Monday, September 30, 2013

When the Loons Run the Assylum

In the past government shutdowns, seventeen in all, have been done as a matter of fiscal policy.  That is to say, the two parties in the Legislative Branch would argue over proposed spending.  Obamacare, as it is ridiculously called, is not a proposition.  It is bloody black and white, settled law.

The Affordable Care Act was voted on and passed by both Houses of Congress.  The Republicans are doing a good deal of whining about the Act being passed in a partisan way.  Anyone who is tempted to consider this relevant might want to go back through the last four years and see how many GOP partisan votes have been taken in the House and the Senate to obstruct this president.  The Republicans would assert that this is the right of the opposition party.  Fair enough.  However, it is also their responsibility.  They have obstructed the creation of the very jobs they were sent to Washington to facilitate because of a need to paralysis President Obama’s agenda at every turn on ideological grounds.  It is rank hypocrisy for them accuse the other party of doing exactly what they have done to protect themselves from primary challenges on the Right; not to mention to the detriment of the Working Class in this country.

Following passage of the Affordable Care Act it was signed by President Obama.  I don’t always agree with the man, but he is President of these United States just as sure as Bush, Clinton or Reagan was president.  When the president signs a bill it is no longer a bill, but the law. 

The Affordable Care Act was then challenged in the Supreme Court; yes we still have one – sort of.  It was upheld on a straight party line vote save one.  The Chief Justice, John Roberts a Conservative and a Bush appointee, voted to uphold the law.

The law was ratified in effect by the American people in a general election.  Mr. Obama ran on his signature law.  Mr. Romney ran against it.  Mr. Obama won that contest, and not by a small majority.  What is going on today is not a legitimate debate over fiscal policy; it is legislative blackmail and should be viewed as felonious like any other form of extortion.

This foolishness about demanding that the President or members of his staff or Democrats in general give up their healthcare and sign on to the Affordable Care Act is moronic on its face.  The Affordable Care Act was designed and implemented to offer coverage to the uninsured.  People with insurance do not – I repeat do not – need to sign up for coverage under the Act.  That would be like establishing affordable, low-income housing for every homeless person in this country, then demanding that Steven Spielberg move out of his palatial home in L.A. and into that housing.  The effect of this healthcare act on the insured will be to help stop the cost shifting that often results in higher premiums when the uninsured use the Emergency Room for primary care and can’t afford to pay. Hence, the name “The Affordable Care Act.”  I realize that the Tea Party and the Republicans who are terrified of and enslaved to them aren’t the brightest bulbs on the tree, but how goddamned difficult can it be?

Finally, the polls that show most Americans disapprove of the Affordable Care Act are in the words of the legal profession, incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial in the presence of the propaganda and lies perpetrated by the Right and passively disseminated by the media.  Ask Mr. Chuck Todd about the lack of responsibility his profession has with regard to informing the American people of the truth.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Cause

It is the great Liberal Cause to see to the most vulnerable among us; to promote social and economic justice. It is the great Liberal Charge to facilitate the Working Class; to aid the Middle Class in maintaining its strength and to help the Poor enter the Middle Class via fair wages, the right to organize and the right to fully participate in the franchise and all other rights of a free people in a free society. Liberals do not hold the aforementioned to be contingent upon race, religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation or economic standing. I have no goddamned idea what a Progressive does because I am a Liberal.

It is time for the Democratic Party to stop hiding behind catchy names and phrases. It is time to step out from behind the shadow of Clinton and Obama; to step into the legacy of FDR, JFK, LBJ, MLK, and Bobby. Enough simpering, whining, and trying to shapeshift into something the Conservative Right might approve of or accept. As my old man used to say, "Put up your dukes. I want a fight, and I'll win it."

I grow sick of moderates. The only thing sitting on the fence gets you is a sore ass.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


I cannot begin to imagine what it is like to be the President of the United States; to travel about in a secure parameter and to look at life largely from behind the backs of armed Secret Service agents.  I think that President Obama may have given us some insight into the reality faced by the leader of the free world when he quoted Abraham Lincoln in his acceptance speech last year.  “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”

By the same token, I doubt that the president can truly understand what it is like to be one of us out here watching each president, no matter who we thought he was, morph into the same man over and over again.  I believe, as my father did, that since FDR people rarely vote for a president.  We vote against the worst of two evils because they all look alike, and because we are driven to our decision by fear of the alternative and the hope that enough difference will prevail to save us – at least for a while. 

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a different kind of man, an unashamed Liberal who never hid from or knuckled under to the other side.  He fought and won a war, but he didn’t start it.  I have always believed that Robert Kennedy would have been such a president.  He has been dead nearly half a century now, and I still grieve for him.  I was sure then and am still convinced that on a beautiful June night in L.A. a light went out in the American people’s collective consciousness and has never been turned on again.

As we all do with age I have often noticed in reevaluating my memories that as Lillian Hellman alluded to in “Pentimento,” the original sketch, faded with time, of a person or incident is often altered by the aged oil of experience.  Not so with Bobby.  I remember him clearly and sadly, just the way I believed him to be before my idealism turned to cynicism and my faith in government turned to disgust.  Perhaps in his case my sentiment overrules my wisdom, but I think not.

It is an obsessively reoccurring question in my mind, would Bobby or anybody have made enough of a difference to avert the time warp we all seem to have entered where every day is the same day, every leader is the same leader, and every question has the same answer?  Like rats we seem to be running in place on little wheels.  We are on the old military treadmill again.  The familiar drum beat of war is hammering its message home, different but the same.  Surgical strikes, no boots on the ground, got to stop a monster from killing his own people, but it can wait until next Monday. 

The predictable and self serving distortions abound.  Ted Cruz thinks we should save the children in Assad’s Syria, but only after we disenfranchise the children who need healthcare here by defunding Obamacare.  Rand Paul seems to be confused about the relationship between the Russians and Assad’s government.  He seems to think that if Obama had been nicer to Putin, Assad might be out of power by now and the Christians would be safe from the rebels.  It is the Egyptian Christians that are having their churches burned and neither Assad nor the rebels have any presence there. John Kerry sounds a lot like Colin Powel these days with absolute certainties and irrefutable intelligence.  Same shit, different day, and around and around we go.
The mind numbing tedium of a world that sees nothing that can be done except what has always been done, is the mother of alienation.   The alienation of the American people from the government that was designed to serve us is palpable.  Yet it is a vicious cycle in that the system flourishes because we are alienated, therefore indifferent and we are indifferent because the system flourishes.

Unlike modern presidents, I think Lincoln would have understood our alienation.  That is what he was talking about; a man alienated from his reason, his power and his wisdom with no one to turn to because he is alienated from his fellows as well.  In some ways we are driven to indifference as Lincoln was driven to his knees.  He because he was trying to do a job that was nearly impossible to do.  We because we are inundated with politicians all stamped out of the same cookie press with varying degrees of intellect and eloquence. We are saturated with disinformation that reinforces a sliding scale for truth and morality based upon political or economic gain and partisan advantage.  Our options have dried up.  We live in a monochromatic wasteland where originality and imagination have been banished. 

So, I will go to my rose garden and listen for the voice of the Goddess there.  I will look for truth in the changing of the seasons; the yielding of the South Wind to the power of the North; rain’s end and snow’s beginning.  In the sameness and routine of Earth one can find subtle differences by way of reward for simply looking.  The seeking always leads to one implacable truth.  We belong to this planet and this planet belongs to us, we grow and evolve together – we are the same and there can be no alienation, no limiting of options and no artificial boundaries within which we languish in the wasteland.