Saturday, October 28, 2006

On the 6 Year Experiment with Republican One-Party Rule

not about ukraine, but i had to post it. . .

what follows below aspires to good, old-fashioned, muckraking political journalism. no, it is not an h. l. mencken piece, but it is great. of course, its detractors will focus on the insulting descriptive language and namecalling--on the rhetoric--and will pigheadedly, or cleverly/cynically, ignore the issues raised in the article--just as they ignored the real issues raised in chavez's un speech.

fascistic right wingers are right to complain that things have become too weak in the u.s.--the american opposition (wait, is there one?) needs to regain its lost militancy and to flex some rhetorical and real-political muscle. it must stop being so damn polite or careful. . .

The Worst Congress Ever

How our national legislature has become a stable of thieves and perverts -- in five easy steps

MATT TAIBBI Rolling Stone Magazine

There is very little that sums up the record of the U.S. Congress in the Bush years better than a half-mad boy-addict put in charge of a federal commission on child exploitation. After all, if a hairy-necked, raincoat-clad freak like Rep. Mark Foley can get himself named co-chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, one can only wonder: What the hell else is going on in the corridors of Capitol Hill these days?

These past six years were more than just the most shameful, corrupt and incompetent period in the history of the American legislative branch. These were the years when the U.S. parliament became a historical punch line, a political obscenity on par with the court of Nero or Caligula -- a stable of thieves and perverts who committed crimes rolling out of bed in the morning and did their very best to turn the mighty American empire into a debt-laden, despotic backwater, a Burkina Faso with cable.

To be sure, Congress has always been a kind of muddy ideological cemetery, a place where good ideas go to die in a maelstrom of bureaucratic hedging and rank favor-trading. Its whole history is one long love letter to sleaze, idiocy and pigheaded, glacial conservatism. That Congress exists mainly to misspend our money and snore its way through even the direst political crises is something we Americans understand instinctively. "There is no native criminal class except Congress," Mark Twain said -- a joke that still provokes a laugh of recognition a hundred years later.

But the 109th Congress is no mild departure from the norm, no slight deviation in an already-underwhelming history. No, this is nothing less than a historic shift in how our democracy is run. The Republicans who control this Congress are revolutionaries, and they have brought their revolutionary vision for the House and Senate quite unpleasantly to fruition. In the past six years they have castrated the political minority, abdicated their oversight responsibilities mandated by the Constitution, enacted a conscious policy of massive borrowing and unrestrained spending, and installed a host of semipermanent mechanisms for transferring legislative power to commercial interests. They aimed far lower than any other Congress has ever aimed, and they nailed their target.

"The 109th Congress is so bad that it makes you wonder if democracy is a failed experiment," says Jonathan Turley, a noted constitutional scholar and the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington Law School. "I think that if the Framers went to Capitol Hill today, it would shake their confidence in the system they created. Congress has become an exercise of raw power with no principles -- and in that environment corruption has flourished. The Republicans in Congress decided from the outset that their future would be inextricably tied to George Bush and his policies. It has become this sad session of members sitting down and drinking Kool-Aid delivered by Karl Rove. Congress became a mere extension of the White House."

The end result is a Congress that has hijacked the national treasury, frantically ceded power to the executive, and sold off the federal government in a private auction. It all happened before our very eyes. In case you missed it, here's how they did it -- in five easy steps:

read the rest of the article here.

see interview with author, rolling stone magazine editor, here.


Stefan said...



Anonymous said...

"How liablest you have & will be?" Love that one! Superb! I couldn't help feeling teleported to the semi-literate anticrisis-controlled Rada.

Undoubtedly, the GOP's grip on the U.S. legislature and government is doing the country no good. Bush and Co. simply lack the education and the ethics to run the world's most powerful country. Vote them out, will ya?

There's hardly a legislature on the face of the earth where the prevalence of private interests over public ones would promote Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of

The big business injection into the bloodstream of any nation can be a lethal one. At the very least, it would take years of rehabilitative therapy to undo the damage.

