Friday, November 24, 2006

SIROTA: 'Bipartisanship' shows real power divide--people vs. money

As soon as there is talk of bipartisanship, whether from Democrats or Republicans, it means they all got the same fax from the Chamber of Commerce.

As Sirota points out here, the real divide in Washington is not ideological but people vs. money, as was shown by trade and business oriented bills that get broad support even though they screw the vast majority of Americans.

He could have taken this even further and applied it to our foreign policy. Pundits, even many on the left, pretend that foreign policy is a struggle between ideologues and realpolitik types. It is not. It is about money. American oil companies want the profits from Iraq's oil, and we invade Iraq. The elected president of Venezuela wants to keep more of the income from his country's oil, thus cutting into oil company profits, and he is targeted for recall elections (sound familiar?), coups, and assassination.

Any talk of spreading democracy at gunpoint is a lie. They want to steal, and they tell a nice story so we go along with it.

This not only puts money ahead of Iraqi and other foreign people, it puts money ahead of us. To the degree that these wars affect terrorism they increase it. And a big reason why terrorism exists is because businesses have demanded our government put their profits ahead of the economic welfare and self-determination of people in the Middle East.

In addition to paying the cost of seizing that asset for oil companies with our safety, we pay with our tax dollars and soldiers lives. And how do oil companies repay us? They demand more tax cuts, gouge us at the pumps, and pay their PR machine to quash alternatives to their product.

I like capitalism. It gives me good tennis shoes and this nice computer. But just as we wouldn't let a nymphomaniac write our sex laws or a drug addict write our drug laws, we should let corporations write our foreign and domestic policy or they will stack the deck and privatize everything to squeeze every last dime out of us, and by doing the same to other countries, make us hated to boot.


“Bipartisanship” Hides the Real Power Equation That No One Talks About



Anyone who spends 5 minutes around the halls of power in the nation’s capital knows that Washington is dominated by one party: The Money Party, and that the People Party is far outnumbered - even after this election. Look no further than votes on the bankruptcy bill, the energy bill, the class action bill, China PNTR and NAFTA to figure out which politicans who call themselves Republicans and Democrats actually belong to the Money Party and which politicians actually belong to the People Party. The Establishment pretends this paradigm doesn’t exist - they need the drama of Democrats vs. Republicans to sell newspapers, and more importantly, hiding the existence of the real power equation is in the interest of all the major for-profit corporations that own the media.


What this election really was was a surge for the People Party, because so many candidates were elected on anti-Money Party themes (opposition to pay-to-play corruption, opposition to lobbyist-written trade pacts, etc.).
This explains why in the election’s aftermath we hear such repetitive calls for “bipartisanship”: they are really repetitive and not-so-hidden attempts to make sure the Money Party that includes both Republicans and Democrats remains dominant and that the election’s mandate is ignored. The thing they really do not want is for the People Party to assert itself against the Money Party.

I hope when Pelosi and other Democrats talk about “bipartisanship” they understand the real partisan divide in Washington, and will use their power to build coalitions of Republicans and Democrats to push the People Party’s agenda. Because doing the opposite - solidifying coalitions of Republicans and Democrats to continue pushing the Money Party’s agenda - is not the “bipartisanship” this country wants or deserves.

To paraphrase Barry Goldwater, I would remind progressives that partisanship in the defense of regular people is no vice, and Washington’s faux bipartisanship in the pursuit of selling out is no virtue.


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