Oh, Dear, the Rifts Aren’t Yet Deep Enough

Sigh. Yet another cycle of asshole atheists throwing feces at those of us who care about doing more than merely shitting on religion. We’ve got the so-called Amazing Atheist stirring up the masses to send ridiculous missives saying, in effect, Atheism Is All So Shut Up and Stop Dividing the Community By Requiring Basic Human Decency!!! And we’ve got Jaclyn Glenn putting up Very Concerned Comments and Videos about how divided we fall and feminists are icky and feminists are sooo divisive… my gosh, color me convinced. Mm-hmmm.

Or, you know. Not.

Image shows a black and white kitten lying in bottom half of an egg carton. Other half is spikey. caption says, Other side wazn't so comferbul."I don’t write about this stuff all that often, partly because I give myself a headache rolling my eyes and then wander off to do something more interesting, like scrub the cat’s water dish, but mostly because other people on this side of the Deep Rift™ do a bonza job of putting this drivel in perspective. A small selection:

Our own Martin Wagner on You NEED to stop doing things to divide the community:

Funny, it’s never the people who are actually making the “community” an uncomfortable and unwelcoming place for women and other marginalized groups who are being “divisive.” It’s never the misogynists or harassers. It’s never the prominent figures who use their celebrity to justify inappropriate behavior, nor the ones who shield them because they don’t want to lose a valuable, popular public speaker.

No, the “divisive” ones are always those who say “Let’s be better than this.”

Funny how that works, innit? I think I’ll stick with the divisive ones, in that case. I like the idea of being better, thank ye ever so much.

Stephanie Zvan assures people like Jaclyn Glenn, who likes to end streams of strawmanning and insults with cries that we all want the same thing, that we don’t, in fact, want the same thing:

No, we don’t want the same thing. I don’t want what you want.

    • I don’t want my arguments to rely on dressing my opponents’ arguments up in a cheap wig and a sneer because I can’t call them ridiculous when they stand on their own.

[snip]

    • I don’t want to benefit from the work of generations while telling the world that I’m not a part of what they’ve done.
    • I don’t want to feel so helpless I throw my hands up at YouTube or Twitter harassment because that’s just the way the internet is.
    • I don’t want to have to make myself look brave by suggesting that people who have stood fast in the face of years of harassment are “pussies”.
    • I don’t want anyone ever to see me conflate caring that people are treated well with weakness.
    • I don’t want to be held up as a “good one” by people who are pretty awful themselves.

[snip]

  • I don’t want anyone ever to see me argue to someone that our mere shared identity is a good way of evaluating how well I work in their interest.

And speaking of lists, Alex Gabriel compiled a doozy, focused this time on how the atheism “movement” treats women, and ends thusly:

When I remind myself and others that the people who carry out the above are supposed to be my allies, I find myself much less worried that I argue with them more than with believers. I’d be embarrassed if I didn’t: if I weren’t so divisive, and there were no rifts between us, I’d be fighting for the same new world they are, and that thought terrifies me. With friends like these, who needs religion?

If colleagues and I are creating the divisions Glenn describes, I’m proud of it, because unlike her I do find them necessary. We all want the same, she says, but I’m less sure: I want a secular movement as accessible to women as men, that challenges religious sexism with authority and isn’t the preserve of powerful men and misogynists. If building one requires rifts today, then like Jen McCreight, I want deep rifts.

I’m not sorry atheists are divided. I’m sorry we need to be.

Which sums up the situation nicely.

Listen: the sides in this rift are not equal. This is brought home to me with renewed force whenever those who want us to shut up start howling about how divisive we are whilst enthusiastically causing strife and pain. I watch their antics and reach for the dynamite, because I’d rather blast through bedrock and split the damned planet than heal any rift between myself and those folks.

Image is a sepia print of a woman in early 1900s attire gazing into the Grand Canyon. Caption reads, "I think we're gonna need a bigger rift..."

Artist’s conception of the Deep Rifts saga wot I made. Feel free to filch. The original image is from here.

They can keep the sexual assaulters, rapists, Randroids, racists, bigots, sexists, and various other undesirables on their side, please. I’ll hang out over here with the social justice warriors and assorted folk with well-developed consciences, thanks. And while I’m sure we’ll cross paths and walk a few steps in the same direction on a few issues, I don’t think I need to swallow my revulsion and lay down my interest in various human causes – such as feminism – in order to help them with… whatever it is they think they’re doing.

As for people like Jaclyn, who believes she doesn’t need feminism despite having to beg other women to make videos so she won’t be left alone and vulnerable in a sea of sexism and people believing she only succeeds because of her looks… well, love, we’ll be here when you realize that, hey, that’s just what those nasty feminists have been working to fix all this time. We’ll be here when you slip up and demand a little too much autonomy and respect from the assholes currently celebrating you because you’re such a cool girl. Feel free to join us when you realize that there’s still a long way to go before there’s anything like equality for women and minorities in this movement, much less this world.

It’s better over here.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Another day, another Con lie exposed:

Well what do you know. It looks like there may be some problems with Sen. Mitch McConnell’s favorite Canadian health care horror story. h/t The Political Carnival

33.7 million Canadians are not Shona Holmes:

To my American friends: I sincerely hope you’re not taken in by the GOP propaganda featuring Canadian Shona Holmes trashing our system of universal healthcare. The problem is both that Ms. Holmes and her Republican masters misrepresented her condition and that the tactic itself is reprehensible. The GOP can’t produce any logical argument against a system that is entrenched in every Western society except yours, so they resort to fear-mongering and lies, claiming that one Canadian’s skewed view trumps the experiences and beliefs of the rest of us.

Continue reading…..

From The Ottawa Citizen:

Still, I found Holmes tale both compelling and troubling. So I decided to check a little further. On the Mayo Clinic’s website, Shona Holmes is a success story. But it’s somewhat different story than all the headlines might have implied. Holmes’ “brain tumour” was actually a Rathke’s Cleft Cyst on her pituitary gland. To quote an American source, the John Wayne Cancer Center, “Rathke’s Cleft Cysts are not true tumors or neoplasms; instead they are benign cysts.”

Quelle surprise. I’m sure we never expected such blatant misrepresentation, shocked they could be so devious, etc. etc. sarcasm etc.

Another day, another Con claiming Obama’s gonna kill grandmas:

Last Friday, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) joined radical conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on his radio talk show for an interview. Jones has made a name for himself propagating conspiracies ranging from the claim that Bill Clinton planned the Oklahoma City bombings to the idea that the attacks on 9/11 were orchestrated by a cabal of American and Israeli government officials.

During the 30-minute interview about “nation ending stuff,” Gohmert used his opportunity on the Jones show to showcase his own odd anti-Obama conspiracy theories:

GOHMERT: We’ve been battling this socialist health care, the nationalization of health care, that is going to absolutely kill senior citizens. They’ll put them on lists and force them to die early because they won’t get the treatment as early as they need. [...] I would rather stop this socialization of health care because once the government pays for your health care, they have every right to tell you what you eat, what you drink, how you exercise, where you live. [...] But if we’re going to pay 700 million dollars like we voted last Friday to put condoms on wild horses, and I know it just says an un-permanent enhanced contraception whatever the heck that is. I guess it follows that they’re eventually get around to doing it to us.

A rousing discussion about the White House science czar’s nefarious recommendation to sterilize the nation via drinking water, Hitler, youth brigades, and other conspiracy nut bullshit. Texas: either stop sending nutjobs to Washington or secede, I beg you.

Another day, another group of Faux News fucktards claiming Obama’s gonna kill grandmas:

That’s what the crew at Fox & Friends this morning did, led by “Fox News legal analyst” Peter Johnson Jr., and aided and abetted by Brian Kilmeade and Gretchen Carlson. First they played a snippet of Obama at a town-hall meeting on health care:

But what we can do is make sure that at least some of the waste that exists in the system that’s not making anybody’s mom better, that is loading up on additional tests or additional drugs that the evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve care, that at least we can let doctors know, and your mom know, that you know what, maybe this isn’t going to help, maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.

This became the launching pad:

Kilmeade: Dying?!! Sucking it up?!! And not having surgery?

Johnson: Too sick, too expensive.

Kilmeade: Well, that’s what this whole trend is!

Johnson: Absolutely. And some people are saying, ‘Well, this isn’t health care reform,’ and other people are saying — maybe me — that this is a subtle form of euthanasia. And when you start looking at the proposals, you say, ‘God, what’s happening?’

Of course, all they had to do was watch the entire set of remarks on this by Obama in their context to realize what’s happening: that effective reform means cutting the waste created by a medical establishment that thrives on unnecessary procedures — he wasn’t suggesting that people be denied life-saving operations.

Problem being, of course, that watching all the remarks in context would be too much like journalism, which Faux News finds icky.

Another day, another group of whackjob conservative media personalities screaming about something that doesn’t exist:

On Saturday, the conservative editors of the Wall Street Journal editorial page used their weekly Fox News show to attack every aspect of the health care reform that President Obama is trying to work through Congress. To criticize t
he idea of public insurance plan, assistant editorial page editor James Freeman claimed that health reform in Massachusetts shows what would happen with a public option:


GIGOT: All right, James, let me ask you about this–the public option. Because the president says, Look, all this is, is going to compete with the private plans, keep them honest. The insurers are making a lot of money right now. We need to keep them honest.

FREEMAN: Right, and I think the beauty of this is we don’t need to guess or estimate or just posit what might happen, because the people of Massachusetts since 2006 have been running the experiment for all of us, and we can go to school on it.

