Thursday, April 26, 2018

US Congress: Where Corruption and Religion Live in Peace

Mike Crapo: Deregulate banks so they can help our communities.
By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

“In every age it has been the tyrant, the oppressor and the exploiter who has wrapped himself in the cloak of patriotism, or religion, or both to deceive and overawe the people.” Eugene Debs

It is somewhat hypocritical to say the least when US capitalism’s mass media rants on about corruption and graft in the political bodies of the former colonial and now thoroughly imperialized nation states.  Sometimes their governance is referred to as “crony capitalism as opposed to good American as apple pie Little House on the Prairie capitalism here at home.

But there is no body politic in any bourgeois democracy that is as thoroughly rotten as the US Congress. The politicians are all millionaires or billionaires and their votes are bought and sold like shares on the stock exchange. The disgust among the populace is so prevalent that the “no vote” party is the big winner in most elections. In 2016, 55.7% of the US voting age population actually cast ballots according to the US Census Bureau. This puts the US way behind other advanced capitalist economies of the OECD.

Looking at the most recent nationwide election in each of the 35 OECD member nations, the U.S. placed 28th according to the Pew Research Center.

Another influential group in the US Congress is the Evangelicals and other religious elements, Trump’s VP is Mike Pence, a right wing born again Cristian. US foreign policy in the Middle East is hugely driven by Christian mythology as the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is seen to be the playing out prophecy in the book of Revelation that reads like a Grimm’s fairly tale. Much of Trump’s base is the Evangelical movement and nothing fazes them when it comes to Trump, they’re like a US Taliban.

They’re not alone mind you. I read today that the Republican Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, the aptly named Mike Crapo, a Mormon from Idaho, wrote to the heads of Citibank and Bank of America expressing his “concern” when large national banks, “cut off financial services for lawful business they may disfavor”. Both banks stated they would reduce business with the gun industry in the wake of the Parkland school shooting in February this year. Mormonism is a religion founded in 1830 by a middle class American from a mercantile/farming family named Joseph Smith. According to Smith, he had a number of dreams (visions they like to call them). In one of them he saw Jesus and his dad, (god). He was also visited by an angel who led him to a buried book and some “golden plates”. In my limited knowledge of Mormon history these plates contained Judeo-Christian history of an ancient American civilization. Sound familiar? This club has some 16 million members and lots of money.

Anyway, I’m sure Senator Crapo’s concern about lawful businesses probably doesn’t apply when religious conservatives object to funds for Planned Parenthood or gay marriage or other such demonic practices.  Crapo might be guided by his faith but his faith is buried deep in his bank account.

Crapo opposed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and is ardently anti-abortion supporting a 1998 bill that made it illegal for minors to cross state lines to get one avoiding parental consent laws. He also supported a bill, bizarrely named the Hearing Protection Act, that would make access to silencers easier.

Last month the Senate passed a “milestone bank deregulation bill that would mark the biggest rollback of financial rules since the 2008 market meltdown.”

"This bill shows that we can work together and do big things that make a difference in the lives of people across this country" Crapo said of it. How short sighted one is when one thinks only of one’s profits. This comes not too long after the crash and the bailout of the banks by the US working class. The rotten system that people like Crapo defends was dragged from the edge of the abyss by taxpayer money and socialist type legislation.

Like all of them Crapo is an opportunist. After seeing the infamous video showing Trump talking about grabbing women’s genitals and the like he withdrew his endorsement of the serial sexual predator and called instead for support for another anti-worker anti-woman born again Evangelical candidate Mike Pence. Pence was raised Catholic but saw the light. Pence is also from a small capitalist background. The source of so many cults, crackpot religions and other frenzied attempts at discovering the real meaning of life arises from the petit bourgeois as does fascism and individual terrorism.  Lawyers, millionaires, religious fanatics all capitalists and worshipers of the market dominate the US Congress.

The NRA has many of them in its pockets as do all the major corporations. Industry lobbyists, more often than not, former Congressmen infest the place. In the 2016 election alone, the NRA spent $11,438,118 to support Donald Trump and another $19,756,346 to oppose Hillary Clinton. In total, the NRA spent $51,854,687 during the 2016 federal election cycle.

Crapo received $81,000 from the National Rifle Association. I’m sure that it wouldn’t affect his political decisions though, that would be a sin. He got busted for drunk driving in 2012 pleading guilty in Jan 2013. Consuming alcohol is forbidden for Mormons too, but he apologized and god is very forgiving. Trump is forgiven, he’s been born again and humans aren’t perfect.

They have born again, Catholics have confession. The religion business is very adaptable.

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