Tuesday, December 18, 2007


According to the handy dandy post numberer on Blogger, this is my 200th post on Surly Librarian. I know the odds are against my even reaching 300, given my incredible slowdown over the last year, so I thought I'd give a little extra for this milestone.
The reason for my declining writing pace should have been in exultation (is there another time of year anyone ever uses that word?) after last November's stunning Democratic "takeovers" of the House and Senate, but let's face facts, the massively underwhelming amount of activity in Congress pretty much shoots that theory out of the water, eh? I suppose the truth is that I was hoping that the 2006 election would mean more than it does; my overall feeling of depression for the sake of our country's future has dampened my enthusiasm for pointing out Smirky and the gang's sins. I mean, there are so many of them, right? And nobody in a position of power seems to care. The simple fact is, most Congresspeople are so out of touch with what they've been put there to do, those of us paying attention are losing faith. Are we any closer to getting out of the Middle East? Nope. Are we any closer to getting off our addiction to oil? No. Are we retrieving any of our lost civil liberties? No. Have we even begun any investigations that might lead to impeaching the felonious members of the Administration? Not since Pat Fitzgerald's hollow conviction of Scooter, and that was done before 11/06.
The obvious question in response to all of these is: why? Why haven't the Democrats moved on any of these (or any others even more intrinsic to modern Democracy, such as reauthorizing the Fairness Doctrine for media, reregulating industries to guard against their misbehavior, tossing out restrictions on legal awards for the winners of civil lawsuits, and so many more)? Why are we squandering the good will earned with the public over the last few years by not being incompetent, corrupt, and vindictively screwing over everyone except the super-rich (i.e., by not being Republican)?
The cynical answer is that the majority of Democrats in office are no different than the Republicans; let's call this the "Naderite" position, since this was Ralph Nader's stated raison d'etre for running for President in 2000--thereby helping to saddle the world with Smirky, by the way. Is it true? The more time goes by without any substantive changes being made, the more likely it is, although it is still really hard to argue that we'd even be talking about this kind of stuff if we were in the 6th year of a Gore Administration (even a Gore-Lieberman one!). (In other words, while the parties themselves may be 2 sides of the same coin, I hardly think that President Gore could have been in any conceivable way similar to Smirky the solipsist.)
Those still retaining faith in the Democratic Party as a whole claim that the reason nothing is being done is that their majorities simply aren't big enough to accomplish what needs to be done, but the truth is that nothing should be "getting done" that follows any similar path the previous Congresses were pursuing. If the Democrats do indeed possess an ideology that runs counter to the Republicans, they would be passing bills left and right for the betterment of the country (if not the world at large) regardless of whether they become laws. Taking a stand for something usually means not compromising or "doing the nation's business", at least until enough opponents begin making serious concessions of their own, especially when your stances are supported by big majorities of the public. I have yet to see much evidence of that from this Congress, let alone even a shred of self-respecting insistence on following the laws of the country. (Remember the subpoenas issued to Karl Rove, Harriet Miers and Joshua Bolten? None of those three are in jail for refusing to respond, and that was over 5 months ago . . .)
For some reason, the Democrats think that they should be doing something, meaning that they should be getting bills passed that will receive Smirky's signature. They think that the public wants "bipartisanship", or "compromise", or new laws to be created regardless of their actual effects. This is nuts, of course, because any bill they pass that Smirky would sign is, ipso facto, not a bill that any Democrat--really, any thinking human being--should want to get signed by that wretched scumbag! How hard is that to understand? Smirky and the rest of the felons with an "R" next to their name do not compromise, they do not barter, they do not behave rationally, and they don't care about you or anyone else but themselves, get it? Stop behaving as if there is going to be some magic enlightenment on the other side of the aisle or at the other end of Pennsylvania Ave. at some point if you play nice, ok? Haven't the last 13 years given you enough proof of their character? For chrissakes, all you have to do is pay attention to your own polling; the American public is telling you what we want, and more pillaging by the Republicans ain't it. What part of STOP ROLLING OVER don't you get?
(Clearly, the "STOP" part, but I digress.)

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Anonymous Teresa said...

You said it. The 110th Congress is looking awfully like the 109th. To take just a small subset of the loyal Democratic demographic—a subset they very much take for granted—LGBT folks have already seen the Democrats renege on two of the three explicit legislative promises they made to us in 2006: that they would pass an Employment Non-Discrimination Act inclusive of not only gays and lesbians but transgender people (they threw transgender folks under the bus in the name of political expediency, even though the bill had not a shot in hell of being signed into law anyway, so the least they could have done was make the gesture of passing a fully inclusive bill at the House level); that they would finally pass the goddamn Matthew Shepard Act, which would have added protections for sexual orientation and gender expression to the federal hate-crimes law—15% of hate crimes committed in the United States target these classes, so it seems appropriate for our government to give a crap about it (the House just voluntarily removed the hate-crimes bill from a defense appropriations reauthorization, the only shot it had of making it past Bush's desk). The third, ending the ban on gays in the military, hasn't come up yet, though that one will probably pass; they need the cannon fodder.