[snip]

Freeman: And it’s very clear what happens. Private insurance goes away, more people go on the public plan, costs explode, more costs go onto small business, and people lose their jobs or they get salary freezes.

[snip]

There’s one problem with Freeman’s analysis: Massachusetts doesn’t have a public plan. As former MA governor Mitt Romney, who implemented the plan, told CNSNews last month, “Our plan did not include a government insurance plan.” “Instead, we relied entirely on private market-based insurance plans to help people get insurance,” said Romney.

Bet you a dollar to a donut hole being so completely fucking wrong doesn’t even cause them to blink as they run with this little meme. Facts never seem to faze these fuckers.

In light of all that scaremongering, bullshit-spewing, and downright chicanery, this remark by NRCC spokesman Ken Spain is all the funnier:

“Democrats control the White House, the House, and have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Their lack of progress is due to the growing public skepticism over their government-run plan and public infighting that is taking place within Democratic ranks. There is nothing for the GOP to obstruct.”

Riiight. Pull the other one, it’s got bells on. Look, you wouldn’t be trying so fucking hard to obstruct health care reform if, as you say, there’s nothing for you to obstruct.

Anyway, tell it to Max Baucus:

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), suggested this morning that the value of bipartisan health care reform talks is nearing its end.

“What concerns me about what’s happened in the Senate Finance Committee is that they’ve had a whole lot of time to work these things out, and just don’t seem to be able to break the impasse,” Van Hollen said in an interview on the liberal Bill Press Radio Show. “It doesn’t seem to be as much about a disagreement over policy issues, and it seems more to be just the lack of the political will on behalf of some to get it done.”

Van Hollen blamed the committee’s slow work on Republicans, who he asserted were unwilling to make the needed “tough decisions” to craft a healthcare bill.

“At some point that’s going to have to happen, and the question is when do you reach that breaking point,” the Maryland Democrat said when asked if Senate Democrats should end negotiations. “At some point they’re going to have to pull the plug on that process, and when they do that is something they’re in a better position to know.”

“A lot of our members in the House want to see, not what the full Senate does, but at least what the Senate Finance Committee moves forward,” he said. “The reality is, a lot of our members want them to at least show their hand a little bit before we ask them to make some very tough decisions.”

The notion that there will come a point at which they’ll have to “pull the plug” is an interesting one, since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) seemed to think we’d reached that point about three weeks ago. And yet, Max Baucus continues to try to find a way to make Republicans happy (with concessions that other Democrats aren’t at all aware of).

Psst, Max: Ken Spain sez the Cons aren’t obstructing anything, the Dems are. I think he means fucktards like you, who keep trying to get the bully-boy Cons to play nice with you, which is why you keep getting beaten up and robbed of your lunch money. They’ll never like you, buster. Get the fuck over it.

I mean, after all, you’re trying to reason with the kind of people who feel comfortable being this bloody stupid in public:

This afternoon, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) took to the Senate floor and basically made a pitch for the oil and gas industry. He said that to ensure “energy security,” the United States should increasingly “extract our own resources.” According to Inhofe, this solution would not only achieve energy independence, but it would also be pollution-free:

People complain that we are buying — importing from the Middle East — oil and gas. And then they find out that we have it all right here. We don’t have to do that. If their argument there is “Well, we don’t want to use oil and gas because we think it pollutes” — which it doesn’t — but if that’s their argument, then why are we willing to import it from Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East?

Um, gee, I dunno – maybe it has something to do with all the fucking pollution:

Not only does oil and gas drilling release greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, but they also release other dangerous pollutants that endanger American health. As the Natural Resources Defense Council wrote in a 2008 report:

Oil and gas drilling operations can release a number of hazardous pollutants, including hydrogen sulfide, benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, and diesel exhaust. Exposure is known to lead to short-term illnesses, cancer, or even death. For example, benzene and formaldehyde are both known to cause cancer, and diesel exhaust contains a number of compounds known to cause cancer. Emissions can come from oil and gas itself, chemical additives used in drilling, or fuel combustion.

Additionally
, a 2003 University of California at Irvine study found that “oil and natural gas wells and refineries create regional air pollution levels in excess of some of the nation’s smoggiest urban areas.” In states like Wyoming and New Mexico, “oil and gas drilling operations are the second largest source of statewide carbon dioxide and methane emissions,” two key greenhouse gases.

I wonder if Inhofe’s lack of brain function arose from an unfortunate habit of huffing oil well fumes as a child. That would explain a lot.

We shall end with some wonderful news. Rush Limbaugh has finally discovered that torture is wrong! Alas, this does not mean he has tapped a sudden wellspring of sanity:

During the Bush/Cheney era, we had an administration that routinely ignored the rule of law, embraced authoritarian tendencies, and approved heinous acts of torture. Rush Limbaugh, without a hint of irony, today warned his listeners that the Obama administration will do the very things Bush already did.

“[T]here are people in this country, who are Americans, and have the same view of totalitarianism that all the worst regimes in the world have had. They just are a minority — or have been a minority,” Limbaugh said. “And they have to be stealth to get anywhere, because who’s gonna vote for torture? Who’s gonna vote for tyranny? Who’s gonna vote for dictatorship? But we did. We did, and you see it slowly encroaching. And if they could move faster on this, they would.”

Keep in mind, when Limbaugh says we “did” vote for torture and dictatorship, he’s referring to Obama’s election, not Bush’s. “Who’s going vote for torture?” Well, as I recall, Limbaugh did, twice.

It’s almost comical. Bush created a torture policy; Obama ended the torture policy. So, naturally, Limbaugh tells his audience that Obama supporters “voted for torture.”

Isn’t being this divorced from reality a sign of severe mental illness? Usually, people this psychotic end up in mental institutions.

Maybe his insurance doesn’t have mental health benefits…

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Another day, another Con can’t practice what he preaches:

If I told you that Paul Stanley was caught having an affair with a winsome young blond girl, you probably wouldn’t be shocked. Of course, you’d probably be thinking I was talking about the lead singer of KISS. If I told you that Paul Stanley was a God-fearing and gay-hating family values Republican state senator from Tennessee, you’d probably be even less shocked. Par for the course these days, isn’t it?

The young girl, McKensie Morrison, was a legislative intern in Stanley’s office when the married senator with two children started doing the mattress mambo with her. She’s now 22 years old and was, obviously, even younger when this all began. Stanley went to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to report he was being blackmailed by Morrison’s boyfriend — then admitted to them that he was having an affair with her.

The only shocking thing about this sexcapade is that Stanley’s resigning as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. I guess it’s one thing to “hike the Appalachian Trail,” but getting blackmailed by the loser boyfriend afterward is a bridge too far. Mind you, though, he’s not shamed enough to resign altogether, even though he should be:

Nashville Post:

In April of this year, I and a group of Planned Parenthood supporters from Memphis met with Sen. Paul Stanley in his office. We told him about all the good Planned Parenthood does in Memphis by providing basic gynecological health care and birth control to teens and young people and also providing medically-accurate sexuality education programs. I had hoped to convince him that there’s a real need for our services, especially in Memphis, which has the highest sexually transmitted infection rates in the nation and one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates as well. Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region tries to help young people and low income people, almost all of whom are already sexually active protect themselves from pregnancy and disease. Sen. Paul Stanley is my state senator, and he made it clear at our meeting that he didn’t care about my concerns about these issues that have a major impact in the Memphis area and that he would not ever support Planned Parenthood.

He told us that he didn’t believe young people should have sex before marriage anyway, that his faith and church are important to him, and he wants to promote abstinence, blah, blah, blah. Now I realize that when he said those things, he had already been sexing it up with an intern and her boyfriend was trying to blackmail him with dirty pictures.

How fucking his young intern squares with “young people shouldn’t have sex before marriage” escapes me. I do hope Mr. Stanley will attempt an explanation at some point. It would be hilarious.

Sarah Palin quit her job today, thus freeing up her time for – well, nobody knows quite what. She left a final fuck-you behind her:

Palin’s departure — she’s officially handing over power to Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell at a community picnic in Fairbanks — has left many Alaskans largely confused. And state legislators are scrambling to convene a special session to recover $28.6 million in federal energy funds that Palin rejected as one of her parting salutes to independence from Washington.

This is the woman Newt Gingrich is trying to sell as the Cons’ leader on energy issues. I think that says everything there is to say about the Cons’ deplorable dumbfuckery right there.

For some reason, though, Dems are still under the illusion that Cons can be productive partners in the legislative process:

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and the author of the meaningless “co opt” plan appeared on ABC’s THIS WEEK and said that even with a 60 vote majority in the Senate a health care bill can’t get passed without Republicans.

It’s just not possible to have a Democrat-only bill?” I asked Sen. Conrad.

“No, it is not possible,” he told me, “and perhaps not desirable either. We’re probably going to get a better product if we go through the tough business of debate, consideration, and analysis of what we’re proposing.”

Well, it had damned fucking well better be possible, because you, Mr. Conrad, you yourself admitted that Sen. Jim DeMint’s only intent is to murder this reform bill in its sleep:

Conrad added, “Jim, I think has been very clear, he wants to kill it. And I think that would be a tragedy because we’ve got a crisis here for the country.”

Tell me just how you expect Cons to vote for this legislation when all they want to do is kill it dead? Hmm? The American public gave you dumbshits sixty fucking Senate seats for a reason.

