Saturday, January 14, 2006

Time to Take Action: Write Your Representatives

The following letter was written by the Founder and President of Vote Out Incumbents for Democracy or VOID. The letter provides a dramatic and forceful message to our congressional representatives that "we the people" have had enough of the corruption in Washington and are activating a movement to remove the incumbents unless we see substantive changes in behavior. Please look at the letter and use the content to write your own letter to your specific representative or senator. We have an opportunity as the voting public to get control of our government again. However, to do so, we must take action. Writing and calling your representatives is a start. The message must be forceful. Let them know that unless they change their behavior and become more transparent and representative of their consituents, they will get FIRED. Many thanks to David Remer, President of VOID for the content.

Here's the letter:

Dear Senator or Representative.

I have watched our government being sold to the highest bidder for decades. I have seen incumbents from both parties work tirelessly to preserve the legal graft and purchase of votes by wealthy donors and lobbyists, shutting out the voice of average American voters on issue after issue.

The scandals currently rocking D.C., you and I both know, represent only the tip of the ice berg where money influences legislation is concerned. We voters in America have an agenda we agree on by a huge multi-partisan majority. That agenda includes fiscal responsibility which will preserve prosperity for our children, roads to peace, not war, which increase the prospects of peace for our children, and freedom to conduct our lives responsibly in America without government intrusion, spying, and secret activities overseeing our private lives.

But this agenda of the American people of peace, prosperity and liberty is not backed by 100's of millions of dollars in annaul graft, and so it is an agenda you incumbents in Washington lose sight of. Enough is enough.

I have joined with other voters, Republicans, Democrats, Greens, Libertarians and independents who are all committed to voting out incumbents for as many election cycles as it takes in order to restore responsible government. To restore government that takes its direction from the average working Americans, and not the wealthy corporations, campaign donors, and special interest lobbyists is our goal.

We finally get it. The incumbents are preserving this corrupt system for themselves, and we are committed to addressing the problem at its source. So, you have a choice, change your bribed ways of legislating or face a growing tide of anti-incumbent voters who care less about party than they do about ending the legal and illegal influence of money over legislation.

We are not opposed to campaign contributions or lobbyists. We are opposed to the incumbents who permit those small numbers of wealthy contributors to trump the people's agenda for a prosperous, peaceful, and free future for our children. Our organization is called Vote Out Incumbents for Democracy and we are here to stay and grow throughout the country until you are gone from Congress or, change your ways of voting to work for our agenda instead of that of the special interests.

You have a difficult choice. Acknowledge the American people's agenda and fight for it in Congress, or we will continue in growing numbers to vote out incumbents until their replacements finally get it and work exclusively for our children's future, all of America's people in bi-partisan fashion, and against corruption and bribery both legal and illegal.

Here are actions on your part we will look for in the coming months.

* Create an Independent Ethics Commission to investigate congressional ethics misconduct by all parties.

* Prohibit Members of Congress and their staffs from accepting gifts from registered lobbyists. Ban all privately financed Congressional travel. If the trip is important enough for a Member to make, it is important enough to be publicly financed and let the people determine if their money was well spent or not.

* End the campaign money chase that is at the core of the current scandal and robs the people of their representatives time spent on the American people's common agenda, peace, prosperity, and liberty in America for Americans. Publicly-funded, clean election reform for congressional campaigns is critical to restoring responsibility by Congress to the voting public.

* Stop members of Congress and senior staff from immediately taking jobs as lobbyists once they leave public service. Install a 5 year ban on this practice to end the motivation for running for Congress in order to become a wealthy lobbyist. The American people don't elect their representatives to promote their bank accounts and financial status upon leaving office for a lucrative lobbying position.

* Real transparency and real-time reporting of lobbying contacts and real enforcement of disclosure rules by incumbents is required to get our votes in the future.

You have a decision to make: work for us, we the people, or continue to work for the highest bidders and contributors to your financial wealth. We are watching, and we will respond accordingly in 2006, 2008, 2010, and beyond if necessary.

Sincerely,

(Your Name), Active and informed Voter...


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Let's get busy folks, we have some housecleaning to do.


Let me know what you think.


