“It’s beginning to look a lot like … Chicago-style politics in Washington, D.C.”

By Clio

The Bold Pursuit wishes everyone a Joyous Christmas and Happy Chanukah. It is our hope that, like Mr. Obama, Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi, you will find your most desired gifts, wrapped in festive paper and adorned with bright ribbons under your trees. Of course, we also hope that you didn’t ask Santa for a horror of a health care plan that will burden your nation with taxes or raise the debt ceiling a few hundred billion dollars…

We found this quote from an article by Martha R. Gore on Suite101.com (full attribution and permission links below). This paragraph seems very apropos considering the man who occupies the Oval Office learned what he knows of politics from a grand city, one our favorite places, albeit one of the most politically corrupt towns in our country:

“Political corruption in Chicago in 1910s and 1920s flourished as organized crime stepped into the mix with payoffs to policemen. It continued under the leadership of Mayor Anton Cermack and then the Kelly-Nash machine that doled out patronage jobs, political appointments, and broad favors to ethnic groups. They kept the city solvent during the New Deal years by obtaining federal funds as well as resources from organized crime…” 1 (Italics added for emphasis by Clio.)

Does the above have a familiar ring? Trading funds for favors? As noted by a recent guest on Fox News, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s bribes bought enough votes in order to cram through a health care bill that was not thoroughly vetted or debated (the cloture vote last weekend brought that option to a screeching halt), not to mention a bill that the majority of Americans, according to almost every major pollster, do not want. However, the Democrats want to hand Mr. Obama a “win” before Christmas – regardless of the desires or best interests of their constituents. The vote this morning tied a big RED ribbon on this lump of coal. Happy Holidays, Mr. Obama!

According to the Fox News commentator (and I paraphrase), Sen. Bill Nelson’s “sweetheart deal” (NE) or Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (LA) multi-million dollar grab bag, just to name a few of the political profiteers, in any other context would be called bribery; however, in Washington, D.C. this is simply “horse-trading.”

I will refrain from expressing myself on this point, except to say that the first word of my opinion begins with “horse.”

Mr. Obama learned and earned his political stripes in a city that, one could argue, is synonymous with political corruption. Forget former Governor Rod Blagojevich’s wiretaps, Obama and Blago chum, Tony Rezko’s convictions for fraud and money-laundering, or infamous Chicago “boss” Mayor Richard Daley tainted reign of Chi-Town; Chicago’s colorful and crooked political history is so rife with generational lawlessness that it is, by some, considered the norm. Of course, Al Capone, who was born in Brooklyn, New York, earned his reputation as one of America’s most infamous early gangsters in Chicago.

“This source of corruption, alas, is inherent in the democratic system itself, and it can only be controlled, if at all, by finding ways to encourage legislators to subordinate ambition to principle.” James L. Buckley

Honestly, I really don’t care about presenting Mr. Obama with a “win” in order to shore up his weak and ill-defined (but frenetically aggressive) agendas. Mr. Obama was elected to govern the American people and act in their best interests – not indulge his own narcissistic needs. Americans have clearly, loudly and emphatically expressed their disapproval of the federal government taking over health care, as well as the broader ramifications that will accompany acquisition of approximately one-sixth of our economy.

The protests heard in town hall meetings, marches, tea party events, letters and phone calls to elected officials fell on deaf and uncaring ears: the bill was passed, 60 – 39, and now goes to conference in which the committee will attempt to merge or reconcile the Congressional and Senate bills.

As we contemplate this next step, it is fair to ask “Are there problems with the current state of health care in America? Do we need new legislation?” Yes. I know this firsthand as an independent, small business owner.

Many years ago, I was diagnosed with a serious illness just nine months after obtaining an individual health policy. My first claims for diagnostic tests and treatment were denied. I didn’t politely accept the denial; I fired off angry letters and rattled every cage I could find. My claims were, in short order, accepted. I am the proverbial squeaky wheel and know how to throw a first-class, window-rattling, indignant fit in order to get past patronizing gatekeepers.

Health care providers: A friend of mine owns an insurance agency. Every year, the premiums increase at rates that range from 20-35%. My friend must pass on these increases to his clients and many opt to drop certain benefits, change providers or drop coverage for all employees – they simply can’t afford the egregious premiums.

Portability: when I moved from one state to another, I was not allowed to keep my private policy. Since I had a pre-existing condition, the possibility of obtaining an affordable individual policy was unlikely.

“Big Pharma”: my first policy did not, initially, include a pharmacy plan. My out-of-pocket costs for medicine were exorbitant – even in 1992. Years later, when my employer went out of business and all of us lost our medical coverage, I tried to purchase medication and was stunned when charged hundreds of dollars for one month’s supply of medicine.

