Wednesday, May 25, 2011

everyone hates politics but me

One of the big fears I've had for a long time is the dystopian future of tyrannical oppression outlined in 1984 and Brave New World. Michigan State offered classes on the problems with dystopia actually - the teacher's name (shit you not) was Vince Lombardi. Maybe he still teaches, I'm not sure and I'm not doing the research. (that sounds so petty in the internet era; it's not like I'd hire a private dick to find the guy with only a last known whereabouts. I could probably just google his name and MSU to figure it out. This self-condemnation has actually taken longer to write than researching it, but at this point it's all about the lack of principle of the thing.)
Anyhow, dystopias worry me. We're primed for one too; we resemble a fascist democracy in a fair amount of ways. Jack booted thugs are everywhere, the goal is to keep them away from the levers of power. But we've got our jack-booted thugs installed in high places - General Hayden was a great example of one. (see the recent New Yorker piece about his time subverting the Constitution and the wireless wiretapping).
The big concern is how can the system be attacked. The founding fathers did a pretty good job of it, namely:
  • We're a republic, not a democracy, thus less vulnerable to mob rule
  • The three branches naturally offset each other with natural checks
  • There's some encapsulation of the federal and state governments(admittedly less post Civil War)
  • three different methods of election make it harder to "hack the system"
  • the Bill of Rights provides further protections and enumerations of the rights of citizens, making it more likely they can assert change if the system is compromised.
The biggest weakness to me is the judiciary. If you're thinking long term and playing for keeps, that's the lynchpin. If you look at it right now, it's broken. Clarence Thomas fails to recuse himself on numerous occasions, Scalia has begun overturning older Scalia decisions, and Roberts lied his way into the job and seems to be quite ideological in judgements thus far.
(I don't blame him so much for lying his way in; interviews are like that, Congress or no. "Of COURSE I work well with others, and can bounce back from distraction easily!" You never give them a real answer for "so what's your biggest weakness?" - why would you expect a judge to do differently?)
Whether it stays broken or not, they've done significant damage. Citizens United allows for unlimited corporate spending in campaigns, and it wreaked havoc in 2010.
I thought it might be over. . . the Forces Of Evil had triumphed. The corporatists had won. By extension, fascism had won. "Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." - Mussolini
And boy, did they try to finish the job.
Anti-union bills have popped up everywhere the corporatists won - Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Florida, and more. The Republicans in the Senate voted TODAY to end Medicare as we know it. This is more hilarious because they've completely misdiagnosed the problem in a dazzling display of willful ignorance - health care costs are the issue, not medicare costs. Hence the Affordable Care Act that was fought over throughout 2009, which the CBO stated will save Medicare in excess of $400 trillion a year*.
The end result of all of this is pretty hilarious - Democrats are sweeping special elections (NY-26 the latest, Hochul winning in a R+6 congresisonal district) and recalls are moving forward in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio.
Most of the freshmen congressmen who voted to end Medicare are probably done for.
Unless.
I'd like to say the Unless was a long shot.
I'd like to say "not even the DEMOCRATS can fuck this up."
But I don't believe in Santa Claus.
Steny Hoyer came out today to say "Sure, Medicare's on the table in the deficit talks."
Because, why not, right Steny? The first clear position where Democrats could define it as "Us vs Them", and you just give away the advantage. I want to come work for you, just so I can have salary negotiations with you. Finally break that six figure mark I lie so often about breaking.
Naturally, it's because he's not really One Of Us. The Democrats that represent the non-elite are not all of the democrats. Many of them are simply vampiric doppelgangers who take positions like a democrat to trick people into voting for them, but behave exactly as their corporatist masters tell them to. (Sen Landrieu is another example of this behavior)
It's god damned frustrating.
The stakes are HIGH these days. But the tide looks like it's turning, thanks to the activists. Freedom's a funny thing. The masters never want it, and grudgingly give it to survive the pitchfork wielding mobs. But as soon as you put the pitchforks down, they'll try and steal it away.
Don't put the pitchforks down, guys.

(also, pitchfork has a great lineup this year!)

*some numbers unverified because of my earlier stance on researching within this blog post)

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