Friday, November 15, 2013

The long, slow, ponderous, yet viscious, path to political assassination in Washington

A decent, honourable, conscientious, even brilliant man, elected to serve in the most powerful and also most challenging job in the world is being slowly (politically) dismembered, and the spectacle is both tragic and demoralizing.
His only "failing" is that he has power that others do not want him to have. (Oh, and not so incidentally, he is black!)
Political assassinations take a variety of forms, as do tragedies like suicides. Some are instantaneous; others take much longer. Some involve the individual's single most virulent opponent taking aim, either with a weapon or drug of some considerable power, or perhaps with a plan to expose some odious and nefarious secret of the target's life and thereby render him mutilated.
Others, on a larger stage, develop under 24/7/365 kleg lights with cameras running, develop with only a little more sophistication. And often there is a gang (polite conversation would call them a coalition, but polite talk has lost its relevance for this purpose), whose narrow, narcissistic and well-funded agenda seeks and pays big dollars, most of it to others to 'do their dirty work for them' while they philanthropize museums and artistic endeavours, attending all the right cocktail parties and receptions. Their 'hit men' and 'women' are easily pawned with a few shekels of bribery money, through campaign contributions, advertising campaigns for re-election, and even slush money to keep their mouths shut about just how corrupt, yet completely secret, this kind of assassination must be.
And while the man with the large target on his back, in a perpetual 'hunting season' with unlicensed and licensed killers attempting to bag their prey, seeks to maintain his equilibrium, his elan, his composure and his decorum in the midst of this hunt, there is no doubt that anyone subjected to this kind of pressure (for which he volunteered willingly, his opponents will gleefully shout!) would drop a few details through the cracks, for which only some could reasonably be considered his "failure"....except in this blood sport with no winners.
Having secured enough votes to pass the Affordable Care Act, in his first term, with Democrats in control of both Senate and House of Representatives, after over a half-century of others' failed attempts, in one of the only very few developed and allegedly educated countries in the world that had not seen the wisdom of such an obviously needed and highly worthwhile program, he now faces a fusion of capitalist, greedy and ideologically myopic forces that include the insurance companies, most of whose executives belong to the opposition political party (Republican), obviously elected Republicans in both Houses, a culture of selfish, and basically tribal people who not only fight change but also fight it primarily on long-worn-out shibboleths of specters of "government take-over" and "socialism" or worse, "communism" the most hated word in the American lexicon, outside of AlQaeda. And that hatred, even bigotry, against communism, that itself verges on a form of racism, is at least partly the product of religious training and indoctrination, especially by the Roman Catholic church, which, for decades preached the 'gospel' that the Soviet Union was the most recent rendition of Satan, as far as they were concerned, and the Americans bought the propaganda without reservation. That sentiment is still very alive and boundlessly jumping out of various caves, both public and private across the country whenever anyone utters a word that evokes "sharing" through the public purse. It seems that the only "sacred" sharing is private, tax-credited and outside the purview of the government. Completely omitted from the conscious and public discourse on the Affordable Care Act is the fact that the cornerstone of many communities, the libraries, are a socialist/shared resource from which all people can and do draw intellectual and emotional, not to mention, spiritual sustenance. The Holy Grail has become so restricted and restrictive as to include only those activities that begin and end with the private corporations, their flush executives and their ever-tightening noose around the neck of the body politic, with their PAC's and their unleashed check-books for political campaigns, whether or not they are of an "educational value" or merely propaganda, and regardless of whether or not they spew accurate information or, the core of all military campaigns, dis-and mis-information.
That cadre of political power has and will continue to block all effective attempts to curb carbon emissions, in favour of more and more profits for their resource producing companies and their oil-rich baron-CEO's. That cadre of political power literally pours millions, if not billions, into the multiple and often camouflaged 'think tanks' that generate propaganda couched in "research" terms, as if their staff were privy to the most up-to-date and reliable information on any subject about which they produce their "dis-information".
And, since in all wars, there has to be a human target, a villain, around whom all of the marching parades of sycophant-soldiers can chant "Evil!" "Satan!" "Hitler!" "Stalin!" and any other name of an historic figure whose name evokes passionate contempt among the mob, whose control, the 'gang' can and has purchased through their domination of media outlets, if not directly in ideological directives, at least indirectly through their ownership of the shares, and their power to hire and fire their increasingly subservient scribes, editors and management.
One such example, recently, concerns a CBS-60 Minutes apology for having mistakenly given 'air-time' to a 'source' who told a different story to the FBI than he did to the CBC-60Minutes viewers, about the role of AlQaeda in Benghazi, when the U.S. Ambassador to  Lybia was assassinated. The 60-Minutes story fueled the frenzy at the time, around the adminstration's failure to provide adequate security for U.S. representatives, and the target of both the failure to protect, and also the failure to "tell the truth" as the opposition will always put it, focusing on the "integrity quotient" of the targeted villain. Only now do we learn that the questionable interview on CBS was part of a book about the incident, the content of which CBS "assumed" had been vetted, and the publisher of the book employs as its senior editor, Mary Matlin, former assistant to Vice-president Richard Cheney, he whom many argue, should be brought before the International Criminal Court, for war crimes committed while he and Dubya were in power.
It does not take a rocket scientist to connect the dots from the "Republican inner circle" and Senators like Graham and McCain who were most vociferous in condemning the president for failure to "protect" the ambassador and his staff to Matlin and the CBS interview...whether the link was one designed as an overt campaign initiative or more subtly one of co-incidence. It really does not matter.
As one talking pundit on NPR's On Point with Tom Ashbrook pointed out earlier today, "Over 80% of the media have turned negative in their coverage of the Affordable Care Act, and with all the other problems, and reversals, this will be a very difficult problem for the president to overcome."
And as George Stephanopolous put it when asked how important the latest reversal (permission to keep existing insurance policies) could be to the rest of the president's second term, "If he loses credibility on this, he could lose it on many other important issues like immigration...and any others he may wish to accomplish in this second term."
The Republican/corporate/PAC/media/social media/public disillusionment with politicians...gestalt when arrayed against one single target, a decent, honourable, intellectually gifted and highly principled black man/president will never relent unless and until their target has been decimated on the field of battle, and they regain control of the Senate in 2014, and the White House in 2016, thereby triumphally completing their savage and vicious and take-no-prisoners war against someone with whom they refuse to debate, and to whom they refuse to offer ideas that could be compared with those offered by the president, and from whom they continue to squeeze every drop of political blood in his formerly flush veins, now emaciated through attrition, in their protracted and public (yet clouded in both impunity and immunity) military/gangland political assassination.
The United States has devolved, at least in this one important act in their political drama, into a third-world banana republic in which there are no real winners, and the biggest losers are the American people, but the date to be remembered will be the day when all of his valiant efforts on behalf of the ordinary people he was elected to serve have been thrown under the bus.
Little wonder, with foreign policy the exclusive purview of the executive branch, that more and more energy and emphasis and headlines will focus on the wider world, now that the noose of obstruction has cut off all oxygen from the real purpose of Washington, effective and honourable governance. That American ideal is now lost, and the president's legacy will bear the burden of that tragedy until history will no longer be written. And, the rest of the world can only mourn how Americans "eat their own" especially when the feeding frenzy is the work designed and delivered by the "right-wing conspiracy" that nearly felled Clinton also.

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