Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

If we see health care reform pass this year, it will be no thanks to the following fucktards:

Yesterday, six Senate “centrists” insisted that any momentum health care reform might have had come to a complete stop. The group — two Republicans, three Democrats, and Joe Lieberman — said lawmakers need more time. It wasn’t entirely clear what they intend to do with more time, but they want it anyway.

Paul Krugman thinks these “centrists” have the capacity to kill the entire reform campaign.

Will the destructive center kill health care reform? It looks all too possible.

What’s especially galling is the hypocrisy of their claimed reason for delaying progress — concern about the fiscal burden. After all, in the past most of them have shown no concern at all for the nation’s long-term fiscal outlook.

Case in point: the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, which denied Medicare the right to bargain for lower drug prices, locked in overpayments to private insurance companies, and did nothing, nothing at all, to pay for its proposed outlays. How many of these six self-proclaimed defenders of solvency voted no on the crucial procedural vote? One. (Joe Lieberman, to my surprise.) […]

If the Gang of Six really does kill reform, remember their names; they will bear the responsibility for vast, unnecessary suffering over the years to come.

Krugman’s point about the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 is of particular interest, because the votes are illustrative. This was a terrific example of the wrong way to tackle any kind of health care reform — Bush demanded the change and asked Congress to act quickly; Republicans didn’t even try to figure out a way to pay for hundreds of billions of dollars in new costs; insurance companies made a bundle; and “centrist” Democrats, hoping to prove how bipartisan they are, went along.

But, y’know, now that there’s a chance for real heath care reform, five of the six want no part of it. The sixth, Ron Wyden (D-OR), might have a plausible excuse for wanting to stop the train, as he’s got a far more progressive plan in the works. Alas for him, it’s progressive, which means it has absolutely no fucking chance. I haven’t heard a good excuse from the rest.

It’ll be interesting to see what the little deficit hawks squawk come Monday, because the CBO released their numbers Friday night, and whaddya know – there’s no deficit here:

CBO Scores Confirms Deficit Neutrality of Health Reform Bill

Washington, D.C. — The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released estimates this evening confirming for the first time that H.R. 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act, is deficit neutral over the 10-year budget window – and even produces a $6 billion surplus. CBO estimated more than $550 billion in gross Medicare and Medicaid savings. More importantly, the bill includes a comprehensive array of delivery reforms to set the stage for lowering the future growth in health care costs.

Net Medicare and Medicaid savings of $465 billion, coupled with the $583 billion revenue package reported today by the House Committee on Ways and Means, fully finance the previously estimated $1.042 trillion cost of reform, which will provide affordable health care coverage for 97% of Americans.

That whoopee-cushion sound you hear is the wind being sucked from the Gang of Six’s sails. Oh, and Politico? You may want to put your reporters through reading comprehension courses – they apparently didn’t understand that the CBO’s estimate did not, in fact, “deal another blow to House health plan.” You guys’ve been hanging around with Cons in upside-down land too long, haven’t you?

For the punters in the cantina, I’m taking bets on how long it takes Cons to a) ignore, b) attack, or c) flat-out lie about the CBO’s most recent estimate. You know they only love the CBO when it tells them what they want to hear.

Zappatero at Daily Kos has some sound advice for senators (h/t)

A simple word of advice from me to our United States Senators on health care reform and their “centrist” colleagues: just say “No” to Ben Nelson if he comes a-callin’ with scary stories about getting all our citizens covered by health insurance this year:

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) said he planned to urge the president not to force an arbitrary August deadline on health care reform.

Arbitrary?

Because 15 years after the last attempt at meaningful health care reform is too soon?

Maybe the 44 years after Lyndon Johnson signed the Medicare Act is rushing it for Senator Nelson.

Arbitrary could be the 64 years since Truman said this:

[snip]

Millions of our citizens do not now have a full measure of opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health. Millions do not now have protection or security against the economic effects of sickness. The time has arrived for action to help them attain that opportunity and that protection.

Excellent advice, and I do hope our saner Senators take it. They might also ask Ben Nelson this question: “How much longer, exactly, should Americans have to wait for health care reform? Another 15 years? 44? 64?” One gets the sense that “never” is an adequate amount of time for Ben Nelson and his Merry Band of Fuckwits.

I wonder how soon that timeline would change if they were forced to enter the private market themselves? If those poor idiots had to shop for health insurance on their own, I do believe we’d have meaningful health care reform by early tomorrow morning.

Speaking of health insurance,
the great Con think (sic) tank Cato Institute wants you to know that Cons do too have health care reform ideas:

Maha found this gem at the Cato Institute:

I have discovered a proposal for “fixing” health care on the Cato Institute website that is an absolute hoot.

The plan (see PDF) is to eliminate employee health benefit insurance and all government health care support, and throw everyone into the private insurance market. Insurance companies would be allowed to risk-rate premiums, so that as people got older and/or sicker their premiums would go up.

However, Cato says, this doesn’t have to be a problem. The solution is … wait for it … insurance insurance. They call it “health status insurance,” but essentially it’s insurance insurance. It’s a separate policy you take that will insure you against catastrophic increases in your health insurance.

I’m not kidding. That’s the brilliant plan.

[snip]

If that doesn’t work out I assume there will soon be a market for insurance insurance insurance, for those who are under covered and over charged by the first two, which would create yet another market for insurance insurance insurance insurance.

Oh, yes, indeedy, they have ideas – really bad ideas.

And, really, Cons – when you invoke Godwin’s Law, at least try to get some of the historical details right. Sen. DeMint, I’m looking at you:

And while promoting his new book on the G. Gordon Liddy show yesterday, DeMint agreed with Gordon — who ironically has a history of expressing sympathetic views to Nazis — that Obama has created a government like that under Hitler:

LIDDY: But there’s something else that I remember because I’m a lot older than you are and it’s called national socialism and that’s where the government allows private people to continue to own industrial capacity and what have you but tells them what they may — must do with it. You know, you will make Messerschmidts, etc. That was national socialism. That seems to me the way we’re going.

DEMINT: You’re right we’ve got national socialism, national paternalism and our form of socialism seems more benign than the classical form that we noted in Europe.

[snip]

This isn’t the first time DeMint has used this incorrect analogy. As Matt Yglesias previously wrote, “Look, comparing your domestic political rivals to Nazis is a time-honored tradition. But confusing the Nazis and Germany’s Social Democrats is a scandal. The Social Democrats were the main source of opposition to Hitler at a time when the Communists were bizarrely maintaining that there was no difference between the two and the mainstream parties of the center-right decided that it made sense to form a tactical alliance with Hitler. Social Democrats stand for a generous welfare state and active labor market policies. Nazis try to conquer the world and send people to the gas chamber.”

That’s a simple little paragraph that any common idiot could grasp. Too bad DeMint’s so uncommonly idiotic.

And, finally, here’s an example that should explain rather succinctly why anyone who takes Ann Coulter seriously suffers instant credibility loss here in the cantina:

She has some nutty theory about the hierarchy of being a victim and what it means to be Black and Liberals and, and…..I’m kind of speechless.

Beck: Does everybody wanna be Black?

Coulter: Liberals do because that’s the official, the top victim status so that being Black trumps being an insect and ahhh, huh…

Beck: I think this has spiraled out of control…

When even Glenn Beck thinks someone’s liberal-bashing has spiraled out of control, you know they’ve sailed past madness at Mach 95 and accelerating.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Sometimes, there’s stupidity so deep you can’t wade in. You can’t dabble your toes while you get used to the temperature, because there’s no getting used to it. All you can do is take a deep breath, hold it, and dive headfirst into the deep end.

Jim DeMint’s stupidity is that type:

Last week, Sen. Jim DeMint (R) of South Carolina, arguably the chamber’s most right-wing member, told an audience at the National Press Club that the United States is currently “about where Germany was before World War II.” Everything about his remarks — the sense of history, the understanding of current events, the philosophy — was a special kind of stupid.

But DeMint seems quite pleased with himself, and keeps churning out new and creative insanity.

In an interview with the evangelical World Magazine titled “The Taxpayers’ Greatest Ally,” Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) had some interesting things to say about his work with his colleagues in the Senate:

“I am not going to be able to persuade my colleagues to do the right things, so I am just going to have to create pain.”

Okay, that is a bit intense. However, it may not even be the most intense statement from Sen. DeMint this week. On a conference call this morning, DeMint discussed health care reform: “”This health care issue Is D-Day for freedom in America… If we’re able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.”

I’m not quite sure what all of this means, but it sounds rather twisted.

I think Dems should keep those remarks in mind when they contemplate bipartisanship. There’s no being bipartisan with an insane fool like that.

Alas, he is not the only insane fool in the Senate:

This sure does get tiresome.

Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio) has placed a “hold” on Robert Perciasepe’s nomination to be deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, demanding that the EPA re-analyze a controversial climate bill.

[snip]

He said he had no objections to Perciasepe, the chief operating officer of the Audubon Society. But he wants the EPA to alter its analysis of a bill, aiming to lower greenhouse-gas emissions, that passed the House in June.

