Sunday, September 29, 2013

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about government-shutdown-mania, and quite a mania it is, too. They don't seem to see the downside, to the country or to themselves. Now, maybe there's some way in which this is supposed to work out politically that I'm just too thick to see -- for example, if the Republicans were rowdy drinking buddies, say, kicking up a ruckus like this in a bar, and I were close enough to the door, it might seem charming. Where once George W. was popular because Americans thought they'd like to have a beer with him, maybe the Republican Congress are supposed to be the guys Americans would like to see throw a chair through a plate-glass window and fight off a bunch of cops. Well, have you got a better explanation?

UPDATE. I'm as surprised as you are but Bill Keller actually said something:
What’s happening here ain’t exactly clear. But I have a notion: The Republicans are finally having their ’60s. Half a century after the American left experienced its days of rage, its repudiation of the political establishment, conservatives are having their own political catharsis. Ted Cruz is their spotlight-seeking Abbie Hoffman. (The Texas senator’s faux filibuster last week reminded me of Hoffman’s vow to “levitate” the Pentagon using psychic energy.) The Tea Party is their manifesto-brandishing Students for a Democratic Society. Threatening to blow up America’s credit rating is their version of civil disobedience. And Obamacare is their Vietnam.
I've been talking for years about how conservatives have adopted the old Sixties slogan "the personal is the political" as their own, and in their weird exhilaration over this latest maneuver I detect more than a little "if it feels good, do it." Maybe more people are noticing this.

UPDATE 2. Digby also notices.
Many of the mainstream pundits who eye-rolled and tut-tutted bloggers and activists for failing to understand the ways of the world are now commonly recycling ideas we were discussing half a decade ago.
And Digby is still on Blogspot instead of in the Times. No wonder we're fucked.

162 comments:

  1. hellslittlestangel11:09 PM

    "...it matters that Republicans can stand up in 2014 or 2016 and invite the
    public to remember how hard they fought to stop ObamaCare..."



    One can only fucking hope.

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  2. Freshly Squeezed Cynic11:18 PM

    The freedom to starve under a bridge remains, uncompromised by the petty tyranny of the soup kitchen.

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  3. TomParmenter11:24 PM

    Christian Toto of Breitbart, fun to say.

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  4. I'm having a hard time seeing why anyone in Washington would support this, either. The usual suspects may get some sort of atavistic thrill out of this, but it can't be good for the pols. Where's the angle for them? Maybe there isn't one - perhaps we're witnessing the largest demonstration of the sunken cost fallacy in recent history. They may well wreck the country even further, but maybe a few compulsive gamblers will have a moment of clarity.

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  5. Freshly Squeezed Cynic11:26 PM

    Unlike the more famous Toto, this one stays in Kansas to yell things at sluts going into Planned Parenthood.

    There's no place like home.

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  6. calling all toasters11:29 PM

    "Well, have you got a better explanation?"


    How about: Republicans in Congress are all Matt Groening characters. They were given the intellectual heft of Fry, the class consciousness of Mr. Burns, the latent sexuality of Akbar and Jeff, and Bart Simpson's credo of "smashy, smashy." But Groening realizes that he was is ripping off his own ideas, so he decides to spice it up by making it a live-action show where the actors are a bunch of 10 year-olds, all of whom agree that legislation longer than a paragraph is stupid and answer every argument with "I'm rubber, you're glue." The show is cancelled after one episode, but nobody tells the actors, who refuse to leave the Capitol. Eventually they are re-elected with the help of the Hypnotoad, who wears the skin of Sarah Palin and subdues the media.

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  7. The biggest problem with their threatened government shutdowns and their sequesters is that they stack the deck, as usual always, in order to favor the wealthy. Long lines at the airport due to the sequester? Let's fund air travel! Long lines at the DMV? You're on your own, peasant!

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  8. DocAmazing11:34 PM

    I like Malkinette Doug Powers' cri de coeur "How many 'rights' have to be mandated?" Well, Doug, there's a town in the South that mandates gun ownership, and my frredom to worship is mandated when I attend public meetings that open with a prayer...shall we go on?

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  9. AGoodQuestion11:35 PM

    Like Abe Simpson, they want to hear the Glenn Miller Orchestra and see cops beating up hippies.

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  10. DocAmazing11:36 PM

    Toto is a popular brand of toilet. A Christian Toto ain't exactly a baptismal font.

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  11. stepped_pyramids11:37 PM

    It's true that the PPACA needs to be fixed. For one thing, Republican governors kicked one of the legs off the stool and the Supreme Court let them get away with it. Subsidies need to be more generous across the board, but especially for older people not yet eligible for Medicare and young people just above the cutoff for their parents' coverage. Some parts of it have been slower or more difficult to implement than expected, and the Republicans have taken every opportunity to sap away funds for implementation.


    None of this means all of the bill's provisions should be postponed (since many of them are already in effect, that's a nonsensical proposition anyway).

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  12. philadelphialawyer11:38 PM

    "The way it works politically" is that it insulates them from Club for Growth/Koch Brothers/Tea Party primary challenges. These are House Republicans we are talking about. Their districts have been gerrymandered. In many, if not most, cases, the key to re election is getting the GOP nomination, not the general election. And that is particularly true in an off year election, like the one coming up next year. Win the GOP nod in these carefully tailored, Republican majority districts, and keep your seat. There are not enough Dems in these districts to matter, plus, the Dems tend to do worse in non presidential elections, plus, as the incumbent presidential party, the Dems will be in a position that historically has not done well in off year elections, plus, voter suppression efforts greenlighted with the SCOTUS gutting of the VRA make the Dems even more irrelevant. What does matter is winning, or, better yet, avoiding a primary.. As I understand it, Republican House members have been explicitly and specifically warned: vote to shut the government down over Obamacare (and vote for it for reals, not symbolically, as the compromise proposals have called for), OR we WILL primary your ass with a challenger from the right. It doesn't matter how much a right wing extremist you have been until now and on other issues, you MUST vote for the shutdown.

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  13. stepped_pyramids11:39 PM

    "I bless the rains down in Africa / Specifically in Kenya / Where the President was born / Maybe? Questions remain"

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  14. I didn't think I'd ever vote for a Republican but you're making it sound tempting.

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  15. AGoodQuestion11:42 PM

    In the Daniel Henninger/John Hayward set-to, Henninger is, in his sphincterish sour grapes way, right. I don't know that the American people are going to kill Obamacare, but the ACA will probably retain enough flaws for Republicans to run on a toldja-so platform and at least find someone who'll buy it. These apocalyptic tactics, though. The GOP right has doubled down so far that if the law goes into effect and there aren't concentration camps in every city, they're going to look stupid. Well, stupider. If possible.

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  16. calling all toasters11:45 PM

    Looking stupid is central to their point.

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  17. stepped_pyramids11:45 PM

    The problem is that the gerrymandering wasn't done to create a large number of safe districts -- if that was possible, it would mean the Republicans had a clear minority anyway. The 2010 gerrymandering concentrated a lot of Democratic votes into safe districts and then created a lot of districts with a relatively safe but not huge Republican lean -- in 55/45 territory.


    The question is whether it's possible for the Republicans to disgust or discourage enough of their electorate to push those districts into more competitive territory. The GOP could potentially make enough of a hash of things to open up a lot of districts to challenges from moderate-to-conservative Democrats.

