The triumph of ignorance and greed in the November elections is about to complete the paralysis of the United States government that has been the clear objective of the right wing since 1980, and has been almost within its grasp since 2000. Virtually free at last from the constraints of objective journalism, effective opposition and a shared public sense of civic duty, the right wing no longer needs to be restrained, or rational, in completing the destruction of a once great nation.
Overstatement? Consider what is already on the table:
- The Senate this week passed a food safety bill, described as “sweeping” and allegedly designed to protect consumers from tainted food, which kills 14 Americans every day. But instead of being sweeping, this bill has been swept by powerful brooms: it does not cover meat, poultry, eggs or oysters, and threatens “high risk” food producers with inspections of their facilities every three years. And this is the progressive, Democratic, lame duck Congress, the so-called Socialist, big-government, big-spending, anti-business zealots from whom America has just been taken back. We’ll remember them fondly.
- The new speaker of the House, John Boehner, says a committee formed to consider measures to mitigate climate change and encourage energy independence will be disbanded as soon as he takes office. It is, he told a Wall Street Journal blogger, a cost-cutting measure. As, of course, are the many proposals being floated by newly-elected members of the Know-Nothing Party to defund the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Republican representative Fred Upton, the likely incoming chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, has said publicly that there is “no real science” to support the notion that the world’s climate is changing because of pollution, or that anything we could possibly do would mitigate the changes.
- Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, who will take over the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, says a full scale Congressional investigation of the so-called “Climategate” scandal (the term misapplied to a clutch of snarky, inside-baseball emails among climate scientists at East Anglia University that climate-change deniers have tried unsuccessfully to use to discredit all climate change research) is number one on his agenda.
- Republican legislators are openly planning, as Politico reports, the use of arcane procedural rules to nullify a clutch of recent regulations applied to various industrial clients, such as the national air quality standard for ozone, toxic emission limits for industrial boilers and a pending decision about whether to regulate coal ash as hazardous waste.
This is what America voted for in November, and this is the nature of the darkness that will fall in early January. Time to light a candle.