My anger has morphed into sadness, heartbreak actually. As the decade of zeros ends I see nothing but a tragic, historic and deadening American Disappointment, a terrible replacement for a once noble American Dream. The Great Recession was merely one symptom of the nation’s slide into slime, a quicksand created by the two-party plutocracy.
Free of delusion I have come to this sad reality: Once upon a time Americans could confidently believe that their nation was on the right track, getting better, offering most citizens a decent chance of living securely and proudly. Now, that view has been smashed by many years of undeniable evidence that our political system is frighteningly corrupt by forces that have ensured an economy serving the interests of the rich and powerful. Their pursuit of happiness enslaves ordinary Americans. America’s middle class is a disappearing and suffering set of distracted victims, slipping continually into the lower class of an inevitable two-class system. Most are oblivious to their fate, to the electoral tyranny that manipulates and consumes them as fuel to keep the corpocracy humming.
Admittedly, I never was a fan of President Obama, either as a candidate or now as president. I always suspected, based on his dependence on corporate money and his lackluster career as a state and US senator that he would, ultimately, prove to be a big disappointment to the millions of Democrats, liberals, progressives and independents that fell for his slick rhetoric. He has always been too much a part of the two-party plutocracy to ever be a true reformer. Here are some of the main reasons that he should cut his ties to corporate and political elites, announce that he will not run for reelection and, instead, become the populist, reformist president the nation desperately needs:
I had a long conversation with my favorite physician, who has operated on me twice successfully. He is an incredibly kind person without an ounce of greed or pretense. Like other physicians I have spoken to, he spoke eloquently about the terrible times he consistently has with private health insurance companies.
While he praises Medicare for its simplicity and certainty, he has absolutely nothing positive to say about private insurers. They take up huge amounts of time of him and his staff, trying in every possible way to deny services to their customers (his patients) and also to pay as little as possible to him. His endless struggles with the insurance companies make his life miserable. Meanwhile all he cares about is giving his patients the very best care and not making them suffer because of their insurance carriers.
Millions of Americans are politically informed, smart, active and angry. They see many wrongs in our political and government system. They are fed up with politics as usual, meaning corrosive corruption of politicians by corporate and other special interests. They see little good in either the Democrat or Republican parties. And they almost always share a common bond: They love and honor the US Constitution, even though they may see some flaws in it. Yet they are also constitutional hypocrites.
Why do I say this? Because Americans are overwhelmingly ignorant or misinformed about the constitutional paths for amending the Constitution. Too many, in fact, seem to miss the profoundly important point that the Founders and Framers knew that they had not created a perfect document and blueprint for the US. That is why they placed two specific paths for amending the Constitution.
Odds are pretty good that after some tortuous meetings and awful compromises by House and Senate bigwigs whatever health reform law is passed by Congress will not be close to what most thoughtful people want. Especially not what progressives and liberals wanted from a Democrat controlled Congress. Will President Obama act with integrity?
Whatever goes to President Obama for his signature will probably do very little to curb the countless excesses by the health insurance industry and, therefore, do next to nothing to curb personal and national health spending. It will almost certainly impose some new taxes that ultimately will impact a large fraction of the population, possibly by taxes on health insurance benefits or through higher insurance premiums and/or copayments and deductibles, or even worse coverage. Even if there is some type of government option, which does not now seem likely, it would likely be constructed so cleverly that few would take advantage of it.
Anyone smart and strong enough to fight delusional thinking and who pays attention to current events should clearly see that corporate corruption of the US political system is so pervasive and powerful that there will be no genuine reform of both the health care and financial sectors.
I always believed that president Obama was just a different color corrupt politician who was subservient to the two-party plutocracy. His so-called reform efforts and ludicrous federal deficit spending should disappoint all his non-delusional supporters.
For health reform the only genuine and sensible reform legislation should have been not much more than a single sentence mandating that every American has a right to full Medicare coverage. Period. End of story. True reform. True universal health insurance.
As we approach the eighth anniversary of 9/11 consider this paradox. In the post 9-11 years the scientific evidence for disbelieving the official government story has mounted incredibly. And the number of highly respected and credentialed professionals challenging the official story has similarly expanded. Yet, to the considerable disappointment of the international 9/11 truth movement, the objective fact is that there are no widespread, loud demands for a new government-backed 9/11 investigation. The 9/11 truth movement is the epitome of a marginalized movement, one that never goes away despite not achieving truly meaningful results, which in this case means replacing official lies with official truth. What has gone wrong?
Perhaps most Americans deserve the federal government they have. A government that, contrary to the lofty rhetoric of Barack Obama, is pure politics as usual. A government that is as corrupted by moneyed interests as ever. A government that is as dysfunctional and inefficient as ever.
A government that should have prevented the current recession but did not and now has spent horrendous amounts of money that has largely been wasted. A government that has put many future generations in debt. A government that makes a mockery out of the concept of democracy.
