Thursday, October 14, 2010

The False Narrative of the Crumb Salesmen of the West Wing

October 14, 2010

In these waning, frenzied days before the mid-term elections of 2010, a false narrative has emerged from the White House, put forth by the same spin doctors and crumb salesmen that have already wasted their political capital and with little to show for it.  In this false narrative, the problem with the disappointed (and in many cases disgusted) progressive Democratic base is of their own making, their expectations were too high, and they should stop whining about things because the Tea Party is too dangerous a foe.

How insulting!  In essence, this false narrative seeks to “blame the victim”, adding insult to injury.

Yes, it’s true that the so-called ‘tea partiers’ are largely tools and fools of corporate America, though the very thing they rail against is caused precisely by what those very benefactors practice.  The president is doing little to call them out, instead allowing his handlers to spend his speechifying exhorting his former fan base to “get out there and vote because of [insert fearmongering statements or stale ‘the Change is you’ rhetoric here]”.  Many have replied to the casting calls for these events, and inevitably we’re treated to displays reminiscent of the halcyon days of the 2008 campaign, but there’s a hollowness about it now.  “Change is up to us”…….well, only ONE of us is in a position to make the changes, and we’re treated to such awkward situations like the recent ruling by a federal judge declaring DADT (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) illegal and the Obama administration appealing the ruling!  What can possibly justify this kind of fraudulent behavior, Obama having promised early on that DADT “would be repealed this year” and then failing the required Senate vote?  Apparently an executive order was never issued because it was part of the agreement Mr. Obama had with several senators, whose votes would be crucial to the repeal of the law; so long as he didn’t sign such an order, they would vote for it when it came before the full Senate.  (This was according to Veep Biden in a televised interview with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.) This indeed happened just before the Senate recessed for the election campaign, and the measure failed.  One would think that if one party broke their side of the bargain, it would free the other side to do what they supposedly were going to do any way.  One would think, but no!  Following the failed vote, was such an executive order – even a moratorium, pending final congressional action – issued?  Of course not!  And to make matters worse, the Log Cabin Republicans (the gay organization) were the ones successful in challenging DADT in court, and won!  Oooh, how awkward can THAT make you feel, Mr. President?

To make matters even MORE vile, former Sen. Tom Daschle (D)-South Dakota admitted that it was Mr. Obama HIMSELF who killed the public option, by sacrificing it as easily as the single-payer system.   Apparently they were viewed by him as one and the same, which will probably be the single most devastating miscalculation that lost Dem majorities in either or both houses of Congress, if in fact they do.  The only saving grace they might have is that the base is galvanized against the stunningly dangerous morons that won many GOP primaries earlier this year.  If the Dems prevail, it will only be because the fear among rational and intelligent people is great enough to get them out to vote against said morons, and NOT because they bought the crumbs sold by the folks in the West Wing.  If the morons get a seat at the table, the narrative is already being prepared that they’ll be “more responsible”. 

In either event, the narrative is false.  I remind the reader that Mr. Obama spoke out in favor of a ‘public option’ during the campaign and throughout the first 5 months of his presidency.  He also spoke out – in fact made an eloquent case – against a mandate.  These were logical positions to take, because even many Republicans recognize the fact that only a robust public option would ever bring down the cost of health-care in this country to the same levels as most of the rest of the developed world.

Besides all of that, a basic grasp of the intent of the Constitution (and yes, spelled out in the preamble) is sufficient to show that the government cannot coerce the citizenry to purchase a product from another citizen or company.  If the government can mandate something, they can provide a public mechanism – so that no-one else (no other private citizen) can profit from another citizen’s required civic duties.  If health care is a private responsibility, it is private…..and the government of, by and for the people should make no requirement as to enforcing one citizen to pay another for an abstract promise to pay for damages to something, especially if that something is one’s own body. 

However, if health care is also a PUBLIC responsibility, then the rules change.  If the government feels compelled to step in and legislate rules and regulations regarding an element of private commerce, then it by definition is in response to a PUBLIC need, thereby making it a public responsibility, one the government must take care of in some manner.  What has prompted this, finally, after over a century of failed progressive political efforts to provide for a universal health-care system?  Sky-rocketing costs, that’s what.  We all know this; costs are high because more and more people have to avail themselves of the emergency room because they can’t afford insurance, as that’s the only way they’ll get any care.  As the pool of those with insurance shrinks, the cost for each of them spirals upward quickly, so that now the average insurance for an individual with pre-existing condition or family with no pre-existing condition is higher than their monthly housing cost, whether they rent or own.  (That’s not including food, etc; just lodging.)  Something is certainly wrong with this state of affairs!  

But the problem politically isn’t so much that Mr. Obama didn’t deliver a bill with a public option, it’s the fact that he didn’t even stand up for it after July 2009, when he stopped using the phrase altogether.  And why is that?  Because he had made a deal with the American Hospital lobbying association (AHIP) that in essence assured them that a public option for health-care would NOT be in the final bill.  Even as he was asked about this at a town hall with Harry Reid, and he turned to Reid and said “what about it, Harry, do you have the votes?” and was told, “If you help round them up, Mr. President”.  What a charade!  They knew all along there wouldn’t be a public option, as they had agreed to it!  We didn’t even get the soul satisfaction of a public display of courage and fight, instead just caving under assumptions without any opportunity for confrontations.   Later, quietly, Mr. Obama had Rahm instruct Reid, who instructed Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, who instructed individual senators, not to even call for a vote on the public option on the floor of the Senate.

So why does he not simply tell the truth on this?  Why doesn’t he tell the truth on DADT?  Why no Executive Order even now?  Why appeal the ruling that basically outlawed DADT?  What recourse do victims (and survivors) of the illegal surveillance by the Bush Administration have?  When will the culprits of that administration start being held accountable, anyway?  For the illegitimate rush to war in Iraq, for complicity in the banking scandals and the housing bubble, for the use of torture, the list goes on.   Real accountability; not one based on vengeance, but not some bland announcement of absolution for all crimes committed when the citizens haven’t even been allowed to see the admission or evidence of the crimes!  What on earth were they thinking; by acting so magnanimously stupid, or stupidly magnanimous, they took the sins from the shoulders of their predecessors and put them squarely on their own shoulders.  There IS a cost when you do that, which wiser heads would have seen coming, but these crumb salesmen apparently did not. 

All in all, some of us are now weighing in the balance a decision between supporting candidates that in many cases failed to live up to their promises, or actively stood in the way of the announced agenda of their party and the administration; or ‘sitting out’ the mid-terms by silently showing the same amount of enthusiasm for Getting Out The Vote as the politicians they’re asked to support showed for the campaign promises they ran on.  I point this out because few progressives are actually choosing between voting for ‘tea party’ GOP candidates or their own corporatist Democrats; the same holds true for the opposition.  Few disgruntled conservatives are deciding between Democrats and Republicans; they showed in the primaries that they favor the pro-corporate, anti-establishment morons who at least throw rhetorical bombs… the very least, it gives spiritual sustenance (the media calls it ‘red meat’) to those who actually believe what their political champions promise. 

