Thursday, July 30, 2009

Don't bother, they're here

Every time I think that the Republicans are going to find a way to halt their rapid succession of credibility implosions, they up and prove me wrong.

Granted, I thought that it was smart of them to ultimately not stand in the way of Sotomayor’s confirmation, and then I read that except for Lindsay Graham, who had perhaps mistakenly committed to voting her up before receiving his RNC-issued “no fucking way” memo, the Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee decided to have one last wise-Latina-riffic bitch-out. Whew! And I was worried that the Republicans might shave off some percentage of conservative Catholic Latinos in the next election! No need to fret about that any more.

You know, readers, I was a waitress and a bartender for about ten years of my life, and during that time I was treated just about every way a human being can be treated. But let me just say, if anyone had asked me, in a tone that brought new meaning to the word condescension, “Do you have a temperament problem?” I would’ve been over that bar and swinging my trusty Chicago bartender-issued Louisville Slugger, hoping to teach them what a temperament problem truly looked like. Believe me, in my day, I went over the bar for a lot less.

Also, it might help establish Republicans as something other than racist idiots if they stopped with the Birther stuff already. Even now that it’s clear, as anyone who can read words or understand speech will tell you, what a pathetic empty hoax this whole thing is, there are still lots of Republicans that would rather look like idiots than admit that a black Democratic president is a bona fide American.

It’s a pretty pathetic effort, compared to the last time Republicans sabotaged a fairly-elected commander in chief. That one was well done. Maybe the Birthers should call James Baker, you know, see what he’s up to. He might be available, like, for cheap.

Senator Voinovich of Ohio is upset about his party’s image, make no mistake, and he’s willing to name names, too, regarding who’s responsible. Well, not exactly “name names.” More like “toss around the kind of vague, insulting generalities for which his party has become known.” Voinovich blames, ahem, “Southerners,” and their yammer show version of the Rebel Yell, for the state his party is in.

Republicans like Texas Senator John Cornyn tend to give credence to Voinovich’s argument, especially when Cornyn argues in public that the US government needs to fund expensive planes that don’t work in case we have to bomb India.

What the?

Oh, wait. Did he say India? He meant China. In case we have to bomb China. China. Bomb. China.

It’s a unique way to deal with our largest creditor and the country that holds our financial future in its hands, I guess. I guess if someone offered me a chance to bomb the offices of Citibank Visa, I’d have to think about it pretty hard.

Also giving credence to Voinovich’s theory is Rep. Sen. DeMint of South Carolina, who claimed that the GOP would use the health care issue to “break” Obama, and that it would be his “Waterloo.” I presume DeMint means that health care would be a major losing battle for Obama, and not that it would be the first of his many top ten pop hits.

And I wonder where the outrage is, over a United States Senator who has no qualms about stating publicly that he is going to do everything in his power to crush efforts to solve the problem of 46 million Americans who are sick, dying, or denied basic care for want of health insurance. 46 million Americans who have been, or would be, turned away even from emergency room treatment, because they aren’t one of the lucky ones who has been offered coverage at a price they can afford to pay. It is the shame of our generation that we have allowed Wall Street to flourish while citizens all over this country line up for days for donated medical services at regional fairgrounds where "health care expeditions" provide care for uninsured Americans in the stalls normally reserved for show cattle.

In fact, show cattle receive better medical treatment than most Americans do.

You know who else gets better treatment than most Americans? Members of Congress. Their health care plan is pretty flippin sweet. Just a little something to ponder while they vote to deny you your health care plan.

You know who else gets great health care at government expense? Veterans. Of course no one would deny that they deserve the best medical treatment this country can provide. What surprises me is that Republicans are allowed to state, quite openly and without any ensuing backlash, that the rest of us "do not deserve" the same level of healthcare as veterans receive.

