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Don’t Be Fooled by the Political Game: The Illusion of Freedom in America

By John W. Whitehead | Rutherford Institute | August 10, 2015

“The shaping of the will of Congress and the choosing of the American president has become a privilege reserved to the country’s equestrian classes, a.k.a. the 20% of the population that holds 93% of the wealth, the happy few who run the corporations and the banks, own and operate the news and entertainment media, compose the laws and govern the universities, control the philanthropic foundations, the policy institutes, the casinos, and the sports arenas.”—Journalist Lewis Lapham

Being a citizen in the American corporate state is much like playing against a stacked deck: you’re always going to lose.

The game is rigged, and “we the people” keep getting dealt the same losing hand. Even so, most stay in the game, against all odds, trusting that their luck will change.

The problem, of course, is that luck will not save us. As I make clear in my book, Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the people dealing the cards—the politicians, the corporations, the judges, the prosecutors, the police, the bureaucrats, the military, the media, etc.—have only one prevailing concern, and that is to maintain their power and control over the citizenry, while milking us of our money and possessions.

It really doesn’t matter what you call them—Republicans, Democrats, the 1%, the elite, the controllers, the masterminds, the shadow government, the police state, the surveillance state, the military industrial complex—so long as you understand that while they are dealing the cards, the deck will always be stacked in their favor.

Incredibly, no matter how many times we see this played out, Americans continue to naively buy into the idea that politics matter, as if there really were a difference between the Republicans and Democrats (there’s not).

As if Barack Obama proved to be any different from George W. Bush (he has not). As if Hillary Clinton’s values are any different from Donald Trump’s (with both of them, money talks). As if when we elect a president, we’re getting someone who truly represents “we the people” rather than the corporate state (in fact, in the oligarchy that is the American police state, an elite group of wealthy donors is calling the shots).

Politics is a game, a joke, a hustle, a con, a distraction, a spectacle, a sport, and for many devout Americans, a religion.

In other words, it’s a sophisticated ruse aimed at keeping us divided and fighting over two parties whose priorities are exactly the same. It’s no secret that both parties support endless war, engage in out-of-control spending, ignore the citizenry’s basic rights, have no respect for the rule of law, are bought and paid for by Big Business, care most about their own power, and have a long record of expanding government and shrinking liberty.

Most of all, both parties enjoy an intimate, incestuous history with each other and with the moneyed elite that rule this country. Don’t be fooled by the smear campaigns and name-calling. They’re just useful tactics of the psychology of hate that has been proven to engage voters and increase voter turnout while keeping us at each other’s throats.

Despite the jabs the candidates volley at each other for the benefit of the cameras, they’re a relatively chummy bunch away from the spotlight, presenting each other with awards (remember when Jeb Bush presented Hillary Clinton with a Liberty Medal for her service to the country), attending each other’s weddings (Bill and Hillary had front-row seats for Trump’s 2005 wedding), and embracing with genuine affection.

Trump’s various donations to the Clintons (he donated to Hillary’s Senate campaigns, as well as the Clinton Foundation) are not unusual. Remember, FOX News mogul Rupert Murdoch actually hosted a fundraiser for Hillary’s Senate reelection campaign back in 2006 and contributed to her presidential campaign two years later. In fact, FOX News has reportedly been one of Hillary’s biggest donors for the better part of two decades.

Are you starting to get the picture? It doesn’t matter who wins the White House, because they all work for the same boss: Corporate America. In fact, many corporations actually hedge their bets on who will win the White House by splitting their donations between Democratic and Republican candidates.

We’re in trouble, folks, and picking a new president won’t save us.

We are living in a fantasy world carefully crafted to resemble a representative democracy. It used to be that the cogs, wheels and gear shifts in our government machinery worked to keep our republic running smoothly. However, without our fully realizing it, the mechanism has changed. Its purpose is no longer to keep our republic running smoothly. To the contrary, this particular contraption’s purpose is to keep the corporate police state in power. Its various parts are already a corrupt part of the whole.

Just consider how insidious, incestuous and beholden to the corporate elite the various “parts” of the mechanism have become.

