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Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Devolution of Mankind

I don't know why I'm so disheartened.

I guess it's obvious that right-wing politicians are acting like children - making shit up (even though Sarah Palin told us not to, in support of the troops, dontcha know - and even though I have no freaking idea what the connection is between her lying ass, the press, and soldiers, but ya know, that's just Sarah!), obfuscating, obstructing just for the sake of obstructing and just plain forgetting about their constituents until they need to stir them up into salivating, gun-toting, town-hall-shouting frenzies in order to get the brain-dead main stream media aroused and off their sweltering summertime DC bar stools.

But what's new about all that?

And then these Republican bastards are joining with their Democratic bastard pals to lick the stinking buttholes of the health and insurance lobby so that the steady flow of money, and the high-end Congressional and Senatorial lifestyles, power and influence funded by such a flow, won't be interrupted.

There are no death threats from public healthcare. Just a death knell to profit-bloated insurance companies who will spend every fucking cent of your premiums to whip the slaves into a final oar push of their gold-laden pirate ships through these tumultuous waters of late. Oh, and the bell also tolls for the silent people who die every fucking day because they either are not insured or are underinsured or are insured but afraid to go to the doctor because their premiums will go up or they'll be diagnosed with a pre-existing condition and be fucked for life. These evil insurance companies will do anything, anything at all, to convince an enormously gullible and reactionary and childish American public that the very same companies who deny Americans health coverage and spend every waking hour thinking of ways to deny their claims, are their fucking SAVIORS.

Well, it's just...stunning.

And then, after 8 years of the BushCo ass-kissing press minions running images of Kalashnikov-wielding Middle Eastern "terrorists" on the front page of once-glorious and now laughable daily newspapers, and Americans looking at those pictures with sneers and horror and saying, "What a bunch of ragheads! Look at 'em! Running around with automatic weapons in the street for God's sake! BARBARIANS!" we now have people showing up at Obama's town hall meetings toting automatic weapons. But that? Why, that's just fucking dandy. We're UHMERICUH after all. Not barbarians!

And then that amped-up (was she doing coke OR WHAT?) Betsy McCaughey on Jon Stewart slapping the giant healthcare bill on Jon's desk for no reason whatsoever that I could discern, since every time she did it she said, with her own flavor of repulsive gusto, "I'll READ it to you!", then she never would fucking find the particular paragraph and read it. I kept yelling at the teevee, "Just READ the fucking thing! Will you just read it? OH MY GOD just REEEEEEEED IIIIIIT!" Then she insisted on playing to the jury (audience) as if she'd been prepped by OJ's trial lawyer, instead of actually having a reasonable discussion with Jon. She's the self-declared expert but Jon sat there calmly with all the knowledge of the bill in his head while she scrambled from page to page never finding anything she was looking for, but when he finally had to grab it from her and read it, she had to keep looking out at the jury and nodding and smiling and frowning and then back at Jon where she'd lunge into his face and point at some general point on the page. I bet you a million dollars that she was grinding her teeth at the same time. That girl snorted a big fat line right before she came on stage. She did a big-ass bump. I know she did.

Maybe McCaughey should have done what D'Amato told her to do in the first place and blown ol' Giuliani, after all.

I'm just exhausted by all the ignorance and tomfoolery. These are grown men and women, but you could have fooled me. And I think that countering all this shit, in writing or in conversation, is an enormous waste of breath. And don't fucking get me started on Obama and the Democrats who actually have allowed this three-ring circus on healthcare to devolve into pandemonium, WHEN WE HAVE A FILIBUSTER-PROOF MAJORITY! What the FUCK? What the FUCK! is all I can say.

For those of you who think this is a fun game where politicians make things up all day long because 'That's politics!" and get your rocks off on arguing and fussin' and fightin' and fueling the fire...I think, no matter what side you're on, that you need psychological help. The current state of American affairs is not amusing at all. It's a despicable and shameful part of our history that is sure to be laughed at (I hope, I hope!) by a more evolved human race 20-50 years from now, if the planet hasn't been blown up by a toothless gun-totin' anti-immigrant pro-life pro-gun gay-hatin' Krishtian fundamentalist nutcase Republican next week.

And...just after I hit the post button and shuffled back sadly to my feed reader, I got to have a big laugh at this. My mostest, mostest favorite? We Are All Nazis in the Eyes of the Lord!

