We ought to be inured by now to this recurring political cycle. After all, it’s been going on for nearly a century. Even our legendary level of ironic distance, though, fails to provide an adequate level of psychic insulation.
In short, this is too damn much.
We cannot put a stop to it, but, by god, we can describe it.
One party forces the country to accept some dubious policy choice. This choice is invariably made in service to Moloch, or capitalism, or whatever you want to call the human face of concentrated financial power. By its failure—which was, more likely than not, predicted by a class of people we might as well call the perpetually ignored—that policy wreaks some form of havoc.
The other party—the permanently-designated cleanup crew—then meekly comes along and attempts to repair enough of the damage for the party of the first part to start the hellish cycle all over again. Hear us out.
Roosevelt followed Hoover, to grapple with a depression brought on by flim-flamming stockjobbers, and exacerbated by idiotic laissez-faire dogma.
Kennedy followed Eisenhower, to cope with an arms race that threatened global annihilation, in order to stave off the perceived threat posed by our own erstwhile ally, whose casualties had dwarfed ours in a global war against fascism.
Carter followed Nixon, to struggle against a broken economy and internal divisions, both caused by a war against nationalist peasants a world away who somehow presented a threat to members of the Chamber of Commerce.
Clinton followed Reagan, to repair the chimera known as the federal budget deficit at the expense of a subset of the population which had been effectively prevented by federal law from owning homes, then blamed for the consequences.
Obama followed Bush the Second, and we’re right back where we began with Roosevelt: trying to resuscitate an economy nearly destroyed by Wall Street goons.
Now comes Joe Biden, following this troglodytic cretin, whose name has become so loathsome to us that we will go to almost any length to avoid its use.
[Go ahead. Cite that abusive language, and accuse us of bias. Don’t forget to ask, though, if we give a damn. How do you think that we as a nation got into this abysmal predicament? There is a direct link, we would argue, between our national daily death toll, and the practice, among our unbiased colleagues in the profit-making branch of the news racket, of treating amoral morons as if they were statesmen who hold valid but opposing views. – The Ed.]
[One more thing: another factor dooming us to this hideous, pointless cycle is our national tradition of plurality voting. Under this system, according to Wikipedia, “each voter is allowed to vote for only one candidate, and the candidate who polls more than any other counterpart (a plurality) is elected.” According to the widely-accepted Duverger’s Law, such single-ballot, plurality-rule elections, coupled with single-member districts, makes a two-party system virtually inevitable. The results alone should be enough to condemn this method. A look at where it’s being used would confirm that conviction. Besides the U.S., the only places on Earth masochistic enough to suffer its results are Britain, for the House of Commons, Canada, and India—that is to say, the husk of one not-too-bright Empire, and its former victims. FairVote.org is onto this problem, and is working to solve it by promoting Ranked Choice Voting. – The Ed.]
Ahem. Where were we? Ah, yes. Our 46th President, the task which awaits him….
The phrase “American Carnage” was being used with great abandon not so long ago. In recent years it seems to have dropped out of favor.
Will “American Carnage” see a resurgence, now that it’s no longer a metaphor? Our guess is probably not. The plain truth has always been more than most Americans can bear to hear.
In an article headlined, “How Many Americans Are About to Die?,” The Atlantic’s Alexis C. Madrigal and Whet Moser write that the U.S. health-care system “has not reduced the deadliness of the coronavirus since July…. Instead, the virus has, with ruthless regularity, killed at least 1.5 percent of all Americans diagnosed with COVID-19, over the past four months.”
With the number of infections rising exponentially, we could soon be adding 2,000 names a week to the list of the quarter million dead already.
There is good news: Columbia Medical Center has developed a nasal spray that has successfully protected ferrets from the coronavirus.
So, there is that.
Mere photographs cannot do justice to the pandemonium that was Market Square on the afternoon of Saturday, November 7th. The networks having announced the incumbent’s defeat, both sides of Congress Street were lined by jubilant revelers. On the south side, supporters held huge red plywood letters spelling out “Harris,” the name of our incoming Vice President.
