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.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Planet Xanax), consummate Washington insider playing the role of Grassroots Greg has just come up with his most delusional idea, yet, for getting attention: close down the government if President Obama refuses to defund his own signature health reform law. Snap!
This is like a kid who gets sent to timeout for throwing a tantrum and decides to throw a bigger tantrum to protest. Smart kids don’t do it . . .
And although Sen. Lee is, by all accounts, a pretty smart kid, his base? not so much. A vast majority of them will be quite gratified to watch their TEA Party senator make trouble for Obama any way he can—the more theatrical, the better.
Politicians, unlike most of the rest of the species, don’t mind making total asses of themselves if they believe that’ll get them re-elected but I think Sen. Lee, and his party may be overestimating their banged up party’s ability to keep bouncing back from self-inflicted injuries.
Think about it . . . Lee and others in the GOP know that every minute that ticks by brings us closer to full implementation of Obamacare. And, every day that goes by brings more good news about ACA’s benefits to the economy, consumers and health care providers. If something doesn’t happen quick to derail Obamacare, well, that train is bound for glory. Leaving conservatives with a lot of #GOPFAIL on their faces.
Ever since Battlin’ Jan Brewer refused to sign any more legislation until Arizona passed the Obamacare Medicaid Expansion, Arizona Teapublicans feel like they’ve been punched in the gut! More like jabbed in the ribs by a governor who knows how to read financial reports, which, like reality, tend to have an anti-Tea bias. Welcome to the RINOdome, Governor! It’s beginning to look like at at least some Red State executive branches aren’t entirely drowning in tea.
Two meaningful things happened this week in the US House—I know. Meaningful things don’t happen there all that often these days, except for the occasional attempt at Obamacare repeal. But bear with me, because these are two things that really let you know where the GOP Congresscritters are coming from, these days:
Item the First:
A couple of bills were put up to defund ACORN. Now, you might be thinking that there isn’t any ACORN, and you’d be right, or you might be thinking that ACORN was kind of destroyed based on a hoax, and you’d be right about that, too.
I don’t know why you’d be so tasteless as to associate facts with things Republican congressfolks do, though.
So, a couple of years back Oregon had money to provide Medicaid to 10,000 people but unfortunately there were many more who needed it. So they held a lottery and then had the idea of studying the random people who got picked for Medicaid coverage against a control group of people who didn’t get picked. Some preliminary results were published several months back and now they have the rest of the results. Led by the shrieking of the CATO Institute, righties are now declaring Obamacare to be a useless failure. Mostly because blood pressure readings and cholesterol levels were not measurably different between the two groups.
McArgleBlargle takes to her keyboard to proclaim that giving people government health insurance does not make them healthier and in fact maybe health insurance (for the poors) itself is a waste of money!
And it’s actually bigger, and more important than Obamacare. We should all be revising our priors about how much health insurance—or at least Medicaid—really promotes health. What this really tells us is how little we know about health care, and making people healthy—and how often data can confound even our most powerful intuitions.
“Or at least Medicaid” she says. Which is, you know, what poor people, many of them with brown skins, use.
Well, a whole new crop of Republican freshman are throwing mind-numbing, tax-dollar-gobbling tantrums in the House already this year. Seems the new kids on the block are feeling robbed of their chance to sign on to irrelevant, symbolic legislation, that hasn’t passed 36 times now, all because the grown-ups have decided it’s a waste of time and makes the party look even sillier than losing did.
You guessed it—we’re talking Obamacare Repeal and these kids want in. After all, think about what a firm position on repealing Obamacare did for these high-profile politicos:
The crazy was on at CPAC today. Some of the more bizarre doings for your reading, ah, pleasure, I guess:
Because the Tea Party is so totally not racist, the Tea Party Patriots group put on a session called “Trump The Race Card: Are You Sick And Tired Of Being Called A Racist When You Know You’re Not One?” Well, after all, who wouldn’t be? The session was led by a black conservative named Carl Smith who urged attendees accused of racism to refer to themselves as “Frederick Douglass Republicans”. Unfortunately things went downhill when the audience started shouting back with accusations of “white disenfranchisement” (because nobody is discriminalized against as much as white males!) and support for slavery because, hey, free food & shelter and stuff. So we know for sure now that Tea Partiers are totally NOT racist.
Even a little crazier was a speech given by none other than The Donald. Apparently the crazed ramblings were so epic even his audience left scratching their heads. I, for one, am certainly looking forward to seeing that great ballroom addition to the White House that Trump’s completely gonna build!
Last, but not least, Rick Santorum (and to paraphrase Charlie Pierce, have we mentioned recently what a colossal dick the guy is?) chose to politicize the tragic death of his nephew the day before from an unnamed disease.
“Yesterday he was not the one in pain,” Santorum said, describing the “surreal” scene at the hospital. “Medicines were effectively blocking all his physical pain — we were the ones in pain.”
And he considers this an effective segue into a condemnation of gummint for wanting to block the pain of ordinary citizens who are just trying to get by in this world. In fact big gummint has robbed us of so much suffering and pain that we are in greater suffering and pain because of it! Because we have been robbed of the “why” of America. And so in conclusion government must . . . give us more pain?
I sympathize fully with his family. I too lost a family member to a disease that caused him a lot of pain and I was also grateful that, thanks to Medicare, he had the pain medications that kept him from suffering. I simply can’t conceive of using this as a platform to say other people should suffer pain. And that Medicare and Medicaid should not be there for them, that they should not have the safety net that keeps people from sleeping in the gutters and begging for a living. But I guess that’s why Santorum is a colossal dick and I am not.