Ahh, perhaps we're not so lost, after all.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Obama's Upcoming Presser Notes Leaked

(Note from speech writer: President Obama, take a look at this and let me know if it works for you, so I can get it to the teleprompter guy before the presser.)

Good morning. I come to you today with good news. Last night, Jesus, Moses and Sarah Palin came to me in a dream, and I have finally seen the light. They revealed to me that my socialistic ways will lead to communism, and even though the United States likes to do business with and borrow billions of dollars from communists in China (so we can fund our wars and keep American military contractors wealthy), we don't want to BE like those commies, we just want to USE them.

So, it is my sincere hope that my actions today will finally put an end to your anger and fear (and hopefully you'll stop bringing guns and rocket launchers to my parties). Today I plan to take unilateral actions, with the executive order capability that my friend George W. Bush gave to me, in order to end all socialist programs in the United States. As of midnight tonight, all socialist programs will be discontinued, all employees of those programs will no longer have jobs and all recipients of those services will no longer be able to obtain services.

But please, don't worry. I have been assured by Jesus himself (even though he had a hard time getting a word in edgewise with Sarah Palin yapping incoherantly) that The God Of The Free Market will take care of all of you in no time at all. You can send your prayers to this God (not to be confused with that God, Jesus's dad) to your local Republican party offices, your friendly corporate insurance lobby and all of the other "grassroots" organizations who have been encouraging you to disrupt Democracy with shout-down tactics, believe all kinds of horse pucky that isn't true, and who will desert you as soon as they don't need you any more. Good luck with all that.

Here are the programs I will be stopping at midnight tonight:

  • Medicare
  • Police
  • Fire dept
  • Highways maintenance
  • Military
  • Sewers
  • FEMA
  • National Institute of Health
  • Your free Swine Flu shots
This list is incomplete, of course. (Writer's note: Mr. President, I'm lurking on the Distributor Cap NY blog to see if he reveals any more of those dasterdly socialist programs and will add to the list as they come in.) Because I now know that socialism lurks in the dark corners of our society in many scary ways. So, I will be spending the last years of my term finding those socialst programs everywhere, and killing them where they stand.

Oh, and don't worry about socialised medicine anymore, or even health care reform. I got the message loud and clear that health care WORKS in America. So, as my granny (whom I actually killed in a regretful fit of sinful health care reformism) used to say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" You can keep your private health insurance and let them continue to charge you outrageous premiums and fight any claims you make. If you are denied coverage from an insurer, well, just do something. I don't know what. I'm sure The God Of Free Markets will let you know.

Thank you, and God Bless America.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Blah Blah Blah Health Care Blah Blah Blah

I read a post over at BayouRenaissanceMan about "socialized" health care and had so many thoughts about his post that his comment box laughed at me when I tried to publish. So....I will post my thoughts here:

I didn't read the original article or Roberta's rant yet (see bayou's post for links to both), but I wanted to make a few comments while they're in my head...

If I read Bayou's post correctly, he states that there are some people who have health issues because of their lifestyle (smokers get cancer, etc.) and not just because of chance, and he asks how much care should be given to these people and for how long? Here's what came to mind for me:

If I get sick and need care and the care provider can make a decision as to the amount or quality of care I receive based on his/her own judgment of my morals or the circumstances of my illness, then my health care turns into a crap shoot. Who knows what mood the care giver is in, or what their belief system is or what their prejudices are (we are all prejudiced to some degree, if we are honest) at what might be a critical time for me. I think it's problematic to base the availability, quality or duration of care on the subjective judgment of individual humans or institutions. Because, it inevitably ends up with somebody playing God, if the decisions can impact whether a person lives or dies or they rebound to full productivity or just drool in a chair the rest of their life.

So I think it is best if health care (whether public or private) treats the illness objectively - such-and-such symptom requires such-and-such treatment - without the invasion of moralistic or other subjective judgment criteria.

Discarding, dismissing or withholding care from people because of their waywardness is not a very, um, Christian thing to do. There are some very brave people out there who work with rapists and murderers (i.e. "bad" people) to try and help them, because these care givers or religious people have compassion for all living beings, and because they know that many victimizers were victims of violence themselves. If one of those criminals can be helped, it is a good thing. I think it's problematic to say that because so-and-so did these bad things, that they deserve less care, or no care at all. If I was a foolish American who got caught protesting the regime in Iran (or was just hiking in the wrong place or stepped over the border into North Korea) and got injured while being arrested or in jail, I wouldn't want my health care determined by the judgments of Iranian doctors or jailers as to whether or not this infidel deserves care. I know this seems like an extreme example, but we have just recently seen two reporters arrested in North Korea and hikers arrested in Iran, so this is a very real possibility.