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  18. From your lips to the electorate's ears!

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  19. The one hope I have is that sane states like California and New York implement public health options.

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  20. Can a game of chicken really be considered a gamble?

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  21. philadelphialawyer11:54 PM

    That is possible. You can slice the salami too thinly. But I think (and more importantly, it seems the House Republicans think) that, because of all the factors I mentioned, the gerrymandered districts won't be competitive in the general election in 2014. 2016, a presidential year, might be another story. But it is a long time between now and then.

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  22. stepped_pyramids11:57 PM

    Now I want some thinly-sliced salami.

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  23. redoubt12:00 AM

    The pols? They get to grandstand, and their tame media contacts get some more face time to help them do so. (After all, their real constituents are named Koch, Walton et al.)



    However, as someone who could be facing at least a couple days of unpaid leave, I'd rather not have my grocery money depend on fiscal recklessness.

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  24. Spaghetti Lee12:28 AM

    I think that will eventually be the GOP's downfall: states that aren't run by lunatics are going right ahead with what they can do. Yes, I know a lot of people have a low opinion of the average voter's intelligence, but even if people don't follow the news, they talk to each other. And when blue state people tell their red state relatives how much less they're paying for health care (which is already happening, if you look at how the prices are shaping up in the exchanges), people will notice.

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  25. Formerly_Nom_De_Plume12:35 AM

    it's not a good sign for Democrats who expect pop culture to always have their backs



    What the fuck are these people on? I wish I had mushrooms this good. Who the fuck expects anything from pop culture except that it entertain them? What is wrong with someone who expects every comedy skit and every movie and everything else to simply give them a self esteem hard-on? Why are people like this allowed to steer public discourse? Why aren't you stomping Private Pyle's guts out?

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  26. Spaghetti Lee12:37 AM

    The reason 2006 and 2008 happened was because the Democrats won in lots of places they weren't "supposed" to. A lot of red districts with entrenched GOP incumbents went down, especially in the suburbs, which have only gotten more populous and diverse since then, i.e. competitive for the Dems.



    Two advantages Dems had then that they don't have now are a crashingly unpopular Republican president and a wealth of obvious scandals and wrongdoings to point to (Bob Ney, Mark Foley, Tom Delay, etc). For obvious reasons, sex-and-money scandals will get people's attention more than mere ideological psychopathy.


    One positive thing I do think about the House is that we seem to have found a floor for the number of Dems in the House: there aren't many districts for the GOP left to flip in 2014, what with all the Blue Dogs in the South gone and Dems in shaky districts either gerrymandered out of congress or into a safe district. In other words, there won't be much need to play defense in the House in 2014, and they can go all out attacking Republican nutcases.

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  27. Spaghetti Lee12:40 AM

    I think it's a sign that, in the famous eternal battle, Crazy has finally overtaken Corrupt. If you're a safe incumbent fat cat getting rich off of oil/farm/military contracts, there's no logical reason to disrupt the status quo so fiercely. The fact that so many Republicans are marching off that cliff with eyes wide open means that they really do believe what they're seeing.


    Here's a scary thought: for any Republican congressman born in the 70's (and it's more than you probably think), Rush Limbaugh and Rupert Murdoch have been the voices of the Republican worldview for their entire adult lives. It's the only reality they know.

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  28. Duncan12:48 AM

    Yeah, I'm thinking that if the Social Security checks stop coming, the constituency for the shutdown will lose its enthusiasm.

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  29. philadelphialawyer12:52 AM

    Another thing to consider.... even if the districts are vulnerable to a Democrat if the incumbent House Republican goes too far "out there," still, he has to survive the primary first, before that comes into play. Sequence matters. And, as we saw with Romney, even a more or less "moderate" GOP'er will tack far, far to the right, if necessary, to win the nomination. Then try to tack back to the center, and hope the rest of the electorate was not paying attention earlier, for the general election.
    And, this is the part that is more inexplicable, not only the Tea Party rank and file but the rich donors too, seem to prefer a GOP candidate for the general election that really is too far "out there," and thus might lose, to an already pretty damn conservative incumbent who would be practically a lock to the win, the general. With the Tea Party ground troops, perhaps there is something sincere (no matter how misguided) in their desire to "throw the bums out," to make something close to a revolution, and to refuse to be dictated to by the party machine. And thus they really do prefer losing with a Christine O'Donnell to winning with a Mike Castle. But why would the big money boys, who are thriving under the current system, feel that way? One would think that they are savvy enough to settle for three quarters, or more, of a loaf, when need be.

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  30. philadelphialawyer12:54 AM

    Yeah, for all their talk about "principles," and about putting country above party and politics, they really do seem to be more about careerism, when push comes to shove.

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  31. montag212:56 AM

    There must have been some slaves in Rome that cheered the arrival of the Vandals, not realizing that the Vandals had even worse things in mind for them.

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  32. stepped_pyramids1:11 AM

    Indeed. And I think it's important to keep in mind that pretty much any improvements one can imagine to PPACA will push it to the left -- its leftish provisions are popular and not going anywere, and its worst failings are all due to timidity.


    The GOP will be able to campaign against it for a little while longer, but it's already becoming old news. By 2016 it'll be a dead letter, only of interest to the faithful, slotted somewhere in the GOP Catechism between "Clenis" and "Chappaquiddick".

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  33. Spaghetti Lee1:32 AM

    maybe the Republican Congress are supposed to be the guys Americans
    would like to see throw a chair through a plate-glass window and fight
    off a bunch of cops.



    Funny you should put it that way. I read an article (might have been on TPM) where someone reported on the Republican caucus as they basically voted to refuse any changes made by the Senate and to keep working for a shutdown if the PPACA wasn't defunded. A few of them were interviewed and he talked about how giddy and excited the atmosphere was, and how he felt like he was part of a band of brothers ready to fight onward.



    Of course, that they're focusing more on how it gives them a funny feeling in their pants rather than how it affects the American people is scary enough. But the tone of the quote was like, I don't know, a 13-year-old boy getting ready to watch his first porno. Embarrassingly juvenile. That's what I don't get. Ted Cruz once said, dead seriously, that he refused to study with anyone from "The Lesser Ivies". Paul Ryan lies about his marathon times and posts staged weightlifting selfies on his official website. Mike Lee is a doughball from a political family that goes back centuries, marketing himself as a dangerous maverick. I'd understand if the GOP was enraptured by a charismatic zeitgeist-changing hero, but these guys don't fit any of those categories. I guess mostly it's just kind of chilling how people so pathetic and derpy can cause so much damage, but objectively it's just kind of weird how uncharismatic these guys are, and how much they're still worshipped by the idiot squad.

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  34. Gromet1:44 AM

    That's the thing I don't get. Boehner's no radical. Few of these guys are. So why have all 200+ of them agreed to march in lockstep with 40 or so radicals and threaten the economy they claim to love so much? Their current behavior is about as direct an illustration of "cutting off your nose to spite your face" as is conceivable. Jebus, where are their moms? "Don't cut off your nose to spite your face. You lost this one. Now show a little dignity and shake hands." -- Moms.

