Pardon me, please, while I take a brief respite from Gay Rights blogging. Lately, when Stuffed Animal lifts his furry snout to sniff the air, the stench of political corruption is strong enough to drive him back down in his burrow gagging and retching! Last Friday, the United States Congress dipped its hand in the taxpayer till and withdrew a whopping $850 billion dollars. What did they do with our money? Did they use it to bring us relief from crushing health care costs? Did they use it to revamp our crumbling infrastructure? Will it fund a new, improved GI Bill to benefit veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq?
No. Congress gave it to reckless and greedy Wall Street speculators so they can quell a debt crisis of their own making. Even more shocking, Congress did this in smug defiance of working class constituents who besieged Capitol phone lines with millions of angry calls!
If you query the 74 senators and 263 representatives who were responsible for this dirty deed, they'll swear they did it because the Business Round Table had aimed a gun at their heads. Had it gone off, that gun might have thrown the nation into a new Great Depression, and they'll insist it would've gone off had they refused to deliver the cash. However, a minimum of investigation reveals that it wasn't a gun to their heads that made them fork over the Benjamins. It was a bribe in their back pockets!
Look closer, and you'll see greasy lobbyist fingerprints on their bottoms! The Wall Street "rescue" bill, better described as the Great American Swindle, was larded with millions in outrageous pork barrel spending. That excess lard made it slide through Congress faster than a greased pig, and the swine metaphor couldn’t be more appropriate! Last week, roll call votes in the House and the Senate looked like nothing so much as an Arkansas pig sooey . . . when the fake squeal went up from K Street, those Democrat and Republican porkers came running as fast as their little cloven hooves could carry them!
With the exception of Lou Dobbs, Amy Goodman, Firedoglake's Jane Hamsher and a handful of other pundits, the national news media led a Chicken Little stampede for passage of the bailout bill. However, leading economists disagreed on whether this kind of legislation was necessary. If pressed, even the most partisan of them will admit that what got signed into law was far from ideal. It fails to impose strong regulations on speculators. It fails to guarantee Americans a return on their huge "investment". It barely addresses the home mortgage meltdown, the main culprit behind our current economic woes. This "trickle-down" cash infusion probably won't even be enough to alleviate the debt crisis! Two days after the bill became law, the stock market grew more unstable and volatile than ever.
This law was allegedly passed in the interest of economic stimulus. So why did Main Street get measly $300-$600 stimulus checks while Wall Street got a king's ransom? Main Street is in greater need of help, and has been so for a longer period of time, but this bloated bill does zilch for wage slaves like you and me. If your basement is flooding, does it make sense to rush and get your roof repaired but ignore what's happening downstairs?
Pardon me, did I say "rush"? My bad. It turns out there was never any rush at all. Media outlets like Pacifica's "Democracy Now!" are reporting that these oh-so-urgently-needed funds won't be distributed on Wall Street until after the November election! How does it feel to know the Bush administration has screwed you again? How does it feel to know that your Congressional delegation supplied the K-Y jelly? Anybody want a cigarette?
On Sunday, I saw one of the most disgusting news photos I've ever had the displeasure to lay eyes on: A smirking George W. Bush, on his way to commit grand larceny by signing the bailout bill into law, while Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the man who will drive the billions-laden getaway car back to Wall Street, kept pace with him. Both men were grinning like damn Cheshire cats with cream dripping from their whiskers!
It bears noting that Bush, Paulson and most of their stockbroker cronies are political Conservatives. Conservatives crave absolute power, and they aren't particular about the way they acquire it. They'll casually make a mockery of the US Constitution! They'll gladly trample on American Civil Liberties. They'll pack the Federal courts with partisan judges. They'll devise schemes to get eligible voters who oppose their ideology thrown off the rolls. They'll declare illegitimate wars, send thousands of American soldiers to an unjustified demise, and reserve the military contracts for war profiteers. They'll invent ominous cock-and-bull stories to scare the electorate into supporting disastrous policies.
In other words, when talking about Conservatives' pursuit of power, the key phrase seems to be how low can you go? Yet somehow, Conservatives are reputed to be the most God-fearing people around. Conservatives are supposed to embody ironclad moral values as taught in the church, the temple, and the mosque. Conservatives are, for the most part, the ones who tell LGBT folk that we lack morals, and who punish us by voting against our basic citizenship rights. I don't know about you, but if I'm going to be censured for moral lapses, I'd much rather it be done by someone who's got half a friggin' clue what moral lapses are!
Do you know what a pig looks like with lipstick on? I'll tell you: It looks like a fascist quoting Scripture! It looks like a "Bible-believing" Senator voting against insurance benefits for poor children! It looks like the Presidential seal on a law that transforms our national Treasury into a casino! If you know of a bigger hypocrisy, a greater injustice, a more brazen display of arrogance than this recent turn of events, please tell me what it is.
I search in vain for the checks and balances that are supposed to protect us from such wholesale abuses of power, I strain my ears to detect sounds of righteous rebellion from the electorate, and I mourn the apparent demise of American democracy. Today, Stuffed Animal has tears in his eyes!
Very soon, though, he'll have accountability on his mind. He'll vote to unseat every member of his Congressional delegation who aided and abetted the Great American Swindle! Then he'll vote to seat independent candidates that loosen the two-party consolidation of power that lays our Democratic process open to corrupt influence. Will you do the same?