Friday, August 21, 2009

What Rough Beast, Its Hour Come Round At Last, Slouches Toward Bethlehem To Be Born?

One of my favorite poems is William Butler Yeats' "The Second Coming," written in 1920. Supposedly Yeats sensed and was alarmed by the increasing anger, disintegration, chaos, threats appearing in the world around him, which he thought would lead to more killing, more wars. "Things fall apart, the center cannot hold. Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world."

What is going on in this country? We had 8 years of illegal rule based on a stolen election and a corrupt judiciary that issued the astonishing order that the Ballots Of The Citizens May Not Be Counted. Illegal wars, people being disappeared just like we did in South and Central American so many years ago, death squads, torture, spying, planting bugs on people's telephones and in their homes, lying to the public, stealing all the money from all the people in the country, politicians taking so much money in bribes that they can't even find places to hide it, so have to store it in secret off-shore hedge funds, and "private equity funds" run by criminals. Like the Mafia but with fewer ethics.

But the people threw out those criminals and wanted someone new, a new President, a new Congress, a new start. Yet all we see is more of the same. No Change. The wars continue and have escalated. There is no jobs program to help the unemployed, but massive give-aways to Wall Street. The president prohibits enforcement of the criminals laws against the people who broke them. Congress does nothing but solicit and accept bribes, and make excuses for their own incompetence and failure to act.

They have done nothing. And now the people are getting angry. And are rightly getting angry.

When Democrats come out to public meetings to demand a real health care program, or just listen to discussion about it, they are now met with armed lunatics with assault weapons. What should the police do when some lunatic shows up at a public meeting with a gun? I'd say surround him, point a loaded gun about one inch from his eye-ball, and tell him to back up four blocks from the citizens because his presence is an implied terrorist threat. And if the armed citizen blinks, shoot him, just like he's threatening to do to the Democrats. But nobody from the Democratic party is doing anything to protect the citizens against this kind of national terrorism. White male Republican terrorists are allowed to do whatever they want. It's just that simple.

What is going on in this country? And if our elected leaders won't do anything to help us, and won't stand up for us, won't protect us, what can we do?

These are not the voices of the fringe. I'm talking about normal people, highly respected, award-winning, moderate people, and they are telling the national Democrats, telling Obama, that he's blowing it, and it's almost all over already. He is dooming his presidency to even a lower position than that of George W. Bush. The hour has come: do something or stop giving those stupid "inspirational" speeches, because the public is onto you, and is sick of the hot air.
Here's Paul Krugman at the New York Times in an article titled "Obama's Trust Problem."

Krugman notes than when Obama and his people started pushing the idea last week-end that we don't really need a "public option" for healthcare reform, it was symptomatic of how much Obama has ignored the progressives, the exact same people who got him the nomination, and the exact same people who got him elected. The fact that Obama figured he could get away with this without the uproar which met his statement shows how much Obama has lost touch with the people who elected him. Obama seems to be ignoring the growing anger among progressives, those on the left, and even basic Democrats in this country, who have seen Obama take the wrong position again and again on every single important issue that has come before him.

Obama has even sent his people into court to fight in support of the anti-gay defense of marriage act, filing briefs to uphold the right-wing bigoted law. Why would he do that when he has said that he opposes that law? Obama has upheld the right of the government to violate the people's 4th amendment rights of privacy. He has continued and escalated the wars. He has given away hundreds of billions of dollars to the criminals on Wall Street, and has packed his cabinet with corporate right-wing sell-outs. Time and again, when given the choice between right and wrong, Obama has chosen wrong. And of course the Democrats in Congress do nothing but solicit bribes and sell their votes.

Here's Krugman: "On the issue of health care itself, the inspiring figure progressives thought they had elected comes across, far too often, as a dry technocrat who talks of “bending the curve” but has only recently begun to make the moral case for reform. .... Meanwhile, on such fraught questions as torture and indefinite detention, the president has dismayed progressives with his reluctance to challenge or change Bush administration policy. And then there’s the matter of the banks."

"I don’t know if administration officials realize just how much damage they’ve done themselves with their kid-gloves treatment of the financial industry, just how badly the spectacle of government supported institutions paying giant bonuses is playing. ... So there’s a growing sense among progressives that they have, as my colleague Frank Rich suggests, been punked."

Matt Taibbi, at Rolling Stone magazine, has his own criticisms of Obama and the Democrats, and discusses their failure to make any effort to get a real healthcare program for the people of this country. It's all been a big show, sound and fury, signifying nothing. Below is a link to Rolling Stone's webpage which contains a summary of Taibbi's position and a couple of video comments by him. There is also a Taibbi interview with Sam Seder on You Tube, and an interview with MSNBC on the same subject in which the obviously panicked Maria Bartiromo accuses Taibbi of being un-American for supporting a national healthcare program. I'm surprised she didn't bring her AK-47 to the set.

Taibbi apparently interviewed quite a few people in Congress involved in the negotiations about a possible health care law. He states that Obama made a deal with the big Medical Industry people right up-front, which is what I've been saying all along. Taibbi claims Obama's "deal" was that he promised he wouldn't push a Medicare-For-All/Single Payer system if the medical industry, big money boys, would promise they wouldn't try to crush other reforms. I suspect the "deal" Obama negotiated involved hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes being paid to the Democrats in exchange for them doing nothing to reform healthcare.

But whatever the deal was that was struck in these secret meetings between Obama and the CEOs of the Health Insurance Industry, the AMA and Doctors' Lobbies, the Hospital Owners, the Pharmaceutical Industry, here's the problem: who the heck does Obama think he is to negotiate away the people's rights without our consent, and to do so in secret? Doesn't this sound exactly like something Bush and Cheney would have done, and did do a thousand times over? What Change?