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  35. Spaghetti Lee1:53 AM

    My best guess is that in a congressman's mind, the threat of a primary challenge looms very large, much larger than it should. It's more work and more money, and if you end up losing, it's embarrassing and you're out of a job. Boehner in particular likes his title-who wouldn't?-and even if he doesn't lose his seat I bet a defection on his part would lead to a leadership coup. It's also a prisoners' dilemna: if twenty Republicans break rank, they're easy to mow down. If 100 or 150 of them did, I think we'd find out that there's limits to even Koch money and influence. But no one wants to be first.



    The stupid part of it all is that these guys have less to fear from losing their job than about anyone in the country. By my count, there are roughly one bazillion banks, think tanks, lobbying groups, corporate boardrooms, or college boards they could jump into, and probably make more money. That's what's frustrating about this: none of it's inevitable. Just a little more spine from the supposed mainstream Republicans, a little less fear, and it would already be over. But that's nowhere to be found.

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  36. JennOfArk1:54 AM

    One thing you can count on with Republicans...they never recognize that they're stepping in shit until it's oozing up between their toes and smeared all over the hems of their trousers.


    With apologies to those who stand to lose pay over the next week or so when things shut down, I'm actually glad to see it happen. They've been threatening to kill the puppy for several years now and the public just yawns; people need to see why it actually is important to have a functioning government. Which hopefully leads to more of them noticing that the one we've got hasn't been functioning very well, which hopefully in turn leads them into searching out why that is and discovering that when you let inmates run the asylum, then things tend to not run too smoothly. You have to love the schizophrenia of an ideology that worships the "efficiency" of private enterprise while the party that represents it runs on a platform of "the job I'm running for shouldn't even exist!" Just imagine going into a job interview with a major corporation and telling the interviewer that your goal if hired is to put as many of the company's employees out of work as possible.


    As for the tantrum over the ACA itself, I think the shutdown more than anything else illustrates their panic of what they know is right around the corner: implementation is coming, in general costs are going to stop growing by double digits each year (and for some, going to be less than they are currently), no one's grandma is going to be death-panelled, and most people will realize that they are much better off than in the bad old days where they could be denied insurance or have it cancelled as soon as they got sick. And all of this comes after 4 years solid of the GOP predicting that the sky is falling, which is going to be shown up as the obvious lie it always has been. If they push things even further and fuck the debt limit over the issue (which I would not rule out) and send the economy back into the shitter, then they're going to look just that much worse when all their dire predictions are revealed to be unmitigated bullshit, with the added bonus that they might manage to piss off their corporate sponsors enough to dry up the campaign cash flow.

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  37. Gromet1:59 AM

    Zounds, how often are rightwingers gonna dive deep to find the darkest meaning in an SNL sketch only to surface gasping for air, on the verge of blackout, feeling sure they've found it and it means America has been fatally betrayed?


    Although their complaining about jokes is better than the jokes they tell in their chain emails. I guess I'll count my blessings.

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  38. Gromet2:09 AM

    Prisoner's Dilemma is a useful way to look at it. I'd like to think these guys are motivated by more than a desire to make a lot of money personally, but maybe that's it. A huge proportion of Congressmembers are millionaires these days, and you don't usually get to be a millionaire by making money your 2nd or 3rd priority (afaik).

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  39. RHWombat2:49 AM

    It may be as simple as the pathological fear of losing, or rather of being seen by their tribe of fearful enuretics as being "a loser". That single fear lives at the base of every right-winger.

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  40. Spaghetti Lee3:28 AM

    Oy, don't shit on Fry like that.

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  41. montag23:30 AM

    Ah, but they want to see themselves as charismatic badasses, and do--in their self-regard, they are patriots and visionaries. To the rest of us, they're dweebs and morons and sad-sack shills for the very wealthy, but, when they look in the mirror, they see superheroes, capes and tights and all.


    Now, to you and me, this guy is Alfred E. Neuman on a 5000-calorie-a-day diet, but I'm betting that he sees himself as the Green Lantern, Captain Midnight and Ronald Reagan, all rolled into one.

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  42. montag23:42 AM

    Just imagine going into a job interview with a major corporation and
    telling the interviewer that your goal if hired is to put as many of the
    company's employees out of work as possible.



    Oh, I think that's SOP today. You'd probably wind up executive VP of the human resources department....

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  43. Freshly Squeezed Cynic4:16 AM

    It's actually quite apt that the rightbloggers have taken Braveheart as their frame of reference.

    It's a grotesquely incorrect piece of fiction that has no bearing on today's reality, that portrays a member of the elite as a downtrodden working man, and weaves a simplistic narrative with cartoon villains out of a complex situation.

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  44. too right...but they'll get away with pretending it never happened, again.

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  45. montag26:57 AM

    The only way that ruining the country's credit rating is a win is if they've moved their money into hedge funds shorting the dollar.


    Which wouldn't surprise me. They're Republicans, after all.

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  46. Now I gotta get me an Italian sub for lunch today!

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  47. mortimer20008:47 AM

    Republican legislators, want to defund something you're opposed to? Then legislate (see Boland amendment, the). Don't have enough votes in Congress to get your law to pass? Then get more Republicans elected. That's how it's done in America, fuckwads. Holding the government hostage and willfully destroying the economy ain't. If Democrats can't use some argument like this to convince a goodly portion of the 40% of voters who identify themselves as Independent that this kind of self-destructive terrorism is un-American — even treasonous — then we really do have government by wingnut radio.

    Anyone who's experienced right-wing media to any degree in the last few years knows why they're doing this, too. This is how they "take back America." Elections are for dupes and pussies, and the only reason any Democrat gets elected is through voter fraud. So-called "sane" Republicans have been stoking the morons with this shit for years, and if Democrats can find a spine the GOP just might get burned by the flames. I'm not optimistic.

    BTW, Fox denizens and the radio nuts never say the word
    sequester, it's always "the Obama
    sequester." They've already started calling it the Obama shutdown due to
    the Dem's unwillingness, irony be damned, to "compromise."


    Debt crisis: fabricate, rinse, repeat.

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  48. reallyaimai9:27 AM

    Yes, I agree with that. There are simply no elder statesmen left, no people who (however evil, crony capitalist, or conservative) have the education and the noblesse oblige to recognize that the country is bigger than this. These people, the tea party and their captured representatives, are a new breed of American--absolutely debased in their understanding of politics, economics, law and society. This reminds me of the moment in "What's the Matter With Kansas" where the old Republican party heads are swept out of power, literally, by their starry eyed religious bigot secretaries (female secretary) who is simply a pink collar savonarola. She doesn't respond to threats or inducements w/r/t the economy or society because she is below that economically and socially. She has no higher viewpoint than the religious and no goals beyond purity in the matter of sex and abortion. The economy and the state are both ridiculous abstractions to her.

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  49. reallyaimai9:32 AM

    Yes, and I already saw an article--the Avik Roy abomination--which managed to subtly imply that the reason blue state rates were so good was some kind of Obamaesque plot against red staters.


    However: this is a shifting terrain. Balloon Juice is running a series by an insurance guy who is explaining shit for you and his take on even the horrific Arkansas Waiver situation (in which they expand private insurance as opposed to medicaid for the bottom tier of the uninsured) is that it may be ok and it creates a new set of stakeholders to promote the idea of health insurance for all as a right.


