Fighting the Assaults on Net Neutrality and Our Economy
Let’s all take a moment to savor this great grass-roots U.S. Senate victory in Alabama of Democrat Doug Jones over alleged child molester Roy Moore. Let’s also celebrate the victory of the moderate Ralph Northam over the extremist Republican Ed Gillespie to be governor of Virginia, and a possible flip of the Virginia Legislature, with the influx of a strong contingent of progressive women.
Breathe deep. Stretch up your arms. Shout for joy.
Now let’s use all that great new energy to fend off Donald Trump’s twin assaults on net neutrality and our core economy.
Losing could leave us blind and impoverished. So don’t even think about it.
On net neutrality, the fight is ongoing and long-term.
On Trump’s tax scam, we have at best a few days.
A mass movement already is in place to save the internet.
Thursday’s vile 3-2 FCC vote to end net neutrality has long been expected. Mass demonstrations, community organizing, court challenges, an attempt at a congressional reversal and much more are in motion.
This is new territory, a fight for control of humankind’s central nervous system. The alternative to winning is brain death.
As for the GOP tax scam, the clock is ticking.
The Senate version passed 51-49 on Dec. 1. The House-Senate reconciliation committee wants a new version rubber-stamped next week. Despite the bill’s immense impact, there’s been a complete lack of public hearings or sane scrutiny.
It’s not likely there’ll be enough Republican votes in the House to stop it.
In the Senate, we need just three.
The likeliest is Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the only Republican to vote “no” last time. Trump has punked him with a stream of personal insults. Corker is not running for re-election. Like all other potential swing votes, he is no doubt being promised the world to vote “yes.”
Next might be Maine’s Susan Collins. She voted against gutting Obamacare. Her first “yes” vote on the tax bill reportedly was based on promises from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that Medicare and Social Security would be protected. But co-perpetrator and House Speaker Paul Ryan’s life mission has been to destroy both. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, among others, proudly proclaims that this will start the process.
Why anyone would believe anything the GOP leadership says is hard to fathom. Maine’s struggling elder community, among others, has displayed great anger, including heated demonstrations at Collins’ office and her public appearances. She must know that if she votes “yes” again, she will drown forever in an unforgiving grass-roots tsunami.
Arizona’s Jeff Flake has been yet another target of Trump’s venal abuse. Flake dramatically announced he won’t run for re-election. But then he voted for the tax bill. Why?
Arizona’s John McCain did the same. The “Great Maverick” cast the decisive vote to save Obamacare. He’s been undergoing what must be a hugely expensive course of treatment for brain cancer.
This may be among the last votes McCain casts, and it’s likely a death sentence for millions of Americans who can’t afford the kind of health care he’s been getting. Does he care?
Ron Johnson of Wisconsin hinted at opposing the first draft based on its rough treatment of small business. But apparently his good friend Paul Ryan found Johnson’s price.
Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski voted against destroying Obamacare. But she’s ecstatic about this bill’s death sentence for the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, where her biggest donors want to drill for oil and further heat the planet.
Maybe other Republicans can be turned. Trump’s minions surely have scoured every GOP wish list. And they have no intention of waiting for Doug Jones to take his seat.
But somewhere, somehow, amid the warm glow of the Alabama turn, we must find a way to stop this bill.
Here are just a few reasons why:
● It enacts one of history’s most blatant thefts of essential resources from working- and middle-class Americans to the rich and super-rich. Trump himself would profit.
● It worsens the kind of wealth gap that fed the crash of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed.
● It guts Obamacare, leaving tens of millions without medical coverage while facing needless disease—and possibly death—for themselves and their children.
● It opens the all-out GOP assault on Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, with the impoverishment of millions sure to follow.
● It attacks public education with massive supports for private schools that will profit Trump cronies like Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
● It ends teachers’ ability to deduct what they spend on supplies for their students.
● It taxes graduate students’ scholarships, tuition waivers and other essential steps to advanced degrees, slashing what’s left of our professional education system.
● It lets tax-free churches engage in partisan campaigns, allowing mega-rich donors to launder “purchases” of “pious” candidates.
● It slashes support for wind power, solar energy, electric cars and other “Solartopian” advances while funding massive new tax breaks for obsolete, planet-destroying King CONG (coal, oil, nukes and gas).
There’s much, much more.
Trump’s “tax reform” and internet assault are at the cutting edge of a suicidal war being waged by the psychotic rich against the rest of us—and the planet.
We are in Koyaanisqatsi: life out of balance. The center is not holding. Our social and ecological fabric is giving way. Our survival is at stake.
These turning-point elections in Virginia and Alabama give us hope.
Now the gritty substance of the war for our ability to communicate, and for the core of our life support systems, is in a different kind of play.
Like those elections, these are conflicts we cannot afford to lose.
So let’s win. Again.