Confessions of a congressman

These “secrets” are not all that secret. Unfortunately, they are pretty common and complained about on the www, but it’s refreshing to hear it from one of the horses’ mouths.

Confessions of a congressman
9 secrets from the inside

by “A Member of Congress” on July 12, 2015

I am a member of Congress. I’m not going to tell you from where, or from which party. But I serve, and I am honored to serve. I serve with good people (and some less good ones), and we try to do our best.

It’s a frustrating, even disillusioning job. The public pretty much hates us. Congress polls lower than Richard Nixon during Watergate, traffic jams, or the Canadian alt-rock band Nickelback. So the public knows something is wrong. But they often don’t know exactly what is wrong. And sometimes, the things they think will fix Congress — like making us come home every weekend — actually break it further.

So here are some things I wish the voters knew about the people elected to represent them.

1) Congress is not out of touch with folks back home…

Congress is only a part-time job in Washington, DC. An hour after the last vote, almost everyone is on the airplane home. Congress votes fewer than 100 days a year, spending the rest of the time back home where we pander to their constituents’ short-term interests, not the long-term good of the nation. Anyone who is closer to your district than you are will replace you. Incumbents stick to their districts like Velcro.

2) Congress listens best to money…

It is more lucrative to pander to big donors than to regular citizens. Campaigns are so expensive that the average member needs a million-dollar war chest every two years and spends 50 percent to 75 percent of their term in office raising money. Think about that. You’re paying us to do a job, and we’re spending that time you’re paying us asking rich people and corporations to give us money so we can run ads convincing you to keep paying us to do this job. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that money is speech and corporations are people, the mega-rich have been handed free loudspeakers. Their voices, even out-of-state voices, are drowning out the desperate whispers of ordinary Americans.

3) Almost everyone in Congress loves gerrymandering…

Without crooked districts, most members of Congress probably would not have been elected. According to the Cook Political Report, only about 90 of the 435 seats in Congress are “swing” seats that can be won by either political party. In other words, 345 seats are safe Republican or Democratic seats. Both parties like it that way. So that’s what elections are like today: rather than the voters choosing us, we choose the voters. The only threat a lot of us incumbents face is in the primaries, where someone even more extreme than we are can turn out the vote among an even smaller, more self-selected group of partisans.

4) You have no secret ballot anymore…

The only way political parties can successfully gerrymander is by knowing how you vote. Both parties have destroyed your privacy at the polling booth. Thanks to election rolls, we don’t know exactly whom you voted for, but we get pretty damn close. We know exactly which primaries and general elections you have voted in, and since there are so few realistic candidates in most elections, down or up ballot, we might as well know exactly who you voted for. Marry that data with magazine subscriptions, the kind of car you drive, and all sorts of other easily available consumer information that we’ve figured out how to use to map your political preferences, and we can gerrymander and target subdivisions, houses — even double beds. Republicans want the male vote; Democrats the female vote.

5) We don’t have a Congress but a parliament…

Over the last several decades, party loyalty has increased to near-unanimity. If a member of Congress doesn’t vote with his or her party 99 percent of the time, he’s considered unreliable and excluded from party decision-making. Gone are the days when you were expected to vote your conscience and your district, the true job of a congressperson. Parliaments only work because they have a prime minister who can get things done. We have a parliament without any ability to take executive action. We should not be surprised we are gridlocked.

6) Congressional committees are a waste of time…

With parliamentary voting, control is centralized in each party’s leadership. Almost every major decision is made by the Speaker or Minority Leader, not by committees. They feel it is vital to party success to have a national “message” that is usually poll-driven, not substantive. So why develop any expertise as a committee member if your decisions will only be overridden by party leadership? Why try to get on a good committee if you have already ceded authority to your unelected, unaccountable party leaders? The result is members routinely don’t show up at committee hearings, or if they do show up, it’s only to ask a few questions and leave. A lot of members fight for committees that will help them raise money or get a sweet lobbying job later (more on that in a minute). The result is that the engine for informed lawmaking is broken.