The true narrative, once allowed to emerge, will show that Mr. Obama was both too insecure as to how much he could manage to accomplish with the mandate he ran on (and won with), and too cozy with the corporate interests he likes to campaign against but feels comfortable with servicing.  One point that illustrates this is his friendship with Eric Whitaker, who often travels with him on Air Force One and is a frequent guest at the White House.  Mr. Whitaker also happens to be an executive vice-president of the University of Chicago Medical Center, which despite his background as director of the Illinois Dep’t. of Public Health from 2003 to 2007, is a private enterprise.  While there is nothing wrong with that, and while he’s earned well-deserved kudos for his efforts in extending health care to the minority communities of Chicago, it’s a fact that his bread is buttered now by private, for-profit corporate interests.  A true narrative would have Mr. Obama “coming clean” about his decision to sacrifice the public option in exchange for AHIP (America’s Health Insurance Plans, a lobbying organization representing over 1,300 companies providing health insurance coverage to Americans) foregoing a planned expenditure of up to $150 million in anti-reform advertising.  A true narrative would NOT have allowed the public to have labored under the misconception that it was the ‘no’ votes of a handful of Democratic senators that should bear the blame.  To my mind, that is a monumental LIE that Mr. Obama has perpetuated, which is why he had that “deer in the headlights” moment when he took the misnamed “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010” out on the road to sell as an accomplishment and a young man in the audience at the Univ. of Iowa challenged him during his sales pitch with the cry, “what about the public option??”, to which he stuttered a reply “We couldn’t get it through Congress; no need to shout, young man”.  Well, I’m thankful to that ‘young man’, whoever he is, for having the courage to stand up and say “this emperor is wearing no clothes; where are they?”. 

A true narrative would acknowledge that the ‘reform bill’ was in essence no different than the one originally proposed by Sen. Bob Dole as an alternative to “HillaryCare”, the failed 1994 attempt by the Clinton administration to finally achieve affordable health care for the then-45 million uninsured.  Or any different than the GOP plan put forth by Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts that was actually signed into law in that state.  A true narrative would acknowledge that in many ways the new law is an attempt to shore up a failed business model that seeks to profit off of people’s need for health care, rather than one that seeks to provide a healthier citizenry.  It would explain how the logic Mr. Obama used in the 2008 campaign against mandates was no longer applicable, since the Act includes such a mandate.

Continuing on regarding other broken campaign promises; a true narrative would explain exactly why Mr. Obama cannot bring himself to sign an executive order that would at the very least put a moratorium on any future discharges of gay and lesbian service personnel, since the evidence shows that the military hasn’t been living up to their end of the arrangement by not asking.  Rather, they’ve actively gone on witch hunts, provoking widespread fear among gay service personnel that anyone aware of their private sexual preferences could ‘out’ them – rewarding tawdry snitching at the expense of millions of dollars worth of training recruits whose only ‘crime’ was in their choice of which gender’s genitals they prefer to spend private time with.

Finally, the issue I find personally most important because of my own circumstances; that would be the issue of illegal, warrantless surveillance by the gov’t. of private citizens.  In the campaign, Mr. Obama knew exactly how to appeal to the Democratic base on this issue, because it rankles many that the gov’t. under Cheney/Bush actively engaged in such activities, snooping into the private lives of its citizens and in some cases harassing them (as is true in my own case) by using agencies that may or may not have even been aware of the true nature of exactly WHY they were being called upon to scrutinize certain people.  The blanket explanation of “9/11” is hauled out to cover these instances of “national insecurity”, but the critical thinkers among the truth-seeking citizenry know that simply having a muslim friend is no reason to tap their phones or have them followed.  A true narrative on this issue perhaps can’t be truly told at this time, but mark my words; in the very near future, earth-changing events will occur that the crumb salesmen of the West Wing are already braced for, though they can’t tell the public they ‘know’.  For viewers of the NBC fictional series “The Event”, which is tapping into the reality behind the illusion most of us are bamboozled into thinking is ‘reality’, I would point out that unlike the characters in the series, the President and Vice-President actually DO know what the coming ‘Big Event’ is.  I’m sure it consumes much of their time actually, with many plans being hatched and put in place so that when the cataclysms begin in earnest, the public won’t panic unduly and undo the thin veneer of civilized behavior we try to maintain.  At the very least we should expect that the plans of the Bush administration to force the populations of endangered cities to “shelter in place” have been replaced with more humane plans, perhaps to relocate or evacuate them to the FEMA refugee camps (not to be confused with their intended purpose under Bush to have them serve as either ‘work camps’ for the servant class or ‘concentration camps’ for the those unable to provide the expected level of productivity).  However, these are much more dicier issues, because less than a few thousand Americans know with any certainty about the coming cataclysms that will culminate in a poleshift sometime in our very near future.  For most, who are naively clueless and trusting of the media and government, the earth changes and “climate change” are attributable to the Coverup paradigm known as “Global Warming”, which puts the blame on the common man’s too-large “carbon footprint” as well as industry’s excessive carbon emissions – which has led to the false premise behind so-called “Cap n’ Trade” legislation.  Republican lawmakers are actually right on this issue, though for the wrong reasons.  In fact, many rank-and-file Republicans, distrustful of modern-day government, correctly sense that there is something innately false about the claims of the “Global Warming” crowd, they simply don’t realize the real truth behind the false claims. 

All told, the electorate has been bamboozled and treated to shell games, the marketing of 8% reforms as 80%, and the progressive base of the Democratic party blamed for their own lack of enthusiasm as if somehow their unhappiness has more to do with unrealistic expectations and a tendency to 'whine', rather than the more truthful appraisal which would clearly show that they are unhappy to have exerted so much effort on behalf of a man who promised 'change you can believe in' and who delivered crumbs - devoid of even half-hearted attempts to show courage and the vigorous use of the bully pulpit that the presidency affords.  Does that mean the base will go out and vote for the morons and dangerous dimbulbs who promise to take us back to kindergarten in the Stone Age?  Of course not.  Does that mean they will stay at home on election day?  Probably not, because most loyal Democrats won't fault their own congressman or senator for the failings of the corporate tool the president has shown himself to be, but it DOES imply that they won't make an effort at GOTV beyond their own, personal vote.  (Which is unfortunate, because heroic progressive fighters like Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and and challenger Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania might suffer as a result.) Why should they?  Can you sell a hollow program to casual Democrats or independent voters that you no longer find believable yourself?  Exactly.

What the base is missing is what they thought they were fighting for in 2008 - someone who said what they meant and meant what they said.  It's not so important that all promises were kept or not; what is important is that the 'change agent' is perceived to be actively and purposefully pursuing them, and doing so with the promised transparency required for the full faith and trust the majority of the electorate has bestowed upon him.  FDR was extremely popular for the 'fireside chats' he initiated, where he sat down and talked to the American family with respect, which in turn he was rewarded with reciprocally.  Today, the usual Saturday radio address (and now YouTube video) is a perfunctory affair, with the president woodenly reading a prepared speech.  Rarely does such an address make news.  Even when the president addresses the nation from the Oval office on a week-night, with the major media networks dutifully broadcasting the event, news is rarely made.  Sometimes during a presidential press conference news is made - but not usually what's intended.  What we have needed to hear from this president is NOT the mea culpa aired this week in his interview by the New York Times, in which he muses he was "too focused on policy and not on P.R."; such a claim shows he STILL hasn't gotten the message.  We don't want a 'change agent' that makes empty promises just to get elected, then gets into office and turns strictly into a pragmatic wonk; we want the P.R. to flow concurrently with the policy.  "My fellow Americans, I know I assured you that I would only support a reform of our health-care system if it included a public option, but the brutal truth is that a few of our Democratic senators will not support a bill containing such a program, so I am reluctantly forced to drop it from our proposed legislation, since you all know that we Democrats are in the majority in both houses of the legislature and we shouldn't need any Republican votes - despite my never-ending effort to let them play a role in the process of healing our country."  No, we got nothing like that, and why would wouldn't have been the truth, anyway.  Or how about this; "My fellow Americans, I know I have promised an end to the odious policy known as Don't Ask, Don't Tell, but the truth is that an executive order would prevent the Congress from passing a law that would permanently repeal it, due to an agreement we have made with certain senators".  That too wouldn't fly, because that too isn't realistically true - despite Veep Biden's avowed statements to the contrary.  This list could go on and on, but you get the point.  The simple truth is we aren't being 'let in on' the most pertinent conversations we should be aware of, and that's why the base is so dispirited this year.  To sum up:

No, Mr. President, we will NOT sell your tepid crumbs as the change you promised we can believe in, because crumbs do not half-a-loaf make.  We are NOT comparing you to the Almighty OR the alternative; we are comparing you to what you presented yourself to be when we first hired you.  Just because the Tea Party is threatening "2nd Amendment remedies" for not getting their way is no reason to forget who put you in power and why.

