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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/23/13

Totally Purple Partnership: The Lethal Bipartisanship behind TPP

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One of the most insightful videos I've watched this year was an interview of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting founder (and RootsAction co-founder) Jeff Cohen by Paul Jay of The Real News Network.

The video, dated January 31, 2013, is titled "Preaching to the Choir," and in the first part of that video, Cohen defends himself against the charge that in speaking to leftist alternative media, he's simply preaching to the choir, telling progressives and liberals what they already know. In fact, says Cohen, there is no leftist choir, since many Democrats and Obama supporters have no idea how many REgressive policies--like the PATRIOT Act, the Iraq war, approval of Israeli injustices, expansion of domestic surveillance, and financial deregulation--"their" party and "their" president have consistently and almost unanimously backed. A great insight, which alone makes the video worth watching.

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But I'm concerned here with Cohen's second key insight, which didn't make the video title, but is probably even more penetrating than his first. Here, Cohen takes on the conventional wisdom that Washington suffers from too much partisan gridlock; he asserts, on the contrary, that where issues meaningful to progressives are concerned, there reigns a truly toxic bipartisanship. What's at stake for the U.S.--and global--public in this unquestioning bipartisan consensus frequently dwarfs by many orders of magnitude the acrimonious partisan squabbles that dominate the mainstream news. For example, the deeply harmonious bipartisan consensus that climate change requires little serious action--masked by the parties' purely-for-show quarrels about whether it exists--could literally destroy human civilization.

It's for precisely this reason--their gawking focus on sideshows while the "big tent" of their Republic burns--I've taken to dubbing MOST Democrats and Republicans "useful idiots" and the silly partisan squabbles that distract them "idiot wars." Red bashes Blue on Fox, Blue ridicules Red on MSNBC, but where the issues that concern us most are concerned, no one notices or mention the harmonious blend of pro-corporate purple uniformly shrouding Washington. Purple is appropriate, being a blend of red and blue--and as a royal color doubly appropriate, since the will of global corporations is King. And "shrouding" is appropriate too, since this is clearly democracy's funeral.

In no context is it more appropriate to speak of bipartisan purple, the kingship of global corporations, or the funeral shroud of democracy than in the case of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. And as far as Washington goes, there's no better way to speak of this harmonious bipartisan pro-corporate conspiracy against democracy and the public good than as the Totally Purple Partnership.

Of course, the mainstream media will pay almost zero attention to the vast bipartisanship involved in the Totally Purple Partnership. What better evidence could we want of the death of a free, democratic mainstream press? For with the prevailing wisdom being unbreakable partisan gridlock, isn't the vast bipartisan Senate approval of Obama's nominee for U.S. Trade Representative, Michael Froman--the vote in his favor was 95 to 4, damn it--a fascinating, bipartisan anomaly? Aren't Republicans knee-jerk opponents of EVERYTHING Obama does (unless, of course, it's expansion of the fascist security and surveillance state; most Republicans LOVE fascism)? So, isn't unanimous Republican Senate approval of an Obama nominee--only three Dems and Bernie Sanders opposed Froman--an anomaly, a "man bites dog" story, the very stuff of headline news? YES!--unless you've grasped, as real progressives and a handful of enlightened Republicans, Libertarians, and independents have--the previous history of the Totally Purple Partnership. To us, Senate rejection of the pro-corporate, anti-transparency Froman would have been the real "man bites dog" story, the blaring page-one news.

What's sad is that those of us who instinctively grasp--and despise--the Totally Purple Partnership are such a small segment of the U.S. electorate. (Though the Occupy Wall Street movement, especially in its early days, showed that there IS a semi-conscious mainstream public fleetingly ready to grasp our message). What's utterly tragic--and perhaps simply the death knell for democracy--is that Froman's near-unanimous anti-transparency nomination should follow so closely and brazenly in the wake of Ed Snowden's top-headline-making exposure of our disgustingly un-transparent security and surveillance state. Talk about the death of a free, democratic press! Anything remotely resembling the real article would be screaming bloody Jack the Ripper murder over nominee Froman's categorical repudiation of transparency. And would be nominating Elizabeth Warren for Top Democratic Hero.

With outright, unapologetic fascism looming like a thirsty vampire, it's time to draw deep, sharply demarcated lines in the sand, and I God-damn intend to do so. Warren took a deeply principled political chance bucking Obama on the Froman nomination, and moreover was incredibly articulate in doing so. Though I would have loved to, there's no way I could beat the forceful, simple clarity with which Warren--unlike the yellow cowards of the Totally Purple Partnership, stated the definitive reasons for opposing Froman's nomination. For a supposedly democratic republic, SO much is at stake in a trade agreement like the Trans-Pacific Partnership--the environment, jobs, Internet freedom, intellectual property, etc.--that it's simply a jackbooted mockery of democracy to think it should be negotiated without informed citizen consent. And believe me, the jackboot will figure largely in its enforcement if millions of Americans learn, after the fact, that its terms amount to tyranny.

Let's additionally thank Democrats Carl Levin and Joe Manchin, as well as the ever-reliable friend of democracy Bernie Sanders, for their opposition to Froman, that corporate-fascist tool. But again, Elizabeth Warren's forceful articulate defense of democracy--indeed her preciously rare understanding of what democracy IS--is almost beyond praise here.

As far as mainstream media and U.S. public consciousness goes, "The deep purple falls over sleepy garden walls/And the stars begin to twinkle in the sky." The sleepy garden walls are the walled-off consciousness of unaware minds, and the stars twinkling in the sky are approaching searchlights breaking the otherwise uniform darkness of fascism. Here and there, we see a gleam of red or a glint of blue, lingering traces of the deliberately deceptive "idiot wars."   But unless we get VERY busy in fighting the proto-fascist duopoly, it will soon be sundown for democracy, and the deep purple shroud of the Totally Purple Partnership will envelop us all.

For those who see past the deceitful red and blue to the enveloping purple fascism of the Totally Purple Partnership, two great Facebook pages for strategizing revolt are and

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Patrick Walker is co-founder of Revolt Against Plutocracy (RAP) and the Bernie or Bust movement it spawned. Before that, he cut his activist teeth with the anti-fracking and Occupy Scranton PA movements. No longer with RAP, he wields his pen (more...)

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