Saturday, December 12, 2009

When did we lose democracy?

By Don Klein

The British Parliament enacted legislation that will tax bonuses to employees of financial institution to the tune of 50 percent. The French are planning to do the same. They refuse to allow banking leeches who were largely responsible for the financial crisis under which millions suffer to continue to draw blood from a suffering society.

Don’t expect any restrictive action vaguely resembling our overseas friends ever happening in the US. We have a Congress that doesn’t represent the people. The national legislature is bought and owned by the bankers and large corporations. It is not the land of the free and home of the brave we learned about in grade school.

Land of the free? Home of the brave? Really? If you think that describes today’s America, humbug. To Congress there’s a new definition. The term "land of the free" means that big concerns have the free use of the American economy sans penalty or restrictions. And "home of the brave" refers to the rest of us who have the painful right to suffer silently while the greedy bask in unearned rewards.

The parasites that inhabit Wall Street take their immense payoffs whether they make profits or not. They earn money with the thanks of the American taxpayer who bailed them out of tragic circumstances and then the ingrates raise interest rates on credit, boosts prices for services and pay their own flunkeys unconscionable bonuses.

They thumb their collective noses at the rest of us by using every bit of pressure (spelled: money) they can muster to impair corrective Congressional action. They payoff key members of Congress with campaign donations to insure they remain in office. That is their interpretation of the Constitutional right to petition the government -- also known as bribes. But they never use that word.

It’s a crime. It’s an injustice. But don’t expect anyone to go to jail for it. Why? Because Congress is in cahoots with the bankers, the insurance giants, the business barons who have as much public concern, community goodwill and personal honesty as a pile of rocks.

Not only do these bloodsuckers, who were on the edge of disaster when the taxpayers saved their skins, show no gratitude or restraint in overpaying themselves for not doing the right thing in the first place but they underwrite every campaign to destroy any hope for the country to improve life for the average citizen.

They oppose health care and fund the Republican political machine which opposes any reform in Congress and they fund the Blue Dog Democrats who see no reason to support their own party’s high minded resolve to help millions of the country’s uninsured. They underwrite the cost of fighting any effort to thwart global warming. All they care about is making as much money as they can no matter how many innocent people go without adequate medical care or how dangerous the world will be without pollution controls.

They are the most shortsighted people that ever existed. They don’t care about the future. They only live for the profits of the moment. They pay off Congress and fatten the wallets of government leaders in order to protect their bloated incomes. My desire is they live long enough to see how much damage they have done to their children’s and grandchildren’s worlds.

The Republican Party, with its antipathy towards any change in the way health care, is standing boldly shoulder-to-shoulder with the insurance and pharmaceutical industries in opposition to anything offered in the realm of health care reform. They are joined by enough reactionary Democrats to stop meaningful progress.

When it comes to the area of stimulating jobs in our weakened economy all the Republicans can think of is their precious taxes. They keep singing that discredited song that tax cuts for business stimulates employment when we all know that the tax cuts given during the Bush Administration resulted in a near depression.

And the Democrats are not blameless. They cannot get together to write stiff new rules that would restrict banks and investment firms from hoodwinking the public in the future even after the financial chaos following the Bush Administration. It is difficult to believe there are realistic objections in the shadow of such a financial disaster. Even the watered-down bill passed by the House this week failed to gain a single Republican vote.

But neither party has serious objections to restricting entitlements to the poor and middle classes. It’s no harm if the lower income echelon of society cannot buy as much with food stamps as before, or afford a doctor’s regular care, or pay their mortgages.

It is all right for the lower income families to send their youths to fight and die in a questionable war as long as the investors in Haliburton (like Dick Cheney) and Blackwater make billions selling their inflated, non-bid services to the military.

The ugliness of the American political scene is heartless. We have a Congress hobbled into inaction by one party which can only say "no" to all proposals and by Senate rules that demolish the democratic concept of majority rule. We no longer have democracy in America, we have borderline anarchy fed by contentious politicians rejoicing in logjams and gridlock. The only time bipartisanship rears its head is when funding warfare.

And there is no relief for the electorate.

It is Christmas time and if you are looking for the traditional goodwill and peace of the season, you’d better look somewhere else. You won’t find it in the US Congress.


irwinb said...

Donald- excellent and amen

Anonymous said...

Well said! BUT...We are the ones who are led around by the nose by expensive media campaigns paid for by the corporate contributions we decry. We don't pay attention to what is happening. We don't demand change. If we citizens were on our game we'd not have a Congress that pays more attention to big contributors than to us and our votes.

In a good democracy, intelligent and independent-minded representatives would vote as their conscience and the evidence impelled them, and then take their chances at the next election, where, it would be hoped, an equally intelligent and independent-minded citizenry would pass sound judgment on them.