That said, I would hope that every common-sense citizen does SOMETHING positive to change the current state of affairs.  I would urge anyone who agrees with this opinion NOT to give in to the impulse to punish the administration by not voting for their congressman or senator (unless they are on record against the common-sense progressive agenda Mr. Obama ran on in 2008, in which case write-in your vote for Mickey Mouse or Bozo the Clown if you must).  But don't stop there; keep hammering your legislators on the phone, in emails, on Twitter, or good old-fashioned snail mail.  MAKE YOUR VOICE BE HEARD.

© 2010 by Don Deppeller

Sunday, April 11, 2010

How (and Why) Obama Shrank His Base – Why It Matters To You, But Not To Him

There was a teachable moment in the recent self-congratulatory speech in Iowa Obama gave to the nation, in trumpeting the just-passed “Patient Care And Affordable Care Act" and its companion of fixes, the "Reconciliation Bill of 2010”. At about 7 minutes into his speech, a young male yelled out “what about the public option??”; Mr. Obama was knocked off his square, as we used to say back in the day. For a moment he looked like someone had pissed in his birthday cake. He stuttered, “there’s no need to shout young man, we didn’t have the votes for it in the congress”, and repeated the stale calls for continued action in the future, that the bill “wasn’t perfect”. Not a word was really given in explanation for why such an important component was lacking. Here on awkward display was the issue that rubbed salt in the wound of those that had put the elbow grease in the campaign that had purchased this president’s turn in the White House. There was – and is – simply no good reason for having the treasured “public option” so dissed, when it appeared to be quite within the grasp of the congress if only someone would allow a vote on it! And who was that ‘someone’? Was it the Senate majority leader, who had the last word in what was brought to the floor of the Senate? Was he doing it at the behest of the President, who despite his early deference was later shown to be merrily wheeling and dealing behind the scenes like a classic corrupt Tammany Hall politician, helping arrange the so-called “Cornhusker Kick-back” and the “2nd Lousisiana Purchase”? Or was it simply at the urging of his member senators, who were lying to the public about their support for this most sacred of Democratic goals? It certainly wasn’t due to the Speaker of the House, who had already shepherded a public option through her chamber.

For many, the “public option” is the ONLY cost-control mechanism available, it’s the most politically popular (no wonder, it would save hundreds of billions of dollars more not so much from the federal pocket but your OWN pocket), some would even say the most moral of all. If there is one thing the society should help arrange is decent health care for its citizens, that allows private enterprise (so long as they don’t get an unfair advantage, like the special exemption from the anti-trust laws that the health-insurance industry enjoys) but ensures that every citizen has the right to their basic health. Unlike insurance, a public health program isn’t a gamble, though it isn’t perfect and is as all these things are subject to the morality and wisdom of those in charge of it. At the very least, we wouldn’t have a situation whereby the foxes are still guarding the chicken coop (though the Obama administration has ‘deputized’ them, hollowly selling this as true reform……the equivalent is putting thousands of Iraqis through a 2-week course at a police academy, giving them uniforms and a badge and then using their number to somehow ‘prove’ to the outside world that they are capable of operating the new nation-state that’s expected to act like a stable democracy). We haven’t even addressed the issue of the individual mandate yet, either, which is the only way to even begin to see how this new health-care ‘reform’ could possibly have an effect – forcing every citizen to purchase private health-insurance. With a public option and the removal of the anti-monopoly exemption, the market would “bend the cost curve” (a euphemism for keeping price hikes from being too steep too quickly) without the need for a mandate, but the focus of this effort has been on herding everyone into the failed business model of “private health-care insurance” to prevent the death-spiral from eviscerating the current system. With everyone now being forced (although technically no-one can be penalized for not buying into the system, which makes it a paper tiger) into purchasing insurance, those that are healthy will be paying for those that are too sick, which is where the mistaken accusation of “socialism” was born. People don’t have a problem in helping those less fortunate, they just want it to be done rationally and not be bamboozled or forced into doing it in such a disingenuous way. And propping up the insurance “industry” of parasites is certainly disingenuous.

Beyond that, and on the flip side, the citizen has a responsibility that balances this right to health, and that’s to expect a certain portion of their income to go to such an arrangement. Does anyone disagree with that? What could be more mainstream? Is that so “leftist”? No, it’s both more corporatist and progressive, whereas the ultimate conservative would simply say “pay the full cost charged by the doctor [i.e. the insurance company] yourself”. Instead of providing the ideal compromise (private health insurance continues, but will have to provide more competitive care than a publicly-controlled system if they want to continue in business), the cowards of the congress played “hide the public option” even as enough signed a letter pledging support and the remainder to provide the last handful of votes necessary were on the record publicly as having vowed to vote for it.

But Mr. Obama made sure it never came up for a vote, thereby creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. This was the only conclusion that could be drawn when hearing of the hospital lobbying association’s Chip Kahn assert – following a meeting he had at the White House – that he had been assured there wouldn’t be a “public option” in the final bill. That was early last year, barely months into the new administration. How did they know, unless they themselves didn’t want such a solution put into the mix? It was clear they were prejudiced against even the idea of a single-payer system, which was taken off the table and not even used as a bargaining chip of any kind. No, the Obama brain-trust, led by Rahm Emmanuel apparently, in this case, felt that the deal for keeping $150 million in ad money either “at rest” or working for them was worth their sacrifice of the “public option”.

It was this sordid quid pro quo, the death of the public option at the cost of $150 million in advertising dollars (supposedly), that – together with the lack of accountability and the continuation of Bush 43 anti-civil liberty policies – has produced what may be the most curdled idealism in a generation. Just when they had it within their grasp, even the retiring senators couldn’t simply stand firm and do what the vast majority of Americans wanted – create an optional public health-care program that would keep the private insurance companies honest. Perhaps the attempted murder of his wife and child scared Sen. Reid even as much as it angered him, and resulted in the message being driven home NOT to allow the public option to even come to the floor of the Senate for debate.

Whatever the excuses, the entire nation (and world, for that matter) watched as the US Senate and House of Representatives kept trying to put the onus of not allowing the public option into the final bill of reconciliation on the other chamber, like a hot potato no-one wanted to take responsibility for. And through-out the entire process, the president said not one word, in fact I don’t even think he’s on record as ever even using the very phrase “public option” after last summer. In his hollow self-congratulatory speeches, in which he appeared to exude an almost-arrogant Bush-like confidence, he portrayed the entire debate as being between the “single-payer” system that “those on the left” wanted, versus doing nothing at all (which is supposedly what “those on the right” wanted – just to be clear, the “right” wanted essentially only the following: ‘tort reform’ {shielding doctors from career-destroying malpractice lawsuits}, the ability to sell insurance across state lines {which on examination conflicted with their cherished states’ rights} and further deregulation, including the removal of the special anti-trust exemption the health-insurance industry STILL enjoys despite Speaker Pelosi’s herding through the House a bill that would remove it, with a bi-partisan vote that garnered nearly universal support in the House). In short, the majority of Americans as well as the majority of their congressional representatives (supposedly; we have yet to find out who and how many were lying, if they were at all), not to mention an even higher majority of doctors, were on the record as supporting enthusiastically a “public option” (i.e. administered by a public agency) to the private health-insurance companies – yet somehow this most treasured ideal was supposedly fumbled away and without anyone to hold accountable?

