Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.
Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.
CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.
The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.
Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683
Thank you for your support,
Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel
CounterPunch PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558
God and the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party
All right, Godless CounterPunchers, we know that you are snickering about Alabama’s Chief Justice Roy Moore’s 10 Commandments rock. Now his eight associate judges have repudiated "Roy’s Rock," and the state’s Attorney General removed it. So all is well. Or is it?
On July 22, the House voted 307 to 119 for an amendment to an appropriations bill. It prohibits the use of federal money to enforce the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals previous ruling that "under God" has no business in the Pledge of Allegiance. The next day it voted 260 to 161 to prohibit funding of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals decision demanding the removal of Moore’s monument.
Ninety-one of 199 Democrats voted to prohibit funding the "under God" decision, 50 out of 197 voted to ban US money for enforcement of the order against Moore. Cynics felt that this was just populist demagoguery, that they knew that the bill wouldn’t get past the Senate. Except that the Senate had previously voted, 99 to 0 and 94 to 0, to denounce the 9th’s ruling in nonbinding statements.
With Alabama’s court and AG promising to get rid of the 10 Commandments stone, the Senate won’t have to vote on that, but "under God" is still before the courts. As of now, no one has introduced the 11th Circuit Court amendment into the Senate, and it is possible that our Senators will cook up a parliamentary maneuver to evade binding a vote on the House’s handiwork. But if they do, that only postpones the political day of reckoning for our secular liberals until the 2004 elections.
Columnists in the New York Times, the Nation and other liberal journals now agonize over whether they are for Howard Dean or Dennis Kucinich. None of their ruminations mean a thing. Everyone familiar with those publications’ previous endorsements knows that they will tell us to vote for anyone the Democrats nominate, even if they dig up Attila and run him as a peace candidate. But for the Hun’s presidency to mean much, domestically, he’s got to have a Democratic Congress to back him up. Which means that our secular Democrats will be on their knees the night before the election, alongside Moore, praying that all the House Democrats who voted for him, and all the Senators who stood up for "God" against you heathens, get reelected.
Win or lose, liberalism faces its terminal crisis. Secularist organizations are deeply troubled. Secularism was invented by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, the Democratic Party’s founders. Library shelves sag under the weight of their warnings about mixing religion and politics. But every hypocritical Democrat’s vote on behalf of Moore or "under God" was a weapon of mass deception aimed at Jefferson’s great "wall of separation between Church and State."
God and the 10 Commandments may be what Judaism is all about, but even the American Jewish Congress, which wants continued support of both parties for Israel, called the House votes "assaults on the rule of law." Mock pious politicians may be ‘good for Israel,’ but their members live here and they fear that politically ‘shrewd’ pandering to the Christian right today can end us up with a Christian government on some tomorrow.
Secularist Democrats have fallen into a pit of their own digging. Ninety-eight, maybe 99 out of 100, share the cynicism of their party on other issues. For example, many secularists are privately for legalizing recreational pot. Yet they have no problem with Dean and Kucinich running like thieves from the issue, which isn’t central to the secular world view. But they know that any Presidential candidate of "the democratic wing of the Democratic Party," will never denounce the congressional Democratic Jesus freaks and panderers to the freaks, and that the reason for their silence is exactly the same depraved vote counting reason they are quieter than Jerusalem Slim’s empty tomb re marijuana.
For all their populist rhetoric, ‘democratic wing’ politicians operate on the basis of a great unspoken truth: Poor people got poor ways. Foolish voters outnumber the wise, not just in Alabama, but in every state in the union. Their strategy is to pander to those fools, black, white and otherwise, by commission or omission, by lying to them, or keeping quite when their party colleagues do, all in the fools’ interests, you understand.
Wannabe leftist candidates also must face that sobering reality. Pander or educate. But if you pander, you never convert anyone into a thinking political being.
Democrats are "crackpot realists." They know that 47% of Americans, 57% of Blacks, believe that God created the world about 10,000 years ago. They court that religious Black vote and desperately pander to white Protestant born-agains, pro-Zionist Orthodox Jewish believers in the Great Ham-hater in the sky, and similar powerful minds. They hem and they haw about gay marriage. But, in the ‘real world’ which they babble about without really examining, one in seven Americans now reject all religions, millions of sincere believers also believe in keeping religion out of politics, there are now over 19 million potheads, and tens of millions of straights accept gay marriage.
To be sure, as of now, no for-keeps revolutionary can get elected President. But a serious radical candidate in 2004 most assuredly can recruit a massive movement out of those already gigantic minorities. And always remember that the Democrats lost to Nixon in 1968 and 1972, yet Nixon lost the Vietnam war. That’s because it wasn’t Democrats Hubert Humphrey and George McGovern who organized hundreds of thousands into the antiwar movement. It was a few thousand Trotskyists and Stalinists who called the demonstrations.
And today no sane person expects Dean or Kucinich to call for an anti-war movement. Not here, and certainly not within the military in Afghanistan and Iraq and Saudi Arabia. That plain and simple truth automatically disqualifies them as genuine ‘peace candidates’.
James Madison to Edward Livingston
July 10, 1822
Notwithstanding the general progress made within the two last centuries in favour of this branch of liberty, & the full establishment of it, in some parts of our Country, there remains in others a strong bias towards the old error, that without some sort of alliance or coalition between Govt. & Religion neither can be duly supported. Such indeed is the tendency to such a coalition, and such its corrupting influence on both the parties, that the danger cannot be too carefully guarded agst. And in a Govt. of opinion, like ours, the only effectual guard must be found in the soundness and stability of the general opinion on the subject. Every new & successful example therefore of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance. And I have no doubt that every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together. It was the belief of all sects at one time that the establishment of Religion by law, was right & necessary; that the true religion ought to be established in exclusion of every other; And that the only question to be decided was which was the true religion. The example of Holland proved that a toleration of sects, dissenting from the established sect, was safe & even useful. The example of the Colonies, now States, which rejected religious establishments altogether, proved that all Sects might be safely & advantageously put on a footing of equal & entire freedom; and a continuance of their example since the declaration of Independence, has shewn that its success in Colonies was not to be ascribed to their connection with the parent Country. If a further confirmation of the truth could be wanted, it is to be found in the examples furnished by the States, which have abolished their religious establishments. I cannot speak particularly of any of the cases excepting that of Virga. where it is impossible to deny that Religion prevails with more zeal, and a more exemplary priesthood than it ever did when established and patronised by Public authority. We are teaching the world the great truth that Govts. do better without Kings & Nobles than with them. The merit will be doubled by the other lesson that Religion flourishes in greater purity, without than with the aid of Govt.
LENNI BRENNER is the editor of 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis and a contributor to The Politics of Anti-Semitism. He can be reached at BrennerL21@aol.com