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December 07, 2009

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I wish I could come up with an argument as to why what you are saying isn't true, but I can't. Between the truly stupid, the willfully ignorant and their manipulators in the media, we will never address a single one of the problems this nation has.

Does Obama believe his "base" is too weak to effectively counteract both the right and the MSM? I suspect. Obama's sense of the possible is what makes him such an interesting figure. And if his sense says "not much", who are we to argue?

I'd like to believe that the high-minded folks who read this blog, who give to NPR and PBS, who desperately want this country to extricate itself from its superstitions and exceptionalism comprise a majority of citizens. But we do not and we never will. Tens of millions feel "heard" by Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh partly because right-wing media speak in the cadences of middle-class grievance. Some of those grievances are culture-war nonsense and some of it is anti-elitist anger. But most of it is simply grievance itself. Things aren't right and someone is probably to blame.

The left - the pragmatists and cosmopolitans - cannot escape its own theater of complexity. We know too much and the result is that we don't project anger so much as superiority. We detest the populist simpletons and tea baggers and they know it.

I get exasperated by the moods and nostalgia of middle America. I want to scream at them that this wondrous interlude we've had, this 50 or so years of uninterrupted prosperity, is just a chimera, that we have to face an uncertain era of energy shortages and enviornmental duress. I don't connect, however, because that nostalgia is much more powerful as an emotional vector than technocratic evangelism.

There's no big wave out there that promises to lift our boats (unless it's a tsunami). We lost the battle for the future because it's simply too dark. For ordinary Americans, it's a no-brainer. Republicans are promising the restoration of Mayberry and that vision beats ours hands down.

Despite the stories that we tell ourselves about our history, America is always the last to realize that the other shoe has fallen. We were last to enter WW1, last to enter WWII, last to believe that terrorism existed and we are already last to believe in Global warming. It doesn't surprise me at all that we are avoiding the right things for health care and the Disruption- its what we do all the time, generation after generation. Its the REAL American Way.

One of these days, maybe this time, we'll be too late to be effective. You can't expect to always wait till the last minute and still win. No matter who you are, no matter how 'great' you claim to be, no matter who's god is on your side- someday 'late' will be 'too late.'

Another outstanding essay by Mr. Talton, who wrote in part:

"Instead, we have a huge encyclopedia of a bill dripping with sinister self-interest for big insurance and big pharma -- to essentially get huge taxpayer subsidies while continuing their lethally obscene business model. It does produce the profits to buy a Congress."

Friday's edition of the New York Times contained a story on page A24, "Senate Tied in Knots Over Proposal to Allow Imported Drugs", about the wrangle over a bi-partisan proposal to allow Americans to import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada and other countries with comparable safety standards. It actually contained the following paragraph:

"Democratic leaders delayed a vote, in part, because they feared that the proposal would be approved, potentially blowing apart a deal negotiated between the White House and the pharmaceutical industry."

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/11/health/policy/11health.html

Astonishing cowardice on the part of the Democratic Party leadership, but illustrative of how corporate lobbyists get the most bang for their buck: by targeting party leaders and a few select committee chairmen and members, they obtain the kind of leverage which allows bills with broad bipartisan support to be obstructed, killed in committee, or rewritten in a much weakened form before it is allowed to see the light of a floor vote.

As for the president's "deal" we all know what kind of deal it is: toothless and legally unenforceable, and riddled with loopholes which allow the supposedly regulated industry to offset "cost-savings" in one area with cost-increases in another, or else sneak the cost increases in now, ahead of time.

"Even as drug makers promise to support Washington’s health care overhaul by shaving $8 billion a year off the nation’s drug costs after the legislation takes effect, the industry has been raising its prices at the fastest rate in years. . . By at least one analysis, it is the highest annual rate of inflation for drug prices since 1992.

"The drug trend is distinctly at odds with the direction of the Consumer Price Index, which has fallen by 1.3 percent in the last year..."

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/16/business/16drugprices.html

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