Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Scylla and Charybdis: Corruption, health care reform and climate change.

A combination of flawed institutional practices, the nihilistic devastation of the Party of Beck and Limbaugh, and the political, economic and social importance of health care reform have made corrupt Democratic party senators immensely powerful.

Since these people care about nothing but their own power and privilege, and because they hold millions of Americans hostage, they can extort a heavy price from far more honorable people. They make the Beckians seem almost respectable.

It’s a tooth grinding time for compassionate rationalists. We know the historic price of failure. We know the GOP is ever more the party of unreason. We know too, the deep cost of social and institutional corruption.

Knowing all this, for the sake of health care “reform” we’ve eroded our enamel. Do we go to dentures for the sake of senate action on climate change?

I don’t think we can afford it, and I don’t think it will work. American support for climate policy is as fickle as the weather – by comparison support for health care action is relatively strong. Even if we continue to feed the leeches we still won’t get meaningful senatorial action.

We’re going to have to find ways to act on climate change through a combination of Presidential powers, EPA regulatory authority, and state policy (California still matters – just as in the days of Silent Spring). Perhaps international CO2-based trade tariffs will cause enough American corporate pressure to bring pet Senators into line.

No, it’s time to stop feeding the leeches. We’ve given up a lot, and the price continues to rise.

This is the time to change course. The midterm elections are ahead, and the party of relative reason is almost certain to lose its Senatorial supermajority. Even if nothing else happens, Robert Byrd will expire.

Losing the supermajority means we can now open yet another front against political corruption in America. No, not against Lieberman – that corrupt sod is safe until 2012 and will be well rewarded thereafter. Forget mere justice, this is about survival.

We need to resurrect old ideas about campaign finance reform and start the long, hard fight against a culture of corruption that has grown up in so many aspects of American life – in politics, professional societies, physicians, the judiciary, corporate governance, the media, and in finance and regulatory authorities.

Personally, I’ll be writing more on this topic in the months to come under a new tag of “corruption”. To start with I’ve asked the Center for Public Integrity to make it easier to find the feed for their latest from the center page. I’ve also become a Facebook fan of the CPI (yeah, there’s irony in using FB to fight corruption).

I’ll be pointing to similar organizations and making some donations*. I’ll even be consorting with the enemy; although the GOP is merely seeking to advance their own immense corruption their attacks on corrupt Dems do provide valuable intelligence we can use.

We’ve given a lot of ground for the millions of Americans held hostage to health care reform. We’re at the cliff’s edge now, we’ve got no more ground to give. We need to push back.

Take your anger against Lieberman, Nelson, and the like – and use it. Not against them – forget ‘em. They’re history. Use your anger against their kin everywhere.


* If you donate to any of these groups, you will be spammed mercilessly. Yeah, that’s kind of corrupt too. It ain’t a sweet world out there. Don’t give them a phone number, do give them your spam-only Yahoo email account.

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