Saturday, December 17, 2011

Alarming Political Capitulation

This week saw further establishment movement not only away from progressive politics, but from basic liberal principles of government: 
  • Friday's budget deal included a walkback on the Keystone Pipeline decision, such that a decision will have to be made within 60 days rather than after the election in November 2012. The Keystone Pipeline is an environmental catastrophe in the making: not only is tar shale some of the dirtiest oil around, we'd be pumping even more carbon into an already-overburdened atmosphere. Climate scientist James Hanson says that if we burn that oil, it's "game over" for the climate. Given the DC centrist capitulation machine’s history and willingness to sacrifice science to politics, I doubt the decision will be the right one.
  • This earlier affront to progressive taxation is even stupider political as it is bad policy, given current negative public opinion towards bankers and the wealthy, and poitive opinion regarding equality.
  • The Defense Authorization bill, which includes language allowing indefinite detention without trial of American citizens on American soil, voiding the right of habeus corpus, a principle of basic justice in place for centuries. It is patently unconstitutional - the Constitution only allows suspension of habeus corpus during time of war, and, call me old fashioned, but despite our constant fighting in the War On Terror, Congress never issued a declaration of war, and that still counts (even if ignored by those in power).

We are going in the wrong direction, and it’s going to get worse before we can make it get better - but make it get better we will. Eventually, I am very confident that what is happening in Wisconsin - rejection of abuse of power and of the austerity agenda - will happen on the federal level too. There are historical and current examples of people all over the world who have stopped their government from abusing power, and we will stop it too.

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