Let's say we, the people, are on a baseball team called the Good Guys. And the people who want to beat us are on the other team called the Bad Guys. If our managers and coaches held secret meetings with the owners and sponsors of the Bad Guys right before the World Series, and we know they negotiated benefits for themselves -- either political advantages, future employment opportunities, or dirty old cash -- and we found out about it, what would we do? We would accuse them of fixing the game, selling us us out, throwing the series for their own personal benefit. It's exactly the same thing.

Shoeless Joe Jackson and every baseball player who ever took steroids or secretly gambled should be permanently pardoned and exonerated, and every single person in Congress should be listed on a national monument in D.C. known as the "Monument of Treasonous Disgraceful Politicians." Then throw them out of office, make them forfeit their salary and pay over to the public treasury all the money they've taken in bribes. Then throw them in prison for betraying the public. If this isn't corruption, what is? Having sex with somebody not your wife? Is that it? Taking money and betraying the public is okay, but sex is a crime?

Is there anything these people won't do for money? If it turned out, for example, that Senator Baucus bent over and grabbed his ankles and let some big insurance industry CEO put a cigar up his butt, in exchange for millions of dollars, would that be bad? What if Senator Baucus had sex with a Pharmaceutical Rep in a public bathroom, would we pay attention then? What if the Pharmaceutical Rep was a boy, would that make a difference? Is there anything these Democrats won't do for money? We know they'll sell out the public without giving it a second thought. As long as they don't have sex, it seems like they do anything they want and we can't touch them.

Taibbi concludes that if any health care bill passes it will be essentially of no value to most Americans. It won't control the escalating costs, won't help people who are made bankrupt when they become ill, won't stop the insurance companies from raising premiums every year, or more often, so they can get rid of people who are actually sick. He suggests the only benefits that might pass are preventing insurance companies from excluding coverage for certain illnesses based on pre-existing conditions and possibly the creation of some kind of phony "co-op" which will provide people with insurance at the exactly the same exorbitant and unaffordable rates they now pay. Krugman also says the co-op will be worthless.

As for pre-existing conditions, this is nonsense. The insurance companies will simply raise everyone else's premiums to cover it, then blame the Democrats.

Taibbi suggests that the only thing of value that might come out of this whole process is if the progressives in Congress refuse to support this do-nothing bill. That's what I'm going for at this point. Stop the phoney "reform" of healthcare. Tell the Democrats to go back and do their job, and pass a real healthcare program that provides relief for the citizens of this country.

Like Taibbi says: we've got a president elected with a huge mandate; an opposition party that has no support in the public, and is little more than a bad joke; a 60-vote control of the Senate, and great majority control in the House. If the Democrats want to pass a national healthcare program, they can do it. Nothing is stopping them. So if they fail to pass a national healthcare program, it's because they never intended to help the people at all. All the while, they keep getting more and more money from the Medical Industry.

Don't shop at Whole Foods. The CEO of Whole Foods has come out publicly against a single-payer, Medicare-for-all system of healthcare in this country so all the people can get healthcare. There is a national boycott of the store. I couldn't afford to shop there in any event. Let's see, retail, grocery, probably non-union: what does he pay his people? Six bucks an hour? $12,000/year? And how much is he paid? Millions of dollars every year, I assume. And now he's out campaigning to make sure the people who work in his stores can't get healthcare? What kind of a scumbucket is this guy, anyway?

I thought I was mad. Then I read these articles at Counterpunch: Boy are these guys mad. (Obama has squandered the opportunity to be a decent president, and has sold out the public by cutting deals with big industry. He refuses to do anything to enforce the law against all the criminals in, and criminal acts committed by, the Bush Administration. He is continuing the illegal acts of the Bush administration and destroying our democracy).

If you're depressed and unhappy, exhausted all the time, worry constantly, despair, can't sleep, have no zest for life, feel like you're being buried under a mountain of debt and can't dig your way out, your health seems to be failing, you're getting older, you're irritated all the time, don't take drugs. I mean the legal kind -- the kind the doctors push. If you want to take the illegal kind, smoke a joint for example, that's your business. But don't sign onto the medical industry's efforts to Disease-ify your life.

If you're upset about money, it's probably because you don't have enough, not because you're mentally ill. If you feel buried in debt, you probably are, and a drug isn't going to make it better because the doctor will charge a bundle for pushing the drugs, and the drug dealers take a big chunk off the top. Interesting article and analysis of the drug-dealers who call themselves the Pharmaceutical Industry and their efforts to convince Americans that we're all mad:

1 comment:

  1. The paltry ammounts of loot which is passed along to the officials of the Republic, in comparison to the amounts being shovelled out the back door, would be unacceptable to any good crook.
    Not only are the solons corrupt, they do it on the cheap.
    Back in the early days of the Republic, Hamilton scammed the taxpayers out of vast ammounts of cash when he became Treasury Secretary- having his pals buy Continental dollars and veterans land grants for ten cents on the dollar, playing upon the fear that whatever the new federal government did, it would not be likely to fund all the states war debts and the grants made under the Articles of Confederation.
    When the new government took office, hey presto!- all the debts were made good by the fed- surprise!
    I have a number of acquaintances who are angry with me about regarding the donkey elephant contests as specious. They make the case that a third party will not be possible so long as the existing system is in place, the thing to do, they maintain, is to "take back" the Dims from the misguided leadership which has played tag team for at least the last century.
    How this might be done in an environment conditioned to slogans and Madison Avenue sound bytes is never too clear, but they've got "high hopes".
    Good piece of writing, again, thanks.
    Donald L. Smith