BAILEY T. STEEN | SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2018
Establishment Rep. Joseph “Joe” Kennedy III (D-Mass) delivered the Democratic response to President Donald J. Trump’s State of the Union, proving to voters he plays no part in the anti-cliche, anti-corruption and anti-racist legacy of America’s once great political family.
His speech — ripped straight from the platitudes hand-book of DNC co-chair Tom Perez with “we win with our values” and “we’re for good things and against bad things” — sold deep blue Fall River, Massachusetts the Democratic Party’s new elongated monologue of nothing.
Kennedy rallied his #Resistance behind neo-liberal fluff words, addressing red-scares of Russian governments hacking democracy, fake economic-class consciousness, pandered identity politics to Black Lives Matters’ own negroes-of-colour, #MeToo’s potentially sexually assaulted, the bullied and ever-growing LGBTQQICAPF2K+ community, and talking tough on the same pharmaceutical companies he enables.
“We are bombarded by one false choice after another,” Kennedy declared, his mouth either drooling like a froffed-up white-knight or lip-glossed to the upmost out-of-touch degree. “Coal miners or single moms, rural communities or inner cities, the coast or the heartland, as if the mechanic in Pittsburgh, a teacher in Tulsa, and a daycare working in Birmingham are bitter rivals rather than mutual casualties of a system forcefully rigged towards those at the top.”
“As if the parent who lies awake terrified that their transgender son or daughter will be beaten or bullied at school is any more or less legitimate than a parent whose heart is shattered by a daughter in the grips of an opioid addiction,” Kennedy continued, giving us the first false equivalence of the night, comparing of the unjust beating given towards children who have underwent underaged gender transition — where in which a child, under the legal age to be able to drink and fuck, is given their parents permission to inject revolutionary drugs and have irreversible reconstructive surgery on their genitals they may regret in life in order to be transgender —with the growing opioid addiction crisis that has killed over 64,000 people in 2016 alone.
Such a comment reminds me of what far-left Democrats believed President Trump’s “many sides” comment to be: acting as though there’s little-to-no moral discussion on whether the parent giving undecided, inarticulate children and teenagers (who did nothing wrong) unknown medical treatment did something decidedly wrong, while suggesting suffering heroin and other opioid addictions in the American healthcare system with little safety nets and unjustified jail time is on the same moral level.
It’s just dishonest pandering of the most distracting order considering. And I don’t blame Kennedy for his instinct to distract. The man is saint when the time comes to cast fighting votes against Big Opioid and the pharmaceutical firms who gave those junkies their hit.
As reported by The Intercept’s own Lee Fang, Kennedy certainly has the tough talk on the crisis — a bipartisan approach from both parties these days — but where’s the man on policy? Progressive hero Joe Kennedy already has a pot problem. In 2015, still under the Obama administration, Kennedy was one of only 10 House Democrats to vote against measures to protect medical cannabis patients and providers who are following state laws from being prosecuted by the federal government.
That same day, Kennedy voted with 24 Democrats to prevent measures that would allow a Justice Department — if it was, say, lead by an anti-pot advocate in Trump appointee Jeff Sessions (R-AZ) — from making all state marijuana laws void, regardless of whether it’s purely for recreational use or medical in cases of addiction to far more deadly drugs or cancer.
Marijuana, of course, being the obvious market competition tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceutical industries that benefit off the crisis.
Despite Americans polling at 60% to 65% percent approval for legalisation, according to both PewResearch and Gallup, they would rather not risk giving weed their potential $20B financial boom if their safer alternative was free to do business.
Tough man Kennedy is the gimp for the donors, not the voters, it seems, OpenSecrets noting his $57,339 lifeline from Pharmaceuticals and Health Products. Fang originally reported on how opioid manufacturers and distributors — as well as their trusted allies — lobbied for the 2016 Kennedy bill that would chance CDC guidelines.
In English, the bill, co-sponsored by Pete Olson (R-TX) and Susan Brooks (R-IN), give the same people doing business in the industry a “seat at the table” on whether the overprescription of powerful opioids for minor and chronic pain issues is okay... the exact overprescription that got people in the opioid crisis fucking hooked.
Pharmaceutical companies, lead by the likes of Purdue Pharma, the drug think-tank behind the making of the addictive OxyContin, potentially bribed and perusaded doctors to both exaggerate painkillers and undersell the addiction risks that follow suit.
As a result, this causes the market, when they can no longer get the prescriptions from their doctors without looking like a fucking junkie, they spill into the black market for their next hit. This turns them not to the “safer” harmful drugs in cocaine and mushrooms, but heroin which has nearly the same addictive affect on the brain.
Cardinal Health Incorporated, which distribute those kinds of drugs — just a quick wink wink, they make money off every single box being shipped, a result of people being hooked with supply and demand at work — gave Kennedy lovely, totally uncorrupt donations to his congressional campaign committee in 2017.
