22
   

America Is Becoming Ungovernable.

 
 
Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2013 08:05 am
I read a very interesting piece from the journalist/historian/author Max Hastings over the weekend, which sort of explained the situation to me....I think.
Most Brits don't really understand the finer points to all this stupidity, but I like Max's writings and he usually puts it plain enough so that even little old me can understand.
The picture he paints isn't a good one, and I wonder if anyone would care to comment as to whether he has actually put it across accurately.

Here's a snippet......
".....Washington this week has basked in autumnal sunshine and bitter hatred. Like players in one of those Hollywood movies about a divided hick town with lynch mobs baying, the legislators of the greatest nation on earth trade insults about blame for the government shutdown, resulting from the stand-off on the U.S. budget.
‘These people are Neanderthals,’ thundered a Democratic congressman. The Senate’s chaplain, Barry Black, rolled his eyes skywards and said: ‘Save us from this madness.’
The ‘madness’ is, of course, the insistence of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives that they will vote to enable the federal government to pay its bills only if the White House agrees to suspend or scrap its national health scheme, which they loathe to the point of obsession.
Obamacare (properly known as ACA, the Affordable Care Act) is the greatest — cynics say the only major — achievement of this disappointing presidency. It provides subsidies and new regulatory procedures to bring health insurance within reach of the poorest Americans. Long-term, it is intended to lower the horrific costs of public healthcare.
Republicans hate the scheme because they claim that it will make medical care more costly for middle America, and extend the reach of the hated federal government.
Yet it is still an extraordinary step to attempt to blackmail the Democratic administration into dropping a measure that became law in 2010.
As a host of commentators point out, if Obama gave way on this issue — as assuredly he will not — the road would be open for his congressional enemies to pull the same stunt about any other law they dislike.
They could defy the intentions of the Founding Fathers of the constitution as flagrantly as the gun nuts who exploit the 1776 provision for militias to bear arms, to enable modern mass murderers to equip themselves with machine-guns. But the Republicans are seized with a self-righteousness which is impervious to reason.

.All week, a procession of fat, solemn, smug legislators has filled the country’s television screens, blaming the current farce on Barack Obama.
‘The President is using his enormous powers against the American people,’ said Utah Senator Mike Lee, ‘by refusing to recognise the enormous harm Obamacare is doing.’
One of the foremost advocates of the shutdown, Texan Congressman Randy Neugebauer, had the brass neck publicly to berate a Washington park ranger who had to explain to a couple of veterans they could not visit the World War II Memorial which — like all museums and monuments — has been forced to close to the public.
Bobby Jindal, Republican Governor of Louisiana, accuses the President of ‘obstinacy’, while another congressman charges Obama with ‘shamelessly pursuing his own political interests at the expense of the American people’.
This is serpent-speak, of course. But seldom, if ever, has the chasm between the sophistication of America’s East Coast and the primitive passions and thought processes of middle American lawmakers yawned wider.
At dinner parties in the capital this week, I have listened to government officials and academics venting fury about the irresponsibility of the Republicans.
‘Their behaviour is holding America up to ridicule,’ said my neighbour on Tuesday night. A State Department official said crossly: ‘We’re still working in my department for the next couple of weeks at least, but we can’t spend any money. This is a huge embarrassment......"

Whole article here.....

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2455505/MAX-HASTINGS-America-ungovernable.html
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Type: Discussion • Score: 22 • Views: 9,721 • Replies: 219

 
Foofie
 
  -2  
Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2013 08:31 am
@Lordyaswas,
Many people believe that this particular version of medical care will fall on its face and be replaced by a one payor system like the UK has. That means that people that now get to see a doctor, when they want, won't. Anyway, those who now get very good medical care will likely get a lesser version. Those with no medical insurance will get something better than a hospital emergency room. And, those who have pre-existing conditions, and can't get any insurance for those conditions will get medical care for those conditions. In other words, the pie isn't big enough for everyone to get a big slice. Some will get a smaller slice, and some a larger slice, in my opinion. The problem is that to be financially solvent, the young folks that tend not to get insurance until they hit 30, are being told that they must buy insurance (to pay for the medical care of the sick/elderly) or pay a penalty. They will likely not buy insurance, pay a penalty, and then all rates go up next year. That might be the harbinger for a single payor system.

