hearts and minds

November 11, 2009

Governing People for Profits

What has happened with regards to the deepening health care crisis is a symptom of what is deeply wrong with governance in America. Politicians of only two political parties occupy virtually all elected offices in state and national government. And corporations, with their PACs, simultaneously flood both major parties, and elected officials of both parties with massive campaign “donations” and, on top of that, billions of dollars, annually, for lobbying “access” and pressure on government officials.

The problem with that is that the two major political parties in the United States are in thrall to huge corporations and the super-rich, and have decided to depend, first and foremost, on their money and support.
In return, the corporations and the super-rich expect BOTH parties to defend and advance corporate interests.
And they understand and expect that the two parties will jockey for political advantage while doing so.

The two parties squabble and fight each other tooth and nail for incumbency and dominance over one another in electoral politics.
The two parties often appear to play “good cop/bad cop” roles, but neither party truly fights against corporate interests for the needs or the rights of the people when there is such a conflict.
And both parties cooperate in making laws, regulations, and procedures that prevent the emergence of any political representation of the people other than from within the two-party discipline and structure.

The two parties take any position that they think will give them political advantage on issues deemed irrelevant or unimportant to corporate and oligarchic power and profit. (For example, abortion rights, race relations, immigration law, voter fraud, the death penalty, definition of marriage, criminal justice, or womens rights are types of issues that the two parties have free rein to manipulate and exploit as they wish, for the political advantage of the party.)

Corporate interests expect that issues important to them will be handled quietly. If legislative action becomes necessary, corporations prefer that it be unexamined by public hearings or the media. At rare instances, these issues rise to a crisis status and public attention and controversy may ensue. (For example, the health care crisis, the TARP bailout, climate change, and the worldwide war to end “terrorism”.)

The two parties then both carefully stake out certain opposing positions on those issues. But none of those positions threatens corporate interests. And the two parties exercise discipline over party members to prevent the conflict between people’s needs and corporate interests from being publicly examined, much less resolved in favor of the people.

The two parties appear to argue and fight with each other, and in fact they often do fight viciously and tenaciously. But what they fight for is the political advantage of their party. They never fight for the people when that means fighting against the corporations and the super-rich. Any struggle that pits the rights and needs of the people against the power and profits of the corporations and the super-rich is “off-the-table”. Both parties do it because each party believes it is in the best interest of the party and of their well-heeled, highly valued sponsors.

So dramatic struggles between the two parties over issues and arguments are really just jousting matches between them for temporary political advantage. Corporate interests are never actually placed at risk in those matches. Subjects that are framed to be highly controversial and divisive, but do not involve issues of any inherent importance to corporate interests or the super-rich (such as abortion rights, for example) become “wedge issues”, which are deployed by corporate strategists to derail and distract from reforms and initiatives that rise from the true grassroots and would serve the needs and rights of the people at the expense of corporate and oligarchic power, privilege, and profits. Those set-piece jousting matches serve two additional important functions.

With the cooperation of the corporate mass media, these jousts serve to distract attention from the roots of troubling and dangerous crises, and from important problems and solutions that would establish that government exists to serve people and not corporations.
And, with full cooperation of the corporate mass media, these jousting matches serve to divisively exaggerate, exacerbate, and exploit the natural diversity that exists in America with respect to nationality, personal background and experience, culture, psychological makeup, and beliefs.

This is why virtually the entire Congress and Administration of the national government (acting with astounding collegiality on this particular matter, despite their fierce party allegiances, and with the complete cooperation of the mass media) immediately and swiftly placed the simple, workable, and only solution to the health care crisis that looms ever larger in America, “off-the-table” and out of sight and public consideration, before hearings were held, before articles were written, before media programs, interviews, and commentaries were even scheduled. This decision by both parties was merely (and quietly) announced publicly by majority party leaders. The decision itself was never the subject of public discussion or hearings or debate. The one simple, easy, money saving, and obvious solution to the health care crisis that has been carefully researched, proposed, and reviewed for years, and long advocated by serious, caring, non-partisan health care professionals and citizens alike, was not even discussed in public by the politicians of both major political parties. It was shunned, disdained, and ignored.

