Friday, July 1, 2016

Dingbats in Congress: They've been drinking lead to starve the beast

Dingbat: "A dingbat is an idiot: a person who's dumb, silly, or just empty-headed." (Vocabulary.com)

 Above: WPA workers building a new water reservoir in Cecil County, Maryland, 1935. Between 1933 and 1943, the New Deal funded thousands of waterworks projects all across the country. Why? Because FDR and his fellow New Deal policymakers thought that uncontaminated drinking water was important. Today, many policymakers think tax-breaks-for-the-wealthy is far more important than clean drinking water; probably because those tax breaks are funneled back to them in the form of campaign contributions - kickbacks. And that's why millions of American children are drinking leaded water, in various parts of the country, and the federal government is doing little or nothing about it. Most of our policymakers don't give a damn, because they've been paid not to give a damn. Photo courtesy of the University of Maryland College Park Archives.

Above: This video reminds me of how our current policymakers address infrastructure problems. YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVJL9oXgsAA.  

It was recently reported that the Canon Office Building, where members of Congress "work," has high levels of lead in its water supply. So, bottled water will be used from now on. This is just the latest debacle with America's crumbling and lead-tainted water infrastructure. Contaminated water is being discovered all across the country on a fairly routine basis now, and the policy response has been weak, spotty, or even non-existent. The whole thing resembles a game of whack-a-mole, where the core problem is never adequately addressed.

Any rational culture would have, by now, begun a massive initiative to modernize its water supply & delivery system. After all, lead is a neurotoxin that causes brain damage and other ailments in children. The CDC has said that no amount of lead is safe to consume. Specifically, they've said, "No safe blood lead level in children has been identified. Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect IQ, ability to pay attention, and academic achievement. And effects of lead exposure cannot be corrected."

But we don't live in a rational culture, do we? Instead, we'll just continue to keep taxes low on the super-wealthy and thus starve our governments of revenue (this is the right-wing "starve the beast" doctrine that has ruled our nation for the past 35 years). If any new revenue is raised, it's sure to be regressive taxes, tolls, fees, and fines on the middle-class & poor (e.g., higher sales taxes, higher property taxes, higher fuel taxes, higher utility rates, more aggressive law enforcement, etc.). And this is just how the super-wealthy like it, which is why they pour millions of dollars into political campaigns. They want their taxes kept low, they don't give a damn about the nation's infrastructure, and they're paying politicians to maintain the status quo of poisoned children and 657 water main breaks per day.

And our dingbats in Congress are so subservient to their corporate masters, that they've ignored their own infrastructure for decades and have been drinking lead for God knows how long. Judging by their impaired mental faculties, perhaps for a very long time. Yes, they've been drinking lead to starve the beast. Drinking lead to ensure taxes are kept low on their billionaire donors. These are our leaders doing this. But they're not really leaders, they're dingbats. And we put them there. What's that make us? And when someone came along with a big infrastructure plan (Bernie Sanders), millions said, "No thanks, that's not practical. We'll take Hillary or Trump instead. We like celebrities, not policies."

Isn't this amazing to witness? This is not your garden variety stupidity. This is a rare kind of stupidity that only comes along every so often, like when Halley's Comet comes along every 75 years. Younger folks today will be able to tell their grandchildren, "When I was a kid, people were so submissive to the rich that they willfully drank poison for them!"

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