Then They Came For Me

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.


You’ve all heard and read this poem, written by German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller, more than a few times.  Niemöller penned this in 1946, at the end of WWII, the end of the Holocaust that took more than 6 million lives.  It is engraved on a plaque at the New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston, Massachusetts, and is known worldwide.  The poem speaks volumes and should serve as a warning to people all around the world today.

Here in the United States, they are coming for our voting rights, for our right to have a voice in our government.  They are coming for our right to peacefully protest those things we see happening, such as police brutally killing unarmed Black men.  What will they come for next?

“They” who are coming for our rights are not necessarily who you might think.  Most of us, if asked who ‘they’ are, would likely say “Republicans”.  Understandably, for they are the ones writing the voter suppression bills, the ones writing the bills that now allow people to run down and kill even peaceful protestors.  But the truth of the matter is that the Republicans are but pawns in a much bigger game.  They are puppets being moved like pieces on a chess board by the likes of Charles Koch and other uber-wealthy men who want to ensure their pawns stay in power, to ensure that We the People have only a very limited voice, or preferably in their eyes, no voice in how our government operates.

They work hand-in-hand with the likes of Vladimir Putin to buy politicians such as Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, Ted Cruz and more.  They don’t choose the brightest bulbs in the pack to do their dirty work, but the weakest, those who have the most to lose if elections going forward are fair and honest, if every person over the age of 18 in this country has a vote, a voice.

HR1, now S1, For the People Act, would expand voter’s rights, end partisan gerrymandering, increase access to ballot boxes, postal ballots, and the polls.  But, what frightens the shadowy cabals pulling the puppet strings the most is that it would limit secret campaign spending and provide more transparency about political donors, effectively stemming the flow of ‘dark money’ in politics.  None other than the ignoble billionaire Charles Koch has said that congressional republicans would do better to ignore the will of the people and simply kill the bill in Congress.  To whatever extent possible, that is what they will do, and we will never know quite what hit us.

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative organization that consistently ‘advised’ the former guy on his staff picks, recognized that the For the People Act is tremendously popular almost equally among democrats and republicans, so they have encouraged members of Congress to subject the bill to the filibuster and shut it down before it ever sees the light of day.  That is precisely what they are planning to do, and with the help of two Democrats, Joe Manchin from West Virginia, and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

OOPS–The Dark Money Folks Learn Conservatives Hate Dark Money Too!

For the most part, the only people who favour allowing the wealthy to buy elections are … the wealthy. And, of course, the politicians who sell their souls downriver for those billionaire’s dollars. Our friend Annie has an eye-opening post on the topic that I think you will find quite interesting … and anger-inducing as well. Thank you, Annie!

annieasksyou...

Image by Aidan Bartos @bartos; found via unsplash.com

“Unfortunately, we’ve found that [inhibiting billionaires from buying elections] is a winning message, for both the general public and also conservatives. It was most persuasive, convincing, riled them up the most.”

The speaker is Kyle McKenzie, research director for Stand Together, a nonprofit advocacy group run by the right-wing oil billionaire Charles Koch. McKenzie was presenting survey findings at a meeting held on January 8—two days after it became clear the Democrats had gained control of the Senate.

Other meeting participants included long-time tax opponent Grover Norquist and two prominent Republican staff members: Caleb Hays is general counsel to Republicans on the House Administration Committee; Steve Donaldson is a policy adviser to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McKenzie’s findings were not what these folks hoped to hear.

Jane Mayer, a long-time staff writer for The New Yorker, somehow acquired this remarkable tape…

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