    In ten years? The entire country is going to assume that affordable health insurance is a right and simply one of the duties that government assumes vis a vis its citizens. Once that happens we can tinker until we get single payer everywhere.

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  50. reallyaimai9:34 AM

    Is this true about homeless people? Aren't they going to be signing people up at the Hospital eventually? Like: in the ER?

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  51. montag29:39 AM

    If more Dems were willing to call this what it is--extortion--and say that Obama is being forced by Republicans to pay ransom for the return of the kidnapped government, maybe some of those independents would figure it out.



    Then again, maybe not. But, one thing's for sure, as you say, the messaging is already out there that this is Obama's fault, and it will come even hotter and heavier once Oct. 1 comes and goes. With a media that can only seem, at best, to blame both sides for it, the message will spread.



    Make no mistake about it, though. It is extortion, plain and simple. And even though the Repugs are the perps, they still manage to claim they're the victims. For once, the Dems ought to use the press wisely and well, and start by using terms of criminality for what's happening. Otherwise, they get their asses handed to them again.

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  52. reallyaimai9:39 AM

    They are going to continue to run on the odd horror story but the flaws in the ACA are going to pale in comparison to the good things. Individual Republicans may run scare stories about how Obamcare stripped funding from Medicare but the reality isn't going to bear this out--and plenty of medicare recipients are going to have adult sons and daughters and grandchildren who are going to have been helped by the ACA. Talking about defunding it entirely is going to be a non starter in two years for the next presidential election. Its way easier to scaremonger before something has happened rather than after when there are competing stakeholder stories and there is word of mouth.


    Also: don't forget that in theory (though we have to see how this works out) people are going to be brought into the voting system by registering to vote when they get their health insurance. The Republican party is terrified of that, just as they were of motor voter. In fact: if they push to have some kind of "health insurance picture ID" to prevent "illegals" from accessing "your tax dollars" they may end up creating the kind of national voter/health care ID card they have always dreaded.

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  53. reallyaimai9:42 AM

    Blake Farenthold is the step grandson of a beloved Texas political figure Sissy Farenthold. He is dumber than a box of rocks--I saw the interview with him and Chris Matthews and he made Matthews look like a Nuclear Engineer and Philosopher King wrapped in one pasty package.

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  54. reallyaimai9:43 AM

    I have to agree with montag2 on that one even though I agree with the rest of your post, jenn: corporations love "we had to destroy the village in order to save it." For years now cutting staff and even turning away customers/destroying entire portions of a business has been looked upon favorably by the stockholders.

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  55. reallyaimai9:44 AM

    Somebody reads Juanita Jean!

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  56. montag29:48 AM

    And, unfortunately, Sissy endorsed him....

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  57. Now, maybe there's some way in which this is supposed to work out politically that I'm just too thick to see..

    Good cop, bad cop, Roy.

    Obama's spent 5 1/2 years pushing a plutocrat-friendly agenda that a President McCain would never have gotten away with.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/09/27/american-workers-hanging-on-by-the-skin-of-their-teeth/

    So OF COURSE the GOP is going to scream and bitch and throw tantrums and call him a Marxist. Can't give the game away, you know.
    ~

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  58. waspuppet10:17 AM

    Re the update: Wouldn't be the first time they've turned into what they claim to hate. The last 8 years or so has been nothing more than a conservative demand to be given the intellectual equivalent of a participation trophy.

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  59. Derelict10:35 AM

    I wish I could be so sanguine. If we look at current polling, we find that a clear majority of Americans really like the Affordable Care Act and look forward to its implementation. At the same time, we've reached a point where a slight majority of Americans hate ObamaCare--even though it's the same $%(&^^ law!--and want it repealed.
    Truly, we're mere weeks away from newspapers being filled wit reports of entire families being wiped out because they decided to have electricity for dinner because someone told them that household current has a slight vanilla flavor.

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  60. FMguru10:42 AM

    Exactly. I've been saying for a while that this is a side effect of the construction of the Fox/Limbaugh/Drudge propaganda machine, that we now have people who have been bathed in it for twenty-plus years and who don't understand that it's ridiculous propaganda meant to gull the rubes moving into positions of decision-making power in the GOP and the conservative movement, and as a result, their ability to make decisions based on real-life information has become completely degraded.



    Romney '12 was a good example - they really did believe, up to the highest levels, all that transparently ridiculous unskewed polls crap. I've read that the reason that Romney was so passive in the second and third debates (instead of pushing the one advantage that he managed score during the campaign) was that his campaign thought that they had the whole thing in the bag at that point and decided to play it cautious so as not to give Obama a chance to get back in it. Their overwhelming belief that the proper response to shifting national demographics is to concentrate even harder on the white vote is another good example.


    They really are mad, and blind, and headed for a great crack-up. Unfortunately, they're going to do a lot of damage on their way out the door.

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  61. reallyaimai10:44 AM

    Mmmmm. Vanilla.

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  62. reallyaimai10:47 AM

    Dems can call it extortion until the cows come home but epistemic closure, fox news, and facebook will simply repel that insight. No one cares what the dems say. And the media interlocutors are not going to say it because its uncivil.

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  63. reallyaimai10:48 AM

    Oh, yeah. That makes sense. The Republicans are going to crash the fucking world economy because the Insurance companies and Corporations love the ACA so much. This isn't eleventh dimensional chess you are playing, its straight up crazy.

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  64. philadelphialawyer10:49 AM

    I don't think its Boehner's idea. He can't herd the cats. Which makes him look stupid. What good is a "leader" if he can't deliver his own party's votes?
    And then there is the so called "Hastert rule." If a majority of House Republicans oppose something, none of them are "allowed" to vote for it, and they try to keep it even from coming to a vote.
    Clearly, enough House Republicans, combined with the House Democrats, want to vote on and for a "clean CR" for it to pass. But not a majority of the House Republicans alone. Enough of them apparently do fear a primary, plus the True Believers, to make up a majority of their caucus.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Haystack10:50 AM

    salami...


    a loaf...


    Republican logic has more holes than Swiss cheese! It just won't cut the mustard!


    Sandwich, anyone?

    ReplyDelete
  66. reallyaimai10:51 AM

    On the Bill Keller quote--I'm not sure he's the only one who used the Abbie Hoffman line, I'm pretty sure I saw it somewhere else. I don't think he's that inventive or thoughtful (Keller, I mean).


    I also think that the right reference is not to the Sixties at all but to the imagined greatest generation and that 9/11 moment when we all pulled together. These guys are and always have been desperate to be heroes, not of some rag tag band of hippies but of hard bitten marines going over the top in some fantasy war game. They have been longing to be necessary--even going galt is not the equivalent of drop out/tune in. Its agressive, violent, militant, angry and spiteful.

    ReplyDelete
  67. JennOfArk11:36 AM

    Perhaps my meaning wasn't clear enough. Imagine telling the interviewer that you want to shrink the company's revenues and lower its production. Which is what the Republicans have been preaching for government for ... well, forever.

    ReplyDelete
  68. philadelphialawyer11:41 AM

    More like saying that you want the company to either go bankrupt, or, if that is too harsh, you want the company to get of its lines of business one by one, until it has no field at all, while at the same time, yes, shrinking revenue and production, and firing workers, until you reach a point where the company can fold up shop, wind up its affairs, and cease to exist.

