Serious Times …

In a recent post at newmajority.com David Frum, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, questions the outcome if Republicans successfully block President Obama’s plans for health care reform:

For some, the answer is obvious: beat back the president’s proposals, defeat the House bill, stand back and wait for 1994 to repeat itself.

The problem is that if we do that… we’ll still have the present healthcare system. Meaning that we’ll have (1) flat-lining wages, (2) exploding Medicaid and Medicare costs and thus immense pressure for future tax increases, (3) small businesses and self-employed individuals priced out of the insurance market, and (4) a lot of uninsured or underinsured people imposing costs on hospitals and local governments.

We’ll have entrenched and perpetuated some of the most irrational features of a hugely costly and under-performing system, at the expense of entrepreneurs and risk-takers, exactly the people the Republican party exists to champion.

The status quo is not acceptable.  Doing nothing is not a solution — the problems exist and will not just disappear through inaction.  Lying to the American people about pulling the plug on grandma or euthanizing the disabled serves no one.  Encouraging those who portray Obama as Hitler or suggest the U.S. is becoming fascist due to reform of health care insurance ultimately is a losing battle.  David Frum seems to have looked ahead.  Others conservatives should follow.

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Liars, Idiots, and Crazies Oh My!

In a previous post, I suggested Sarah Palin was batshit crazy.  Perhaps this was unfair.  There’s a chance she’s perfectly sane.  This would mean she’s either just an idiot or she’s deliberately lying.  I’m not really sure.

Sarah Palin is not alone.  Other Republicans that fall into this group include Rush Limbaugh (de facto leader of the Republican Party), Newt Gingrich (who wishes he was the de facto leader of the Republican Party), Sen. Grassley, Dick Armey (FreedomWorks founder and townhall crazy promoter), and many, many others.

Republicans don’t want health care reform for several reasons.  Primarily they want Obama to fail and to use his failure to get legislation passed as a springboard for their electoral rebound in 2010 (ala 1994, following the defeat of President Clinton’s health care reform plan).  They also don’t want it because Obama does — Republicans play the role of opposition party better than anyone, never mind if it’s in the best interest of the country (see stimulus package).  Finally, they say they don’t want government to get between doctors and patients, but they really love insurance companies (and their high dollar contributions) to get between doctors and patients — quite honestly, they see this as a gravy train they don’t want to end.

So, Palin, Limbaugh, Gingrich, Grassley, and Armey may not be insane after all.  There’s a chance they may not even be idiots.  Perhaps they’re just lying scumbags shamelessly scaring the American public into keeping the disastrous health care system in place.  Of course, there’s another option — they may be crazy, idiots, and liars.

Recent GOP VP nominee: batshit crazy

There seems to be a hurdle Sarah Palin faces:  what can she say or do to top the last stupid thing she said or did?  But, Sarah! succeeds.  In a recent Facebook post she suggests Obama’s health care proposal will include a panel that will decide who lives and who dies:

The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

An evil plan would be to scare the American people into fearing health care reform, but lying to them about the current proposals, stirring up the mob, so that no reform takes place and therefore, more and more people are denied treatment, more and more people avoid preventive care, and ultimately more and more people die unnecessarily.  That’s evil.

Sarah, we don’t wish ill on your son or you or anyone else in your family.  We want you and your family to live long, healthy, and productive lives.  I liked you more when you were just incompetent, corrupt, and unqualified.  Now, you’re still incompetent, corrupt, and unqualified, but with a heavy dose of crazy, and so the punchlines don’t have the sting they used to.  Now, the jokes seem a little off-color, like making fun of someone who really needs help.

Mob Rule?

With the announcement that U.S. Congressman Brad Miller (D-NC) has had his life threatened over health care reform, the tide has turned.  The fomenting venom has manifested into verbal threats — how much longer until violence follows?  This, unfortunately, is the expected outcome of a movement stoking rather than dousing the extremism on the right.

Sarah Palin and to a lessor extent, John McCain, embraced this sort of hostility while it served their interests during the 2008 campaign.  Republicans and their allies against health care reform seem content to continue to embrace and even cultivate the right wing extemists catered to during the Tea Bag movement, thereby aligning themselves with a group who questions Barack Obama’s U.S. birth (and therefore legitimacy as President), asserts all guns will soon be confiscated (thereby driving up the sales of guns and ammunition), proclaims socialism has arrived, casts Obama as Hitler, and suggests the Democrats’ health care plan includes euthanizing the elderly.

The problem Republicans may soon face is whether the lunatic fringe can be managed or if it, like a contained fire that spreads and becomes uncontrollable, leads to unforseen devastation.  They may soon question whether they rule the mob or the mob rules them.

Republicans: Dumber Than Dogshit

You would think that people would view the birther movement as obvious bullshit, but this poll appears to suggest otherwise.  The fact that a majority (58%) of Republicans either believe Obama was born outside the U.S. (28%) or aren’t sure (30%) should be the source of shame, but coming from a group of people who still believe Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11, it should not be surprising.

The Republican leadership needs to accept the responsibility for this madness and end it.  At some point they won’t be able to control the crazy masses they created.

Obama’s Poor Negotiation

Single payer should have been on the table from the start.   This seems to be the unfortunate lesson President Obama and his administration should be learning now.  By opting to promote a public option solution (rather than a single payer solution) from the start, the Democrats lost bargaining position with Republicans, who would have railed against any initial proposal.  A public option shouldn’t have been the proposed solution, but with some forethought, seen as the potential compromise.  Now, even that appears in doubt.

Obama has repeatedly mentioned that if he was starting from scratch he would opt for single payer.  Unfortunately, the  unlikelihood of  single payer passing Congress remains and in this sense Obama was correct in questioning its political viability.  However, this did not necessitate discarding single payer as part of the initial discussion and given its widespread adoption throughout the world successfully, it should have served as both an educational standpoint and more importantly, a negotiation tool.

There remains a false promise of bipartisanship, but any suggestion Republicans will participate in doing anything other than obstruction of health care reform should be seen as theatrics.  The downside of pushing a robust public option as part of the initial proposal for health care reform is that following negotiations, the public option plan will be watered down and become either eliminated or renderered impotent .  Again, the compromise between a good proposal and one with Republican support is a bad proposal.  So, in this case Obama should have opted for a great proposal:  single payer.

Dick Cheney — First Class Asshole

Time revisits the last days of the Bush/Cheney administration in a recent article.  As if there wasn’t reason enough to despise Cheney, he adds more:

The Libby pardon, aides reported, had become something of a crusade for Cheney, who seemed prepared to push his nine-year-old relationship with Bush to the breaking point — and perhaps past it — over the fate of his former aide. “We don’t want to leave anyone on the battlefield,” Cheney argued.

Now, Dick, it seems there should be a common sense understanding that dictates  men with authority (or in your case pseudo-authority) to place others on an actual battlefield, particularly when that authority  results in something as egregiously stupid as the war in Iraq, should avoid using war terminology when speaking about political operatives covering your ass in matters unrelated to war.

But you’re at least consistent — this just continues your chickenshit life.  When faced with service in Vietnam you had “other priorities“, but never hesitated later to put others lives in the line of fire while you stayed in your armchair or your undisclosed location or your lair or wherever the fuck soulless, gutless motherfuckers like you dwell.

Dick, if you had any honor you would not have pushed for the pardon for Scooter Libby, you would have taken the responsibility yourself in the first place.  Being outraged that your fall guy only gets his sentenced commuted, but isn’t pardoned is just plain pathetic, Dick, but par for the course for you.

Only you, Dick, can make George W. Bush look better — unfortunately, his standing up to you was  seven years and 364 days too late.