Congress. Perhaps the most notorious offenders and most obvious culprits in the creation of the corporate-state, Congress has proven itself to be both inept and avaricious, oblivious champions of an authoritarian system that is systematically dismantling their constituents’ fundamental rights. Long before they’re elected, Congressmen are trained to dance to the tune of their wealthy benefactors, so much so that they spend two-thirds of their time in office raising money. As Reuters reports, “For many lawmakers, the daily routine in Washington involves fundraising as much as legislating. The culture of nonstop political campaigning shapes the rhythms of daily life in Congress, as well as the landscape around the Capitol. It also means that lawmakers often spend more time listening to the concerns of the wealthy than anyone else.”

The President. With the 2016 presidential election shaping up to be the most expensive one in our nation’s history, with estimates as high as $10 billion, “the way is open for an orgy of spending by well-heeled interest groups and super rich individuals on both political sides.” Yet even after the votes have been counted and favors tallied, the work of buying and selling access to the White House is far from over. President Obama spends significant amounts of time hosting and attending fundraisers, having held more than 400 fundraising events over the course of his two terms in office. Such access comes with a steep price tag. It used to be that $100,000 got you an overnight stay at the White House. Now it will cost you $500,000 for four meetings a year with President Obama. Yet as Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig asks, “[H]ow does a man, as a person, run the nation when he’s attending 228 fundraisers? And the answer is not very well. It’s pretty terrible for your ability to do your job. It’s pretty terrible for your ability to be responsive to the American people, because—let me tell you—the American people are not attending 228 fundraisers. Those people are different.”

The Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court—once the last refuge of justice, the one governmental body really capable of rolling back the slowly emerging tyranny enveloping America—has instead become the champion of the American police state, absolving government and corporate officials of their crimes while relentlessly punishing the average American for exercising his or her rights. Like the rest of the government, the Court has routinely prioritized profit, security, and convenience over the basic rights of the citizenry. Indeed, law professor Erwin Chemerinsky makes a compelling case that the Supreme Court, whose “justices have overwhelmingly come from positions of privilege,” almost unerringly throughout its history, sides with the wealthy, the privileged, and the powerful. For example, contrast the Court’s affirmation of the “free speech” rights of corporations and wealthy donors in McCutcheon v. FEC, which does away with established limits on the number of candidates an entity can support with campaign contributions, and Citizens United v. FEC with its tendency to deny those same rights to average Americans when government interests abound, and you’ll find a noticeable disparity.

The Media. Of course, this triumvirate of total control would be completely ineffective without a propaganda machine provided by the world’s largest corporations. Besides shoving drivel down our throats at every possible moment, the so-called news agencies which are supposed to act as bulwarks against government propaganda have instead become the mouthpieces of the state. The pundits which pollute our airwaves are at best court jesters and at worst propagandists for the false reality created by the American government.

The American People. “We the people” now belong to a permanent underclass in America. It doesn’t matter what you call us—chattel, slaves, worker bees, drones, it’s all the same—what matters is that we are expected to march in lockstep with and submit to the will of the state in all matters, public and private. Through our complicity in matters large and small, we have allowed an out-of-control corporate-state apparatus to take over every element of American society.

Our failure to remain informed about what is taking place in our government, to know and exercise our rights, to vocally protest, to demand accountability on the part of our government representatives, and at a minimum to care about the plight of our fellow Americans has been our downfall.

Now we find ourselves once again caught up in the spectacle of another presidential election, and once again the majority of Americans are acting as if this election will make a difference and bring about change—as if the new boss will be different from the old boss.

When in doubt, just remember what comedian and astute commentator George Carlin had to say about the matter:

The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls. They got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying. Lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests.

They want obedient workers. Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork…. It’s a big club and you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the big club. …The table is tilted, folks. The game is rigged and nobody seems to notice…. Nobody seems to care. That’s what the owners count on…. It’s called the American Dream, ’cause you have to be asleep to believe it.

August 11, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | Leave a comment

For First Time, Most Americans Believe Federal Government Threatens Personal Freedoms

By Noel Brinkerhoff | AllGov | February 02, 2013

Distrust of the U.S. government has reached an all-time high among Americans, a majority of whom now say Washington represents a threat to their personal freedoms.