7) Congress is a stepping-stone to lobbying…

Congress is no longer a destination but a journey. Committee assignments are mainly valuable as part of the interview process for a far more lucrative job as a K Street lobbyist. You are considered naïve if you are not currying favor with wealthy corporations under your jurisdiction. It’s become routine to see members of Congress drop their seat in Congress like a hot rock when a particularly lush vacancy opens up. The revolving door is spinning every day. Special interests deplete Congress of its best talent.

8) The best people don’t run for Congress…

Smart people figured this out years ago and decided to pursue careers other than running for Congress. The thought of living in a fishbowl with 30-second attack ads has made Congress repulsive to spouses and families. The idea of spending half your life begging rich people you don’t know for money turns off all reasonable, self-respecting people. That, plus lower pay than a first-year graduate of a top law school, means that Congress, like most federal agencies, is not attracting the best and the brightest in America.

9) Congress is still necessary to save America, and cynics aren’t helping…

Discouragement is for wimps. We aren’t going to change the Constitution, so we need to make the system we have work. We are still, despite our shortcomings, the most successful experiment in self-government in history. Our greatest strength is our ability to bounce back from mistakes like we are making today. Get over your nostalgia: Congress has never been more than a sausage factory. The point here isn’t to make us something we’re not. The point is to get us to make sausage again. But for that to happen, the people have to rise up and demand better.

Read this and many more interesting first person stories at Vox

Neuroplasticity Redefines Our Understanding of the Brain

As many of you know, ThoughtCrimeRadio, the show, and this site began as a compassionate response to the circumcision of infant boys. While reading this article (there’s more at Dr. Mercola’s website), please keep in mind, when you get to the information about autism, that boys develop autism four to five times as often as girls… and you might consider the loss of a foreskin a source of “phantom pain”, similar to the phantom pain generated by the loss of a limb. Tens of thousands of nerve endings are lost – tossed into the trash (or into the “sell to tissue handling companies for big bucks” bucket) and the big shock of the circumcision procedure to the child’s mind – the trauma of it – might explain some of the phenomena associated with what they call “hyperplasticity”:

“With excess connections and hyperactivity, the brain cannot function properly and intrusive thoughts, obsessions, ritualistic, and other abnormal behaviors may result.”

Someone already exposed to trauma – whether hospital birth trauma or circumcision or both and the assault of pushing heavy metals and other toxins into what is designed to be a pristine blood system… assault upon assault. No wonder our children are suffering.

The high incidence of male autism certainly deserves at least a thorough statistical analysis. Whose birth was “induced”; surgical (cesarean); were clamps or vacuum used? Whose mother smoked, drank, used drugs (street drugs and/or pharmaceutical drugs, including birthing drugs)? Who was subjected to premature cord clamping, blood transfusions, oxygen tent, etc? Who was breastfed and who was not? Who was circumcised and who was not? A little bit of number juggling might give us an indication of what is really going on with modern medical birthing procedures, early childhood vaccines and with circumcision.

The Dark Side of Neuroplasticity: Mind Your Moods

As phenomenal as neuroplasticity is, the effects are not always positive — plasticity actually presents a disadvantage in certain situations. Consider what happens in the brain of someone suffering from phantom limb pain. When a limb is amputated, brain neurons become “confused” and must reorganize, which sometimes results in “miswiring” as the brain misinterprets sensory data as it struggles to communicate with the missing limb.

The film features one phantom limb patient for whom facial sensations invaded recently vacated areas of his brain that had been receiving sensations from his amputated hand.

Your brain contains neural “maps,” and your facial map is adjacent to your hand map. This gentleman’s facial map had invaded his hand map — so touching his face generated sensations in his phantom hand. Unfortunately, touch sensations can present as pain. The good news is that the plasticity of the brain allows it to be tricked or manipulated into change. The hand amputee was able to get pain relief with the help of visual illusions that changed how his brain was interpreting sensory signals.

As mentioned earlier, you can deliberately reshape your neural pathways with your thoughts, feelings, and experiences — real or imagined. Neuroplasticity means that your habits can rewire your brain, favorably or unfavorably. For example, a negative outlook on life, depression, anxiety, or chronic pain can actually rewire your neural pathways in a way that makes those conditions more likely to continue.8 If you want to lose it, don’t use it! One excellent tool for reversing unfavorable neural pathways is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).

