Wednesday, August 16

Genteel Democrats Posture in Connecticut over Proto-fascist Choices

The rich people are doing so well in this country. I mean we never had it so good. It's class warfare; my class is winning. --billionaire Warren Buffet, to CNN's Lou Dobbs, 2005

TV and press pundits made much to-do about Ned Lamont's Senate primary victory over faux-Democrat Joe Lieberman in Connecticut last week.

According to some interpretive readings of the Lamont-Liebermanan tea leaves, voters will rebuke the GOP at the polls on November 7. For Democratic candidates, however, it's a little more complicated. Lamont's primary win signals that voters will not support congressional aspirants who, like Lieberman, are too chummy with George Bush and his policies wreaking havoc on the fragile remains of civil liberties and the economy.

Lamont symbolized that chumminess in the now infamous "The Kiss" campaign button featuring an entirely too intimate moment between Jumpin' Joe and Gorgeousus George.

But let's not underestimate the cleverly resourceful Lieberman. After announcing he will run as an Independent for his old seat in the fall, Karl Rove reportedly phoned him to offer White House "assistance."

Could "assistance"* be White House code meaning the coldly calculating Rove sees political advantage in having GOP-owned Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia voting machines throughout Connecticut skew final ballot tallies to the congenial Lieberman? The closeness of the primary's final ballot tally suggests fair election activists in the state are well advised to closely monitor those error-prone voting machines throughout Election Day.

Elite Service to America?

While Lamont may be a step in the right direction to rid the U.S. Senate of the chummy flotsam currently ensconced there, any claim his election would reflect broad-based populist appeal is as alarming as the belief that Adolph Hitler was an affirmative-action advocate.

For God's sake, is anyone aware of Ned Lamont's pedigree? His great-grandfather Thomas W. Lamont, an 1892 Harvard grad, was an investment banking partner of robber baron J.P. Morgan. In typical genteel fashion for wealthy alum, Grandpa Lamont showered a considerable amount of his banking largesse Harvard, which occasioned the elite school to name its main student library in honor of the philanthropistst.

Scions of wealthy American families also widely engaged in a World War II era charitable tradition less known by the general public. If we were to closely inspectct the Lamont clan's banking records from that period, would we find evidence of the adoration of fascism characterizing other prominent New England banking families--the Harrimans, Penningtons and Bushes, for example--that bankrolled Hitler's Third Reich military machine?

In a surpressed study of Wall Street financiers' "phenomenal" role in bankrolling Hitler, Dr. Antony C. Sutton, a former Stanford University historian,determined Thomas Lamont, an early supporter of Italian dictator Bernito Mussolini, played a minor role in fostering Nazism. As J.P. Morgan's handpicked alternate to the 1924 Dawes Commission, Lamont helped arrange loans to Germany favorable to the House of Morgan that permitteded the Germans to fudge on their World War I reparation payments. A considerable portion of the $800 million in loans was illegally channeled into military production.

In a pre-primary interview at Harvard, a key institution of the country's power elite, Ned Lamont, class of '76, told the Harvard Crimson, his alma mater's student paper, he was all about "assuring voters that he and conservatives can get along." Bank on that, America. Grandpa Lamont would be proud to hear his namesake make that subtle vow of class allegiance.

So let me see if I now have it right. Am I to understand progressives and even liberal Democrats are gleeful at the prospect that yet another descendant of an elite American banking family wants to serve rank-and-file Americans? In Washington, D.C.?

Didn't the premature concession in 2004 of John Kerry (another Yale grad and Skull and Bones alum who married into a wealthy New England family) and his flaccid, soulless presidential campaign demonstrate that, among America's's ruling elite, class interests are thicker than campaign trail rhetoric and verbal committments? A proper sociological analysis would further demonstrate George W. Bush and Ned Lamont--two fortunate sons of affluent and well-connected Connecticut banking families who graduated from Harvard and Yale--have far more in common than progressives or liberal Democrats would care to believe.

The More Things Change....

The naiveté among those willing to believe Ned Lamont will embrace issues reaching across class lines after the November elections would serve as an apt metaphor for a future American novelist seeking to convey to readers the depth of delusional desperation among an disgruntled public, particularly those who felt the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections were stolen from their candidates by the U.S. Supreme Court and rigged voting booths.

The film All the King's Men, slated for release next month, is based on novelist Robert Penn Warren's dark rumination on political expediency and dashed idealism. But with the Democrat's premiere election strategist James Carville serving as executive producer, the film could be more about innovative presidential campaigning than a literary statement on political innocents who still believe 21st-century American election politics can ever again hold the guilty accountable.

For decades, before recently marrying and abandoning national politics, consumer advocate and occasional Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader publicly vilified Washington's political elite for rigging the federal election system in favor of the the wealthy and powerful. Efforts at organizing political parties for working-class and Middle America to make Capitol Hill's two-party biennial dog-and-pony shows embrace their marginalized political interests have garnered diminishing congressional support since World War II.

With incumbency reelection rates at 98% in the House and 85% in the Senate, Congress is not interested in facilitating more political diversity. Their reluctance makes perfect sense. Why jeopardizeize their seats in the 535-member social club for the politically and economically well-connected by making entry easier for common rabble?

To paraphrase Nader, the America political system long ago forfeited its chance to emulate Canada's 16-party political system (in which five parties hold seats in the current parliamentent) that better approximates the representative democracy White House snake oil salemen talk about exporting to Iraq and the rest of the world.

America's two-party pro-business system serves only the nation's 33-20% wealthiest families. Circa 1910, anarchist Emma Goldman, who believed voting in America was a waste of time, noted "If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal."

With the restricted choices offered Americans at the voting booth, is it any wonder U.S. voter participation rates are among the lowest in developed countries?

*4 September 2006 Update: "A senior White House source" reported the White House secretly directed Republican contributors to channel "millions" of dollars into Joe Liberman's primary campaign against Lamont "in a failed effort to ensure the support of the former Democrat for the Bush administration" and maintain a Republican majority in the Seante after the November elections.

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