So shut the fuck up about bipartisanship already and get the fucking reform done. As for shutting the fuck up about bipartisanship, that goes double for the media:

I found myself yelling at my monitor this morning, reading Adam Nagourney’s NYT piece about the “possibility of bipartisanship” on health care reform. It’s not Nagourney’s fault, necessarily, but the piece touches all of the bases on the problems with the underlying assumptions.

…Mr. Obama is under growing pressure to choose between wooing a small band of Republicans or struggling to rally his party to use its big majorities in Congress to get the job done. The bipartisanship exhibited in the passage of two other ambitious domestic programs that offer one historical backdrop for this debate — Social Security in 1935 and Medicare and Medicaid 30 years later — seems increasingly im
probable in today’s Washington. [...]

Even if he goes the bipartisan route and succeeds, the end result could be comparatively modest: Perhaps fewer than 10 Senate Republicans, and perhaps not even that many in the House, party officials said. Social Security, by contrast, passed in 1935 with the support of 16 of the 25 Republican senators and 81 of the 102 Republican representatives. [...]

No less important, a partisan vote could also undercut the political legitimacy of the effort itself. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid were all passed with significant support from both parties, which is one of the reasons those programs have become such an accepted part of the country’s political landscape.

That’s true. But when there was bipartisan support for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, we were dealing with a Congress that had Republicans who a) took electoral mandates seriously; b) were chastened by electoral defeats; and c) had plenty of moderates and pragmatists in their caucuses. That’s no longer the case.

As we discussed a couple of weeks ago, it’s not Obama’s fault Republicans have become too conservative, failed at governing, and were punished by voters.

The question of “legitimacy” then becomes tantamount to a heckler’s veto — a small, reflexive minority can cast doubt on the credibility of everything, simply by being stubborn partisans.

Let me put this in terms even an imbecile should understand: the voters got fed up with Cons after eight years of total insanity. Given the choice between a moderate Con and a Dem, they chose the Dem. The only areas left where Cons had enough support were deep red pockets where the rabid right base outnumbered more sensible moderates, independents, and Dems. Therefore, we have a Senate comprised largely of left-of-center to centrist (or conservative) Dems versus a tiny minority comprised of raving fucking lunatics.

Have you ever tried to compromise with a lunatic? No? Head down to your local inpatient psychiatric facility and see for yourself how easy it is. Now imagine trying to negotiate with the insane people when they’re not medicated. Now you have a good idea as to why we shouldn’t expect bipartisanship to happen any time soon.

And it really doesn’t seem like Americans are expecting bipartisanship to work, either:

It seems like everytime I get on the Internets or turn on the teevee, someone’s telling me how badly Obama and the Democrats are doing with health care reform and how the concerns of “moderate” Republicans should be heeded, because Americans Want A Bi-Partisan Solution.

While it’s true that Obama’s numbers have dipped under the weight of the seemingly-endless sausage-making on the Hill, the “concerns” of bought-and-paid-for Blue Dogs like Mike Ross and Big Health propaganda — no one really cares what Jim DeMint or John Boehner has to say about health care. Republicans are having absolutely zero impact on the debate.

Consider: last week’s ABC News poll shows Obama with a staggering 20-point lead on the GOP.

picture-15.png

34% is Bush approval territory. And when the question is phrased differently, the irrelevance of the GOP is even more striking.

picture-16.png

10%! And before you assume the phrasing of that question favors Obama, here’s another:

picture-14.png

10% again. So less than half of the GOP’s own shrinking base trusts Republicans to fix health care.

Do you think the huge majority of people who don’t trust the Cons one iota on health care reform give two tugs on a dead dog’s dick about bipartisanship? I do not believe they do. So, dear Dems, stop chasing the bipartisanship mirage and get this shit done without Cons.

It’s what we gave you a mandate for.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

I’m finding it difficult to focus tonight. It could be because it’s gawdawful hot, or it could be because I’m still picking shards of my Irony Meter out of the furniture:

On Fox News last night, Rush Limbaugh noted Aug. 1 marks his 21st anniversary of being on air. When host Greta Van Susteren asked him what his “secret” is to his “amazing” “longevity,” Limbaugh replied that it’s his “positive” and “inspiring” messages:

[snip]

They want — people want to be inspired! People want to be motivated. They want their positive thoughts validated. They don’t want to hear every day how everything’s going to hell in a handbasket and there’s a shortage of handbaskets. They don’t want to hear this. That’s what gets ratings on television. I have shown you get ratings on radio being positive, respecting the audience, being inspiring and motivational at times, when it’s necessary.

Lack of self-awareness much, Rush?

Moving on to people who display the overall awareness of an amoeba, here’s the latest Palinesque ignorance from Sen. Cornyn:

Senators have had to get pretty creative lately to defend spending more money on a fighter jet that doesn’t work and that the Pentagon doesn’t want. Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-Texas) argument, however, might be my favorite.

“[The F-22 is] important to our national security because we’re not just fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Cornyn says. “We’re fighting — we have graver threats and greater threats than that: From a rising India, with increased exercise of their military power; Russia; Iran, that’s threatening to build a nuclear weapon; with North Korea, shooting intercontinental ballistic missiles, capable of hitting American soil.” [emphasis added]

Wait, Cornyn thinks we should spend tax dollars on a fighter jet the Pentagon and the Air Force don’t want because we should be worried about a “rising India”? Perhaps someone can take Cornyn aside and explain that that India is a close U.S. ally. If we need unnecessary fighter jets to prepare ourselves for a military conflict with India, the United States is in a much more precarious position that I realized.

Cornyn added that the F-22 is “one of our most innovative, strategic fighter planes.” If by “innovative” and “strategic” Cornyn means, “planes that don’t function properly,” he’s absolutely right.

The only thing that could make me laugh harder than that double-whammy of dumbfuckery is finding out that the tech support for the F-22’s on board computer systems is provided by India. If so, we owe an enormous apology to our ally for expecting them to troubleshoot shit that never worked to begin with.

While we’re on the subject of shit that never worked, check out Sen. Grassley, who apparently doesn’t understand what “reasonable alternatives” means:

On Bloomberg’s Political Capital this weekend, host Al Hunt asked Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) what he thought of the “tone and substance” of President Obama’s press conference this week. Like he has said before, Grassley underscored his opposition to a public health insurance option.

In a call with progressive bloggers a day before the press conference, Obama said he continues to “believe that a robust public option would be the best way to go.” In the press conference itself, Obama said a public option is necessary “to keep the insurance companies honest” and his view that by taking “some of the profit motive out,” you can get a “better deal” for consumers.

But in his interview with Hunt, Grassley claimed that Obama has told him privately that he is willing to consider “reasonable alternatives” to a robust public option:

GRASSLEY: One of the most controversial things we are facing — and one that the House does and Senator Kennedy’s committee does — is bring a government health insurance program into existence. He still spoke highly about that. And that’s not going to get bipartisan support.

And it would have been good if he had said to the entire country what he said to me privately — that he would look to alternatives for that. And we have a very good alternative by going with cooperatives because we’ve known them for 150 years in America. And allowing them to sell health insurance for more competition.

HUNT: Do you think the President could support that?

GRASSLEY: All I can tell you is — but he didn’t say this that night and he should have said it — that he’s looking for reasonable alternatives. And I think we have a reasonable bipartisan alternative in co-ops.

[snip]

Carl McDonald and James Naklicki at Oppenheimer’s Equity Research department write, “As the co-ops are currently described, we think they would be a big positive for the managed care group, but it seems to us that they would be destined to fail from the moment of creation.” Co-ops would also take decades to set up, according to experts.

Let’s see… throw over a public option that would be ready to go nearly instantly and would provide effective, robust competition that would force the insurance industry to provide better plans at a better cost for co-ops that wouldn’t be ready to go for decades and would probably fail anyway. Sound like a “reasonable alternative” to you? Me, neither.

Then again, it’s not like these assclowns are really reasonable:

Yesterday, The Conservative Women’s Network hosted Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) for a discussion on critical legislation before Congress. ThinkProgress attended the event and recorded Bachmann’s remarks.

Bachmann fed the crowd a predictable diet of fear-mongering
right-wing rhetoric to warn of dire consequences if President Obama’s health care reform passes. “What the Obama administration will do with health care is make us like Havana in 1959 when Castro came in,” she told the young women in the audience.

She then argued that passing health reform will mean that, for the first time in our nation’s history, “we will have taxpayer-subsidized abortion.” The question becomes, continued Bachmann, “will this mandate now that we’ll have to build more abortion mills?”

No, but I sure as shit wish it mandated that you’d have to get intensive mental health intervention, Michele. Anyone who seems to think of abortion as a production line waiting to happen, as if the country’s full of women who are just waiting for abortions to become free so they can indulge their fantasies of getting repeatedly pregnant in order to experience the joys of abortion, needs more than therapy. The only problem is that we may not have an anti-psychotic medication powerful enough to help this poor lunatic.

On top of her psychotic features, she and fellow Rep. Judy Biggert suffer from an extreme case of narcissitic personality disorder:

This is the GOP strategy? They’re going to try to appeal to stressed-out soccer moms to stop healthcare reform? I’m stunned at the sheer brilliance – not to mention that smug attitude that some people’s children are more important that others:

Why offer more people health insurance, Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) asked at a press conference Friday, if they might lengthen waits for doctors and otherwise increase the “hassle factor” for her?

“That’s like having a mother bear protecting her little cubs, and she’s seeing that she has to move heaven and earth to get her child what her child needs,” Bachmann said, referring to the health care reforms being debated by Congress. “We’ll do it if we have to, but why put ourselves in that situation?”