According to a new poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 53% of respondents said the federal government threatens their own personal rights and freedoms. Those disagreeing numbered 43%.

The percentage of those viewing the government as a threat represents a six-point increase from nearly three years ago, when 47% said they felt that way, and a 23% jump from November 2001, when Americans rallied around their government following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Conservative Republicans are the largest group who distrust Washington, with 76% expressing fear for their personal freedoms. A majority (54%) described the government as a “major” threat.

Three years ago, 62% of conservative Republicans said the government was a threat to their freedom, while 47% said it was a major threat, according to the Pew survey.

Meanwhile, only 38% of Democrats see the government as a threat to personal rights and freedoms, with 16% viewing it as a major threat.

Among gun owners, 62% see the government as a threat, compared with 45% of those without guns.

February 2, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 1 Comment

Showdown in Chicago

Why the Teachers Must Prevail

By ANDREW LEVINE | CounterPunch | September 13, 2012

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the pesky little ankle-nipper charged in the first years of the Obama administration with dissing the left (“f…ing retards”), empowering Blue Dog Democrats and killing the public option in the Affordable Care Act, is Barack Obama writ obnoxious.   It is of the utmost importance that teachers in Chicago win their strike against his administration.

Theirs is the first battle in what will be a protracted war, during the second Obama administration, to save public institutions, public education especially, from the anti-worker, pro-corporate, privatizing predations of Democratic presidents.

To be sure, it is Republicans who prattle on about Ronald Reagan and advocate the retrograde policies associated with his name.    But while they are relentless in praising that villainous old actor, they are terrible at implementing the Reaganite agenda. This is understandable: when they are in the White House, their efforts inspire Democrats to fight back — not so much from conviction but because it plays well with the base and therefore pays off at election time.

Democratic presidents, on the other hand, are good at implementing the Reaganite agenda, whether their hearts are in it or not.  No one, so far, has been better at it than Bill Clinton.  This is because, as we saw again in Charlotte, he is adept at winning Democratic hearts and minds, and therefore at neutralizing potential opposition and even bringing it along.

This is how that old horn dog was able to win more for the Gipper than either Bush.  He did more even than Reagan himself to end the New Deal and Great Society “as we know it,” and to give Wall Street free rein.

Obama might have bested him had he not been stymied by Republican obduracy.  Now that obduracy is coming back to haunt the GOP.  By pandering to God-fearing, ignorant and stupid white men – and the women who stand by them — they have made themselves scary enough to assure a second Obama term.

Barring unforeseeable developments, therefore, it will be Obama, not Romney, who will be wielding the Reaganite cudgel in the next four years; and therefore Obama, the lesser but more effective evil, whom we will have to fight.

Obama is poised to leave the Clintons standing in the dust.  Hizzoner Da Mare is showing the way.  Workers be damned, and let the Grand Bargains begin!

*  *  *

Even before the Occupy movements of last fall, public workers in Wisconsin and elsewhere were beginning to fight back.  In Wisconsin, their efforts were unsuccessful, thanks in part to the indifference or connivance of the national Democratic Party and the Obama administration.

It isn’t just that Obama was AWOL throughout the winter and spring of 2011, when workers and their allies occupied the state Capitol in Madison, mobilizing tens of thousands of supporters.   When it came down just to a recall election a year later, the hope and change President couldn’t even be bothered to campaign for Tom Barrett, the anodyne Democratic rival to the execrable, Koch-funded, Republican governor Scott Walker.  All he could muster was a tweet at the final hour.

With the election less than two months away, Team Obama must realize that it will cost the President to betray the Chicago Teachers’ Union similarly.  But count on him to give it his best shot – the Obama-Emanuel tie is tight, and Emanuel’s anti-union, pro-corporate “reforms” are in line with Arne Duncan’s, Obama’s Secretary of Education.

Expect him therefore to remain aloof for as long as he can.  After all, who will stop him?  Not organized labor.  They’ve pledged their troth unconditionally to Democratic presidents so many times that they’ve forgotten how to do anything else, even when the object of their servility poses an “existential threat.”