If Mary Magdalen got syphilis and was dying, I don't know if Jesus would have patted her on the head and said, "Well Mary, now you know the consequences of your sinful whore life! I'll pray while you suffer and die, that you might be lucky enough to be forgiven by my father and allowed to enter the gates of heaven. Other than that, see ya!"

I live in France where there is a combination of public and private health care, and there is nobody making a decision about my worthiness for care. You just get sick and then you get care, whether you can afford it or not. I just read recently over at TPMCafe from another American girl who lives in France and just got diagnosed with breast cancer, that the French have a review board who will review more complex cases (long-term diabetes or cancer care) and determine if the patient receives 100% state coverage or the regular 70% that all citizens get. Most long-term care cases receive the 100% coverage. You don't have to wait for care during this review. You just pay the 30% you normally pay and if you receive the 100% coverage, it's retroactive and covers past bills.

So, I'm not sure that providing care for anyone who needs it, through objective medical decision making, versus subjective judgment about a patient's worthiness is what Bayou man would call "one size fits all" "socialized" medicine. But it's what I prefer. And I believe a public, government-funded health program (with all its inherant beurocratic bullshit) has more of a chance of delivering objective care, than a profit-motivated insurance company who WILL and constantly DOES make decisions about whether or not you qualify for coverage.

Another thought before I go - There will always be people who are not so much unfortunate as they are manipulative, cunning and who take advantage of anything and anybody. There will always be people who figure out how to "game" the system and get stuff without working for it. I believe (and have no facts to back it up) that the percentage of those types of people is low and I also believe that we can't make a decision to implement or not implement something, based on those people. We just have to figure them into the overall cost, just like restaurant owners figure in a general cost for employee theft and dishware breakage.

I've paid into the US tax and Social Security system for more than 30 years, and although I've lost several jobs during the dot bomb, I only collected unemployment once for a few weeks until I got pissed off at what a big hassle it was. I realized that if I accepted my $750 a month from unemployment, if I got three little jobs (which is what I eventually did) that added another $2000 a month to that $750, I would come closer to the $3500 per month overhead I had created when I had those high-paying corporate jobs. But I wasn't allowed to do that. I had to only accept the $750 and make no extra money, or not take the $750 at all. So I either had to game the system and collect unemployment and do the little jobs under the table, or not take the unemployment. I'm a lousy liar, so I chose to not take the unemployment, and take my chances with waitressing, driving a van for a trail riding company and babysitting an art gallery.

But the thing about unemployment is that they told me I had paid so much into the system that I had hundreds of weeks available to me. I could have just surfed on those many weeks until I used them all up. After all, It's MY money. But, I don't mind if somebody else less fortunate, whether they are gaming the system or not, gets that money instead of me. At the same time, me and my various employers have paid thousands and thousands of dollars into the coffers of private insurance companies, and I have rarely gone to the doctor and have had no major or lingering health care needs during the last 30 years of employment. It DOES piss me off that all that money went into the pockets of insurance company executives. I would MUCH RATHER know that the money I paid in for health care but didn't use, went towards helping somebody else in need.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

You So Sensitive!

Yesterday afternoon I was on my way back to my temporary-temporary Paris apartment from my temporary apartment (too hard to explain) and there on the sidewalk was a woman with a 4-5' tall by about 3' wide hand-made sign with "Obamanator" written on the top, above an image of Obama with the right half of his face replaced with steel robotics and his right eye painted red like a laser. Under the image, in French, the sign read, "He is terrorizing the elderly and the children." There was more shit on the sign, but after hesitating, I just kept going. The sign woman was deep in conversation with two guys, and I figured I'd let it go. As Dorothy (sans braids and ruby slippers), I was so glad to be out of fucking Kansas, but I soon realized that Kansas followed me over to Paris somehow or another.

Fuck.

I've mostly been reeling in silent horror about the bullshit I saw and heard while in America. I know people felt constrained around me, because they couldn't say all the nasty things that they think and feel about Obama and the current administration. But at the same time, some of them kind of enjoyed taunting me with their opinions, just to see if I'd react. It reminded me of the manicurist I used to go to across the street from my condo in Arizona. She'd cut my hands while filing my nails, and blood would be balling up in my cuticles. But if I said, "Ow!" or pulled my hand back from the pain, she'd look at me with feigned surprise and say, "Oh lookee you! You so sensitive!"