Near the end of a tumultuous week of delays for health care bills in both houses of Congress, Bachmann and a handful of other House Republican women said at a press conference that as far as they were concerned, any reform would just make things tougher for them.

“I think most all of us here have had the opportunity to take our kids to a fast-food restaurant,” said Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.). “We want to get a good dinner, and you walk in and there’s 50 people there and it seems like everybody in line wants to buy food for their soccer team or whatever. The American people aren’t particularly good at standing in line, but that’s exactly what’s going to happen if this health care plan goes through.”

There it is, the women of the GOP explaining exactly why they’re against health care reform: they want other mothers’ kids denied health care to avoid the risk of a line at the doctor’s office. Compassionate conservatism at your service, America.

Some of you may wonder what the Cons in Congress do when they’re not spouting utter insanity on health care reform. They aren’t idle! No, they pick up the latest non-scandal and run with it just as fast as their little legs can carry them:

President Obama’s remarks yesterday in the White House briefing room about the arrest of Henry Louis Gates have received nearly universal applause, with one notable exception: Republicans, who are still up their same old tricks.

[snip]

…Congressman Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) decided to make political hay out of the controversy and waste the time of Congress by appealing to racial disharmony:

Congress would demand that President Obama apologize to the officer the president said had “acted stupidly” in the arrest of a prominent Harvard professor under a resolution set to be introduced by one Michigan lawmaker.

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) will introduce a House resolution on Monday demanding Obama retract and apologize for remarks he has made about Cambridge Police Sergeant James Crowley this past week.

To recap:

  1. In a show of reconciliation and unity, both Prof. Gates and Officer Crowley will meet with President Obama at the White House.
  1. The Cambridge police union is happy.
  1. A Republican representative wants Congress to debate a political resolution slamming President Obama and reigniting the controversy.

Obviously, the only reason McCotter is pushing this attack is to try to score political points, but it’s such a transparent ploy, it’s almost guaranteed to blow up in his face. Does he really think that nobody will notice that while everybody else is working to come together and reduce the heat, he is stepping forward to try to crank up the flame?

I’m sure he’s counting on the attention. He knows the rabid right doesn’t care how transparent he is as long as he’s attempting to stick a thumb in Obama’s eye – and he’s probably over-estimated their numbers.

I certainly hope the majority of Americans aren’t as stupid as the Cons think they are, anyway. Then again, pockets of America keep electing fucktards like Cornyn, Bachmann, and McCotter. One wonders if that’s from stupidity, ignorance, or a desire for cheap entertainment.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Another day, another round of Con and Blue Dog dumbfuckery on health care reform. Sigh.

The big news, of course, is that Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman stepped hard on the Blue Dogs’ tails:

A good health care bill has already passed the House Ways and Means Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee. The legislation hasn’t progressed to the floor yet because it has not yet passed the Energy and Commerce Committee. And we’re still waiting on Energy and Commerce because it has seven conservative Blue Dog Dems who aren’t satisfied with the package.

Democratic leaders have spent a whole lot of time this week trying to respond to the Blue Dogs’ concerns, but the negotiations haven’t produced a resolution. This afternoon, there’s talk that the leadership may just skip the Energy and Commerce Committee altogether.

Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) says there is “no alternative” but to have healthcare legislation bypass his Energy and Commerce Committee if Blue Dog Democrats don’t accept a deal worked out Friday.

[snip]

“I won’t allow them to hand over control of our committee to Republicans,” Waxman told reporters. “I don’t see what other alternative we have, because we’re not going to let them empower Republicans on the committee.”

Paging Sen. Reid – this is what balls look like. Now please go obtain some.

Shortly afterward, Blue Dogs left a closed-door meeting with their panties in a wad after trying to yank the bill sharply right. Good.

Compromise and harmony and all that rot is fantastic – except when it compromises Americans’ best shot at meaningful health care reform. If the Blue Dogs want to play Con (didn’t we used to call them Bush Dogs?), they’re welcome to. They’d just best be prepared to have a rolled-up newspaper taken to their backsides, because they’ve earned it with their own stupidity:

The Washington Post’s Harold Mayerson rips into the Blue Dogs:

Centrist Democrats’ opposition to health reform verges on the incoherent. A caucus (the Blue Dogs) formed ostensibly to promote balanced budgets now disapproves of the proposed taxes that would cover the expenses of the new programs. The congressional centrists say, commendably, that they want to squeeze more economies out of the system, but they oppose giving more power to an agency that would set the payment scales for physicians.

[...] The Republican opposition to President Obama’s push for health-care reform, on the other hand, makes clear political sense. If they can stop Obama on health care, as South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint recently noted, it “will be his Waterloo.” Why Democrats of any ideology want to cripple their own president in his first year in office, and for seeking an objective that has been a stated goal of their party since the Truman administration, is a more mysterious matter.

Is the additional tax burden on small businesses their concern? If so, good news: The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has found that only the top 4 percent of those businesses would be affected by the surcharge that House Democratic leaders proposed, and that’s based on the original proposal, before Speaker Nancy Pelosi altered it to include just the wealthiest fraction of the top 1 percent of Americans. Would such a tax impede an economic recovery? In downturns this severe, it’s been broad-based consumer spending and public-sector investment that have revived the economy. Private investment doesn’t jump-start a revival of purchasing; it follows it.

They’ve chopped off the legs they were standing on. Time for them to either get with the program or get the fuck out. I know the health care companies that fund them will be disappointed after blowing all that cash for their compliance, but life’s tough. They can cry themselves to sleep in their leftover millions.

But the Blue Dogs’ dumbfuckery is but an appetizer compared to the Cons’ banquet of stupid. These inane fucktards can’t even get their stories straight – first comes Rep. Blunt saying the GOP will not release a health care reform plan of their own, then comes Boehner saying they’re putting the finishing touches on their bill, really, truly, it’ll be here aaannnyy day now! I certainly hope so – it’ll be like Christmas for the Dems.

Next you have Rep. Virginia Foxx, who must be living in a shiny happy place in her own head:

Perhaps the most attention-grabbing moment occurred when Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) announced that “there are no Americans who don’t have healthcare“:

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) disputes President Obama’s claim that 47 million Americans lack healthcare. “There are no Americans who don’t have healthcare. Everybody in this country has access to healthcare,” she says. “We do have about 7.5 million Americans who want to purchase health insurance who can not afford it,” she says, urging Congress to adopt a new plan for healthcare reform that wouldn’t “destroy what is good about healthcare in this country” and “give the government control of our lives.”

Well, isn’t that great news for the millions upon millions of Americans who don’t have health care? I suppose Virginia’s buying them all insurance and a pony.

Meanwhile, Michael Steele holds the Terry Schiavo case up as the shining example of the horror of government intervention into private medical decisions – forgetting it was the Cons who did the intervening. Peggy Noonan thinks we don’t need health care reform because doctors and hospitals sometimes kindly reduce the bill for struggling patients. And Reps Price and Camp think Americans are all as stupid as their base’s lunatic fringe:

Republican Representatives Tom Price (MD–he’s a doctor, you should listen to him!) and Dave Camp–having no constructive things to do to address Americ
ans’ health care concerns–appear on the Morning Joe show to field concern trolling, er…questions from no less than four “journalists” on health care. And Mike Barnicle gets the closest to actually digging for the truth when Rep. Price drops the name of The Lewin Group and Barnicle asks who funds The Lewin Group. Price deflects it with a mealy-mouthed answer about their foundation, but since he’s a Republican and he’s moving his lips, you gotta know he’s a big fat liar:

The political battle over health-care reform is waged largely with numbers, and few number-crunchers have shaped the debate as much as the Lewin Group, a consulting firm whose research has been widely cited by opponents of a public insurance option.

To Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House Republican whip, it is “the nonpartisan Lewin Group.” To Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee, it is an “independent research firm.” To Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the second-ranking Republican on the pivotal Finance Committee, it is “well known as one of the most nonpartisan groups in the country.”

Generally left unsaid amid all the citations is that the Lewin Group is wholly owned by UnitedHealth Group, one of the nation’s largest insurers.

Yup – that sure is nonpartisan. Too bad “nonpartisan” doesn’t mean the same thing as “unbiased,” huh?

Let’s have Howard Fineman wrap it all in a big bow:

Newsweek‘s Howard Fineman was on MSNBC’s “Countdown” last night, and talked a bit about how the congressional minority is approaching the debate over health care reform. He was a little more candid than usual.

He initially talked about the Republican Party now being run by a new “RNC” — “Rush, Newt, [Liz] Cheney” — that is more committed stoking “racial fears and resentments” and talking about “where Barack Obama was born.”

Fineman added, “I talked to people on the Hill all day today. Talked to Republicans as well as Democrats. Republicans claims they have a plan. They don’t. They claim they’re going to have a plan. They won’t. Their whole strategy … is to stand on the sidelines with their arms folded while the Democrats try to work this thing out. That’s their whole strategy.”

He forgot to mention their “scream ZOMG SOCIALIZM!!1!!11!” strategy, but otherwise, I’d say he’s pretty much nailed it.

Like Michael Steele said, why don’t the Dems just do it without the Cons? It makes a fuck of a lot more sense than trying to do it with them.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

If any of you were in any doubts as to what the Cons think of health care reform, let Sen. James Inhofe clue you in:

Appearing on Janet Parshall’s radio show yesterday, Inhofe argued that the defeat of President Clinton’s health care reform “started the demise of Bill Clinton that led to the 1994 Republican takeover of the House and the Senate.” He then added that he is now “tracking the demise” of Obama’s health care plans and it is making him “optimistic”:

INHOFE: They ought to know, they ought to know from history. This is a losing proposition for them. And for those out there who believe, that would like to have something optimistic to look at, we are plotting the demise on a week by week basis of where Bill Clinton was in 1993 and where Obama is today and his demise ratio is greater than Clinton’s was in 1993. So, he’s trying to do the same things, except more extreme.

