FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Masturbating on the Edge of the Apocalypse

by ALEXANDER COCKBURN

It’s the merry laugh on the lip of the abyss.  Christine O’Donnell, senatorial candidate with her “no hand jobs” program has cast an unfamiliar ray of sunshine over the surreal landscape of American politics.

In terms of political fun this has been a bleak decade. Not since Monica Lewinsky eagerly confided to friends she was strapping on her kneepads for service in Bill Clinton’s Oval Office have politics offered as such simple enjoyment as  O’Donnell, the Tea Party girl  (41 but still young at heart) from Delaware, visibly bursting with sexual pizzazz, chuckling merrily as solemn reporters rake through  what they piously term her “troubling” resume. This  same resume is mostly  par for the course for millions of Americans (a lien from the Internal Revenue Service against unpaid taxes) or business as usual for  95 per cent of all members of Congress – use of political funds for personal expenditures.

“But that was when I was in high school!” she cries gaily  when they play the clip from Bill Maher’s Show in 1999 when she gave us the great line, “I dabbled in witchcraft but I never joined a coven,” so much more alluring a denial than Clinton’s “…but I never inhaled.”  How could one not yearn for O’Donnell’s victory on November 2 over stuffy Democrat Chris Coons, when she goes on, “One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar and I didn’t know it. I mean there’s a little blood there and stuff like that…”

And famously too O’Donnell has nixed masturbation, on the grounds that autotelic satisfaction is by definition a betrayal of the moral principal that lust should only be satisfied by conjunction with a marriage partner (of the opposite sex.)  Democrats cluck about the eccentricity of this position, thereby implying  that in their view masturbation is a perfectly respectable practice and only a kook would decry it. Back in Clinton-time few of them rallied to the defense of Clinton’s surgeon-general, Jocelyn Elders, fired by the President in 1994 after she’d said that masturbation could  prevent young people from engaging in riskier forms of sexual activity” and as a part of human sexuality ”perhaps it should be taught.”

This is all light opera amid the shrill insanity of American politics, where Forbes magazine features on its cover a piece by Dinesh D’Souza advancing the proposition that  “The U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s.This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anticolonial ambitions, is now setting the nation’s agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son.” This utterly mad claim about the sedately imperialist Obama is then flourished by Newt Gingrich, one of the nation’s more prominent Republicans, who declares it to be “brilliant.”

The Democrats keep the focus on O’Donnell, somehow hoping that, thus primed, voters across America will come to the conclusion that Republicans are unfit to govern, and reject them on November 2.  It’s a very foolish strategy. Tea Party candidates promoted by Sarah Palin are doing well in some states.  Not O’Donnell. It’s sadly clear that Delaware’s voters are now concluding that O’Donnell’s true vocation is  on Bill Maher’s Show or as a follow-on from Bristol Palin’s appearance on Dancing with the Stars. She  lags behind her Democratic opponent by 15 points in the race for Joe Biden’s former senate seat.

But for Democrats to fixate on O’Donnell is like focusing on the “threat” of  Little Red Riding Hood instead of taking a close look at the true threat lurking in the woods. This is a general popular fury with incumbent politicians, most particularly Democrats, since they control both houses of Congress, with a Democrat in the Oval Office. As a roadside sign I just saw in southern Oregon put it, put it, “Remember to throw out the trash. Vote on November 2.”

It’s becoming clear that by the end of  Election Day Democrats could be reliving the terrible double punch they endured back in 1994 after two years of Bill Clinton: the loss of not only  the House but the Senate.  The House is surely going Republican. Democrats can count on 192 certain seats in the next Congress, Republicans 205, with what the Real Clear Politics (RCP) site – crunching  the numbers –  says are 38  seats “too close to call”. You can bet that this year more of these will tend to fall the Republican side of the line.

In the Senate  Democrats, according to RCP, can count on 48 seats, Republican 46 with 6 too close to call.  Of these six  at least four could go to  Republicans, starting with Tea Party star Sharron Angle  in Nevada and heading east through Colorado, Illinois to West Virginia. And in this year of Throw Out the Trash, Democrats can’t count on “safe seats” to be truly safe.

A huge new factor is the consequences of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last January in the Citizens United case. The Court ruled that corporations should encounter no impediment in sluicing money into elections via so-called “independent expenditures” theoretically bypassing direct contributions to a candidate. Already, at this point in the electoral season, Republican senate candidates have benefited from $23.3 million in these independent expenditures, while Democrats have only seen $3.3 million thrown their way.

Even as the Left quavers theatrically about the O’Donnell threat, they are almost certain to lose their strongest antiwar voice in the US Senate, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. On November 3  we could be heading into two years of a Republican Congress, infused with the inflamed certitudes of triumphant Tea Partiers. Will Obama display the back-to-the wall agility of Bill Clinton, triangulating back from political ruin? Probably not. Amid a fierce Depression and a Republican Congress he will have exultant foes, disappointed supporters, scant options and thus  a thousand knives raised and ready to plunge into his back.

It will be exciting, good for the journalism business, but surely not light-hearted fun. Enjoy O’Donnell for the next five weeks.