    ReplyDelete
  69. philadelphialawyer11:42 AM

    get OUT of

    ReplyDelete
  70. And I think it's important to keep in mind that pretty much any improvements one can imagine to PPACA will push it to the left

    In which case, why not delay implementation for just "one more year," as Ed Morrissey advocates? Surely in the meantime we'll be able to construct an improved, more-progressive version via bipartisan comity. Because nothing says willingness to come up with workable fixes quite like "Kick implementation down the road indefinitely, or we'll blow up the economy."

    ReplyDelete
  71. Jimcima12:33 PM

    And this is a good picture of him - someone had to sort through probably hundreds of photos and this was the best they could find. He's basically an unsympathetic <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bK-Dqj4fHmM> Flounder.</a>

    ReplyDelete
  72. Ellis_Weiner1:29 PM

    Okay, but still. Can't Dems say "unlike Republicans, we don't negotiate with terrorists," and denounce these extortionists in colorful language FOR OUR OWN SATISFACTION? Sorry for shouting. But I don't want to hear what Harry Reid whispers in his tired old man's wheeze. Or Obama tut-tutting about "shenanigans." I want to hear these scumbags called out by Alan Grayson for the enemies of democracy, truth, and civilization that they are.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Mooser1:31 PM

    I sure as hell do! You might be surprised how many of the blog-list entries are active going concerns.
    Tony Ortega's "The Underground Bunker" is another fun site, and very active.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Mooser1:34 PM

    Aren't you forgetting about the media's part in this?

    ReplyDelete
  75. mortimer20001:37 PM

    Pace* Keller, but I'll believe 60's protesters are an apt metaphor for Tea Party assholes the day they get their selfish skulls cracked open by cops and hardhats. Not that I'm hoping or anything.

    Also, protesting the Vietnam war was a matter of saving lives, not depriving people of livelihoods and healthcare. So there's that, too.

    *by pace I mean fuck 'im.

    ReplyDelete
  76. If you read their conspiracy theories and policy proposals it's pretty clear they've been dropping acid.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Gromet1:50 PM

    I regret that I wasn't cooler when I was 20, just like the Republicans do, but thank goodness I bought "Nevermind" before anyone else did or evidently I could look forward to sunset years spent trying to compensate by destroying America in order to save it.

    ReplyDelete
  78. merl11:54 PM

    That makes a lot of sense, it's payback. Just like their modern racism is payback for Woodrow Wilson and Robert Byrd. The early Robert Byrd, not the later one.

    ReplyDelete
  79. JHand1:55 PM

    "Many of the mainstream pundits who eye-rolled and tut-tutted bloggers and activists for failing to understand the ways of the world are now commonly recycling ideas we were discussing half a decade ago."


    a/k/a We Were Through With It Before You Even Knew What to Do With It.

    ReplyDelete
  80. XeckyGilchrist2:00 PM

    Being criticized is exactly the same as having your skull cracked open, just like having tons of free cable news airtime is the same as being marginalized and persecuted.


    Imagine the pain these poor TPers are undergoing. Makes Kent State look like a goddam picnic.

    ReplyDelete
  81. reallyaimai2:29 PM

    I have been talking politics with my daughters since they were three--at one point, after hearing my description of how a bill becomes law, mr. aimai was urging me to make a youtube of it with dolls and stuffed animals playing all the parts. I've learned what I know after years of reading political coverage on the internet--up until then I had zero idea of the actual nature of the kind of horsetrading, guesswork, brinksmanship, cronyism and lobbying that goes on in getting a given bill to the floor of house or senate, and then reconciling them later. Any account of any political event or piece of legislation that doesn't have the ability to handle what just happened with the House legislation that Ted Cruz "opposed" which was then stripped out by the Senate and sent back to the House simply isn't goign to be accurate--but you can't teach it without destroying your child's faith in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  82. geraldfnord2:41 PM

    Uhh...I was thinking that the New American Century fool-proof plan to reshape the Middle East had all the marks of a reefer-centric conversation punctuated by exclamations of '...and it will all work and it will be perfect', notably marked by the _necessity_ of each step in the plan's working exactly as predicted for it to work at all. (I think tvtropes calls this a 'Batman Gambit' but I'm not going to check now, lest I be sucked into that whirlpool.)


    (If only Leonard Nimoy as Spock had been given dialogue with many fewer decimal places, statements of uncertainty in his readings, and the like, I think it would have helped, a little...years of teaching physics labs who thought that 'more decimal places' were the same as 'more accurate'. I really blame The God that Failed's effects on their fathers.)


    More generally, Gingrich et al always seemed to me to be of the '60s mindset that said that if the movers and shakers are pure enough, all disliked existing institutions may be destroyed without really thinking-through because the purity of intention will ensure that it all comes right in the end.

    ReplyDelete
  83. coozledad2:49 PM

    It just hit me. The wingnuts have been likening Ted Cruz to Braveheart.
    This guy's The Choad Warrior.

    ReplyDelete
  84. bekabot3:14 PM

    "The Republicans are finally having their ’60s."

    That's almost true. They're not having their '60s for the first time, though, they're having their '60s all over again...and again...and again...like the disreputable imps they are. Neil Howe said many years ago that the Reagan revolution was all about letting your freak flag fly and damn the establishment, damn civility, damn the rules.

    ("FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-dummmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!)

    I think Neil Howe was right. Reagan was a hippie-basher who was alive to the upside of being a hippie — his goal, which I believe he achieved, was to eat the heart of his enemy and so acquire his enemy's mana. The ritual worked so well in Reagan's (shaky, spotted, arthritic) hands that his followers have been trying to repeat it ever since. Unfortunately none of them have chanced upon quite the right formula: they always end up looking like kids dressed up for Halloween instead of like spirits in the night who are stardust and who also are golden. Especially Ted Cruz: not only doesn't he no have the vim to elevate the Pentagon, he doesn't have enough √©lan, seemingly, to lift more than one eyebrow up at a time. (I've never seen him with both of them raised.)

    ReplyDelete
  85. bekabot3:29 PM

    Well...sure. If your plan is to ladle the contents of the gravy train out into your own lunch pail, you don't go to such effort to upset the damn train. That's the lesson which the WSJ and kindred organs have been dinning into the laggard ears of the latest crop of nuthatches for weeks now. But the choir at which they aim the sermon doesn't listen, whether because they're deafened by their own music or deafened by somebody else's music or simply incapable of sticking to more than one note at a time I couldn't say. Wiser persons might, but I couldn't.

    ReplyDelete
  86. witlesschum3:29 PM

    In the place where they can get away with it, I can see some GOP incumbents pulling a Lieberman when they get primaried running as independents in the general election.

    ReplyDelete
  87. Provider_UNE3:36 PM

    I will add another onion to my belt in the hopes that I might woo this comment for a tumble under the bleachers...
    ...

    ReplyDelete
  88. witlesschum3:39 PM

    And it has a whole weird complex about gays.*


    * Edward II's enemies insisted that he banged lots of dudes. But you have to be, well, Mel Gibson to turn the guy who reportedly had to be dragged off the battlefield at Bannockburn because he was enjoying bashing skulls so much (not leading the army so much) into the mincing gay stereotype in the movie.