Stanford University Professor Robert Sapolsky has shown that stress is associated with neural degeneration.9 His research shows that long-term stressful life experiences cause elevated cortisol production, which results in the shrinking of your hippocampus. The hippocampus is one of the few regions of your brain capable of producing new neurons (neurogenesis).

Autism May Reflect Brain Hyperplasticity

Some scientists now believe autism may be a function of abnormal “hyperplasticity” in the brain. With excess connections and hyperactivity, the brain cannot function properly and intrusive thoughts, obsessions, ritualistic, and other abnormal behaviors may result…

Major Discovery — Your Brain and Immune System Are Physically Linked

It’s increasingly clear that your brain, gut, and immune system are intricately connected.

Read more at Neuroplasticity Redefines Our Understanding of the Brain

NSA Doc Reveals ISIS Leader Al-Baghdadi is U.S., British and Israeli Intelligence Asset

Editor’s note: The validity of the document mentioned below cannot be verified due to the exclusivity of the Snowden cache. Cryptome sent a letter to various sources in possession of the documents, including The New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, Barton Gellman, Laura Poitrias, Glenn Greenwald, ACLU, EFF and others demanding an accounting. The allegation about ISIS and al-Baghdadi, however, pairs up with other information demonstrating ISIS is an intelligence asset.

According to a document recently released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, now the Islamic State, is an intelligence asset.

The NSA document reveals the United States, Israel, and Britain are responsible for the creation of ISIS.

Earlier this month Nabil Na’eem, the founder of the Islamic Democratic Jihad Party and former top al-Qaeda commander, told the Beirut-based pan-Arab TV station al-Maydeen all current al-Qaeda affiliates, including ISIS, work for the CIA.

ISIS is a well-armed and trained terrorist group now in control of large areas of Iraq and Syria.

The NSA document states the group was established by U.S., British and Israeli intelligence as part of a strategy dubbed “the hornet’s nest” to draw Islamic militants from around the world to Syria.

Prior Evidence of al-Baghdadi Link to Intelligence and Military

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “took intensive military training for a whole year in the hands of Mossad, besides courses in theology and the art of speech,” the documents explain, according to Gulf Daily News, a Bahrainian source.

In June a Jordanian official told Aaron Klein of WorldNetDaily ISIS members were trained in 2012 by U.S. instructors working at a secret base in Jordan. In 2012 it was reported the U.S., Turkey and Jordan were running a training base for the Syrian rebels in the Jordanian town of Safawi.

Corporate media has added weight to myth of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, repeatedly exposed as an intelligence asset.

Al-Baghdadi was reportedly a “civilian internee” at Camp Bucca, a U.S. military detention facility near Umm Qasr, Iraq. James Skylar Gerrond, a former U.S. Air Force security forces officer and a compound commander at Camp Bucca in 2006 and 2007, said earlier this month the camp “created a pressure cooker for extremism.”

“Circumstantial evidence suggests that al-Baghdadi may have been mind-controlled while held prisoner by the US military in Iraq,” writes Dr. Kevin Barrett.

Creating a Fake Terror Threat

The hornet’s nest strategy was designed to create the perception that Israel is threatened by an enemy near its borders.

According to the personal diary of former Israeli prime minister Moshe Sharett, however, Israel never took seriously an Arab or Muslim threat to its national security.

“Sharett’s diary reveals in explicit language that the Israeli political and military leadership never believed in any Arab danger to Israel,” writes Ralph Schoenman. “They sought to maneuver and force the Arab states into military confrontations which the Zionist leadership were certain of winning so Israel could carry out the destabilization of Arab regimes and the planned occupation of additional territory.”

In 1982 Oded Yinon, an Israeli journalist with links to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, wrote The Zionist Plan for the Middle East.

The white paper proposed “that all the Arab states should be broken down, by Israel, into small units” and the “dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run.”

The destruction of the Arab and Muslim states, Yinon suggested, would be accomplished from within by exploiting their internal religious and ethnic tensions.

For more background see our ISIS and the Plan to Balkanize the Middle East.

http://www.infowars.com/nsa-doc-reveals-isis-leader-al-baghdadi-is-u-s-british-and-israeli-intelligence-asset/