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Oct 02 2013

Republicons Determined to Protect America From Menace of Health Care

Ah, yes, because the last government shutdown went sooo well for the GOP, it appears they want to try, try again. In case you didn’t care about science or kids with cancer or needy families or the economy or any of that rot, consider this: no Prelude to a Catastrophe until this is over. Nope. On account of the USGS being less important than the Cons’ determination to shut down the government over more people being able to buy health insurance. Which means photos of the Mount St. Helens eruption are unavailable.

Oh, and do keep in mind: Obamacare is up and thriving. So the Cons are basically trying to prevent something from happening that’s already happened.

They’re terrified, of course. Because once people get a taste of being able to visit a doctor AND afford to eat all at once, it will become clear to the vast majority of folks that this health care thing is sweet indeed, and that Cons have been lying to them about how horrible it all is, and they’ll remember how determined the Cons were to prevent them from getting affordable care, and suddenly the GOP’s voter pool will dry up faster than a shallow puddle in the Arizona desert in July. During a historic heatwave. Which we will also be seeing more of, courtesy of the Cons. Fantastic.

Anyway, should you happen to not believe that the Cons are this bloody evil, just incredibly stupid, keep in mind that even Michele Bachmann, who makes many of the most reality-challenged of the Cons look positively coherent in comparison, knows what the reality here is. What they’re selling to the ignorant masses is pure bullshit. They’re perfectly aware that their party is pooped if the hoodwinked manage to get a peek outside the blinders.

This, my darlings, is why people who opt to let Cons win in order to punish Democrats for not being Democrat enough infuriate me. Granted, it would be nice to push the Dems toward being actually progressive, rather than Republican Lite. However, comma, with an opposition party that, were it a person, would have been diagnosed as a psychopath and bundled off to prison for crimes against humanity long before now, there’s no fucking way I will play that sort of chicken. Don’t like it? Stop letting Cons win.

I do hope this shutdown gets the attention of all the fuckheads who’ve gone round thinking the Cons aren’t actively evil. It’s time to cut the tumor out of the body politic.Vote these douchenozzles out.

Those of you who would rather vote Republican have many fine choices. Don’t be deceived by the Ds after their names. Where the fuck did you think all the reasonable Republicans went? It sure as shit wasn’t the Bahamas.

18 comments

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  1. 1
    rq

    SHUTDOWN! (That was for Sam.)
    Can’t they (the Democrat Republican Lite contingent) just reconvene (or whatever it is that happens to shut down the shutdown) the sensible part of Congress, leaving those willing to maintain the shutdown outside the doors – and just pass all the good better laws? I mean, how else is going to stop?

    And I never liked the Republicans, but if they are powerful enough to make you stop posting Prelude to a Catastrophe posts, well, wow, that is just a whole new level. A whole new level.

    I bet all the libertarians are celebrating, though – look! It’s every man (yes, MAN) for himself, screw the poor, and no government to tell them what to do. The free market reigns! Should work out just fine.
    (Some dreams just shouldn’t come true, if you ask me.)

  2. 2
    Gregory in Seattle

    “Don’t get sick. And if you do get sick, die quickly.”

    It is sad that the Republicans took Rep. Alan Grayson’s inflammatory remarks on the House floor four years ago and have been working to make it a reality ever since.

  3. 3
    seraphymcrash

    No Prelude! Arrrrggghhhhhhh!

    Thats a bitter pill to swallow this early in the morning.

    =(

  4. 4
    besomyka

    The fight for a more progressive Democratic party is in the primaries not the general election. Support the candidates you want in the primary, and then support the candidate that supports policies – even if not ideal – that won’t destroy the lives of the disadvantaged.

    Actually, I’d advocate no voting for any GOP even if they are a progressive or moderate Republican because, when push come to shove, their ability to influence things depends on their party to be in charge. As long as the GOP maintains a luddite platform of racist paranoia, voting for ANY of them is a vote in support of that, no matter what the individual things.

    Even at local levels, where it might not seem like it matters much, you’re building brand loyality, straight ticket voters, and defining who is ‘on your side’, and the district maps and determines whom gets to vote for whom . It can’t be the GOP if you care about other people.

