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An Open Letter to Congressman Michael C. Burgess

This went up on my blog a while back ... I think it was late April. But since it did not go to publication until today, I decided to build on what I had and include some more info, including source links. It is this week's Retort. Enjoy.

The Webster Retort
By Stephen Webster
Investigative Reporter
For: The News Connection, May 12, 2006

An Open Letter to Congressman Michael C. Burgess

Dear Congressman Burgess,

As you probably know, your constituents are going through a tough time. Gas prices have reached an insane level, and it only looks to get worse as the summer hums along. Likewise, energy prices are soaring, and the rolling blackouts will only continue while market deregulation is up for grabs this November. Arguably the largest voting block in this state, our Latino brothers and sisters, are getting fed up with the Republican rhetoric about how they are criminals, even if many did nothing wrong at all. Likewise, we have completely neglected our borders in this, a very unstable time.

Our workers - MY friends - who toil away hours upon hours, have lost their overtime pay protections, and you helped that happen. Our military reservists and National Guard members, nearly 40 percent of whom do not have health care, really needed that expansion of TRICARE, but you did not see fit to give it to them. And what was with that vote to cut federal student aid by $12.6 BILLION? One of my own siblings was thrown off the Pell Grant fund because of that. Not to make things personal, but family is family.

Looking over your list of contributors, one cannot help but wonder what it is like to enjoy the support of today’s Reigning Oligarchs. Corporations like TXU, AT&T, Pfizer and General Electric are not your constituents, nor do they represent the interests of any of those who reside in your district. Despite this, your War Chest is full of their dollars; your votes, seemingly directed by their financial interests. Perhaps that is why you have accepted nearly $60,000 from big drug industry interests since you began your political career. One only has to look at who you were most swayed by when it comes to the debate over Internet Neutrality: you supported the telecom giants in their effort to set up toll booths across our lines of communication. It is the People’s Internet, Congressman. Remember that. Should this bill pass the Senate, and our digital first amendment lies in pieces, we will be angry. Very angry. Rest assured.

Touting “Conservative Values” will get you only so far. Big talk requires bold action, yet you voted for the Bush Budget, which authorized the accumulation of the most debt in the history of all this nation’s presidents, combined. With the passage of this deceptive bill, we, the citizens, are responsible for paying in excess of $30,000 per person. And then, to top it all off, Bush altered the bill, adding more pork-barrel spending to it, AFTER it passed Congress. He signed it into law without the approval of your governing body. You do know that is a violation of the Constitution, right? Every sixth grader knows the process of how a bill becomes a law. You have remained silent despite this illegal action; a direct violation of everything this nation stands for. That is inexcusable.

You voted for President Bush’s “Medicare Part D” program, which caused over a dozen Governors in this nation to announce medical emergencies because so many people were unable to get their prescriptions. You do know that drug company lobbyists were the unnamed authors of that legislation, right? Should we assume that is why Pfizer gave you all that money? So they can keep hurting our seniors, then throw them a bone in the form of a “savings plan”? Artificially inflate the prices enough, and even a small break seems like relief. Our own Governor, Rick Perry - who I am not so fond of - did the right thing and sued the federal government over this treachery. But you just think it is the greatest thing since flan, or so it seems.

Did you know that Pfizer tested unapproved drugs on African children with brain infections? Read: 1996, Nigerian Government report, as relayed by The Washington Post on May 7, 2006. Or will you go along with that dying groupthink that the media is simply out to knock Republicans? Don’t believe the “Liberal Media,” they say. A nice tagline, sure, but you cannot govern while wearing blinders. Perhaps that is why it seems that reality simply does not play a role in your agenda. Many unsuspecting, helpless, innocent children died because of this criminal activity. But your colleagues are okay with letting them write our laws? And you voted for it? I’m almost at a loss, Congressman. Almost.

Certainly you are aware of the ethics rules surrounding donations to congressional campaigns. One time contributions of up to, but not exceeding, $1,000 are allowable. Why then, did you give Tom DeLay’s Congressional Committee not one, but two $2,000 donations? And then, ON THE SAME DAY, you kicked in an extra $5,000 for Tom DeLay’s “Legal Defense Trust.” I ask who, but a fellow Republican congressman, would trust Tom DeLay? Not saying a law was broken – that is up to the Justice Department to decide. But it sure doesn’t look good. Neither does that $1,000 donation you accepted from the now-jailed former Republican Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham. At least you picked up that $55,956 from the oil and gas industry, and that $15,000 from DeLay's "ARMPAC". I hope the money helped. It is nice to see good friends sharing so Liberally.

Don’t you know that DeLay lobbied on behalf of the child labor trade and the sex trade in theU.S. territory of Saipan? Don’t you know that his two former aids are close associates with Jack Abramoff? Your vote against strengthening U.S. House ethics rules in order to save DeLay’s seat of power will not be one that we, your constituents, will think upon with any kindness.

But let’s get to the core issues here, Doctor. Those who normally support you, in our beautiful corner of North Texas , are Christian. Those who mainline Republicans have duped through gay marriage prohibition and “sexy cheerleader” legislation now sit conflicted by the horrible war that you so adamantly support; their fiscal conservative impulses forgotten in your votes.

It is hard, really, to call abortion murder in a medical building, when you fail to do or say anything about the bombing of Iraqi children; or the use of Depleted Uranium that mutates Iraqi (and soon, American) newborns into terrifying effigies of nature run afoul; or the use of White Phosphorus, a chemical weapon, against the city of Falluja. And for the sake of common decency, let’s not go into detail on the unspeakable, homoerotic mechanisms of torture ordered by Bush’s Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfield. Oh, then there is that spying on millions of law-abiding Americans thing. And the lack of response to the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina. I could go on and on. Pro-Life, this Congress is not.

Why do you continue to be a rubber stamp for this immorality and incompetence? What happened to Conservative Republicans? Was that “family values’ platform really just a sham? Like a wolf in sheep's clothing. I must wonder, where did our free thinkers go? What happened to Representative democracy? Why did you melt it down to make jewlery for your corporate backers? Say it ain't so, Mikey! Say it ain't so!

Please forgive me if I’m mistaken, but Christians follow the teachings of Christ, right? So, bear with me for a moment while I recall what many consider Christ at his most political. Let us dig up a few key passages from The Sermon on the Mount, shall we? Allow me to paraphrase from the New King James version …

“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy."

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God."

"You shall not commit murder. But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. LOVE YOUR ENEMIES.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. You cannot serve God and wealth. In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the law of the prophets. Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

“Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell – and great was its fall.”

Be aware, Congressman. The rainy season has only just begun.


A Studious Constituent

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