The proposal to simply strengthen and enhance Medicare, and phase in its coverage to all Americans, was derailed at the outset, by both political parties, at the insistence of their corporate sponsors. Virtually every family knows that Medicare has served the difficult population of the elderly and the disabled well and efficiently since it was enacted and implemented over the strenuous opposition of the same corporate forces that now oppose the truly effective and significant health care reform that America so badly needs.

The two party system, controlled by corporate and oligarchical power, is, inherently and invariably, ‘a divider not a uniter’, and cannot serve the people. The current legal interpretations (that corporations have the same constitutional rights as human beings, and that distributing money is protected as though it were free speech) are destroying democracy and human rights. Therefore, the American people must bring those ways of doing things to an end. We must do that in order to secure the health care system that American families need, and in order to get a government that is of, by, and for the people, rather than one that is by and for the corporations and the super-rich. We cannot wimp out, drop out, and opt out of our responsibility to gain and defend democracy. It’s up to us to leave a decent legacy for the future. We may not be the “greatest generation”, but we are here now, and it must be done.

Postscript: See an excellent summary of the current status of health insurance reform measures currently before the Congress, with links to articles examining the proposals and recommending how we should respond, in sections 1 and 2 of Jack Lohman’s latest eNewsletter #110.
Don’t miss this summary analysis of the current proposed bills by Rose Ann DeMoro, RN.

References: analyses of the health care reform measures currently before Congress, and background of the health care crisis.

http://www.healthcare-now Healthcare – Now!
http://www.pnhp.org Physicians for a National Health Program
http://www.throwtherascalsout.org Moneyed Politicans” and Jack Lohman’s eNewsletters
guaranteedhealthcareforall.org Single Payer Alliance
http://www.1payer.net Single Payer Action
mobilizeforhealthcare.org Mobilize for Health Care for All
The health care crisis, and the “enhanced Medicare for All” solution, spotlighted over the past seven years by Clyde Winter

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12 Comments »

  1. Excellent description of our current system, Clyde, and these jokers know the rules well. They have a game of see-saw which lets them change positions on the board in a timely manner. It gets more complicated when the industry is paying off both sides of the political spectrum. Who is going to be the bad guy?

    Well, we found out. They left the one good system (Medicare-for-all) off the table so the insurance industry wins in either case. But to look legitimate there has to be opposition, so they gave that job to the minority. The R’s are making a good showing with their opposition, but they already know who is going to win the game.

    Comment by MoneyedPoliticians — November 11, 2009 @ 5:43 pm | Reply

  2. When I read your description, it is all too clear to me that you are right on every count. The metaphor I like to use when describing my own and the majority of hard working Americans plight is that we are like a prize fighter against a much larger opponent, who has unlimited resources, no fair play conscience, and longer arms. We dance a lot, but find an opportunity to land a punch rarely, as we did by electing President Barack Obama. The only way to get universal health care is to get older than 65, and that is not possible for 45,000 Americans each year who die before getting there. As David Boren put it so well in his seminal book “A LETTER TO AMERICA”, “We must adopt campaign finance reform that curbs the influence of special interests and restores political power to the voters. We must stop destruction of the middle class.” You can read his 109 pages in less than 4 hours, and it should be required reading for every voter. That said, it is clear to me we have become chickens, guarded by the foxes, who take us out bodily by 122 a day, and eat most of our eggs. I’m not sure at this moment how we can take back America, but I’m dancing for the right opening. You and I are not alone in this hen house however, and we can fly while foxes can’t.

    Comment by James Z — November 11, 2009 @ 9:30 pm | Reply

  3. This is excellent! Your last sentence prior to the postscript is brief but will require great effort from those who ask for a government that serves the people, not the corporations. Perhaps Progressive Democrats of America could split from the Democratic Party to form a third party. PDA works for the people, not the corporations. They already have a strong voice in this country. They could lead the way for people’s causes. Actually, having the word Democrats in their name could be very advantageous to a representational third party.

