Our representative, Vern Buchanan, has reached out to his constituents through his commentary in the Bradenton Herald and through meetings open to the public, as well as his online Instapols.
I recommend participation in the Instapols as a way of giving Rep. Buchanan a snapshot on how we constituents are thinking about a number of timely issues that concern the Congress.
One has to take into consideration that the Instapol questions are formulated in a manner that is designed to provide Rep. Buchanan with support for his views.
For example, in a recent Instapol he uses the term "government regulation" to describe the recent FCC ruling on the Internet, but avoids mentioning the alternative, which would be corporate regulation, and instead describes the alternative as Internet freedom.
Similarly, in his description of the Trans Pacific trade deal under negotiation, he overlooks the problem brought out by Sen. Warren in this quote from her recent article in the Washington Post: "This isn't a partisan issue. Conservatives who believe in U.S. sovereignty should be outraged that ISDS would shift power from American courts, whose authority is derived from our Constitution, to unaccountable international tribunals. Libertarians should be offended that ISDS effectively would offer a free taxpayer subsidy to countries with weak legal systems. And progressives should oppose ISDS because it would allow big multinationals to weaken labor and environmental rules.
"Giving foreign corporations special rights to challenge our laws outside of our legal system would be a bad deal. If a final TPP agreement includes Investor-State Dispute Settlement, the only winners will be multinational corporations."
Sen. Warren points out that ISDS would put American taxpayers on the hook for potentially huge damages decreed by the international courts, staffed by international corporate-friendly lawyers.