Saturday, June 27, 2009

One Flew Over the GOP's Nest

Back in April, Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone magazine wrote an article called The Class Clowns, where he talked about the current state of the Republican party:
Following the Republican Party of late has been a movingly depressing experience, sort of like watching Old Yeller die — if Old Yeller were a worm-infested feral bitch who spent the past eight years biting children at bus stops and shitting in neighborhood swimming pools. As a useful force in American politics, the Republicans have been dead for a while now. But in the seven months since Sarah Palin's nomination, they have taken on an intriguing new role: providing much-needed comic relief during dark times, serving as the unofficial rodeo clowns of the Financial Crisis Era.
I recommend looking for it (the excerpt from the Rolling Stone site is nice, but get a back issue of the April 30, 2009 Rolling Stone for the full beauty of his words - it's got the Kings of Leon on the cover, if that helps). But I'm starting to wonder whether Taibbi went far enough. The current Republican party is littered, not merely with class clowns and ass-clowns, but with the actively insane. Even Taibbi pointed out, for example:
The real prize for nutty Red-baiting went to Rep. Michele Bachmann, a drooling dunce of a Minnesota soccer mom who is now a serious contender for the title of dumbest person ever to sit in the House of Representatives. When the Chinese recently proposed creating a new system for international reserves, Bachmann - who founded a charter school that banned the movie Aladdin for promoting witchcraft - sponsored a bill establishing the dollar as the official US currency for ever and ever, despite the fact that no one anywhere was talking about doing anything to the dollar. It was like calling for an end to aid to Turkey because we eat them on Thanksgiving anyway.
And Ms Bachmann certainly hasn't found a hidden stash of sanity since then: she's gone on record saying that the new energy bill is "tyranny" because "the federal government will virtually have control over every aspect of lives for the American people."

And now she's saying that she will break the law and not send in her census form, and she urges every other American to do the same; see, she explains, in the 1940s, "that’s how the Japanese were rounded up and put into the internment camps." Which shows that she is simultaneously ignorant on history, how the census works, and the fact that aluminum foil won't protect her from the evil mind-control rays.

This isn't the first time that Michele Bachmann has brought up the specter of internment camps, incidentally - the last time, she said that the AmeriCorps program was going to become "re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go to work in some of these politically correct forums."

(Are we starting to notice a theme in Ms Bachmann's lunacy? She's apparently fallen into the 1984/Big-Brother-themed brand of insanity, which, I understand, can barely be controlled by lithium and electroshock therapy. Perhaps it's become time for Michele to be fitted for a straight-jacket before she stabs herself in the eye with a pencil - I once helped arrest a 6'2" screaming crackhead who was trying to smash his head through a car window, and he was making about as much sense as Ms Bachman has been lately.)

Even the right-wing talking heads on TV and radio are crazier than ever these days: one of the most popular, Glenn Beck, is also a direct philosophical descendent of those late-night radio talk shows where the UFO's were taking over the world, mind-control devices were being implanted in our goldfish, and we were being monitored from secret moon-bases where eighth-dimensional hive-minds were injecting radioactive isotopes into our movie-theater speakers.

Paranoid psychosis seems to be the only defining characteristic of the GOP these days. And the fact that ranting delusional maniacs are being mainstreamed into "normal" society (if such a thing exists) is leading America down an ugly path where wide-eyed gun-wielding killers shoot up churches for not believing exactly the same way they do. Whether it's Scott Roeder killing abortion providers, or Jim Adkisson killing people just for being liberal, this is an ugly, evil side to right-wing politics that needs to be stamped out.

Back in April, when the Department of Homeland Security came out with a report on right-wing extremists, members of the right-wing wouldn't stop screaming about how "Obama's claiming all right-wingers are evil!"

And, as I pointed out elsewhere:
So let's go back to the report. Derided by the right, what exactly did it say?

— (U//LES) DHS/I&A has concluded that white supremacist lone wolves pose the most significant domestic terrorist threat because of their low profile and autonomy—separate from any formalized group—which hampers warning efforts.

— (U//FOUO) Similarly, recent state and municipal law enforcement reporting has warned of the dangers of rightwing extremists embracing the tactics of "leaderless resistance" and of lone wolves carrying out acts of violence.

— (U//FOUO) Arrests in the past several years of radical militia members in Alabama, Arkansas, and Pennsylvania on firearms, explosives, and other related violations indicates the emergence of small, well-armed extremist groups in some rural areas.

Now, if this report was wrong, please explain James Von Brunn. And Scott Roeder. And James Adkisson. And Richard Poplawski.

For that matter, please explain the rise of right-wing violence across the country. There's nothing particularly new about it, but why are we seeing this increase?

