2015 in Review: Politics


Limbo lower now
How low can you go?

 — Chubby Checker, “Limbo Rock”

It’s pretty easy to summarize politics in 2015: it’s about as bad as it’s ever been. You have to go back to the years leading up to the Civil War to find a Congress as dysfunctional as the current one. And the Alaska Legislature wants to slash its way to prosperity.

You think WC is indulging his tendency to hyperbole? Let’s look at some examples.

The greatest issue facing our nation is climate change. Elizabeth Kolbert, writing recently in The New Yorker, noted:

Willful ignorance about climate change has become a point of pride among elected officials in the G.O.P. Recently, the Associated Press asked a panel of eight scientists to assess the accuracy of Presidential candidates’ tweets on climate change using a scale of zero to a hundred. (The tweets were shown to the scientists without the candidates’ names, to guard against bias.) All nine of the Republican candidates graded got failing scores. Donald Trump, for instance, received a fifteen, while Ben Carson got a thirteen and Ted Cruz a six. “This individual understands less about science (and climate change) than the average kindergartner,” Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University, who served as one of the judges, wrote of Cruz’s statements. “That sort of ignorance would be dangerous in a doorman, let alone a president.”

WC has written many time about the Republicans in Congress and their willful, appalling pandering to the fossil fuel industry. The Republican Party is the anti-science party. Yes, you should be very worried.

Another very serious issue facing us is income inequality. What did Congress do to address the increasing gap between the rich and the poor? Buried a special tax goody in the Budget Reconciliation Act. Two decades ago, the 400 highest-earning taxpayers in America paid nearly 27 percent of their income in federal taxes, according to I.R.S. data. By 2012, that figure had fallen to less than 17 percent, which is just slightly more than the typical family making $100,000 annually, when payroll taxes are included for both groups.

Okay, Congress punted on climate and income inequality. How did they do on immigration reform? There are somewhere between 11 and 14 million eople in the United States illegally, doing the jobs no one else wants. And Congress did . . . nothing. A couple of the Republican presidential wannabes waxed hysterical – The Donald positively frothed at the mouth – but exactly nothing was accomplished.

And then there’s the usual corruption, dishonesty and hypocrisy. Take that pillar of the Republicans, Christianist favorite and Good Family Man, former House Speaker Dennis Hastert. He copped a guilty plea to violating federal banking laws to hide making $1.7 million in hush money payments. The payments were to a former student who accused Hastert of sexual misconduct.

It isn’t just Congress that is delusional. The nimwits in charge of the Alaska Legislature reman committed to inflicting an economic depression on Alaska in preference to a sensible economic policy. The Republican majority caucus is determined to slash spending to achieve prosperity, as opposed to generating revenue. It’s an arithmetic impossibility, and vastly ignorant of how economics works. Governor Walker gave them a sensible roadmap. The clowns in charge refuse to even look at it.

See what WC means? Absolutely dysfunctional.

Between gerrymandering, rigging the campaign finance system, and short-sheeting campaign watchdogs like the Alaska Public Offices Commission, these buffoons have pretty much guaranteed themselves reelection, too.

Back in WC’s salad days, on the barricades in college demonstrations, we used to tell each other, “Wait until the revolution.” WC is still waiting.

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One thought on “2015 in Review: Politics

  1. It’s a balmy 38 degrees above zero this morning, here in the subarctic — about 50 to 70 degrees off kilter from the norm. 38 Degrees is also the name of a progressive British Political Activism organization that promotes peace, defends rights and works to preserve the planet. The group takes its name from the critical angle of repose, or the angle at which the incidence of a human-triggered avalanche is greatest. Look for Alaskan tourists to start disappearing in rock and mudslides in the coming years as the permafrost disappears and our awesome trails become more unstable.

    But 38 degrees is so much bigger than mere torrents of mud.

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