June 19, 2009

Don't be a shankapottamus, Barack

It occurred to me the other day, as I remarked to a contemporary of mine, that this is the first time in my life that I am older than the President. Came close a couple of times - Bill and George - but they had me by a couple of years. A bunch of you reading this, I know, can say the same. Feels a little weird, doesn't it? It might be more important than it appears at first glance, too.

I'm beginning to think that Barack's basic problem is a lack of experience. While all those jaded solons over at Congress give him his props as a talented wunderkind, they're not in the least afraid of him. The stuff they're pulling is really outrageous now, on both sides of the aisle. Completely out of control. 75% of the American people want a public option as part of an overall health insurance reform act. The outline coming out of the Senate committees working on the matter simply omits the public option, in favor of a lot of health-industry-written nonsense about "savings" through things like standardization of claim forms. Yeah, that'll do it.

They're telling him what to do on defense, too. The defense budget is increasing again. How many times can we recite the same statistics that, for one example, the U.S. defense budget is ten times larger than the country in second place, China, or that American spending accounts for over half of all defense spending in the world? Are we afraid of a superior military force attacking us from another solar system?

The regulatory reform Geithner is proposing is a sick joke. When banks, investment banks, hedge funds, your Uncle Carl decide to go into the mortgage securitization business and create a bunch of Triple A bonds out of tranched and smooshed garbage loans, and then sell them to the Norwegian Teachers Pension Fund or something, they now have to hold on to 5% of the loans. They can only sell 95% of the derivatives into the secondary market. Yep, that 5% equity stake will keep 'em honest!

And Barry, your Justice Department is still carrying all that Bush Administration water. Why are you and Eric Holder so committed to the coverup of Bush & Cheney's crimes and misprisions of office? Huh? The latest is your opposition to the release of the FBI's notes of the Cheney interview regarding Valerie Plame, the 67 pages which CREW (the Washington watchdog agency) is seeking through a FOIA action. (And why must every disclosure be the result of a long, painful, expensive FOIA action where your administration fights tooth and nail to prevent the public from seeing public documents paid for by public money? Where's this frigging transparency you were talking about?)

Dude, you gotta do what the E-Trade Baby would tell you to do. Rise up! Grab the reins! They're rolling you, I really believe it. Unless, of course, despite my seniority it is I who is being naive. It is very easy to see what is going on in the Senate. The corruption is so patent, so palpable, so self-admitted (Durbin: "The banks frankly own the place.") that it's no longer possible to give them any benefit of any doubt about their motives. It is now so obvious that it is becoming ridiculous. Tom Daschle, a healthcare industry mouthpiece that you tried to install as your Health & Human Services Secretary (but couldn't because his corruption was too brazen even for Senate confirmation), comes out and urges you to "drop" the public option because it's "unworkable." It's unworkable for his clients, is what he means.

So whose side are you on? Was that stuff during the campaign about working for the people a bunch of happy horseshit? Now that you're in Washington, D.C., it's just more fun to ride in the Gulfstream and be with the other big players and not mess the game up that serves the insiders so well?

We're going to find out over the next couple of months. If you roll over for this neutered healthcare bill, written and purchased by the health insurance industry, and you don't raise ever lovin' Hell on behalf of the 75% of Americans who are demanding a real change in the most basic of human needs, health, you're done. Even if you don't necessarily win this battle, you better try really hard to do the people's work. Can you get angry? Can you read the riot act to these crooks, then leave the room slamming the door behind you so they start to realize you mean it? You think they're going to give up the millions contributed to their campaign funds because you call them up and sweetly ask for their "help?"

Your acquiescence in a sell-out will deprive you of your real constituency, average American citizens. And from then on, you'll be utterly powerless.

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