Suppose I’m an average American . . . I’m not exactly “low-info” or even politically apathetic, I’m just pretty busy having a life. I’ve got kids, a dog, a job and, now, a tetchy water heater that probably needs replacing. I just don’t have the bandwidth to turn over every rock in the political landscape and inventory the slugs living under them. I live in America the Exceptional so I take some things on faith.
For too long, now, I hear way too much about Obamacare and how it’s going to save or destroy the country and none of it makes a whole lot of sense. And since I have “real” health insurance for my family, through my job, I don’t really need to think about it. Right? I wouldn’t mind paying less for my share but it’s just way too risky to switch insurance when you have it.
So. This morning, on the way to work, I hear that some big organization for doctors has taken a case to the Supreme Court for an emergency hold on the Obamacare roll-out. That gets my attention—this isn’t crazy politicians with an ax to grind but real doctors. And doctors are smart and professional and they know what’s going on in the medical world. This sounds serious if the doctors are going all the way to the Supreme Court to stop Obamacare . . .
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OK. I read that, too. And I’m retired so I have lots of time to not take things “on faith” in 21st century America. The downside of that is that I am sometimes tempted to march off a cliff into the sea and never look back.
Mr C. W. Cooke [with an “e,” if you please] is a young British gent who has come to America to seek his fortune telling Americans how to do American better. He does this important work in the pages of National Review and via occasional guest appearances on conservative thought leadership outlets such as Fox News, The Blaze and The Washington Times.
Now, aside from the fact that Mr Cooke, at 30 years old, has been in this country for only a grand total of two years, he is an Oxonian [British for a graduate of Oxford University] who has spent considerable hours swotting away [as they say] at Modern History and Politics.
So. That makes him a very smart fellow indeed who has found his niche lecturing Americans on free speech, the Second Amendment and American Exceptionalism. Obviously, young Mr Cooke is hankering to be an exceptional American himself.
Congressional Republicans—they are different, you know? Going back to the Truman Administration at least (no, actually, longer than that), pols have thought it might be kind of nice for Americans to have some kind of affordable access to medical coverage so they didn’t die of easily treatable maladies. It was just this thing, you know? We thought our fellow citizens were worthwhile human beings and that maybe they shouldn’t be bankrupted in the pursuit of bodily well-being and not being dead.
Maybe not everyone got the message that our fellow citizens are worthwhile human beings who shouldn’t be bankrupted in the pursuit of bodily well-being. What strikes me as exceptionally tasteless, though, are the folks who have decided that the decades-long work to cover most Americans’ health care was a source of amusement. Like the goofy galoot pictured above, who himself follows in the vein of Asclepius.
Well, sort of. He was a doctor, but somewhere along the way, he decided that science was Satan, and I guess the whole “taking care of the sick and suffering” thing became hilarious. You know he doesn’t really care because this is how he talks about Obamacare during an EPA hearing (I know, right? Like is global warming even a thing? So boring!):
So. It’s been awhile, about 3 years now, so it’s understandable that some of us may have already forgotten our bitter disappointment when the Affordable Care Act morphed, before our eyes, from a brave new universal healthcare plan, that would finally bring the US in line with the rest of the industrialized world, to a neoliberal Frankenstein’s monster designed to lead New Deal liberals and Reagan conservatives to a great post-partisan Kumbaya moment.
As we know, ACA barely made it, thanks only to a Democratic super-majority, without a single Republican vote. And the result is a healthcare law that left liberals and conservatives both holding their noses over a law that hardly anyone approves of in its current form.
By the time, conservative-bait and liberal dreams were all present and accounted for, ACA had turned into a Rube Goldberg model of healthcare policy.
One of the interesting bits of ACA history is that it is based, in large part, on a 1989 Heritage Foundation blueprint of the conservative alternative to single-payer healthcare along the lines of Medicare.
At that time, Republicans were not fond, at all, of the 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act which requires any hospital participating in Medicare (i.e., most, if not all) to provide emergency care to anyone who needs it, underwritten in large part, by the federal government. Republicans hailed the Heritage Foundation plan, a market-based approach dependent on individual responsibility, much more to their liking.
The above video is of Rep. Pete Sessions of TX, who was supposedly the person who said he could not stand to look at President Obama at some point in a White House meeting. And I don’t even know if it is true. I won’t pretend I know. Let’s just call him the Schroedinger’s Racist, and posit that unless the White House meeting in question was actually recorded, we simply can not infer from the available data whether he actually expressed the opinion that he could not stand the President and will not know until that event can be observed.