Tort reform, keeping insurance providers and the pharmaceutical industries in check without restricting free trade, offering portability, as well as affordable plans for the self- or unemployed are a few positive steps that could salvage a premier health care industry. With a few carefully considered legislative acts, we could help keep costs in check, expand coverage availability without burdening Americans with more taxes and prevent chasing away qualified medical personnel who will seek employment elsewhere in order to be able to support their families, pay onerous malpractice insurance and repay their expensive student loans. Medical professionals may even opt to choose another profession.

Of course, all of the above has been suggested by president after president to uncooperative, partisan representatives.

Mr. Obama claims that seven presidents before him tried to enact health care reform … and failed. Why did they fail, Mr. Obama? President Clinton also wanted socialized medicine for America, but America didn’t want ClintonCare.

President George W. Bush pushed for tort reform, portability, health care spending accounts and, facing an uncooperative House and Senate, was unable to pass his legislation.

Mr. Obama will claim his “win” through bribery and deceitful practices, learned from his friends and neighbors in the sullied style of the Chicago political machine. In my opinion, that’s not a win or a victory to trumpet –it’s a buyout.

This country does need health care reform – there is no question on that point. However, we should try to pass health care reform that Americans want and need, not pass out political payouts.

Mr. Obama, find your ego-stroking, big-ticket win by governing this country with integrity and hard work. We know you are inexperienced in Washington politics, having served approximately 150 days in the Senate prior to your election, but no one gets to make excuses in the Oval Office. Isn’t it time, Mr. Obama, that you stopped whining and finger-pointing at the Bush Administration and started acting like a true leader? How does one define that? Consider the following:

“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Character matters; leadership descends from character.” Rush Limbaugh

“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.”
Norman Schwarzkopf

“Leadership has a harder job to do than just choose sides. It must bring sides together.” Jesse Jackson

Mr. Obama, Majority Leader Reid, Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats in the Senate and House: Back room deals and vote manipulation may foist an unwanted partisan plan on our country, but this “win” may very well become a loss when voters go to the polls in upcoming elections. America will let you know what it thinks of your sweetheart deals, bribery and corruption. Your holiday gift may turn into an “unclean” lump of unburnable coal.

Merry Christmas, America!

1 Permission to quote granted by author, Martha R. Gore, M.L.S.Read more at Suite101: Corruption in American Cities: Chicago: From the Great Fire of 1871 to the 21st Century, Corruption Thrives | Suite101.com http://americanaffairs.suite101.com/article.cfm/corruption_in_amerian_cities_chicago#ixzz0aNU01hOe

While Rome Burns …

by Clio

… We sit in our easy chairs, watch or read the news on our computers. Every day, elemental aspects of America are being changed, manipulated and excised, and most of us sit, watch, read or perhaps engage our family or colleagues in discussion or debate about our country’s transformation.

Throughout my life, I also watched, read and, when I felt my company might appreciate my perspectives, expressed my views. I guess I was a political wallflower.

My earliest memory of a national news event was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. I remember the somber mood in our home as my parents spoke with relatives and friends about the tragedy.

As an adolescent, the riots of the 60s raised the issue of racism at our dinner table; I read accounts of the Vietnam War protests and Watergate (resulting in President Richard Nixon’s resignation) in one of my favorite magazines, Rolling Stone. I remember the slogans and chants and probably repeated some myself. I was a typical teenager in many respects: naively judgmental and relatively uniformed.

My high school Social Studies class covered the feminist movement and explored our deep concerns about nuclear proliferation. The U.S.S.R. was our Cold War enemy and the films and novels of the day reflected American fear of a smirking Russian with a ready finger on the nuclear “red button.”

Skyjacking, Libyan-supported terrorism and Muslim extremists replaced the smirking Russian in our nightmares and newspapers. In 1979, the American Embassy in Iran was invaded and Iranian students held 53 Americans hostage for 444 days. President Jimmy Carter organized a disastrous rescue attempt (“Operation Eagle Claw”), but the hostages were freed only minutes after Ronald Reagan, who defeated Carter in the election, took the oath of office.

President Ronald Reagan took bold steps to end the Cold War and did so without a single shot being fired. “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Reagan demanded; a bold command that reverberated around the world, changed the course of history and led to the lifting of the Iron Curtain.

There are many memorable events in the Reagan presidency, however, his election was particularly poignant for me because I became a Republican, voted for the first time and chose Ronald Reagan to lead our country.

