Monday, April 12, 2010

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Congressman

Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was inspired by the true story of a man who was a respected doctor by day and a highwayman by night. It could just as easily been inspired by approximately 400 true stories of men and women who enjoy highly respected images in the public eye but become shocking monsters lurking the halls of Congress. Innocent voters are duped into voting for Doctor Jekyll but wind up getting Mr. Congressman.
John McCain is just such a Jekyll/Congressman creature, though we can’t say he didn’t warn us. You’ve probably seen the movies in which someone warns the leading character of the movie, “Don’t trust anybody,” and it turns out that the person who gave the warning was the one who should not be trusted. When McCain calls himself a maverick, we can take that as a warning.
Originally, a maverick was a cow that had no brand on it; thus, it supposedly didn’t belong to anyone. Well, the word anyone means anyone. McCain’s supporters and constituents correctly take that to mean that McCain considers independent of conservatives and the Republican Party, but it also means that he considers himself independent of his supporters and constituents.
Let’s look at some of the bills he has sponsored, or is now sponsoring, in Congress.
Along with Senator Dorgan (D-ND), who doesn’t have to face the voters in this year’s election, McCain has sponsored a bill to have the FDA regulate the sale of vitamins and food supplements as though they were drugs. The official designation of this travesty is (S3002).
In case you’re thinking that this should make food supplements safer and more reliable, think again. Regulators for the FDA tend to come from the pharmaceutical industry—not from Mother Earth News. As such, they’re more interested in regulating things that are good for you—and may be competition for Big Pharma—than candy, soft drinks, and other things that are bad for you. Some of you remember when apples were temporarily taken from the market because they had minute traces of alar (which may cause cancer in rats, but only if the poor rodents are waterboarded with the stuff), but when was the last time they recalled processed sugar, which causes obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay?
In 2002, McCain joined with Russ Feingold (D-WI) to limit freedom of speech with the infamous McCain-Feingold Act. You’ve probably heard a great deal about the recent Supreme Court decision ruling much of it unconstitutional, and much of the complaining pertained to corporate contributions to political campaigns. In point of fact, corporate CEO’s were still able to establish political action committees (PAC’s) and strong-arm their employees to donate.
The McCain-Feingold Act went much further, however, by limiting the political speech of individuals and of non-profit groups that focus on specific issues. Let’s say a candidate is in favor of “XYZ,” and you’re against it. Under the McCain-Feingold Act, your ability spend money to promote your views during the campaign would be limited. The McCain-Feingold Act could also have been called the Incumbents Protection Act, because that’s who benefited most from it. Mercifully, the Supreme Court has taken a stand for the First Amendment.
Have you noticed that every major travesty that comes from Congress is called a reform?
The First Amendment isn’t the only provision of the Bill of Rights that McCain seeks to curtail. John McCain and Joe Lieberman (D-CT) threatens your and my right to a trial by jury. If the McCain-Lieberman Bill passes, United States citizens can be dubbed “enemy combatants” and denied civilian trials and other constitutional protections for the accused. Even Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who usually serves as a catamite for neocons, has spoken against this assault on the Sixth Amendment.
In case you think that this doesn't threaten your rights because you're a loyal American, think again. The FBI has distributed a brochure to police chiefs all over America, telling them how they might recognize "domestic terrorists." If you voted for a third-party candidate in 2008, if quote America's Founding Fathers, or if you're concerned about your protections under the Bill of Rights, the FBI says you should be suspected of being a domestic terrorist. Here's a photo of the brochure, front and back. Does the FBI regard you as a suspected terrorist?
Maybe John McCain really is a maverick. Maybe he doesn’t serve as a hired gun for Big Pharma. Maybe he doesn’t fall down and worship anyone who can take him to a high mountaintop and show him the kingdoms that can be his. (How ironic and sad! In 2008, the kingmakers took him to a high mountaintop and pushed him off.) One thing’s for sure: John McCain doesn’t belong to the American people, who value freedom.
Oh, did you know that he’s running for reelection this year? On November 2, he can be swept out of Congress with the other rats.



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