Stefan said...

greetings again taras,

this is going to be a comment full of random gripes about which i am often wanting an excuse to gripe about. . .

stooges of the bush administration's crusade for world-wide democracy easily recognize the corrosion of democracy in other countries but can not see or admit to the corruption of business and government that has been happening at a quickening pace right at home, under the watch of their man who squats in the white house and their party that is in control of all branches of government. corruption has always been and probably will always be, but as this article points out, what is happening now is extreme in the political history of the us.

i haven't written about this in a while, but. . .the patriot acts and this absurd, Republican-controlled 109th Congress, and all the republican machinations at state and local levels during these past years of total Republican control of all three federal branches have well set US democracy on the path of what i call a limited presidential dictatorship (i used that term a lot while i wrote a list-serve before starting this blog). these are the kinds of governments that exist throughout eurasia. putin, i think, is actually a model for the neocons--all their rhetoric about opposing putin is not about opposing his style or methods or rule, but about geopolitical competition. bush et al no doubt wish that they could be as callous toward the people as they manage american democracy as putin is in his management (i am sure they have a mental if not real list of journalists and grassroots movement leaders they'd like to deal with it); and though they are not as overtly callous--not, at least, at home, but abroad they of course match putin's brutality--they still are masters of democracy management/simulation/deception. the book, by british expert on ukraine andrew wilson, on managed or virtual democracy in post-soviet space could also be written about the US, with certain alterations. oh, but noam chomsky already did write that book years ago, even before the bush administration took things to such an extreme--called manufacturing consent. it was co-written with edward s. herman who is a frequent contributor to z magazine, to which i link in the "other stuff" section. . .

this has been a disgustingly executive-drunk period in which the media and the so-called democratic opposition have become mere stage shows if not outright cheerleading squads. at what stage is a democracy in its development or regression when the executive branch pressures an art gallery (threatening to sue for libel) because of a supposedly insulting image of the president (in gw's firsts term, a NYC gallery had displayed a pointillist painting of bush--each point was a monkey face) and politicians rant that to criticize is to join the enemy?

since i love to pick on them, i will mention that the folks over at publius pundit website are part of this blind, cheerleading squad. the free-market and bush administration stooges there say they are "blogging" the so-called democratic revolution that is supposedly ongoing in the world today. if there is such a spirit in the world today, it is not the state-centered one that they write about, and certainly not one led by the bush administration. in fact, there is a movement for greater democracy in the world today, but it is almost entirely grassroots; it is increasingly global like capital has become; and it is adamantly opposed to nearly every government the world over, and especially to the bush administration. publius pundit gets it wrong because they pay more attention to what governments are doing or saying to, supposedly, promote democracy. they are blind to the fact that all that is mere ideological balderdash due to their state-and-capitalism centered viewpoint of "freedom."

in my opinion, the main problem in ukraine is its nearly complete lack of local, truly grassroots solidarity and organization. i mention this in context of the above comments about a globally-forming grassroots movement for greater democracy--what political theorists antonio negri and michael hardt call "the formation of a global multitude," and the effort for greater, more participatory democracy they term "the project of the multitude." the obstacles toward fomenting grassroots organization in ukraine are, of course, significant.

talking of bushisms, here's my favorite one: "the trouble with the french language is that it lacks a word for entrepreneur." what an idiot. there are stupid statements and stupid questions.

i discovered this comment on the reciept i recieved at what was the last remaining independent bookstore in the minneapolis-st paul area that sold only new books (there are still many independent used bookstores, but i am sure these will all disappear to corporate chains once capitalists figure out how they can make big money on used books). this bookstore used to print on their reciepts bushisms. the store was originally called, "the hungry mind." in desperation, they sold their name to a company that wanted to use the name for their website, and became, "ruminator books." they are now closed, a testimony to the spirit of deregulation--i.e., to the ruination of the US under the rule of free market schmucks and their stooges that seem to abound everywhere these days, proclaiming that the utopia is almost here, or that we gotta just stay the course of war and deregulation, of course!

and so one more thing to gripe about: the notion that the problem isn't too much globalization, or too much deregulation, but not enough of it, is the central ideology of the economist magazine. while the economist and publius pundit and others make some important observations from time to time, their views are far from liberal or progressive, but are profoundly conservative and elitist, though they pretend to speak of what the popular masses need, if not for them. . .

Taras said...

It's funny how this year Election Day coincides with Great October Revolution Day!:)

Whether right-wing or left-wing, oppression starts when people stop keeping their minds open, or simply let the other guy do their thinking for them.

Come to the polls. Decide your destiny.

As a librarian, Laura Bush would do the world a huge favor by setting up a bedtime reading class, with the goal of expanding her husband's horizons.

Thank God, given Bush’s enlightenment undercapitalization and entrepreneurial unilateralism, the French did not end up with the Statue of Liberty being shipped back to them.