For a long time, it seemed that the problem with Obama, and the Democratic Party, was their almost pathological “reasonableness,” their preference for compromising over winning.  But the real situation was becoming clear even before Emanuel became the face of militant Obamaism.

The problem is not just that Obama is inept at governance or that caution sometimes gets the better of him.  It is that he is on the wrong side.

Romney is scarier by orders of magnitude and more onerous by far.  But, like Clinton, Obama can deliver, especially nowadays when liberals are hell bent on cutting the man slack.  This is why he is, arguably, more dangerous even than his Republican rival.  Romney is unabashed class warrior for the one-percent; Obama is a more complicated figure.  But by their deeds, ye shall know them.

What Emanuel and Duncan and Obama want is what George Bush wanted: to despoil public education.  Of course, this is not what they say.  But it is hardly concern for kids, much less poor kids or for their families, that drives Bush-Obama efforts at reforming public education to ruin or that makes “market solutions” and privatization the order of the day.  Only hapless Republicans and market theologians (to the extent there is a difference) could believe that.

The Obamaites want to privatize public education, to the extent they can, for the same reason they want to privatize so much else:  because there is a lot of money – local, state and federal – involved, and the corporate interests Obama and his basketball buddies work for want to get their hands on it.

Obama and Duncan, and maybe even Emanuel, the “f-ing retard,” are too smart to be taken in by the meretricious charms of corporate bean counting.  They surely understand how detrimental teaching to tests can be, and how it serves no one other than corporate managers, or those who have internalized their values, to undermine educators’ morale by imposing impossible working conditions and assaulting workers’ dignity.

It is telling that Obama sent his own kids to the Chicago Lab School and then to Sidwell Friends.  Expensive private schools have always been about reproducing social elites – and, in recent years, coopting a few others for diversity’s sake — but Obama’s children, reared in the White House, have nothing to gain on that account.

The Obamas, like the Duncans and Emanuels of the world, just want their own children to get decent educations.  No doubt, they’d like that for working peoples’ children too, other things being equal.  But other things are not equal; the oligarchy has a different plan in mind.

They want a work force that is trained, not educated; workers ready to do what capitalist firms nowadays require — on the off-chance that capitalists find it more profitable, in certain circumstances, to exploit domestic labor instead of workers abroad.

Not long ago, the children of rich and poor alike were formed in the same schools, taught by dedicated teachers who, though underpaid, were treated with dignity and respect.  Not long ago, public higher education was cheap enough to be broadly accessible and good enough to rival or out perform even the richest private universities.

This is all inimical to the Reaganite agenda but, even now, public education, at all levels, is holding up tolerably well, notwithstanding chronic underfunding and increasingly vitriolic opposition from the minions of the one percent.  If Emanuel prevails, it will be harder, much harder, to hold the line.

This is a real danger.  Emanuel has the austerity mongers in the Obama administration, and Obama himself, at his back.  In an election year, he has the support of most Democrats.  And, of course, he has the implicit support of Mitt Romney, who at least has the decency to be more forthrightly anti-union and anti-(small-d) democratic than his rival.

Emanuel also has the “liberal” media doing its best to keep the Reaganite tide from receding.

Now that the New York Times has priced itself so much higher than it is worth and made itself, or at least its print edition, scarce, NPR has become perhaps the main source for conventional wisdom and pro-regime propaganda.

As the Chicago strike began, it was almost comical to listen to them struggle to find voices willing to berate the teachers for the inconvenience they are causing parents and students.  Evidently, Chicagoans, so far anyway, are behind the teachers because they realize that, in combatting Obama-style Reaganism – in taking on Rahm Emanuel — they are fighting for them.

They are absolutely right.  The Chicago teachers’ strike is the successor of last year’s demonstrations in Wisconsin and other states in the grip of reactionary Republican governors; it is the successor of the Occupy movements.  Its outcome matters more than the November election.  Chicago teachers must prevail!