In essence, he was using the same tactic as Karl Rove had popularized in his Bush 43 playbook, which was to cast the choice as “you’re either with us, or against us”. Meaning, “you’re either for health-care reform [OUR VERSION], or you’re against it.” Which is known as a false choice. Intelligent voters, who spent more than the cursory 10 seconds a week keeping themselves apprised of the civic life of the nation, saw through this. Some voters, who tend to trust their party whether right or wrong, accepted what Obama touted, rationalizing it as a “necessary compromise”. To those voters, I would ask, “when did Obama explain his abrupt turnaround on his campaign promises? When did he show he fought for what he said he believed in?"  Is everything promised in a campaign subject to such immediate and complete reversal, with no attempt to explain it, not even the appearance of a token fight, something to show the ‘courage of conviction’? Was everything done truly “transparently”, as this president had insisted on throughout his presidential campaign and right into his March 2009 White House forum on Health Care Reform, that was attended by not only his best pal Eric Whitaker of the Univ. of Chicago Med. Center but also by Chip Kahn, the afore-mentioned lobbyist for the hospital association? Was it at the party afterwards when the deal to kill the public option was struck? When did Rahm get his marching orders to go see Reid in the Senate majority leader’s office, and quietly give him the word to marginalize the public option?

So having reviewed the events that show Mr. Obama’s lack of conviction for his campaign promises regarding health-care reform – both his support for a public option and his rejection of an individual mandate – we can then look at other policies with a skeptical eye and ask the same question, “why not?” Why hasn’t DADT (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) been repealed, or at least an executive order issued that puts a hold on discharging military personnel who have been ‘outed’? Even the current, as well as at least one former chairman of the Joint Chiefs has called for an end to it, and the idiocy of those who are too insecure in their own sexuality can’t justify the stupidity of the policy. It’s anti-libertarian, on top of everything else. Also, and most importantly in the eyes of this writer, why hasn’t the policy of warrantless surveillance and electronic eavesdropping been rolled back and reformed? Is it because it would force the administration to admit what both the President and Vice-president are aware of, that the Earth is about to undergo a poleshift of such magnitude as to ultimately cause the death of 90% of humanity? And that an estimated 43% of the population is expected to go insane during the coming events leading to this eschatological event, which is expected to occur sometime between the late summer of 2010 and the winter solstice of 2012? Is it the fear of this awareness spreading that has lead to a continuation of the paranoia of those in power? This alone is reason enough to question whether this president has the requisite leadership skills to shepherd this nation through this most challenging period in all human history. Does he have what it takes, or will he continue to act ignorant of the situation, pushing the “cap and trade” crock as if he genuinely believes in the “global warming” coverup story? Unfortunately only a few thousand other individuals, most of whom will remain quiet until the last weeks unfold, know of this awareness by Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden, so most of the currently clueless citizenry will probably buy his public pronouncements of former ignorance when the signs become unmistakable.

What the civic-minded citizen can take away from that awkward teachable moment Mr. Obama displayed in Iowa is that he apparently undervalued his own bases’ sentiments regarding the so-called “public option” and “individual mandate”, though it’s more likely he knew full well how they felt since he was aware of the polling that showed the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts was due to the embrace of the turkey bill by the Democratic candidate with no ‘fight’ for a public option. So, why did he continue on with his attempt to press for passage of an unpopular bill and remain so silent on the aspects that could make it a wildly popular bill? Because he is in the process of exchanging his progressive base for the imaginary ‘center’, including all the Republicans horrified over the prospect of a den-mother like Sarah Palin gaining her party’s nomination for president. In other words, Mr. Obama is more concerned with extending his political power by stealing what he believes is the American political center from the remnants of the Republican party, even though polls show that the independents that are actually more representative of that center have started to leave his side in droves as they witness his craven “political-ness” emerge, that essential quality that insults the intelligence of the thoughtful voter even as it seeks to capture the trust of the “average” voter.

What we will have shortly is the newly-remasked (with the jack-ass instead of the elephant) Corporate Party, slightly left of center, with the right-wing marginalized to the so-called “Tea Party” and the left-wing marginalized to the “progressives” {shhhh!!! Don’t tell Glenn Beck, or he’ll get his blackboard out to prove how you really are a Communist!!}. The teabaggers (as they themselves wanted to be called, until they learned of how the term is used by gay men) or tea partiers as they now prefer, are essentially hard-core “ex”-Republicans, ultra-conservatives, and libertarians. For the most part, they’re self-sufficient enough to have been born into relatively comfortable circumstances and watched as their illusory world has been threatened with changes on every front – their sexuality challenged, their purchasing power reduced, their prideful patriotism challenged as the jingoism it’s dengenerated into thanks to the dumbing-down of the malevolent machinations of the Cheney/Bush team, their living costs raised to unbearable levels, and their resulting insecurities amped up by the Prime Propaganda machine called Fox News. When we heard Bush 43’s speechwriter (the one responsible for the “Axis of Evil” phrase) David Frum comment that he and his fellow conservatives were waking up to the fact that Fox didn’t work for them, they worked for Fox, we saw how his paycheck was abruptly cut off. That certainly showed the power of Fox, compared to the American Enterprise Institute (the conservative think-tank Frum worked for). The good thing is that Mr. Frum will probably join with other ex-Republicans like former Bush press secretary Scott McLelland to form the “right wing” of the Obama National Corporatist Party. That is, if a tea party-girl like Michelle Bachman or Sarah Palin gets ‘the nod’ in 2012, forcing the remaining rational elements of the GOP out rather than having their donors’ dollars paying for the lesbian domination the party faithful seem to delight in so much. (Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing bad about lesbian domination art clubs, but they kinda go against the whole “family values” thing, don’t they?)

Thus it is that Mr. Obama has made a crafty calculation, which may on the surface seem like a political winner in the long run when you know you’re at liberty to sacrifice your base if by doing so you capture the ‘center’, but upon reflection it really isn’t so. First of all, you really didn’t have to sacrifice anything, especially because it would have shown the genuineness of your claimed convictions. People like someone who stands up and fights for what they say they believe in. They like to know they’re not the only ones fighting ‘the good fight’, especially when you say you’re for one thing and against another. Even though Bill Clinton didn’t succeed in his effort to reform health-care, people remember him fighting for it. Perhaps he shouldn’t have “fought” and instead negotiated the minimum he would accept without fighting for what the people clearly showed they wanted. Maybe Mr. Obama might have done well by taking a page from Virginia Gov. McDonell’s recent playbook, when he signaled his own base – according to a good friend from Virginia – by signing the law proclaiming April as Confederate history month and doing so without a mention of slavery. In the resulting firestorm, he did the “right” thing by then amending the proclamation to include a statement on the “sin of slavery”, but the original message had been sent – “I’m one of you”, it meant. Such subtlety seems to have escaped Mr. Obama, who doesn’t even need subtlety despite the extra sensitivity he needs to show as befitting the first African-American US president. By moving to achieve the goals he claimed in the campaign, he had no reason to be defensive, no need to go so far to achieve “bipartisanship”. A mandate pre-empts any need to be “bipartisan”. After a genuine offer is made, to include the opposition in all deliberations, then any refusal can be seen simply as petulance and not due to any ideological differences. This is all the more true because, when you examine the technical details of the health-care reform bills of 2010, you see almost the exact bill that 1996 GOP presidential candidate Bob Dole was trying to sell as an alternative to “HillaryCare”. Amazing what a few years and a different salesman can do to an idea.