[snip]

Inhofe also appeared on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show yesterday, where he was asked if Republicans had the votes “to block health care, the radical stuff in the Senate.” Inhofe said he thought they did:

INHOFE: Oh, I think so. I really do. In fact, there’ll be a lot of Democrats…. [snip] And so we have all the issues on our side on this thing, and I think, you know, I just hope the President keeps talking about it, keeps trying to rush it through. We can stall it. And that’s going to be a huge gain for those of us who want to turn this thing over in the 2010 election.

The Cons don’t give two tugs on a dead dog’s dick whether you have affordable health care or not. All they want to do is kill this reform effort so they can take back Congress. And the dumbfuck Dems in the Senate are playing right into their hands:

The writing, it seems, was on the wall. Yesterday, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) signaled that a pre-recess vote on health care reform was unlikely, with members preferring to “take a little longer to get it right.” Even President Obama started talking more about getting this done “this year,” rather than “by August.”

Today, it became official.

The top Democrat in the Senate says lawmakers won’t vote until after August on health care, a blow to President Barack Obama’s ambitious timetable.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters Thursday the Finance Committee will act on its portion of the bill before Congress’ monthlong break. Then Reid will merge that bill with separate legislation already passed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

The Nevada Democrat says the decision to delay a vote was made Wednesday night in the hopes of getting a final bipartisan bill.

Remember, the Republican strategy, which they’ve openly acknowledged, has been to force the delay in order to improve their chances of killing the bill. Conservatives and other opponents of reform will see this as a tactical victory, and evidence that the larger effort is in peril. It will be up to Democrats and reform advocates to prove them wrong.

The fucktard who’s become the major roadblock in the Senate has no motivation to prove them wrong. Not when his pockets are heavily lined with insurance industry cash:

Roll Call reported today that Senate Democrats are “increasingly frustrated by the secrecy and duration of Finance Chairman Max Baucus’ (D-MT) bipartisan talks on health care reform.” One unnamed Senator appeared irritated that Baucus ” is unlikely to run any deal by his caucus before he shakes hands on an agreement with Republicans.” OpenLeft then wondered how Baucus’s campaigns are financed and found that from 2005 to the present, the health insurance industry has significant representation among his top-ten donors:

baucus-funding
If Harry Reid weren’t such a wet reed, this wouldn’t matter so much. But ol’ Harry’s just not up to whipping his caucus into shape. His phone number is (202 224 3542). Give him an earful – let him know that our expectation is that the Dems don’t go home until that bill’s done. While you’re at it, sign the petition telling House Dems the same thing.

All of this just goes to prove we need better fucking Dems. We sure as shit don’t need more Cons. Especially not when this is their idea of “solving” the health care crisis:

When House Republicans go on the attack against health care reform, one of the more common responses is to ask, “OK, but where’s the Republican plan?” It’s easy to attack; it’s challenging to be productive.

Last night, The Hill reported that the GOP caucus has effectively given up on offering an alternative, and will instead stick to attacking.

Republicans who had promised last month to offer a healthcare reform alternative are now suggesting no such bill will be introduced.

Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said, “Our bill is never going to get to the floor, so why confuse the focus? We clearly have principles; we could have language, but why start diverting attention from this really bad piece of work they’ve got to whatever we’re offering right now?”

Blunt, who is running for Senate, is chairman of the House GOP Health Care Solutions Group. Cantor made similar comments to The Hill in June, saying Republicans would eventually offer legislative language on healthcare reform.

Democrats on Wednesday called out Republicans, reminding reporters in an e-mail that Blunt had guaranteed that the GOP would introduce a bill.

[snip]

What’s more, the Republican track record on alternative solutions is truly abysmal. The GOP budget alternative was a humiliating failure (you may recall, it lacked numbers). The GOP stimulus alternative — tax cuts and a five-years spending freeze — was so ridiculous, even some conservatives labeled it “insane.” With this in mind, there’s no need for the party to humiliate itself with a health care plan.

No, they’ve humiliated themselves quite enough as it is.

And before theCons head out to dance on the Dems’ graves, they may want to have a listen to one of the lone voices of sanity in their party:

“If we don’t do something on health-care reform,” [Sen. Chuck] Grassley said, “the voters are more apt to blame Republicans than Democrats.” Grassley also expressed his disagreement with the Republican Party of Iowa, which called health care reform an “experiment Iowa cannot afford.” “I would suggest there have been some Republicans who haven’t been looking at the polls,” Grassley said in a weekly conference call with Iowa reporters, in which he announced he would continue to seek a bipartisan bill:

He referred to a poll showing voters would assign blame 30 percent to the health industry, 22 to Republicans, 11 percent to Democrats and only 4 percent to Obama.

So it seems to me that we have a responsibility to the Republican Party not to be seen as destroying or at least not talking about things that people believe are wrong with the present health-care system,” Grassley said.

They’re ready to party like it’s 1994. Only Grassley seems to realize it’s 2009. Things are a little different. Americans threw the bums out last time health care reform failed, and got con artists instead. I’m pretty damned sure the Cons will suffer more than the bums this time.

Even with the chance that they’ll get their long-demanded delay, you can tell they’re worried. You know they’re up against a wall when they’re resorting to “But health care reform is unAmerican!” attacks, and even Michael Steele’s telling the Dems just to pass this shit already. I’m tasting blood in the water. Most of it tastes like elephant, not donkey.

This could possibly be the coup d’grace:

From the “whodda thunk” files:
In a first-of-its-kind study, the non-profit Rand Corp linked the rapid growth in U.S. health care costs to job losses and lower output. The study, published online by the journal Health Services Research, gives weight to President Barack Obama’s dire warnings about the impact of rising costs if Congress does not enact health care reform.

That’s gonna leave a mark. Makes it kinda easy to answer the “what’s in it for me?” question, doesn’t it just?

The Happy Hour drink specials have been a little heavy on the health care side, so let me put some fine Con hypocrisy on tap for you. Remember Rep. Marsha “Can’t Cry Emergency Every Time There’s a Katrina” Blackburn? Well, you’ll never ever in a million trillion years guess who’s been crying emergency:

I’m sure that any time a disaster threatens her state of Tennessee, she won’t cry emergency and bother to get federal funding to help people in need. I’m sure that-

The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of Tennessee and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding on April 10, 2009.

[snip]

Well, OK, fine, but that’s the President, I’m sure Marsha Blackburn HERSELF never requested emergency funding for her state of Tennessee–

Members of Tennessee Delegation Urge Disaster Declaration for Five Counties Affected by Flooding

WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and U.S. Representatives Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn. 4), Bart Gordon (D-Tenn. 6), and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn. 7) have joined Governor Phil Bredesen in requesting that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issue a federal disaster declaration for five counties in Tennessee “to help farmers who have suffered crop losses and damage to farm equipment and structures as a result of excessive rain and extensive flooding that occurred in May.” The five counties are Bedford, Hickman, Lewis, Moore and Perry.

According to their letter to Secretary Vilsack, a declaration would allow qualifying farmers “to apply for a variety of federal farm disaster programs – including supplemental farm revenue payments, livestock assistance and low-interest emergency loans – through their local U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency office.”

OK, one time, fine, but there’s no history of this—

Title: Letter to The Honorable Mike Johanns, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Date: 07/12/2007

Alexander, Corker Join Tenn. Delegation In Requesting Disaster Declaration For Drought
from the Office of Senator Bob Corker

U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker joined other members of the Tennessee Congressional Delegation Tuesday in asking U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns to issue an agricultural disaster declaration for all 95 Tennessee counties due to the results of the ongoing drought.

Marsha Blackburn
Member of congress

What’s your point? That Marsha Blackburn is a rank hypocrite whose statements don’t match her actions?

Is that, or is that not, some of the finest Con hypocrisy you’ve tasted this week?

You’re welcome.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Con Party Motto: “If you can’t beat ‘em, try to terrify ‘em into submission.”

Last week, ThinkProgress noted that the right-wing had escalated its fearmongering rhetoric on health care, with multiple Republican members of Congress saying that Americans would die if health reform passed. “Absolutely,” replied Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) when asked if “government-run health care” will “end up killing more people than it saves.”

On the House floor yesterday, Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL) became the latest conservative to claim reform would kill people. “Last week Democrats released a health care bill which essentially said to America’s seniors: drop dead,” said Waite.

Now, mind you, this is coming from the same party that regularly tries to kill off Medicare and Social Security. So, who’s telling America’s seniors to “drop dead,” again?

Michael Steele’s singing the same tune, too. Unfortunately for both him and Waite, there’s a little statistic that rather takes a woodchipper to their talking points:

Neither Steele nor his right-wing allies mention that the United States has a higher “mortality amendable to health care” than European countries, which means “deaths from certain causes before age 75 that are potentially preventable with timely and effective health care.”

Michele Bachmann, meanwhile, wails,”Won’t someone think of the poor dear insurance companies?”

Crazy right-winger Michele Bachmann from Minnesota, in her floor speech, issued a litany of talking points against the public option, and said that the public option would be far cheaper than private insurance. And that’s a bad thing? Apparently it’s a bad thing for Michele Bachmann and her legion of crazy fans.

