#VetoThePorkulus? Yes, Please!

Congressional “leaders” McConnell and Pelosi have net worth of $34 million and $110+ million, respectively.

Twitter is awash today with conservatives railing against the huge outlays on foreign aid found in the funding bill bundled with the pandemic “relief” bill.  

Some of the hashtags are kind of fun, like #VetoThePorkulus.

But, it’s hard to tell if conservatives and other US taxpayers realize how foreign aid works as corporate welfare, mostly benefitting weapons and “security” manufacturers. Some in Congress clearly get this and don’t go along to get along. From last year but just as applicable today:

Let’s say Israel, one of the wealthiest nations on the planet, gets $500 million in “aid” this time around. Here’s how that vast sum breaks down in the bill the president is expected to sign:

The bottom line is that Israel and many other countries are told they can order weapon systems and the US taxpayer will pick up the tab. A jobs program for the US, no? Well, no, not if the weapons systems are actually manufactured in Israel. But that’s a special feature of our special relationship with Israel. Not the case in “aid” to Sudan, Egypt, Ukraine, Pakistan and the others.

To tweet that #CongressIsBroken in response to business as usual begs the question, Did you not think it was broken before? 

Because none of this is new. Or maybe people are still clinging to the notion that the job of Congress is to represent the people. This may be true on paper but the facts are completely different in 2020. 

Congress represents its corporate campaign donors, the fat cats who will enrich them in a multitude of ways if they remain loyal servants.

Corporate media work overtime to make sure that this fealty to wealth seems inevitable. It’s not, but it is extremely profitable for media. Big ad buys translate to vast amounts of “earned” media that favors the wealthy candidate over the ordinary citizen seeking to represent the people by serving in Congress.

Many corrupt systems that seemed inevitable came crashing down because they weren’t sustainable. Our current system is not sustainable in the face of a public heath crisis and climate emergency bearing down on us all.

May the $600 slap in the face prove to be the system’s undoing.

Insatiable Greed And A $600 Slap In The Face

Fascism got a bad name in the 20th century because of the mass genocide of the Holocaust, plus the rapacious colonialism (redundant, I know) of the Japanese imperial project. For decades since, teenagers have snarled “fascist” at parents enforcing curfew in reference to the violent policing that accompanied the rise of a white supremacist party in Germany.

But it was Mussolini, the dictator of Italy, that actually had it right: “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”

In other words, the precise system of government we have in the United States today.

Over the last several decades we have watched as corporate power captured, not only our legislative and executive branches of national government, but the judiciary as well. 

The predictable outcome of our descent into fascism is the passage and enforcement of laws designed to benefit our corporate overlords at the expense of the literally starving and homeless people.

During any crisis of the last several decades, the already wealthy have prospered while the already impoverished have perished before our very eyes with little to no government intervention. I think Hurricane Katrina is when I first realized that the federal government would stand idly by, fat with our tax dollars, while the poor drowned and starved. FEMA like so many other federal agencies was designed to enrich corporations while the matriarch of the Bush clan toured refugees being housed in a sports stadium and pronounced on network television, “And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this, this is working very well for them.”

The fact that so many of the “underprivileged” were Black was undoubtedly a factor in their abandonment by government of, by, and for the wealthy. Kanye West increased his fame when he said live on network television at the time: “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people.” 

So, failure to attend to the common good is nothing new. But it is accelerating mightily under the cover of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other wealthy countries have managed the health crisis by recognizing that staying home is containment, and subsidizing people to stay home — including staying housed — is good health policy.

But the US Congress is in session this weekend struggling over whether to pass a relief bill that would provide $600 one time payments after sending a measly $1200 once months ago. (Note: I know at least one Black working mother who never even received that payment.)

Currently 1/3 of people in the U.S. report they are struggling to meet basic expenses such as rent, food, and utilities.

The uptick in memes and slogans advocating violent revolution is significant in my social media feeds.

A sampling includes this one with one of the planet’s rapacious billionaires as poster boy:


But more specifically, Congress is in the crosshairs. Sample tweets:

I also saw but cannot now find one that said, “The next stimulus is hidden inside in your member of Congress like a piñata.”

Meanwhile reformers are insisting on a floor vote in the House on the wildly popular Medicare for All that our elected representatives will not even consider.

Fascists, drunk on power, always think the future is theirs. I think they’re wrong about that.