At TomDispatch, Andy Kroll writes:
The takeaway from Walker’s decisive win on Tuesday is not that Wisconsin’s new populist movement is dead. It’s that such a movement does not fit comfortably into the present political/electoral system, stuffed as it is with corporate money, overflowing with bizarre ads and media horse-race-manship. Its members’ beliefs are too diverse to be confined comfortably in what American electoral politics has become. It simply couldn’t be squeezed into a system that stifles and, in some cases, silences the kinds of voices and energies it possessed.
The post-election challenge for the members of Wisconsin’s uprising is finding a new way to fight for and achieve needed change without simply pinning their hopes on a candidate or an election. After all, that’s part of what absorbed the nation when a bunch of students first moved into the Wisconsin state capitol and wouldn’t go home, or when a ragtag crew of protesters camped out in lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park and wouldn’t leave either. In both cases, they had harnessed the outrage felt by so many Americans for a cause other than what’s usually called “politics” in this country.
And they were successful—even in the most traditional terms; that is, both movements affected traditional politics most strongly when they weren’t part of it. The Occupy movement, for all its flaws, moved even mainstream political discourse away from austerity and deficit slashing and toward the issues of income inequality and the hollowing out of the American middle and working classes.
Avoiding politics as we know it with an almost religious fervor, Occupy still managed to put its stamp on national political fights. Last October, for instance, Ohioans voted overwhelmingly to repeal SB 5, a law that curbed collective bargaining rights for all public-employee unions. Occupy’s “We are the 99%” message reverberated through Ohio, and the volunteers who blitzed the state successfully drew on Occupy themes to make their case for the law’s repeal. Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, which spent $ 500,000 in Ohio fighting SB 5, told me at the time, “Every conversation was in the context of the 99% and the 1%, this discussion sparked by Occupy Wall Street.”
The money that flowed into Walker’s recall fight speaks loudly to the disadvantages a Wisconsin-like movement faces within the walls of electoral politics and the need for it to resist being confined there. On the post-Citizens United playing field, the unlimited amounts of the money that rose to the top of this society in recent decades, as the 1% definitively separated itself from the 99%, can be reinvested in preserving the world as it is and electing those who will make it even more amenable. The advantage invariably goes corporate; it goes Republican.
Historically, the Republicans have long been the party of big business, of multinational corporations, of wealthy, union-hating donors like Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and Amway heir Dick DeVos — and in recent decades the Democrats have followed in their wake sweeping up the crumbs (or worse). And here’s the reality of a deeply corrupt system: unless Congress and state legislators act to patch up their tattered campaign finance rulebooks, the same crew with the same money will continue to dominate the political wars. (And any movement that puts its own money on changing those rules is probably in deep trouble.)
In the wake of the recall losses, the people of Wisconsin’s uprising must ask themselves: Where can they make an impact outside of politics? The power of nonviolent action to create social and economic change is well documented, most notably by Jonathan Schell in his classic book The Unconquerable World. The men and women in Schell’s invaluable history — Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and his civil rights fighters, the Czech dissident Vaclav Havel, and so many others — can serve as guides to a path to change that doesn’t require recall elections. Already mainstays of the Madison protests have suggested campaigns to refuse to spend money with businesses that support Walker. “Hit ‘em where it hurts. Pocketbooks,” C.J. Terrell, one of the Capitol occupiers, recently wrote on Facebook.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2003:
The question is rhetorical, of course. No one suggests that President Bush will really be impeached.
But it is a legit question, and it’s especially surprising who is asking it: John Dean, Nixon’s White House Counsel:
Krugman is right to suggest a possible comparison to Watergate. In the three decades since Watergate, this is the first potential scandal I have seen that could make Watergate pale by comparison. If the Bush Administration intentionally manipulated or misrepresented intelligence to get Congress to authorize, and the public to support, military action to take control of Iraq, then that would be a monstrous misdeed.
As I remarked in an earlier column, this Administration may be due for a scandal. While Bush narrowly escaped being dragged into Enron, it was not, in any event, his doing. But the war in Iraq is all Bush’s doing, and it is appropriate that he be held accountable.
To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked. Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be “a high crime” under the Constitution’s impeachment clause. It would also be a violation of federal criminal law, including the broad federal anti-conspiracy statute, which renders it a felony “to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose.”
This is explosive stuff. And considering that the war’s number one cheerleader—Bill Kristol—is now admitting Bush made “misstatements,” it looks as though the whole WMD issue could very well be an albatross hung around Bush’s 2004 re-election effort.
Source: Daily Kos