This, in fact, is the real reason why it should matter to Mr. Obama that he’s lost a good-sized chunk of his base. It has to do with the lack of accountability. If you fight the good fight, and lose, or are prevented in achieving your goals because there’s enough opposition that has enough power to prevent you, that’s one thing. That can be understood. But to claim you are for something, and then when you have the opportunity, the power, to make it manifest, and you not only don’t, you remain quiet about it, or even reinforce the policies you’ve supposedly been against, it makes people wonder just how solid your core beliefs are. It may sound loftily idealistic to let criminals go free with airy and condescending comments about “not playing the blame game” and how you’re “not interested in looking behind, only forward” (not to mention that excuse for accepting mediocrity when real progress is within your grasp: ‘Don’t let the enemy be the perfect of the good’, which is a euphemism for “Don’t even think about getting half a loaf or even a slice when these crumbs should suit you just fine”). Sure, those axioms may play well in a campaign speech in Iowa, but ultimately the people need real accountability. Some might equate that to “scapegoats”, but whatever you call it, people who break laws, who usurp the constitution, who authorize torture and act fraudulently, need to be held accountable. Not just because of the need for vengeance, but because if that basic desire for justice can’t be fulfilled at the cost of the true criminals, the weight then falls on you. It is this fundamental human need that Mr. Obama has apparently not understood, choosing instead to attribute the anger and ‘tone’ strictly to the birthers and teabaggers (excuse me, ‘tea partiers’). This is somewhat surprising, as he had heretofore presented himself as much more intelligent than that. Common sense and some real-life experience teaches these things, even if Harvard and Columbia University don’t.

Why this matters to the reader – and I’m aware that folks from the tea party to the far “left” will be reading this – is because of what’s pending in our near future. Even though it may be true that the claims made by the Zeta Reticulans to our erstwhile leaders through the ‘secret government’ agency known as MJ-12 were made in order to encourage the selfish cabal within it to prematurely steal the US presidency in hopes of being in control at the time of the poleshift, it does NOT necessarily follow that the duly-elected successor taking over is really all that much better in many respects. In many of the areas in which he made campaign pledges and promises, he’s not only shown little progress, he’s actually reinforced Bush-era policies and extended them. [Disclaimer: Since Pres. Obama, myself, and a few thousand other humans are acutely aware of the pending poleshift, it’s more understandable why he hasn’t relaxed the policies regarding FOIA requests and unwarranted surveillance, since he and his administration appear as paranoid about people finding out how blithely they lie when they talk up the cover stories of ‘global warming’ and how ‘cap and trade’ will actually help solve real problems.] When the earth changes begin to escalate even more than they have been, with earthquakes in magnitudes higher than 7 occurring weekly and gas lines popping daily, bridges collapsing frequently, volcanoes erupting and red dust clogging the atmosphere, someone will need to explain what’s going on. And effectively, too, particularly since a large object will be hovering in view shortly, creating a monstrous visage that’s only appeared in ancient prophecies and in some cases, Hollywood blockbusters. But this won’t be a Hollywood production, and the public won’t be easily fooled, knowing that NASA certainly must have been aware of this …… monstrosity. They’ll need someone they can count on, who has not only preached transparency but practiced it.

Sadly, judging by this recent ‘teachable moment’, it doesn’t look too promising.

© 2010 by Don Deppeller. Reprint freely with attribution.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Progressive Perspective on the US Constitution


A True Progressive Perspective on the Constitution

For too long, self-identified conservatives have claimed a near-monopoly on fierce devotion and allegiance to the US Constitution, as if to say anyone with a different viewpoint is somehow ill-disposed towards it. This is a very misguided belief on their part, and in fact could even be construed as “unconstitutional”. To illustrate, let’s go over the Constitution with a progressive eye and see how it looks, starting with the start – the Preamble.

The Preamble begins with the claim by the People of the United States that they came together, first, “in order to form a more perfect union”. This is as clear as can be; the purpose of what follows first and foremost is a desire to ‘come together’ more perfectly than at present. A “union” is the sum total of the whole, not the various splinters. The concept of a “more perfect union” is to bring people together more effectively, whether they’re from a geographical state (such as New York) or a state of mind (conservative, liberal, Catholic, atheist). If this is the purpose, then this Constitution is indeed a “living” or “progressive” document as this state of perfection hasn’t yet occurred (or is anyone suggesting it has?). We’re always striving for, but have yet to progress to, a “more perfect union”.

Next, we want to establish justice, which is a huge effort, and could prove costly. There is still much injustice in the nation, though now an act of remedy might easily be challenged as to whose ‘justice’ it serves, or more importantly, how is it paid for. Sad, that we have to think of justice in these terms, but that is the hard, cold reality. Follow the money, as always.

Following justice, we are to “insure domestic tranquility”. Some might read this as a blank check for keeping the population in a state of near-martial law, others might even use this as justification for laws with-holding important information from the population, such as the high potential for a poleshift in our near future, or impact from an asteroid. In fact, this is probably the constitutional justification that will be used to defend the establishment of the NSA (National [In]Security Agency), which is the only acknowledged agency that the laws of the United States do not apply to, unless they specifically prohibit the NSA from employing that waiver. Yes, you heard me right. The NSA is known even on the street as having the capability to spy on you at will, night or day, no matter what safeguards you think you have in place. A true progressive does NOT accept this state of affairs, because it violates the 4th Amendment that states:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Currently there are government operations that routinely violate this Amendment, and need to be reined in and reminded of this infringement on our liberty. The tendency to that kind of behavior is to be expected when such agencies as the NSA (No-Such-Agency) are given wide leeway to avoid adhering to this amendment in the digital age by claiming digital data – which would logically fall under the rubric of “….papers and effects” – is subject to very stringent TOS (Terms of Service) by ISPs that require the citizen accept “certain limitations” in order to use the software that will translate/publish/operate/manifest/communicate the data. And this is where the heart of the Progressive “complaint” lies. Corporations have the power to render moot many of the provisions of the Constitution, and because we rely on them to provide our jobs and supply us with politicians that have been bought and paid for, we feel vulnerable to their goals of profiting off of us one way or another. They usually want less taxes, but then no-one “likes” taxes anyway, who does? But not only are they tax-averse, they want fewer regulations on who they can hire, how much they can pay them, what kind of work conditions they will provide, where they will build their facilities, who they will trade with, etc. But by their very nature, in order to give the best bottom line (i.e. the most profit or least loss), they are often tempted to cut corners, stretch the truth, outright lie or break laws, just to keep their organization alive and if possible, growing. This is why the Progressive’s natural adversary is the Corporation, because the goal of the Progressive is to advance the cause of the citizen, promote his and her welfare, provide for his and her individual liberty, and ensuring they are reaping their rewards from the bounty of their labor in a fair manner.

The concept of “individual liberty” is one that a Corporation often resents, because it affords the worker they rely on the right to voice their opinion, to wear their hair and adorn their body the way they want, to engage in certain practices and desist in engaging in other practices. So, they have to instruct potential workers that while they are at work, they will have to accept limitations on forms of expression of their liberty. A Corporation wishes to pay the least for their labor, as that is but a “cost” to them. Thus, unions are by nature “progressive” in that they represent the best case for the laborer in negotiations with management as to what constitutes a fair recompense, not only in terms of salary and wages but also in terms of time expected on the job and certain behavior as well. Left unchecked, the Corporations would collude and set the lowest possible costs for labor, the highest possible profit for their products, and the least amount of laws protecting the environment and safety for their workers. Thus, true Progressives are generally supportive of labor and labor’s concern for justice and fair pay, while their conservative opponents are generally supportive of management and ownership interests (generally known as “the rich” or “upper classes”). Conservatives, who by definition want to “conserve” things (such as the culture of a bygone era, their own wealth, social mores, the control their class or clique has in certain areas, etc), generally view the government as an intrusion, since they are the ones that by and large control most of the wealth and media power and stand to lose the most if progress is made by the “lower” classes (which includes at least half of the middle class, also by definition). They often then try to identify their Corporations as individuals, with their own rights, blurring the lines between Corporate interests and those of the individual in order to persuade the lower classes to vote their way and support their candidates. Yet, nowhere in the Constitution is the Corporation recognized as having the same rights as the individual. There are only the three branches of the federal gov’t. as established by the Constitution, and the individual citizens of the Republic, together with the various State governments and their agencies and laws. Corporations, while in evidence at the time of the writing of the Constitution, were not seen as providing such an overwhelming and all-encompassing role in the lives of its workers and customers as well. Not like today.