“Approximately 114 million Americans are expected to leave private health insurance. Why? Their employers will drop the insurance because the taxpayer-subsidized plan will be 30 to 40 percent cheaper. This action will collapse the private health insurance market, and then the Federal Government will own the health provider game.”

Free market’s a bitch, innit? And that’s what none of the Con scaremongers will mention – the public plan is just that: a health insurance plan. It’s got premiums and everything. The only difference between that and the private plans, really, is that the public plan doesn’t see a need to make utterly obscene profits. It’ll be such a shame the big private companies have to give up the multi-million dollar executive salaries, won’t it?

It’ll be almost as tragic as Blue Dogs losing those enormous contributions that cause them to love the insurance industry soooooo much.

The anti-health care reform crowd’s getting pretty rabid at this point. They’re smelling blood in the water. I think it’s gotten to DeMint’s head, because he threw down on President Obama while spouting off on conservative talk radio. DeMint challenging Obama to a debate on healthcare reminds me of a song about knives and gunfights…. but I digress. The best moment was this one:

On Levin’s show, DeMint said that if health care reform passes, it could be “Waterloo” for the conservative movement. “That’s why I’m using stronger language than I would normally use,” said DeMint.

Kinda reminds me of an old commercial, actually. I can’t remember the product they were selling, but the pitch was something about megalomaniacal claims that went horribly awry, and one of them was Napoleon saying “I will win at Waterloo.” The next scene showed Wellington kicking his ass. I think DeMint may be remembering the same commercial, and he’s starting to realize who Napoleon is here.

Yup.

I think they’re all feeling the desperation. Hell, they’re so desperate that Grassley’s trying to sell 80-vote snake oil to the public. And if you think this is all about what’s best for the American people, you might want to consider what Sen. George Voinovich let slip on Faux News:

The interview wrapped up with this interesting exchange.

Host: Senator, one question, before we go, on health care. How much of this disagreement with the administration is about the policy of health care and how to fix it, and how much of it is Republicans’ obviously understandable desire to declaw the president politically. How much does that fit into the equation?

Voinovich: I think it’s probably 50-50.

Putting aside the obvious slant of the question, Voinovich’s candid response was nevertheless interesting. At least half of the Republican opposition to health care reform, according to a sitting Republican senator, is nothing more than partisan politics.

Heh. At least. Myself, I’d peg it at 78% partisan politics and 22% batshit fucking insanity, but that’s just a back-of-the-envelope estimate.

Why so much insanity, you ask? Well, because Cons display so damned much of it:

During a debate on pay-as-you-go rules today, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) urged her colleagues to “agree that we’re going to have PAYGO enforcement.” As an example of what she meant, Blackburn declared “that we’re not going to cry ‘emergency’ every time we have a Katrina“:

BLACKBURN: Let’s agree that we’re going to have PAYGO enforcement. That we’re not going to cry ‘emergency’ every time we have a Katrina, every time we have a Tsunami, every time we have a need for extra spending, that we don’t go call for a special appropriation that allows us to circumvent the PAYGO rules.

PAYGO’s pretty batshit fucking insane to begin with, but of course, that’s not the insanity I’m highlighting here. Now, I agree we don’t need to “cry emergency” every time we have a tsunami – after all, Seattle’s last tsunami was about an inch or so high – but how many Katrinas should we collect first? Is there a minimum number of citizens who have to be killed, injured or stranded? A certain number of city miles underwater? Incredulous minds want to know.

Incredulous minds also what to know what the fuck the media’s thinking:

This item, from TPM’s David Kurtz, was completely serious.

In what has to be among Fox News’ all-time lowlights, Neil Cavuto had a segment a short while ago on whether the new surgeon general nominee, Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, is “too fat” for the post. Seriously. In support of this argument, they had on as a guest some guy wearing a “No Chubbies” T-shirt. Again, I’m serious. Watch.

While the Fox News “discussion” on this was predictably ridiculous, there’s apparently widespread discussion over Benjamin’s weight. I can’t recall ever hearing a comparable “debate” over the physical characteristics of another recent presidential nominee, but the surgeon general nominee’s weight has somehow, at least according to some, managed to become a legitimate area of interest.

This ABC News report ran yesterday about whether Benjamin, despite her obvious qualifications, “gives the wrong message” to the country.

Only in our celebrity-obsessed culture could a woman like this be called “fat:”

And only a media as fucking hopeless as ours could think that attacking this woman over her weight is news.

Of course, we’re living in a country where state senators think they have a right to control women’s bodies:

State Rep. John Adams (R-OH) has re-introduced radical legislation that would prevent a woman from having an abortion until she gets written consent from the biological father. As proposed, the bill triggers criminal penalties against women for “providing a false biological father.” Adams says the “first-degree misdemeanor” would be punishable with up to “six months” in jail and a “$1,000 fine.” Labeled by Adams as a “father’s right bill,” the lawmaker would give men the final say on abortion in the state of Ohio:

In the case where the father isn’t known, House Bill 252 would compel the woman to provide a list of names of people who may be the father in an effort to determine paternity. The bill also would make it a crime for women to lie about who the father is, and make it illegal for doctors to perform abortions without the father’s consent.

The bill would force a woman to have a child if the father does not agree to an abortion.

“That child should be born, not killed,” Adams said.

I’ll tell you what. When science makes men capable of carrying unwanted fetuses to term, risking their health, letting themselves in for a whole host of life-long complications, and forcing them to endure the pain and trauma of childbirth, then you fucktards can talk to me about “father’s rights.” But we’re not there yet. So: shut the fuck up.

Meanwhile, Blue Dogs jumping on the “we can’t publicly fund abortions!” wagon discover that it’s not about abortion – it’s about sex:

Speaking of abortions, there’s lots of talk today about Tim Ryan being kicked out of Democrats For Life for being insufficiently hostile to contraception in addition to being hostile to abortion.
“I can’t figure out for the life of me how to stop pregnancies without contraception,” he said.

Apparently, he was under the impression that “common ground” only meant shaming women out of having abortions, not shaming out of using birth control too. His bad. He hasn’t been paying attention.

Cons keep talking about how Europeanized we are. I only wish America were so enlightened.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

We saw through their cunning little schemes long ago, but today, the Cons got busted (h/t & h/t):

A private memo distributed by the Republican National Committee calls for like-minded advocates to help defeat President Barack Obama’s health care proposals by delaying its consideration.

The memo, which was obtained by the Huffington Post from a Democratic source, provides the clearest illustration to date of the political playbook being used to stop Democratic attempts at a health care overhaul. Much of the material mirrors the speeches and presentations made by conservatives both inside and out of elected office to date. Obama’s plan for health care is deemed an “experiment” and a “risk” that could bankrupt the country and dangerously change the doctor-patient relationship.

In particular, the 12-page memo makes the case that it is a Republican priority to slow down the consideration of health care reform before it can become codified.

“The Republican National Committee will engage in every activity we can to slow down this mad rush while promoting sensible alternatives that address health care costs and preserve quality,” the memo affirmatively declares.

What fucking quality?

Digby demolishes this dumbfuckery point by point. Since you know all your Faux News-loving friends will be spouting these talking points like perfect little parrots, it may be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the antidote.

Oh, and Blue Dogs? When you scream for delay, you do realize you’re playing right into the Cons’ hands, right? This will not go well for you come Election Day:

Now, I have no doubt that certain Blue Dogs and Democratic wingnuts think they can personally benefit by distancing themselves from Democratic initiatives. They are stupid. If Obama goes down in flames, as Brownstien says, those in conservative districts will get creamed by a Republican challenger in 2010, regardless of whether they voted against the health care bill. They are the ones who will pay the price for Obama’s failure, not him and not the liberals who voted for it.

Any Blue Dog from a swing district who is listening to little Republican birdies whispering in his ear telling them that he has to vote against Obama’s agenda or risk losing in 2010 is a useful idiot who is engineering his own defeat.

Hear that, Rep. Dan “I’m Really a Con, but They Were Losing at the Time” Boren?

Oh, and speaking of losers whose last names begin with the letter B, Con Rep. Joe Barton can’t remember how much campain cash he’s taken from the health insurance industry. Let’s give him a little reminder, shall we?

According to OpenSecrets, the health care sector has been Barton’s second largest contributor over the years, donating $2,096,021. In the current election cycle, only the energy and natural resources industries have given him more money.

Could this be one of the reasons why Cons and Blue Dogs are so desperate to maintain the status quo? I do believe it might, I do I do.

Now, we all know what’s going to happen when health care reform passes over the screaming tantrums of the fucktards who’ve been sucking at the insurance industry’s teat. They’ll rail and cry about evil big gubmint and socialism and how very awful it is, all the while taking credit for the benefits flowing from the legislation they so desperately fought. How do we know? It’s because that’s exactly what the fucktards are doing with the stimulus:

Indeed, this happens quite a bit. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) hates the stimulus, except for the transportation money it brought to his district. Other House Republicans have bragged about recovery funds headed for their communities, thanks to a bill they voted in lock-step against.

Bobby Jindal’s not even being subtle about it:

Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) reemerged on the national stage yesterday, penning an op-ed in the Politico to slam efforts to reform health care and declaring the Economic Recovery Act a failure. Jindal declared the Recovery Act “a nearly trillion-dollar stimulus that has not stimulated.” However, less than 24 hours before Jindal published his op-ed, Jindal traveled to Anacoco, Louisiana to present a jumbo-sized check to residents of Vernon Parish. The funds included hundreds of thousands of dollars directly from the Recovery Act — at least $157,848 in Community Block Grant money authorized by the Recovery Act and $138,611 for Byrne/JAG job training programs created by the Recovery Act. Rather than credit the federal government or the Recovery Act he opposed, Jindal printed his own name on the corner of the massive check.