MLK’s Poor People’s Campaign Revived
State House Caravan on Monday
The New Hampshire Poor People’s Campaign [PPC] has announced it will join nationwide Moral Monday caravans in a day of action on November 23rd, demanding appropriate response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
As Covid-19 cases rise exponentially across the nation and in New Hampshire, the PPC wants to raise awareness of the need for transparency from the state and hospitals regarding their standard of care guidelines.
“Our state leadership’s failure to solicit the thoughts and ideas of people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups in developing the crisis standard plan may lead to direct and indirect discrimination against people with disabilities and other impacted groups,” the statement says. “It is essential that the voices of those living with special needs, disabilities and underlying health issues, communities of color, and low-income communities are heard. All are welcome to join our caravan in support of healthcare equality, transparency, and accountability.
“The Covid-19 crisis feeds on the fissures of inequality already felt by the 140 million people who were living in poverty before the pandemic, or who were one emergency away from poverty. As of November 19, according to State of New Hampshire records, the state has 15, 749 cases and 504 deaths.”
To urge the Governor to take action to ensure that people living with disabilities, communities of color, and low-income communities are guaranteed the same quality of care as everyone else, the PPC will drive caravan-style around the State House beginning at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, November 23, 2020.
In addition, the caravan will mourn the quarter-million Americans who have died from Covid-19, and demand a smooth and open transition of power that lifts up the moral policies we need immediately.
Participants will meet at 1:15 pm in the Staples/Books-a-Million parking lot, 76 Fort Eddy Rd, Concord, N.H. to put signs and memorials on cars before heading to the N.H. State House at 107 N. Main St, Concord, N.H.
Caravans have been organized in two dozen states. Reports from each participating state capitol will be found at the website https://vote.poorpeoplescampaign.org.
In 1968, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many others called for a “revolution of values” in America. They sought to build a broad, fusion movement that could unite poor and impacted communities across the country. Their name was a direct cry from the underside of history: The Poor People’s Campaign.
Today, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival has picked up this unfinished work. From Alaska to Arkansas, the Bronx to the border, people are coming together to confront the interlocking evils of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and the war economy, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. We understand that as a nation we are at a critical juncture — that we need a movement that will shift the moral narrative, impact policies and elections at every level of government, and build lasting power for poor and impacted people.
On the north side of Congress Street, big blue letters spelled out “Biden,” in honor of our incoming 46th President—whether the MAGA-hatters like it or not. The sound of cheers and car horns was deafening and constant—the first sign of joy we’ve seen here since late last winter.
Progressive Groups Lobby Against Corporate Cabinet,
Release List of Insiders Biden Should Reject
Friday, November 20, 2020, Washington, D.C.–Today, five progressive organizations led by the Demand Progress and the Revolving Door Project launched the “No Corporate Cabinet” campaign, dedicated to keeping corporate insiders out of the Biden administration. Partners include Climate Investigations Center, Documented, and True North Research.
The website will serve as a central hub for information and activism related to the Biden transition, with a trove of information on corporate insiders shortlisted for Biden administration posts. It also offers tools through which people can take action and contact key decision makers, which are expected to be used by tens of thousands of people. The website is, nocorporatecabinet.com.
Yesterday, a distinct parallel campaign launched in partnership between Daily Kos, Demand Progress, and more than 20 other progressive and good governance organizations, including MPower Change, Public Citizen, Presente, Ultraviolet, and the Working Families Party. The groups are asking activists to email, call, and tweet at the Biden transition and Senate Democrats to urge them “to appoint public-minded progressives instead of corporate lobbyists and executives for key roles” in the Biden administration.
The Persons of Interest page on the “No Corporate Cabinet” website will single out key corporate-friendly insiders in Biden’s orbit who must be stopped—including one who has already been announced this week—and details their troubling pasts. At this time they’re calling for the rejection of the following Persons of Interest, with more to be added based on news reports and other intel about who is under consideration.
Brian Deese: After advising Obama on climate policy (defending the production of fossil fuels and necessity of oil and gas), Deese took a job as the chief greenwasher at the world’s largest investor in fossil fuels: BlackRock.