    ReplyDelete
  89. Provider_UNE3:41 PM

    I have always figured if Madison and Jefferson could have imagined the Republican party as it currently exists, the first and second amendments would have dealt with the right to breathe and the right to privacy. And today we would be hearing about "4th amendment solutions" instead...
    ....

    ReplyDelete
  90. witlesschum3:46 PM

    As many have pointed out, the Republican Party has jumped the tracks at this point. The plutocrats and such don't really have control over these guys anymore. A bad cop doesn't fufill his intended purpose if he's really just a violent nutjob who won't stop beating the suspect when he gives up a confession,

    ReplyDelete
  91. Spaghetti Lee4:29 PM

    For the record, I took a had-to-pass constitution test in middle school in 2003, so things haven't completely gone to hell. How hard my test was compared to yours, i can't say.

    ReplyDelete
  92. BG, now with more feck4:52 PM

    Nope, don't buy it. The right is anti-intellectual and devoid of any substance. These guys have no principles, and Ted Cruz is nothing more than an opportunist. The only similarity might be between them and the libertarian variant of hippies; other than that, show me a single Martin Luther King on the right.

    ReplyDelete
  93. BG, now with more feck4:53 PM

    Eggs Ackley.

    ReplyDelete
  94. PersonaAuGratin5:02 PM

    Duly added to my list of potential band names found in blog comments: "The Pink Collar Savanarolas"

    ReplyDelete
  95. MsInformed5:29 PM

    Bill Keller fails to explain who/where the corporate bankrollers were for the SDS.

    ReplyDelete
  96. MsInformed5:35 PM

    Too productive.

    ReplyDelete
  97. StringOnAStick5:41 PM

    This, in multiple formats and channels.

    ReplyDelete
  98. Really, aimai?


    You are so eager to defend our right-wing corporatist President you can't even make a coherent point?


    Here: The ONLY reason the GOP has any power now is because President Hope and Change has given it to them.


    If he hadn't spent the last 5 1/2 years relentlessly whoring for Goldman Sachs and friends, while giving Karl Rove and the rest of the crooks a pass for everything, we wouldn't be here.


    But Obama is going to make $100 million dollars, just like Bill Clinton did: for screwing his base.


    And here you are: "SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP! I LOVE HIM I LOVE I LOVE HIM!"


    Pathetic.
    ~

    ReplyDelete
  99. Substance McGravitas5:47 PM

    Where's Bongo, from Sullen Teen magazine? "I WON'T mow the lawn" is perfect.

    ReplyDelete
  100. Mooser6:33 PM

    If I am not mistaken, Boehner just released a statement in which he said he ACA exemption for Congresspersons was unfair to Americans, and is why they can't move the bill past the House. I gotta be wrong about this, but it's on TPM

    ReplyDelete
  101. M. Krebs7:31 PM

    Times like this I really miss Doghouse.

    ReplyDelete
  102. montag27:48 PM

    Well, small steps. Obama said today that Republicans were demanding a ransom, so that's a start.

    ReplyDelete
  103. at one point, after hearing my description of how a bill becomes law,
    mr. aimai was urging me to make a youtube of it with dolls and stuffed
    animals playing all the parts.


    aimai, are you familiar with Schoolhouse Rock, produced from 1973 to 1985?

    ReplyDelete
  104. montag27:54 PM

    I'm old enough to remember how in `68 all those filthy hippies put dents in the CPD's batons with their skulls. And then snorted up every bit of the cops' tear gas.

    ReplyDelete
  105. montag28:34 PM

    If there was any reefer involved, they all would have had a good laugh and forgotten about it.


    Nope, that was 100-proof-fueled thinking.


    As for Gingrich, he's more the Jerry Rubin there's-gotta-be-somethin'-in-it-for-me type (as experience over several decades has proven).

    ReplyDelete
  106. TGuerrant9:05 PM

    Abbie had a sense of humor, y'know. And courage. Keller was learning to eat his boogers at the time, though, and so thinks he's cleverly found a discard on his shoe to gobble.

    ReplyDelete
  107. TGuerrant9:12 PM

    He dresses to the left, I see, however stunted. Surely that's drawn the interest of certain resolute Republicans in the Senate by now...

    ReplyDelete
  108. Spaghetti Lee9:25 PM

    Don't trust anyone (with an IQ) over 30, man!

    ReplyDelete
  109. calling all toasters9:47 PM

    I love Bongo, but because he has only one ear he would be stoned to death by the others.

    ReplyDelete
  110. calling all toasters9:48 PM

    "shit on Fry" sounds like breakfast at a British Denny's.

    ReplyDelete
  111. reallyaimai10:15 PM

    Yes, really. You are off your fucking rocker. There is no Democratic President who would have or could have done a better job than Obama in my fifty year lifespan. Sorry you are so delusional that you thought that you'd get--I don't know? Glenn Greenwald? Ralph Nader? Were you asleep during the last thirty years? Grow up. The kind of politics you envision exist only at the smallest level of social organization. It is literally impossible to get from the political and social organization that Bush and Clinton left behind to the utopia you are longing for. And for damned sure no one who got elected President was going to bring it about.

    ReplyDelete
  112. I dunno Thunder. I do take your point. At the same time, I really think there's a difference between a corporatist president and a bunch of right wing ideologues. I don't know that anyone's asking you to love Obama. I would be happy if you just coolly appreciated that he's not a complete right wing freak, whereas a lot of Republicans are.

    ReplyDelete
  113. reallyaimai10:16 PM

    I was a little old for it. My version would be racier.

    ReplyDelete
  114. I really think there must be a way to criticize Obama from the left which is more appealing than the comment above.


    Chomsky sometimes manages it, IMHO. Then again, Chomsky has also acknowledged that the PPACA is marginally better than the status quo ante, which is what the current GOP offers at best, so he's presumably to be dismissed as an incoherent O-bot. (Or he can, you know, count to fucking sixty.)

    ReplyDelete
  115. reallyaimai10:18 PM

    Flailing now. There is no ACA exemption for Congresspersons. They are demanding that no subsidies be offered to their own congressional staffs who make too little to be able to afford to purchase insurance on their own.

    ReplyDelete
  116. reallyaimai10:22 PM

    There are plenty of ways of criticizing Obama from the left--but criticizing him for not being an anarcho syndicalist or whatever the fuck is just stupid. There are millions of things I would like Obama to have done, or thought he could do better. But he's done a damned good job by his lights and fought a difficult corner against some pretty stiff opposition to get someamazing things done. He wasn't some kind of muppet of socialist perfection but so what?


    Hell fucking O: actually dealt with Syria quite respectably and diplomatically? Opened up the first diplomatic direct talks with Iran since we, you know, killed their Prime Minister and installed the Shah? Wound down two wars? Created the largest new entitlement in Health Care and Welfare that this country has ever seen potentially giving health insurance to 40 million people? Its a fucking good days work.

    ReplyDelete
  117. JennOfArk10:22 PM

    BTW, where is that gormless FUCK Rick Santelli hiding out? Someone find that stupid motherfucker and drag his ass out in the limelight where we can collectively, as a nation, all line up and each take a good hard kick at his balls for starting all this shit. There could be no more fitting karma than if the monster he encouraged caused a debt default which then led to a hemorrhage of cash from the business interests that once upon a time cheered on his two-bit theater, and in turn led to them demanding that CNBC fire his candy ass.