And Mark Pence should be joining the hypocritical harmony any moment now:

Pence recently attacked the stimulus in a speech, declaring that “the American people deserve a real plan for a real recovery.” Back in February he called for a Federal spending freeze amid the recession.

So how will Pence react to this big story in one of his state’s major papers?

Stimulus Has Hoosiers Working

INDIANAPOLIS — More than 2,400 people are now at work on federal stimulus-funded roadway projects in Indiana, according to a state report being released today.

Covering 83 projects and listing a total payroll of $2.8 million, the Indiana Department of Transportation report details only a small fraction of the hundreds of projects so far selected for funding using the $440 million the agency received under the American Relief and Recovery Act.

Economists say it’s too early to tell whether the long-term value of President Barack Obama’s economy-boosting effort will justify its $787 billion cost. But construction executives say stimulus-funded projects certainly have created jobs and spared layoffs within the industry.

Since Indiana’s only seen the benefits of a drop of that stimulus cash, Pence feels comfortable singing the tax cut song. But you can bet he’ll be singing a different song to his constituents.

I can hardly wait till these fuckers come up for reelection. All those ads using their own non-cherrypicked words to show them up for two-faced fucktards should be a lot of fun.

We talked a bit recently about the GOP’s propensity for extortion. Sen. DeMint’s decided to try his own hand at the racket:

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-N.C.) delayed committee votes on two State Department posts today over objections to the administration’s policy towards Honduras, Reuters reports.

DeMint, who believes the recent coup in Honduras was legal, asked to delay votes on the nominations of (1) Arturo Valenzuela to be Assistant Secretary of State for western hemisphere affairs and (2) Thomas Shannon to be Ambassador to Brazil.

[snip]

The Senate Foreign Relations committee will likely vote on the nominations next week, by which time DeMint hopes the administration will reconsider its support for ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya.

I wonder if RICO covers rackets like this?

We’ll close Happy Hour with a rare bit of Con sanity that has neocons shitting their pants:

Given Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) work on eliminating unnecessary F-22 funding, I sort of expected the Weekly Standard‘s Michael Goldfarb, a former McCain aide, to support the majority today.

No such luck.

If there is any consolation to be had here it comes from the fact that there will be a time when this administration’s weakness on defense, and the subservience of their enablers in Congress, will reemerge as a national political issue. And at that time, some Republican will run an add [sic] that shows the trillions this government has wasted on pet projects and social experiments and contrast that with the determination that same government showed in killing a crucial weapons system — because they decided there isn’t enough money left for our military to have the very best equipment money can buy.

America is less safe now than it was an hour ago.

OK, let’s get into this a bit. On the latter point, it’s worth remembering that the F-22 is a bit of a mess. For every hour it spends in the air, it requires more than 30 hours of maintenance. One of its key problems is — I’m not kidding — “vulnerability to rain.” After years of effort, the plane, in operational flight tests, has met only seven of its 22 “key requirements.” It features a radar-absorbing canopy that tends to imprison pilots for hours. It was designed to address Cold War-era national security needs, and has flown a grand total of zero missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Even if we exclude President Obama from the equation, the excess F-22 spending was opposed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates (a Bush/Cheney appointee), the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (a Bush/Cheney appointee), the current Air Force Secretary and Chief of Staff, and the leading Democrat and Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. The Senate vote today had 15 GOP members, including some very conservative lawmakers, joining with the majority.

Goldfarb’s having a heart attack from delusions that the fatally-fucked up F-22 was keeping America safe, and now the evil Senators have made us less safe. I’m having a heart attack because 15 GOP members displayed some actual sense.

If only it wasn’t for the relentless parade of dumbfuckery we saw today, I’d think it’s a sign of hope. Alas, it appears a mere abberation. But perhaps the exotic tang of rationality shall linger on their tongues. Perhaps they’ll even like it, and want to try a little bit more.

We can but dream.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Here it is, the Con strategy on health care reform, all nice and out in the open:

Indeed, the conservative effort to “kill” reform was clarified today by Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, an architect of obstructing reform in the ’90s, who wrote that Republicans should “go for the kill”:

With Obamacare on the ropes, there will be a temptation for opponents to let up on their criticism, and to try to appear constructive, or at least responsible. There will be a tendency to want to let the Democrats’ plans sink of their own weight, to emphasize that the critics have been pushing sound reform ideas all along and suggest it’s not too late for a bipartisan compromise over the next couple of weeks or months.

My advice, for what it’s worth: Resist the temptation. This is no time to pull punches. Go for the kill.

Kristol asserts that “we have plenty of time to work next year on sensible and targeted health reform in a bipartisan way,” but Dave Weigel notes the disingenuousness of the claim, since “Republicans had, of course, plenty of time for bipartisan health reform from 2001 to 2009, but they punted, because they don’t believe that the country needs fundamental reform that covers everyone.”

Why don’t they believe we need fundamental reform? Why, because the system already provides health care for everyone:

Mitch McConnell came on Meet the Press to spew some more Frank Luntz talking points on health care reform, but when asked whether the United States actually has the “best health care in the world”, McConnell punts and retreats to the Republican mantra of more tax cuts and then adds this little gem when asked if it’s a moral issue that 47 million Americans go without health insurance:

McCONNELL: Well, they don’t go without health care. It’s not the most efficient way to provide it. As we know, the doctors in the hospitals are sworn to provide health care. We all agree it is not the most efficient way to provide health care to find somebody only in the emergency room and then pass those costs on to those who are paying for insurance. So it is important, I think, to reduce the number of uninsured. The question is, what is the best way to do that?

So in other words, Americans have access to health care because they can go get in line at the emergency room, and the hospital cannot turn them away. I’m curious if Sen. McConnell would care to opt out of his government run health care plan and take a vow only to use the emergency room when he needs to see a doctor from now on since he believes it would mean he has access to health care?

Here’s what I think: dumbfuck Senators who make dumbfuck remarks like this should have their health benefits canceled. They obviously don’t want any of that icky gubmint-run socialist health care stuff. And if they’re so positive America has the most wonderfullest health care system in the whole wide world, they can go take their chances in the private market – after having their income reduced to the median income. What could be more awesome?

You can bet McConnell and the rest of the “Waterloo” crowd will hold on to their government-run health care with both fists while trying to defeat Obama’s reform efforts, claiming all the while Americans are doing just fine. Let’s check in with their constituents and see how the status quo’s working out for them:

Meanwhile, as Jim DeMint puts party before country, the people he’s supposed to be representing are suffering.

After 25 years with the same company, Andy Stark lost his job and his health insurance.

While he found other work, it paid 30 percent less and had no benefits.

Then his wife got cancer.

Now the Simpsonville couple is struggling to pay medical bills they expect will total about $140,000.

“This is not the way things should be in America,” Andy Stark said.

The Starks lost their insurance after Andy was laid off, and they couldn’t afford COBRA premiums. That was before the cancer diagnosis. And they’re hardly alone.

In South Carolina, 670 people a week lose their health coverage, according to data from Families USA. In the decade ending in 2008, premiums soared 119 percent, increasing costs to employers and workers and adding to the spiraling cost of health care, according to the nonprofit group.

Jim DeMint’s and the GOP’s answer? Screw them. It’s all about defeating Obama.

Two can play at Waterloo. And this isn’t 1994, my friends. I do believe we can make health care reform the issue that breaks the Cons’ backs. If they want to defeat it for political purposes, well, there’s millions of people who are sick, uninsured, and bankrupted by medical bills. The Cons will own all that suffering.

So will the Blue Dogs:

Look at this man, Rep. Mike Ross, who’s proud of himself for defying President Obama and working to kill health care reform in the Energy and Commerce Committee mark-up today.

[snip]

Rep. Mike Ross sounds just like Senator DeMint when he says stuff like these below and wants to delay the passage of health care reform:

“I think they underestimated the Blue Dogs on this. They are dug in. They’re ‘bowed up.’ They’ve all gotten an earful back home.

[snip]

“When I’m invited in to meet with the Speaker or the president,” he said, “I go into those meetings thinking that I don’t need to come around to their opinion — they need to come around.”

What about the people in Rep. Mike Ross’s district? Doesn’t he need to come around for the 21.8% of people in his district that are uninsured? That’s 500,000 constituents that he doesn’t care about when he works to weaken the House Tri-Committee bill, and doesn’t accept President Obama’s suggestion to create a MedPac panel to oversee Medicare reimbursement rates.

Blue Cross Blue Shield in Rep. Mike Ross’s district has a 75% market share–that means it has a near monopoly, and people can’t get insurance anywhere else in his district. It’s why they need the choice of a public option to help lower the costs of private insurers and helps keep them honest in that district.

Blue Dogs, mind you, who are standing athwart health care reform because they’re oh-so concerned about its cost. Blue Dogs who didn’t give two shits about costs just a short while ago:

While Cohn is clearly right about the selective concerns from McConnell and congressional Republicans, let’s also not forget that there are a handful of Democrats who have the same problem. Ben Nelson and Max Baucus, for example, both voted for Bush’s tax cuts, funding for both of the Bush-launched wars, and spending on Bush’s Medicare Part D, without so much as a hint about how to pay for them.

Now, Nelson and Baucus are suddenly deeply concerned about whether the country can really afford health care reform, and in Nelson’s case, whether Democrats should even be allowed to vote on their own reform plan in the Senate.