It is a sticky wicket. And, the Democrats don't want to limit/cut spending, or limit the debt ceiling (the Republican compromise). The country will come through; however, the result, in my opinion, is that the country will just be that much more divided, which might be good, since at some point the dirty little secret might have to be told to the proverbial marginal "haves"; the system was never designed to make you happy. The system was designed to only make the winners happy. All others get a booby prize, just for coming to the birthday party, so to speak. The U.S. is not Scandanavia where the homogeneous population is one extended family, to many. Diversity does not allow everyone to be happy about sharing the wealth, in my opinion. So, tune in in 100 years to see the future of the U.S.; it might be a lot like the UK, even with some sitcom like Keeping Up Appearances, but with 22nd century American actors.
Lordyaswas
 
  5  
Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2013 08:49 am
@Foofie,
Foofie wrote:

Many people believe that this particular version of medical care will fall on its face and be replaced by a one payor system like the UK has. That means that people that now get to see a doctor, when they want, won't.

Why do you think that will happen? And why do you think that the UK system means you won't be able to see a doctor? I see a doctor when I want? People have a moan now and then, but you can't please all of the people all of the time.
Just yesterday I popped in to my local surgery for an unscheduled appointment because I hurt my finger in the garden and it swelled like a balloon.
I waited fifteen minutes, saw one of the resident GP's, was given a course of antibiotics and a tetanus booster jab.....no charge. This standard of care is nothing out of the ordinary.
I think our NHS is wonderful. Ask 99% of Brits and they will say the same.
Would you not like this coverage for all in the US?

One thing you haven't covered though, is the process of democracy.
How is this rebellion by Republicans anything but non democratic, bearing in mind the fully lawful process that brought this affordable care act into being in the first place?
Foofie
 
  -3  
Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2013 09:16 am
@Lordyaswas,
If the commercial insurance companies, that are supposed to participate in the Affordable Care Act, cannot pay out, due to too few subscribers, then they will opt out. The nation would then have to have its own involvement; single payor system.

The Republicans appear to not care for the Affordable Care Act. It is shaking the apple tree, by making doctors (aka, Republicans for the most part) the sacrificial lamb for offering/forcing medical care to all. Doctors do not like to get slimmed down payments for their services. Any National Health System would likely do that.

Anyway, democracy is not always what one thinks it is. The US is a republic. It is not Democracy is not in it pure form. It was never meant to be (the Electoral College to compensate for the masses voting in a demigod). This country was founded so the disenfranchised of Europe could finally get their hands on land, as far as the eye could see. The country only changed after 1850 when ethnics (Jews, Catholics) came to the shores looking for a better life. Small towns (aka, Protestant America) have ways to doctor/medicate their townsfolk. Big government is not needed by many; however, urban America with its diversity does not have such workable arrangements. Here the disenfranchised go to emergency rooms, instead of a private doctor, and come home 4 a.m.

The US was never meant to be like kindergarten, where all children are winners. That is the big conundrum for the 21st century. But, in my opinion, wealth will stay in private hands, while the masses will be pacified with proverbial bread and circuses. Just my opinion.
RABEL222
 
  2  
Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2013 10:34 am
If the republicans were sure it was going to fail they would be glad to let it go on. The fear isent that its going to fail. The fear of the republicans is that it will be a success.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2013 10:41 am
I think what I read of the article is reasonably accurate. The worst thing Obama could do would be to negotiate with the extremist faction of the Republicans.
0 Replies
 
parados
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2013 11:21 am
@Foofie,
Quote:
If the commercial insurance companies, that are supposed to participate in the Affordable Care Act, cannot pay out, due to too few subscribers, then they will opt out

That statement doesn't even make sense. If they don't participate they won't have to pay out because they will have insured no one. If they participate the rates will be set so they can and do pay out. That is how insurance works.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2013 11:24 am
@parados,
then there is this...

"Small towns (aka, Protestant America) have ways to doctor/medicate their townsfolk."

WTF?
0 Replies
 
Kolyo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2013 11:34 am
@Lordyaswas,
No way I'm reading another depressing article about America.

But the title was a breath of fresh air. Smile
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2013 01:31 pm
@Lordyaswas,
This fellow's bias is so clear that I have to assume you share it if you found that this article "explained" things for you.

I often read on-line editions of UK papers and I was, at first, struck by how similar the debate or conflict ( take your pick) between the Left and Right is to what we see in the US.

Obviously there will be differences but at the core it's the same fight.

America, has been to the rest of the world what California has been to America.

I recall during the 80's that friends and associates in the UK would tell me that the wave of personal injury litigation that had beset the US would never happen in Great Britain, and that UK elections would never involve the spending of huge sums of money, or involve paid image makers and political consultants.

Bad behaviors don't recognize international boundaries.