Here's the thing. If you have Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh talking about these blatantly stupid lies, like "DHS reeducation camps" or "Obama is a Muslim/communist/socialist/anti-american/selling us out to the terrorists," and any one of the thousands of brain-dead chuckleheads who've been feeding off the lies of the Bush Administration (as filtered through the mouth of Karl Rove), and now believe that Obama is the anti-Christ, sent to earth to bring down "the greatest, best country God has ever given man on the face of the earth," do you think that maybe this same chucklehead might be incited to violence? Maybe?
Now, I want to be clear. I'm not saying that the Freedom of Speech of the media talking heads should be diminished. They are welcome to have these nut-job views if they want them. But at a certain point, their national platform should be removed, in the interest of public safety; if they're inciting violence, I'm pretty sure that's a crime. For example, let's look at Ann Coulter's column from this week (since we're talking about the batshit-insane, and she epitomizes that description):
I wouldn't kill an abortionist myself, but I wouldn't want to impose my moral values on others. No one is for shooting abortionists. But how will criminalizing men making difficult, often tragic, decisions be an effective means of achieving the goal of reducing the shootings of abortionists?

Following the moral precepts of liberals, I believe the correct position is: If you don't believe in shooting abortionists, then don't shoot one.
Now, let's put logic like that into the hands of somebody who is both batshit insane and owns a gun.

See, what the Republican party has now given us is the single best argument for Universal Health Care. If we had decent health care for every American, perhaps a few of these people could be placed on antipsychotics (or in the worst cases, locked up), just to prevent them from harming themselves and others.


Diogenes said...

Usually, I laugh at the stupidity of the rightwingnut comments. I mean, c'mon, Bachmann is a loon, and anybody with two active brain cells should be abe to see that. But I'll tell you the latest one that's really pissing me off royally; it's not funny at all. The last couple of days, in particular, they're claiming that old peope will be denied adequate health care under "Obamacare" and that we'll just let them all die to save money. Scaring sick old people is just reprehensible. And how the he do you combat that? "President Obama would like to assure America that we don't intend to euthanize Americans." Even responding to it makes you sound batshit crazy.

Almost Bachmann-like.

Nameless Cynic said...

You know, trying to claim things like "we're going to cut costs by not providing care to the sick" seems like the REVERSE of universal health care. Maybe this is just an idiotic talking point put out by people in the pay of the insurance companies, who've been wetting themselves over the fact that they can't claim trillion-dollar profits if there's a lower-cost option around.

I mean, if the Free Market is such a great thing, why is it that they're claiming that they can't compete with government-paid healthcare?

Try that one.

Diogenes said...

Uh oh.. looks like Mark Sanford nose is growing in inverse proportion to his penis... "Did I say I only saw her twice in the last year? Wow. Well, based on new research, I'm willing to admit, for now, that there were at least four other occasions that I met with her in the last year. Must have slipped my mind. But the good news is... well, my penis didn't accidently fall into her vagina on every one of these occasions. But these six times are ALL the times I met with her... unless you guys find proof of some more. Remember: we ARE the party of family values!"

Nameless Cynic said...

"Oh, and I still plan to fall back in love with my wife."

Diogenes said...

Don't forget to duck, Mark!

Andrew33 said...

Why do you spend so much time going after the Republican party? If "universal health care is the answer, why can't it be done at the state level. You talk about Obama not being a communist/socialist, but the ideas he is proposing are communist in nature. There are extremists on both the "right and the left" I can speak for myself and most of the folks on my blog when I say that Obama is not the anti-Christ, he is just philosophically wrong and grossly inexperienced. Now you will call me a republican 4 letter word, so to clear things up, I am an independent and was not a fan of Bush at all. I find it interesting that you are a government employee and support bigger government. You support cap and trade, but have you actually taken the time to sit down and read it? I have not read it all, but have read sections of it and I am of the opinion that it is the worst piece of legislation in the history of the United States. How will cap and trade affect world climate when we only produce 23 percent of CO2 emissions and there is nothing in the bill to stop companies from moving to China and India that have no such laws? The whole concept of "carbon credits" is no different than the Catholic Church selling indulgences. If producing CO2 is bad, isn't it still bad if you pay to do it? The whole concept is as hypocritical as AlGore launching his political career with money from illegal strip mining permits then claiming to be an "Environmentalist."

Andrew33 said...

Did you post our Climate Change debate here for your readers. My readers on my blog found our debate most interesting as I posted it there. I did so in a fair way with no bias or personal attacks. You are welcome to express you opinions on the Blog I co-host any time. I try to debate those with opposing views in a respectable way and I hope you will do the same.

Anonymous said...

Stimulus? What stimulus? Why in the name of Saint Swoozums did we HAVE TO PASS THIS RIGHT NOW and then say, “Well, most of the spending comes next year”? This buffoon is going to kill this country with the cap and trade. But there you go, blissfully supporting this abortion pushing, Israeli hating, terrorist listening, anti American apologist. You’re a real piece of work. You and your liberal friend here are way out there and I have no time for your rubbish.

Andrew33 said...

I mean, if the Free Market is such a great thing, why is it that they're claiming that they can't compete with government-paid healthcare?

It would be like trying to play poker with an opponent who manufactures chips at will. You would have no chance. Why don't you simply pay for your own health care like I do. I don't want you to pay for my health care and I don't want to pay for yours.

Andrew33 said...

Which do you prefer, your supermarket or your DMV. Your idea of improvement is to make everything in life run just like the DMV. The government can't even break even doing mail, yet Fedex and Ups both make enough to sponsor those beautiful Sprint Cup NASCAR racecars and events.