Well...when somebody calls Obama a nigger, or says "I hate gay people. They should all be killed." I can definitely, definitely, definitely agree with my former manicurist: Lookee me! I so sensitive!

One morning at breakfast at an American golf course, after somebody said they loved Rush Limbaugh and somebody else said, "You love Rush? That's great! I think Rush Limbaugh is a True Patriot!", some sane person at the table said, "We shouldn't talk politics at breakfast." I said, "Yes, that would be really, really nice if we didn't talk politics." Someone who I love very much, leaned in to me and quietly said very, very sweetly because I know he loves me too, "If you want to talk politics, you have to hear the other side." And he's so right. But my response was, "I'll talk policy all night long, but I won't talk personal attacks."

I don't consider any conversation about Rush Limbaugh worth having. He's a radio personality who (like his TV cohort Glenn Beck) makes money in direct proportion to how much shit he can stir up. The more nutty and over-the-top his rhetoric, the more attention he gets from the press, and the more false power (through superiority and aggression) his fans proudly claim by association. If somebody wants to repeat something specific and real that Rush said about policy, then it would be a great conversation to discuss that policy aspect, or the pros and cons of that policy. But if somebody wants to talk about Limbaugh's patriotism (or mine, for that matter), which is a completely vague concept to begin with, and something that is supercharged with irrational, nationalistic, propped-up bullshit emotion, I won't do it. Fuck patriotism and nationalism and everything that comes with it. Let's talk about what works, and doesn't work or what might work better, in existing and proposed policy.

There are many things that me and conservatives agree with politically right now. Neither of us likes the fact that Geithner gave all that money to his banking and insurance buddies so that they could reap huge profits while individual Americans and small businesses are suffering with no solution in sight. If the government had given relief to the toxic mortgage holders themselves - temporarily lowering payments or allowing an interest moratorium, etc. - then maybe the whole mortgage and real estate industry wouldn't have collapsed. People could have stayed in their homes and after the economy recovered, they could take back the slack and repay the moratoriums.

I also had a conversation with a conservative who agreed with me that the problem with health care in America is the insurance companies acting as middle men and the pharmaceutical companies robbing us blind. We both agreed that the chances of getting rid of the REAL health care problem - the corporate insurance middle men - would never happen while millions of dollars in insurance industry lobby money is flowing into Capital Hill pockets on both sides of the aisle.

My Republican politician friend made the mistake of saying in the car when we were driving from Vegas to San Diego, "Obama said he'd stop the war, but all he's done is expand it." I had seen and heard this Republican talking point before she said it, so I knew she was just thoughtlessly mouthing off the party line. I lost my voice yelling at her. I'm one of those people that want us OUT of Iraq and Afghanistan NOW. But I knew Obama wouldn't do that. I knew that before he was elected. I also know that the supposed withdrawal from Iraq that supposedly happened is bullshit. I also know Obama is going to add more troops in Afghanistan. So, her talking point is right. What fucking pissed me off until my head started spinning and green slime started spewing out of my mouth, was my Republican friend's nonchalant, wide-eyed-innocent complaint about Obama expanding the war. That took balls. After she and her Republican cohorts voted to START that motherfucking war to begin with, based on a LIE, to illegally invade a country that had NOTHING to do with 9/11. And then continue the war. And then torture people. And then disappear people. And then use illegal rendition and kidnap people. And then deny human beings habeas corpus and keep people in prison without a trial. And then set up kangaroo courts with no intention of letting anybody end up being innocent. Now, after tossing this huge Republican-created pile o' shit into the lap of the incoming president and administration, she plays innocent. What? Why are you so upset?

You hands bleed? Aw. You house blown up? Aw. You whole family die in war? Aw. You teenage brother in prison in Guantanamo? Aw. You country destroyed? Aw. Wall Street take you money? Aw. You lose you house, you job? Aw. Lookee here! You crying? Awww. You so sensitive!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Molten Bolton

I'm back in Paris (Yay!) and recently caught up on a bunch of Jon Stewart's Daily Shows. One of the things I like about Stewart is that he has people on the show that I don't like, but he treats them with respect, when I would have done something different, like... not have them on the show at all. When I saw that John Bolton would be on one of the segments as the guest, I almost didn't watch it. But curiosity won out.