Dennis

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Supporting VOID


On October 16th of last year a small, grass roots movement was started that could be the catalyst for change within our national electoral process. Vote Out Incumbents for Democracy, or VOID has been established with the purposes of supporting challengers to incumbents holding elective office. The general theme is that good government requires institutional change, and if that is to come about, then incumbents must be voted out. Incumbents, especially at the national level are reelected at about a 95% clip. Money and influence are the biggest weapons in the incumbents arsenal. If change is to occur, then the money and and influence has to be overcome by a greater force: The will of the electorate to force change through electing challengers that are focused on improving government for the general public.

VOID has been gaining attention over the last couple of months. Membership is growing and a efforts have begun to establish local chapters across the country. VOID has no political ideology other than good government. Check out the web site. I think you will find the movement, the ideas and people involved intriguing and compelling...

Let me know what you think.

Are We Ready to Deal With Iran?

On January 7th, Tehran announced that UN inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will arrive as early as Monday to break seals on Iran’s nuclear research facilities and to supervise Iran’s resumption of nuclear research and testing. Iran has claimed that the work on nuclear research will be focused on civilian and non-military activities. The United States and others have voiced concerns about Iran’s attempts to develop nuclear weapons.


It is hard to believe that Iran is being genuine in her claims. Iran has become more bellicose toward the west. Their president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a former mayor of Tehran has continually made incindiary statements about the West, making outlandish claims such as the Holocaust was a myth, Israel should be relocated to Europe, and more recently allegedly saying he wished that Ariel Sharon would die after hearing of the prime minister's stroke. Iran's internal policy has become more and more draconian . They have recently banned all western music on state run television and radio. The director of the University of Tehran, has recently been replaced by a muslim cleric.

President Ahmadinejad is extremely popular amongst the the Iranian people. He has assumed a very conservative posture with respect to religion in the country. His rhetoric is focused on identifying the West and in particular Israel as an enemy to Iran and its people. Now, as Iran elects to resume nuclear testing and research, it is also solidifying trade arrangements with Russia and China. Russia has agreed to sell Iran nuclear fuel to help build its civilian power generation facilties, and China signed deals for oil and natural gas importation worth over $100 billion.

The Untied States is of course very concerned with both Iran's belligerence and Russia and China's economic support of the country and seeming lack of concern of the Iranian government's poltical posturing. The U.S. has recently been pushing for a crisis vote to bring Iran before the UN Security Council for their decision to resume nuclear research and testing.

My question is this: What will we do regarding Iran? Diplomatic measures and pressure are being brought to bear from the US. Britain, France and Germany are also applying pressure to the Iranians in an effort to forego sanctions and cool down the simmering political climate. Should diplomacy be successful and Iran become more focused on joining the world community with respect to trade and development of diplomatic relations with the West, then we may be able to breathe easier.

The concern of course is if Iran doesn't ease tensions and continues the course of action that becomes more and more threatening. If they decide to develop nuclear weapons, then we have a whole new problem. Israel is looking very carefully at Iran's actions. Given their current situation within the government and who will succeed Sharon should the prime minister not return to work., would Israel take a preemptive action against Iran? What would be the impact of such an event?

Given our current situation with Iraq, our collective fatigue with military action and the existing level of distraction in Washington regarding the congressional scandals, it is necessary for the U.S. to develop a cogent policy toward Iran and obtain support from the American public. The President and his State Department must get in front of this and develop a message to the country that is constructive and more importantly, believable. Recent polling numbers show a growing distrust of the administration with regard to foreign policy decisions especially if they involve military action. That trend has to be reversed and the trust of the public must be regained. Iran is a legitimate threat to the west and has to be dealt with. Our efforts must be cautious, consistent, and aggressively focused on resolving our concerns with Iran quickly.

It will be a true test of our leadership in Washington to solve our issues wtih Iran diplomatically. Iran will not make it easy. Any solution will depend upon gaining support from the Russians and Chinese as well as the Europeans that are dealing with Iran as well.

I'd like to hear how you think we should handle our issues with Iran? Are you confident that the current administration can work through these issues? If not, does this have any affect on how you will vote during the mid-term elections in 2006?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Best Wishes for 2006

Happy New Year to everyone. I hope the new year provides happiness, safety and peace to all.