[snip]

The problem has to do with the Waxman-Markey “American Clean Energy and Security” (ACES) Act. The EPA estimates that the bill, if implemented, will cost the average U.S. household about $110 per year. (A CBO analysis came up with a slightly higher figure: $175 per household per year.) Voinovich, hoping to defeat the bill, found the estimate unsatisfying.

So, he’s told the EPA that he’ll let the Senate vote on Perciasepe’s nomination just as soon as the EPA reevaluates ACES’s cost and tells him what he wants to hear comes up with a per-household annual cost that he considers “reliable and realistic.”

In other words, he’s trying to blackmail the EPA. Extortion is unbecoming to a senator, don’t you think?

Meanwhile, yet another Con demonstrates his difficulty understanding numbers:

Earlier today on Fox News, RNC Chairman Michael Steele was asked whether Republicans would borrow from President Clinton’s famous catch-phrase during the 1992 campaign, “it’s the economy stupid,” in the run-up to the 2010 election. Steele proceeded to launch into a rambling answer that used fuzzy math to assert that, in only six months, President Obama has added “10 trillion dollars” to the national deficit, while President Bush is to blame for only “a trillion”:

STEELE: They love going back to George Bush and his deficit that was inherited. Great. I’ll take George Bush’s deficit right now of a trillion dollars over the 10 trillion dollars that this administration has created in just six months.

[snip]

Steele is clearly confusing the difference between our national debt, which stands at roughly $11.4 trillion, and this year’s budget deficit, which just exceeded $1 trillion.

To help jog Steele’s memory, here’s a bit of a deficit recap: Bush inherited a budget surplus of $128 billion in 2001. Budget experts projected a $710 billion surplus for 2009 when he came into office. But the deficit soon exploded, thanks largely to the Bush tax cuts — which accounted for 42 percent of the deficit. When Bush left office, he handed President Obama a projected $1.2 trillion budget deficit for this year, the largest ever.

As for the debt, when President Bush took office, it was $5.73 trillion. When he left, it was $10.7 trillion.

You know, I really wish they’d come up with talking points that took more than a minutes’ effort to debunk. There’s no challenge here.

Let us turn now to principled conservatism:

There’s been an ongoing and heated dispute between FedEx and UPS lately, stemming from a labor provision currently being debated on the Hill. In a nutshell, UPS already negotiates union contracts with individual locations, and FedEx may soon be forced to do the same, giving up its one national union contract for its express business.

A fierce fight between the two shipping giants has broken out over this, and American Conservati
ve Union, a major conservative lobbying organization, was, as recently as two weeks ago, on FedEx’s side. The ACU said in a recent letter, “We stand with FedEx in opposition to this legislation.”

But that wouldn’t last. The ACU asked FedEx to pony up a couple million dollars for conservative lobbying expenses. FedEx balked, so two weeks later, the American Conservative Union switched sides, and now backs UPS.

In return for the $2 million, ACU offered a range of services that included: “Producing op-eds and articles written by ACU’s Chairman David Keene and / or other members of the ACU’s board of directors. (Note that Mr. Keene writes a weekly column that appears in The Hill.)”

The conservative group’s remarkable demand — black-and-white proof of the longtime Washington practice known as “pay for play” — was contained in a private letter to FedEx that was provided to POLITICO.

The letter exposes the practice by some political interest groups of taking stands not for reasons of pure principle, as their members and supporters might assume, but also in part because a sponsor is paying big money.

[snip]

And if one fails to pay that price, wouldn’t you know it, the conservative organization finds that maybe it doesn’t really agree with your principled position after all.

My goodness, imagine that. ACU values their values so much they’ve put a $2 million price tag on them.

In other principled conservative news, we discover that yet another principled Christian conservative screaming for Bill Clinton’s head was busy violating the sanctity of marriage all the while:

Last night on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow reported the story that former Rep. Chip Pickering’s (R-MS) wife has filed a lawsuit against Pickering’s mistress Elizabeth Creekmore Byrd, exposing a long-running affair. Pickering, now a lobbyist for Capitol Resources LLC, campaigned on a platform of promising to bring family values to Washington. Pickering tried to force his own views on marriage upon the country by pushing a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and using marriage as a cudgel to demand that President Bill Clinton resign:

– While engaged in the affair with Creekore Byrd, Pickering said of President Bill Clinton: “I think for the good of the country and the good of his own family it would be better for him to resign. When someone puts himself forward for public office, then his personal conduct does become relevant.” [Washington Times, 8/20/98]

– Pickering explained his support of a constitutional gay marriage ban, stating: “Marriage as an institution between one man and one woman promotes the best interest of the husband and wife, and the best interests of children.” [Mississippi Link, 7/20/06]

The suit filed by Pickering’s wife also alleges that Pickering pursued the affair while living in the “C Street Complex,” the boarding house for the secretive right-wing Christian group known as “the Fellowship.” Pickering’s former colleagues embroiled in similar scandals, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) and Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC), were also members of the Fellowship.

Wow. C-Street should change its name to A-Street, there. As in a scarlet A. And you know the funniest part of the Pickering affair? He dropped out of public life not because of scandal, but because his mistress told him to.

The next time Cons start screaming about other peoples’ moral failings, I do believe we should laugh them loudly out of the room.

And, finally, our racist Con quote o’ the day, courtesy of Pat Buchanan after being raked over the coals on Rachel Maddow’s show:

Rachel asked, for example, for his thoughts on 108 out of 110 Supreme Court justices being white. Buchanan replied, “White men were 100% of the people that wrote the Constitution, 100% of the people that signed the Declaration of Independence, 100% of the people who died at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, probably close to 100% of the people who died at Normandy. This has been a country built basically by white folks.”

This, of course, from the man who decided that white people need to whine more about how the minorites are keeping them down. If you believe, as many do, that this fucktard has no place in the public discourse, you can inform MSNBC of your displeasure here.

If you’re worried about getting a racist fucktard fired during a major recession, don’t. You know he’ll find a happy home at Faux News.

Have I mentioned lately how much I’d like to see a sane opposition party? Y’know, one that doesn’t put forth stupid, racist, and frothing insane fucktards as their creme de la creme? I’d like that a lot. Alas, it looks as if that’s about as likely as Christian Bale showing up on my doorstep to profess his undying love, so I’d best go exercise my point-and-laugh muscles instead.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

I am, once again, suffering an embarrassment of riches. You’d think Cons didn’t have anything better to do all day than sit around and think up new ways to be egregiously stupid.

I guess that’s what the lobbyists pay them for. And they’re certainly attempting to earn their pay as they spin their gloom, doom and mass casualty stories of health care reform:

Fearing that health reform is getting closer to passage, the right-wing is escalating its rhetoric by issuing dire warnings of its consequences. Interviewed by the Washington Times, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) was asked if “government-run health care” will “end up killing more people than it saves?” Coburn responded, “Absolutely.”

A couple of right-wing congressman voiced similar doom-and-gloom rhetoric on the House floor yesterday:

Rep. Steve King (R-IA): “They’re going to save money by rationing care, getting you in a long line. Places like Canada, United Kingdom, and Europe. People die when they’re in line.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX): “One in five people have to die because they went to socialized medicine! … I would hate to think that among five women, one of ‘em is gonna die because we go to socialized care.”

Paging Mr. Reality:

Comapred [sic] with Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, the United States ranks last in all dimensions of a high performance health system: quality, access, efficiency, equity, and healthy lives. The United States currently ranks 50th out of 224 nations in life expectancy, with an average life span of 78.1 years, according to 2009 estimates from the CIA World Factbook.

Note to Cons: fiction works better if it’s based in reality. Not that you’re on speaking terms with reality anymore, but really, you’d think that a friend of a friend of reality might’ve mentioned how reality’s doing when you were having coffee the other day, before remembering you’d been through a messy divorce and maybe didn’t want to hear the first fucking thing about what reality’s been up to since you split.

Still, it’d be best to check in once in a while, because then you wouldn’t suffer embarrassments like these:

It’s nice to get definitive proof that some bloggers really don’t bother to do basic research before posting something, and we got some today. Here’s a scary article from Investment Business Daily:

“It didn’t take long to run into an “uh-oh” moment when reading the House’s “health care for all Americans” bill. Right there on Page 16 is a provision making individual private medical insurance illegal. (…)

Under the Orwellian header of “Protecting The Choice To Keep Current Coverage,” the “Limitation On New Enrollment” section of the bill clearly states:

“Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day” of the year the legislation becomes law.

So we can all keep our coverage, just as promised — with, of course, exceptions: Those who currently have private individual coverage won’t be able to change it. Nor will those who leave a company to work for themselves be free to buy individual plans from private carriers.”

That sounds scary! It also sounds completely implausible. So I went and looked at the actual bill, and there that paragraph was, on p. 16, in a section defining the term “Grandfathered Health Insurance Coverage”. The fact that it’s in a definition might lead readers to conclude that it doesn’t mean that you can’t buy individual insurance after the bill takes effect, but only that you can’t buy such insurance and have it meet the bill’s definition of “Grandfathered Health Insurance Coverage”. There is a difference.