    The interesting conservative/progressive debates are now happening within the Democratic party, but between parties. We’ve ended up with the Heritage Foundation’s healthcare plan, not because Conservative Republicans advocated for it, but because Conservative Democrats did. You’ll be able to get a reasonable policy fix within the Democratic Party right now, so… please help stop the GOP at every level.
    /soapbox

  5. 5
    lorn

    Unfortunately most of the Teaparty crazies have set themselves up in gerrymandered districts that are far more white, far more radical, and far more crazy than they are. If anything the voters back home will complain they haven’t gone far enough. These guys ran, from the beginning, openly stating that they were determined to shut down government. This is because the GOP spent loads of money, and 40 years, building the political machine from dogcatcher on up in those states and they own the machinery that sets district lines.

    Dynamite couldn’t get some of those guys out of their evil lairs until redistricting. In some states that that may take another census to roll around. As I understand it the last one was in 2010, so 2020. Even then there are going to be people objecting to losing their local patrons. And the right wing ideologically objects to the census so you can count on obstructionism.

    In the short term all that can be done is to get the slightly less crazy faction of the GOP to ignore their drooling brethren and actually govern. Like that’s going to happen.

    I suspect that the non-Teaparty GOP districts are going to object to the shutdown as soon as it begins to hurt. It does make the GOP look like hostage taking terrorists. So a fig leaf will magically appear and the Teapartiers will claim victory and end their objection. Until next time …

    No structural change will happen until redistricting curbs prevalence of party purity districts. Of course once that rolls around, figure ten years minimum, we can get to work getting the influence of money out of politics. That shouldn’t take but twenty or fifty years.

    1. 5.1
      rq

      Fig leaf? Or did you mean olive branch? Although trying to apply the Fig Leaf concept in this particular situation made me giggle a lot (I know, not much to laugh about, really).

      Also, please refrain from calling all Republicans crazy, or even their constituents that, because we have no evidence that they are actually mentally ill. They are being unreasonable and wrong, and they hold some very… interesting and incorrect views about the world, but there is no evidence to believe that they are actually crazy. Besides, calling them crazy really takes away from their humanity, in all its lack of compassion for their fellow humans, and makes one believe that maybe they shouldn’t be fully responsible for their actions (being ‘crazy’, of course, excuses one to do things that one wouldn’t ordinarily, ‘in their right mind’, do). They are, however, fully responsible – they have been planning and trying and speaking of just such a situation for a very long time, they have been working for it, and they are absolutely and completely responsible in every way possible for their actions, even the ones that don’t make sense to us ordinary non-political folk, and should be held accountable in every way possible.
      Most of those who actually do have a mental illness are probably suffering under the current situation.

      1. rq

        Also, I didn’t mean to imply that crazy = not fully human in my previous comment, that ‘humanity’ should be replaced with ‘agency’, sorry about that. :(

        1. lorn

          I selected the fig leaf metaphor because the GOP is engaged in a blatant, some might say naked, attempt to use hostage taking and economic terrorism to get at the ACA when direct defunding of the law, amendments actions, and appeals to the courts, have failed. Reagan was, IMHO, an ass but he did get one thing right, even though he didn’t take his own sage advice, you can’t negotiate with terrorists. It comes down to terrorists being inherently unreasonable and, no matter what they say, they will always be back for more if they know you can be rolled.

          It was mentioned many times within the right-wing media that they would hold the budget, and the debt limit, hostage and repeatedly extract payments and compromises as the short term funding came due. This wasn’t a secret plan or a strategy they simply fell into by chance. Shutting down the government and extracting concessions every few weeks was the even before 2010.

          The use of the word crazy is not a reference to mental illness or any non-self-selected mental condition. It is a qualitative judgment of a group which has willingly, and purposely, isolated themselves in a right-wing alternate reality and ideology that is doomed to fail and bring nothing but suffering to the vast majority of the country. It is a frame of mind and ideology that doesn’t even work to enrich the parties patrons.

