Extortion: The United States Senate’s Newest Racket

American government has lost its designation as a representative democracy, and is turning into a racket where one man, or one party, dictates its will on the entire government, and apparently no-one is willing to stop the demise of democratic rule. Conservatives have hijacked our democracy by using lies, deceit, and extortion to control the government agenda and the American people.

Republicans obstruct Democrat’s legislation that regulates corporations and helps American people. They use filibusters and super-majorities to block bills that rein in unfair business and banking practices as well as to deny funding for social programs that benefit a majority of Americans.

There are individuals in the legislatures who block legislation by using extortion to control the outcome of a bill, or to make sure a bill doesn’t come up for debate or a vote. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is notorious for threatening to join Republicans if Democrats don’t adopt Republican proposals. Lieberman holds up Democrat’s legislation as a matter of course, and joined Republicans in blocking a bill that stopped job outsourcing. It is a mystery why Democrats allow him to sit on important committees.

There is a new extortionist in the Senate and although he is a Democrat, his allegiance seems closer to the Tea Party and ultra-conservative Republicans. Joe Manchin (D-WV) made a campaign ad (watch here) where he loaded a rifle and promised he would protect the 2nd Amendment, get the government off people’s backs, repeal bad parts of Obamacare, and kill cap and trade if he were elected to the Senate. Manchin resigned as Governor in West Virginia to replace Democrat Robert Byrd who recently died leaving an open Senate seat.

Manchin has ties to the mining industry and does not support environmental protections meant to maintain clean water in West Virginia. It is curious though, why Manchin’s campaign ad claimed he needed to protect the 2nd Amendment, or keep the government off of peoples’ backs. He may be a Democrat in name, but his campaign ads and statements are taken right out of Tea Party and Republican playbooks.

Before Manchin was sworn in as a Senator, Republicans tried to convince him to change parties and become a Republican.  Harry Reid had to assure Manchin that the cap and trade bill would not be pursued so he wouldn’t join Republicans. It is another case of extortion, and not the way Democracy is supposed to work.

There is much talk about compromise and bipartisanship from the Democrats, and the White House, but in the 21st Century American democracy, it is a fallacy and a joke. Republicans will not compromise on anything, and like Lieberman and Manchin, they will have it their way, or not at all. It doesn’t matter if they use the filibuster, super-majority rules, or the one-man blocking tactic; Republicans will not compromise.

Extortionist tactics are not limited to personal ideology or religious belief, which is outrageous in itself. Many obstructionists are working for special interest groups or corporate sponsors like the energy industry. If enough money is involved, one legislator, like Manchin, can block regulatory agencies like the EPA from protecting water sources and the environment. Manchin filed suit in West Virginia to stop the EPA from enforcing Federal clean water rules and other environmental protection issues to appease the mining industry.

If America continues on its course of corporate control of legislators, democracy is dead, and Democrats are as much at fault as Republicans. Democrats in the legislature and the White House have to stop bending to the will of one man or the government will continue being ineffective. The days of sitting down, debating, compromising, and working for the good of the country are gone, and it signals the undoing of American democracy.

Although Democrats had a majority in both houses, they allowed Republicans and individual representatives to halt legislation with impunity to the detriment of the American people. When they did pass legislation, they had to concede conservative’s demands that effectively killed important benefits to the people. It happened with health care reform, financial reform, and environmental protections.

Republicans and teabaggers complain of Democrat’s tyranny in forcing legislation down their throats, regardless that the democratic process means the majority rules. The real tyranny is the conservative ideology that there is only one course of action, and one man can dictate policy by using extortion or obstruction.

Democracy is dead in America, and corporatist Republicans and attention seeking Democrats are responsible for its demise. The idea of majority rule is a joke when the minority controls the government and it is shameful. It is time to mourn our lost Democracy, and time to fear the tyranny of a few extortionists and corporatist dictators; maybe it is time to leave America.

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