Larry Fink: Larry Fink is the CEO of BlackRock, which is the fossil fuel industry’s top banker and quietly exerts massive influence over the U.S. government and economy.
Mark Gitenstein: While working as a corporate lobbyist, Mark Gitenstein listed many successes including weakening whistleblower laws and packing federal courts with business-friendly judges.
Tony James: Tony James has taken it upon himself to improve private equity’s well-deserved poor public image, all the while being credibly accused of market-rigging and collusion.
Ernest Moniz: Even though he believes that climate change is real, Ernest Moniz has maintained unusually close ties with the fossil fuel industry throughout his career in public life, refusing to adopt climate policies which might anger his friends in coal, oil, and gas.
Gina Raimondo: Gina Raimondo has been a steadfast ally of Wall Street and corporate America throughout her time in politics, selling out pensioners to hedge funds, slashing social services, and making enemies of labor unions.
Bruce Reed: Bruce Reed was a key intellectual architect of the Democratic Party’s turn toward neoliberal economic policy and conservative social policy.
Steve Ricchetti: Steve Ricchetti has spent his entire career shuffling through the revolving door, lobbying on behalf of corporate interests from both K Street and within the halls of government—which is why it’s deeply disappointing and dangerous that he’s in line to serve as senior counselor to the president in Biden’s administration.
Heather Zichal: Heather Zichal served as the Obama White House’s actions “chief ambassador to oil and gas companies” before leveraging her relationships into a job with a natural gas company.
Jason Bordoff: Jason Bordoff rarely sees a fossil fuel project he doesn’t support, which isn’t surprising because nearly all of his professional positions are currently funded by fossil fuel corporations.
“President-elect Biden is assembling this administration after four years of egregious corruption under the Trump administration and in the depths of a historic crisis,” David Segal, Demand Progress Executive Director, said. “If Biden is serious about ‘building back better’ in a way that remedies the longstanding ills of the country, his administration must be run by people dedicated to working in service of the general welfare. Our message is clear: Joe Biden should not let corporate interests run the government—and, if needed, senators must hold him accountable.”
“The Biden administration has a daunting task ahead, to both undo the corruption of the Trump years and guide the country out of interlinked crises of health, economics, racial injustice, and climate change,” Jeff Hauser, Revolving Door Project Executive Director said. “None of that can happen if Biden appoints to his government the same corporate leaders whose profits skyrocketed under Trump, and whose influence over the last four decades generally has led to surging inequality and a crisis of faith in government. If Democrats fail to take back the Senate, executive-branch powers will be one of Biden’s only ways of tangibly improving Americans’ lives. He cannot trust corporate America if he hopes to do that.”
“Americans are exhausted. We have spent the last four years watching the Trump administration repeatedly put the interests of big businesses and corporate lobbyists over the well-being of everyday people, causing untold suffering–especially during the Covid-19 pandemic,” Carolyn Fiddler, the Communications Director of Daily Kos said. “That’s why it is imperative that the Biden administration appoint a cabinet that puts the American people’s interests over corporate agendas. Now more than ever, we need leadership that is experienced in corporate accountability and will check the interests of big corporations while advocating for policies that center the health and success of all Americans, especially Americans of color.”
“There are a finite number of cabinet positions. Any cabinet post given to a recent corporate lobbyist is one less seat that could be filled by a well-qualified person whose record demonstrates a deep commitment to advancing public good rather than private gain,” said Lisa Graves, executive director of True North Research, a partner on the No Corporate Cabinet initiative. “Especially after the massive financial conflicts in the Trump cabinet, the new administration should take extra steps to avoid the conflicts of interests that have made the revolving door so lucrative to the distinct disadvantage of the real needs of Americans whose lives are in tumult due to the pandemic and callous indifference of a Senate majority led by Mitch McConnell. Personnel is policy and We the People deserve a better cabinet in the Biden Administration, one that reflects the true needs of the American people rather than greed of huge corporations.”
This new website comes just a week after Demand Progress and The Revolving Door Project led a group of 50+ organizations in sending letters to President-elect Joe Biden as well as Democratic senators and senators-elect, urging them to reject corporate insiders for cabinet positions.