(9:00AM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)
Might as well listen to the tacit assessments of a one ton hunk of tentacled protoplasm. At least they’re fairly intelligent creatures. Because you’ll never find out what’s really going on by heeding the corporate harlots squawking on the goggle box or the slatterns chattering from their Congressional cathouse where all the walls are papered green with lobbyist largess.
Elections have consequences we are told. Just check the box on your ballot with the capital ‘D’ beside it and change will be on the way. But when millions did just that in 2006 the Democrats immediately backtracked, telling us they didn’t really mean 2006 would be the start of something different. Because well, they couldn’t impeach the obviously criminal Republican in the bully pulpit because it would distract from all the important things that must be done, but because that same Republican president was still there they couldn’t pass anything he wouldn’t approve. So they spent their first two years in control of Congress rubber stamping the Bush agenda or simply doing nothing of substance at all. But all that would surely change in 2008 if we could just put a Democrat in the White House, maybe get a new Supreme or two, and then this nation would be altered like a Sunday school marm on an MDMA bender. This stodgy authoritarian gray dame of a country would be transformed into something fresh and new. We’d all get health care, better jobs, go green, stop the corruption and fraud, and end the wars that raged. There’d be shiny happy people everywhere. All the Whos would be singing and we’d all get roast beast.
At least that’s what they told us. But there must be a Republican dog catcher somewhere in Des Moines throwing a wrench in the works because things haven’t turned out that way with the Democrats in power and there are few signs of things getting better any time soon.
Take health care. We’ve seen this show before about 16 years ago when Bill Clinton took office with the promise of a progressive new system. But once the lobbyists and insurance companies had their say the only thing progressive about what we got was that it got progressively worse. And now the sequel starring Obama is looking a lot like the original. The carrot being dangled this time around is some vague public option and even that will likely fail if insurance lobbyists have their way again. Insurance companies were the only ones offered at seat at the table to discuss potential reforms at recent forums and when single payer advocates had the temerity to show up anyway they were arrested. Just yesterday Obama held a very Bush-like “town meeting” in front of a cherry picked audience and offered the same old claptrap that while single payer might be nice for some countries, we couldn’t have it here because so many already got private insurance through their employers. Of course he didn’t mention whether people actually liked that system nor did he mention that unless you’re a multimillionaire, the only options for most are to accept that system or go without. Guess it just wouldn’t do to go changing things now.
During the campaign season the Democrats gushed that if only we’d elect more of them, they’d begin to improve the lots of the unions and working class in this country by passing the Employee Free Choice Act tout de suite. But after the Chamber of Commerce and Wal Mart lobbyists trotted out their standard boilerplate about how working stiffs having two nickels to rub together would send us all down the road to perdition, Congress began watering down the proposed legislation to render it largely meaningless in the event they actually have to even vote on it at all. And now the EFCA is floating belly up.
On environmental issues, Congress had to let Old King Coal and the rest of the polluters put in their two cents and rather than simply requiring those who are fouling and desecrating the only planet we’ve got to stop, the best idea they can come up with is cap and trade legislation to allow polluters to trade carbon credits. As Congressman Lloyd Doggett mentioned the bill will likely make matters even worse than doing nothing at all because it reduces the enforcement authority of the EPA and exempts new coal plants from the regulations. It would also allow the Wall Street bankers to make billions by brokering deals for the carbon credits. But because it was so important to make sure the big energy companies got what they needed, Pelosi and the Democratic “leadership” actually took a break from their luau to go twist arms and make sure this bill passed. Even Doggett eventually got his mind to the political right and voted yes after some threats from the Obama administration.
The bailout boondoggle continues unabated and there are no signs that the fraud will stop any time soon. We are told that all this is for the collective good because anything less would cause the entire economy to crumble, but the banks continue to hoard the taxpayer cash they were handed while failing to loosen credit to jump start the economy which we had been assured was the purpose of the bailout in the first place. The financial system is rotten and yet no meaningful regulation is being proposed to keep another disaster from happening. And as people continue to struggle just to make ends meet, the Senate can’t muster enough votes to pass the cramdown legislation which would have made it easier for those struggling to keep their homes.
We were assured that the illegal wars started by Bush would be brought to a close but instead Obama and the Congress bill us with more Bushian off-budget war funding and an increased defense budget which included items even the Pentagon didn’t want just to keep the defense contractors happy. The conflict in Afghanistan has escalated and we’ve increased bombing in Pakistan. The situation in Iraq remains a disaster and as the talking heads twaddle about US troops leaving Iraqi cities this week they generally fail to mention the asterisk – there are still about the same number of US troops in the country as when the fiasco began although generals refuse to say exactly how many, and the government has changed the definition of what constitutes a city – and the asses of millions remain at risk in the Dis we have created in the desert.
However true all these inconvenient facts may be, merely listing the facts is not enough to wake the majority from their torpor. Or as Chris Hedges noted recently, the truth alone will not set you free. The oligarchs who rule this country have their own narrative they’d like you to hear and both the media juggernaut and craven government who do their bidding are more than willing to regurgitate it for them. What is needed is an entire alternative view of the world to counter the bushwa and bunkum we hear on a daily basis. Oratory that will put the powers that be on the defensive for a change. Rhetoric that rings true, that will awaken the populace until the arguments of the aristocracy are as discredited as the ether.
When citizens petition the government with grievances about health care or pollution or low wages or education or the waste of our belligerent wars it must be made clear that these are not simply special interests which can be discounted one by one because the overall welfare of a nation’s people is not a special interest. No more dividing and conquering. No more rigging the system to allow the already wealthy to fatten themselves further from the labor of the poor. We no longer have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people – the corporation has replaced the people as the object of all those prepositions and if that stands then the rest of us will be prone with our faces in the dirt. A line must be drawn so that no more will the few be able to enrich themselves at the expense of the rest of us. We need a William Jennings Bryan for the new millennium who will remind us that we’re all in this together, who will stand up on both feet and tell the CEOs and bankers and lobbyists and defense contractors You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.
But until that happens and the citizens of this country wake the hell up, expect the jackass party currently in charge to keep up their elephant talk in the hopes people won’t notice that amidst the constant palaver, nothing ever really changes.