    Comment by Madaline R — November 11, 2009 @ 11:27 pm | Reply

  4. Thanks, Clyde.
    As George Carlin said, “THEY don’t give a F,,K about YOU!!”
    The most important essay on what we should do about it is here:
    We Don’t Need Them ( http://dissidentvoice.org/Nov05/Carpenter1102.htm )

    As human beings, we need food, clothing, shelter, and each other. At any point in time, any group of people can get together and produce these things within a small area. But we don’t. We fall for the Fantasy of authority and Civilization and Royal Money every day, with every moment we spend arguing on their terms for their services. We have been isolated through the commerce of ‘individualism’ and ‘freedom’ and ‘honor’ and ‘patriotism’ to believe that OUR BRAND of life can do no wrong, even as it harvests our labors and rapes and murders dark-skinned peoples around the world in the name of “American Interests” and “Democracy” just because we want comfortable seats and comfy chairs at our Spectacle of Empire.
    The result is that the corporations, and the government facade they own, continue to use our ‘demands’ for ‘jobs’, goods and services as justification for their power and our helplessness.
    I applaud your courage and fortitude trying to change the system, Clyde, and in the meantime, I am trying to find a psychological compromise which allows my family to both exist in the present system of systems AND have some kind of possible future while the roller coaster ride of consumption crashes into the pit of resource depletion and collapsing currency.
    I encourage everyone to watch the movie “Collapse” when it comes out if it is available in your area.

    Comment by Dan C — November 12, 2009 @ 8:37 am | Reply

    • I fully agree with Carpenter that we need to tell the truth to each other, and that speaking truth to power is futile, at best. We need to confront those possessing authority with the truth, but that cannot be done with petitions or essays.

      It’s more accurate to say that I am trying to communicate with others in order that we can do something effective about the conditions afflicting us, than it is to say that I am trying to change the system, Dan. Actually, all I am trying to do with my writing is to provide accurate, useful information about issues that I believe are important to a whole lot of people. Some might think I should be informing people how to butcher road kill, or how to hoard accumulated wealth, or how to believe in eternal life, or how to use a single bottom horse drawn plow, instead of providing information on the subjects I have chosen. But, hell, it’s a free world, ain’a?

      Comment by clydewinter — November 18, 2009 @ 4:27 pm | Reply

  5. Check out this article on the PoliticsDaily.com political news magazine web site. And don’t overlook the comments that follow. It’s evidence of what’s happened and why we’re hurting. It ironically illustrates the thrust of my article above.

    The article is titled “Medicare for All – A solution right under our noses”, by one Christine Wicker, apparently one of the “small team of old pros committed to traditional journalistic values” that was funded by AOL (according to their own description of themselves). Note: I’m not even going to TRY to get funding for my journalistic values from AOL.

    It was written in late September of THIS YEAR, and the author announces her “discovery” of a great health care reform idea that nobody (she seems to think) has thought of before. What’s worse is that none of the eleven comments that followed the article seemed to be aware, either, of John Conyer’s bill, HR 676 (enhanced Medicare for All) and the many long years it has been a bill introduced and ignored in Congress, or of the long established research and analysis of this proposal by the Physicians for a National Health Program, Public Citizen, and other true grassroots organizations defending the public interest with regards to the health care crisis.

    This recent article and the comments posted to it, demonstrate the disastrous, predictable effects of the corporate ordered, mass media blackout, and continued refusal by both parties in Congress to consider and hold public hearings on HR 676, enhanced Medicare for All. By succeeding in shoving HR 676 off-the-table before the public discussion and hearings in Congress even began, the sickness business corporations and their members of Congress prevented the American people from even knowing that the enhanced Medicare for All solution existed, let alone what the arguments and evidence were that were advanced by PNHP and other proponents of HR 676, much less be provided public hearings and an up-or-down vote on Medicare for All in Congress . Even today, although the 30 page HR 676 continues to be a bill in Congress, as far as the mass media, the politicians of both major parties, and the vast majority of American citizens are concerned, only so-called “public option” and “no public option” bills, have been brought up for consideration by Congress.

