Monday, September 22, 2014

Not One Red Cent from Me, Guys

Once, I confess, I opened my checkbook at every whimper of liberal lingo. I know better now, thanks primarily to Barack Obama.
Every day brings a flood of e-mail from Democratic candidates and fund-raisers telling me that disaster is just around the corner unless I give them money.  I consign their pleas to e-limbo without a murmur of compunction.
“Koch Brothers!” “Republican Senate!”  they shriek, the way Republicans howl “Benghazi!” and “Taxes!” A pox on all of them, say I.
What good, pray, has Democratic control of the Senate and the White House done for this floundering, sick, declining, hell-bent-for-war nation?  Democrats have not passed a meaningful piece of progressive legislation since the 1970s. The Constitution says only a simple majority is needed for passage in the Senate, just like the House. But the Democratic majority in the Senate has allowed the Republicans to pervert the filibuster to the extent that 60 votes are needed to accomplish anything. So much for democracy.
What about such liberal stalwarts as Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken, Bernie Sanders . . . Puh-LEEZE!
On July 17, the Senate showed its true colors, cowering to AIPAC and voting 100-0 for a resolution in support of Israel’s murderous carnage against women, children, schools and hospitals in Gaza.  The so-called “Warren wing” of the democratic party was part of that willfully blind 100.
The other progressive in my county joined me for lunch the other day.  “Must I resign myself,” he asked, “to a Republican Senate next year and a Republican White House in 2016?”
I replied as honestly as I could: “Probably.  So what?”
Here’s what: Most of the truly awful legislation that’s passing the House would also clear the Senate. Obama might have the gumption to veto some of the worst of them.  But these actions, like those that have taken place on the Washington stage for the last 13 years, will be just a puppet show for the corporate string-pullers who actually run the country. Our lives will continue to get worse.  Our infrastructure will continue to decay.  The common folk will continue to stagger under the burden of endless war. The Bill of  Rights will be a memory.  
All of this is happening now and will continue to happen after the November vote.  
Chris Hedges, one of the most clear-sighted visionaries still writing, had this to say Saturday at the big climate march in New York:
“Bill Clinton found that by doing corporate bidding he could get corporate money -- thus NAFTA, the destruction of our welfare system, the explosion of mass incarceration under the [1994] omnibus bill, the deregulation of the FCC, turning the airwaves over to a half dozen corporations, and the revoking of FDR's 1933 Glass-Seagal reform that had protected our banking system from speculators. Clinton, in exchange for corporate money, transformed the Democratic Party into the Republican Party. This was diabolically brilliant. It forced the Republican Party to shift so far to the right it became insane.”
Insane.  I hear the word ever more frequently these days. A writer friend noted the New York Times report today under the headline “U.S. ramps up major renewal of nuclear weapons." Our so-called leaders in Washington, he observed, “are insane.  Not just evil.  Insane.”
This ramping up would cost a trillion dollars or so. It would take place under the auspices of a president who was given the Nobel Peace Prize for making a couple of speeches, full of nice rhetorical flourishes, decrying nuclear proliferation.