Friday, September 25, 2009

The Profit Mandate: a Futuristic View of the Health Care Debacle

With everyone running around, either screaming in the town hall meetings or about them, displaying either what looked an awful lot like racism or an outrage against it and leveling the cry of "socialism" or trying to refute it, the duopoly labored tirelessly out of public view and under the watchful eye of special interests.  Having won an astonishing majority in the House and Senate, the Democrats then inexplicably reached across the aisle to include Republicans in a spirit of bipartisanship.  It seemed obvious from the outset that the Republicans were not interested in cooperating, yet the Democrats continued to be their proverbial lapdog.  Concession after concession yielded one Republican "maybe" (Olympia Snow) and a rising cadre of "Nay" threats from within the Democratic Party itself.  Though the word "socialism" had widely been circulated by opponents of health care reform, the resulting "Baucus Bill" made the scourge of socialized medicine look tame: mandatory insurance, complete with penalties against those who couldn't afford coverage.  At last, the way was cleared to raise insurance profits from bloated to corpulent.

If only Barack Obama was a secret muslim; if only he had been born on foreign soil; if only the death panels were real and the Democrats really intended to force poor, white, Christian mothers to have abortions and take away insurance coverage from Republicans to give it to illegal aliens.  Of course, none of it was true.  It was so preposterous that we were left scraping our jaws up off the floor.  When polls showed that there were people who actually believed such nonsense, a lot of us (myself included) looked away from Washington at the spectacle on television, radio and Internet.  We castigated the ignorant as well as the purveyors of this bilge and while we were distracted, the duopoly wrapped up their gift to insurance companies, pharmaceutical corporations and medical groups, decorating it with a glistening bow.

Discussion?  There would be no further discussion.  The Democrats could point back to the disorderly town hall meetings--Code Pink and the Tea Baggers had performed brilliantly--and remind us that no one seemed willing to debate when they had the chance, they just wanted to disrupt the process.  Meanwhile, Fox News and MSNBC would continue as they had before, Fox News inciting the right whenever necessary and MSNBC inciting the left, as circumstances required subterfuge for legislation that would make every man, woman and child a slave to the Medical Triad.  Even liberal Hollywood played along.  Of course, the Republicans would condemn it at every step; not that they had a problem with mandated profits: they, like the Democrats, were always for sale.  Looking back, the political theater leading up to the passage of the Baucus Law, given the overwhelming Democratic majority, was as poorly choreographed as a fight scene from Walker, Texas Ranger.

Since Ross Perot's campaign in 1992, there had been a rising independent and third-party movement afoot that might threaten business as usual in Washington.  The outside parties tended to limit their focus on specific issues, whereas the duopoly factions had long held a two-sizes-fit-all approach to the American public: pro-business, anti-abortion and pro-death penalty, among other issues, defined Republicans, who claimed to be to the right on the political spectrum; pro-labor, pro-abortion and welfare, to name only a few, defined the Democrats, who were assigned the left pole.  Not surprisingly, due to the broadness of the issues that defined each of the factions, few people were full adherants to either one: pro-choice fiscal conservatives abounded in the Republican Party, as did gun-toting, anti-abortion labor advocates among the Democrats.  Two sizes, did not in fact, fit all, one size did, and that size took on one of two names every few years.  Still, it was impossible to ignore that the duopoly factions had more in common with one another than at odds.  Both factions were seduced by the military and prison-industrial complexes, both received large campaign contributions from monied interests and both supported a corporate welfare system that essentially rendered the tax debate moot.

The purpose for a display of contrast between the duopoly factions became clear after the election of 2000.  The election, determined not by voters but by the Supreme Court of the United States, had left Americans all too aware that the distinctions between the two candidates were virutally nill.  In 2004, John Kerry (D-MA) literally appeared to throw the presidential race as George W. Bush (R-TX) managed to hold on for another term.  Conveniently, details that seemed obvious to the public following 9/11 began trickling out in the press during Bush's final term: disproven claims of WMD in Iraq, Powell's misleading presentation of anthrax at the UN, unwarranted wiretaps against the citizenry and torture of Guantanimo detainees.  Given that Nixon was forced to resign over a cover-up of political cheating and Clinton was impeached for lying about sex, one might expect such charges to result in, at the very least an investigation, if not a debate in the House Judiciary Committee over impeachment.  Oddly, even in 2007, the then House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), went so far as to publicly oppose impeachment.  It did, however, provide the needed contrast between the duopoly factions.  It was hardly necessary for John McCain (R-AZ) to "go after the base" by picking Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) as his running mate, but it nonetheless, gave the swing vote an ultimatum: vote duopoly (again) or risk having your worst fears realized.  For progressives and the educated, this was the superstitious, gay-bashing and intellectually undisciplined Sarah Palin, who would push the button just to make sure Armageddon happened; for Christians and conservatives, the pro-abortion, commy-nazi, Barack Obama, was going to turn us all into socialists and he was probably the Antichrist: he was awfully good at speaking, after all.  Whether it was the boorishness of Palin (McCain's graciousness, notwithstanding) or the cool, articulate excitement invoked by Obama, the duopoly got its way.

Barack Obama was indeed  looking ahead when he let Bush and Cheney off the hook for violations to the UN Civil Rights Charter, not to mention violations of U.S. Law: two national elections lie ahead--one of them presidential--and his completion of the transfer of public wealth into private coffers begun under Bush, had left progressives and conservatives alike scratching their heads.  As an immensely talented jurist, Mr. Obama was, no doubt, aware of Principles III and IV of the Nuremberg Principles, adopted by the UN in 1950, and hence, knew that the Bush administration and the CIA operatives who tortured the detainees, had all violated international law.  Their economic ideology an abyssmal failure, the moral bankruptcy of its imperialist philosophy laid bare before the world, reason and conscience dictated that the Republican Party would go the way of the Whigs and the Federalists.

Within the first year of his term, President Obama had an unparalleled fall in his approval rating, signed the Baucus Bill into law with no bipartisan support and ensured the survival of the Republican Party, and with it, the duopoly.  The Afghan War continues.  The Taliban forces, so easily defeated in the months following 9/11, continue to mount astonishingly successful attacks against our troops, as disaffected tribesmen, avenging their families and villages destroyed in the drone attacks, pour in to counter the growing number of NATO and U.S. forces.  With morale sagging from multiple tours of duty and stop-loss, the military has been unable to keep pace with the need for more soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen through recruitment alone. Selective Services has begun the process of conscription, even as the caskets of our men and women are offloaded from cargo planes like cord wood.  Widows and widowers of the fallen struggle to pay their insurance premiums to keep from being fined or having their children taken from them by the state.

With the elevation of insurance corporations to the level of "health landlords"--still unregulated--we dare not complain about the quality of coverage we do have.  The class consciousness that arose following the market collapse in 2008 is forgotten by all but a few.  Financial corporations once again display their largess conspicously.  Their hubris is hardly unwarranted: a bill, expected to pass in both the House and the Senate later in the year, will place 1% of the earnings from every working resident of the United States into a mandatory 401K . . .

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Brittanicus said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
AnarchyJack said...


Your post wasn't offensive (in fact I found it interesting), but it was pretty far off the subject of this thread. If you wish to make an unrelated point, please do so at your own blog. I make a habit out of deleting spam.