On Friday night, December 1, 2017, the Republican controlled Senate gave us a vivid example of why the Congressional institution is rated in most polls even lower than used car salesmen. Along party lines, by a 51-49 vote, the Senate gave approval to a tax-reform bill that most economists call the worst piece of legislation ever conjured up. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn) was the lone Republican to cast a dissenting vote.
The most alarming feature of this train wreck is the brazen manner in which these so-called public servants conducted themselves. There was a day when such measures were decided in smoke-filled back rooms, but many of these Senators openly admitted that they would vote for the measure to appease wealthy donors to their reelection campaigns. In legal parlance, this is acceptance of a bribe. Now, when the man on the street carries on in such manner, he goes to jail. But the same conduct gets the Congressman reelected, followed by retirement from public service, and a cushy job in the corporation of the briber as a lobbyist. This is the consequence of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United.
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 US 310 (2010) is a landmark constitutional, campaign finance and corporation law. The Supreme Court held by a 5-4 margin that the free speech clause of the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting independent expenditures for communications. What this means to the average person is this: every aspect of your life is under the control of any person with deep pockets.
Equally disturbing is the malpractice demonstrated in the passage of this bill. One Democratic Senator held up a handwritten page of the measure to be voted on, most of which was illegible. It may have provided for a truck load of money to be delivered to the front door of each affirmative vote…no one knows. This is clear malfeasance and grounds for removal from office for 51 individuals.
These lawmakers─ most of whom are lawyers─understand that white collar crime is almost never punished; the perpetrator gets a slap on the wrist, pockets the proceeds of their criminal misadventure, and moves on to hatching a scheme for their next scam. Wells Fargo Bank is a prime example. One exception to this custom, of course, was Bernie Madoff, who stole 65 billion dollars from those who invested in his scheme. But even that amount is a mere pittance compared with the one to 1.5 trillion dollars that Republicans are now poised to steal from the public treasury and deliver to America’s richest corporations and wealthiest individuals.
The Republican Party is a dead entity. It presently operates under the influence of a sub-human species of fascists and racists. At the periphery of the organization is a group of conservative-minded Libertarians and blue collars. It is confusing how or why blue collar Republican voters continue to vote against self-interest. The Koch and Mercer families stab them in the back at every opportunity. In any event, we can now deduce that the Republican Party, if allowed to travel to its natural conclusion, will have its favorite sons entering public schools to choose which child they will molest next.
It seems the only option left is to undertake the monumental task of electing a veto-proof Congress of progressives and independents. Hopefully, this revolution is successful before people who call themselves “Republicans” have destroyed this country and planet.