"If American politics does not look to you like a joke, a tragic dance; if you have enough blindness left in you, on any plea, on any excuse, to vote for the Democratic Party or the Republican Party (for at present machine and party are one), or for any candidate who does not stand for a new era,--then you yourself pass into the slide of the magic-lantern; you are an exhibit, a quaint product, a curiosity of the American soil. You are part of the problem."
John Jay Chapman (18621933), U.S. author. Practical Agitation, chapter 7 (1898).
The current piece of emasculated garbage that the Senate is trying to pass off as a Health Care Reform Act promotes real health care reform about as much as Hustler magazine promotes virginity. It should be more properly called the Health Care Industry Takes the American Tax payer to the Cleaners Act.
What we have in the United States Senate is a Tyranny of the Small States, who--because Alaska, Wyoming, and North Dakota have the same number of Senators as California, New York, and Florida--can, using the archaic and arcane rules of the Senate--including the sixty vote filibuster "super majority"--prevent the passage of legislation that millions of Americans both demand and desperately need to rein in the excesses of BigPharma, the Health Insurance Trust, and the virtually unregulated Mega Health Care Providers. So delicate is the balance in the Senate, that one egomaniacal idiot from Connecticut, Joe Lieberman, is running around as the uncrowned King of the Hill, to whom even the President must do homage. It is almost enough to make me wish that the ghost of "Bully" Brooks would possess House Minority Leader John Boehner, who would then grab a gutta-percha cane, and mistaking Senator Lieberman for Charles Sumner, beat him half to death on the Senate Floor.
It is time for the Federal government to remember that they thwart the will of the American people at their own peril. And the American people want serious reform of the health care system, not the "abortion" that the Senate is currently wrangling over.
To the Democrats in Congress: Pass a strong health care bill, that puts the needs of the American people ahead of the large corporations, while making certain that you point out the ongoing obstructionism of the Republicans, and you are guaranteeing a Democratic Party majority in Congress for a generation. Use the "nuclear option," use reconciliation to offer "Medicare for all at a fee" as an option for the uninsured, fill the "doughnut hole" in Medicare Part D; do this, and the Republican party will be reduced to George W. Bush's "haves and have mores" and the religious theocrats who want the Constitution replaced with the Bible.
I also believe that it is time to impose at least a little party discipline in the House and Senate. Lyndon Johnson or Tip O'Neill would never have put up with the crap we have seen from Lieberman, Nelson or Stupak. They realized that the base of the Democratic Party, since the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, is the Americans who go to work everyday in the factories, the warehouses, and offices of America, not as management, but as the people who do the real work. They are the Americans who work the family farm or business, asking for nothing but a fair chance to make a living for themselves and their families. They are the the Americans who ask nothing from the government but a decent education for their children, so their children may have a better life than they did.
I personally believe that I have a very good litmus test for all Democratic candidates in next year's election: do you support FDR's Second (Social and Economic) Bill of Rights? President Roosevelt's proposal, made in his January 11, 1944 State of the Union Address, provided for constitutional guarantees "under which a new basis for security and prosperity can be established for all--regardless of station, race or creed."
These rights include, but are not limited to the following:
useful and remunerative employment, together with the potential to find an avocation and not simply a job;
wages that provide adequate food, clothing, opportunity for recreation, and decent shelter for themselves and their families;
adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
protection from unfair competition and monopolistic practices at home and abroad, for every business in America, large and small;
the ability of farmers and ranchers to raise and sell the the bounty of their lands at a return which will give themselves and their families a decent living;
protections from the fears attendant to old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
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