Some people might allege that based upon a priori data, we can reasonably speculate that Pete Sessions is in fact just the sort of person who might have made a disrespectful remark regarding the President. Others might state that the authoritative denial of the White House spokespeople negates the likelihood that he said that thing—but reasonable people might also weigh the possibility that the remark exists as an inadmissible anecdote—not on the record, but having been heard by someone, just not in a fashion readily reproducible.
In other words, he may have said it, and have had it been officially unsaid. In fact, it may have been very necessary to do so, because in order for the aforementioned White House meeting to have been in effect, the actual authority of the holder of the office that the White House represents would have to be validated. The failure to recognize that authority would tend to corrupt the resulting exchange of the conversation.
And we have no particular reason to believe that the conversation was corrupted, do we?
I leave that logical exercise for the reader to determine on his/her/their own.
The final (for now) congressional vote on ending the government shutdown and raising the debt limit finally happened, and here are our totals:
The Senate voted 81 to 18 Wednesday night to reopen the federal government and raise the nation’s borrowing limit, hours before the Treasury Department faced the possibility of being unable to pay all of America’s bills for the first time in modern history.
The House followed suit, voting 285-144, to end the latest damaging battle of divided government in a polarized Congress.
I wil probably have a lot more to say about this later, but for now, keep in mind that there were 18 GOP Senators and 144 GOP House members (oh, yes, they were all GOP members), who for some reason thought not raising the debt ceiling would be fine with them. Among the “Nays” were usual suspects for the 2016 GOP presidential primaries—Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul—even Paul Ryan.
That’s kind of a disgrace, isn’t it? In a few years, will they be able to defend that? Will they maintain that this was a symbolic vote since they didn’t doubt in the least that the votes to pass were there? I guess we will see how that flies.
But speaking of whether or not the votes were there, I guess Boehner was not accurate when he previously said that the votes to pass a clean CR weren’t there. It’s possible he only thought he could get them if his members were under the debt limit gun, so to speak. But when you consider the last 16 days, and $24 billion lost in the economy, it just doesn’t seem like this was all that productive. does it?
This also takes us back to the dilemma from the beginning of the year—Boehner might really have only 80-odd reliable votes in his caucus, and Nancy Pelosi has pretty much the Democratic side. He’s a pretty weak speaker to begin with, and with yet another violation of the Hastert rule, once again, his Speakership may be in peril. But once again—who wants it? If Speaker Boehner looks like a man who drinks, he also looks to me like a man with reasons.
Which, when I composed all this last night, was a bit contigent upon more GOP members actually minding, but as of today, his Facebook page blowing up with dolchstoss imagery notwithstanding, it looks like the teafolk have electedto be cool. I deeply wonder if this is because Drunk Uncle John promises them Christmas, lets them stay up past their bedtimes, and will allow them to do this thing all over again. Unlike the GOP Senators, who are poopyheads.
You know what? On second thought, maybe it’s because he has said the most gee-gosh-darn things. You know, like joking that the president was going to disappear him and that hecklers were probably paid OFA shills. Because obviously. Nothing succeeds like flaming paranoia. (Unless you are appealing to the fringe, in which case paranoia is best known as “fitting in”.) And amongst the values voters, that enlightened bastion of Godwinning for Goobers, Homophobia for Herp-Derps, and Bible-Banging for Bigots, he actually has a crowd in which he doesn’t stand out. Good going, Ted.
Call me the eternal optimist, but there’s a little part of me that thinks we might just get somewhere with this discharge petition thing, largely because I’ve lost the last bit of faith or patience I’ve had for the Squeaker of the House. Yes, there is the possibility that this kind of move will cause him to play “harder ball” over the debt ceiling—
Well, of course it’s not some damn game. So he might as well stop playing, because as Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell have helpfully and inadvertantly informed us, the White House is at least being privately as well as publically consistent in their message. Boehner can’t even keep his public face on straight. If you don’t have the cards, at some point you have to fold or show, to borrow a gaming metaphor. And then everyone will know.
And yes, there is the possibility that Boehner will lose his Speakership over dealing fairly and in a bipartisan way—and once again, I am out of fucks. He can end doing something correct, or he can end looking for “no disrespect” from the disrespectful Tea Party monster that both got him his speakership, but brought him to this ugly impasse. It can be argued that he might be replaced with someone worse—I would respond that once he became so hollow inside that the arm of freshman Senator Ted Cruz conveniently fit inside and made his mouth work, I no longer thought worse was necessarily probable. I think the ad nicely delivers the blame and points in the direction of what is truly embarassing about this situation. It’s either Boehner’s call what he does about it, or he’s about as weak in that position as we already guessed.
