November 08, 2009

The Fuck You Act

The lies begin with the name itself. The bill is titled: Affordable Health Care for America Act.

In fact, the bill's primary purpose has absolutely nothing to do with providing "affordable health care." The purpose is to extract as much money as possible from "ordinary" Americans -- and to do so at the point of a gun (what do you think those financial penalties and even possible prison time are, if not a gun pointing directly at your head?) -- and shovel it directly to already-engorged insurance companies. Americans will be forced to buy insurance, which as we all know, many of us through deeply painful personal experience, has nothing whatsoever to do with health care. And Americans will be forced to spend money for largely useless insurance -- which insurance will often be entirely useless just when they need it most critically -- in amounts that may devastate them and their families.

How might we refashion the bill's title, in an attempt to render it just a bit more accurate? After all, we surely can agree that we should at least try to speak and write in ways that correspond to the facts in even a vague, approximate manner, if only from time to time. Hmm ... let's try this:
The Fuck You Act
No, in this case, that's not quite right, not quite complete. Ah, here we go:
The Fuck You and Making You Fuck Yourself with Threats of Destroying Your Life Act
This continues a theme of long duration at this humble blog.

Ian Welsh writes:
By now you’ve probably heard about the Stupak amendment, which would make it illegal for any insurance offered on the exchanges set up by the health care reform bill to cover abortion services. It is being allowed to the floor by the leadership, and indications are that there may be enough votes for it to pass. [It did pass.] If it were to remain in the final bill, it would strip practical access to abortion from millions of women, a number which would increase when the exchanges open to businesses.


Meanwhile the bill itself will force people to buy insurance, provides inadequate subsidies, and falls hardest on the middle class and young people—forcing them to spend a huge chunk of their discretionary income on average, and doubtless pushing many families into bankruptcy (plenty are on the verge, it is impossible to imagine that this won’t push them over the edge).

And yet it is still supported by the same people who supported it all along. Apparently nothing can happen which would cause them not to support it.
Welsh also writes:
I can only conclude that both Democratic politicians and many progressive bloggers want to be back in the opposition, since they keep being willing to swallow bad policy. Policy so bad, in fact, that it seems designed to hurt Democratic electoral prospects. Forget doing the right thing morally, I don’t expect that of Democratic politicians. But apparently they are also incapable of acting in a way designed to make sure they keep their majority.
This strikes me as not precisely correct. As a practical matter, much can still happen between now and the summer and fall of 2010. A lot of variables will determine how successful the Democrats are in maintaining a majority, beginning but hardly ending with the final form of this bill.

Much more significantly, I think Welsh's formulation (at least in this post) fails to mention a deeper underlying problem. I discussed this issue in the final section of "Those Who Enable the Triumph of Evil," where I excerpted David Swanson's painful and detailed examination of how and why John Conyers, once an admirable politician in many ways, slowly and inevitably surrendered certain key principles that Conyers himself had repeatedly declared to be of supreme importance to him.

A few passages from what I wrote there will convey the sense of the issue I'm referring to, both with regard to the Democrats in general, and in connection with this latest abomination in particular:
Swanson documents Conyers' history on the issue of impeachment in devastating detail. It is a genuine Show of Horrors, and it provides plentiful examples of the rationalizations, equivocations, misrepresentations and outright lies that are required when an individual declines to fight against what he himself regards as monstrous and immensely destructive. Swanson goes through all the major arguments that have been used in the last few years to discourage impeachment -- all the arguments that many of you have undoubtedly seen offered by most of the leading liberal and progressive writers -- and he demolishes every single one of them.


This is one of the bitter, deadly fruits of cowardice in the face of evil. It helps to illuminate a critical principle, one that would be very simple to appreciate if it were not for the unstinting efforts made by Democrats like Conyers and the most vocal of Democratic apologists to evade the truth and refuse to acknowledge the obvious: each retreat from battle makes the next battle that much harder. The Democrats are always talking about "saving their gunpowder" for the next fight, which will be the genuinely important one. But each act of cowardice of this kind -- and it is cowardice, we should call such acts by their rightful name -- weakens them, rather than making them stronger. Each concession to evil makes evil stronger, while the coward reinforces his own cowardice. Thus, evil consolidates and expands its reach -- and those who would fight against evil are pushed farther offstage.


Appreciate just how pathetically shabby this is. Conyers might have lost his prerogatives within the existing system. That possibility carried more weight than defending liberty, justice and fundamental human decency.

Thus, the lesson: when you choose to be a critical part of a system that has become this corrupt -- and the endless corruptions of our corporatist-authoritarian-militarist system have been documented at great length here and in other places -- you will not ameliorate or "save" it. The system will necessarily and inevitably corrupt you.
With very few exceptions, and the exceptions are so few in number that they cannot alter the general direction of events, these are corrupt individuals operating in a profoundly corrupt and infinitely corrupting system.

That is the basic underlying truth, or at least a statement closer to where the truth will be found. Against that terrible fact, all the rest recedes into the comparative meaninglessness and even triviality of empty public pageantry.

In the NY Times story about the House passage of this detestable bill, we read this utterance from the awful Steny Hoyer:
“We did what we promised the American people we would do,” said Representative Steny H. Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland and the majority leader...
On this occasion, Hoyer is entirely correct.

If you listened carefully to what almost every politician said during the last election campaign -- and I emphatically include what Obama and all leading Democrats said -- and if you understood what they were saying, you realized that they told you over and over again that they would fuck you in an endless variety of ways, until almost every last drop of your blood and almost every dollar you possess were gone. In their infinite kindness, they won't kill you, for they hope to extract still more from you, as your life and hope slowly ebb away.

They've kept their promise. They've fucked you yet again, just as they said they would.

And they are very far from done.