I just watched the Washington circus continue as members were gaveled in for the 114th session of the Congress of the United States. That’s our Congress. Our elected representatives. In the final analysis, we are responsible for this legislative mess.
I may be a political junkie, but so much of this, from Nancy Pelosi’s glowing remarks complimenting John Boehner, to Boehner kissing Pelosi on the cheek while he intermittently continued wiping his nose, is going to be such a theater of the absurd that I don’t know if I’ll be able to continue bearing witness to it for two full years.
Hunter Thompson might say something like, “What do you want? You’re already living in the land of the weird.”
How I miss Thompson. When confronted by this special kind of madness, seeking truth through exaggeration may be the only way to approach reality.
You doubt the scope and validity of my words? Consider the following-
The Speaker of the House, John Boehner, looks even darker than before. When he left for his Christmas vacation he was mostly orange. He has returned in mid-winter, looking like he’s trying to become African-American. A kind of Michael Jackson in reverse thing. I don’t know any other way to put it. He’s turning black. A couple of shades darker than George Hamilton ever was. Could it be Obama envy? If he comes back tomorrow wearing an afro, we’ll know for sure. Maybe he’s out to pen a 2015 version of “Black Like Me?” That’d be a trip.
Not sure if his new color has anything to do with it, but Boehner was broadly challenged for the speakership by his side’s Tea Party contingent, 25 of them, with Louie Gohmert of East Texas leading the charge. Gohmert, will be forever remember for his comments during a judiciary hearing into the Boston bombing, when he blurted out, “I cannot have a witness challenge my character! The attorney general will not cast aspersions on my asparagus!
And it only gets better. If that’s possible. House Majority Whip, Steve Scalise, is under attack for speaking at a white supremacist function in 2002. Scalise has apologized, but don’t look for anything smacking of a neo-Nazi hookup to just go away, particularly now that former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, is publicly defending Scalise, who replaced Eric Cantor, who was the highest ranking Jewish member of Congress before he resigned to take a high paying job with an investment banking firm. By one account, he’s now pulling down $3.4 million a year. But back to the Speaker.
Boehner the bronze survived the attack of the congressional newbies and Nancy Pelosi handed him the BIG gavel. He and his people are now in charge of both houses, where they can try and ram through the Keystone pipeline, eliminate the EPA, initiate further tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, move to privatize Medicare while they dream up even more ways to screw the nation’s elderly like cutting Social Security and SSDI while they build an even bigger fence at the border, eliminate the Affordable Care Act, women’s healthcare, Medicaid and food assistance for the poor, kill the US Postal Service by moving it lock, stock and letterhead into Staples, further deregulate Wall Street and anything else that might still be the least little bit regulated. Gotta eliminate anything that was put in place by TR and FDR for the many, as they continue on the path to transfer wealth to the relative few at the top.
Maybe they’ll outlaw asparagus.
Over on the Senate side, as the frighteningly intelligent Rachel Maddow points out in her blog, Mitch McConnell, is now taking credit for the economic turnaround, which would be okay, only he had nothing to do with it. Maddow points out that McConnell spent most of 2014 leading the “party of no” in the Senate while issuing regular complaints that the Obama Administration was preventing the nation from making an adequate economic recovery. He is now flipping on his position because he thinks it will be to his advantage to do so. And in the process, he’s flipping us off.
Buddhist belief teaches that a system that is out of balance, is a sick system. Our system continues to swing wildly from one politically- charged pole to another, drawn by the lust for power and a need for greed. Like General Sherman, recently Reaganized Capitalism continues its march to the sea, leaving a scorched-earth legacy in its wake. All the while, those at the top remain comfortably insulated by their wealth. Everybody else lives in fear, as they wait for their sick, broken, system to utterly and totally fail. Again. One last benefit of Reagonomics and the demon of deregulation it brought down on our heads, allowing Wall Street to run wild, crushing the American middle class and nearly causing an International depression. We have yet to recover from the madness. Except for Germany. For some reason they appear to be doing very well. That’s not the case for the rest of the EU, particularly poor little Greece, where the ongoing suffering is indisputable proof that austerity does not work. Denying people the currency they must have for a decent lifestyle, does not provide them with a decent lifestyle. It’s insane.
They told us it would all trickle down so nicely. They lied. Don’t expect the illusion to end anytime soon. Some of these people were borderline wacko before being elected.
President Obama, will make much ado about whipping out his pen and issuing vetoes against much, or maybe most, of what the Republicans want, while, at the same time, he quietly continues his push for what really matters to the uber-wealthy, the “Trans Pacific Partnership” trade deal. A pact that will impact us all. A deal that’s being cut in secret and will reportedly give even more power to corporations by allowing them to thumb their noses at the courts as they move ahead with the familiar tack of NAFTA and the WTO, both of which were heavily supported by Bill Clinton. Both of which helped kill American manufacturing, putting millions of Americans permanently out of work as jobs were sent to Mexico and overseas.
It was Clinton, who signed the bill killing Glass-Steagall in the last days of his second term, just before he publicly became buddies with the Bush family, as he sought support to build a legacy through his “Clinton Foundation.”
And now we have Mr. Obama. Like Clinton, he talks like a populist while inviting all those popular recording artists to the White House for the Gershwin Awards, but don’t be fooled. He remains a darling not of Main Street but of Wall Street. He has no choice. It was either that or risk being crushed like a bug by the most powerful monetary forces the nation has known since the days of “the great trust buster” Teddy Roosevelt. Obama, is to be sure, no Teddy Roosevelt. But that might be expecting too much of the country’s first black president. Being the first of anything is usually a real bitch. I have no idea how Mr. Obama, has managed to hold up under the strain. Like all of us, to a degree, he must go-along to get-along, while the middle class is all but eliminated. The game is rigged. Like so many others, he’s forced to play it by rules he never agreed to.
And the game goes on.
The run-up to 2016 will surge ahead with another Wall Street sweetheart, Hillary Clinton, leading the charge for the Dems. They’re all in bed together you know. The Bushies, the Clintons, the too-big-too-fail bankers, the oil billionaires in Texas and the CEO’s, who hire lobbyists to haul money over to the Hill in footlockers, ensuring they’ll have their way regardless of what the American people might want or need. Late word has it that even Liz Warren has sold out to the lobby representing the manufacturers of medical devices in Massachusetts, that she will now support defunding a big chunk of the Affordable Care Act by eliminating taxes on the medical device industry.
It could have been as simple as Warren being threatened by cuts in federal money flowing into her state if she refused to play ball on chopping Obamacare. And so she, like Obama and so many others, was trapped. Painted into a corner by a rigged system. She could either be blamed for a loss of jobs in her home state and face the threat of not being reelected, or go along to get along, and agree to defunding a big slice of Obamacare. One hand washes the other. I have no idea if this is the case, mind you. It’s just speculation. But what Warren has done is so out-of-character for her that something is surely going on. Pressure, is sure to have been applied at one point or another, and if they can get to a firebrand like Liz Warren, they can get to anybody. Except maybe for Ted Kennedy, who had enough money to thumb his nose at the political machine.
Like a true believer, I was looking for Elizabeth Warren to fill the void created by his passing. I should have known better.
I fear a great many American women will support Hillary Clinton, simply because she’s a woman. Just as black Americans supported Obama, because he’s half African-American. Like John Boehner now increasingly appears to be. Appearances can be so deceiving.
The new Congress is 92% Christian. If you’re a religious person this might be a good time to start praying.