If the Opposite of Pro Is Con, Then the Opposite of Progress Is …

By David Swanson

Why is Congress ranked right below Dick Cheney in popularity?

Because nobody has yet polled on the popularity of pond scum.

The day before Congress tossed the Fourth Amendment, and literally five minutes after they took out a $163 billion loan on behalf of my unborn grandkids to kill Iraqis and U.S. troops for another year, I had to give a speech at a university in Milwaukee about peace, impeachment, and elections. I started like this, before breaking the news about what Congress had just done:

Happy Juneteenth! The words that were read to the slaves in Texas are worth remembering:

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.”

If someone would read the recent Supreme Court decision in plain English to the captives at Guantanamo, the words might sound very similar — shocking to the point of unbelievability.

So, good things can happen, and they can take a long time coming, and then they can suddenly surprise you….

That was my attempt to offer encouragement. Then I broke the news, to lots of moans and groans.

But there’s an important catch that I should have stressed more than I did, I think. Good things cannot happen in Congress, because the soulless spineless servile scoundrels running the place would throw their own mothers under a bus for a corporate campaign contribution or to avoid being called names by a pundit on TV or perhaps – we can only speculate – to succumb to blackmail and avoid exposure of the fact that they once tried to have sex with a sheep, and that the sheep – of course -turned them down.

Somebody needs to tell members of Congress, with regard to their jobs, what a CIA torture strategist advised six years ago: If the detainee dies you’re doing it wrong. If thousands of people die to enrich your “contributors,” YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.

Here I am hanging out with my rightwing Midwestern relatives who complain nonsensically about affirmative action and welfare, and they agree with me on all the big things. They want to stop paying for the war. Even the ones who still believe Iraq attacked the World Trade Center still want to stop paying for the war. They do not want to give immunity to lawbreaking telecoms. They do not want to lose the Fourth Amendment. They want the legalized bribery system that we call “campaign financing” shut down. They want the power of political parties curtailed. They want independent non-wealthy candidates to run for office and win. And they want them to serve one term and quit. They want power taken back from the White House and restored to the Congress. They want green energy and no more wars. If you just make clear that they can keep lots of guns and Bibles around, they’ll get enough other stuff right to fix the broken system, except that they aren’t trying. They’re going hunting and reading the Bibles and hoping somebody else will fix everything. They think the only place to effect change is through elections. And they think the electoral system is rotten to the core. So they give up. Just like most East Coast liberals.

But, of course, elections alone have never fixed anything. Movements of people pressuring for change, working for change, risking for change, and sacrificing regardless of how soon – if ever – they can be expected to succeed is what fixes things. If electing people alone could change anything, the 2006 elections would have changed at least some teeny tiny noticeable policy. Instead those elections changed absolutely nothing. Congress Members don’t acquire humanity by being elected. They have to have it injected into their hollow toxic souls every single morning by massive public pressure. And then you have to keep them out of sight of a full moon, or they can lose it again.

On June 19th, the so-called leaders of the so-called Democrats in Congress passed an amendment they had carefully drafted and negotiated to assure its passage, dumping another $163 billion into the humanitarian project of liberating Iraqis from their homes and limbs and lives. Most of the votes came from Republicans (188). Some came from Democrats (80), including Hoyer and Emanuel. Most Democrats voted No, including Pelosi, Obey, and others who worked tirelessly to make sure the thing would pass. In fact, every single congress member who voted No did so knowing the thing would pass. And in the days leading up to the vote, not a single one of them publicly lobbied their colleagues or the so-called leadership to vote No or to not bring it up. Almost all of them voted Yes on the Rule, the procedural vote to bring the matter up for a vote. Not a single one of them went to any more effort than pulling one lever instead of another. Not a single one of them risked a broken fingernail. Meanwhile thousands upon thousands of Americans have made huge sacrifices over a period of years trying to grab the attention of these living dead fascist functionaries.

Congressman David Obey considers it a law of physics, both that the war simply must be funded even by those who claim to oppose it, and that his own shit doesn’t stink. Yet, when Democrats.com commissioned a poll last month, it found a majority of Americans wanting Congress to cut off the money and demand that the president bring everyone home within six months. That’s a majority of the citizens of this country, who have heard more about Iraq than any other topic in the news over the past six years. If Obey won’t trust us on this one, what will he trust us on? And if he considers a majority of Americans to be “idiot liberals,” why should a majority of Americans continue to masochistically employ this arrogant and unaccountable accountant for mass-murder?

In November 2006, I said there would be two things Congress could do in the next two years. Because any good bill would be vetoed or signing statemented, Congress could only usefully stop funding the occupation or start hearings on impeachment. Assuming we don’t stop the funding that the House just passed, there will remain only one useful thing that Congress can do. Of course, the “leaders” don’t want to impeach, and they especially don’t want to impeach for crimes they have been complicit in — and that’s most of the crimes.

But, believe it or not, there is a type of impeachment that a number of congress members in both parties have begun expressing interest in, namely Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s 27th article of impeachment: the refusal of the president to comply with congressional subpoenas. Congress Members can’t be complicit if they try (and you can be sure they’ll try) in a president’s refusal to comply with a congressional subpoena. And an impeachment hearing on that abuse cannot take a lot of time. The president simply has refused to comply with numerous subpoenas, not to mention contempt citations. It’s an impeachment hearing that takes under an hour, requiring zero staff time or expense.

But, of course, Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers wants to wait until Bush bombs Iran to start impeachment. This is like waiting to begin surgery on a patient until he’s lost a pulse. This Fourth of July, somebody needs to remind these senile servants of dictatorship how we got the constitutional system of government that they are destroying before our eyes.

A president whose character is marked by every act which may define a tyrant is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. We therefore do, in the name and by the authority of the good people solemnly publish and declare that these free and independent people are absolved from all allegiance to the president, the vice president, or the corrupt cabal of court jesters on capitol hill, and that all political connection between them and this so-called government is and ought to be totally dissolved. And for the support of this declaration we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

Of course, somebody will have to explain to each congress member what “sacred honor” means.

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