I've been railing against the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) and all of its n'er-do-wells like Bolton, Cheney, Abrams, Yoo, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush (G must have been out getting drunk), Scooter Libby, Steve Forbes, Bill Kristol, Kagan, Podhoretz, Dan Quayle, etc. for, well, a New American Century (at least that's what it feels like). But since I'm a Z-list blogger (I stole that from some other Z-lister who is so unknown, just like me, that he'll never know I stole it), somehow my PNAC rants have never made it to MSNBC. Darn. Last night I mentioned PNAC to an Irish writer friend and I watched that "oh, you believe in that conspiracy theory" smile flash across his face. I was just stunned that he even knew who/what PNAC was. He said, "Did you know that the origin of those guys was liberal?" Yup. Bill Kristol's dad started the whole mess. And I understand how that kind of evolution happens...people's pendulums can swing from one extreme to the other. But, in this case, I think it's beside the point.

In the PNAC statement of principles, they state very, very clearly:  We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership. ... Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next.

This isn't, "We lead through diplomacy and right thinking and cooperation and mutual respect and benefit." This is, "We lead by force. If you don't follow, we'll nuke your ass."

Hell, they urged Clinton to get rid of Saddam Hussein all the way back in 1998.  And since Clinton was too busy smoking cigars and getting blow jobs, he kind of failed in that one area. We had to wait for the PNAC shadow government to prop up nincompoop GW Bush to pretend that 911 was perpetrated by Saddam so we culd invade Iraq and git 'er done! Somehow, I prefer blow jobs to bombs. I'm just sayin'.

If you read PNAC's project paper, Rebuilding America's Defenses (PDF), written in 2000, which they famously still have online, because they famously believe in it, you can see, from the final signature page, how a bunch of politicos got together with some military guys and some captains of industry (that would be the war industry), and came up with a compelling (?) analysis that supports a theory that the US has no choice but to become the bad ass of the Middle East, and subsequently, of the world. Otherwise, those rag heads will have us by our oil-consuming hairy balls and this gonad-snatching could threaten the national security of the US of A.

I guess it's the Big Dick Stick Theory.

There are two (or probably more, but these are the only ones I can come up with on a Monday morning) problems with this:

  1. If we had spent some money on developing alternative energy instead of pouring billions of dollars (borrowed from China) down the toilet trying to conquer the Middle East, nobody would have us by the short hairs. (But then, the PNAC guys couldn't feel like bad asses.) 
  2. Their whole theory is based on the assumption that being scary is the only way you can control people. It discounts the huge leaps forward, in consciousness and sociopolitical evolution, that have been made by peaceful people like Mandela and Ghandi and Martin Luther King (before the right-wing mob killed him). 
"Eh!" Cheney would say. "So what?"

But, I've always been curious about ivy-league-educated guys like Bolton who espouse these theories. I mean, is he a dick at home too? Or a loving husband and father who simply believes that you have to threaten and kick the shit out of people (and dogs) in order to keep them "in line." So, I watched him on the Daily Show. He wasn't a dick (well, not much of one). He was well-spoken. And... he's still full of shit. But the most telling thing he said, the thing that answered so many questions I've had for such a long time, was what he said before Jon closed the interview:

"There's not much difference between me and the people who want a world where no government has nuclear weapons...I only want one government to have nuclear weapons...You're sitting in it."

I guess he assumes that American leaders are the only ones capable, in the whole wide world, of controlling nuclear weapons and deciding who to threaten them with and when to drop them (think Sarah Palin. mmm hmmm). I can see French faces getting rouge right now. Putain!

I also guess he assumes that all the "good" countries will go, "Whew! I'm sure glad America is handling all this for us!" And all the "bad" countries will go, "UH-OH! We better be good now! Or America will nuke us off the face of the earth! Hurry up! Tell me where I can go and become a Christian. Quick! Oh, and where can I find enough K-Y to make it easier to accept Democracy as it's being shoved up my ass? (soto voce: And call North Korea and have them ship us all that nuclear shit toute suite!)"

So, forget the walk softly part, let's just make sure we super-elite Americanos are the only ones carrying the biggest stick. Talking? Diplomacy? Waste o' time. That's for pussies. Unless the talking is about how big our stick is. Then, we'll talk and talk and talk about that. Because we love our big stick. We're proud of our big stick. We want to drop our pants and show you our big stick...all the time. And by the way, we really are very nice. We'll "engage" any time. We'll play with you! As long as we always get to win. K?