Stay tooned folks. The crazy can only accelerate from here. Klondike Barbie is coming up!
UPDATE: Jim Newell chronicles the crazy today. Highlights include Sarah Palin’s boobs joke and Breitbart’s panel of the uninvited - those so far out there that even CPAC doesn’t want to be associated with them, famously including Pammy Shrugs.
Meet Kris Crawford, a Republican representative in the South Carolina State House, an emergency room doc, a convicted tax evader and political pragmatist of the confederate persuasion. That’s him in the mugshot which was taken at his graduation from the South Carolina School of Political Hard Knocks [more about that, later].
Rep Kris Crawford (R- Land o’ Cotton) recently covered himself with glory when it came time to consider South Carolina’s decision to expand their Medicaid program, under the Affordable Care Act. Now, Kris Crawford knew a little bit more about the subject than most of his colleagues because he is a practicing physician.
He knows, for example, that, in South Carolina, a child must be living below 200% of the poverty level [$24,650 for a family of three] to qualify for Medicaid coverage. A pregnant woman must be living at 185% below that level and the elderly, blind or disabled below 100% of the limit.
Conversely, under the ACA, states can expand coverage to anyone at or below 138% of the national poverty level. The cost to the state? $0, until 2020, when the states will have to pick up 10% of the program’s cost, while the federal government picks up the other 90%—forever.
So, yes, some kook in Idaho has actually compared insurance companies to victims of the holocaust because Nobama is going to load them all on that train, send them to the concentration camps and “establish a socialistic health care system”. And something, something about how the companies are being forced to dig their own graves because the “private insurers are used by the feds to put the system in place because the federal government has no way to set up the exchange”.
Beyond the fact that I have a hard time actually boo-hooing about health insurance companies who are madly gouging their customers to boost their bottom lines higher every year, the fedz do have a way to establish that sochulistic health care system. It’s called Medicare. If Congress had actually wanted Obamacare to become the “Crown Jewel of Socialism”, in the words of the Girl with the Faraway Eyes (h/t Charlie Pierce), they could have expanded Medicare. It was even in one of the original proposals to allow the 55 to 64 year old crowd to buy into Medicare but even that was too much socialamism for a Congress that was, at the time, controlled in both houses by Dems.
So I’m guessing the insurance companies will not be loaded wholesale onto those trains after all. More’s the pity.
For the confounded ever-loving sake of Jesus, Mary and Joseph! can we now talk about combating this blight that is stealing our children, our heroes, our young men, and our dreams?
And please don’t come at me with the G-D Second Amendment—that antiquated, perennially misunderstood piece of verbiage does not trump ALL of the rights of those young firefighters.
Don’t tell me we need guns to keep ourselves safe—guns are the biggest public health threat to our society, today. They cost us billions of dollars in loss of life, medical expenses, permanent disabilities and fractured families all to protect the right of the manliness-challenged to tap a keg and fill a Nancy Pelosi target full of holes.
Your arguments are the demented fever dreams of arrested development. They are pure bullshit and you know it. Guns are fun, you say? Try sex, you’ll never go back.
And Merry Fking Christmas to you, Wayne LaPierre, you degenerate old goat. Guess these firefighters should have bought the body armor you’re pimping—as if fighting fires isn’t hard enough already. What kind of program are you going to market to every Fire Department in the land, Wayne?
My erstwhile fellow-Roaster, B4, struck a chord with several of us, yesterday when he said:
We ignore the NRA at our peril, we need to ridicule them, and to marginalize them- hopefully to the point of negation.
My New Year’s resolution, this year, is to take B4’s admonition very seriously and to dedicate my time, energy and efforts to doing anything possible to getting guns out of our daily lives for as long as I live. And Wayne LaPierre, be warned, because I plan to outlive you and your money-grubbing constituency. We got tobacco out of our daily lives, now it’s time to get rid of guns.
I would have preferred to be writing something cozy and festive, today, but, as long as these young people will no longer be able to appreciate “peace on Earth, goodwill toward men,” I’m afraid I have to shake my fist and rage, instead.
Since the Kenyan Usurper's re-election, a bunch of wealthy "Jerb Creaters" has decided to "Go Galt" in order to punish the American people for their temerity to buck the wishes of their rightful overlords. In perhaps the silliest of these threatened layoffs is the promise from Applebees' franchise-owner Zane Tankel to freeze hiring at his forty Applebees locations. Mr. Tankel's main beef with Obama is that the Sinister Kenyan would force Mr. Tankel to **GASP** insure his employees. Why should Mr. Tankel be forced to spend money on his food-handling employees to keep them healthy? Chronically diseased food service workers have been part of the American experience for centuries- insisting on a healthy workforce is positively un-American.
Finally, Applebee's is America's Neighborhood Grill and Bar. If these American grill-and-bars close, New York's neighborhood bars will be taken over by sinister foreigners with strange, almost unpronounceable names like Declan and Patrick. We can't let that happen, just because another sinister foreigner is trying to force healthcare costs onto a hapless millionaire! Remember, folks, tyranny starts with something small, like a pre-broken healthcare system designed by right-wing think tank staffers. If that is unopposed, then the government will implement even greater affronts... why, they may even insist that minimum wage standards are upheld.