It's understandable that much of the world feels schadenfreude for the US, and we, by no means, have limited the opportunity for others to mock us, but the notion that other people outside of America just can't fathom the madness of the Yanks because it is so foreign to them is, really, just a bunch of crap.



izzythepush
 
  0  
Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2013 01:50 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
When perusing the UK papers, did you notice that George Osborne is in China drumming up investment for a range of infrastructure in the UK? This couldn't have come at a better time.
0 Replies
 
firefly
 
  0  
Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2013 02:09 pm
@Lordyaswas,
I think Hastings has given an accurate picture, at least of certain aspects of the situation, and these go beyond the current opposition to "Obamacare".

He's correctly identified the leverage of the extreme right-wingers and Tea Partiers--which is money flowing into primary campaign war chests--that's enabling their death grip on moderate Republicans, and which has been greatly assisted by pro-conservative rulings by the Supreme Court.
Quote:
Constituency boundaries have always been ruthlessly manipulated to create safe seats for either Republicans or Democrats. The consequence is that party primary elections are often decisive in determining who gets to go to Washington.

This is how the powerful Right-wing Tea Party, dedicated activists, have gained such leverage. Incumbent Republicans live in mortal dread of being ousted at election time not by Democrats, but by far-out Right-wingers on their own side.

Even if they would like to act temperately in this crisis, they dare not...

America remains the greatest society on earth, but its leadership looks sickly and feeble, for reasons that relate partly to this President but mostly to the fact that the U.S. constitution and its standard- bearers are failing their country.

In the name of freedom, the Supreme Court, third pillar of the check-and-balance system, persistently hands down conservative decisions which worsen the politics. For instance, the Court upholds the right of billionaires to provide unlimited campaign funding. This means that tiny minorities are empowered by Right-wing billionaires who use their riches as a club to bully and blackmail elected representatives....

The shutdown crisis shows that democratic freedoms, when brutishly abused, can produce consequences almost as scary as those of tyranny.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2455505/MAX-HASTINGS-America-ungovernable.html#ixzz2hijchl5m

I don't think America is becoming ungovernable, but I think the Republican party is becoming unviable because its own leadership is being held hostage by the extremists within their ranks. While that will cause partisan gridlock, and incoherence and irrationality in the short term, in the long run, I think, the voters will give the Republicans such a resounding boot, because of this nonsense, that Republicans will be forced to rally around their own centrists, and to court a wider demographic, and that will ultimately restore better balance in Congress.

The hatred of this President, coming from the far right, and the fear and distrust of government in those same quarters, reveals a total lack of basic respect for the democratic process--the process by which we elect our leaders and pass our laws--and those who have no respect for the process shouldn't be given the power to pervert or control it. We have a duly elected President, and a duly legislated Affordable Heath Care Act, and the current sideshow in Congress isn't going to change either of those things. This isn't just about "Obamacare", that's just the current staging area, it's about the use of bullying, blackmail, and political terrorist tactics, by extremists, to disrupt the functioning of the government, something that cannot be allowed to happen. And that's one reason why compromise, on the part of the President, is not an option right now.
Quote:
Polls show that the American people hold the Republicans chiefly responsible for the current mess. The party’s moderates are desperate to extricate themselves. But behind them stand the Tea Party’s gunslingers, holding cocked pistols to their heads.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2455505/MAX-HASTINGS-America-ungovernable.html#ixzz2hjAc65sR

America isn't ungovernable, but the current Republican party is, just ask John Boehner, who has been reduced to being little more than a sock puppet.
Quote:
President Obama on Monday warned lawmakers that the country stood “a good chance of defaulting,” with devastating effects for the economy, if lawmakers were not willing to quickly set aside their differences in the coming hours and days.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/15/us/politics/seeking-deal-to-avert-default-lawmakers-to-meet-obama.html?hp&_r=0

If that default is allowed to happen on Thursday, the Republicans, along with their Tea Party faction, will have committed political suicide.

The current shutdown isn't just about "Obamacare"....



Lordyaswas
 
  2  
Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2013 02:18 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
...."
It's understandable that much of the world feels schadenfreude for the US, and we, by no means, have limited the opportunity for others to mock us, but the notion that other people outside of America just can't fathom the madness of the Yanks because it is so foreign to them is, really, just a bunch of crap...."


Says you.

I say you're wrong. Most of the citizens in the UK who have any interest in politics or foreign affairs, plus those of Germany, France, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, to name but a few, are all scratching their heads at how the Americans are acting over this, ripping each other apart because of basic greed and lack of compassion for their fellow countrymen.
They are also flummoxed as to how you can call yourselves a democracy, indeed, put yourselves up as a beacon of democracy for the rest of the world to live up to, and in the same breath ride roughshod over your democratic procedures to score political points.
I seriously worry for how this will affect your country, and more importantly, how your unfeeling selfishness could possibly affect the rest of the world if your threatened bankruptcy becomes a reality.
I think that under the surface, you are just a bunch of haves and have nots who have up until now shown a united face to the world. And that facade is now crumbling fast.
The world is worrying and you lot are still going for it gung ho, and seemingly smug about what you are doing.
How very, very wrong this all is.