Not to Michele Bachmann:

On Dennis Miller’s radio show today, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) attacked the bill, claiming that it plainly stated that Americans would be forced out of their current health care plans “within five years”:

BACHMANN: Well, what does that mean? That means that politicians are going to substitute their choice for your doctor’s choice for you. That’s exactly what this bill does. Here’s the other thing about that bill. It’s a monstrosity. I have the bill printed out on my desk, it’s over 1,000 pages long. On the 16th page, it says whatever health care you have now, it’s going to be gone within five years. So your current health care plan, you’re not going to have in five years. What you’re going to have is a government plan and a federal bureau is going to decide what you get or if you get anything at all.

[snip – refer to Hilzoy’s debunking above]

In fact, as the Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky points out, the CBO’s coverage tables “undermine the conservative claim that a public option would eliminate private insurance and erode employer-sponsored coverage”:

The House bill actually increases the number of people who receive coverage through their employer by 2 million (in 2019) and shifts most of the uninsured into private coverage. By 2019, 30 million individuals would also purchase coverage from the Exchange, but only 9-10 million Americans (or approximately 1/3) would enroll in the public option, the rest would enroll in private coverage.

So, in Bachmann’s world, increased private insurance is a government takeover of health care.

Sometimes I wonder if Michele’s parents put her in the bouncy chair upside-d
own. That might explain at least some of the brain damage. But unless there was a mishap with instructions and a generation of credulous parents, I don’t see how that explanation could extend to all of the extraordinary idiots on the right.

Now, I know it’s easy to get distracted by the blaring dumbfuckery over health care, but don’t forget the Cons are being equally fucktarded about the stimulus. The latest:

House Minority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), as part of his efforts to undermine confidence in the stimulus package, is talking to reporters again today to blast the recovery package. Just as important, though, the White House and its allies aren’t ceding any ground to Cantor on the issue.

The DNC, for example, is reminding journalists today that, as recently as April, Cantor was in home district bragging about the thousands of jobs to be created in his home state, including a high-speech rail project in his district.

“It’s not that surprising that yet another Republican has been caught speaking out of both sides of his mouth on the effects of the Recovery Act. But Eric Cantor and his fellow Republicans can’t have it both ways. Either they are for economic recovery and the jobs it’s bringing to the folks they represent, or they are against it,” said DNC national press secretary Hari Sevugan in an e-mail.

What’s more, it’s not just the DNC.

Vice President Biden plans a political broadside this afternoon in the home district of Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), accusing the senior Republican lawmaker of joining in his party’s smear of the $787 billion Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

[snip]

“I ask those critics…. Would they not help the states prevent lay off thousands of teachers, firefighters, cops?” Biden will say in the remarks. “Would they not give a tax cut to 95 percent of the American people? Would they sit back and do nothing as our economy collapsed?”

In a word: yes.

Oh, wait – they will do something. They’ll rail against the evil socialist federal government and threaten secession, then demand more stimulus money:

In March, Texas Gov. Rick Perry rejected $555 million in federal stimulus money that would have expanded unemployment benefits for Texans. Perry argued at the time that accepting the stimulus dollars would force the state to expand eligibility to include thousands of low-wage workers — including part-time employees like single mothers, college students and senior citizens — which Perry bemoaned would burden tax payers with “higher taxes and expanded obligations.” When explaining the decision, Perry told Fox News, “this was pretty simple for us.” But now Perry is reversing his decision. Texas has asked the federal government for a $170 million loan to ensure the state is able to continue paying out unemployment benefits:

Texas is now asking the federal government for a $170 million loan so that benefits keep getting paid.

“This is nothing out of the ordinary. We’re following protocol that we put in place,” said Governor Rick Perry.

Texas has asked for this loan only one other time, in 2003. This year however, the decision is getting extra attention after Governor Rick Perry rejected federal stimulus money that would have replenished the fund.

Texas is expected to request $650 million, roughly $100 million more than Perry initially rejected.

Wow. That kind of hypocrisy takes Texas-sized balls, Texas-sized stupidity, or both.

Of course, Tom Coburn’s trying to prove Oklahoma Cons are just as big as Texas Cons when it comes to hypocritical stupidty:

The conservative preoccupation with judicial references to foreign law has always been rather misguided. But sensible or not, the right takes this very seriously.

Indeed, just yesterday, Sen. Tom Coburn, a far-right Republican from Oklahoma, reminded Judge Sonia Sotomayor:

“We don’t want judges to consider legislation and foreign law that’s developed through bodies, elected bodies outside of this country.”

I think that’s a little closed-minded, but Coburn’s perspective on this is hardly unusual.

What was interesting, though, was what Coburn told Sotomayor less than 24 hours later:

“What I was trying to draw out to you is, where do we stand in this country when 80% of the rest of the world allows abortion only before 12 weeks, only before 12 weeks?

“And yet we allow it for any reason, at any time, for any inconvenience under the health of the woman aspect.”

That about-face must have left the poor man dizzy. I do hope he doesn’t suffer from motion sickness – wouldn’t want him to expend his last microgram of dignity by barfing on Sotomayor’s shoes, now, would we?

Meanwhile, signs that the right will ever put out the burning stupid and become worthy opponents again are completely fucking absent:

This blog has repeatedly wondered aloud whether Sarah Palin would be able remain hugely popular among Republican voters, now that her resignation has shown that the Alaska governorship was too big a fish tank for the Bailin’ Barracuda to handle.

Well, the new Gallup poll shows that she’s still far and away the most popular GOP figure among Republicans a
nd Republican-leading independents (click to enlarge):

Palin retains an astronomical favorability rating of 72%. No one else in the Republican Party can touch her.

With a base like this, I seriously doubt we’ll see many credible Cons hit the national stage any time soon.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Cat on lap etc. Awkward typing position etc. Blame typos on cat etc. etc…. I think that shall have to go without saying from now on, because she has come to believe Happy Hour is her hour.

If food were as abundant as Con stupidity, I could feed all of the starving children in the world right now, with enough left over for a ten-course banquet for a few hundred of my closest friends. I don’t quite know how we can cram it all in here, but we shall do our best.

Let us begin with health care reform, which is giving a Cons a chance to display their stupidity like peacocks display their tails:

Republican opponents of health care reform have a new, colorful talking point. It turns out, if you put reform plans into a chart, fiddle with box sizes, arrow colors, and creative fonts, you discover that health care reform is … complicated.
GOPHealthchart.png

After a brightly colored chart failed to kill the Waxman-Markey bill, House Republicans are scrapping doubling down on the idea. They’ve created a new one to demonstrate just how complicated the Democrats’ health care reform bill is.

Just as in the case of the Waxman-Markey chart, though, this doesn’t actually explain anything. And it ironically begs the question of whether Republicans secretly want a simpler, single payer system to replace more complex reform proposals.

There are a wide variety of arguments against reform, but this may be the most ridiculous. The chart apparently proves that the health care system will be complex. Well, yes, it is. It will involve a lot of people, money, government agencies, and private entities. Of course, I hate to break it to the House Republican caucus, but the health system is already complex, and features a lot of people, money, government agencies, and private entities.

Rather like this, in fact:

Luckily for us, the health wonks at TNR anticipated this little gambit and helpfully designed a chart depicting the wonderful, simple health care system we already have:

(click to enlarge)

Seriously, this makes health care reform look like what it actually is — streamlining the health care system, not complicating it. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine how it could be any more complicated.

But, of course, the Cons used more colors on their chart, which makes it look crowded and complicated and fraught with danger. And they shall whip that chart out at every opportunity.

Let the battle of the charts begin:

Using the same sophisticated charting techniques the Republicans use, Democrats have charted the Republican health plan, picture below:

rhealthplan-400x280.jpg

Any questions?

Yes, actually. Why does anyone take these fucking fools seriously? Even now, I hear talk of bipartisanship. It should be clear to Dems by now that there ain’t no fucking bipartisanship:

The Senate HELP committee held four weeks of markup hearings on their health care bill. They accepted 160 Republican amendments. They allowed virtually every amendment, every concern of Republicans to a free and open vote. And in the end, the bill split entirely along party lines.

A Senate committee became the first congressional panel to advance healthcare reform legislation this year, marking a significant step toward the achievement of President Obama’s foremost domestic initiative.

On a party-line, 13-10 tally, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee voted to move its portion of the upper chamber’s healthcare reform legislation to the floor […]

HELP Committee ranking member Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) slammed the bill and the partisan nature of the panel’s proceedings. “The bill lays the groundwork for a government takeover of healthcare,” Enzi said.

I don’t know how many times you have to say this. Republicans will not vote for health care reform. If so much as one of them does, I would be stunned. And it appears that the political staff in the White House understands this as well.

A bill could be made up of 99% Con “ideas,” and yet they would vote against it en masse, all the while whining about how partisan it is. So fuck ‘em. Stop trying to make the sniveling shits happy and just get us some health care reform before we all die of treatable diseases.

