Beloved took me to see Rachel Maddow speak at the Uptown Theater yesterday in support of Maddow's new book Drift: The Unmooring Of American Military Power.
Hell, I'm reasonably impressed when someone can regularly speak in full, well-composed sentences using a halfway decent vocabulary. Maddow speaks in full, well-composed paragraphs. Seriously, she can extemporize for several minutes on issues of profound complexity without a single "um" or "uh." Amazing.
Oddly enough, she claimed to find writing painful.
Maybe she should "write" by free-associating into a recorder, and let somebody else type it up. That unedited transcript would probably be better composed than most of today's polemics that have no doubt been tortured by multiple drafts, then rigorously edited for publication.
Anyway, one of the extraordinary points Maddow made was military contracting (in the form of private businesses performing all the military's support functions, e.g. building roads, peeling potatoes, washing uniforms, etc.) was sold to Congress and the Brass under little more than faith in the conservative dogma that the private sector can always do everything cheaper than the government.
This, of course, is almost never the case.
It's a super-complicated issue that's difficult to comprehend by laypeople and factotums ignorant of the finer points of business enterprise and management, but it has to do with the fact (and, dear reader, please do try to keep up here) that private companies always add costs to everything for the purpose of making what is known among the business cognoscenti as "profits."
I know! Like Congress, it's probably the first you've heard of this "profits" term, too. Amirite? Anyway, I would make the point that these "profits" are ultimately the reason why the government should not be run like a business, and also why it's safe to assume that anyone who believes otherwise is an intellectually facile dumbass.
But I digress.
Maddow then went on to say that waaaay back in 2007, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton both campaigned for the presidency on getting rid of these sorts of military contractors. Having been stricken by the amnesia that is commonly the side-effect of extraordinary power, in the ensuing years, neither President Obama nor Secretary Clinton has demonstrated the slightest interest in even discussing the critical national security question of whether the United States government should remain dependent on private contractors to the extent that some private company might actually be able to decide whether or not the US military could logistically wage a war. And obviously, no Republican has any interest in revisiting the issue, since this cock-up was their brainchild. I've certainly never heard a Republican acknowledge this might be a problem.
So there's yet another critical issue where there is no daylight between the Democrats and Republicans, meaning that you cannot cast a vote for a candidate of either major party to express your view that, as a matter of public policy, you reject the ongoing privatization of the military.
Then, following Maddow, I made the mistake of watching 60 Minutes. Steve Kroft interviewed former US Attorney Anton Volukas, assigned by a federal bankruptcy judge to examine the cause of Lehman Brother's Investment Bank bankruptcy, a bankruptcy that caused the global economic collapse.
In the 60 Minutes segment, Volukas cogently explains Lehman's deliberate fraud. You can read the text of Volukas' report to the US Congress' House Committee on Financial Services here. His Congressional report distills into a mere 16 pages the 2,209 page report Volukas provided to the bankruptcy court. Despite the overwhelming evidence of fraud that Volukas compiled from 150 interviews and 35 million pages of documents, evidence he provided to the government two years ago, the government has steadfastly refused to prosecute any of the perpetrators of Lehman's astonishingly colossal financial fraud.
But come November, you can express your displeasure with this "hands-off the financial sector" public policy by choosing to vote for a presidential candidate from a major political party who will not tolerate titanic levels of economy crippling financial fraud abetted by lackadaisical SEC oversight.
Oh no, wait. You can't.
But should you have a mind to use your vote to register your dissatisfaction with our nation's cheerfully bipartisan and utterly catastrophic public policies relating to the financial sector, war-waging, national security, civil rights, health care, domestic surveillance, corporate immunity, wages, unions, foreign trade, foreign aid, regulatory oversight, pharmaceutical and prohibited drug policy, ad nauseam, ad infinitum, then your only choice is to vote against the status quo by voting third-party.
However, our Two-Party Duopoly has a plan for that, too.
That is why they politicize some bullshit issue like assault weapons bans or access to reproductive healthcare — to create the illusion that voting for a third-party is actually voting against your own interests. It isn't. The fact that either party would cheerfully deprive you of (to apply the examples above) your right to self-defense or your right to reproductive self-determination shouldn't inspire loyalty towards either party.
It should inspire revulsion towards both.
Now Playing For The Bargain Bin Blues… - Attentive reader Sean D. sends us news from afar about how afar Juicebox Jesus has a'fallen:
2 minutes ago