It’s maddening.

Yes, it is. Getting the “fiscal responsibility” lecture from Cons and Blue Dogs who spent like frat boys with their daddy’s credit card so Bush could play warrior chief is infuriating. And this is something else that should hang around their necks until it breaks their backs.

So should Bill Moyers’ lecture. He contrasted Dr. Regina Benjamin, Obama’s nominee for Surgeon General, with the fat cats in the insurance industry, and it’s a devastating comparison:

Here’s the difference. To Dr. Regina Benjamin, health care is a service, helping people in need with grace and compassion. To Ed Hanway and his highly paid friends, it’s big business, a commodity to be sold to those who can afford it. And woe to anyone who gets between them and the profits they reap from sick people.

That behavior includes spending nearly a million and a half a day–a day!–to make sure health care reform comes out their way. Over the years they’ve lavished millions on the politicians who are writing and voting on the bills coming out of committee. Now it’s payback time. See for yourself here on our website, where you’ll find a link to campaign contributions and the politicians who right now are deciding who wins and who loses the heath care debate.

The pols who are working for the insurance industry rather than patients and doctors need to have their jobs voted right from under them. Remember them, when Election Day rolls around.

And now, on a lighter note, assclowns.

Michael Steele at the National Press Club:

When stumped with numerous health care policy questions, Steele said, “I don’t do policy,” acknowledging that he’s paying attention to his internal RNC polling to craft his political message. Moments later, Steele said he’s “not concerned” about the politics of health care.

Jonah Goldberg living in the past:

Over at “The Corner,” Jonah Goldberg highlights this 1961 clip from Ronald Reagan, criticizing Medicare. Goldberg said Reagan’s criticism of the landmark health care program is, nearly a half-century later, “still fresh today.”

[snip]

According to Reagan, Medicare would lead federal officials to dictate where physicians could practice medicine, and open the door to government control over where Americans were allowed to live. In fact, Reagan warned that if Medicare became law, there was a real possibility that the federal government would control where Americans go and what they do for a living.

In a line that may sound familiar to Sarah Palin fans, Reagan added, “[I]f you don’t [stop Medicare] and I don’t do it, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.”

[snip]

Reagan’s misguided diatribe from 48 years ago also serves as a reminder that we hear the same arguments from conservatives, over and over again, every time real reform is on the table. Republicans, Fox News, and Limbaugh, for example, reflexively shout “socialized medicine” whenever the issue comes up — just as the right has done for 75 years.

Time to tune them out and get the job done.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Scene: health care reform lying on city street, bleeding profusely from deep stab wounds, staring up at the mob of Cons and Blue Dogs surrounding it with knives still drawn.

HEATH CARE REFORM [to Blue Dogs]: Et tu, Brute?

The demands of conservative Blue Dog Democrats in health care reform have been odd and contradictory. But their capacity to kill this rare opportunity remains great, and they can still make matters even worse.

Some centrist House Democrats have reached out to Republicans to explore breaking with their party leadership on healthcare and crafting a reform bill with the rival GOP, one congressman claimed Saturday.

Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) asserted that an “interesting development” is taking place underway that, if true, could effectively remove Democratic leadership from the driver’s seat on healthcare reform legislation in the House.

“There’s an interesting development occurring behind the scenes, wherein moderate Democrats — so-called “Blue Dog” Democrats — and business-friendly new Democrats are actually starting to have conversations with us to build a coalition from the center outward, to actually really come up with substantive and well-founded healthcare reform,” Boustany said during an appearance on Fox News. “And that’s the only way to do this.”

Really? That’s the “only” way to reform the system? For conservatives in one party to join up with conservatives in the other party, in order to undermine months of progress? Funny, I can think of other ways to reform the broken system.

So can we all. In fact, most of us understand that joining up with the Cons is the best way to not reform the system. It’s probably because we don’t have the siren song of insurance industry money driving us to distraction.

Maybe the Blue Dogs just didn’t get the memo:

A strategy memo authored by GOP consultant Alex Castellanos suggests that “it is crucial for Republicans to slow down what it calls ‘the Obama experiment with our health.’” The memo concludes, “If we slow this sausage-making process down, we can defeat it, and advance real reform that will actually help.”

Alex, of course, forgot the crucial last phrase of his memo: “no one except the insurance companies and the Cons.”

Let’s not forget that the Cons have absolutely no reason to see health care reform succeed and every reason to root for failure:

In 1993, Bill Kristol privately advised congressional Republicans to do whatever it took to “kill” the Clinton health care reform initiative. It wasn’t that the policy proposal was a bad idea; it was that passage would help the Democratic Party for years to come. The GOP, he said, for the sake of its own future, couldn’t compromise or negotiate with the majority.

Sixteen years later, a wide variety of Democrats are working hard to convince Republicans to support reform, despite the built-in incentive for seeing reform fail.

[snip]

It occurs to me, then, that there’s at least a possibility that “centrist” Democrats — Blue Dogs, New Democrats, Lieberman, et al — might not see failure as such a horrible option here. In other words, they may realize that coming up short on health care, letting this opportunity slip away, and hurting millions of Americans in the process may be devastating for the Democratic majority, but these same “centrist” Democrats may prefer a smaller majority, or perhaps even a GOP majority to “balance” the Democratic president. They may very well disagree with the party’s leadership on most issues, and think the best course of action is taking away their power by undermining the party’s agenda.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter which turns out to be true. Blue Dogs and New Democrats [sic] just need their asses primaried. Playing nice with the frothing insane minority is fine on some shit, but not on the shit that matters.

And health care reform matters:

The larger points made in [Obama's] speech are really good and it’s too bad that only about 12 people will hear it.

You’d think this wouldn’t have to be said, but it’s actually an argument that can’t be made often enough:

This is an issue that affects the health and financial well-being of every single American and the stability of our entire economy.

It’s about every family unable to keep up with soaring out of pocket costs and premiums rising three times faster than wages. Every worker afraid of losing health insurance if they lose their job, or change jobs. Everyone who’s worried that they may not be able to get insurance or change insurance if someone in their family has a pre-existing condition.

It’s about a woman in Colorado who told us that when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, her insurance company – the one she’d paid over $700 a month to – refused to pay for her treatment. She had to use up her retirement funds to save her own life.

It’s about a man from Maryland who sent us his story – a middle class college graduate whose health insurance expired when he changed jobs. During that time, he needed emergency surgery, and woke up $10,000 in debt – debt that has left him unable to save, buy a home, or make a career change.

It’s about every business forced to shut their doors, or shed jobs, or ship them overseas. It’s about state governments overwhelmed by Medicaid, federal budgets consumed by Medicare, and deficits piling higher year after year.

This is the status quo. This is the system we have today. This is what the debate in Congress is all about:
Whether we’ll keep talking and tinkering and letting this problem fester as more families and businesses go under, and more Americans lose their coverage. Or whether we’ll seize this opportunity – one we might not have again for generations – and finally pass health insurance reform this year, in 2009.

The insurance companies, the politicians who serve them and the wealthy ideologues who want to ensure that the rubes never realize that they have the power to challenge the ruling class, are working overtime to redirect the free floating anxiety people feel over jobs and health care and a whole host of very real problems to a fear of abstractions like future deficits. I think people have to be reminded that the status quo equals the very real and immediate threat of losing everything they have if they get sick.

This is the status quo the Blue Dogs and New Democrats [sic] are dragging their heels on fixing, the status quo the Cons see absolutely nothing wrong with (except that it doesn’t include insurance insurance yet). We need to spend a lot of time patiently explaning to people who’ve fallen for insurance company lies, slick Con talking points, and Blue Dog bullshit exactly why it’s in their best interest to see those fuckers fail, not health care reform. We need them to understand exactly what’s at stake and who’s trying to shaft them, because they’ll need long memories come Election Day and it’s time to run the bastards out of town.

I’ll bring the pitchforks if you bring the torches.

Let’s finish up Happy Hour with two fine examples of Con “reasoning,” shall we? Just make sure you’ve swallowed all drinks first:

One of the most amusing genres of wingnut writing is the “it was cool somewhere on the planet today which proves Al Gore is lying” post. Nate Silver had a funny take on this yesterday (also noted by Thers), in response to this Assrocket post.

Silver, unlike Assrocket, actually bothered to look up the temperatures and it turns out that, surprise!, Assrocket was completely wrong about the weather in his own city. Oh well.

Undeterred by that rather embarrassing exchange, the non-partisan liberatarian Putz jumped to Assrocket’s defense.

OKAY, I STEPPED OUTSIDE A LITTLE WHILE AGO, and it was actually a bit chilly. In Knoxville, in mid-July. My dad says it hasn’t broken 90 all summer, which may be right. I’m saving real money on A/C bills this year. Could be worse — could be Michigan.

Meanwhile, Nate Silver says it’s all in your mind. Two thoughts: (1) I hope so — better that than living in a John Ringo novel. (2) Just remember Nate’s stuff when the press is yammering on about a hot day, or a hurricane, being “caused by global warming.”

So Nate mocks wingnuts for ignoring hard data in favor of rather shallow, subjective observations, and Putz responds with “Nate Silver is clearly wrong about the weather in Minneapolis because it’s chilly in Knoxville today and additionally, my dad said something that I haven’t bothered to verify–Heh.” Priceless.

And naturally, Father of Putz was wrong — the temperature in Knoxville exceeded 90 four times last month.

You’re welcome.

Now, if you’ve got a Blue Dog in your district, go make his or her life a living hell.