Pay no attention to the fucktards fuming about bogus numbers. Ignore the Scientologist-influenced dumbshits comparing health care to auto maintenance in WSJ editorials. They have proven themselves beneath our consideration.

And so we shall leave them crying in their corners and move on to other abundant sources of stupidity, such as Arizona’s shame, Sen. Jon Kyl:

It seemed jarring given the dire economic circumstances, but Sen. Jon Kyl (R) of Arizona, the #2 Republican in the Senate, argued over the weekend that he’d like to see all stimulus efforts end. The government should, Kyl said, wrap up the pending contracts and then stop recovery investment altogether.

Of course, if the government pursued Kyl’s recommended course, that would mean a whole lot less job-creating investment in his home state of Arizona. On Monday, several Obama administration officials wondered whether Kyl’s colleagues in the Grand Canyon State agree with his approach to the economy.

On Monday, four Obama Cabinet secretaries sent letters to Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer asking if she, too, wanted to shut off the spigot of federal stimulus cash.

“I believe the stimulus has been very effective in creating job opportunities throughout the country,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood wrote to Brewer. “However, if you prefer to forfeit the money we are making available to the state, as Senator Kyl suggests, please let me know.”

To be sure, for a cabinet secretary to ask a cheeky question like this to a senator and a governor was a little bold, but I suspect some administration officials are annoyed by Republican leaders’ public calls for an end to stimulus efforts.

What was interesting, though, were the responses. McCain said he “strongly support[s] the comments of Senator Kyl.” Brewer’s spokesperson suggested LaHood may have been “threatening” Arizona, and expressed her gratitude for Kyl’s “leadership.”

It seems like this could use some additional follow-up. On the one hand, we have Kyl arguing that recovery funds should be eliminated entirely. On the other hand, we have Kyl’s Arizona colleagues saying they want the recovery funds and support Kyl for saying there shouldn’t be any more recovery funds.

Brewer et al may want to be a little more careful with their rhetoric, considering how much stimulus money they’ve already happily spent. It’s unbecoming to bite the hand that feeds.

Speaking of Arizona’s shame, her other shame, John McLame, is busy making an utter ass of himself and fucking up the smooth operation of the federal government (yes, again):

Following a Senate hearing yesterday, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar explained to reporters that his department “can’t go about doing our job” because Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is preventing the confirmation of his top land staff:

We don’t have the capacity at this point in time, frankly, to provide those answers, because I don’t have the leadership yet. So yes, it will be a detriment at this point in time. We frankly can’t go about doing our job if we don’t have our people in pla
ce
.

Senate rules allow a single Senator to anonymously block the confirmation of Presidential appointments, for any reason. McCain is blocking Bob Abbey, the nominee to be the Bureau of Land Management administrator, and Wilma Lewis, the nominee for Interior’s assistant secretary for land and minerals, “until the Obama administration takes a position on his legislation to clear a path for a copper mine in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest.”

You know, Senator, some might call that extortion.

And it’s not just McCain. Click the link to discover who else is holding appointees hostage. If you get the impression of a Mafiosi holding his breath and stamping his feet until he gets his way, you’re not alone.

We’ve still got a restaurant’s worth of stupidity, but I’m sure you’re stuffed by now. I’ll just leave you with this one thin dinner mint:

And Fox News again floats the tale about the stimulus money going to the San Francisco marsh mouse — even though it was debunked a few days ago … by Fox News.

Visitors from other planets would be forgiven for thinking that our entire right wing is just one enormous, complicated joke.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Once again, I am reduced to typing Happy Hour in a dreadfully awkward position due to the fact that my feline believes cats, not laptops, belong in laps. I shall have to get a remote-controlled mousie as a diversion.

We shall do our best.

Circus acts generally begin with clowns, right? Since the Con party has become a total three-ring circus, let us start with an assclown:

Glenn Beck wanted to use the senators’ opening remarks at the Sonia Sotomayor hearings yesterday on his Fox News show to illustrate his claim that President Obama is shoving his agenda down America’s throats, blah blah blah.

So he ran a pastiche of various warm remarks offered mostly by Democrats on the first day of the hearings, describing them thus:

Beck: America, I want you to watch this. As our country burns to the ground, because we all have this kind of stuff going on, this is the questioning — now get ready, because it’s a hard line of questioning — here’s what happened, this is what our senators were doing today. Watch this.

What he proceeded to show, of course, was senators making prefatory remarks to the nominee.

Because as anyone who glanced at the Judiciary Committee schedule for these hearings would know, the actual questioning was not scheduled to begin until today.

Details, schmetails. It’s Faux News – they can’t be expected to understand the difference between opening remarks and actual questions. As for glancing at a schedule, now, pfft. That kind of hard journalistic research is for sissies.

Besides, didn’t you hear? Journalism is dead:

Chyron on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program last night: “Journalism is dead.” Irony, however, is not.

No, indeed. In fact, the Irony King just rode again today:

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal revealed that the secret CIA program that Vice President Cheney allegedly ordered hidden from Congressional oversight involved plans to kill or capture al-Qaeda operatives. Last night on Fox News, top Bush adviser Karl Rove refused to comment when asked by host Bill O’Reilly if he knew anything about the program. “I want to limit my comments to what I’ve read in the newspapers and observations,” he said. Rove then appeared to make the argument that executive branch should not inform Congress of what it is doing:

ROVE: Look, it’s interesting. The CIA briefed Congress to this, I guess, in June. And the Congress immediately leaks it. That, itself is, a violation, I think, of several statutes and indicative of why it is so dangerous to give Congress information.

Oh, yes. That Congress, buncha damned dirty leakers, whereas the Irony King and his buddies in the executive branch never, ever leaked like sieves, nossir:

After all, while working in the White House, Karl Rove himself leaked classified national security information, helping to damage the career of a covert CIA agent. Moreover, the secret program that has been reported in the press in recent days (purportedly a targeted assassination program) was leaked to the Wall Street Journal by “two former intelligence officials familiar with the matter” in its report — not Congress.

Love that inconvenient fact there at the end that Karl just kinda skated right over. Those right wing fucktards, they do love to ignore them some reality, don’t they?

They also love to put words in other peoples’ mouths, with sometimes hilarious results:

This week is Sen. Jeff Sessions’ (R-Ala.) first chance to appear in the national spotlight in quite a long while. It doesn’t seem to be going well.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), seeking to discredit Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy, cited her 2001 “wise Latina” speech, and contrasted the view that ethnicity and sex influence judging with that of Judge Miriam Cedarbaum, who “believes that judges must transcend their personal sympathies and prejudices.”

“So I would just say to you, I believe in Judge Cedarbaum’s formulation,” Sessions told Sotomayor.

“My friend Judge Cedarbaum is here,” Sotomayor riposted, to Sessions’s apparent surprise. “We are good friends, and I believe that we both approach judging in the same way, which is looking at the facts of each individual case and applying the law to those facts.”

In fact, while Sessions held up Cedarbaum, a Reagan nominee, as having the superior approach to jurisprudence, Cedarbaum immediately backed Sotomayor. “I don’t believe for a minute that there are any differences in our approach to judging, and her personal predilections have no affect on her approach to judging,” she told the Wall Street Journal this morning.

Remember: this is the man the Cons in the Senate chose for a leadership position. Sad, innit?

And this is the man chosen to lead the RNC:

Poor Michael Steele. Every time the Republican National Committee chair seems to be making some progress, he goes and screws it up.

Take last weekend’s conference of the Young Republican National Foundation, at which the group elected as its head a woman who’d recently been caught endorsing racist statements made on her Facebook page. Asked by one attendee, who appeared to be a minority, how he intends to bring “diverse populations” into the Republican Party, Steele offered a plan that probably shouldn’t in
spire a lot of confidence from the GOP: “My plan is to say, ‘Y’all come. Cause a lot of you are already here.”

Really? Where?

And how’s that minority outreach going, anyway?

Yesterday, ThinkProgress, picking up a post by the Washington Independent’s Dave Weigel, noted an offensive Facebook message by Young America’s Foundation spokesman Jason Mattera, in which he said, “If Sotomayor gained life experience from The Ghetto, does that mean she’d have a tendency to shank Scalia?” Mattera responded to “the silly outrage from liberals” today in a message to Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey:

Okay, guys. Sorry. I got it all wrong: Sotomayor will not “shank” Scalia on the bench. What I meant to say is that she’ll shoot him up in a drive-by. Watch out, brother Antonin!

Second salvo launched! Your turn, Sonia.

Mattera, who grew up in Brooklyn, claimed that his posting was part of a joking “inner-city rivalry” with the Bronx-born Sotomayor.

Oh, yes. Just joking. It’s not their fault that minorites don’t appreciate racist jokes, right?

Let us leave the GOP wondering why minorites don’t like their little jokes, and turn now to savor their cowardice:

If you believe the Politico, Republicans are very, very psyched about the media’s heavy focus on that secret Cheney-authorized program that the CIA concealed from Congress, because it’s really bad politically for Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats.