But go ahead, Democratic presidential candidates, keep attending those prayer breakfasts. That'll convince us that you're totally different from the pluto-theocrats in power.

10:17 PM  
Blogger bryduck said...

Let alone the attack on your civil rights as simply an American, right? This is one time we are all in the same boat, although I realize things for any "minority group" (is there a better term for those societally disparaged and disadvantaged because they aren't white Christian males?) are always worse.
At least Edwards recognizes the existence of a worsening gap between the haves and have-nots in his rhetoric, whether he includes all the actual have-nots in his formulation or not. Too bad his campaign has stagnated, imho . . .

8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems the only realistic option is to just run down the clock. Bush and his gang will be out of office in about 13 months, and assuming a Democrat wins, and one probably will win (although a Huckabee vs. Clinton campaign is the only way I can see a Republican winning in 2008, since Huckabee comes off as the "nice guy" to most voters, and Clinton is far too hated for her to have a shot at winning. Most of these views the people have aren't rational, but nobody ever said that irrational people can't vote), then we can begin undoing what Bush did. Bush and his cronies should receive some kind of punishment for what they did, but I think the primary focus should be on getting things the way they were before Bush came along. It's not the best solution to Bush, but given Congress' refusal to do anything about how things are going, it's really the only solution we can expect at this point.

Impeachment would be nice, but even if proceedings began today, they probably wouldn't come to a final decision until Bush is already out of office, especially considering that to get rid of the problem entirely would require impeaching not only Bush but the entire administration, something which has never been done before in American history and if it was done, it would take a lot longer than 13 months. It would be satisfying to see, certainly, but it just isn't realistic with things as they are now.

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you continue to naively blame Nader for giving us Bush you really aren't in step with reality. The election was Gore's to lose and lose it, he did. You can say all you want about stolen votes, etc; the fact remains that if Gore had 1) picked a better running mate (time has certainly proven what a p.o.s. Lieberman is,) 2) run a more aggressive, human campaign (his acceptance speech at the convention told me he would lose when he talked over the people applauding for him, 3) not deliberately distanced himself from a very popular standing President, and, most importantly, 4) carried his HOME STATE of Tennessee (where Nader *hardly* registered in percentage) he would have been President. Fact is, he lost.
Am I disappointed by the current Senate? Yes and no. Am I surprised? Very little. People in power love power. The complete sell-out of the Democratic Oregon and Washington Congressional Delegations on the "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007" is a good example of that. Here's some of the language from that bill: SEC. 899A. DEFINITIONS.

`For purposes of this subtitle:

`(1) COMMISSION- The term `Commission' means the National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism established under section 899C.

`(2) VIOLENT RADICALIZATION- The term `violent radicalization' means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.

`(3) HOMEGROWN TERRORISM- The term `homegrown terrorism' means the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

`(4) IDEOLOGICALLY BASED VIOLENCE- The term `ideologically based violence' means the use, planned use, or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual's political, religious, or social beliefs.

The good news is that, theoretically, you could use it to shut down anti-choice groups. However, it's a threat to everyone's freedom.

Currently, the Dems don't have a strong candidate; the only one with any guts (Kucinich) is marginalized and portrayed by the media as a wacko.

It's gurrently Golden Rule time in DC: "if you got the gold, you make the rules."

5:06 PM  
Blogger bryduck said...

Way to pick out one small parenthetical point from my post to slam me on, anonymous, but in any case, here's a response. Regardless of whether Ralphie "cost" Gore the election--and it's hardly naive of me to blame him, considering that every poll ever taken of Florida voters has shown that w/o Nader on the ballot, Gore wins there, and therefore the election, handily, regardless of what other noise you try to distract me with--the fact is, he was seriously, dangerously, and yes, naively, wrong, Wrong, WRONG about his stated rationale for running for President against Gore. If you would like to try and show me how a President Gore's Administration would have in any conceivable way been even remotely, in-the-same-universely similar to what we've endured under Bush/Cheney, go for it, because that's what he was peddling. Anything else the Naderites throw out there is purely defensive rationalization for their naivete in supporting his quixotic attempt for relevancy. If Nader really wanted to create a third party of progressives, why didn't he instead lend his time/effort/money to helping the Greens create a grassroots organization and get some Greens elected at the local and state levels as a start? That's how third parties have historically become successful in this country, not via hopeless runs on the national scene. That the Greens are in even worse shape now than they were before 2000 proves that he didn't really care about them at all.
I don't know if he's an egomaniac, or simply likes being a gadfly regardless of the consequences, or what, but because he chose to remain on the ballot, even in states that anyone with any brains knew were going to be close, we (and our children, their children, and possibly even their children) got royally screwed. If he only wanted to make a statement, he could have taken himself off the ballot in those close states and had the same pulpit without costing the world so dearly. If he truly believed that Al Gore and Smirky were the same, however, then he was a moron, and anyone voting for a moron for President needs serious help.

6:04 PM  

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