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Question: Why are the Democrats who have just lost the House and Senate by disgraceful numbers in such a good mood? Instead of analyzing why, they lost they seem to be energized, relaxed—like members of a chain gang who have just been unlocked. Their behavior says, now that we have nothing to lose we can admit what we really think, vote our consciences. Free at last, free at last!

Nothing to lose? What can that mean? Can it mean since the right wing has the next two years by the throat, the Democrats have been guaranteed sympathy without responsibility? They can vote for increasing Social Security instead of cutting it back, without actually having to administer it? They can rally against the lethal slashing of Medicare and Medicaid without actually saving it. They can rhapsodize about protecting the environment, without antagonizing their big donors. They can shout to the heavens about the glory of public education and ending student loans without actually funding higher education.

Above all, they can lay bare our policy of permanent war and our war economy which demands it. They can even fight for an end to that war economy by bringing consumer industries back to this country. First, of course, they’d have to stop the tax breaks for the industries that have fled the United States for various other countries where they pay little or no taxes. Certainly they pay no taxes to the US. There are all kinds of tax dodges available and offshore American companies know them all.

We’re talking about gothic industry flight. Everything that sustains life instead of ending it….textiles, shoes, computers (yes, Apple, that means you!) electronics, pharmaceuticals, cars, clothes!

Remember when those factories were humming all over our country? That was America before Reagan got our nonmilitary industries shipped overseas by bribing them with those tax breaks. Then, when you looked around and saw ghost towns instead of thriving cities humming with working plants, Reagan & his clones filled the empty space in almost every district with some part of the defense industry.

Viola! The permanent war economy that the right wing had salivated about for years was here at last!

No one says the pre-Reagan days were perfect. Labor was always fighting for its life, but at least it had victories. Unions were strong, people made a living…the middle class was whole….not a ragged entity gasping for breath in its struggle to survive.

With no chance of winning any of the "good ole days" back, the Democrats are now free to shout in favor of them. Rhetoric without responsibility.

With no chance of winning any of the "good ole days" back, the Democrats are now free to shout in favor of them. Rhetoric without responsibility. Is this what the Democrats mean when they say they are free at last to push the Democratic agenda?

Maybe if the Democrats had pushed that agenda when they were in power they wouldn't have lost this election. The people had to stand by while a Democratic majority bailed out Wall Street and forced us, the people, to pay for it. While in power, the Democrats allowed the defense budget to swell to over 60% of the whole budget while the people’s programs like Medicare and SS and school lunches and more were reduced or just plain cut out.

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Maybe if the Democrats had behaved like Democrats when they were in power they’d still be in power. Maybe if they hadn’t kissed up to the Republicans on healthcare, we would have won the public option and come a lot closer to Medicare-for-all instead of the cockamamie, unbelievably expensive system ironically named the Affordable Care Act. While it helps the very poor and that’s important, it does very little for the rest of us.

Are you one of the lucky Americans with only a $10,000 deductible or a child who just turned 27? Are you one of the chosen who dropped your old insurance, inquired about Obamacare, found it too expensive, then went back the next day to your old insurance company and found you couldn’t get your old deal back? They as much as doubled it.

What happened? Collusion, you cry! Maybe. But what we can be sure of is the big winners are, as always, the insurance companies. They have never seen such profits. How much has your insurance gone up folks? Is it as high as your rent yet? Stay tuned.

How exactly does our government work anyway? Or doesn’t it work? I know we have hearings in front of Congressional and Senatorial Committees. But how are these so called nonpartisan regulatory committee members chosen? How often do they actually regulate as compared to how often they are paid off. That may sound a little harsh, but if ever there was a time for plain speaking it is now.

I watched one of these sessions a couple of weeks ago, on the issue of nuclear energy. Not only was it shocking, it gave me the feeling that our system of governance has disappeared. The 1% take over of everything is not just coming with let’s say, the corporate friendly TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership). It’s here. I saw it. I heard it.

It went this way: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission—about five members—came before the US Senate Commmittee on Environment and Public Works, chaired by California Senator Barbara Boxer. The subject was the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant around San Luis Obispo, which is built around a series of earthquake faults very much like Fukashima.

You remember Fukashima, the American designed plant in Japan that exploded displacing 156,000 people? How many did it kill? How much of the earth is still dying from the toxicity of its radiation? Funny how hard it is to find that exact information. But we do know one thing; we’ve got Fukashima’s twin and if you’re in California it may be a few miles from where you’re standing right now.

The questions before the Senate committee were why was that plant built in the first place when it is surrounded by at least four earthquake faults? Didn’t the committee members know that before it was built? If they did not know, why didn't they? If they did know, why did they withhold the information?

In my Connect The Dots program this week, we got to hear this fascinating story by the man who challenged that commission at the Senatorial hearing, Dan Hirsch, head and founder of the Committee to Bridge the Gap. I must warn you, this interview is disturbing. Not because of Dan Hirsch, who is one of the top experts on nuclear energy in the world, but because of Diablo Canyon’s Nuclear Plant is one of the most dangerous in world history and can blow at any time. That’s any time. Hopefully it will not be now.

And in terms of the next two years, Betty Davis, one of my favorite philosophers, said it: “ Tighten your belts my friends. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”


Lila Garrett
Connect The Dots