Monday, January 25, 2010

Tone Deafness

Question: What do the lack of talent of thousands of American Idol wannabes and politicians of all stripes in Washington have in common? Watching the early tryouts on American Idol is eerily similar to the tripping over each other antics of the Washington crowd as it stumbles through botched efforts of trying to correct wrongs with additional wrongs. To illustrate the point I am trying to make, I ask two additional questions to serve only as examples; First, how is it that the taxpayers provide billions of dollars to keep banks from failing and the very same bank executives who took our country to the brink of disaster use those billions to provide themselves with billions of bonus dollars while doing nothing to alleviate the very situation that caused the problem in the first place? Second, how did health care reform become an agenda for the pro-life crowd?

The current party in power (ostensibly the Democrats) is in a tizzy at the moment because of the Massachusetts election which placed a relative unknown (unless one reads and looks at the pictures in Cosmopolitan) in the Senate and destroyed the supermajority of sixty votes required to defeat filibuster efforts. I submit to the reader that Scott Brown was elected for the very same reason Obama was elected, i.e., the promise of change from the same old business as usual. As those who are addicted to reading my blogs know, I was truly excited about Obama and the hope and promise he brought. I was not alone. A majority of Americans welcomed the concept of change and wanted business as usual to stop.

Obama was elected to facilitate change. What do we get instead? The president sided with the pharmaceutical industry by cutting a back room deal worth billions of dollars to that industry before a bill was even on the table. He helped the failing big banks while unemployment continued [and still continues] to rise, then sees the banks executives laugh it off and take huge bonuses. Meanwhile, Republicans offer NOTHING but criticism, kind of like Simon Cowell stuck on fast forward. The president and Democratic Congress can't pass a health care bill that helps the people without back room deals that in no uncertain terms bribe people to go along with the program. Brown ran neither as a Republican or a Democrat but on the promise of change. He accomplished this by claiming to be a populist driving around his state in an old pickup truck to make the point. He was singing the same tune that Obama had sung during his campaign. Independents, who are the ones that elected Brown, also elected Obama. Republicans, the pimps for big corporations, do not represent change. But independents voted for Brown anyway.

As an independent liberal who has followed the "negotiations" on health care carefully, I have two thoughts; first, the need is to go back to the drawing board and redo the plan is a straightforward simplified form. Second, is to truly do this in a transparent fashion. This is all the more so important at this critical juncture in our republic now that the activist Supreme Court in the last week set aside a hundred years of case law and created a new concept that the corporation is a super-person within the meaning of the Constitution and, thus, has given greater first amendment rights than ordinary citizens to the likes of Chinese-owned and funded corporations (such as giving billions of dollars to buy politicians to affect elections). The drug companies' deal, the Ben Nelson deal, these are currently what it is all about and the Supreme Court has compounded the situation. Instead of going forward, we are moving backward to the era of robber barons.

Tea Partiers are absolutely right in raising the hell that they have. I find myself wondering, however, where these strident voices were when Bush was doing the same thing that they now protest about Obama. But that's another story and the Democrats wasted a year squabbling like unruly toddlers over health insurance legislation. No one in his or her right mind could have believed that a workable, efficient, cost-effective system could come out of the monstrously ugly plan that finally emerged from the Senate after long months of shady alliances, disgraceful back-room deals, outlandish payoffs and abject capitulation to the insurance companies and giant pharmaceutical outfits. The same goes for the bank bailouts.

The message is clear: sing a different tune, but keep it simple.

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