Nameless Cynic said...

Hey, Andy.

First of all, you have this habit of posting four or five times, when if you'd slow down before you hit "send," you could handle it all in one. But anyway, that's neither here nor there.

Why do I "go after the Republican party?" Did you even read the post you're commenting on? I don't mind conservatives. it's the lunatics and morons currently in charge of the GOP that I have issues with.

I'm not a government employee now, but spent much of my adult life as one. Don't know if that helps, but it may clear something up for you.

Now, can I point out the oxymoronic quality of "universal health care being done at the state level"? Think about it for a second. And more than that, one of the ways Medicare keeps its costs down is because of volume - why cut that into 50 parts?

Where did I say I support cap'n'trade? As far as I can tell, nobody but the politicians like it. It's a compromise policy that I don't think will be able to do the job. We'll see.

Actually, if we could smack down on outsourcing, it would also help our economy a lot. (Maybe we could actually produce something! Ooh, there's a thought...) Of course, since George Bush sold us out to the Chinese, they could bankrupt us if we aren't careful, just by calling in their markers. So it's going to be tricky to fix that.

I actually had a bit more to say on the climate change question, so I'll eventually end up at your blog. At the moment, we're trying to install a new system at work, so I've had limited time for much of anything.

I do pay for my own health care. But there's a lot of people who can't afford to do that. The healthcare system in America is a giant, bloated pig, who runs their own costs up at will. If they had some actual competition, they might just be motivated to cut their prices a little. As it is, they have no incentive to provide quality care at a reasonable price, and so they aren't going to.

And you know, I keep hearing the argument "healthcare by the government is going to be as bad as going to the DMV!" as if that's an effective analogy or something. Because everything the government does is bad! Everything! Of course, the military is OK... I may not always agree with the courts, but they do stuff right, too...

Why do you hate the Post office? For less than half the cost of a soda, they come to your home or office, pick up your letter, and deliver it around the country. Yeah, FedEx and UPS both do that. At three to ten times the price, but they do it.

Stop with the simplictic, unrealistic analogies and actually use your brain for once. Please.

Diogenes said...

Pay for you own health care? Great concept... as long as you stay healthy. God forbid you have even ONE major medical issue in your lifetime; everything you've ever worked for, for you and your family, could be gone in the blink of an eye.

The timing of this is perfect. For about a week, my wife has had a persistent cramp, coming and going, in her calf. Ever ave a cramp? Painful, sure. Annoying? You bet! Run to the doctor? Hardly. This last Tuesday evening, she got a stich in her side. Right side. Back of ribcage. Painful as hell. Took a Vicodi, went to sleep, problem solved. STill nagging the next morning. "Let's get you in to see the doc... we got nothing going on today." "Alllll right, if I have to." Better safe than sorry.

Doctor's visit. Outpatient CT scan. Outpatient ultrasound. Emergency room via wheelchair. Two-day inpatient admission. Bilateral pulmonary emboli. Doc called them "widow-makers, or in this case, a 'widower-maker". Same thing that just killed Billy Mays. She got damn damn lucky. "Good news is that you survived. 35% don't survive the first episode. Most who survive never have a recurrence.

Hospital bill is going to be over $10,000. Six injections, twice a day, for the next three days, until the oral prescription kicks in. Total cost of 6 injections? $540. Without insurance, we are DOAl the thought of ever retiring is out the window. Even WITH insurance, we're looking at over $1000 out-of-pocket.

You don't want to pay for my health care? Guess what? If I didn't have insurance, and if I didn't have the $$$ to pay my bills, you WOULD be paying for my health care, like it or not, as soon as you check into that same hospital system. You're paying for it NOW, and you're payig more than you have to, but you don't even realize it.

Nameless Cynic said...

Diogenes - sorry to hear about your wife. Good luck with that.

And, to echo, we're installing a computerized medical records system this week, and I was made superuser (because I apparently had too much free time on my hands - by the way, Andy, that's why my posting in other people's blogs is more sporadic than normal). Since I'm helping set up the doctor's portal, I've had to root around in all of the records on their side of the fence to clear up problems.

Since I long ago signed my HIPAA agreement, that's OK. We're covered. But I get to find out all kinds of fascinating things. Like the huge percentage of patients out there who don't have any kind of health insurance.

You already are paying for other people's medical bills. You just don't know how much.

Dio - hug your wife for me. Even though I've never met her. And again, good luck.

Diogenes said...

Thanks! We're definitely celebrating this Fourth!

Eman said...

I'm glad your wife is better and she remains in my daily prayers. I also pray you see the light and get insurance. The fact you had none speeks volumes as to why you have all day to pester bloggers and surf the net. You know, people such as you are the reason we are in the mess we're in. My suggestion is GET A JOB instead of living off those that have one. You nearly lost your wife. Had we had government run health care, she'd be gone now. Bet on it.

Diogenes said...

E, you continue to prove yourself an idiot. I have insurance. I have a job. It's right there in my comment, if you bothered to read. But, again, you read what you choose to read, and you believe what you choose to believe... whether or not it has any basis of truth in the real world.

Get over yourself. Life is too short, and you're nto that smart.