So, while the Conservative ideologue (not such an oxymoron as they would have you believe) likes to bring up the 2nd Amendment, which true progressives also recognize (though with reasonable restrictions on what differentiates an individual right to bear arms and bear an arsenal – especially an arsenal they haven’t been licensed to maintain), they have given only lip service to the 4th Amendment described above and even less attention to the First Amendment. In pushing for the rights of the Corporation to enjoy the same “fruits of liberty” as the individual does, without recognizing the inherent differences, the Conservative is actually working against individual liberty.

Consider the First Amendment in simple English: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  Here the idea is clear that Congress make no laws restricting the “FREE exercise thereof”, but the operative word here is FREE. But before we get to the issue of FREE and who pays, we have the issue of religion in public life. Often smaller municipal or state government entities feel they have the right and almost obligation to manifest biblical quotes, prayers, and admonishments (such as the Ten Commandments) in buildings and public spaces. They have no idea that they don’t have the absolute right to simply do those things.  What if there is a significant number of citizens in the town who are atheists? Jewish? Or Hindu? Or even …… muslim? So, better that the government remain a secular one, devoid of any taint of providing “special treatment” for any one religion. The progressive doesn’t feel the government needs to be anti-religious, it just needs to be secular, as the Constitution plainly states. On Sunday, or any other day, or in the privacy of their home, or church, or synagogue or temple, the citizen practices and celebrates their religious beliefs, and can even proselytize in the public square as a private citizen if he or she wants, but attaching them to anything purchased with tax revenue, or established by federal law (national parks, court buildings, etc) is strictly forbidden by the Constitution.

While Congress can’t make any laws restricting the right of freedom of speech and the press, and the power to assemble peaceably, a Corporation can and does, merely by owning the means of production of putting one’s speech on the air and made available to the public. What good is the ‘freedom of speech’ if you have no access to speak freely, or the means to access a communications system (phone, fax, computer, world-wide web)? Even when they are able to access those means, the rights are effectively stripped away by such restrictive measures that take advantage of the individual’s notorious impatience and inability to understand the lengthy legal disclaimers they are forced to agree to (speaking here mainly of internet software) in order to access the communications functionality. Just because human invention has brought us marvelous new communication technologies does not infer the Constitution has to be left behind to only the technologies that were available at the time it was written.

To return to the Constitution, let’s recap so far how the progressive views the Constitution:

The purpose of the document, as clearly stated in its preamble, is to “form a more perfect union”. That means stop squabbling about “state’s rights”, which while recognized and respected within the body of the document to follow, should not be inferred to supersede the purpose of FORMING A MORE PERFECT UNION. Meaning; try to find ways of answering the Rodney King question, “why can’t we all just get along?” Really. Instead of always finding ways to divide us, whether by state or state-of-mind.

The second purpose is also clearly stated; “establish justice”.  That means things like civil rights for everyone, regardless of…..ANYTHING. NO EXCEPTIONS. Not by race, creed, gender, religious beliefs, sexuality, physical handicap, etc. It also refers to such issues as “Equal pay for equal work”. Sometimes it means taking into account that some crimes are motivated by beliefs that hold some citizens are less-equal than others, such as racism, sexism, bigotry, homophobia, etc, and while victims of those crimes are no better than victims of other crimes, the perpetrators of those crimes need to have the full measure of justice applied so that justice can be established clearly for the future progeny.

The third purpose is to “insure domestic tranquility”, and while the progressive recognizes that there are legitimate issues that this injunction addresses, it can be abused to ensure that the body politic often has pertinent information suppressed from its awareness, lest it disturb its more naïve elements.

The fourth purpose, “provide for the common defense”, is yet another purpose that has been abused by chief executives and their congressional allies in the course of the nation’s history. One particular example is the Iraq War, initiated in March 2003 under false pretenses by then-President Bush, Vice-President Cheney, their cabinet and congressional allies. There was no threat to the American citizenry that it needed to have their tax dollars diverted to pay for a war against the Iraqi regime in power at the time; in fact, the chief executive never acknowledged the cost to carry out this war, and simply foisted the responsibility onto the Congress, to pay for it in “supplemental appropriations”. For this reason alone, those responsible for that blatant abuse of constitutional authority should be tried and either hung or imprisoned for their treasonous participation that fraud.

The fifth purpose, “promote the general welfare”, is probably the purpose dearest to the Progressive heart. It means that the Constitution should be used to guide the efforts to help the citizenry pro-gress. It means that the “general welfare” is an important element in the life of the citizenry, and should be promoted to ensure that ALL citizens, not just a privileged few, have their lives improved by efforts made by those elements stipulated in the body of the document. That the laws, as passed by the Congress, be mindful of this clause, and not promote the welfare of select groups at the expense of other groups. “A rising tide lifts all boats”, as well it should. When the gross domestic product increases, laws passed by the Congress should keep in mind that the “general welfare” should be promoted, so as to avoid a situation whereby certain private citizens, hiding behind their Corporation identity, are able to profit exclusively while not promoting the welfare of the workers that have given them those profits. Again, Corporations are often used by one group or handful of individuals to concentrate power and then that power is often used to oppress or suppress the welfare of other groups or handfuls of individuals. The truly progressive person recognizes that while Corporations can do immense good in the public life of the nation, they are often used to do immense harm if left unchecked. Especially when those Corporations, and the handful of individuals who own and manage them, are used to purchase the loyalties of congressional lawmakers, who rely on them to provide for the costs of mounting and winning campaigns for public office. In short, they are a threat to “individual liberty”, especially when they succeed in having themselves accorded the same rights and privileges as “individuals”.

“Secure the blessings of liberty” that the preamble concludes with is a reminder that the Constitution is a pro-active document, recognizing that those blessings constantly need to be “secured” against threats of one kind or another, even if those “threats” aren’t part of an overt and malicious attempt but natural states of being that by their nature aren’t naturally conducive to providing “liberty”, the definition of which is: a. The condition of being free from restriction or control. b. The right and power to act, believe, or express oneself in a manner of one's own choosing. Often those crying “liberty” forget that the definition of ‘liberty’ means that, for instance, homosexuals who want to marry should be free from restrictions in doing so. It means they too should have the power to express themselves in the manner of their choosing. As a caveat, it does NOT mean that they have the power to run naked and screaming through the streets, but neither do heterosexuals, because that would not only “disturb domestic tranquility”, it would rightfully offend even other homosexuals or heterosexuals, who simply want to be acknowledged for who they are instead of having others define them – often in a hateful way.

While Article One defines both houses of Congress and their rights and responbilities, most of which don’t warrant particular scrutiny as they are commonly accepted, Section 8 Clause 1 is particularly notable: “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States”. This is the clause where the rubber meets the road. The Congress, NOT the President, or the Federal Reserve, defines and writes the tax laws. They also have the power to collect the taxes and to pay the nation’s debts (usually to the Federal Reserve), as well as fund the troops and provide for the general welfare. The progressive recognizes this and so is very interested in who is funding the elections of these lawmakers, to better understand whose agendas they will be furthering when carrying out these duties.

Clause 11 of Section 8 also states that the Congress has the power to declare war, NOT the President. Clause 12 goes on to state that Congress is the body that has the responsibility to “raise and support armies, but no appropriation for that purpose shall be for more than two years”. Clause 15 states “To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions”, with Clause 16 adding “To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress”.  The meaning is clear. While the individual states have the power to name the officers and provide for the training of what is now known as the “National Guard”, it is the US CONGRESS that provides for calling them out to enforce the laws of the union, suppress insurrections (against constitutional authority) and repel invasions.

Section 9 also has a couple of noteworthy clauses of interest to the progressive. Clause 2 states that the writ of habeas corpus shall NOT be suspended, the meaning of which is very simple. No-one can be detained against their will, without a hearing before a duly-appointed judge to determine if the arresting authority acted lawfully. Individual liberty is as sacrosanct to the progressive as it is to the conservative, notwithstanding all the hate propaganda that denies this, or attributes an anti-individual liberty bias to those historic personages often described as “progressive”, such as Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. Careful study will show that their aversion was not to “individual liberty” but to a mis-named “right” of wealthy and powerful corporate interests to suppress true “individual” liberties when purchasing the labor of citizens and selling their products back to them.