ANDREW LEVINE is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What’s Wrong With the Opium of the People. He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park.  He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

September 13, 2012 Posted by | Economics, Progressive Hypocrite, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Comments Off on Showdown in Chicago

FP 50 Inadvertently Reveals Israel’s Dominance of GOP

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | August 31, 2012

Foreign Policy magazine has compiled a list of the 50 Republicans who have the greatest influence on the GOP’s foreign policy. “Politics is mostly about people — and nowhere is that more true than when it comes to foreign policy,” explains Foreign Policy in its introduction. With the U.S. presidential election looming, the magazine offers “to peel back the curtain on this rarefied part of the Establishment” to better inform American voters about “the advisers who will determine the country’s course in the world” in the event that they elect Mitt Romney. The FP 50, it says, are “all GOP partisans” from the different “ideological traditions” — namely, realism, neoconservatism, and “even” isolationism — that are “currently fighting for the soul of their party’s foreign policy.” A cursory look at the list, however, shows that a far more influential ideological tradition — Zionism — holds sway over the Republican Party.

Although only about 20% of American Jews supported the GOP in 2008, the FP 50 features as many as 20 Jewish partisans of Israel, including Weekly Standard editor William Kristol (#2), Brookings Institution senior fellow Robert Kagan (#4), and casino mogul and mega-donor Sheldon Adelson (#9) who make its top 10 most powerful Republicans on foreign policy. Also at number 8 is Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the stridently pro-Israel chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, whose maternal grandfather was a “pillar” of Cuba’s Jewish community who helped found several synagogues there. More importantly, several of the most passionate Israel partisans are close advisors to the Romney team, including Kagan, Dan Senor (#13), Dov Zakheim (#27), Eliot Cohen (#29), and Elliott Abrams (#35).

Moreover, the careers of many of the non-Jewish individuals on Foreign Policy’s list have been inextricably linked to their staunch support of the Jewish state. Topping the FP 50 is Senator John McCain who not only continues the family tradition of covering up Israel’s deliberate June 8, 1967 attack on the USS Liberty but invariably leads the call — in unison with Senator Joe Lieberman — for U.S. intervention in countries surrounding the Jewish state. At number 26 is Senator Mark Kirk, “the Israel lobby’s favorite senator” whose office this year served as a conduit for an Israeli initiative to redefine Palestinian refugees out of existence. And coming in in 46th place is John Hagee, the founder and chairman of Christians United for Israel, which, as FP points out, “has done more than just about any other organization to make Israel a defining foreign-policy issue for evangelical Christians in the United States.”

Indeed, out of the 50 Republicans who have the greatest influence on the GOP’s foreign policy, Congressman Ron Paul — who, along with his son, Senator Rand Paul, is ranked #25 — appears to be one of the very few who could be relied upon to put U.S. interests ahead of Israel’s. Yet Foreign Policy, a division of the pro-Israel Washington Post, never explicitly refers to the decisive — and potentially catastrophic — influence Tel Aviv would have over a Romney administration. However, those familiar with the operations of the Israel lobby know that, as the magazine puts it, “the relentless lobbying and insider machinations of surprisingly few people can often end up defining the foreign policy of entire administrations.”

August 31, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on FP 50 Inadvertently Reveals Israel’s Dominance of GOP

Benzion Netanyahu and the Origins of Bipartisan Support for Israel

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | May 11, 2012

At the opening of his May 2011 speech to a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress, Benjamin Netanyahu observed that he saw a lot of old and new friends present, laying particular stress on the fact that these “friends of Israel” were comprised of “Democrats and Republicans alike.” No doubt few, if any, members of Congress who rose to applaud the Israeli Prime Minister’s banal remark on their fealty to a foreign state would have been aware of the “surprising and little-known role in American political history” played by Netanyahu’s father in creating what one leading American Jewish activist has not surprisingly called “a welcome tradition of bipartisan support for our friend and ally Israel.”

