As Criminals Debate ‘We the People’ Beg for Small Change
No one spills out our destructive and self-destructive collective political reality -- moral surreality -- as passionately and penetratingly as Vietnamese American writer Linh Dinh. In his article “Voting For Death”:
America, you have become a nation of enablers and apologists for tyranny and mass murder. ...
... as another joke election nears, they’re [US leading intellectuals] all gung ho about candidates who back illegal wars and banking frauds, since each is supposedly the lesser of two evils.
An American election, then, is basically a rigged referendum for this thoroughly corrupt and murderous system, and simply by voting, you will give it the green light to go on killing and looting. Every four years, we’re railroaded into sanctioning endless war and bottomless corruption. If disappointed, we’re then steered by our brainwashing and dumbing down media to a near clone of our current rapist.
The Good Old Party spooks the upper and middle classes by threatening, If you don’t vote for us, the Dems will take your hard-earned cash and give it to the freeloaders, crackheads and other miscellaneous losers, while the Democrats, in turn, scare the lower rungs by snarling, If you don’t vote for us, the Republicans will let your retired, diapered ass rot under a bridge, on a piece of cardboard, but lordy, lordy, lordy, it is already happening, but let us not sweat the details.
It is fitting that as our most important vote has become nearly meaningless, we’re offered myriad opportunities to vote for all sorts of irrelevant acts and personalities, from singing oafs to dancing buffoons, to steroid-charged sluggers. Americans have never voted so much for so little.
Each party paints the other as the greater evil, though both are equally whorish to a military banking complex that has wrought so much grief and destruction worldwide, including here. As they offshore your job, they may toss you a free cell phone or allow you to wed your same sex lover, but isn’t time, seriously, we demand that our money be spent responsibly, for our benefits? But no, we can only beg for small change, instead of real ones, and must vote, again, for proven liars and criminals, and hope, against all evidence, that they won’t impale us this time. So how does it feel to have so much evil, deceit and betrayal hardening through the entire length of your being? But what’s worst about this is that you yourself have allowed it to happen, have enabled it, if only symbolically, by voting for one of the two parties that are pro war and pro corruption.
Dinh calls us out for having a “rogue government” and passively going with the flow -- more like rocky rapids -- of its profoundly corrupt status quo course. He calls us out as residents of one of the most despised countries on the planet. How most of the rest of the world sees us Americans as either “deranged" or "hypnotized”.
He suggests we DIVORCE our rogue government. “We are better than this,” he encourages. There is still a chance to partially wash our hands of the blood of innocents! There is still a chance to make a collective moral decision!
Frank Scott contends:
... the presidential election is simply an ad campaign for human detergents arguing over which party is newer, bluer, softer, and even whiter, but with affirmative action highlights in its servant [servant=corporate dominated politician] class.
Patrick Martin of wsws spells out the realpolitik not the mendacious spin of both the Republican and Democratic Party agendas.
The Democratic Party, like the Republican, is a political instrument of the financial aristocracy that rules America. It has not the slightest independence from the capitalist ruling elite. That does not, however, make the two parties identical. They play distinct, albeit complementary, political roles.
The Republican Party asserts the barely disguised appetite of the ruling elite for the greatest possible accumulation of wealth in the shortest possible time. While claiming, as Romney did Wednesday night, that policies of cutting taxes on corporations and the wealthy will “create jobs” and improve conditions of life for working people, this pretense has very little credibility with the American people. After all, the US is now in the fifth year of the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression, with Wall Street profits returning to record levels, but working class living standards thrown back a generation.
The Democratic Party poses as the advocate of ordinary working people, supposedly concerned with jobs, social programs and raising living standards, while occasionally criticizing the excesses of Wall Street. Its substantive policy differences with the Republicans in relation to working class interests, however, remain minimal, and it competes with them in currying favor with the bankers and billionaires.
In a period of ever more acute social tensions, such as today, the contradictions posed in this political division of labor can reach a paralyzing level. The Democratic Party seeks to play its role as social safety valve, as the Obama reelection campaign has done for several months, adopting a populist posture with denunciations of Romney as a vulture capitalist whose private equity firm, Bain Capital, raided companies and destroyed jobs.
But this populism is empty and cynical. The Obama administration remains the instrument of big business. It carried through the Wall Street bailout, begun under Bush, as well as the bailout of the auto companies, in the course of which the White House pushed through a 50 percent cut in wages for new hires, setting an example for the whole of corporate America to slash working class living standards using mass unemployment as a club.
If Obama were a genuine opponent of Wall Street privilege and criminality, having Mitt Romney as his challenger would be a godsend. As the longtime proprietor of a major private equity firm, Romney is the personification of the social layer that wrecked the US and world economy and plunged millions of workers into unemployment and destitution.
