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Feel the Burn

February 26, 2016

Please don’t get me wrong, I like Bernie Sanders, I do. What’s not to like? Medicare for all has been the dream all along, hasn’t it? It was Harry Truman’s dream in 1948, wasn’t it? Medicare was Lyndon Johnson’s legacy, before Vietnam drew a dark curtain across his administration. The evil Nixon proposed a privatized health care scheme: private health insurers, supplied public funds, to pay private interests. But before we go any further, let’s define left and right here. Medicare for all is on the LEFT side of the political spectrum; Richard Nixon’s 1972 health care plan was on the RIGHT side of the political spectrum.

Obamacare is on the right side of the political spectrum…but wait? Obamacare was sold to the public by a Democratic administration. A bait and switch, public option swindle and voila, millions of Americans pay premiums for health insurance they can never afford to use. But I come not to bury Obama, nor to praise him, only to identify the Democratic President who reveres Abe Lincoln. Abe’s remembered kindly for holding the Union together despite being autocratic and acting illegally. All is forgiven, we were in a Civil War, weren’t we? Are we in a Civil War now?

An obscure junior Senator comes from virtually nowhere to capture the oval office and America’s heart. He was cool, smooth, he’s “No Drama Obama.” A drink of cool water for the throats of Americans parched by eight years of the hated Bush. Eight years of war and crime, with tens of millions of Americans in dire economic distress, Mister No Drama channels… not Roosevelt, but Herbert Hoover.  But what choice did the American voter have…really?

John McCain represented the crusty and contemptible Republican old guard. He didn’t earn the nomination as much as it was his turn. McCain goes into his convention and picks Sarah Palin; either no one wanted to co-pilot this train wreck or McCain wasn’t serious about winning. Either, it was the most incompetent political strategy ever displayed or it was stage managed to fail. Mr. No Drama runs on card check legislation (majority sign-up for forming unions), promising to make it easier to form a union at work, because he supports unions and middle class families. Once elected, No Drama makes only a token effort to help card check. For the middle class, those families earning up to $250.000 have a tax cut. Need a new car? Here, have a tax cut! Need a new house? Here, have a tax cut!

In the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression, Obama employs Hoovernomics. Entice the consumer to purchase something they wouldn’t otherwise purchase in a time of oversupply. Henry Ford tried it in the thirties with a plan to buy back old Model T’s and crush them with the purchase of a new Model A. So just for reference, just how right wing is this program?

True they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence.” – Franklin Roosevelt

Obama’s stimulus is too small, $800 billion for 300 million Americans versus a German stimulus of $500 billion euros (US $668 billion) for 100 million Germans. Republicans in Congress are apoplectic, but like the $51 billion in tax cuts offered to business. No Drama’s “Economic Recovery Advisory Board” becomes “The President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.” Corporate America’s finest CEO’s working inside the White House trying to give the President a helping hand. In North Korea we’d call that a minder, but in America, it’s the generous hand of charity offering assistance. In 1932 Franklin Roosevelt closed the banks and refused to let them reopen until the banks agreed to the new rules. No Drama invites them into the White House and puts them is charge of mortgage bailouts, for “responsible” consumers only.

Call me cynical, but when No Drama ran for reelection, Wall Street and the one percent were public enemies one and two on Main Street. Who did the Republicans nominate? Mitt Romney, a plasticized Wall Street sharpie, who not only represented the one percent, but personified them. Romney, with very little mainstream crossover appeal, had little appeal inside the ranks of his own party. Evangelicals saw his Mormonism as akin to heathenism. Romney couldn’t have won an election with himself!

Thirty days out from November a video appears almost like magic.


All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what.

And I mean, the president starts off with 48, 49, 48—he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. And he’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean that’s what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people—I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives

How could such a video appear from inside a private meeting of wealthy donors inside of a private owner’s home? Ballast, icing on the cake, gosh we tried real hard, but those Democrats somehow won again! McCain wasn’t supposed to win and neither was Romney, it’s all an illusion.

