I won’t even get mad about it. Causing anyone with any sense of decency at all to burst all of the blood vessels in their brain simultaneously was probably the very intent of this new U.S. House Oversight Committee website, paid for with your tax dollars, but I will try to maintain a clinical detachment. Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, who is trying to worm his way into South Orange County so that he can become a more regular target of ours, has procured a new website in support of the principle that the political playing field is not yet slanted enough. This government-funded piece of vomitous propaganda argues that we need to prevent unions from spending money on politics at just the very moment when corporations have been allowed to bust free like a barrelful of mutant hornets on the tender body of our political system. And the really bad part is — that’s not the really bad part!
Look, we expect this moral mutant to try to fix the political system into a feedback loop of increasing awfulness — it’s what he does! Hyenas will rip into raw flesh and chew up entrails while their victims stare on in horror fading to mere sadness as the blood drains away, but we don’t criticize their morals for it. So when Issa wants to dismantle the political power of unions even to be a counterweight to rampant and priapistic corporate avarice –when he wants to tie the little girl to the train tracks with doubled knots so that it’s more certain that she will die — there’s no point in having expected any better of him. He’s like a cartoon villain. Why would one expect the slightest rationality or grace from him? Sharks look at his eyes and shake their heads at the abyss within.
No, as the old song goes, ain’t what he did — it’s the way that he did it.
Rep. Issa mutilated three corpses and committed felonious awfulness towards meaning itself in the new website, which was, again, designed to drive people mad. Who does he trot out for his anti-union screed? Take a look:
- Robert F. Kennedy is shown in a contemplative duotone on the introductory, where his statement that “the enlargement of liberty for individual human beings must be the supreme goal and the abiding practice of any Western society” is used to … to whaaaaaat? Oh, yeah — the leftmost button, entitled “SPEAK OUT: Have you been forced to support partisan politics you oppose?” gives away the game. Sure, RFK hated the then-corrupt Teamster’s Union, but today’s unions are despised by antic lunatics like Issa not because they are corrupt but because they aren’t corrupt enough — instead, they’re effective. Rep. Issa will be lucky if the spirit of RFK doesn’t come to him by night over this an squeeze the sides of his head together so hard that his already encroaching eyeballs meld into a cyclops. But … that’s not all!
- Go to that aforementioned “SPEAK OUT” page and you will find — oh, come on, guess — yes, the smiling visage and inspiring prose of Franklin Delano Roosevelt — no, please, come on, put down the knife, don’t let Issa win — yes, of good old FDR, with his dog in his lap and (as I recall) his daughter nearby, saying — come on, what’s the most absurd thing you could imagine them using? — yes, saying “We look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms…. freedom of speech and expression… freedom of every person to worship God in his own way… freedom from want… freedom from fear.” OH MY GOD! THEY DIH-INT! THEY DIH-INT! Oh, but yes they — or technically, “you,” as you paid for it — did. They turned the Four Freedoms speech into a promotion of union busting. And then at the bottom, they say “Blow the Whistle on Forced Political Contributions. Have you been forced to donate time or money to partisan union politics you oppose? Please tell us, so we can protect your rights.” OH GOD MAKE IT STOP! There are then three testimonials to the side because I’M NOT GOING TO READ THEM! YOU CAN’T MAKE ME READ THEM! I’VE ALREADY DONE ENOUUUUUUUUGH!
- Ahem. I promised you three desecrations of the great and the dead. Care to guess at the third one? Hint, this one is not a Democrat, although he would surely be one today were he alive. It’s … it’s … Abraham Lincoln, he of the “labor is prior to and the superior of capital” quote, being enslaved and used to build Issa’s pyramid of pink slimy propaganda. Click on the “Have a Question?” button. His quote? You know that the irony is going to burn you to the bone, right? Here it is! “I believe that every individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases with himself and the fruits of his labor, so far as it in no way interferes with any other men’s rights.” Yes, Lincoln is dug up and wheeled out as the champion of enabling people to be unable to vote to come together and collectively bargain to improve their situation against the ever-growing power of Capital, because that’s true freedom, don’tcha know?
- You probably can’t believe that I have in some ways saved the worst, the most egregious, for last, can you? Well, get a load of this, the page reached by the “LEARN MORE … about our work to deliver a better future to America’s families and workers. First, they cross us up with a photo — though not a very flattering one — of conservative icon Ronald Reagan, with a gigantic dreadlock of hair entirely out of place, shaking hands with a cop. There’s also an inspiration quote, which I’ll avoid because it lacks irony. You think that that means that they’re not going to use the imprimatur of the Left against us, though? YOU ARE SO WRONG! The headline — and I mean a BIG headline — is:
“DEFENDING YOUR RIGHT TO CHOOSE”
(Get it? You can choose not to allow other people you work with combine their individual power to oppose the steamrolling power of Capital, because that’s what choice is! Being a vassal! And the appropriation of the reproductive rights language which Rep. Issa tried to suppress just last month? Don’t worry — that’s just there to try to induce you to slam your head through your computer monitor. Resist!, resist! — if you can!)
I’ve seen some messed up things in my life, and some blatant misuses of public funds for propaganda, but this has to be pretty near to the top, at least within our political culture. The only healthy response is to laugh at the dolt and remind people that without unions we would not have weekends, a 40-ish hour work week, a minimum wage, workplace safety standards, or anything else that keeps our middle class floating at all. But all that, Rep. Issa would remind us, is tyranny — freedom, true freedom, is giving into it.
Rep. Issa’s opponent this year in his new district is named Jerry Tetalman, who may actually have a chance thanks to how thoroughly Issa has pissed off women nationwide. (Last I heard from Tetalman, he was talking about his being surprised by how the money was rolling in — but remember just how rich Issa is.) If you want to learn more about him, you may be able to find out more through [https://secure.actblue.com/entity/fundraiser/27812 this page]. It’s not my fault if you won’t be able to resist the urge to toss him a few bucks.