On the mid-term elections in the US earlier this month:
Congratulations! If you are an American -- and with US military bases scattered across the globe, who isn't? -- you are now the proud owner of a Congress controlled by the Democratic Party, the absolute lousiest bunch of political criminals the United States has had to offer since, well, the Republicans.
But before you get too tipsy celebrating the trade-off of a handful of Republican scumbag liars for a handful of Democrat scumbag liars (and the switcheroo between outgoing War Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the incoming CIA agent taking his place), here are some questions you may want to ask your local, state, and federal Democrats:
1. When will the USA Patriot Act be repealed?
2. When will the Military Commissions Act be repealed?
3. When will the last US troops leave Iraq?
4. When will funding for Israel's brutal and illegal occupation of Palestine be cut off?
5. When will the US join the International Criminal Court, and sign and honor the Kyoto Treaty and the International Landmine Ban?
6. When will the legislation authorizing a gigantic concrete fence to be built between the US and Mexico be killed?
7. When will the tax code that unjustly favors the wealthy (in particular those who do nothing to earn their money) be changed?
8. When will the resignation of US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who thinks of the Geneva Conventions as "quaint", be demanded?
9. When will John Bolton, the US Ambassador to the United Nations who has said "[t]here is no such thing as the United Nations. There is only the international community, which can only be led by the only remaining superpower, which is the United States" be fired?
10. When will Vice President Dick Cheney, who has carried out secret meetings on energy policy and the invasion and occupation of Iraq, be removed from office?
11. When will US corporations, businesspeople, and investors be made to take responsibility for the havoc their extraordinary unaccountability causes throughout the world?
12. When will the US nuclear weapons arsenal be dismantled and the program to build more destructive weapons shut down?
13. When will those responsible for the policies of torture and extraordinary rendition be brought to trial for their crimes?
14. When will the SOA / WHINSEC be shut down?
15. When will Diego Garcia be returned to its people?
16. When will reparations be paid to the victims of aggression authorized by the United States Congress?
17. When will the US pay its dues to the UN?
18. When will the US stop meddling in Latin American affairs?
19. When will the US Congress adopt an acceptable and sustainable stance toward the rapidly crumbling global environment?
20. When will the US Congress adopt a humanitarian, rather than a corporate or religious fundamentalist, policy on alleviating the scourges of hunger, AIDS, and other diseases in the Global South?
21. When will the US Congress break up the media monopolies that have decimated political discourse?
22. When will the US Congress defend the supposed ideals of its Constitution by opening up political discourse to more than the two ruling corporate parties?
23. When will access to healthcare and affordable housing be made available to everyone living within the US?
24. When will the US start pushing a version of "globalization" that globalizes labor, repeal harmful trade agreements such as NAFTA and CAFTA, and withdraw its support for backwards and ineffective IMF and World Bank policies?
25. When will US Congresspeople give the xenophobic rhetoric a rest?
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Now is a good moment to recommend Paul Street's post-election Empire and Inequality Report for his merciful take on what should be done with the Bush Cabal. Of course my list above is just a start, and an easy-going one at that. None of the questions are particularly nasty, or motivated by polticial ideology. There is a great deal of triumphalism going around, and now that Democratic supporters are exhaling their big sighs of relief, the pressure is off. Certainly the establishment would prefer a slightly less reactionary version of itself to a public so fed up that it removes its blinders and no longer sees a difference between the two criminal parties.
But more importantly, it should be obvious to everyone that in Washington, where (let's be honest) nothing but the label has actually changed, none of our very real problems are going to be addressed or solved. Think for a moment about what those problems are, and consider where (if not in Washington) and how (if not politically) they might be dealt with.