Welcome back! The RLF has been on hiatus this week, attending to other matters. So, we thought we’d take some time today to focus on links related to three general categories of recent events and revelations:
THE HEALTH CARE CARNIVAL OF DESPAIR:
- First, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and the Republicans DEMANDED that the current Democrats’ health care bill be posted online for 72 hours prior to the vote. Boehner quickly, and sheepishly, backed down when asked if the GOP would do likewise with their bill. The problem: they had no bill. They’d been claiming for over six months that they had their own plan…but had produced nothing. Zip. Bubkus. Even conservative economists start voicing their concerns: without a GOP alternative bill…they look REALLY bad, especially going into the 2010 and 2012 elections. On CNN, Boehner gets even more defensive…when cornered, the best he can offer is that they have “eight or nine ideas about how to make our current health care system better.“
- Then…a miracle: the GOP announces it will be releasing its own health care reform bill. Now, remember the stimulus debate? Remember how the Democrats had a plan and the Republicans didn’t? Remember how the Republicans then made themselves look even WORSE, by claiming they had a plan…and it turned out to be just a flimsy political statement with no numbers, no data, no specifics? Well…they surely wouldn’t make that mistake again…oh wait, I guess they did. Their “triumphant” alternative to the Democrats’ health care bill? It doesn’t force insurance companies to insure people with pre-existing conditions (something the GOP has claimed to support), it wouldn’t provide insurance to a SINGLE one of the FORTY MILLION uninsured people in this country, and…wait for it…it costs MORE than the Democrats’ plan. Wow…less benefit…more cost…way to show us all that you’ve really embraced the whole “fiscal conservatism and responsibility” thing.
- Now, if you’re like me, you might well ask: With the soaring price of health care, the number of uninsured, and the number of people dying because they are uninsured…why would the GOP put out a plan that fails to address ANY of these problems? The answer: They don’t admit to the problems…or they simply don’t care. Representative Steve King (R-IA) was asked how many people in his district were uninsured and could only mutter, “My district…The people in my district are calling for freedom.“ House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) said that the recent, full endorsement of the Democrats’ plan by the AARP and the AMA doesn’t mean anything to him or the other Republicans. That’s right: The largest groups representing seniors and doctors, groups that almost always lean heavily conservative and have usually opposed health reform in the past…they back the bill, and it’s meaningless to Cantor and the GOP. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) showed he didn’t care AT ALL when he said earlier this week that he doesn’t see what the problem is…because “everyone can show up at the hospital.“ Jim…those emergency room visits by the uninsured are one of the number one financial drains on the system, and if you were paying ANY attention, you’d know that:
THE POLITICIZATION OF…WELL…EVERYTHING:
- Have you noticed? It seems that the GOP/RNC/FOX are willing to politicize anything? Shamelessly…and in a way that, if the Democrats did so, they would certainly be positively livid? A few very current examples follow…
- Yesterday, something truly awful happened. At Fort Hood, Texas, a soldier went on a shooting spree. When the dust settled, thirteen people lost their lives…thirty-one people were wounded…many more would be emotionally scarred…and conservatives, well, they saw the usual opportunity to make political hay from the tragedy. It started with cries of “terrorism,” even from some GOP members. Then when they found out the shooter was a soldier, a Muslim soldier, their cries changed to “domestic terrorism!“ World Net Daily‘s Jerome Corsi, renowned for creating conspiracy theories out of thin air with no regard for reality, quickly claimed that the shooter, Nidal Malik Hasan, had ADVISED Barack Obama. Turns out that Hasan only attended a seminar as an audience member, that was held by a task force that advises Obama…but that’s close enough for Corsi. Fox & Friends explored the idea of whether or not there should be “special screenings” for Muslims that serve in the military, and Gretchen Carlson floated the idea that if not for “political correctness” towards Muslims, Hasan might have been stopped. This should sound familiar…conservatives often use “anti-political correctness” arguments to justify racial profiling and other discriminatory tactics used against “non-white, non-Christian” Americans. Today, I already spotted conservative friends parroting this talking point on Facebook…condemning the supposed “pc mentality” that they hold truly responsible for the killings. It was Geraldo Rivera that stepped in to point out that it was more likely “government bureaucracy” and not “political correctness.” Comment: you know your talk show is more than a little flaky…when GERALDO RIVERA is serving as the “voice of reason.“ Interesting side note: the military also appears to have trouble keeping biker and street gang members out…not because of “pc” OR “bureaucracy“…but because they are so desperate for new recruits.
- Want to know what happens when you’re enough of a jackass to politicize rape? Senator David Vitter (R-LA) was one of the GOP senators to vote against Senator Al Franken’s recent bill, that would force government contractors to allow their employees to report rape or harassment. Here’s what happened when Vitter runs into a victim of rape:
- How do you politicize the stimulus package? Well first…you call it “socialism” and say you’ll refuse to accept it in your state. Then, of course, you accept it. Then you travel amongst your constituents, taking credit for all the jobs and programs that it creates/saves. Then…you pronounce the plan a “failure” and apply third-grade level math to the numbers to “prove” your point. For example, the latest GOP “numbers“…subtract some of the benefits created by the stimulus from the total cost of the bill…and they claim the amount left over is the “shortfall.” The problem with this, besides the obvious over-simplification…the cost of plan is divided over ten years, but they are only subtracting ONE year’s worth of benefits. As one writer put it, “it’s as if the 10-year cost of George W. Bush’s big tax cuts were compared with the benefits to the economy that only accrued during the first year.“
- Swine Flu? Ready for “politicization,” if you ask the Republicans. Representative Joe “You Lie” Wilson (R-SC) recently attempted to blame the shortage of H1N1 vaccines on President Obama (all experts cite supply problems). Perhaps Joe forgot: He voted against vaccine funding. Why is he so upset now…when he obviously didn’t think it was too important back when they were voting for the funding? Oh yeah…his wife has Swine Flu. It’s the two things you guys NEVER seem to understand, Joe: First, it is always better to spend some money up front to PREVENT something from happening…than it is to pay a lot of money and tears AFTER it has already happened. Second, that thing you don’t want to help “the other guy” with, because it’ll never happen to you? Yes, it can happen to you.
