When I was a child, I learned from my old man the right way to eliminate a hornet's nest.
He put a big plastic bag around the whole nest and closed the bag over it. Then, he detached the nest from the ceiling and the nest fell inside the closed bag. I could hear the enraged hornets flying and buzzing inside the bag, but they could not do any harm.
There is another way to eliminate a hornet's nest, though. One can start chipping away little pieces of the nest with a dull spoon, one little piece at a time.
This latter method also moves you toward the greater goal of eliminating the hornet's nest; but, needless to say, you will pay the consequences.
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This seems to be what President Barack Obama did, attempting to rein in the political power that big corporations have accrued. He took a few measures that did not make a big difference in neutralizing their power, or gaining him popular support; but he did just enough to provoke the rage of corporate elites who came out in droves against his administration.
Consider the financial system. Obama gave big handouts to Wall Street, and allowed the same irresponsible unregulated behavior. Banks continued foreclosing on poor families, despite the suffering it was causing to so many people (and the fact that some foreclosures were not even legal).
The financial system made more money during Obama's presidency than it had made in recorded history.
But he added a few regulations on credit card companies and took away the control of the student loans from banks. He included enough regulation to taunt the economic elites who came out with millions of dollars in smear money to cost many Democrats re-election.
We also have the health care bill that includes big handouts to insurance companies, with insufficient regulations.
However, on some obscure page, there is a clause that says that, at some time in the future, insurance companies have to use 80 to 85 percent of the premiums to pay for medical expenses or give rebates.
Fifteen percent for the companies is not bad, but it is a lot less than the 23 to 30 percent they are making now. This was another scraping of the hornet's nest.
The insurance sector came after the Democrats with hornet-like rage, but they failed to provide universal health care for the American people. So, the Democratic base was not there for them on Election Day.
Unfortunately, Obama learned nothing from it. In his epic capitulation to Republican demands to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, Obama does not seem to realize he is helping his base very little and the hornets will not be any more grateful than they have been.
In the last days of this Congress, Democrats have been successful demonstrating that Republicans are willing to go against the very conservative values they profess, the interest of the American people and even the country itself. Clearly, the Democrats hope this would cost Republicans dearly in the next elections.
What the Democrats do not seem to realize is that people who pay that much attention to politics already vote Democratic, and the great majority of Americans will only see that the party failed to deliver on most of its promises, despite having the largest majority in decades.
With another $1 trillion in debt, how is Obama going to protect Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and all other social services the hornets are eager to destroy?
Obama talks about "the hard choices we will have to make," referring to the inevitable butchering of all social programs.
When are we going to ask the billionaires to make hard choices?
Why are the financial elites, insurance companies, pharmaceuticals and the oil conglomerates always spared from "biting the bullet," while the poor people have been using bullets as staple food for years?
Our senior citizens devoted their lives to build this country up. They don't have a lot of choices left to make. How can the people who lost their houses and lost their jobs make hard choices?
Why are we asking hard choices of those who don't have any choice?