Friday, February 20, 2009

I Doubt My Birthday Wish Has Any Chance Of Coming True... Ever


I read somewhere this morning that all the lobbyists concerned with America's disgraceful and much-loathed health care industry are sitting down under the auspices of their patrons in the Senate -- or are they the patrons and the senators the patronized? -- to figure out how the insurance industry and HMOs and other special interests can still come out on top in whatever Obama and Congress manage to cobble together in the name of health care reform and President Obama's post-partisan paradise.

When I woke up this morning (in San Miguel de Allende), I was reminded by dozens of e-mails and Facebook messages that it's my birthday; I had forgotten what the date is. Someone asked me what I wish for, but she put in one stipulation: It had to be something that was tangible, not idealistic. "Don't come back and say 'peace' or 'brotherly love,'" she wrote. OK, how about that big snazzy building at 101 Constitution Avenue gets filled with 34,750 severed skulls, each having once belonged to a for-profit lobbyist? That would go an awful long way towards restoring constitutional government to the U.S. What a birthday present that would be! (And the Smithsonian could keep the skulls.)

Yesterday's Hill reported that lobbyist Vicki Iseman, widely thought to have been a bag lady and perhaps also a more conventional-type whore for John McCain, dropped her defamation suit against the NY Times for having exposed the relationship between her and the hypocritical Arizona senator. She settled for no money and no apology, but the Times has agreed to let her tell her side of the story on their website, although they won't print it in the paper itself unless there's some semblance of truth in her statement. Even though there was no official apology, the Times published a lame note to its readers yesterday that they "did not intend to conclude that Ms. Iseman had engaged in a romantic affair with Sen. McCain or an unethical relationship on behalf of her clients in breach of the public trust." Sounds like an apology to me -- and another disgrace the Times has chalked up for itself.

In today's L.A. Times, James Rainey explains how the Times screwed up the story so badly and how "running free out the courthouse door hardly amounts to winning the high journalistic ground... The Times' story about McCain and Iseman contained an essential flaw: It overreached for a story ripe with sex and thereby distracted from a much more important story about influence."
The latter focus could have been devastating to McCain, who built his political profile around the notion he could not be bought. But because the Times raised the implication of an affair, without proving it, McCain and his allies were able to ignore their hypocrisy and instead rail against a favorite whipping boy -- the dastardly, liberal press.

In the story and its many regurgitations, especially on cable TV, people had to wonder whether the grandfatherly McCain had been running around with that pretty young blond, when they should have been wondering whether the Republican presidential candidate had been running around with lobbyists who wanted their way with his powerful Senate Commerce Committee.

So instead of having to defend his record as a senator working closely with one of Washington's sleaziest lobbying firms and betraying the interests of his constituents for the special interests that were paying Vicki Iseman's employers, McCain was able to turn the whole thing into an unprovable, tawdry sex scandal with a notorious whore and liar that made him look quasi-human. This allowed him to focus the public's small attention span away from the real story of his corruption and hypocrisy. And the public still is basically clueless about the venality of the lobbying industry and the mortal danger it poses for American democracy.

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At 2:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Howie !

mwah !!!

cbl from fdl

At 5:21 PM, Blogger John Binkov said...

The cliche that is better to give than to receive is perhaps not so silly. Your wish for having the heads of the lobbyists is maybe not so far away. Figuratively that is.
Speaking out, as you do, gives knowledge and at least, some direction and therefore power. Change as it has been said comes only from the few. Howie, you may still one of the few (as you were back, way back...) but your birthday wish(es) may still come true, if only due to people like you.
Thanks and Happy Birthday.
-John Binkov (VKTMS)

At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

McCain's 2008 campaign for Prez was like one of those old college pranks where a bunch of drunk frat boys tried to see how many students could fit into a volkswagen beetle. In McCain's case, it was "how many lobbyists and 'reporters' could fit into the double-talk express bus or onto his plane", laughing, drinking, and scheming all the way. The hypocrisy of McCain preaching ethics while bringing his lobbyist buddies along for the ride, of course, went unreported by the bought and paid for media who protected him at every turn. That he got as close as he did to the Presidency is a symptom of just how much our culture now rewards corruption and incompetence.


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