          Comparisons between nations show that high levels of inequality are associated with generalized crime, corruption, and dissatisfaction. That in addition to lowered profits and economic vitality. It simply doesn’t work for anyone very long. There is no end game. Of course the poor and weak will, inevitably, feel the pain first, and most deeply but there is no up side for the rich and powerful either.

          Which, in my book, makes it crazy. It is one thing to advocate a ideology that is unfair, bigoted, inhuman even … as long as someone benefits. I could understand that. Someone suffers and another benefits. Greed, sadism, exploitation all, at some level, make sense. Perhaps not in the long run but this is a senseless ideology driving a senseless strategy.

          If the Dems get rolled it won’t stop there. The Teapartiers have said as much. This ends up with rule by the person willing to do the most damage. Nihilism united with terrorism. Benefiting nobody. This is self-inflicted ideological and behavioral craziness.

          This is not a mental illness. Most of the GOP, even questionable cases like Bachmann, would likely test as legally sane and essentially free of disqualifying mental illness. This is a story of an entire group willingly and willfully using a political ideology to give itself a lobotomy. And then resorting to behavior that makes everyone suffer and lose.

          1. rq

            Ah, the fig leaf makes more sense now.
            And crazy has a very long and historical connection to mental illness when applied to people, so I would prefer if you not use it.
            But whatever, you’re not hurting anyone, right?

    2. 5.2
      Trebuchet

      Unfortunately most of the Teaparty crazies have set themselves up in gerrymandered districts that are far more white, far more radical, and far more crazy than they are.

      As is very common, you’ve got the way gerrymandering works exactly backward. What they’ve done is to set up districts that are far more ethnic, far more Democratic, and far more sane that most by drawing lines around likely Democratic voters, getting most of them into just a few districts. That means that the remaining districts are just a bit more white, crazy, etc than average — just enough to make them safely Republican.

      In other words, you try to establish a few districts that are 95% Democratic while leaving the majority of them 55% Republican.

      1. lorn

        Two sides of the same coin. Gerrymandering tends to concentrate both sides. Of course the trick of successful gerrymandering is to spread your constituents more thinly over a greater number of representatives while your opponents have greater numbers represented by fewer representatives.

  6. 6
    timberwoof

    In our highly mobile society where people of similar cultural backgrounds and political beliefs are spread out and generally intermingled, districts cause a lot of problems. Specifically, they immediately disenfranchise any thinly distributed constituency which, if it were concentrated, would gain one or more districts.

    I once compared the US to other democratic republics and estimated that the US should have, based on population, at least a dozen political parties. Having only two effective parties is a symptom of a deeply rooted systemic problem in the structure of the legislative branch of the government.

    1. 6.1
      lpetrich

      French sociologist Maurice Duverger described some decades ago that the voting system determines what parties will be present. That’s what’s called Duverger’s law. Plurality or first-past-the-post voting produces two-party systems, out of fear of wasting one’s votes on unlikely-to-win candidates. However, proportional representation produces multiparty systems.

      The US Constitution seems to mandate FPTP for the Electoral College, but it does not mandate FPTP for either the House or the Senate, just that their elections be state-by-state. So a state could have proportional representation for its House delegation while being consistent with the Constitution.

      Let’s not forget about state legislatures and municipal councils. They also could use proportional representation.

    2. 6.2
      lpetrich

      boston.com had helpfully provided us with counts of all the votes that House members had received, and I’ve used those counts to work out how many seats each party would have gotten in the House with proportional representation. I used the d’Hondt highest-averages allocation algorithm, a commonly used one, and I ignored third parties.

      Actual vote: GOP 234, Dem 201
      State-by-state proportional: GOP 220, Dem 215
      Overall proportional: GOP 215, Dem 220

      Some of the states were rather noticeably gerrymandered, like Pennsylvania.
      Actual: GOP 13, Dem 5
      Proportional: GOP 9, Dem 9

  7. 7
    lorn

    The US two party system can work, it has in the past. But for the Teaparty achieving critical mass at exactly the right time to benefit from redistricting, and having wealthy donors waiting in line to finance the creation of a corps of ultra-right congressional shock troops. This core of Uruk-hai would come from newly created, and much more ideologically pure, districts and so be immune to both sunshine and ordinary electoral concerns.

