Friday, November 5, 2010

The midterm election results got you down? Don't worry. It's not important. We were all screwed decades ago


R. Congress

Fueled by unlimited corporate money and various pockets of "tea party" nitwits, the Repubs took back the house, some senate seats and a lot of governorships and state legislatures. Now they can re-gerrymander the congressional districts for 2012 and steal votes in the presidential election, what else is new?

Is this some new rightward plunge? Is tea bag tyranny on the march? Is it a Wall Street takeover?

Nope. Wall Street and corporate America took over long ago. Elections are commodities to be bought and sold. In 2008 the financial elite bought more into Obama. This year they purchased a different product.

Its important to look at the political and economic trajectory of the USA over the last 50 years (it's possible to go back farther,but does it matter?). Year after year income inequality has grown as industry was shut down and/or went overseas and high paying working class jobs disappeared, leading to the shrinkage of union membership from a high of 35% in the 1950s to something less than 12% (and most of that in government services). Even though only 35% of the workforce was organized during the peak years of the AFL-CIO, it forced many employers to offer higher wages and benefits just to keep the unions out.

The share of taxes paid by the rich and big business has gone down. Surveys show a decline in social mobility. All in all the standard of living is lower than decades ago and is getting lower and the amount of wealth concentrated in a few hands is staggering.

What social gains that were made from the FDR great depression era and LBJ's Great Society of the 1960s have been or are being dismantled, despite the alleged bold national health care plan which greatly benefits insurance companies, and include cuts in Medicare. The new legislation that attempts to reinstate some regulation of Wall Street is half-baked and easily evaded. But it does create the illusion that Obama and the Democrats are looking out for the little guy.

there's more: The infrastructure has been allowed to collapse. Privatizations schemes which rip off the public and give no benefit for their fake "services" are promoted: For profit prisons, youth detention camps, mercenaries disguised as "security firms" operate (as we know) in Iraq, Afghanistan, in this country, and who knows where else.

Now the threat of destroying public education for all and replacing it with for profit schools (both "charter" or otherwise) is taking real form and gaining ground. Arne Duncan, Obama's Secty. of Education is part of the privatization crowd. He and Obama have chimed in on the latest sport of blaming everything on the teacher's unions.

The huge enrichment and the extreme predatory nature of the banks was enabled by both Democratic and Republican administrations. The Clinton White House enacted neo-liberal domestic financial and international trade policies. These policies are exactly the same as the Republican policies of deregulation and anything goes capitalism. And why not? Since any strong organized labor movement has been wiped out, where else can Democrats raise money but from banks and corporations? George W, son of George H W, just expanded on what Clinton had begun. They are both complicit in the 2008 crash. Obama has staffed his administration with Clintonian free market idiots and he's going to find us a way forward?

The political spectrum has moved steadily rightward. Obama, a timid centrists and pro-business politician is branded as a flaming bolshevik. Anything resembling decent pro people policies has become marginal. The chances of a progressive electoral movement getting anywhere are less than nothing.

The whole system is rigged anyway. Democracy? It's getting marginalized. Our antiquated and openly corrupt electoral system bends everything rightward. States with a population of 432 people and 10,000 cattle have the same two votes in the senate as New York or California? When Eugene V. Debs ran as the Socialist candidate fro president in 1912 he called for the abolition of the US Senate for good reason (he got 6% of the popular vote). Popular sovereignty? Fuggedaboudit! We have the electoral college and gerrymandered electoral districts.

Both parties have initiated and carried out a regular chipping away of democratic rights in terms of government spying on citizens involved in legal political activities. The war on terror has accelerated this trend so that now habeus corpus is nearly dead, anyone can be designated an enemy combatant and jailed indefinitely on secret or no evidence. Obama has had the Atty. Gen.Holder uphold Bush's illegal Guantanamo prison, renditions, and other anti-democratic policies. The FBI is starting to intimidate and threaten people engaged in peaceful protest against our multiple wars (take your pick Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, etc). These are all Obama's policies now.

Of course since the end of WW II the USA has become a militarized national security state (see Gore Vidal as well as Noam Chomsky) with military bases around the world, a thriving arms industry and an intention to police the world or die trying (or have other people die). Learn anything from Vietnam? Yes. Abolish the draft to reduce the chance of protests. Repeat Vietnam? Certainly. Let's just use more technology, psy-ops, and propaganda.

Did you notice that the wars of the USA and it's continued backing of Israeli theft of Palestinian land and ethnic cleansing was not an issue in the Midterm elections? Some of us thought Obama was supposed to be against these wars, or so he said before the 2008 elections. Oops! guess he lied.

While all of the above has been happening there have been Republicans and Democrats in the White House, the House and Senate has been run in turn by both parties. Both of them are complicit in the transfer of wealth from the majority to a handful of stupendously rich individuals, banks and corporations. Both are complicit in the USA wars of imperial dominance (and "collateral damage" ie. mass murder in Vietnam, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan etc etc...did I forget the invasion of Panama by Geo. H. W. Bush. they only killed a thousand or so. for what reason no one can remember). Then there are killings and oppression by proxy, Nicaraguan contras, death squads in El Salvador and Guatemala, military and economic aid to Apartheid South Africa, and Apartheid Israel. and on and on.

What's my point? For the last 50 years everything has been going to hell. The rich get richer. Everyone else gets poorer, real democracy declines, corruption is now public policy, America is the world's warmonger state and low income youth are the cannon fodder. With no jobs, many "volunteer" because of lack of options. The Democrats are just as responsible for all of this as the Republicans,

There is no choice here. Why fool yourself? If you are in sympathy with the Palestinian's fight for basic human rights, or you want us to get out of Iraq, Afghanistan, et al. If you are worried about basic democratic rights, or oppose racism, then Obama is no more your friend than man-tan Boehner from Cincinnati.


  1. I imagine you at the computer, fingers flying, jaw clenching, enraged at, frustrated by, or, at least, resigned to the depressing state of things here in the good old US of A.
    Buddy, I'm right there with you.

  2. The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Elections wouldn’t be about winning states. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. Every voter, everywhere would be politically relevant, equal, counted for, and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.

    The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes–that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president. It does not abolish the Electoral College, which would need a constitutional amendment, and could be stopped by states with as little as 3% of the U.S. population. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action, without federal constitutional amendments.

    The bill has been endorsed or voted for by 1,922 state legislators (in 50 states) who have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong in virtually every state, partisan, and demographic group surveyed in recent polls.

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in Arkansas (6), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), The District of Columbia (3), Maine (4), Michigan (17), Nevada (5), New Mexico (5), New York (31), North Carolina (15), and Oregon (7), and both houses in California (55), Colorado (9), Hawaii (4), Illinois (21), New Jersey (15), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (12), Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), and Washington (11). The bill has been enacted by the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington. These seven states possess 76 electoral votes — 28% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.


  3. "Jaws clenched?" No. I'm more like laid back & relaxed. Cynicism is more of a tranquillizer.