Wednesday, July 02, 2008



One of the things I like about long plane rides-- one of the only things these days in fact-- is that I get a chance to read without interruption. I pretty much finished David Sirota's new book, The Uprising, and found plenty of inspiration I want to share. Let me start with this line from a chapter explaining the Minutemen and other putatively right-wing militias:

"This ideology is partly nationalist and vaguely pitchfork populist; mostly libertarian but also a bit fascist; more comfortable with equal-opportunity xenophobia than targeted racism (though there is some of that); and, above all else, grounded in a belief that both parties' Establishment secretly collude with moneyed interests in a treasonous ploy to oppress regular folks and undermine American sovereignty.

The emphasis is mine and I should point out that David wrote this before the FISA retroactive immunity conundrum proved that this has a lot more to do with cold hard facts than with conspiracy theories about the Trilateral Commission, the NAFTA Superhighway, an al Qaeda mosque on the California side of the Mexican border or other bits and pieces of militia conventional wisdom. In fact, the only word that Sirota should remove from his sentence is "secretly." And that's because the collusion between the 2 heinous parties' Establishment and the corporate powers is anything but secret. Not that the Infotainment branch of U.S. corporate power trumpets it... but it's all out there in plain view.

Let's use the FISA vote as an example of how this works. First take a look at the roll call. Only one Republican voted against retroactive immunity-- 188 voted for it, not enough to pass it; not even close. But then Democratic House caucus leaders Rahm Emanuel and Steny Hoyer come riding to the rescue with 103 other Democrats. 128 Democrats voted no, but their no votes were swamped by the ad hoc coalition of bribed Republicans and the bought-off Hoyer-Emanuel caucus of Blue Dogs, Dixiecrats, right-of-center Democratic cowards who still think they are only electorally safe if they vote for Bush's thoroughly discredited policies. So far this cycle-- so since they poured $7.6 million into congressional races in 2006 (62% of it to Republicans)-- the Telcom companies, who were so desperate for Congress to pass retroactive immunity, have already ante-ed up $5,774,902 (only 55% for Republicans).

And who got the big bucks? Leave aside the presidential candidates for a moment, each of whom got massive "contributions," and look who got the most:
Jay Rockefeller, the chief retroactive immunity watercarrier in the Senate ($51,500)
Rahm Emanuel, who delivered scores of House Democrats and served as the middle man for telecom bribes to Democratic rank-and-file (49,950)

These two sleaze bags, actually got more than any Republicans! And the other House Democrats among the top 20 recipients of Telecom bribe money were-- surprise, surprise-- mostly right-wing, pro-corporate Democrats who routinely carry water for the Telecoms and voted with Bush, Hoyer and Emanuel (and against the majority of Democrats) to grant retroactive immunity to the same Telecoms who have been bribing them! In fact, only 3 (powerful committee chairs Ed Markey, John Dingell and Charles Rangel) voted against Telecom Immunity. The Democrats who took the most, some as much as the Republicans took, and then joined with the Republicans to pass this monstrosity were:

Rick Boucher (VA)- $36,700
Baron Hill (IN)- $26,900
Zach Space (OH)- $22,000
John Barrow (GA)- $19,500
Marion Berry (AR)- $19,500
Mike Ross (AR)- $18,000
John Tanner (TN)- $17,500

It's as clear as day. The Telecoms didn't want their executives going on trial and being forced to testify about the Bush-Cheney secret spying on Americans long before 9/11 so they bribed-- called "contributed" in a definition conveniently set by the recipients themselves-- the GOP and enough sleazy Democrats to prevent the pursuit of justice.

And, although the Telecoms clearly favor John McCain above any other member of the Senate or House ($845,337 for his career and $356,145 this year), remember that they have also given a not insubstantial $205,795 to Barack Obama (who has said he will fight retroactive immunity but has shown no signs whatsoever that he will expend even a dime's worth of political capital on the cause, at least not while he's working out something that apparently is more important to him: his evangelical strategy.)

The political party Establishments have so jiggered the system that none of these conspirators face seven a modicum of accountability inside their gerrymandered districts. Except one: John Barrow is being challenged by state Senator Regina Thomas. He is one of Bush's key backers on retroactive immunity and is one of the biggest recipients of bribes from the Telecoms. Regina adamantly opposes retroactive immunity. They face off in a Davis vs Goliath primary on July 15. It isn't too late to help David vanquish the one vulnerable Blue Dog in the entire Congress. The names are in alphabetical order, so Regina Thomas is towards the bottom of this list of our candidates.


Blue America just launched a call tool that will help you let your senators know how you feel about retroactive immunity. They do, after all, work for you and will at least pretend to be interested in your opinion. I guess they decided to wait to further shred the Constitution until after the 4th of July holiday and they are now prepared to put into concrete exactly what Bush has been asking for: two legal systems, one for rich corporate executives who pay huge bribes to politicians of both parties, and one for the rest of us. Christy has the details at FDL-- or just click the magic button below.


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