    This too will pass. Even the ethnically and ideologically pure districts are not immune to outsiders moving in nor the inevitability of aging, and in seven years there will be another census. Hopefully this time the Democrats, and lovers of electoral fairness, will fight more strongly for less gerrymandered districts.

    Of course it is a fair enough point that the US two-party system, with a winner-take-all payoff, is something of an anachronism. Our constitution was an early attempt at getting things right. They did remarkably well given the situation and materials they had to work with. But, as with any new concept, the prototypes are prone to have flaws which are only addressed in later models.

    Most modern democracies have opted for a parliamentary system. It has its advantages. It much more easily accommodates many parties, it divides up power and positions among parties in rough proportion to their share of voters, it allows votes of no-confidence which allows citizens to much more easily rejigger the system, and it forces parties to work together.

    On the other hand it so easily allows the system to change that governments can be quite fleeting. Italy was notorious for decades where it changes its government about as frequently as most people change their socks. That amount of churning and turnover makes the nation both legal system and finances unstable. Business and investing is more difficult when the character and ideology of the government could, week to week, change from communist, to socialist, to fascist and back again.

    The US is the longest standing constitutional system. Many other nations are older but they all have rewritten their constitution and restructured their governments. So … yea … our system sucks … it is rough ride … mighty hard on the poor folks … but, warts and all, it works. Assuming the GOP doesn’t fuck round and defund things to long, or inadvertently force a default.

    Remember The New Deal didn’t come into existence because the rich people went soft and became charitable to the less fortunate. Things were falling apart and people were talking about the US having its own worker’s revolt. It was looking like the upper class was going to go down in a flurry of torchlight, pitchforks and long ropes. FDR, from a very rich background, realized that if the wealthy didn’t give ground they would be buried under it. It was The New Deal, or a genuine Bolshevik revolution.

    FDR was labeled a ‘traitor to his class’ but his innovative applications of socialism and regulation calmed the masses and still allowed most of the rich to hold onto most of their wealth. Irony was that as labor became more powerful, and wages climbed for the lower classes the profits of US businesses climbed. The wealthy, after being set on their heels, prospered. A prosperous middle class moderated the political system and accounted for the lion’s share of economic activity.

    1. 7.1
      lpetrich

      The US has gone through 5 or 6 party systems, meaning sets of parties with platforms and supporters. Parties can change over time, changing the party system.

      Some of our Founding Fathers had wanted a no-party system. George Washington did not like political parties, and he reluctantly accepted their emergence. He thought that political parties were a form of factionalism, something that he feared.

      The first system was Federalist vs. Democratic-Republican. In the early 19th cy., the Federalists gradually faded away, and the Democratic-Republican party split in two.

      The second system was Democratic vs. National Republican and then Whig. In the mid 19th cy., the Whig Party collapsed and the Republican Party emerged as a northern regional party.

      The third, fourth, fifth, and possible sixth systems are Democratic vs. Republican (last half of the 19th cy., early 20th cy., mid 20th cy., what has been emerging). Both parties have changed their platforms and supporters over time, with the Republican Party becoming the party of Jefferson Davis over the last half-century.

      So the US has faithfully followed Duverger’s Law.

    2. 7.2
      Who Cares

      The multi-party systems can be captured in the same way that the US government has been hijacked by the teaparty, it is just harder to do.
      A good example is Israel. Most of the moderate parties consider working with each other a no go. This leaves partnering with the (ultra) orthodox parties to get enough votes for a majority. And they’ll bring down the government the moment they don’t get what they want.

  8. 8
    elspeth

    No more Mt. St. Helens until the shutdown is over?

    NOOOOOooooooooooooooooo!!!!!

    You do know that if your readers could shut down the shutdown, it would be totally over by now, right? If you’re going to make us suffer, please consider making the whole series available in one place — maybe even as a booklet or e-book! Yes! — to celebrate the eventual and inevitable fall of the Teathuglicans? Pretty please? With basalt on it?

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