Monthly Archives: August 2009

Regulation

I haven’t adopted these views yet and I’m putting them out there more to hear feedback from different points of view and to get hate mail being critical.

So, here’s a perception:

You have power and then you have money. The two may go hand in hand, but aren’t necessarily the same. In a communist dictatorship, the power controls what’s owned. There were probably many rulers that were in it less to have a bunch of stuff than to be able to do what they wanted. In a fascist system (at least on paper) the money controls the power.

Our country runs on a sort of hybrid version of this. There are a bunch of domains where power dominates money in our system. There are others where money rules. Whenever one of these domains is threatened with flipping to the other side, there is a huge fracas. Right now, power is trying to dominate money with respect to health care. It’s causing a fight!

There may be a way to call a truce. Or at least make the fights less frequent… let the money power control the domain of finance, don’t regulate the financial markets in other words. In exchange for removing and instead of regulation, money has to give up a “firewall.” This means no privatizing social security and it means a lot bigger social safety net. In exchange for that, we’ll give up deregulation. In other words, would the depression have been so bad if everyone had food, shelter, and health care?

Resignation

I did not think 2009 would be such an inauspicious moment to be a liberal in California in the United States.

The seeds of the failure of Bush were sewn in 2000 when his presidency began illegitimately, and he was only stayed from execution by a terrorist attack of unprecedented proportions. That transformative moment was when George Bush decided that pushing a far-right agenda was more important than anything else. Remember: Bush could have governed from the center both after his narrow “election” and after 9/11 and probably could have been one of America’s better presidents. He chose not to and barely survived in 2004.

He chose Imperialism abroad and cynical domestic policies, like Medicare Part D and tax cuts for the rich. Simply continuing the mostly center-right policies of the Clinton administration would have assured Bush’s place as one of our better presidents.

His choice sprung the 2006 and 2008 elections results which have cornered the Republican party into an echo chamber of insanity, with most of the people still registered as such feeling nervously defensive and independents who used to rely on Republicans for tax cuts and defense wondering. Hurricane Katrina is seen as a turning point, or Bush’s push on Social Security. But those just fed the fire of people who never got over Bush v. Gore, like me, and who never got over Iraq. The push-back was already coming.

The Bush’s action did engender a reaction of even greater magnitude than his gains in 2002 and 2004. The GOP has been punished by voters. The problem now is clearly some elements of the Democratic party, mostly located in the U.S. Senate.

This isn’t a social observation. Obviously, the reaction to Obama in just the way it has occurred isn’t that much different than the reaction to busing or other problems with race. I’m talking about the politicians themselves.

Obama himself hasn’t been able to deliver yet on his #1 domestic priority. We appear to be leaving Iraq but making no progress in Afghanistan, a war which I have always supported but am now beginning to wonder what the endgame is. If there isn’t a push into Waziristan to capture those who attacked us on 9/11, what is the point? We’ve been there for 8 years….

Obama has apparently at least stopped the bleeding on the economy, but hasn’t managed any kind of regulation on finance to prevent a repeat. He hasn’t liberalized anything for gays. And there will only be token accountability for the criminal acts of the Bush administration with regards to torture, lying to Congress, war crimes, and breaches of national security.

Is this Obama’s fault? No. I believe if Congress wasn’t in his way, he would do all of these things. Specifically, the Senate. Even more specifically, Senate Democrats. (The GOP publicly and openly admits it just wants to obstruct everything he does which would be irrelevant if they had no Dem support.)

I don’t think any amount of organizing, or even another election, will change the way this group is acting. It will take another transformative event like 9/11 to do that. Obviously, I’m not wishing for a terrorist attack. The event I personally wish for is a capture of Bin Laden, but life is utterly unpredictable.

California is even more broken than the U.S. Senate. The Senate needs 3/5ths to move, California needs 2/3rds… or a majority of whoever shows up to an election, but not 50% of the representatives by any stretch.

The state is broke and no solution is in the offing other than just waiting for the economy to go back up and hold our breaths for whatever happens next. The schools are falling apart more than just physically.

I can’t donate, organize, knock on doors, write, or do anything that will bring about the kind of transformative event that will be required to remedy these problems. So, I’m not giving up, but I just don’t think I have much else to say. Therefore, my posting will probably be esoteric and narrow for the conceivable future.

The Short Version

Blogs developed at least in part to give junkies access to “insider” information that might or might not be filtered out of traditional media reports. This is just part of it, but the trouble with things like a major piece of health care reform legislation is that all of this information confuses people between the negotiations and the endgame.

The endgame calculations are this: no bill is a total victory for Republicans. A bill that’s more like what Howard Dean proposed in 2004 is still in the offing. If we get that, there’s no reason that a public option can’t be added later. Hasn’t it always been the case that the public option was supposed to be a stalking horse for single payer?

Of course I want the public option. It may still happen. And all of the above is the endgame tinkering. We’re not in the endgame yet. Therefore it is no where close to time to stop arguing for the public option–or even single payer.

But the idea that we’re going to go Nader on Obama if this all doesn’t become a miracle pony plan in one single shot is childish impatient and lame.

Mob

I got sick something awful yesterday (I’ll spare you the details) and ended up missing out on my opportunity to visit my Congresswoman’s local health care forum. I haven’t heard anything about it.

For most of my life, I have had a strong aversion to crying ‘racism.’ It’s almost entirely ad hominem. You’re saying the other person is either not capable of or actually not making a point in good faith because of their racial views. And reasonable people can disagree. I think reasonable people can ever wonder about what laws do to white people, or whether our problems are more class than race based.

On the other hand, I think too many people are simply blind to the race realities of American life. Do you really think it’s just a coincidence that blacks are disproportionately poor and that there was slavery? Unlike other slaveries in history, this one still has an impact on our lives—it’s not a mere historical trivium.

But that reality doesn’t make it a conclusive rationale for any and everything, nor does the ignorance of it mean everyone is a racist.

There, now I’ve been a typical measured liberal trying to explain this intellectually. But, in reality, the facts don’t matter. The birth certificate thing is just code—even to my white male ears—for “ZOMG! HE’S BLACK!”

The health care mobs show the same deliberate bad faith ignorance of the facts. No one, even the Dennis Kuciniches in the House, are proposing socialized medicine, like the UK’s NHS where the doctors actually work for the government (like our VA).

Single payer is the most radical solution out there, and we have that in the form of Medicare. A post-office like public option? Hmm. Well, facts don’t matter. And many of these folks are either on Medicare or are uncovered. So whence the death panels?

It’s racism.