But Obama is a political servant of that same social layer. Face to face with Romney, he cannot indict him for the 2008 crash, because that would entail indicting the financial aristocracy itself, and making an appeal to social forces that all the bourgeois political establishment, Democrats and Republicans alike, regard with hostility and fear.
Walter Brasch in “The Debate That Wasn’t” reviews this past week’s pathetic first debate between Romney and Obama:
However, Lehrer, who had moderated 12 previous debates, didn’t control the candidates or the debate; the time limits were shattered on the first question. What passed as debate was nothing more than a series of carefully-rehearsed, often rambling, mini-speeches that talked more in generalities than in specifics. Each candidate, an experienced debater and strong orator, threw out several points at once, hoping a few would stick; the other just responded by a counter-speech, most of which didn’t address the points at all. They talked over one another, and both talked over the moderator. Even more important, numerous critical domestic issues were never discussed.
Charles Ferguson is willing to address the vacuum from issues that passed for a presidential debate this week. In his article, “America’s Duopoly of Money in Politics and Manipulation of Public Opinion” he writes:
Both Obama and Romney are very intelligent men. And yet, both of them are completely avoiding, or being dishonest about, huge economic issues – even when their opponent is highly vulnerable to attack. Thus, we have the bizarre spectacle of a Republican ex-private equity banker attacking the Democrat on unemployment, while the Democrat argues gamely that if we just give him more time, everything will be fine – which we all know is not true. Both men say vaguely that they will "reform Washington", when neither means it.
Neither of them says a serious word about the causes of the financial crisis; the lack of prosecution of banks and bankers; sharply rising inequality in educational opportunity, income and wealth; energy policy and global warming; America's competitive lag in broadband infrastructure; the impact of industrialized food on healthcare costs; the last decade's budget deficits and the resultant national debt; or the large-scale, permanent elimination of millions of less-skilled jobs through both globalization and advances in robotics and artificial intelligence.
Ferguson goes on to explore the history of our, the bottom 99% citizenry’s, slippery slope to economic and social tragedy. He explains how since the late 70s globalization began pressuring American workers, creating profound inequality between the upper and lower classes. He writes:
As average Americans felt increasing pressures and endured stagnant real wages, they initially responded by working longer hours and going into debt (personal, household debt). But then came politics.
Beginning with the Reagan-Carter contest in 1980, Republicans started to abandon traditional financial prudence in favor of an increasingly demagogic strategy of blaming government regulation, waste and welfare payments in order to justify tax cuts.
Demonization of regulation served the additional purpose of justifying the deregulation of industries such as financial services and energy. Since the Republicans' tax cuts were never accompanied by spending cuts, they not only reduced voters' tax bills, but also stimulated the economy generally.
It was unsustainable, of course, but when the Democrats tried counter-arguments based on fiscal prudence and government services, they generally got slaughtered – as did Carter in 1980, and Mondale in 1984.
It worked again for George W Bush, although, of course, he lost the popular vote in 2000 and only became president thanks to an infamous supreme court decision. But it really did work in 2004, when he trounced Kerry despite the increasingly obvious disasters of the Iraqi occupation.
And so, starting with Clinton's reduction of capital gains taxes and financial deregulation, the Democrats started making deals with the devil. Clinton, to his credit, still tried to do some progressive things where he could, and the internet revolution allowed him to balance his budget. But the Democrats have, by now, been profoundly reshaped by the oceans of money that dominate US politics.
Clinton’s and the Dems' “deals with the devil”. They incrementally became more and more awash in corporate lobbied BRIBES. Now Obama has been working on his own dark deals with the devil.
In 2008 Ferguson explains Obama ran as a reformer -- a faux reformer -- to win. But in 2012 Obama is only willing to wimpily and insincerely refer to “burden-sharing by the rich." The reality of his true intentions is too dark and dire for him to begin to seriously communicate about with the doomed average American voters. Also, Ferguson bluntly concludes Obama can’t call out the criminal financial sector that has crashed our economy because Obama needs their money for his election and support.
In the political “game” at this point, though Obama deliberately embraces a “vulnerable” position on the economy in front of his base, Romney also cannot take serious advantage of vulnerable Mr. Obama because Romney “depends even more heavily on the money and support of the financial sector, the wealthy, business and of anti-union, anti-immigrant forces." But there is one card Romney can play with “average Americans.” Ferguson:
Romney's only appeal to average Americans is through "values" conservatism (religion, opposition to gay marriage, abortion, drugs, immigration, etc), vague complaints about government bureaucracy and, yet again, tax cuts.
