New Congress, Same Old Dirty System

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January 4, 2019
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January 5, 2019

New Congress, Same Old Dirty System

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

Changes from one US electoral cycle to the next leave what’s most important the same or worse – the 116th Congress to prove no different from earlier ones in recent decades, notably since the neoliberal 90s.

The NYT saying “(t)he congressional freshman class of 2019 is best described in superlatives” is way over-the-top, typical Times mumbo-jumbo rubbish.

The 111 new House and Senate members, a 21% turnover from the 115th Congress, left GOP and undemocratic Dem agendas unchanged – new faces in the crowd, same old dirty politics, same endless wars of aggression, same neoliberal harshness, same crackdown on fundamental freedoms, same fantasy democracy.

The Times’ hoopla about “insurgent progressives” in the new Congress perhaps to make a difference is utter nonsense. GOP and undemocratic Dem dark forces control both houses, the way it’s always been.

Newcomers are powerless, most easily controlled to go along or be targeted by well-funded challengers next election. Anyone diverging from dirty business as usual is vulnerable to being defeated next time around.

That’s how the system works. Progressivism is a dirty word in both houses, along with peace, equity, and justice. 

Obama’s “Change we can believe in” and “Yes We Can” were empty slogans. Cheerleading his election in November 2008, the NYT ludicrously called it “a national catharsis…an embrace (for) change…a breakthrough” for better times to come.

Endorsing his candidacy pre-election, the self-styled newspaper of record called him “the right choice” to be president, “putting real flesh on his early promises of hope and change…to (find) solutions to this nation’s problems.”

Throughout his tenure, he partnered with Wall Street in looting the federal treasury. He force-fed neoliberal harshness on ordinary people when economic stimulus was needed.

He served privileged interests exclusively at the expense of most others, the nation’s vulnerable harmed most.

He bragged about bombing seven countries in eight years, waging war in Afghanistan, Pakistan (the AfPak war), Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia.

His destructive agenda belied his empty slogans, including:

“Forward”

“Greater Together”

“Betting on America”

“We Don’t Quit”

“Winning the Future”

“We Can’t Wait”

“An America/Economy Built to Last”

“A Fair Shot”

He let economic depression conditions fester for ordinary Americans, unemployment exceeding 20% throughout his tenure, underemployment affecting the vast majority of US workers – what continues under Trump, dismissive about the rights and welfare of ordinary people everywhere.

Obama was more a jobs destroyer than creator, his tenure marked by lies, damn lies, and more of them. The great Black hope betrayed his own people most of all.

So did the vast majority of congressional Republicans and Dems, including phony progressive Bernie Sanders, a card-carrying dirty business as usual politician, pretending otherwise – voting 98% of the time with undemocratic Dems.

Like most others in Congress, he promised one thing and did another most often. He’s America’s most popular con man, his soul for sale at the right price.

His rhetorical advocacy for working Americans and young people is hollow – notably in lockstep with the US imperial agenda, one-sided support for Israel, the Wall Street owned and controlled Fed, while pretending to be independent, socialist and progressive – in name only.

He’s the most prominent congressional member touting progressive credentials his voting record spurned. At least most congressional freshmen can be expected to operate the same way – going along to get along, supporting their party’s leadership to further their political careers.

Most self-styled congressional progressives have a disturbing habit of advocating publicly for one thing, then quietly going another way.

Even RT got it wrong, falsely claiming the Dem “party’s new progressive wing (sic) is challenging the establishment on spending measures and climate action.”

When push comes to shove, their voting record will show they’ll go along with party leaders on most issues – including endless US wars of aggression, neoliberal harshness, and governance of, by, and for its privileged few exclusively.

On day one of the 116th Congress, House Dems unanimously adopted a rules package, including a so-called “pay-as-you-go” provision (PAGO), requiring budget cuts and tax hikes to offset any social spending increases and tax cuts – virtually always favoring business and high-net-worth households.

Two measures were passed to end the partial government shutdown, heading into its third week, excluding funds for Trump’s border wall – a politicized issue, largely unrelated to border security. 

Trump said he’ll veto legislation excluding funding he demands. His “crisis on the border” is more hype than reality.

Partial shutdown continues, no end of it in prospect so far, eventually things to be settled, compromise to resolve differences.

On Thursday, Speaker Pelosi said Trump isn’t immune to indictment in office – what never happened before to a US president nor were any removed from office by impeachment.

Under the Constitution’s Article II, Section 4, impeachment and conviction require proving “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

There’s plenty to hold Trump accountable for. The same goes for the vast majority of congressional members.

No evidence suggests DLT is guilty of obstruction of justice, a criminal offense, nor improper or illegal collusion with Russia.

Anything related to his private sex life isn’t an impeachable offense. Nor are his views on any issues – no matter how extreme, offensive and unacceptable.

Nothing in the Constitution permits indicting a sitting president. The supreme law of the land states:

“Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal of office.” 

Indictments are about holding individuals accountable for unlawful acts. Former presidents as private citizens can be charged with offenses, prosecuted and convicted – what never happened before in US history.

The next two years may be some of the most politically disruptive and stormy in US history. Whatever happens won’t slow America’s war machine, nor its service to Wall Street and other corporate favorites.

Ordinary Americans have few allies in Washington. They’ll likely fare worse, not better, under the 116th Congress – dirty business as usual continuing, overriding the general welfare, the way it’s been for decades.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

 

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.