Republicans claim that House Dems who are mulling an investigation into the secret CIA program, like Intel committee chair Silvestre Reyes, are helping the GOP paint Pelosi and Dems as weak on terror. As a spokesman for GOP leader John Boehner put it: “The speaker’s liberal allies are keeping her accusations against the CIA front and center.”

This raises the question: If keeping these allegations in the news is so good for Republicans, why don’t they want a probe of the program?

If the House did launch an investigation into the CIA’s secret program, of course, the media attention to this story would ratchet up exponentially. Yet Republicans mysteriously don’t support any such efforts.

Couldn’t possibly be because actual details would be so much more damaging to them than the Dems, now, could it?

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

I think we shall begin today by bashing media assclowns. Folks, there’s a reason I don’t watch teevee news shows, not even supposedly uber-librul MSNBC. It’s because, salted in between the numbing mindless drivel, you get things like Pat Buchanan advocating murder:

Earlier today, conservative pundit Pat Buchanan suggested that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s husband should murder his daughter’s ex-fiance, Levi Johnston, for saying Palin’s decision to resign came down to “money.” While appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Buchanan said:

BUCHANAN: “Well, first, with regard to Levi, I think First Dude up there in Alaska, Todd Palin, ought to take Levi down to the creek and hold his head underwater until the thrashing stops.

Time’s Mark Halperin then quipped: “That’s a reality show, right there.”

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is Morning Joe’s idea of political discourse. Why MSNBC keeps that bunch of Faux News Lite fuckers around, I’ll never know.

Of course, to really get your incitement to violence on, you have to surf over to Faux News itself, where a bunch of clueless gits do stupid shit like this:

When Laura Ingraham filled in for Bill O’Reilly on Friday’s night’s O’Reilly Factor, she ran a segment on abortion that was ostensibly an “investigation” into Planned Parenthood. It featured a logo that placed a red set of crosshairs — the kind you find on a rifle scope — over PP’s logo.

I’d just like to ask one question:

What the hell were these people thinking?

Now, presumably, Ingraham herself did not order up this graphic, or if she did, it at least went through the hands of the show’s regular producers and overseers. These are the same people who just went through a well-deserved round of approbation for their role — in the form of those 28 references to Dr. George Tiller as a “baby killer” — in the murder of Tiller by an anti-abortion fanatic.

And now they’re running a graphic suggestive of what Ann Coulter calls “a procedure with a rifle” — something, in fact, that Coulter has actually encouraged on The O’Reilly Factor.

[snip]

And the same sort of anecdotal demonization that characterized O’Reilly’s attacks on Tiller were similarly at play in this segment on Planned Parenthood. It essentially involved an ambush team using a youngish-seeming woman posing as a 14-year-old entering a variety of Planned Parenthood clinics and recording the responses — most of which, as described by the fake teen here, actually fit the standard response of most properly run clinics in trying to make sure that younger patients feel at ease.

The overriding message, once again, is that these abortion providers are a pack of morally depraved sickos who deserve to be in the crosshairs. Lovely.

And then the clueless stupid gits wonder why we hand them a hefty chunk of responsibility when their viewers go bomb clinics and shoot abortion doctors. They’d easily see the connection if, say, Keith Olbermann ran a segment on The O’Reilly Factor complete with crosshairs and some unhinged fucktard proceeded to shoot the place up. But they remain blind to their own egregious stupidity.

While we’re on the subject of stupidity in the media, why do so many news outlets think Liz Cheney’s worth paying attention to?

Former Bush State Department official Liz Cheney chatted with the conservative Washington Times this morning, and addressed national security issues with the kind of honesty and seriousness we’ve come to expect from the former vice president’s daughter.

“There’s this big piece in the Wall Street Journal this morning that says that it was a number of different concepts for ways that we could capture or kill al Qaeda leaders in the days after 9/11. I am really surprised that the Democrats decide that that’s what they want to fight over. I mean, if they want to go to the American people and say that they disagree with the notion that we ought to be capturing and killing al Qaeda leaders, I think it’s just going to prove to the American people one more time why they can’t trust the Democrats with our national security.”

Transparent hackery like this is to be expected, but it’s worth noting how badly Liz Cheney misstated reality. For one thing, according to the WSJ article she referenced, the program on “capturing and killing al Qaeda leaders” was never fully implemented wasn’t “fully operational” eight years later. Does that mean, by Liz Cheney’s reasoning, that her father’s administration wasn’t fully committed to going after terrorists?

She’s always got the same things to say: the Bush administration only wanted to protect Amurka, the Dems want the terrorists to win, and then there’s this dumbfuckery:

Cheney also responded to news that Attorney General Holder is considering appointing a special prosecutor to investigate “the Bush administration’s brutal interrogation practices,” calling it “shameful.” She added that her father is “very angry” about the development:

CHENEY: His reaction to the story that we may well be prosecuting folks, I’m happy to talk about that. … You know, he is very angry, as you’ve heard him say publicly. You know the notion that this administration is going to come into office and they’re going to prosecute the brave men and women who carried out this program that kept America safe. It is, it is un-American. It’s something that hasn’t happened before in this country, in terms of somebody taking office and then starting to prosecute people who carried out policies that they disagreed with, you know, in the previous administration. He’s been very public about that.

Straight from the horse’s ass, my friends: investigating allegations of illegality and prosecuting people who broke the law is un-American. Oh, and torture is American as apple pie.

Let me just put it this way, Liz: no one in this Administration plans to “prosecute people who carried out policies that they disagreed with.” If
they get off their asses and prosecute at all, they will be prosecuting people responsible for carrying out policies that broke the fucking law. In fact, it looks like all we’ll get out of this is a few slaps on the wrist for people who went beyond Bush’s illegal bullshit and engaged in a little extra torture on the side, while the architects of those torture programs get off scot-free. That’s un-American, you stupid fucking git.

But according to John McCain, we don’t even need to do that much:

Coming from someone who was tortured as a prisoner of war himself, this is pretty astounding. Never mind any accountability for torture, it’s good enough that someone has had their reputation ruined. Sadly, he can get away with this sort of talk since he’s being enabled by the Obama administration with their refusal to go after Bush administration officials for torturing prisoners.

[snip]

GREGORY: But where’s the accountability?

McCAIN: Well, the accountability, obviously, is that people’s reputations have been harmed very badly.

Oh, well, that’s all right, then. Equivalent to years in prison, that is. I mean, we all know how awful it is for all those folks who have to go on wingnut welfare because they ruined their own reputations.

I can’t believe this dumbshit might have become President.

And I can’t believe this dumbshit might be one of the GOP’s great white hopes in 2012:

In an interview with Al Jazeera’s Fault Lines program, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich outlined his U.S. policy towards Iran. Gingrich said the U.S. should “sabotage” Iran’s oil and gas infrastructure as part of an effort to topple the Iranian government.

Al Jazeera’s Avi Lewis told Gingrich, “In the past, you’ve called for the bombing of Iran’s oil refineries.” Gingrich clarified, “I called for sabotage, not bombing. … Fundamental difference.” Gingrich explained that the U.S. should use “covert operations” against Iran’s refineries because they “have only one refinery that produces gasoline in the entire country.” (According to the Energy Information Administration, Iran has nine refineries operated by the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company.)

When Lewis pressed Gingrich on the likely disastrous consequences of “sabotaging” Iran’s oil refineries, the former Speaker responded by claiming his plan was highly “strategic”:

GINGRICH: The only purpose of sabotaging them would be to create a gasoline-led crisis to try to replace the regime. I’m against using tactics that don’t have any strategic meaning.

I’d love to see what our generals have to say about Newt’s “strategy.” I might not be able to publish it even on a blog as potty-mouthed as this one, though. This glimpse into the neocon mind does rather give one a good idea as to why Iraq and Afghanistan ended up being such enormous fuck-ups, though.

I’m starting to think we should maybe practice some of the traditions of the past. Specifically, the one about children being seen but not heard. These overgrown infants really just need to shut the fuck up and let the grown-ups get on with cleaning up after them.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Another day, another reason I’m utterly disgusted with the Cons:

The New York Times reported last night that the CIA, following direct orders from Dick Cheney, “withheld information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress for eight years.” CIA Director Leon Panetta has scrapped the program, but the decision to hide it from Congress has obviously raised a lot of concerns among lawmakers.

Well, among some lawmakers. Matt Corley noted this afternoon that a variety of leading Republican senators were asked about the revelations on this morning’s talk shows, and none seemed especially troubled by the story.

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), the #2 Republican in the chamber, for example, was asked whether Cheney should have ordered the CIA to keep the program secret from Congress. He asked, rhetorically, “What if it’s a top secret program? Of course he and the president would both be responsible for that.”

Actually, in the world where grown-ups live, Congress has oversight authority over the CIA, and the agency is legally required to notify lawmakers — at a minimum, the so-called “Gang of Eight” — about intelligence activities. No administration, even those run by Jon Kyl’s buddies, are supposed to run counterterrorism programs without checks and balances.

Kyl’s nonchalance was rather common this morning.