Taking $7000 for himself instead of the $20B pot could have done for the economy, the people both libertarian and addicted, instead opting for opioid money that put them in debt, cravings and harm.
What a clean legacy, Mr. Kennedy.
I just can’t wait to see you (try and) fight.
And alas, not every issue can be pawned off as a result of Trump’s America.
“A government that struggles to keep itself open,” he cited, a reference to the Democratic Party-leveraged government shutdown to pressure the president to sign a clean bill on DACA, “[with] Russia knee-deep in our democracy.”
And with this, Kennedy exposes the odd xenophobia being adopted by the neoliberal left. On the one hand, they claim to be the anti-bigot party — with Kennedy speaking in the Spanish language to pander to the so-called “Dreamers” and assuring both ethnic populations and illegal aliens they were “part of our story” and that “we will fight for you and we will not walk away” — while at the same time they break the deal that could have saved DACA Dreamers easily.
We discussed the dumb political theatre game between Senate Minority Leader Chuck (D-NY) and the president during the government shutdown. The republican president — nicknamed “Amnesty Don” by his Breitbart base — made the very generous offer of ensuring complete citizenship for all dreamers should there be border security funding for drones, the wall, as well as an anti-racist merit based immigration program.
Democrats, claiming to be fighters for minorities, said no. They wanted a promise for a clean DACA bill, the potential for a vote on the wall (which would be difficult to pass), and wanted a racially focused immigration policy. Perhaps Kennedy is right, they will fight for you… if you are part of the race they will be lifting above the rest (looking at you, Haiti).
“A Justice Department rolling back civil rights by the day,” he went on, “hatred and supremacy proudly marching in our streets, bullets tearing through our classrooms, concerts, and congregations … and this nagging, sinking feeling, no matter your political beliefs, that this is not right, this is not who we are.”
But forbid you’re Russian, being blamed for the election of the president based on bad evidence from only three agencies,The CIA, The FBI and NSA, that’s exactly who you are. Good fucking luck getting past that modern day red-scare xenophobia.
Kennedy then addressed the “coalition of the fringes” to rally to his platitude, racial, sexual and gendered agenda, framing Republicans as malicious towards them on these grounds — again, despite the right-wing wanting the non-racial merit based system. “For them, dignity isn’t something you’re born with, but something you measure by your net worth … not to mention the gender of your spouse, the country of your birth, the color of your skin, the god of your prayers. Their record is [a] rebuke to our highest American ideal: the belief that we are all worthy, that we are all equal, that we all count.”
The speech left Kennedy with hard ground to cover if he wants to be the “rising star” who may eventually run for president. Burdened with the legacy of Democratic legends in his great uncle former President John F. Kennedy as well as great grandfather in former Attorney General Robert “Bobby” Kennedy, liberals and the progressive left were bounded to be rightly disappointed.
They slammed Sen. Schumer for believing that “a white man from a storied political dynasty who is, by all accounts, not one of Capitol Hill’s pioneering forces — will ‘do an excellent job in making clear that Democrats are laser-focused on enacting policies to benefit middle class Americans, not special interests or the wealthiest.’”
Shannon Watts, founder of the gun control group Moms Demand Action, said women (particularly women of colour) deserve to respond more.
Others echoed the same progressive stack sentiments, arguing he was a “really inexcusable” and “tone deaf” choice, saying “an extraordinary waste of a valuable opportunity” to not feature a woman of color to represent the #Resistance.
This is quite ironic if you consider the Democrats treatment for former Ohio representative Nina Turner — a left-wing firebrand and known “woman of person” — that had her DNC speech cancelled and her policy event with the DNC reform commission barricaded by the Clinton Democrats.
“They tried to seduce us with donuts and water,” Turner said. “They’re pompous and arrogant enough to say to the people, ‘you’re not good enough to be on our property — and, oh by the way, we’re just gonna hand you donuts and water over the barricade.’ That is insulting. Absolutely insulting.”
The donut eventually became a Twitter meme among Clinton democrats, many of which donning it as an emoji on their Twitter accounts, which is — by their own logic — an act of disregarding the pressure being placed on a woman of colour by whitey feminist Clinton. Very ironic, indeed. But Kennedy is male, so he hardly would get the same treatment.
The New Republic pointed out that some activists and news outlers were angered by Kennedy for the above mentioned stances on weed, opioids and not voting for a Medicare-for-all bill.
This was echoed by Secular Talk’s political commentator Kyle Kulinski, listing off all the left-wing policies that went unmentioned in Kennedy’s empty speech, concluding quote “THIS. IS. WHY. YOU. LOSE. TO. TRUMP.”
Thanks for reading!
Bailey T. Steen is a journalist, editor, artist and film critic based in Victoria, Australia, but is also Putin’s Puppet™ on occasion.
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Cheers, darlings!! 💋