According to a new book by Rafael Medoff and Sonja Schoepf Wentling, Herbert Hoover and the Jews: The Origins of the “Jewish Vote” and Bipartisan Support for Israel, Benzion Netanyahu was instrumental in forging that “tradition of bipartisan support” that prevails today in Washington. As Medoff and Wentling explain, the Israeli Prime Minister’s father was sent to the United States in the early 1940s by Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky to represent the militant Revisionist Zionism movement there:

Netanyahu divided his time between Revisionist headquarters in New York City and Capitol Hill, where he sought to mobilize congressional backing for the Zionist cause. At the time, mainstream Jewish leaders such as Rabbi Stephen S. Wise were strong supporters of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and stayed away from the Republicans. Netanyahu, by contrast, actively cultivated ties to prominent Republicans such as former President Herbert Hoover, as well as dissident Democrats such as Sen. Elbert Thomas of Utah, a Mormon.

As Lee Smith notes in a Tablet Magazine review of Herbert Hoover and the Jews:

He became such an important figure on Capitol Hill that in helping to draft the Republican political platform in the 1944 presidential campaign, he forced the other party—the one led by FDR—to match it and thereby created a bipartisan consensus on what was at the time called the “Palestine issue.”

In a recent JTA essay, co-author Rafael Medoff explains:

In the months leading up to that year’s Republican national convention, the Revisionists undertook what they called “a systematic campaign of enlightenment” about Palestine among GOP leaders such as Hoover, Sen. Robert Taft, who chaired the convention’s resolutions committee, and Rep. Clare Booth Luce, wife of the publisher of Time and Life magazines.

The GOP adopted an unprecedented plank demanding “refuge for millions of distressed Jewish men, women, and children driven from their homes by tyranny” and the establishment of a “free and democratic” Jewish state. The Republicans’ move compelled the Democrats to compete for Jewish support and treat the Jewish vote as if it were up for grabs. The Democratic National Convention, which was held the following month in Chicago, for the first time endorsed “unrestricted Jewish immigration and colonization” of Palestine and the establishment of “a free and democratic Jewish commonwealth.”

These events helped ensure that support for Zionism and later Israel would become a permanent part of American political culture. Every subsequent Republican and Democratic convention has adopted a similar plank. To do less became politically inconceivable.

As Thomas Friedman reminded Benjamin Netanyahu, the 29 standing ovations he received from Congress last year were “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.” But the Israeli leader also had someone else to thank for preparing the ground for that bipartisan lovefest — his father, whom Lee Smith fondly remembers as “a practical man of political action who helped pioneer Washington’s Jewish lobby.”

May 11, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Benzion Netanyahu and the Origins of Bipartisan Support for Israel

Partisan Confusion

By Kevin Zeese | Dissident Voice | March 28th, 2012

I was standing outside the U.S. Supreme Court holding a sign that said: “Single Payer Now, Strike Down the Obama Mandate.” It was the second day of argument on the Affordable Care Act. As I watched the crowds it was evident this was an organized partisan event.

As the Washington Post reports, the mandate was a Republican idea that originated with conservatives: “The tale begins in the late 1980s, when conservative economists such as Mark Pauly, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of business, were searching for ways to counter liberal calls for government-sponsored universal health coverage. Pauly then proposed a mandate requiring everyone to obtain this minimum coverage, thus guarding against free-riders…Health policy analysts at the conservative Heritage Foundation, led by Stuart Butler, picked up the idea and began developing it for lawmakers in Congress. The Heritage Foundation worked with then-Gov. Mitt Romney (R) to pass Massachusetts’ 2006 health reform law, which required all Bay State citizens to purchase coverage.”

Someone from the Heritage Foundation came up to us, wanting to take a photo of our sign. I asked him – does the Heritage Foundation oppose the mandate? He said “yes.” I told him that the idea came out of the Heritage Foundation. He looked confused, mumbled an unclear answer “not since 2006” and walked away.

Of course, Democrats opposed this Republican idea. They saw it for what it is: a massive giveaway to the insurance industry that will lead to their entrenchment and continued domination of heath care. The idea was used by Republicans to oppose the Clinton health plan. Of course, the Clinton’s opposed it. But, by the 2008 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton supported the mandate (by then the insurance industry was a big financial backer of hers), but candidate Barack Obama opposed it. One of his campaign advertisements said: “What’s she not telling you about her health-care plan? It forces everyone to buy insurance, even if you can’t afford it, and you pay a penalty if you don’t.”