Meet Rep. John Abney Culberson (R-Loon Star State) who is so tickled over the prospects of his beloved TEA Party Caucus shutting down the government that he allowed the testosterone to totally go to his head and uttered these ill-chosen words as he exited Saturday’s GOP House caucus meeting:
It’s like 9/11. Let’s roll!
It’s not a thing, it’s NOTHING like 9/11, you ignorant chucklehead.
Now, in deference to my fellow bloggers here at RumpRoast, I won’t take up the space here that it would take to describe my feelings of abject disgust over the sheer dick-headed crass, crapitude that is embodied in that unfortunate false equivalence of real heroes with the whiny losers [both literal and figurative] throwing a prolonged tantrum in our nation’s capitol. The only thing they might have in common with those 9/11 heroes is that they already know they are dead so they might as well destroy the whole shebang as they go down.
Suffice it to say I think Culberson is a hare-brained cracker who could only get elected in Texas.
Which brings me to my second point: Republican sane people—WAKE UP! These asshats are about to torpedo your party once and for all. They represent 13% of the American electorate, the certifiable portion, but they are convinced that they represent a huge majority and they are going to take you down.
Meathead Culberson will survive, though, because he hails from a firmly gerry-rigged district. But that is certainly not the case for all of you, as reported so well in Down With Tyranny today:
There are at least 32 Republicans who, unlike Culberson, can’t win reelection without independent voters. And, unlike Republicans, independent voters do not back this government shut down.
You folks are on that plane with Culberson. You know who you are. You still have time to keep him away from the cockpit and put him in a straightjacket.
Oh, and Speaker Boehner? you might consider manning up at the eleventh hour and putting a clean CR to a vote. If you do, it will pass. The nut-jobs in your party will not be pleased, They might even take away your gavel. But, at least you’ll be able to look the man in the mirror in the eye, tomorrow.
Well, the P.T. Barnum of the US Senate let his freak flag fly last night in a pre-season campaign talkathon and damage-control session. Cruzilla had maneuvered himself into hot water with a large majority of the sane inhabitants of the Free World and had to prove that he was not just all . . . well, talk.
So it is that the Gentleman From Texas took himself off to Harry Reid and asked for permission to stage a faux-filibuster in the US Senate during off hours. Of course, Harry’s nobody’s fool and figured if this troublemaker wants an audience while making an even greater ass of himself, well, there aren’t any Senate rules against that as long as he clears off in time for a Wednesday test-vote that should spank him good and proper.
Others have covered the details of Cruz’s overnight “program” in detail. Suffice it to say that it included little homilies about Neville Chamberlain appeasing Nazis—a conservative staple, introduced during the first 30 minutes—the ever-inspiring story of Cruz Sr’s immigrant dish-washing days, a weird riff on White Castle, a Rand Paul walk-on, and a brief—now famous—interlude in which Ted Cruz, family man, read Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham for his daughters’ bed-time story.
Cruz may have graduated from Princeton and Harvard, but that doesn’t mean that he “gets” Green Eggs and Ham. Cruz, of course, tied the story into Obamacare, explaining how Americans “do not like it in a box, with a fox, on a train, etc” proving to the wonderment of the pre-school set that he completely missed the point of the story which is “try it, you might like it.”
Oh well, I guess his brain is just too crammed with Ivy League stuff [and none of that “Lesser Ivy League” stuff, either.]
In the last few days some absurdly over the top and hilarious (or disgusting depending on your point of view) comparisons have been made. Here’s a straw poll to decide which one is the most craptastic:
1. Aptly named Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) compares efforts by himself and other Republican Congresspeeps to defund Obamacare to the actions of Rosa Parks, Lech Walesa and Martin Luther King. Because fighting to deny affordable health care for people is exactly the same as fighting to secure civil rights and freedom for other people.
2. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) compares the Obamacare defunders to Revolutionary War soldiers. He admits that he’s fighting a losing battle on the defunding front but manages to massage his comparison so that a small heroic group of Revolutionaries rallied the masses who apparently were just fine with British oppression up to then. Bonus points for re-writing history!