The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater. – Frank Zappa

So Bernie Sanders is channeling F.D.R. and that’s really cool, only F.D.R had a unified, energized and mobilized, political party behind him. Bernie Sanders is the outsider and Hillary is the insider. The Sanders’ camp has a Horatio Alger aspect to it, the kid coming from left field, the kid nobody wanted is going to save us. While Hillary’s camp has become the personification of wickedness. You almost expect boos and cat calls when Hillary walks on stage.

So what’s going on here … really? Are we being set up for another fall? After all, the most Republicanesque, Democratic President this country has ever known, calls himself a Democrat. His Secretary of State rubbed her hands together gleefully at the killing of a head of state, saying. “We came, we saw and he died!”  She claims to be a Democrat too! She’s the alleged alternative to Republican madness.

Republicans? What Republicans? You mean those media personalities appearing in staged reality TV debates. What are the guiding lights of Republican dogma? Smaller government, strong military or a strong belief in God? In Obama, the Republicans have two out of three … plus they can kick him when he does something they want. When Obama talks about gun control, gun sales soar. For the firearms industry it’s … “just keep talking buddy.” An oil company executive heads the department of interior and a Cable TV exec heads the FCC. Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew was asked by Bernie Sanders during confirmation if he did not think deregulation was the “proximate cause” of the financial crisis. Lew replied he did not! Lew told the panel that “the problems in the financial industry preceded deregulation,” and after discussing those issues, added that he didn’t “personally know the extent to which deregulation drove it, but I don’t believe that deregulation was the proximate cause.”

Compare Lew’s statement with anything that Bernie is saying.  Is there any common ground here? Can a Socialist who may believe Capitalism can save us from Capitalists intent on a fascistic world domination, save us from an impending neoliberal nightmare, a generation in the making? Will they all just dissipate like smoke? “Gee, I guess we lost.” Is this campaign a calculation or a miscalculation in the making? Which way will the generals, the bankers, and the lobbyists run? When a President proposes Medicare for all, will the health care insurance lobby just sit idly by? This nation of ours has some strange peculiarities when it comes to those who upset the status quo.  I’ve seen Presidential elections stopped before — anything is possible.


About the author: David Glenn Cox is a senior staff writer for TLR and an award winning author and musician; he is the author of the novel, “The Servants of Pilate.”


3 Responses to Feel the Burn

  1. SteveH on March 19, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    How long will Americans regret the mistakes they make this year?

  2. pvequalkt on February 27, 2016 at 8:25 am

    Excellent. Veritas.

    It beggars the imagination that American voters are this stupid. I’m truly flummoxed… though I shouldn’t be.

    Herr trump is more than channeling a guy named Adolph from Europe. He’s plagiarized the same playbook… and nobody much notices. Nor cares, prolly.

    hilbillary is running on Reagan’s platform absent the coded racism… and is riding our worst D prez ever (or maybe 2nd worst… after her hubby) coattails… because… blacks?

    Are black voters such simpletons that they only wanted a melanin enhanced face in the white house and don’t give a crap about anything else? They lost the voting rights act during obamanation without so much as a supportive tweet from their hero or party.

    Same must be asked re: labor; women; Hispanics and, yes, even LGBTs. obamanation and Ds didn’t do squat FOR them. All you can say is they didn’t get in the way… much. obamanation was specifically anti- before he “evolved” when it was a done deal.

    Yet it looks like the only true Democrat that has run in 40 years will lose because blacks, Hispanics, women and labor will support the neoliberal, neocon, neofascist distaff candidate because of a familiar name?

    We’ll get what we deserve and it will hurt. But delusion is a wonderful thing. If you truly believe everything is great, being at war forever, unemployed, homeless, sick and bankrupt, and without any prospects will still “feel” great.

  3. heartdude on February 26, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    Beautiful essay.

    If we police healthcare , get rid of the waste, and run it efficiently we can provide healthcare to all.

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