On Fox News Sunday, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said that while he agrees that “the CIA should brief the Congress,” any mention of Cheney is just the Obama administration trying to “blame the Bush-Cheney administration” for everything. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he doesn’t “know whether it was appropriate,” but dismissed the concern by saying, “the CIA is in the secrecy business.”

Also on CNN, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) said that it “is wrong if somebody told the CIA not to inform the appropriate members of Congress,” but tried to cast the debate as an “attempt” by Democrats “to basically undermine the capacity to protect and develop intelligence.”

The March of Stupidity continues:

On NBC’s Meet The Press, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said he doesn’t “know what the details of this are” and that Cheney “should obviously be heard from if the accusations are leveled in his direction.” “If I know Washington, this is the beginning of a pretty involved and detailed story,” said McCain, adding that he doesn’t know if there should be “a, quote, investigation.”

[snip]

On Face The Nation today, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) defended Cheney, saying that “some of the Intelligence Committee people are pushing back on those stories. “I don’t know what the facts are. But I believe that Vice President Cheney served his country with as much fidelity as he could possibly give to it. And he tried to serve us in an effective way. And I hope that nothing like this would impact on his outstanding record,” said Sessions.

Shorter Cons: what the CIA did was totally illegal, but since a Republican administration told them to break the law, we’re fine with that. The rule of law’s for pussies and Democrats.

Do I even need to tell you how disgusting this is? These are the same people who have fainting fits every time Obama shakes hands with a dictator. The same people who moan and wail about how afraid they are Obama will impose totalitarian rule on the United States. The same people who insist a sitting President’s blow job is an impeachable offense. They blather on and on about the dignity of the office. And then they proceed to shit all over it.

We’re talking worldviews so twisted it would take funhouse mirrors to straighten them out, and moral compasses that must have come out of a Cracker Jack box.

I’m sorry, that last bit was wrong. At least Cracker Jack actually gives you stuff that sometimes works.

Hilzoy, talking about the rumors that Eric Holder may possibly try his hand at some investigations, adds:

This is not a matter of focussing on the past at the expense of the future. We will not have the future we want if government officials can break the law with impunity, safe in the knowledge that no future administration will be willing to take the political heat and investigate them.

Since anyone who is reading this probably knows what I think about these questions, I’d like to focus instead on this:

“Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, said on “Meet the Press” on NBC that despite his dismay at the Central Intelligence Agency’s past interrogation methods, including waterboarding, he opposed a criminal inquiry into torture, which he said would “harm our image throughout the world.””

I think that is exactly wrong. People around the world are not under any illusions about whether or not we tortured people. They know that we did, and that fact has already, and rightly, done enormous damage to our image.

What they don’t know is whether we are prepared to do anything about it. Do we just lecture other people about their shortcomings, or are we ready to face up to our own?

One thing’s obvious: the Cons certainly aren’t. They’re all about the preaching what they don’t practice.

And here’s the scariest thought: if the majority of Americans hadn’t been too smart for Con antics, this is what we might’ve ended up with:

In a recent article for Vanity Fair, Todd Purdum reported that some of John McCain’s closest advisers “believed for certain [Sarah Palin] was nowhere near ready for the job, and might never be.” This morning, McCain bucked those criticisms of Palin, and instead offered a vigorous (and sometimes nauseating) defense of his selection of her as his running mate.

Asked by host David Gregory what he thought of Palin quitting her job as Governor of Alaska, McCain said, “I don’t think she quit,” adding “I don’t know there was a quote, promise” that she made to the voters of Alaska. Gregory pressed:

GREGORY: Senator McCain, you have faced personal torture, personal attacks, political attacks, investigations. You have never resigned from anything.
Is it consistent with your qualities of leadership to resign an elected post like this?

McCAIN: Sure.

GREGORY: It is consistent?

McCain said, “I know she’s qualified. … No doubt about it.” He added, “I’m confident she would make a fine president.”

Notice something here. I don’t think McCain believes his own bullshit. He’s just digging in his heels because he’d rather disagree with every word Gregory says rather than admit Palin is the biggest fucking loser in an enormous field of losers. And that kind of knee-jerk contrarian hothead with his clueless quitter of a sidekick might have ended up in the White House.

If that doesn’t give you nightmares, you’re probably one of the few Cons hopelessly clinging to a failed ideology.

But there’s hope on the horizon for the rest of us:

Ohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohplease….

From her own PAC:
Palin Hints At Independent Conservative Movement

Excerpts from TammyBruce.com

Enter now Sarah Palin with very encouraging comments that lead one to believe that she is indeed planning to do what she must: build an independent conservative movement and take this nation back from the liberals which now control both parties.Thanks liberals, for provoking Sarah into the national scene while vetting that family at the same time.

One thing I will say, the Washington Times with their headline for this exclusive interview reveal an anti-Palin stance. She is, don’t doubt, a threat to every existing political status quo.

Oh holy FSM, there is so much funny to be had with this perfect example of Republican syllogism, I don’t know where to begin.

I know what I’m beginning with: the fact that if Palin can peel off the losers, freaks and fucktards, the relatively saner Cons may have a chance to regain control of the Republican party. America’s conservatives may have an actual choice: vote for the batshit fucking insane whackos, or those who are just a little odd. We could end up with actual Republicans in office, not the parade of assclowns we’ve been deluged with. And while I personally would prefer that no one but Democrats and left-leaning Independents cross the Capitol’s threshhold, I do think a reasonably sane opposition party is the next-best thing. Granted, that would make Happy Hour harder to write, but I can sacrifice convenience for country.

So, I never thought I’d say this, but… Sarah Palin, I wish you total success.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

I’m writing this from an unbelievably contorted position whilst deprived of nicotine and starving to death. Yup. The cat’s in a cuddly mood. I shall do my best despite the circumstances, but all complaints about typos should be referred to my feline.

Why, yes, I could move her before she’s ready to get up, but it’s ever so much easier to type with fingers rather than stubs. And I’m not sure my health insurance would cover reconstructive surgery.

Speaking of health insurance, Cons are really starting to outdo themselves scaremongering about health care reform:

Rep. Paul Broun, a right-wing Republican from Georgia, spoke from the House floor this afternoon, to explore his opposition to a public option in health care reform. He concluded that a public plan would kill Americans.

“…and that’s exactly what’s going on in Canada and Great Britain today. They don’t have the appreciation of life, as we do in our society, evidently. And, um. Dr. Roe, a lot of people are gonna die, this program of ‘government option’ is being touted as being this panacea, the savior of allowing people to have quality health care at an affordable price — is gonna kill people.”

There are bad arguments, there are blisteringly bad arguments, and then there’s the nonsense Paul Broun spews.

In addition to the obvious problem of comparing reform efforts in the U.S. to creating a Canadian/UK system — that’s obviously not what’s being proposed — the argument itself is ridiculous. As the Media Matters Action Network explained, “Besides absurdly stating that the public option will ‘kill people,’ Rep. Broun’s ham-handed transition between the health care systems of Canada, the UK, and the US is mind-boggling because those countries’ systems are not a model for US health care reform. And in addition to being wrong about their health care delivery systems, Rep. Broun apparently isn’t aware that Canada and Great Britain both enjoy a lower infant mortality rate and longer life expectancy that the United States.”

In addition to which, Rep. Broun, a lot of people are already dying, while a million survivors end up facing bankruptcy. Not that Cons have ever let such things as facts intrude upon their glorious little private reality. For instance, Sen. Judd Gregg’s thrilled to cite statistics showing more Americans than Brits survive breast cancer. But he’s having a hard time facing one small fact inconvenient to his argument:

In the study Gregg is citing, the country with the highest survival rate for breast cancer is — Cuba:

The Cuban government operates a national health system and assumes fiscal and administrative responsibility for the health care of all its citizens. No private hospitals or clinics are permitted.

The problem in England is lack of resources devoted to the system. It quite obviously has nothing to do with nationalization.

Truth hurts, doesn’t it? That’s probably why Cons avoid it so often.

Not to be outdone on the health care stupidity front, Rep. Blunt steps up to stick his foot in:

Most of the time, mainstream politicians from both parties are reluctant to publicly criticize programs like Medicare. It’s a popular mainstay of American society, providing health care to retirees.

It was interesting, then, to hear Rep. Roy Blunt (R) of Missouri suggest yesterday that Medicare never should have been created in the first place.

“[Y]ou could certainly argue that government should have never have gotten in the health care business, and that might have been the best argument of all, to figure out how people could have had more access to a competitive marketplace.

“Government did get into the health care business in a big way in 1965 with Medicare, and later with Medicaid, and government already distorts the marketplace.”

Blunt went on to argue that he’d like to see “people have many more options,” just so long as those options are limited to unregulated private insurance companies.

His office later tried to control the damage with this extraordinary statement:

Blunt’s office backpedals:

Blunt spokesman Rich Chrismer said Blunt wasn’t saying that Washington should have never created those programs. He called that “a stretch, even for the Democrats.”

“Roy Blunt did not say those programs were a mistake,” Chrismer said. “He was discussing the current health care debate and discussing his belief that government would be better off organizing health care, as we did with the Medicare prescription drug program, rather than operating health care systems like the Obama-Carnahan health care plan.”