In the national debate about health care reform absolutely nothing makes less sense than the positive views of much of the public about private health insurers. There is no good reason to have positive views of private health insurers, the companies that have relentlessly increased the costs for very limited health insurance. Copays, deductibles and premiums have raped those lucky enough to have health insurance while also making it very difficult much of the time to get coverage for all kinds of health problems. The US health care system is unbelievably inefficient, providing far less effective health care for what is incredibly high costs, compared to all other industrialized countries. The main reason is the private health insurance industry.
If you need solid information to believe this view, then consider these facts.
Americans need a civics lesson. And so do politicians. Of all the wrong and delusional thinking about the US Constitution the one that is most thoroughly incorrect and routinely used for political propaganda purposes is that there are three coequal branches of the federal government.
You hear presidents, members of Congress and media pundits say it all the time. They are wrong. Nowhere in the Constitution or the Federalist Papers is there any statement or declaration that the three branches are coequal. Why has this myth persisted for so long? Why do so many prominent and supposedly educated people keep invoking this outright lie?
Make no mistake. Either in theory or practice is there any basis whatsoever for believing that the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the federal government are coequal. It also defies common sense.
There are no headlines or pontificating pundits, but the real news that has become crystal clear to any but the most delusional and distracted Americans is that President Obama has no commitment to applying the rule of law where it counts. Certainly, not applying it to the large number of rich and powerful people that have violated our Constitution and plunged the nation into economic disaster.
Again and again we hear the flimsy argument from Obama and his top advisors that he wants to look forward and not backward. This is tortured logic when it comes to delivering justice in a nation supposedly cherishing the rule of law.
Americans clearly are capable of being outraged. Missing, however, is a sustained, vibrant demand for deep reforms of our political and government system. You hear a lot about populist rage these days, especially connected to the AIG bonus debacle. But populist rage as a reflection of class conflict and anger about our economic meltdown does not necessarily make a political revolution. The saddest thing about Obama winning the presidency was that his change message drained what might have been sufficient national energy for true revolutionary political reforms.
With the Bush-corrosion of our Constitution and collapse of the economic system after it had been exploited by the rich and corrupt, what better time for revolution? Instead, we got a president with a glib tongue, a terrific smile and a deep commitment to the two-party plutocracy and corporate state. Obama is no populist, not even close. Nor is he a genuine reformer. At best, he is a master exploiter of populism.
Like others promoting constitutional amendments, Senator Russ Feingold, Democrat, Wisconsin, apparently is unaware of the refusal by Congress to obey Article V of the Constitution. He has a fine idea: every senator must actually be elected rather than appointed to that position. In 1913 the 17th amendment created the potential for governors to make appointments to fill Senate seats until the next regular scheduled general election and 38 states allow this; there have been 185 such appointments. Feingold is right to condemn “decisions being made solely by the powerful, without the consent, or even the input, of the people.”
Congress is unlikely to propose the desired new amendment, however. All of the existing constitutional amendments were proposed by Congress. But many worthwhile ones have never been proposed and sent to the states for ratification. There is an alternative. Article V provides a convention route for proposing amendments. Interest in amendments has triggered over 700 applications from state legislatures to Congress for a convention of state delegates that could propose constitutional amendments. However an amendment is proposed, it still must be ratified by three fourths of the states and the constitutional limitations on Congress limiting it to propose amendments to our present constitution equally apply to a convention.
A great smile does not make a truth teller. A talker of change does not define a reformer. Make no mistake, for the good of the nation I want President Obama to succeed in getting us out of the scandalous economic meltdown we are immersed in. But I do not like many of his actions, policies and strategies for accomplishing this, nor does the stock market.
I always had my doubts that he was a true agent of change and reformer when it came to the structure of the political and government system. He took an awful lot of money from the very rich and powerful in his campaign. Sure, with his superb speaking skills he has the capacity to win public approval, but most Americans are not deep, critical thinkers, nor do most have the best detailed information. What if he is just another untrustworthy politician? What if he does not keep his promises? With these questions in mind, I have examined four areas where I find President Obama’s behavior disappointing.
“I’ve been through Y2K and I’ve been through 9/11. I have never seen people so afraid as what we are seeing right now,” said gun shop owner Scott Moss recently. With more guns per capita – easily 250 million privately owned ones – and certainly more people in prisons than any other democracy, the intriguing question in this still worsening economic calamity is: If Americans found the courage for political rebellion now, would it preempt massive criminal violence, social havoc and armed rebellion later?
What we see President Obama and Congress doing and debating seem inadequate to restore financial health and security to the vast majority of Americans before millions more lives are devastated. Billions of tax dollars have gone to banks, corporations and others but have not stopped the hemorrhage of our financial lifeblood. More than half a million jobs continue to be lost a month; 3.5 million in the past year. Millions are losing their homes, health insurance and ability to buy food. Those with jobs are afraid to spend money.
As Nobel Prize winning and gloomy economist Paul Krugman said the other day after condemning what is going on in Washington, DC: “the economy is still in free fall” and we may be “falling into an economic abyss.” Harsh words for a harsh reality.