Rot, as least as far as fish are concerned, starts at the head. Corruption is so rampant in the U.S. Government Inc. that Americans can no longer discern truth from fiction. The Congress, the President and the Supreme Court, lie with impunity, and without fear of legal reprisal or accountability. Network news is a melting pot of misinformation as congress, and its corporate managers, are proving the old maxim "nice guys finish last."
When the borders that define right and wrong - truth or lie - are no longer clearly discernible moral and ethical considerations are reduced to, at best, perhaps some occasional twinge of conscience. "There is no rule against distorting or falsifying the news in the United States." Thus the gauntlet was thrown down by a Florida Appeals Court in 2003.
Two investigative journalists, working for a Fox News affiliate, refused to falsify a report that exposed one of the station's advertisers for lying through its teeth. Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch prevailed at trial when the reporters brought a wrongful termination suit. His self ascribed license, to enable lying over the American people's broadcast spectrum, was qualified as a quid pro quo of anything goes. An impromptu poll: would Americans prefer the truth over lies?
When truth becomes a distant and increasingly meaningless consideration, the lie takes on a life of its own. Going back and trying to reinsert truth is like stuffing tooth paste back into the tube. Like any rot, or cancer, the spread of corruption is exponential. A nation that accepts the dishonorable as a condition of free market capitalism has but a short distance to fall. The American people, in the final analysis, are the guilty party. The poison works from the inside out. The absence of leadership is only a symptom of the larger illness. The corruption has reached the point of no return when right wing regressives are convinced the sky is falling because such imbeciles as Limbaugh and Beck say so.
The Congress is largely composed of precisely those kinds of people who are most unsuitable for elected office. They are motivated to their positions of power, not by inspiration of moral and ethical regard, or even patriotism. Their motivation is one of personal opportunism, and any consideration of the national regard escapes them completely. They can only conform to their narrow view of what's best for themselves.
Congress confirms its delusional nature by presenting spectacular caricatures of itself. It begs to be taken seriously as it wallows in its pretentious self regard. Each member will rush forward to assure anyone who's listening that they, unlike the others, hold the interests of Americans dear. Thus the vast conspiracy is reduced to an imbroglio of divested interest. Yet Congress persists, like a knat or mosquito. It labors to maintain its fiction as it demands, like any fiction, the suspension of belief.
Congress sets up a deafening racket over health care reform. Single payer! The public option! But the shouting has never been about providing health care to Americans. There is bi-partisan agreement that tort reform must accompany any version of health care legislation. Tort reform is all about barring the court house door from ordinary Americans. Health care is the vehicle Congress will use to sneak tort reform under the public's radar. Any self respecting, regressive right winger, will welcome tort reform with enthusiasm.
The democrats conspicuously struggle to bring health care to all Americans. The republicans fear the insidious advancement of socialism. Better thousands die than such perversion prevail, and campaign contributions from the health care lobby dry up. It's a government takeover Americans are ceaselessly told. Granny will be euthanized if the liberal plot known as health care reform passes into law. There is a cloying, suffocating moral superiority, emanating from the republican side. The insurance industries version of health care reform will eventually pass, but not until sufficient noise is produced to carry on the subterfuge that Congress is pretending to representation.
Last week Senate Democrats were almost ready to vote on Health Care legislation. Legislation that included the public option. Lacking the few votes needed to forestall a republican filibuster, democrats called on Obama to put his weight behind the public option version of the bill. But Obama, owing, in no small part his election to the health care industry, opted out. His grand rhetoric aside, he demonstrates his subservient allegiance to the mass murderers whose profits are partly realized from the annual deaths of over 45,000 Americans.
What if Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi assemble the votes needed to block a republican filibuster? One wonders what Obama would do if the Democratic Congress delivered him a Health Care package, all tied up with a bow, and presented for his signature - public option included. He'd sign it to avoid political suicide. Then he'd take the credit, after having refused to lend his support to it. But the point is moot because Obama prefers the health insurance industries "trigger" version. Health insurers will have to play by a few rules or else the "trigger" gets pulled that reinserts a public option in some hazy, indefinable future. Conspicuously, the banks were given trillions, under the illusion they'd practice some form of self regulation.
Obama plays his lukewarm role perfectly. Last week he flew away, bound for another charade, this time in Copenhagen where he'll offer some token, hollow promise for the reduction of carbon emissions. But Obama is a contented puppet. An aspiring after the fact recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, he embraces an equally equivalent insincerity to his campaign sloganeering. Obama is a creature of American politics, and as such, understands that tokenism and symbol are far more effective motivators than some pointed version of reality.
Many of Obama's supporters are being forced to grudgingly admit that Obama used them to slide into office. In his own way, he's as big a cheat as Junior. Junior after all, wore his malevolence like a coat, while Obama minces around in his jester's costume inviting the banks and insurance industries to continue plundering the National Treasury at the taxpayer's expense.
California has been forced to cut its education budget. It has also cut back on critically needed social services. It's budget shortfall of $23 billion is the same amount handed out in bonuses to Goldman Sachs employees. Such vast taxpayer giveaways are somehow part of free market capitalism, while crucial social services are dismissed contemptuously as follies of the nanny state.
Progressives watch dumbfounded, and wonder what the hell it is the republicans are complaining about. Any regressive half-wit should be capable of recognizing an ally in Obama. What irony. Reid and Pelosi grow spines only to discover that Obama is on the other side. The Democratic Congress, beaten and bloodied after finally showing some mettle, will soon return to that distant planet from where it purports to represent Americans. It's a mystery how Congressmen manage to wear their myriad faces when it's common knowledge whatever they say and do is not going to be in the American people's interests. Obama, according to the corporate media, is a small "c" conservative, and at least in that respect, is honest.
Right or wrong people look to their leadership for example. That's why, after all, they're known as leaders. But the U.S. Congress could not be more distantly removed from any definition of leadership. Watching Congress, an honest man, seeing his tax dollars given away to the banks and the health insurance industry, may have cause to wonder why he's paying taxes. Lying to the public, over the public's airwaves, has been endorsed by the courts. A lie here, a lie there, and soon the point is reached when honesty and trust are a fools errand.
The rot is insidious. Watching their leaders and their corporate sponsors lie shamelessly and often brings a debilitating cynicism to those Americans whose everyday concerns go unaddressed. Thus the U.S. has reached a point where it can go no further. Without an inspired motive that attempts a renewal of purpose, the incomprehensible static of lies and distortions are killing the soul of a nation that can't seem to rise above its self prescribed hubris. Entropy becomes the norm, and the end is met.