In other words: those programs were a mistake, but since 83% of Americans love Medicare and 74% of Americans love Medicaid, he wants to pretend that’s not what he meant.

The truly sad part is, this is just the tip of a gargantuan iceberg of stupidity. Just you wait until health care reform gets closer to passage, when we’ll get to see the whole thing. Let us hope the boat giving us the nice close-up view doesn’t have Titanic written on the side.

Let’s move on to some serious stupid that could impact education for millions of American children. I am, of course, talking about Texas, and the abject idiocy pouring forth in torrents:

The Texas Board of Education has put together a six-member committee to help develop new curriculum standards for social studies classes and textbooks. It’s not going well.

The board picked, among others, an evangelical minister named Peter Marshall to help shape the standards, as well as Republican activist David Barton, a pseudo-historian and religious right celebrity who gives speeches about the United States being founded as a “Christian nation.”

One of their first tasks: downplaying the contributions of civil rights leaders.

Civil rights leaders Cesar Chavez and Thurgood Marshall — whose names appear on schools, libraries, streets and parks across the U.S. — are given too much attention in Texas social studies classes, conservatives advising the state on curriculum standards say.

“To have Cesar Chavez listed next to Ben Franklin” — as in the current standards — “is ludicrous,” wrote evangelical minister Peter Marshall, one of six experts advising the state as it develops new curriculum standards for social studies classes and textbooks. David Barton, president of Aledo-based WallBuilders, said in his review that Chavez, a Hispanic labor leader, “lacks the stature, impact and overall contributions of so many others.”

Marshall also questioned whether Thurgood Marshall, who argued the landmark case that resulted in school desegregation and was the first black U.S. Supreme Court justice, should be presented to Texas students as an important historical figure. He wrote that the late justice is “not a strong enough example” of such a figure.

[snip]

Barton went on to say the state curriculum should ignore the contributions of Anne Hutchinson, a New England pioneer and early advocate of women’s rights and religious freedom, and argued that Texas social studies books should discuss “republican” values, not “democratic” ones.

Way to be obvious about the political agenda, there, Bart. Wow.

I think the wingnuts have figured out that as Texas textbooks go, so goes the nation, since book publishers don’t tend to waste time and money creating textbooks individualized for the states. Nope, they’ll sell the shite demanded by their largest customer to the rest of us, and thus we’ll be able to answer Bush’s immortal question, “Is our children learning?” Not about Caesar Chavez, Thurgood Marshall, Anne Hutchinson, and democratic values, they’re not.

All this, of course, on top of news that Gov. Rick Perry indirectly got his way, and the Texas State Board of Education will be headed by a religious fucktard. Some of her greatest hits:

Lowe’s record on the State Board of Education includes:

In 2004 Ms. Lowe opposed requiring that publishers obey curriculum standards and put medically accurate information about responsible pregnancy and disease prevention in new high school health textbooks.

In 2007 Ms. Lowe voted to throw out nearly three years of work by teacher writing teams on new language arts standards. Over the strenuous objections of teachers and curriculum specialists, Lowe instead voted for a standards document that the board’s far-right bloc patched together overnight and slipped under hotel doors the morning of the final vote.

In 2003 and 2009 Ms. Lowe supported dumbing down the state’s public school science curriculum by voting to include unscientific, creationist criticisms of evolution in science textbooks and curriculum standards.

There are times I’m glad I don’t have children. This is one of those times. I’m glad I’ve been spared the task of sitting my children down and explaini
ng to them that the reason why their education sucks leper donkey dick is because a few God-botherers in Texas got their hands on power they shouldn’t have, and now due to the economic realities of the textbook industry, their education gets to take it up the back passage.

And after I got done breaking that news, I may have to explain to them how fucktards like this get elected to national office:

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) this week introduced a bill purporting to “save taxpayers $12.5 million this year and millions more in the future by prohibiting the United States from contributing to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is fraught with waste and is engaged in dubious science.”

[snip – go to link for fucktard’s full statement]

Far from “junk science,” the IPCC is generally regarded as the world’s top authority on issues of global warming and climate change.

[snip]

Stating his case, Luetkemeyer said that “more than 700 international scientists” signed onto a Senate GOP report questioning that global warming is man-made and said that number is more than “the number of UN scientists, 52, who authored a report claiming that human emissions of carbon dioxide are responsible” for climate change. (One of these “700 scientists” has no college degree and another doubt’s Darwin’s theory of evolution.)

Yet, the IPCC’s most recent report, which found that global climate change is “very likely” to have a human cause, was reviewed by more than 2,500 experts and was written by more than 800 contributing authors and 450 lead authors.

To bolster his argument, Luetkemeyer claimed that the EPA (in its entirety apparently) says the world is actually cooling. No, the “EPA” doesn’t say the world is cooling. Luetkemeyer is referring to EPA economist (i.e. not a scientist) Alan Carlin’s assertion in an allegedly “suppressed” document that “global temperatures have declined for 11 years.” In fact, the last decade will likely be the hottest on record. And while annual global temperatures have both fallen and risen in the last 11 years, climate scientists have identified long-term warming trends spanning decades to indicate that the earth is warming, not just the last 11 years.

And really, my darlings, there is no fucking way on earth I could even begin to explain how people this egregiously stupid end up in Congress. I can’t even explain how they come to exist in the first place.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

You know that rule about how when you’ve invoked Godwin’s Law, you’ve lost the argument? Well, DeMint lost all arguments a long time ago, but now it’s official:

Far-right lawmakers seem to realize that it’s probably going to cost them if they compare Democratic leaders to Nazis, so they’ve embraced a more subtle way of making the same argument.

Take Sen. Jim DeMint (R) of South Carolina, arguably the chamber’s most right-wing member, who promoted his book, “Saving Freedom,” at the National Press Club last night, and delivered this doozy:

“Part of what we’re trying to do in ‘Saving Freedom’ is just show that where we are, we’re about where Germany was before World War II where they became a social democracy. You still had votes but the votes were just power grabs like you see in Iran, and other places in South America, like Chavez is running down in Venezuela. People become more dependent on the government so that they’re easy to manipulate. And they keep voting for more government because that’s where their security is. When our immigrants get here, they’re worried, because they see it happening here.”

DeMint said he does not believe the United States is on the brink of revolution, preferring to see changes made in “a civilized way.”

Oh, yeah, we’re just like pre-WWII Germany. That argument’s so convincing. There’s only a few minor differences, like we’re not a struggling young republic just birthed from a kingdom, haven’t just gotten our asses kicked by Europe’s Great Powers, we’re not being forced to pay punishing reparations, suffering from hyperinflation so severe that bread can only be bought with wheelbarrows full of cash, and haven’t reached unemployment levels of 26%. Oh, and Obama’s not a Jew-hating failed painter promising us that with a little ethnic cleansing and a lot of world war, we’ll be Number One again. Yeah, other than almost every single fucking detail, we’re just like Germany pre-WWII.

Can someone please explain to me why this assclown is a senator?

Oh, yes, because moral midgets like these elected him:

On MSNBC this afternoon, Firedoglake’s Jane Hamsher engaged in a spirited exchange with Townhall’s Jillian Bandes about health care reform. After Hamsher mentioned that she was speaking out in favor of the public option as “a sixteen-year cancer survivor,” Bandes replied, “I’m sorry I’m not a cancer survivor, but that doesn’t mean I can’t criticize a public plan.” When Hamsher argued that access to health care should be a human right, Bandes interrupted her and threw up her arm, asking “should food be a basic human right?”

Um, let me think about that a nanosecond: YES.

The Democratic base is responding to healthcare reform by writing informative posts about proposed legislation and health care in other industrialized countries, working hard to debunk the usual Con bullshit about socialized medicine and grannies on ice floes (apparently, Cons would rather starve Granny to death than freeze her to death), and whipping the public option. The Con base is busy howling out debunked talking points about bureaucrats denying you health care and photoshopping Obama’s head onto a tribal African, complete with Soviet reference:

You stay classy, GOP: (h/t Oliver Willis)

[snip]

And then this morning someone forwarded me this email, which as far as I know is unrelated to the Malkin contest BUT follows a similar vein AND has been “making the rounds,” as the kids say, under the subject line Obamacare Healthcare is coming soon!

Today’s Conservatives: Just when you think they can’t sink any lower, they dredge yet another layer of slime out of the swamp.

I don’t this this was just one layer:


But what else can we expect of authoritarian followers so bloody fucking stupid that they overwhelmingly trust Sarah “I Can See Putin’s House From Here!” Palin more than anyone else on national security:

I’m really not sure what to make of this astonishing number from Rasmussen about the 2012 GOP primary:

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is the top choice for those Republicans who put national security first and ties Romney for first among voters who list economic issues alone as the priority.

Palin is the top choice among Republicans whose top concern is national security? I can see how folks would find Palin appealing as a folksy and combative hockey mom type, an outsider and reformer who dukes it out with coastal elites on behalf of ordinary Everymoms all over the vast middle of the country. But as a military leader?