Can the “Peace Process” Get Any More Cruelly Absurd?

Yes it can, or Si, se puede, as the “honest broker” Obama would say.  In our latest newsletter, Kathleen Christison details the new round of negotiations between Palestinians and Israel, sponsored by Obama & Co. As Christison writes:

“The deck in these negotiations is clearly stacked against the Palestinians and against any possibility of resolving or even addressing the root of the conflict and Palestinian grievances going back to 1948.

“Imagine a peace process and, if the peace processors get their wish, a peace settlement that ignores major aspects of Palestinian interests –

“that ignores an entire portion of Palestinian territory in Gaza, along with its 1.5 million imprisoned inhabitants;

“that ignores Hamas and the reality that it was democratically elected by a people dissatisfied with the leadership of those Palestinian leaders now sitting at the negotiating table;

“that ignores Israel’s continued inexorable absorption of land, a phenomenon of which settlement construction is only one manifestation;

“that ignores the reality that prevention of any Palestinian state is part of the founding principles and the political basis of Netanyahu’s Likud Party, which itself sits to the left of other right-wing parties in Netanyahu’s coalition;

“that ignores the immense significance of the strong U.S. partnership with Israel, particularly the Kafkaesque reality that the U.S.A. – the supposed mediator – gives one party to the negotiations the firepower with which to suppress the other.”

Read this savage, indispensable report inn our subscriber-only newsletter.

Also in this terrific issue, Bill Hatch on the new speculative real estate bubble swelling day by day in California. Without booms and busts capitalism wouldn’t be capitalism. Love it… or change it.

And in America capitalism wouldn’t be capitalism without methodical racism. Mike Snedeker on a new map of hell — the New Jim Crow.

I urge you to  subscribe now!

ALEXANDER COCKBURN can be reached at: alexandercockburn@asis.com

Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined! and A Colossal Wreck are available from CounterPunch.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Obama Said Hillary will Continue His Legacy and Indeed She Will!
Jeffrey St. Clair
She Stoops to Conquer: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Rob Urie
Long Live the Queen of Chaos
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Evolution of Capitalism, Escalation of Imperialism
Margot Kidder
My Fellow Americans: We Are Fools
Ralph Nader
Hillary’s Convention Con
Lewis Evans
Executing Children Won’t Save the Tiger or the Rhino
Vijay Prashad
The Iraq War: a Story of Deceit
Chris Odinet
It Wasn’t Just the Baton Rouge Police Who Killed Alton Sterling
Brian Cloughley
Could Trump be Good for Peace?
Patrick Timmons
Racism, Freedom of Expression and the Prohibition of Guns at Universities in Texas
Gary Leupp
The Coming Crisis in U.S.-Turkey Relations
Pepe Escobar
Is War Inevitable in the South China Sea?
Norman Pollack
Clinton Incorruptible: An Ideological Contrivance
Robert Fantina
The Time for Third Parties is Now!
Andre Vltchek
Like Trump, Hitler Also Liked His “Small People”
Serge Halimi
Provoking Russia
David Rovics
The Republicans and Democrats Have Now Switched Places
Andrew Stewart
Countering The Nader Baiter Mythology
Rev. William Alberts
“Law and Order:” Code words for White Lives Matter Most
Ron Jacobs
Something Besides Politics for Summer’s End
David Swanson
It’s Not the Economy, Stupid
Erwan Castel
A Faith that Lifts Barricades: The Ukraine Government Bows and the Ultra-Nationalists are Furious
Steve Horn
Did Industry Ties Lead Democratic Party Platform Committee to Nix Fracking Ban?
Robert Fisk
How to Understand the Beheading of a French Priest
Colin Todhunter
Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU
Franklin Lamb
“Don’t Cry For Us Syria … The Truth is We Shall Never Leave You!”
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
The Artistic Representation of War and Peace, Politics and the Global Crisis
Frederick B. Hudson
Well Fed, Bill?
Harvey Wasserman
NY Times Pushes Nukes While Claiming Renewables Fail to Fight Climate Change
Elliot Sperber
Pseudo-Democracy, Reparations, and Actual Democracy
Uri Avnery
The Orange Man: Trump and the Middle East
Marjorie Cohn
The Content of Trump’s Character
Missy Comley Beattie
Pick Your Poison
Kathleen Wallace
Feel the About Turn
Joseph Grosso
Serving The Grid: Urban Planning in New York
John Repp
Real Cooperation with Nations Is the Best Survival Tactic
Binoy Kampmark
The Scourge of Youth Detention: The Northern Territory, Torture, and Australia’s Detention Disease
Kim Nicolini
Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red In It
Cesar Chelala
Gang Violence Rages Across Central America
Phillip Kim et al.
Open Letter to Bernie Sanders from Former Campaign Staffers
Tom H. Hastings
Africa/America
Robert Koehler
Slavery, War and Presidential Politics
Charles R. Larson
Review: B. George’s “The Death of Rex Ndongo”
July 28, 2016
Paul Street
Politician Speak at the DNC
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail