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District work period? Yeah, right

By DOUG THOMPSON
August 5, 2010

August is a month-long vacation for Congress along with a lot of others who are part of “official” Washington.

Members of Congress always leave town in early August for the annual Congressional recess.

Oops. Wrong name. Some years ago, Congress changed the name of recesses to “district work periods.”

That name is supposed to give us the impression that those wallowing in the excesses of the public trough are actually working for a living.

Ain’t happening. This is an election year so most members are back in the district running for re-election. If this was an “off year” or the year between elections, many of them would be roaming the globe on taxpayer-supported congressional “codels,” which is a fancy name for “junket.”

Any way you cut it, the average member of Congress has it made. The 535 elected officials who make up the House and Senate live large at our expense. Each of them earns $174,000 a year — a salary that is nearly $100,000 above the current U.S. median household income of $70,354 a year.

They get taxpayer subsidized health care, park for free at Washington area airports, can’t be given traffic tickets when Congress in in session, dine out often with lobbyists picking up the tab and all too often use taxpayer funds to supplement their already outrageous income.

From the time they arrive in Washington, members of Congress are taught that they are part of a “special” and “privileged” class. They work out for free in taxpayer supported gyms, get free prescription drugs from a Congressional physician who usually hands out the drugs without an exam or question and enjoy numerous other “perks” of office.

They use their staffs to run personal errands, eat for free in the House and Senate restaurants by claiming that even lunch with constituents are charged off as “meals with constituents” and tell staff members to work full time to obtain “speaking gigs” with at expensive resorts.

When they go back to their districts, they often drive cars that are billed to their office accounts as “mobile district offices” and charge their campaign accounts for clothes and other personal items.

Once in a while, those who abuse the system to excess — like Charlie Rangel or Maxine Waters — get caught and may receive a slap on the wrist but — for the most part — they get away with living large at our expense.

Congress is a cesspool of crooks, thieves and con artists.

“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself,” Mark Twain once said.

He also said: “It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.”

Case closed.

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13 Responses to District work period? Yeah, right

  1. Carl Nemo

    August 5, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    I’ll keep my reply simple. Thanks for nailin’ this cabal of crimpols for what they are; I.E., simply parasites posing as useful members of the community and our nation. I feel refreshed. Thanks. : )

    Carl Nemo **==

  2. woody188

    August 6, 2010 at 10:09 am

    I’d say Congress should be doing “stay-cations” but I fear that would only give them the opportunity to screw things up more.

  3. Lillibet

    August 7, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    What would happen if Congress had to work for a living?

    Would they declare it slavery and go back to their despoliating ways? One 24 hour news cycle, and they might pull it off, with the cooperation of the MSM and their flocks of lobbyists.

    Would they label such a change a New American Revolution, declare themselves patriots and find a way to make it all just the way it is now?

    Would they quit and allow real representatives into the “club” of DC?

    I know which option I would vote for. Throw the bums out. Give us real representation, enforcement of our laws as written and elimination of special interests.

    At the same time, toss out the false idea that ‘corporations are equal to if not more equal than people.’ The whole premise is based upon a clerks summary note, and not upon any actual wording or finding of the Supreme Court, from nearly 100 years ago, the many railroad cases that started us on this crooked path elevating the fictional to the status of the real.

    While we’re at it, could we fix elections so that they aren’t quite so fixed? If you know what I mean.

  4. Jim0001

    August 8, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Time to propose the 28th amendment to the Constitution which should read something like:
    “Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States .”
    The only way these crooks can stop their annual pay raises it to propose voting against them.
    Hypothetically, if we added the 28th, We should modify the 14th and require parents be here legally. We should eliminate the 16th (our government is broke and they are making me the same way-pouring good money after bad). The 17th should go back before 1912 and require the six year slugs (AKA senators) to be elected by state legislatures. And if we dumped the 12th we could get rid of the Electoral college.
    In most cases, I think the original ten were sound and did not add to the creation of our D.C. ruling class.

  5. DejaVuAllOver

    August 9, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Sometimes Republicans actually make sense. If they weren’t so trigger happy and in love with our (Israel’s) wars, I might actually vote for some of ‘em.

  6. Howard Hirsch

    August 10, 2010 at 12:37 am

    I would gladly join in the grousefest (as I have innumerable times before) but what’s the point? The bottom line is always the same. The public gets screwed so what else is new. We’re complaining that the foxes who are supposed to guard the hen house isn’t doing it’s job? This is not news and hasn’t been for freaking decades. So I decline to grouse along with Mitch because it serves absolutely no purpose that I can see. What is the public supposed to do about it? Vote out the scum that are there and replace them with yet more scum? Well we try that every election cycle and the more things change, the more they stay the same. So, again, what is the point?

    What we’re talking about is a human condition that will be the end of us all – disgusting, sickening greed. You’re going to change that by complaining about government? Hardly. This human race as we know it is OVER! It’s still walking around much like a worm cut in two but it’s really dead. I’ve seen this coming decades ago so there’s no surprise here. Every time I write my congressperson or call their office on the phone to bitch about what they’re doing or not doing, the only thing it does is raise my blood pressure and the intended recipients never hear it anyway so what is the point. The writing, my friends, is on the wall but too many people see it as a forgery to pay any goddamned attention. I probably won’t live to see this great nation collapse under it’s own weight but the youngsters starting out will. That makes me sad. What irritates the crap out of me is that most can see what’s happening and do nothing about it. Well, good night and good luck. We, as a society, deserve everything we get because we let it happen. So who’s the real bad guy here? You tell me.

