Friday, December 18, 2009

healthcare: diisillusion

Is disillusionment a pre-existing condition?

As the healthcare debate grinds on, it is becoming increasingly apparent even to people who haven’t been paying close attention that those on the right who are strongly anti-reform are not engaged in serious discussion of the merits of the Senate bill. They are motivated by a desire to simply stop the bill from passing--no matter what, no matter who it might hurt or who it might help.

Some oppose the bill simply out of spite--or to put it in politer terms, to prevent Obama from succeeding at anything, and thus neuter his presidency. Others are clearly in opposition due to their financial and political ties to the healthcare industry. Others are both spiteful and financially rewarded.

As usual, the mainstream media is the last to get the memo. They persist in fawning over the tea-partiers every time these troglodytes scrabble out into the sunlight from their bunkers and panic rooms, ignoring the glaring, obvious lies the shock troops have swallowed whole, simply because shouting idiots make for good television. (See “Jersey Shore,” “For the Love of Ray J,” ad infinitum.)

Plus, inside the Beltway it is considered impolite to openly discuss the legalized system of bribery that actually runs this country. It’s easier to focus on the focus-grouped gibberish that the wealthy insiders pass along to the rubes who carry their water as if these words had any truth or even actual meaning.

They almost certainly don’t mean anything to the pundits and politicians who invent them--aside from lining their own pockets. As Peggy Noonan demonstrated so plainly during the 2008 campaign, these Terribly Smart People will spew out utter bullshit that they don’t believe at all, simply because they know they are expected to perpetuate the accepted narrative (i.e. the narrative that best avoids uncomfortable questions of who is really running things. Preferably a narrative with a very narrow focus and simple horse-race numbers.)

To paraphrase Chomsky, the MSM says: Which do you prefer--Coke or Pepsi? As if those are the only two possible choices. How about some juice instead? Or a beer maybe?

And of course it’s to be expected that the media, a wholly-owned subsidiary of big business and the current system as it (dys)functions today would play its usual dishonest games. It isn’t at all surprising that they grant frothing morons who spew disinformation (see Bachmann, Michelle; Grassley, Charles) the same weight as thoughtful, earnest people on both the left and right who are trying to get at the parts of the healthcare debate that exist in reality and what the real-world consequences might be if they were enacted into law.

So, these are the things we knew. These are perhaps the things that are not so shocking. What I think the real problem today is for many on the left who supported Obama is that what is new, what has been revealed in recent weeks is that Obama and his people are also a part of that same machine.

Whoa, big surprise, O starry-eyed idealist, O dumb-ass worshipper of Obama, O Obamamaniac. Right?

But no, I am none of the above. I am aware that the same political system that created Obama also created Joe Lieberman. Both are beholden to interests outside of the ones they talk about publicly.

But what I think pragmatic people hoped for with the election of Obama was that grown-ups would be in charge again, finally. That there would be some swing of the pendulum back toward sanity, and responsibility, and reality in the way that our government ran things. That is, sure, things swing rightward--deregulation, chest-pounding idiotic wars, tax cuts for the wealthy--that’s just the way politics works, if you take the long view. But then someday, the pendulum usually swings back, or at least that’s how it usually works.

That hasn’t happened this time around. What I am saying is that what we have seen this administration do every time it has been confronted with an entrenched power is to go along with what that power wanted. And I am saying that perhaps this isn’t the result of weakness, or indecision, or even dithering, but rather just a calculated capitulation to the status quo (read: big money) that was planned all along.

What if Obama never seriously intended to fight? To wit:

-- in the way the administration bailed out Wall Street with virtually no restrictions and certainly no strong reform of the catastrophic ways in which they do business.

-- in granting General McChrystal (he of Pat Tillman cover-up infamy) virtual carte blanche to run Afghanistan for the next decade or more.

-- by quietly working behind the scenes to ensure that Big Pharma wasn’t threatened, killing legislation that would have made it easier to buy pharmaceuticals abroad.

-- and finally, perhaps most telling, by taking himself and the bully pulpit of the White House and his formerly massive store of political capital virtually out of the healthcare debate.

When people say, Where O Where has Obama been? Why hasn’t he been working harder to twist arms? Why didn’t he fight for the public option? Etc., etc., perhaps it’s because there never was any serious intention to challenge any of these powerful entities, despite stirring, bold campaign rhetoric. Perhaps, after all, this is a sort of Waterloo--not for Obama, but for American democracy.

The plutocrats are firmly at the helm. In every important debate the will of the people doesn’t mean shit--unless those people happen to be bank presidents or major stockholders of defense companies or pharmaceuticals.

Much as it was when the last guy was president. It just seems a lot more disturbing now.

Seriously, read that Chomsky article I linked to. Here it is again.

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