    But not before we all get in our kicks.

    ReplyDelete
  118. Look, so far Obama hasn't bombed Syria, for the reason of just cause he can.


    But only because he was bullied out of it by Putin, or some such perfectly coherent, not-at-all kneejerk explanation. And did you notice that during his supposed phone call with President Rouhani, he was holding the telephone receiver upside down, rather than be exposed to "Axis of Evil" cooties? I swear, it's like George W. Bush never left office.

    ReplyDelete
  119. JennOfArk10:28 PM

    Which leaves me to wonder how much liquid laxative they should be expecting in their coffee for at least the next several weeks.


    Losing your health insurance and having to go into the ACA marketplace to buy your own: expensive. Seeing the guy who took your insurance away shitting himself live on C-SPAN on the House floor: priceless.

    ReplyDelete
  120. reallyaimai10:29 PM

    Ah: found it. I knew this was starting to look familiar. From the late lamented Tbogg:

    Let me see if I can explain it this way:

    Every year in Happy Gumdrop Fairy-Tale Land all of the sprites and elves and woodland creatures gather together to pick the Rainbow Sunshine Queen. Everyone is there: the Lollipop Guild, the Star-Twinkle Toddlers, the Sparkly Unicorns, the Cookie Baking Apple-cheeked Grandmothers, the Fluffy Bunny Bund, the Rumbly-Tumbly Pupperoos, the Snowflake Princesses, the Baby Duckies All-In-A-Row, the Laughing Babies, and the Dykes on Bikes. They have a big picnic with cupcakes and gumdrops and pudding pops, stopping only to cast their votes by throwing Magic Wishing Rocks into the Well of Laughter, Comity, and Good Intentions. Afterward they spend the rest of the night dancing and singing and waving glow sticks until dawn when they tumble sleepy-eyed into beds made of the purest and whitest goose down where they dream of angels and clouds of spun sugar.

    You don’t live there.

    Grow the fuck up.

    ReplyDelete
  121. DocAmazing10:40 PM

    Oh please oh please oh please...

    ReplyDelete
  122. Wow Spaghetti, you just, like, blew my mind and stuff. Good to know that some of you young'uns sound quite as intelligent as us old fogeys.

    ReplyDelete
  123. JennOfArk10:58 PM

    I'm just a bill,
    Just a lonely ol' bill,
    And I'm hangin' out on Capitol Hill....


    I agree with aimai below - I think a re-write is in order. With lots of profanity.

    ReplyDelete
  124. XeckyGilchrist11:25 PM

    I was gonna say. I thought this blog had a "You must be this old to ride" sign. Glad it doesn't!

    ReplyDelete
  125. I like Fry fine, but you have to admit, he ain't that bright. Granted, he's not as dumb as your average wingnut, but if you insist on only comparing republicans to people AS bad as them, you're never going to get to compare them to much at all.

    ReplyDelete
  126. AGoodQuestion12:26 AM

    Hello brain trauma, I wondered when you'd show up.

    ReplyDelete
  127. JennOfArk1:02 AM

    In case you missed The Daily Show...

    ...here's Obama's response to the latest ridiculous hostage demand from the House GOP:

    ReplyDelete
  128. AGoodQuestion1:02 AM

    Alfred the Butler forgot to mention that some women just want to watch the world burn, too.

    ReplyDelete
  129. AGoodQuestion1:14 AM

    Now I know what I'll be dreaming of tonight.

    ReplyDelete
  130. even going galt is ... agressive, violent, militant, angry and spiteful


    It does come from Rand's myth of a demiurge withdrawing his powers from a world that doesn't appreciate him, in order to watch it collapse and burn.

    ReplyDelete
  131. Spaghetti Lee2:02 AM

    I'm just a bill, just a-wait, is that Ted Cruz? Holy fuck, keep him away from me!!

    ReplyDelete
  132. stepped_pyramids2:45 AM

    But, uh... Bill.


    The difference is that Abbie Hoffman didn't get elected to the Senate. Ted Cruz did. No major news channel helped promote the SDS, but Fox News promoted the Tea Party fanatically. And, obviously, Obamacare isn't going to kill millions of people like the Vietnam War did.

    ReplyDelete
  133. Lancelot Link3:45 AM

    This is as good a place as any to say...

    TBOGG IS BACK

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/10/01/beach-blanket-boredom/

    ReplyDelete
  134. Thanks for introducing me to a brand new sensation.... Laughpuking.

    ReplyDelete
  135. coozledad8:10 AM

    He comes with his own bottle opener;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwjEeI2SmiU

    ReplyDelete
  136. Matt Jones8:45 AM

    Serious question: we've got the debt ceiling deadline rolling up in about two weeks. What happens if they House decides not to do anything about THAT either? In other words: it's October 18th, and the "hostages" have all been "shot". The federal government is still shut down, and the Treasury is in default - just what the hell does one do with the teahadis then? How do you put out the fire when the arsonists sitting on the fire hydrant refusing to let you open it?


    Negotiation seems impractical - it's simply unthinkable that deliberate sabotage on this level could be rewarded with *any* concession.

    ReplyDelete
  137. whetstone8:54 AM

    maybe the Republican Congress are supposed to be the guys Americans would like to see throw a chair through a plate-glass window and fight off a bunch of cops

    It's like Dog Day Afternoon, except they're trying to prevent access to medical procedures. ATTICA! ATTICA! ATTICA!

    ReplyDelete
  138. whetstone9:10 AM

    Bill Keller comes from massive fuck-you money; his father was CEO of Chevron. That his sympathies are rarely with the underclass comes of little surprise to me.

    ReplyDelete
  139. reallyaimai9:12 AM

    Yes, and when they call up the FBI to ask for an investigation of their own staff they should be told "Hold please, all our agents have been furloughed."

    ReplyDelete
  140. reallyaimai9:14 AM

    Mario Savio by way of Battlestar Gallactica:

    And that -- that brings me to the second mode of civil disobedience. There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart that you can't take part! You can't even passively take part! And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus -- and you've got to make it stop! And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it -- that unless you're free the machine will be prevented from working at all!!"

    ReplyDelete
  141. whetstone9:29 AM

    Honest Q about ACA: my mother works at a community college, and they've been cutting back adjunct hours to avoid the hourly care mandates (and they use even more adjuncts than four-year schools). Admittedly this is coming down on high from giant dickbag Bob McDonnell, but other schools without such a state-level mandate seem to be doing similar things.


    Is there some logic to how the ACA is designed in this respect? The fines and the mandate seem to be somewhat easily avoided for part-time employees like adjuncts, who take it in the ear enough already, but I might be missing some mechanism.

    ReplyDelete
  142. merl19:31 AM

    I liked Robert Byrd, I wish we had more like him. I do think that Cruz holds the Repub base in contempt, I think they all do. Or else they wouldn't lie to them so much.

    ReplyDelete
  143. whetstone9:32 AM

    To paraphrase Walter White: "I'm not in the meth business. I'm not in the money business. I'm in the empire business."

    ReplyDelete
  144. whetstone9:48 AM

    I agree with Spaghetti Lee, but I'd add that the GOP base hates government and wants, like Grover Norquist, to drown it. Or so they tell themselves.