3. And last but by no means least, Robert Benmosche, CEO of AIG goes all the way there and compares public anger at the large AIG bonuses paid out after the company crashed itself and most of the economy to lynchings of black people in the South. Yes. Actual quote: “The uproar over bonuses “was intended to stir public anger, to get everybody out there with their pitch forks and their hangman nooses, and all that–sort of like what we did in the Deep South [decades ago]. And I think it was just as bad and just as wrong.” I can’t even . . . well, ‘nuff said.
Cast your votes in comments but myself, I gotta go with door #3.
After 41 attempts to defund, repeal, or otherwise fool with Obamacare, for crying in the soup, sore loser Republicans, can we please get past the Louie Gohmert fucking line of deliberate ignorance?
Because it is no longer 2009. This question is for Republicans in the House: You somehow got enough people into the House of Representatives to make a go of expressing your sorry-ass displeasure that the private health insurance that many people get through paying lots of money in premiums for, or otherwise work for as part of their employment package, is now extended to less-funded individuals, rather in the way Heritage designed it and Romneycare first enacted it some time ago. You never did get enough senators to repeal it, though. So what gives?
So. the first headline I read this morning reads: Senate Returns To Normal Operations Following Navy Yard Shooting. Truth be told, I can barely remember the last time the Senate was operating normally. I think it was sometime during the Clinton administration . . . ? Whatever. More power to ‘em, if it’s true.
Meanwhile, we’re cruising into waters where there be dragons and the whole damn crew is either asleep in the wheelhouse or drunk-climbing the rigging. It’s not unusual for people wrestling with mental demons to get confused, lose the thread or do a 180 in their thinking. Which seems to be exactly what we are witnessing, right now, with Republicans.
Suddenly, the little voices in their heads are shrilling a new tune. For years now Barack Obama has been a super-scary, tyrannical Kenyan autocrat super-efficiently destroying the greatest government on Earth and bent on single-handedly imposing a New World Order of Sharia-flavored Socialism on the innocent, unsuspecting American populace. Be afraid! the little voices said, be verrrrry afraid.
Now. Suddenly. The bogeyman is weak! oh so impotent that a mere poof! of patriotic resistance will send him scuttling to the Oval Office to repeal ObamaScare, his own self, with his very own presidential vorpal sword. Whereupon he will repair to the Capitol Steps and set loose all 2,000+ pages, like little birds floating away in the crisp Fall air over the District.
Then we can all go to the Shining-City-on-the-Hill Drive-in, drink root beer floats, and pretend it’s the Fifties and none of this terrible shit ever happened.
So, regarding the ACA, we all know the Republicans are mostly agin’ it. They whooped. They hollered. They spread disinfo. They tried to repeal it something like 40 times, now. And you know what? They’re still losing. But it doesn’t stop them trying. Just recently, FreedomWorks, one of the big mahoff Tea Party groups, decided it would be brilliant to encourage young people to just abstain from getting any health insurance, in defiance of the mandate, on the grounds that the premiums would be more onerous than any penalties (you know, except for the whole being uninsured and needing healthcare thing, which is pretty pricey). And Heritage’s very own Jim DeMint was just saying how emergency rooms were fine and dandy health care, never you mind how the whole idea of “emergency care” is that it’s the kind of care you get when something very wrong is happening to you. Oh, and it’s the most expensive kind, and if patients can’t pay, the costs are, well, socialized.
Human beings will just have to adjust to not getting health care, sometimes. Oh, they might need it. They might have been told it was noble to forgo health insurance by one set of jackasses, and then told there’s always emergency rooms by another set of jackasses. But did they ever suspect that behind hospital curtain number three was a grinning clown offering a faceful of cold seltzer asking them to “adjust”?
An unforeseen, unheralded benefit of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act might be the undoing of Mitch McConnell in the 2014 mid-term elections. Interested? here’s how that could work . . .
No one in the US Congress has been more outspoken, or more blunt about his desire to derail the Obama presidency than Mitch McConnell (R-Kentuckah). At times, McConnell’s obsession with ousting Obama has bordered on maniacal—that is, except when he was doing back-room deals with the administration, sometimes by proxy, to save his conservative cred while trying to forestall the GOP’s lumbering progress toward the tar pits of political history.
Furthermore, McConnell is that rare political enigma—the hugely unpopular wielder of immense party power. Kentucky has been sending Mr McConnell to Washington for decades, now, but if job approval polls are worth anything, the love affair may be over at the same time that opposing forces are mounting credible threats.