Sunday, June 10, 2012

Transiting Wisconsin

Last Tuesday night, as the planet Venus slowly crawled across the sun for its one and only transit in our collective lifetime, Scott Walker sped to victory in Wisconsin, riding upon the Koch Brothers' millions. And, as the right-wing calliope sounded loudly yet again, the Supreme Court's Citizens' United decision of two years ago--to allow unlimited spending by anonymous donors and corporations to influence elections--finally came into full feather. Democrats were suddenly outspent 7 to 1. While the rest of us picked up our dinosaurs and tried to get out of the room, conservatives bounced their latest hero on Tea Party shoulders, and gloated. Walker would not only keep his job as governor; his personal stock had just gone through the roof. Come 2020 (after Rom Mittney's two terms), Walker could be looking positively presidential.

In all the commentary that followed, nobody even noticed the inspectors who had been duly standing by in expectation of an all-night recount operation. Nobody blinked when the result was hastily announced--a mere one hour after the polls had closed. Personally, I found the silence afterwards eerie and was creeped out by it. But only when I read Tom Degan's blog was the possibility of rigging even raised by anyone. "I'm damned-near speechless--but hardly surprised," he wrote on The Rant. "Could the election have been tampered with? We'll never know," he added. "Democracy today is at the mercy of easily hackable, computerized voting machines, not to mention unlimited money for paid propaganda and misinformation. A strange new world. It took 1984 twenty-eight years to finally get here."

Tom's friend Jacqueline, who had been very active in the recall movement, told him that there was reason to believe the election was rigged. She makes a good case, he said: "The numbers do NOT make sense. There were NO exit polls that were made available. They are usually adjusted to match the "official" totals, but last night, for the first time ever, unprecedented really: THE UNADJUSTED EXIT POLLS WERE NOT MADE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC...The electoral process is corrupted," she wrote. The machines are riggable and the criminals go undetected. Stolen elections are eating democracy."

Move over Cairo. Hi there Afghanistan, Iran, and Uzbeki-beki-beki-stan: America wants to join you in electoral dysfunction. There'll be no more bottled summer bliss over here in Dandelion Wine Country, now that organized labor has been given a death blow by the Koch Brothers in their million-dollar red capes--in what David Koch deemed a "critically important" fight to bring down the unions. As Rachel Maddow asked on MSNBC, "what happens if you kill off the unions?" (Warning: you may not like her answer.) "If Republicans can use policy at the state level to kill unions, there will no longer be two sides competing when it comes to big money in elections. It will be all Republican money, no matter who the candidates are, no matter what the election year is, no matter what the specific office is. Republicans will be running essentially unopposed. Forever. All across the country."

In other words, prepare for wall-to-wall Republicanism as far as the eye can see. Prepare, thus, for disinformation, disenfranchisement, deregulation, and dystopia until death do us part. Until then (and it won't be long now), expect no jobs or grand bargains--because until they have reached their goal, rogue Republicans like John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Mitch McConnell will do nothing but contemptuously laugh at the monthly job numbers. It's all part of the right-wing coup.

Virgil and I have been tracking the right-wing coup obsessively for several years now, trying to bring it into focus ever since the Citizens United verdict was passed back in 2009. But now we have found a new friend--a kindred spirit and well-known compatriot--Robert Reich, who wrote this on his blog after the recall:

"I'm not a conspiracy theorist...but I fear that at least since 2010 we've been witnessing a quiet, slow-motion coup d'etat whose purpose is to repeal every bit of progressive legislation since the New Deal and entrench the privileged positions of the wealthy and powerful..,.Its technique is to inundate America with a few big lies, told over and over (the debt is Obama's fault and it's out of control; corporations and the very rich are the 'job creators' that need tax cuts; government is the enemy, and its regulations are strangling the private sector; unions are bad; and so on), and tell them so often they're taken as fact. Then having convinced enough Americans that these lies are true, take over the White House, Congress, and remaining states that haven't yet succumbed to the regressive right (witness Tuesday's recall election in Wisconsin)."

Reich adds that he desperately hopes he's wrong about this, despite the growing evidence--but Virgil and I both know for sure that he is right. We're glad to have some serious company at last. And just in case you have noticed that my blogs over the past couple of months have been MIA and wondered why, it's because I am having bad eye troubles. Cataract surgery is scheduled for this week. And God said, "Let there be light."