did it even reduce the level of abuse/corruption? Sadly, the answer is NO. In fact, by giving that illusion, it completely wiped away any chance of real reform.

Let me know if you have other questions or comments regarding this piece.

As I mentioned I am currently working on a piece on ‘Change.’ You thought this piece was grim and depressing?! You ain’t seen nothin yet 😉 Who knows how long it will take, but I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, in the next few days, I’ll have a few posts you may find interesting and controversial.

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  1. I look forward to this piece. Change, unfortunately, is not what we got. What we got was merely cosmetic or a trimming round the edges.

  2. Sibel Edmonds says:

    First, good to have you here.

    ‘Cosmetic’: Excellent choice of word.

    And, glad to finally have a comment on this particular post!

    Hope to see you here regularly. You’ve been doing a good job out there actively ‘raising awareness.’

  3. eric zaetsch says:

    Pocket change?

  4. I love the blog title, a direct attack at one of Obama’s key slogans “Change we can believe in”; The keyword here is BELIEVE…change we can believe in, but not REAL change. I hated that slogan from the beginning, and it’s ripe now to be criticized. Keep up the fight, and don’t be discouraged. Arrest the banksters!

  5. jersey girl says:

    Sibel, it is an honor to be posting on your blog. Thank you for your honesty and bravery.

    Like you, the 2006 congress proved to me once and for all that there is only one political party and it's what I like to call the National Corporate Party of the U.S.

    Obama is is another front man for the powerful elite that control him. He showed us who he was BEFORE the election. A man who stood for more war, more wiretapping (fisa & patriot act) more pandering to AIPAC and banker bailouts. Anyone who is disappointed in his presidency so far apparently didn't believe his very words and actions before they voted for him.

    I too am worried about his next 100 days considering what he's done or hasn't done in the first.

  6. Your political honesty is a breath of fresh air, Sibel. The list of Obama’s terrible voting record — not even to mention the Afghanistan war! — made me cringe away from voting for Obama. I agreed with McCain 20%, Obama 40%, and independent Chuck Baldwin/Ron Paul 80% (though Nader is equally impressive). I think it’s obvious who won my vote 🙂

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