    I read an interesting article by Steven Hawking who insists that the only way humankind can survive is by leaving this planet (presumably for greener pastures). And that’s going to accomplish what exactly? Spread the sickness of humanity to other planets to pillage their resources and survive another couple of hundred years? This man lacks a basic fundamental understanding of human nature – the one that says mankind hasn’t changed all that much since we came down from the trees and left the caves. We merely dress better and pretend civility (and not very well). I don’t know what it’s going to take to turn this world around but I do know that complaining about it definitely won’t do a damned thing.

    • Carl Nemo

      August 10, 2010 at 1:01 am

      I share your pain and despair Howard Hirsch. Your indictment of “greed” as being linked to the root cause of our societal failure is spot-on. Greed is simply an ugly side of those traits linked to animal survival. We too being such; ie., rational animals, therefore greed is simply an overly compensated variant of the “territorial imperative” linked to survival of the fittest. More is better, no…? Our animal instincts know such. We’ll each survive at the expense of our fellows at any cost or better yet cost plus.

      Take heart. In 100,000 years or less, it will be difficult for future archeologists; if any, can find a trace to our times in the sediment strata.
      Mother Earth has a superb recycling system; ie., wind, water, uplifting of continents and mighty eruptions. : ) Yes, we shall perish as a species or have a die-off/killback to extinction levels found just 70,000 years ago in Africa with an estimated 100 breeding pairs that are our long distant, direct ancestors and parents of our modern, species specific, self-destructive paradigm. The beat goes on…!

      No Virginia…we aren’t going to the stars. : |

      Carl Nemo **==

    • Almandine

      August 10, 2010 at 1:20 pm

      You’re correct Howard about the political morass and the endless reelection of pols who have gone over to the dark side. Merely replacing those who are vulnerable to outside challenge will never work to change things; replacing those who have become the embodiment of corruption – thru years of (backroom) dealings with the oligarchical class – is essentially impossible at this point. Matt Taibbi clarifies the problem with his current Rolling Stone article:

      http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/188551

      The notion, however, that it is all because of universal “greed” is a gross oversimplification. Even in the rest of your post, you allow as how most folks see the “writing on the wall” as a forgery… failed to gain credence. You write, “What irritates the crap out of me is that most can see what’s happening and do nothing about it.” The implication must be that most folks are NOT greedy, merely stupid.

      Having studied the Bilderbergs, CFR, Trilateral commission, Neocons, etc. – that is, The Oligarchs – Our Oligarchs – for a long time now, several conclusions can be made. A couple involve their own positions of well being, as well as their (collective) vision for the – our – future. First, of course, they (individually) intend to continue and expand their own well being (which is the goal of each one of us)… the necessary first step in weilding enough clout to make the vision happen. Second, they intend to erect a social order by which that goal can be attained in perpetuity for themselves and their progeny – using the process of institutionalized world harmony (operationally defined collectivism) as the mechanism by which to get it done. But what price harmony?

      That, of course, is the rub… their vision(s) of well being, world harmony, and what it takes to achieve those goals are not necessarily what I – or probably you – have in mind. They would decide what is best for mankind and how to achieve it. They would decide the long term future of mankind… which also means the short and intermediate term. They would substitute theire ambitions and values in place of yours and mine, leaving us to flounder without individual direction and purpose of our own. We become cogs in the statist machine… humans in name only. That one trait we possess alone, above all other species… the ability to form rational thought… reason, as it were, is rendered useless and anachronistic.

      As an example, take health care and the goal of universal treatment, which is a wonderful proposition. But, what does it take to get there from here? An enforced vision with a lot of disharmony along the way. A first issue is, do you want to sacrifice your well being (financially and socially) to set it up in perpetuity for those without it, even the young folks you spoke about? Is the proposed way of getting the system put in place the best way? Assuming for argument that it is, should you be forced to substitute their well being for your own? Is your life less valuable than theirs? Is that your chosen purpose? Who decides? The oligarchs or the pols you railed about earlier?

      At peril of wasting my own reason here by suggesting an alternative… peril only because many have already made up their minds about the “greed issue” and what it means… I offer the following counter-argument on how best to leverage the rationality and good deeds of ourselves and our fellow humans. The argument is not new, but it is worthy of engagement and study. It is also the only argument that honors us humans for who we are and what we’re capable of with regard to providing for and nurturing each other. And… it’s not about politics or political labels.

      http://mises.org/resources/1086/Liberalism-In-the-Classical-Tradition

      • griff

        August 14, 2010 at 9:09 am

        Well said.

  7. Jay S

    August 10, 2010 at 2:49 am

    Someone dumped a huge amount of LSD in the world water and this is the result.

    • griff

      August 14, 2010 at 9:08 am

      Damn, where can I get some of that water?

  8. Keith

    August 14, 2010 at 8:15 am

    As Gideon J. Tucker once said, “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.”

    I say, let the bastards STAY on their “district work periods”….PERMANENTLY!

  9. Almandine

    August 14, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    Yep… same as the masthead. Hopefully Gideon’s more serious about it.