    This will never happen, of course. Enough people like war, or not dying from tainted beef, or Medicare, or Yellowstone, or not dying in midair collisions, or public school, or not dying in a bridge collapse, or... almost everything the government does, enough that the best they can do is continue slowly shaving it down. Even they don't want to actually kill it. At best they want to keep cutting taxes and take a pound of flesh from the poor.


    So they can't kill it, and they don't want to kill it, even though they're emotionally and rhetorically invested in killing it. So the next best thing is to throw a rock through government's window, or slash government's tires. Something (comparatively) minor, that government can and will survive, but that feels cathartic in a petty, shitty sort of way.

    ReplyDelete
  145. reallyaimai9:50 AM

    Balloon Juice commenters have a series of comments up about how the ACA is going to help them. Its a bit startling--like finally seeing a picture of someone you only "know" on the internet--to realize just how much medical and financial stress people you know are under and how very vital the ACA is going to be. Like: you can know about 40 million un or underinsured but you can't grasp what that really means if it isn't you or people are not up front about it in your social circle.


    The reason I'm putting this here is that the Republicans have taken advantage of the complexity and ambiguity of the roll out to lie and lie and lie to their own constituents-people who have been living in the most grinding despair and financial burden--and maybe, for once, those lies are going to come back and bite them in the ass.


    A Kossack had a brief diary up about sitting a Republican friend down and showing him the exchanges online and having the guy slowly realize that nothing he thought he knew, thanks to Fox or his Congressman, was true. For Republicans whose expectations were set so low by their leadership the exchanges and the money saved are going to come like a clap of thunder. There may be true believers on the left who can't get over the lack of true single payer or who complain that a sliver of a sliver still has copays but for people who thought you'd sign up on the exchange and they'd grind your grandma into sausage this is going to be a huge deal.

    ReplyDelete
  146. DocAmazing9:53 AM

    When all else fails, lower your expectations.

    ReplyDelete
  147. JennOfArk10:23 AM

    With the added advantage that the slow starvation of funds makes it inevitable that the things the government can continue to do, it will do poorly - which gives them more fodder for their pissing and moaning about government.

    ReplyDelete
  148. John D.10:28 AM

    I once came up with a version that would have been sung by Newt Gingrich:
    "I'm just a shill,
    yes, I'm only a shill...
    A-peddlin' my ass on Capitol Hill!*
    Well, it's a long way to the White House,
    but I'm not worried 'bout that!
    Cause I'm every bit corrupt
    as I'm ugly and fat!
    And I'm gonna be Prez-i-dent...
    Yes, I will!
    But for today,
    I am still
    just a shill!"
    *Note: Cartoon Newt is dressed like a 10 dollar hooker (complete with spiked high heels) during this part of the song!

    ReplyDelete
  149. M. Krebs11:29 AM

    What I've been able to glean from info on the web is that there is a sliding scale of subsidies based on your adjusted gross income. At poverty level the subsidy is essentially 100%, and it hits 0% at 4x poverty level.


    I'm hoping to take advantage of this in order to retire early. I can arrange for my income to be just over poverty level and get a very reasonable deal on insurance. Then again, I'm may be wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  150. Mooser11:45 AM

    Thanks, reallyaimai. I knew I didn't quite understand it, and as usual, it's worse than I thought.

    ReplyDelete
  151. Mooser11:52 AM

    Music by the wonderful Bob Dorough.

    Oddly enough, he also wrote the song the Repubs seem to have adopted, "Devil May Care"

    ReplyDelete
  152. Mooser12:00 PM

    "When all else fails, lower your expectations."


    Obviously, that does work, and might be the right plan. My wife hasn't divorced (let alone murdered) me, and it's been twenty-five years. And I'm sure that's how she managed it.
    Oh, maybe Steely Dan helped.

    ReplyDelete
  153. Mooser12:02 PM

    "I swear, it's like George W. Bush never left office."


    Let's not get all crazy. George Bush couldn't dance, and he couldn't jump. So we're getting somewhere.

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  154. stepped_pyramids12:32 PM

    There was a pretty extensive government and civics curriculum in US History in 10th grade for me, and it was a mandatory class. I was lucky enough to have a really engaged and passionate teacher, though. This was 2003. We actually had an essay contest about whether the US should invade Iraq.

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  155. DocAmazing12:50 PM

    Can't sign up people with no fixed address. Where do you send paperwork?


    Disproportionate Share funding will shrink and possibly disappear, dooming many ERs. That needs to be fixed quicklike.

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  156. We actually had an essay contest about whether the US should invade Iraq.


    WOW!!!

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  157. reallyaimai12:58 PM

    YOu would understand this better than I do and I'd like to know more but I still don't find this all that relevant to the roll out of the ACA--its a fact that millions of people are going to be helped. Not everyone, but millions of people nonetheless. Ideally, in the long run, it takes some of the burden off of the ER system. In addition:
    1) Not everyone who is homeless does not have a mailing address. Lots of people are part time homeless or maintain a kind of mailing address in some way through a shelter or a family member.
    2) These are problems that need to be fixed, not reasons to despair. Were homeless people getting good health care previously? Were they ever in a position to access health insurance previously?


    I know that the funding issue is incredibly complex and that one of the big issues has been that theoretically everyone had to be treated if they presented at the ER, but that there were complex and inefficient ways of paying for that treatment for the uninsured and the homeless uninsured. Do you think that the stop gap period between when most people go to see a GP rather than getting their health care through the ER and some people continuing to need to get all health care through the ER is going to be disasterous, or just more inefficiency and brutality?

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  158. merl17:20 AM

    My local Fox affiliate had all kinds of stories yesterday about people finally getting health insurance and were actually helpful in giving out information. they even laughed at the death panel lies. Local Fox news isn't real Fox News, I guess.

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  159. reallyaimai9:04 AM

    I encountered Local Fox news once and they were pretty damned horrible. But I think its always a war between the forces of "who are you going to believe, me? or your lying eyes?" and just plain common sense. I think a close analysis of the kinds of lies and rumors that are spread by Fox show that they are usually built around a kernel of truth, and rely on the fact that people don't have personal experience to contradict them, or that their personal experience is ambiguous and open to interpretation.


    So up until the minute the exchanges were open anyone was free to say anything about what would be found there without real chance of contradiction, but given that so many people need health care once the exchanges were open Fox has to contend with the fact that a fairly high proportion of their own viewers are going to have actual, in hand, experience of what is there.


    There's still plenty of ambiguity and uncertainity to be "reported" and exploited so we will probably see a shift to assertions that white people, or republicans are being denied the "good" rates or that the insurance isn't "as good as they say" or "costs more than it should" but those are actually kind of loser arguments. As long as people can sign up for the insurance and start buying it Fox and Co know that they will fight tooth and nail to keep it. And, worse, they may start fighting to improve it. After all the unfairness of charging people more for health insurance/higher deductibles/fewer procedures because they are poor becomes incredibly obvious when the individual can compare the plans directly without an employer or insurance agent as a filter.

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  160. Maybe the quality of local Fox news varies according to location. Mine is in Seattle, I'm sure it's different in Waynesboro, MS. I imagine it's the same as national Fox News there.

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