And so Obama can avoid all the hard issues and yet retain the grudging support of his base simply by proposing modest tax increases on the wealthy, and by supporting the safety net (unemployment benefits, Medicare, social security) that Romney might cut.
Voila: an election in which there are a dozen elephants in the room, and neither candidate pays them any notice at all; an election that Obama can win because he's somewhat less bad, somewhat less utterly bankrupt, than the other guy.
Welcome to America's new and improved two-party system.
Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D. writes of “life and death issues for working families” and the need for solidarity among us, the oppressed class.
No matter whether Obama or Romney wins the coming presidential election, American working people will face a savage assault on their economic rights starting after the vote. The asset stripper Romney and his sidekick Ryan have openly demanded the shredding of the existing social safety net, while channeling the proceeds to parasitical bankers and hedge fund operators. Obama, using his usual method of deception, has signaled more discreetly his intention of using the hysteria around the alleged Fiscal Cliff to seal a Grand Bargain with the reactionary Republicans at the expense of the American people during the December lame duck session of Congress.
Effective intervention begins with fighting demands related to the life or death struggles of working people. The typical working family is beleaguered by threats of foreclosure, the inability to see a doctor, the inability to pay a tuition bill, the lack of a job, the exhaustion of unemployment benefits, the need to win a strike, and other concrete concerns. We must begin here, with a new Frasier-Lemke Act to freeze all foreclosures, immediate institution off Medicare for All, a student loan freeze for at least five years, open-ended jobless payments, and similar measures designed to shift the cost of the depression back onto the Wall Street bankers who are responsible. Process reforms about campaign finance reform and the like are too abstract for the present phase.
“And who will pay for that?”, the reactionaries will ask. Wall Street, like the French aristocrats before 1789, pays virtually no tax — especially on the quadrillions of dollars of buying and selling derivatives and other securities through flash trading, program trading, and high frequency trading. Apply a 1% Wall Street Sales Tax to quadrillions in financial turnover, and federal and state budgets can be replenished to permit the measures just stated. Taxes on individual income or wealth should be considered, but they cannot come close to raising the needed revenue. The answer to the question about where the money will come from is therefore the Wall Street Sales Tax.
Blogger Curious Carl asserted wryly at the beginning of 2011 “What America Needs is a Second Party”. He wrote:
What this country needs is a good second national party. One that supports the majority of Americans. The Working Class and the remnants of the Middle Class.
This is what Walter Brasch asserts about the exclusion of non-corporate Party voices within the presidential debates and, thanks to the corporate media, from any national conversation about our domestic and foreign crises:
There is no reason why only Democratic and Republican nominees are allowed to debate. This essentially reaffirms the belief that the U.S. has a two-party system, approved by the mass media, and leaves out significant candidates whose ideas and opinions need to be heard. While a debate with more than a hundred declared candidates is unreasonable, it isn’t unreasonable for the debates to include Libertarian party candidate Gov. Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein. Both are on the ballots of most states. Both have good views that should be heard. And, both are the only minority party candidates who can get the 270 electoral votes for elections. Rocky Anderson, whose views are important enough to be heard on a national stage, isn’t on enough state ballots to be mathematically eligible to receive a majority of the electoral college.
Frank Scott concurs. He takes on the “lesser evil” rationale by suggesting the voters metaphorically are being asked to choose between polio or cancer. He writes:
Given the choice between cancer and polio, many good people will choose potentially crippling polio, since potentially terminal cancer would be so much worse.
But the malignant social disease will continue and become terminal unless those good people demand, work for, vote for and finally get real change beyond putting an allegedly multi-cultural minority-divided individualistic warrior smiley-face on a social body suffering a disaster.
There is a way for the vote to actually mean something and that is to select Jill Stein of the Green Party. She not only represents a party and perspective beneficial to all and not just a tiny minority at the top, but a vote for the immediate future that can help greatly in the next election. A 5% vote for the Greens will mean millions of dollars in public funds – our money – to make it possible to not only mount an even greater campaign in four years but to establish a party presence in every one of the fifty states to act as a potential core for all the activists operating outside electoral politics because they find it so repulsive in its present form.
Until we reject the dualistic trap of voting for either bad or worse, a more recent quote from only a century or two back will still describe our electoral reality:
In politics, as on the sickbed, people toss from one side to the other, thinking they will be more comfortable.
Time for us citizens to take the covers off our heads, get out of bed, those of us who still have one and a home to put it in, and stop begging the political and corporate ruling class for "small change" -- small change from the trillions the obscenely corrupt and betraying status quo politicians and the psychopathic corporate overlords have stolen from us and our Treasury. Time to demand our needs be acknowledged and respected before they go even farther -- plunder our social security and Medicare!
That piracy is just around the November corner no matter which corporate party candidate wins!