- Remember the census worker who was found hanged? The conservative officials of that county, rather than admit that the violent, anti-census rhetoric of some GOP legislators and FOX News may have claimed an actual victim…are still treating the case as if it might be a suicide. That’s right, instead of admitting that some goofball got swept up in the anti-government incitement of Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Glenn Beck…they’re saying that this poor guy probably stripped naked, carved “FED” on his own chest, duct-taped his hands, and hanged himself in a public area.
- She was the GOP’s darling. When Carrie PreJean lost the Miss America pageant, after answering that she did not support gay marriage, conservatives shouted “political correctness at work!“ They invited her to speak at conservative fundraisers, Republican events, and other gatherings…and she would regale them with tears and nonsensical statements about her First Amendment rights being violated (ummm…Carrie…the government never stopped you from saying ANYTHING). But now…it’s amazing how one little SEX TAPE, and you’re just not the spokesperson they were looking for anymore. It’s so hard to maintain the appearance of holding the high ground…well, especially with all the affairs…oh, and the hooker scandals…oh, yeah, and don’t forget the little boys, and the airport bathrooms….oh, heh, and getting caught in the cemetery with a hooker AND sex toys.
- I’ll keep this brief: Want to know how best to politicize health care reform? Ask Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT). He tried to put an amendment into the health care legislation, that would force insurance to treat medical treatment and “Christian Science prayer treatments“…EQUALLY. Some have said that this would violate the “Separation of Church and State.“ Duh.
THE RECENT ELECTION…EVERYBODY WANTS TO TELL YOU WHAT IT MEANT:
- Did you even know there were elections this week? If you did, it was because the media certainly wanted you to get into all the “drama” they generated about them. I’ll provide the short version: Two governors races…one with a wildly unpopular Democrat who is rich, tied to Wall Street, and who failed to make good on promises of tax cuts. The other governor race…Virginia: Enough said. There were also two state legislative races, one in a New York district that has voted Republican for more than one hundred years, and the other race in California. Now if you listened to conservative/liberal/moderate media…these races would tell EXACTLY how American feels about President Obama, Republicans, and Democrats. Well…not really. Read on.
- THE RESULTS: The Republican candidate beat the unpopular/rich/Goldman Sachs Democrat for the New Jersey governorship. The Republican beat the Democrat for the governorship of Virginia, for obvious reasons involving, well, Virginia. The Democratic candidate won the California legislative seat, and the Democratic candidate won the seat in the highly conservative New York district. Oh yeah…and Mayor Michael Bloomberg managed to buy back his office as mayor…but few people cared. In truth, only one of these races, the New York legislative race, even involves ANYTHING worth talking about. So what did the “liberal” media report: headlines everywhere reported a “Republican Sweep,” and proclaimed this a sign of the “disillusionment of voters” with the president. Stop…roll back the tape…what was that? Is the media so desperate to create sensationalism and conflict…that they would proclaim the GOP “reborn, revitalized, and ready to rumble,” based on THESE election results? Jon Stewart of The Daily Show tackled the issue of the media’s coverage:
- As I said, the New York legislative race was the one that was at all “revealing.” The short and sweet: GOP offers up a candidate, endorsed by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), and the Democrats do likewise (but the Democrats know they have NO change of winning the seat). Sarah Palin, and the “wing-nut brigade,” throw their support behind an “Conservative Party” goofball who adores Glenn Beck (even calls him a “mentor”), and who doesn’t even live in the district. Rush Limbaugh accuses the GOP candidate of committing “widespread bestiality.“ Boehner and other Republicans hedge on whether they now support THEIR candidate, or the conservative goofball. The Republican candidate…she gets disgusted by her own party, and throws her support behind the Democratic candidate…who then wins the election. Some say the current attempts by conservative purists to oust ANY Republican candidates who are at all moderate, or even simply reasonable…is a mistake. At least, looking at these results…they appear to be correct.
- If there is one thing Republicans SHOULD know by now…it’s that they can’t look to RNC chairman Michael Steele for sound guidance. After the elections, Steele first proclaimed that there are NO ideological divisions within the Republican Party (which we clearly know now to be false)…THEN, Steele calls the results of the elections evidence that the GOP is now “transcendent“…THEN Steele admits that all the intra-party fighting (which he said did exist) was “stupid” and that it was causing them to “screw” themselves. Steele would find out what it is like to be truly screwed, when he was interviewed on Morning Joe alongside Lawrence O’Donnell…who congratulated him on leading his “party to a disastrous loss:“
Hopefully we’ll be back to more regular, consistent posting next week. Have a great weekend.