I remember how empowered I felt after I left the voting booth on November 4, 1980. Later that evening, I watched the election returns and as the final votes were tallied, it occurred to me that if I hadn’t voted there would have been 43,903,229 instead of 43,903,230 votes cast for Ronald Reagan and his vice president, George H.W. Bush. My one vote would not have affected the outcome of the election, but it was counted! I took part in democratic process and was proud to be an American.

During the Persian Gulf War, I read newspapers, watched a war on television 24/7 and marveled at seeing reporters speaking to us “live” from various parts of the world, via satellite, on cable TV news stations. We watched the War as if it was a primetime series (“Operation: Desert Storm”) and combat vernacular (smart bombs, Scud and Patriot missiles) became part of our water cooler conversations.

Such was the extent of my political “activism” until the 2000 Presidential campaign. I joined the Bush-Cheney grassroots effort and created a virtual precinct. I attended some parties, was quoted by a Village Voice reporter and cast my vote. I did something, made an effort, but felt that I had more to give and wanted to give to my country.

The political timeline continues with great accomplishments and disappointments: recessions, recoveries, bear and bull stock markets, technology and Internet booms and busts, the space shuttle program launches Columbia on its maiden flight; later, the Challenger shuttle crash claims seven lives. We endured and observed more terrorist attacks … and, then September 11, 2001. Do I need to say more?

Last November 4, 2008, we witnessed a looming American tragedy: Barack Hussein Obama won the presidential election and ushered in a new era of extreme liberal agendas, supported by majorities in the House and Senate.

Six months into his presidency, Mr. Obama has made swift, drastic and expensive changes to this country without few impediments. Our venerable system of checks and balances in this administration is compromised and the current administration has free rein (or is it “reign”) to plunge our nation into a multi-trillion dollar debt, appoint cabinet officials, “czars” and judges with spotty records with little or no opposition, attempt to institute a government-sponsored health care industry – an ineffective, costly socialist-type of program that has failed to be effective in other countries.

Obama’s health care bill, like the TARP program and industry bailouts, will be a financial burden for generations to come. Experts tell us that H.R. 3200 will create a huge bureaucracy that will amount to 1/6th of our national economy. There are frightening aspects of this bill that may affect the way we treat senior citizens, ration care, create diminished quality of care and will negatively affect small businesses through tax increases and other measures.

Health Care Reform Bill, H.R. 3200 shares some commonalities with Obama’s other hasty endeavors (TARP, corporate, banking and auto industry bailouts): his administration presents lengthy and complicated legislative bills (H.R. 3200 has over 1000 pages) and then applies pressure for an immediate vote. Our representatives in Washington aren’t given enough time to read the entire complex and hefty legislative literature, leaving our representatives no choice but to blindly vote on the measures and their constituents in the dark and at the mercy of Mr. Obama’s aggressive plans.

However, something unexpected (at least to Mr. Obama and his minions) is taking place: seniors and other citizens are verbalizing their concern and anger over the more pernicious parts of the bill. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin recently wrote forcefully about the health care rationing on her Facebook Notes:

“… who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.”

Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi compared the protestors to Nazis and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid accused them of trying to “sabotage” the democratic process. As a nation, we’re in trouble when our leaders try to trample on our First Amendment rights and attempt to suppress our freedom of speech by impugning our patriotism and intentions with inflammatory comments and slander.

I applaud the patriots who raised their voices in outrage over the health care reform bill and I admire those who attended recent “tea parties” to protest tax increases and the burgeoning national debt.

Former Governor Palin has taken more abuse from Obama and his staff than any politician in recent history, but she is unafraid to stand up to his administration and condemn this latest deeply-flawed piece of legislation – her actions and leadership command my respect.

While “Rome” burns, we can sit, read, watch and wait until someone else tries to stamp out the flames or we can, as a country, take a stand and demand better leadership from Washington’s enthroned elite.

It isn’t necessary for all of us to march on Washington, D.C., engage in protests or attend tea parties – we can throw our own Revolution if each of us will just take some kind of action, such as write to our elected officials, send a letter to the editor, attend a town hall meeting or even post a notice on our church or community bulletin board.

We can achieve tremendous results and perhaps douse the flames that threaten this great democracy if we get out of our chairs and start walking our talk… even small efforts can bring remarkable changes.

If the ire of a few of our senior citizens can attract international press coverage and one former governor’s strong statement, via the Internet, prompts a change in the bill, surely we can make a difference in the future of our country if we just stop talking about what we don’t like about the current state of affairs and do something in defense of America. We must act now, before we have nothing left but the ashes of a divinely-inspired Constitution and a charred and ruined country.