    Comment by clyde winter — November 18, 2009 @ 3:20 pm | Reply

  6. Good article. I agree with the analysis. The two parties can take their voting base for granted because they have nowhere else of any significance to go. Thus, the conservatives stay with the Republicans and the progressives stay with the Democrats. While the two parties can take the voters for granted they cannot take the money for granted. The economic elites and corporate interests can go to either party depending on who does their bidding best at the moment. Generally, the Republicans are the more overt pro-business party and they get in and push the envelope as far as they can until a popular revolt begins to develop. The Democrats, who are becoming more and more openly pro-business, have played the role of a safety valve. They give the disgruntled progressive populists a sense that they can throw the Republicans out for something better, or at least for a lesser evil. This safety valve role prevents real independent political movements from developing. The saying goes – the Democratic Party is where movements go to die. They are one reason why we do not have a strong independent progressive political movement — something we desperately need.

    I’ve been intensely involved in the health care debate for the last year. I was one of the Baucus 8 arrested when we stood up before the Senate Finance Committee last May to urge the inclusion of single payer, improved Medicare for All, in the debate. Here is my moment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDHJH7W-ZEo. I’ve stayed involved since through http://www.ProsperityAgenda.US which sees health care as part of the foundation needed to give people control over their own economic lives. And, we started the Mobilization for Health Care, http://www.MobilizeForHealthCare.org, with Health Care Now which protested at insurance companies and in Senate offices. Here is my analysis of where we ended up and where we go from here. It was published on Huffington Post, OpEdNews, Counterpunch and other web outlets: Health Care: What Did We Get? Where Are We? And, Where Do We Go From Here?, http://www.prosperityagenda.us/node/3848.

    KZ

    Comment by Kevin Zeese — March 30, 2010 @ 1:36 pm | Reply

    • Thank you, Kevin, for your important work on behalf of the health care reform that we still so sorely need in the United States. And thank you for the courage to be one of those eight that had the courage to speak truth to power and be arrested for it at the so-called “public” hearings last spring that were so misled by the thoroughly corrupted Senator Max Baucus. And thank you for the kind compliment you paid to my writing and analysis.

      Comment by clydewinter — March 30, 2010 @ 2:26 pm | Reply

  7. […] (Footnote, added by the scrivener: It’s mighty interesting that the 14th Amendment was bitterly resisted by more than one “Party” on the specious grounds that the precious human rights it established for all of us in the Constitution, trespassed somehow upon something called states rights.) The motivating intent of the 14th (and the 15th) Amendments was to protect the newly acquired basic human and civil rights of “persons” who had long been held in slavery, after slavery was abolished by the 13th Amendment. But section 1 of the 14th Amendment extended extremely important new human rights protections to ALL of us “persons”, regardless of our color, age, or sex. The abuse, misuse, and grotesque distortion of the 14th Amendment is the height of irony, and one of the greatest historical injustices that has ever occurred. And the aberration and travesty continues to this day, and will continue until we, the people, put a stop to it.

    The basic, essential human rights protections extended by the 14th Amendment were virtually unenforced until the 19th Amendment finally mandated the right of women to vote fifty years later, and the landmark Civil Rights and Voting Rights Laws were enacted a full century later. On the other hand, the … sentence in the 14th Amendment about basic rights of “persons” … was almost immediately seized upon and falsely and without justification, employed to begin to assert that a corporation has all the explicit constitutional rights that in fact belong fully and only to a person. This led directly to the excesses of the Gilded Age and the tragedy of the Great Depression. In recent decades, greater reliance on and extension of the hoax of corporate personhood has culminated in a continuing series of the largest scale and escalating financial frauds that have ever occurred in the world, with no indictments of the looters at the top and no recovery of the massive loot by “our” government. The people are currently without protection from unbridled corporate power.) […]

    Pingback by Corporations v Persons - the struggle that will define the 21st century« hearts and minds — April 29, 2011 @ 10:16 am | Reply

  8. […] “Governing People For Profits” […]

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  9. […] of the two permitted political parties in the USA, with the result that corporations are now “Governing People for Profits“. We must address, confront and change the reality that this is happening in the United […]

    Pingback by Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Washington D.C., Occupy Milwaukee and Wisconsin « hearts and minds — October 27, 2011 @ 1:07 pm | Reply

  10. […] certainly not be so arrogant, nor would they be already bought and paid for by the outrageous, illegitimate system of legalized bribery and chicanery that the U.S. Supreme Court has imposed on us and our government. And there are other […]

    Pingback by Fair Representation of the People in a Real Democratic Republic | hearts and minds — March 11, 2014 @ 4:30 pm | Reply


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