The Clown Show Winds Down

The current occupant of the White House was known for his book The Art of the Deal long before the corporate press elevated him to be a contender for the presidency. I remembered this factoid as news reached me yesterday that, posturing aside, he did after all sign the gargantuan military spending bill connected with the insultingly paltry pandemic relief payment of $600 for the people. Also extending unemployment insurance and a freeze on evictions in the first winter of covid.

Clearly the threat to veto the bill until Congress amended the payment to $2000 was a bargaining chip in a deal that paid off somehow. 

We may or may not ever know what was exchanged in that transaction.

As our days fill with pardons of war criminals who slaughtered children and other civilians, plus white collar criminals, 2020 draws to a close.

Those observing with clarity point out that the current occupant of the White House was essentially the same as all the other occupants: beholden to the death machine of the US militarized economy, and unconcerned to keep the promises they rode to election.

The incoming administration will be no different.

Ending subsidies to fossil fuel extraction profiteers was a promise during the primaries that Democrats used to lure idealistic youth climate activists, but quickly abandoned to kick off the general election season.

Forgiving student debt (that he had a key role in fashioning as a yoke built to last a lifetime) was another grandiose promise now being reduced to ashes.

Or maybe dangling $2000 was meant to ensure the current president’s legacy remains strong among the struggling workers who still think he went to Washington DC to drain the swamp?

Here was his final “swamp draining” budget proposal.

70 million people voted for the clownish Twitter personality the second time around because the reality of their lives is deadly peril from threats more sure than succumbing to covid.

Covid is now the leading cause of death in the US, and will be for the near future even as vaccines roll out for Congress but not for most of us. 

Facing the dangers of a virus or of your job without health care has a huge impact on one’s ability to survive, but the corporate-sponsored House of Representatives won’t even consider a performative vote on Medicare for All much less legislation to enact universal health care. 

What show will ensue after the pageantry of the new president’s inauguration subsides?

Will the manufacturing of consent rest on the White House dogs who are vastly more telegenic than their elderly, addled master?

I’m betting it’s the good-looking, intelligent Vice President who will end up carrying this administration’s public relations efforts. As she is a woman and bi-racial, she is guaranteed to draw the vitriol of white supremacists losing their grasp on earning a living. (You know, the ones who voted for leaders that literally went golfing and skiing on Christmas without responding to the fact that a bomb was detonated in downtown Nashville.)

The show must go on! But most have tired of clownish “governing” and many in the younger generations actually find clowns terrifying.

Me? I’m older, and I find the incoming cabinet more terrifying than any clown. Ticking boxes for identity politics while elevating the executives of the very corporations who have murdered and impoverished working people is cynical. 

Yes, selecting Deb Haaland as the first Native Secretary of the Interior is wonderful and may she uphold indigenous wisdom in the Democratic Party (it’s hard to even type those words). I was also glad to see an actual educator, Miguel Cardona,  nominated to head up the DOE. 

Speaking of the art of deals, how about a former small town mayor who parleyed stepping down after a modest primary showing into a nomination for Secretary of Transportation. But he’s openly gay! That will be a great comfort to liberals in the owning class who bemoan climate crisis while supporting elected officials who consistently fail to invest in a robust public transportation system to address climate like other countries have.

And you can’t blame the clownish performance of the defeated president for any of that.

Revised 12/30/20: Correcting my misunderstanding that the current occupant of the White House’s veto of the military spending bill (aka NDAA) remains in place until a vote in Congress to overrride occurs. The pandemic stimulus/relief bill was signed, and the $2000 counteroffer by the deal artiste was also found to contain provisions for contesting certification of the electoral college victory of his opponent.

#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.