If memory serves, Palin got roundly pilloried for botching the Bush doctrine and for citing the proximity of Alaska to Russia as proof of her national security cred, among other gaffes. National security was Palin’s glaring weak point in 2008.

harf?

*doubletake*

WTF?

*headdesk headdesk headdesk*

You know what, I can’t take any more stupid. I just can’t. There’s a ton more of it – like OK State Rep. Sally “Gays Are Eeevilll!” Kerns whining about intolerant protestors, the ridiculous right’s latest fake scandal, Ensign’s parent’s paying off his mistress and her family, Hannity’s deliberate deceptive editing of footage, and Palin’s hilarious attempt to quote Plato, but I can’t take any more. I just can’t. The stupid, it has left 3rd degree burns over 90% of my brain.

I’m going to curl up with some soothing science and hope the stupid burns itself out before they catch the rest of the country on fire.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Apologies to anyone who was breathlessly anticipating today’s post. I got distracted with cooking and then unleashing the Smack-o-Matic upon Faux News host Brian Kilmeade. I’ll have to get back to posting Happy Hour during lunch – once my lost badge is replaced in 3-6 weeks.

Grr. Argh.

We’re going to have a slight change of pace. Usually, Happy Hour is spent happily bashing immensely stupid Cons. But today, we’re going to begin with immensely stupid “centrist” Dems, who don’t seem to understand what that D after their names stands for:

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told his colleagues yesterday, “Don’t let the Republicans filibuster us into failure. We want to succeed, and to succeed, we need to stick together.”

It sounds like a pretty simple, common sense concept. The electorate has given Democrats a chance to govern, and expect them to deliver. Members of the caucus “may vote against final passage on a bill,” Durbin said, but like-minded colleagues should at least reject the idea of “allowing the filibuster to stop the whole Senate.” He concluded, “We ought to control our own agenda.”

Some “centrist” Dems don’t see it that way.

Evan Bayh, a moderate from Indiana, said he would not be inclined to vote to cut off a filibuster on a bill if he opposed the substance of the underlying measure, and he predicted his colleagues would feel the same way.

“Most senators aren’t sheep,” he said. “They don’t just go blindly along without thinking about things, and I don’t think we want them to do that.”

It’s hard to overstate how absurd this is. If legislation Bayh doesn’t like comes to the floor, he can vote against it. Before that, he can offer amendments, give speeches, and encourage others to agree with him. Senators, as he noted, aren’t sheep. Some bills may enjoy the party’s support, but not everyone in the party will see the issue the same way.

But that’s not what Bayh is arguing here. He’s saying he’s inclined to help the failed, discredited minority block the Senate from even giving bills a vote in the first place. It’s not enough for Bayh to vote with Republicans on key issues, he wants to help the GOP ensure there is no vote.

Joining him in the Fuck My Party caucus:

Centrist Dems Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson have now given their answer: Stuff it.

Landrieu:

However, she flatly refused to rule out filibustering any bill, including health care and climate change legislation. “I’m going to keep an open mind, but I am not committing to any procedural straitjackets one way or another,” she said.

Nelson:

“I’m not a closed mind on cloture, but if it’s an abuse of procedure, if it’s somebody trying to put a poison pill into a bill, or if it’s something that would be pre-emptive of Nebraska law, or something that rises to extraordinary circumstances, then I’ve always reserved the right to vote against cloture,” Nelson said.

Obviously it would be a bit much for Dems to expect these Senators to rule out any votes in advance. But it’s striking how zealously they are guarding their right to enable a minority of Senators to prevent important initiatives from ever coming to a straight up or down vote.

You know, this shit’s simple, people. If you want to help Cons filibuster anything and everything under the sun, become a Con.

While we’re on the subject, here’s another dumbfuck Dem who needs to examine her party affiliation:

Last month, the House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which aims to transition America to a clean energy economy while combating climate change. After the bill’s passage, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) tweeted that she wanted to “fix” the bill’s cap on carbon pollution because it would “unfairly punish” Missouri’s families and businesses.

Appearing on a conservative Missouri radio show this morning, McCaskill reiterated her belief that the House bill will “hurt a state like Missouri that is so coal dependent.” Asked where she was “on the cap-and-trade,” McCaskill said that her position would make her “friends on the left very unhappy“:

MCCASKILL: Well, I’m going to make people, my friends on the left, very unhappy and I’m going to make those who don’t think global warming is real very unhappy because I’m probably going to be working with a group of moderates in the middle to try to come up with a bill that doesn’t punish coal-dependent states like Missouri. We’ve got to be very careful with what we do with this legislation.

[snip]

As the Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson noted after McCaskill’s initial tweet, “the cap-and-trade system the House passed fully protects states now dependent on coal, with multi-billion-dollar programs for advanced coal technology.” In fact, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), an architect of the bill, told WNYC’s Brian Lehrer on Monday that the House took the Senate’s regional concerns into consideration when they crafted the legislation

[snip]

Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), who represents a coal district and was very influential on the bill, is confident that the legislation doesn’t disproportionately harm coal. “My focus in the shaping of the bill in the Energy and Commerce Committee was to keep electricity rates affordable and to enable utilities to continue using coal,” said Boucher. “Both of these goals have been achieved.”

It seems McCaskill has joined with the Cons is being absolutely fucking blind to reality.

As for that
backbone Harry Reid discovered yesterday, well, he misplaced it awfully damned quick. I’m ashamed that these pathetic fucktards are considered Democrats. The only thing they’ve got that the Cons don’t is a tenuous grip on sanity.

I’ve also run out of Dems to bash. But there’s always an abundance of Cons, and Rep. Steve King delivers the dumbassitude in spades:

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) was the only congressman to vote against a resolution yesterday that acknowledges the role that slaves played in the construction of the U.S. Capitol Building, reports Ryan Grim of the Huffington Post. According to the text of the resolution, which passed 399-1, its simple goal is to recognize those who constructed the Capitol with a marker…

Wow. Can’t even scrape together enough class to vote yes on something this simple. And his excuse is just simply beyond pathetic.

For those of you who’ve missed Bush-bashing, Jeb’s trying to fill his brother’s shoes and give you a worthy target:

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), not surprisingly, isn’t impressed with President Obama. More interesting, though, is the specific critique — he’s not just disappointed with the president’s agenda, he also thinks Obama has changed his policy agenda.

“Barack Obama would not have gotten elected if he’d let us in on his secret plan prior to the election. He would not have gotten elected if he’d said, ‘My idea is to create a $1.8 trillion deficit for the next fiscal year. My idea is to spend $750 billion [the president’s budget estimate puts this figure at $630 billion] over the next ten years on a government-sponsored, government-subsidized health-care policy. My idea is to create a massive cap-and-trade system [based on the idea] that CO2 is [a] pollutant and we need to tax it in a massive way to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.'”

[snip]

Was he watching a different presidential race last year? The former president’s brother may not have liked Obama’s agenda, but what we’re seeing is pretty much what we were promised. Obama said he’d prioritize economic investment over reducing the $1.3 trillion deficit Jeb’s brother left on the Oval Office desk, and that’s what he’s doing. Obama said he’d support a health care reform with a public option, and that’s what he’s doing. Obama touted the benefits of a cap-and-trade system, and he’s standing behind it. The whole agenda was put online, talked about in speeches, and scrutinized in interviews and debates. Obama then won 365 electoral votes and the highest popular vote percentage of any Democratic candidate in 44 years.

Yup. That sure was a secret plan, there. Glad Jeb is so good at seeing through his nefarious schemes. No one could’ve seen all this coming. Gee. And whiz.

With leaders like this, perhaps poll results like these make a little more sense:

A new USA Today/Gallup poll has found that “Sarah Palin’s bombshell that she is resigning as Alaska governor actually has boosted her a bit among Republicans.” According to the poll, “two-thirds of Republicans want Palin…to be ‘a major national political figure‘ in the future” while three-quarters of Democrats “hope she won’t be.” Seventy-two percent of Republicans surveyed said they are “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to vote for her if she runs for president… [emphasis added]

On second thought, no. Still fucking insane. I guess you really can’t be too corrupt, stupid and completely unfit for public duty for the Con base. In fact, as the “incompetent ass” factor goes up, so does their admiration.

No wonder the Cons decided there’s no need to rebrand:

Seeing Jeb Bush pop up earlier reminds me, wasn’t he one of the leaders of some Republican rebranding effort? Indeed, weren’t there a variety of GOP factions with grand ideas about rebranding the entire party?

Whatever happened to that?

In the spring, this was a pretty big deal in Republican circles. The National Council for a New America, in particular, enjoyed the support of leading GOP voices — Cantor, Romney, McCain, Bush, Gingrich, Palin, Jindal, and Barbour — and even managed to organize an outside-the-Beltway event, which just happened to be inside the Beltway.

But since then, nothing. Nothing in the news, and nothing on the NCNA’s website. Future events haven’t been scheduled, and I can’t find anyone in a position of power or authority talking about Republican rebranding at all anymore.

Either that, or they’re just following Palin’s lead, and quitting while they’re behind.