© 2010 by Don Deppeller. Reprint freely with attribution.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Democracy Dies Yet Another Death

Today the US Supreme Court hammered another nail in the coffin of the Constitution, as if sanctioning the theft of the presidency in 2000 wasn’t enough for this corrupt ‘conservative’ court.  Though not apparently as monumental as the murder of JFK and the afore-mentioned theft (including the follow-up theft of the 2004 presidential election), the decision by this activist ‘conservative’ court to grant to corporations the same rights as individuals has effectively granted them the power to buy and sell politicians like NFL team owners buy and sell ball-players.  There is no single individual (with Bill Gates and a handful of billionaires the obvious exceptions) who can effectively compete with that kind of power, and it would be a sure bet that if the present Congress does nothing to thwart the intent of this ominous ruling, it will be the last Congress that can walk the halls without his or her’s sponsors’ corporate names so much as tattooed on their backsides.  The senator from IBM will address the junior senator from Apple, and pending bills will be sent to the CEOs of the Fortune 500 to make sure they meet with approval.

Surprisingly, little seems to have been made of this.  How did we get to such a state of affairs, that so many seem to accept the argument “it’s only a question of free speech; why shouldn’t corporations have the same rights as individuals?”  Because they have interests at ODDS with the average citizen, are often owned and controlled by foreign interests who don’t have to be subjected to US laws, and their corporate interests are at odds even with the majority of their labor force, not to mention their shareholders.  Even their shareholders are often large institutions that have impersonal interests at odds with the many penny-investors and stockholders that comprise their ownership.  The truth is plain and evident:  corporations are NOT individuals and should never be treated as such.

There’s some hope in that the current Congress, which may be the last Congress that has a fighting chance to enact some genuine and permanent reform, may yet remember who their real constituents are, and they aren’t the corporate giants that may have given generously to their campaigns.  All the money in the world still can’t buy you the election if you can’t sell the public at least the illusion that you’re ‘fighting for the people’.  At least corporate giveaways to their numbered puppets can supply the best image-makers, rumor mongers and whisper campaigns that money can buy.

Who are the criminals who have committed this new attempt to throttle the will of the People, in deference to the corporate powers that entice or otherwise enslave them just to earn their daily bread?  The five-vote majority on the US Supreme Court that have so ruled are led by the alleged “Chief Justice”, one John Roberts, aided and abetted by the usual Scalia-Thomas dastardly duo and fellow Bush-appointed newbie Samuel Alito, rounded out by Reagan appointee Anthony Kennedy (who, it should be noted, was one of the majority votes that approved the suppression of the Florida vote recount  for Al Gore). 

Speaking metaphorically of course, this group needs the metaphoric equivalent of being taken out and soundly flogged in public, tarred and feathered and quickly dispatched to the pastures of their childhood dreams.  The Republic has died another death, and democracy with it.

["What's he talking about?" - ]

© 2010 by Don Deppeller.  Reprint freely with attribution.

Monday, January 18, 2010

If Martha Coakley Loses the Massachusetts US Senate Race, Here’s Why

With the special election in Massachusetts to fill Teddy Kennedy's Senate seat only days away, President Obama flew into Boston in a last-minute endeavor to ‘fire-up the base’ and prevent an electoral debacle that would jeopardize all the work that’s been done on the so-called “health-care reform” bill. Normally one would expect an incumbent president to put in at least one appearance for the candidate of his party during a special senatorial election, but part of the problem is this recurring disease of arrogance that seems to have afflicted this White House – which originally hadn’t felt the need to go to Massachusetts at all, thinking that Ted Kennedy’s seat was certain to go to his Democratic replacement. Suddenly, within the last week, in that bluest of blue states, one of the most reliable of Democratic strongholds, the Republican is now pulling ahead in most state-wide polls. Unbelievable, right?

Not exactly. I’m not surprised in the least, and despite what the pundits are saying on cable news to try to explain it, they’re dancing around what some must privately acknowledge is the problem: the constant, almost gleeful insulting of the ‘base’ that this White House has engaged in almost from the day they walked in a year ago. While there is still hope that this president will remember that constant injunction of humility he would often remind us of during the 2008 campaign, he seemed to have mysteriously lost it sometime after the August 2009 recess when the words “public option” stopped crossing his lips and Rahm Emmanuel was discovered to have been strong-arming Senate Majority Leader Reid to cave in to Lieberman’s demands, rather than the other way around. Maybe he lost it even earlier, when he was awaiting his keys to the Oval Office and voted against allowing lawsuits to take place against the telecoms that had aided and abetted the illegal wiretapping and surveillance of ordinary American citizens (such as this writer). That should have been the first sign, since he had come out strongly in favor of civil liberties and the rights of citizens over corporate interests. In fact, that is the essence of the problem that now plagues Martha Coakley, one which she isn’t really responsible for but one for which she will suffer: President Obama, since taking office, has seemingly tended to side with the corporate interests over the rights and well-being of the average citizen. Whereas he once was adamantly against mandates, even excoriating his opponents for embracing them, here he’s gone and done just that, without a word. No words explaining why he feels he has to accept them, nothing. Nada. Same with the so-called “public option”, which is the keystone of the current Democratic discontent though pundits are loathe to mention it. For a constitutional scholar such as this president is, it should be ingrained emotively in the psyche of the citizenry that you can NOT mandate that the entire population be forced to purchase a product or service from a protected class of private citizens, especially one that not only has a protected monopoly but one that trades in something everyone has a right to: their HEALTH. This isn’t auto insurance, where many people don’t ever drive a car and it’s still considered a luxury (though not in some parts of the country, mainly out West where the population density is so low). This is LIFE OR DEATH.

The public showed in poll after poll that they were for a “public option” in the effort to overhaul and reform health-care. Even a slight majority of Republicans (53% of them, if memory serves me correctly) felt that a “public option” was important. Certainly a huge majority of Democrats (nearly 90% in some polls) and between 56% and 79% of independents (we’ll call them ‘non-aligned’ for purposes of this discussion). It was more than clear – in fact, painfully clear – that the public WANTED the public option, especially if they were going to be forced to purchase health-insurance. At least they would be able to get it NOT from the parasitic number-crunchers, who were worse about interfering with a doctor’s prognosis than any “government bureaucrat” ever could be, but within a public program that was based on the central idea of providing HEALTH, not maximizing profits, which the private health-insurance industry is geared towards, like any non-public field of endeavor is. For them the bottom-line is the bottom line: i.e. the profit they make when playing their number games of actuaries and statistics.

To put it in constitutional terms: one of the central tenets of the US constitution is in the preamble, where it clearly states that the purpose of the document is to “promote the general welfare”, not “promote the welfare of those corporate interests upon which the health and welfare of the People must rely”. Now we heard time and again our president railing against the “special interests”, but what we have seen belies that claim. While the president portrayed himself as being against those special interests, he was simultaneously stocking his administration with figures who could only be called operatives of “special interests”. During his campaign he had proclaimed he was not only against mandates, he was against raising taxes on the middle class, yet we know that he has put pressure on congressmen and the labor bosses to accept a huge excise tax on so-called “Cadillac health-care plans”, which are often those plans held by union workers – plans they gained by collective bargaining, often in lieu of pay raises. This is in contrast to the House plan, which calls for taxing the earnings of the uppermost percentile of the wealthy, whose tax cuts under Bush rescinded the Clinton-era taxes that helped to balance the budget and eradicate the deficit. Taxing the wealthiest to help pay for the health-care subsidies that offset the more onerous effects of the mandate could be balanced later by continuing the Bush tax cuts, so as to avoid additional taxation for that most privileged class, but that logic seems to have escaped the Senate finance committee which showed itself to be obeisant to the corporate interests first and foremost.