PS.....By the way, Max Hastings is about as right wing as they get, and writes for a right wing newspaper.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2013 03:04 pm
@Lordyaswas,
Yes, sez me.

Please spare me your European flummox over the greed and lack of compassion concerning American Republicans (because you have very clearly cast your vote for the "sophisticated Northeast" Democrats.)

One might, pathetically, argue that Europeans having bestowed upon the world the unfortunate downsides of imperialism and colonialism, two World Wars (to name but a few of their gifts) have now, in the blink of the historical eye, evolved into enlightened world citizens and so are uniquely positioned to assess and criticize America, but then that is also, really, just a bunch of crap.

Oh I am very sure that you "seriously" worry about my country.

No, you've revealed that what you're really worried about is your own ass, and the collective Euorpean ass.

Fair enough. Self-interest is an excellent motivator and ultimately responsible for a lot of good for the community, but I'm quite sure you disagree.

Your country, your journalists, your politicians and your citizens reside on the margins when it comes to global affairs. This fact is by no means indicative of the quality of their thought, simply its relevance.

The end of the American Empire may be in sight and if and when it happens, there will, no doubt, be a great number of Americans who wish to cling to and take advantage of past glories, but they will find themselves as pathetically irrelevant as those Europeans who can't just settle into a common life.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2013 03:09 pm
@Lordyaswas,
Lordyaswas wrote:

PS.....By the way, Max Hastings is about as right wing as they get, and writes for a right wing newspaper.


Well, no he's not as "right wing as they get" unless, perhaps, one is considering a very narrow "sophisticated" London elite who like to play at being contrary.



izzythepush
 
  0  
Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2013 03:33 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
He's as far right as you can get without goose stepping and lynching.

Quote:
a very narrow "sophisticated" London elite


Who the **** is that supposed to be?

I think you've lost the plot, too much Downton Abbey.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2013 03:39 pm
I suppose I need to read this now.
I tend to agree with Lordy but may surprise him sometime, not yet.
This present stuff is hysteric (oh, christ, vaginas again), but will probably blow over, hopefully with some parmesan.
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2013 05:09 pm
@Lordyaswas,
Lordyaswas wrote:

I think that under the surface, you are just a bunch of haves and have nots who have up until now shown a united face to the world. And that facade is now crumbling fast.
The world is worrying and you lot are still going for it gung ho, and seemingly smug about what you are doing.
How very, very wrong this all is.



Why should the world worry? No big brother to keep the world from spinning out of control? Why "very, very wrong"? As the song goes, "It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to..." The "world" got theirs when the U.S. lost 500,000 in WWII. Now they should stand on their own two feet, in my opinion.
IRFRANK
 
  2  
Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2013 08:02 pm
I think the article is pretty accurate. I am coming to the conclusion the there are two basic drivers for the far right and their irresponsible behavior.

1. They do not want the ACA to work. period. It is a major accomplishment of this president and they cannot let him succeed. Regardless of whether or not it is good for the country. It is clear to me that they are motivated to make Obama fail and nothing else.

2. I think there is a strong underlying current of racism in this country. It is not as overt as it once was, but often I read comments that send that message. I just saw a comment from 'Joe the plumber', (remember him) that he saw nothing wrong with this country wanting a WHITE republican president. I think a lot of people share that view. They just know enough to keep their mouth shut. It seems to me it shows up here in a lot of posts. Many people simply cannot accept the option of a successful, black president.

All of this is doing severe damage to this country and will end up hurting us all. We have 3 years before things change and I'm concerned about how much worse things can get.


Quote:
The end of the American Empire may be in sight and if and when it happens, there will, no doubt, be a great number of Americans who wish to cling to and take advantage of past glories,


Perhaps you are correct about this. The attempt to cling to past glories, real or imagined, may cost a great deal.
0 Replies
 
IRFRANK
 
  2  
Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2013 08:12 pm
@firefly,
Quote:
In the name of freedom, the Supreme Court, third pillar of the check-and-balance system, persistently hands down conservative decisions which worsen the politics. For instance, the Court upholds the right of billionaires to provide unlimited campaign funding. This means that tiny minorities are empowered by Right-wing billionaires who use their riches as a club to bully and blackmail elected representatives....


This did indeed have a drastic effect in enabling the current situation. The Koch brothers are indeed very much behind this.
0 Replies
 
 

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