So, while I was out there watching groups like the National Organization for Women, who supports single payer favoring this pro-insurance law, as part of a coalition of Democratic Party aligned groups, I thought, what if President McCain had passed this law. My conclusion, we’d have the same people out here protesting, they’d just reverse sides. This was really not about healthcare, it was about Obama vs. the Republicans in this 2012 election year.

The people protesting followed their leader’s orders, said the chants they were told to say, and held the signs they were given to hold, but they were confused. When we talked to people on both sides the partisan confusion was evident.

My colleague, Margaret Flowers, asked two women carrying an Americans for Prosperity sign (a group opposed to Obama’s law) whether they were on Medicare. They said “yes.” “Do you like it?” Again, “yes.” “Do you know Medicare is a government program?” A confused look. “Do you know the Republicans want to end Medicare, make it into private insurance?” “You don’t know what you’re talking about. You probably support Obama”; and they started to walk away. “No, we oppose ObamaCare,” the women stopped and listened again, “We think everyone should have Medicare. Don’t you think it would be a good idea if every American could have the Medicare you have and like?” “Hmm, yes” then, more confusion in their faces.

Then, talking to the Democrats showed equal partisan confusion. I explained: “We oppose the Obama mandate because we want to end insurance control of health care. We support single payer, Medicare for all?” Response: “So do I.” I asked: “Single payer ends insurance, and Obama’s law entrenches insurance more deeply in control of health care, aren’t those opposites?” Response, obviously not understanding what ‘opposite’ means: “It’s a step in the right direction.” I ask: “How can it be a step in the right direction when it is going in the opposite direction?” No longer able to say it is the right direction, spouts another talking point: “This is the best we can get, we can build on this.” Me, trying to figure out what the Democrat thinks there is to build on, asks: “But, if we want to end insurance domination, how do we build on a law that is based on insurance?” Unable to explain it, the Democrat answers: “We can’t get what we want.” I say: “Of course, not, if people like you and organizations like yours who support single payer, spend their time advocating for the insurance industry, we can’t get what we want. But, if people who support single payer work for it we could.” Answer: “But, we have to re-elect President Obama.”

Partisan confusion reigned.

And, sadly partisan confusion dominates our airwaves as well. Of course, the right wing radio continues to attack Obama and confusingly calls a market-based, insurance-dominated health law socialism. But, sadly the “liberal” media sends out equal partisan confusion. We were able to go into Radio Row, where all the liberal radio outlets were interviewing “experts” on health care. The talking points, like in the conversation, were repeated and repeated. When one radio host wanted to interview me, really debate me since he was a Democratic apologist, I sat down. An organizer in the room asked the host to speak with her. She came back and told me I had to leave. This was private property and only people allowed to be here were allowed to be here. I explained I was invited by a station to be interviewed. She explained: “I tell them who to interview. The stations have slots and we fill them.” I asked: “Do you mean only people who support Obama can be interviewed.” She explained “The Republicans do it to.”

So, partisan confusion reigns and it permeates the airwaves leaving many people confused. We need to clear the FOG (Forces Of Greed) and get the truth on the air.

Despite all this supermajorities of Americans have consistently supported single payer, whether inaccurately called socialism or correctly described as “Medicare for all” 60% or more support it. Why? For the same reason that the great salesman President Obama and his superb marketing team have been unable to sell forced purchase of health insurance: Every family, business whether large or small; and every doctor or other health care provider have suffered insurance abuse. Two thirds of those who go bankrupt from a health problem have health insurance. The American experience is that health insurance is expensive, provides inadequate coverage and tries to avoid paying for health care. We all know this. So, no matter what the politicians say – Americans do not trust the health insurance industry.

But, one thing the two parties in Washington agree on – they will protect health insurance at all costs. After-all, they are a great source of campaign contributions – as the two politicians responsible for forcing Americans to buy insurance, President Obama and Mitt Romney, well know.

Kevin Zeese is executive director of Voters for Peace.

March 28, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Partisan Confusion