And our president has had nothing to say publicly about any of this. Which brings us to yet another broken promise that has rubbed salt in the wound of those in his base that are normally relied upon to “get out the vote”: transparency. Despite Speaker Pelosi’s words to the contrary, things said “in the heat of the campaign” DO mean something: they are what sells a voter on his or her vote. That flippant remark, about how “many things are said on the campaign trail”, seems to frame this season of Democratic discontent. What, are we as stupid and ignorant as our Republican brethren (no offense to my friends who have more of a brain than many of their party), who seemed to have forgotten they were once the party of fiscal discipline and responsibility? Sure, the reality of the political landscape can change a candidate’s approach to problem-solving, but we certainly didn’t expect this new president to have sided with the likes of Joe Lieberman and strong-armed the 52+ senators who were solidly behind a public option; we seriously believed it would be the other way around, that if he wanted to keep his seat as chair of the Homeland Security committee, he would support the bill the majority wanted. Instead, we were treated to the spectacle of having Traitor Joe dictate the terms by which the entire health-care bill would be enacted, in effect gutting it and making any future attempt to free the People from the parasitic grip of the insurance industry a permanent unlikelihood. Future Republican administrations will undoubtedly do away with any subsidies that this Democratic congress would put in the bill as a salve for the naïve sheeple who actually believed the campaign rhetoric, and then we will be left with the naked entrée of this entire effort, which is a mandate by which the health-care mess will be cleaned up on the backs of the People who already suffer under the heavy hand of bankrupting premiums that cost more than their average mortgage or monthly rent. The Senate bill that has emerged, with the president’s blessing, is a fecal mess, through and through, and will permanently enslave the People to a parasitic class of special interests that had enough foresight to buy the votes of the most key senators (and we now know are major supporters of Martha Coakley, let’s not forget the subject of this screed) years ago. They have the best win-win situation they could hope for. If the Republicans, who are their natural champions, couldn’t stop the effort to reform the health-care nightmare, the corporate toadies within the ranks of Democratic (and allied) senators could be counted on in the final analysis to deliver the entire remaining population of the US into their hands. Sure, they smarted from the Feingold-Franken amendment that limits their profits to 20% of their total intake, but we all know how that works. The cost of maintaining that army of bean-counters that second-guess every doctor’s decision isn’t considered “profit”, but “overhead”. This is one major issue that a public option would deal with, but sadly we won’t ever know what having a “public health-care option” in America would be like, since even the Democratic champions of the common man have proven themselves capable of being led pied-piper-like by the likes of Traitor Joe Lieberman and……President Barack Obama. Shrugging their shoulders all the way. “What could I do? I’m not Joe Lieberman, and I’m expected to toe the line, even if it’s not the party line now.” That’s right; Joe Lieberman, once rejected by the primary voters of his party, ran hard as an independent on his dedication to true universal health care, and despite having sold himself that way, has decided since then to sell his vote to his home-state corporate constituents, which are (surprise, surprise!) INSURANCE COMPANIES. Some of the same ones that have funded Ms. Coakley.

And you wonder why Ms. Coakley might lose?!? It really should come as no surprise by now. Yes, there are explanations for all those huge campaign donations by the likes of Big Pharma and the health-insurance industry; here’s an excerpt from a column by Timothy P. Carney in the Jan. 9th edition of the Washington Examiner:

With Democrat Martha Coakley in trouble in the Massachusetts special election to fill Ted Kennedy's seat, Democrats could lose vote No. 60 for President Obama's health-care bill. In response, an army of lobbyists for drug companies, health insurance companies, and hospitals has teamed up to throw a high-dollar Capitol Hill fundraiser for Coakley next Tuesday night. The invitation is here.

Of the 22 names on the host committee--meaning they raised $10,000 or more for Coakley--17 are federally registered lobbyists, 15 of whom have health-care clients. Of the other five hosts, one is married to a lobbyist, one was a lobbyist in Pennsylvania, another is a lawyer at a lobbying firm, and another is a corporate CEO. Oh, and of course, there's also the political action commitee for Boston Scientific Corporation.

All the leading drug companies have lobbyists on Coakley's host committee: Pfizer, Merck, Amgen, Sanofi-Aventis, Eli Lilly, Novartis, Astra-Zeneca, and more. On the insurance side of things, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Cigna, Humana, HealthSouth, and United Health all are represented on the host committee.

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

[A copy of the invitation is posted right there, naming names and dollar amounts, for anyone who doubts the fact.]

In the face of all this, is it any wonder any more why the Democratic base is dispirited? Yes, there is transparency in that the above invitation – and the implications it makes – has come to light, but what of the actual negotiations taking place behind closed doors in the Capital building and the White House? Have we switched one industry writing the law (the oil companies writing the energy bill under the watchful eye and encouraging hand of former Veep ‘Big Dick’ Cheney) for another? From what little we hear coming out of the mouths of the participants, that’s what it sounds like. More shoulder-shrugging and finger-pointing, but no ‘straight talk’ from the president on how he is going to square what’s going on with his campaign pledges. And if I hear another instance of that stale euphemism “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy…..blah-blah” I’ll simply break down and hurl. It’s a euphemism for a cop-out. While it once had some cachet, it’s been employed in defending the indefensible. We not only won’t get a full loaf, we won’t get a half-loaf either; in fact, we won’t even get a slice, more like a handful of crumbs. Yet we’re being asked to like it and embrace it as if it’s the full loaf we’ve been waiting for ever since we got that, er, super-majority in the Senate to go with that brand-spankin’ new president, whose tag line was that he was going to bring “Change you can believe in” to the White House.

To those of us out here in the ‘base’, the ones that got out the vote in ’08, that manned the phones, that drove the votes with our fervor, it’s becoming more of a hollow claim. We met the new boss, thought highly of him, gave him a chance, and are willing to give him even more of a chance, but we’ve become disillusioned. Pole shift or not, we expect politicians to be straight-forward with us, and so far, we have good reason to be disillusioned. Our intelligence continues to be insulted, and we didn’t hear anything in the Sunday speech in Boston to change our minds.

Which is why many ‘progressive’ Democrats in the great Bay State will be sitting on their hands come Tuesday. Maybe the White House will draw an invaluable lesson from this, though I don’t hold out much hope. It will, however, be a teachable moment. When you make a promise, keep it. And if you can’t absolutely can’t, at least give it the good old college try and be upfront with us as to why you can’t.

Last but not least, remember who brought you to this dance and why.

© 2010 by Don Deppeller. Reprint freely with attribution.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Jan 9, 2010 - Despite my aversion to self-promotion, I recognize by the many emails that come in that I should be doing more to let people know more about me and what I can help them learn about the official Majestic 12 version of "Disclosure" to the human population via the saga of Dan Burisch (who has now reverted to using his original surname Crain since leaving his former wife Deb Burisch and marrying his long-time love Marcia McDowell, his handler and former Operations Director). This I plan to do in the coming weeks, particularly because the pending poleshift draws closer and the public needs to learn as much as possible how they have been bamboozled, how to read the signs, and what to do about it.

In the meantime, I've come across a few pictures from over the years. These are from the Mindshaft files. The one on the left was taken at Jaxx, a Wash. DC-area nightclub, during a show promoting our "Mindshaft Over Matter" CD.

The one on the right and the one below are from 2001, during the "Glimpses from Other Realities" recording sessions, right after the "American Rock Hymns" EP came out - which included remixes of "Into the Light" and "Loving the Human", and "CrumbleDust" w/Perrynoid.

Notice the flag pin; even I was caught up in the gung-ho patriotism of the time. Little did I realize then how our patriotism was being used to help us justify an ominous effort to curb our civil liberties and encroaching martial law, set into motion by 'Big Dick' Cheney, a/k/a MJ-2 or Angler.