I'm not going to argue that I do deserve the same as them, I'm just arguing that we've proven that we can run an excellent health care system. So why do they get to keep arguing that we can't?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Voinovich, determined to make his point, also called out Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), he of the Ricky Ricardo-esque admonishments to Sotomayor. And while I’ll agree that a lawmaker who calls the “gay agenda” the “greatest threat to our freedom we have today,” is an embarrassment, I don’t think you can really sell Oklahoma as a “Southern” state. Texas, maybe. Not Oklahoma. Also, let’s not forget that one of the most embarrassing fools to ever hold national office, Michelle Bachman, comes from a state north of Ohio. Not to mention western state douchebags like Senator Ensign of Nevada, who wailed from the Senate Floor about the sanctity of marriage even as he was cheating on his own wife with the wife of one of his best friends. So sorry, Voino, but you’re going to have to stop the geographic profiling and face the facts that although not all Republicans are lying cheating dumbfuck clowns, these days, if you come across a lying cheating dumbfuck clown, chances are, they’re a Republican.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

You're going to feel some pressure

Jeezy creezy, readers, we suck, and allow me to explain why.

If the next presidential election were to be held right now, Obama would be neck and neck with Mittens and Alaska Spice.

I know, it’s hardly surprising. And I suppose I should be glad that the Republican 2012 field so far consists of the dude who couldn’t out-charisma Gramps McCain in the last primary, and the dumbest goddamn woman to ever hold a political office higher than Chicago Alderwoman or Congresswoman for California’s 45th District.

But I can’t be glad. Because Americans are so proud of their stupidity that Romney and Palin actually qualify as viable candidates to us. I mean, we elected a “CEO President” who had never been a successful CEO. We thought renaming fried potatoes would make people respect and fear us. And some of us, probably a lot more of us than we would like to think, believe that Obama faked his US birth certificate, and that he is therefore not legitimately our chief executive. I’m not sure how his birth in Honolulu could be considered such an unlikely event that it requires its own conspiracy theory, but let’s just say that the so-called “birthers” bring new meaning to the phrase “sore loser.”

Oh, and also “dumbass.”

Oh, and just for the record, dumbasses, you know who really wasn’t born in the USA? The other one.

Americans are so stupid that it seems as likely as not that we will demand that our elected representatives kill the only chance we’re going to get in the foreseeable future to end the vicious, deadly stranglehold that insurance companies have on our health care system. We’re going to listen to all those Republican and “centrist” Democrats whose voting hands are firmly planted in the pockets of industry lobbyists, and let them talk us out of a decent health care alternative and back into a system that is not only more expensive than a Federal option, but also allows people whose only motive is profit to hoodwink us out of the healthcare we already paid for. Personally, my insurance company just declined to cover a diagnostic procedure that my doctor wanted me to have. And why? They couldn’t give me a reason. Just because. Just because they can.

But hey, if you don’t have your own healthcare insurance horror stories, you can always listen to other people’s. You could listen, for instance, to this woman, who was kicked off her policy the weekend before her double mastectomy. Blue Cross claimed that she had not disclosed to them a previous condition: acne.

I shit you not.

Or you could listen to this dude, a former executive for Cigna, who also testified before Congress after experiencing a swift kick to the conscience about the policies his industry was engaging in. He admits freely that the healthcare insurance industry is primarily concerned with the value of its stock, and they keep the value high by unfairly denying claims and coverage, betting that the vast majority of people will be powerless to fight against them

And they’re exactly right about that.

But go ahead and whine about socialism and the far reach of the Federal government, ya big fucking dumbasses. You probably hate your insurance carrier, but let me tell you, your insurance carrier loves you. They love you, because they can take your money until you start to cost them money, and then they can drop you like a hot tumor, buddy, and there will be not one damn thing you can do about it. They love you because you and your ignorant Republican talking points make this massive fraud they are perpetrating possible. Goddamn but they do love you. They love you to death.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Jonah and the flail

I support freedom of speech. So if Jonah Goldberg wants to write a column suggesting that Ruth Bader Ginsburg wants to kill ghetto babies, and the LA Times, a paper apparently sorely in need of an audience, sees fit to publish his meandering, slack-jawed drivel, then fine by me. I guess since they’re done calling the Obama girls “monkeys” and “whores,” his fans at the Free Republic could use some red meat anyway.

Let’s just jump right in, shall we?:

Here's what Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in Sunday's New York Times Magazine: "Frankly I had thought that at the time [Roe vs. Wade] was decided," Ginsburg told her interviewer, Emily Bazelon, "there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of."

The comment, which bizarrely elicited no follow-up from Bazelon or any further coverage from the New York Times -- or any other major news outlet -- was in the context of Medicaid funding for abortion. Ginsburg was surprised when the Supreme Court in 1980 barred taxpayer support for abortions for poor women. After all, if poverty partly described the population you had "too many" of, you would want to subsidize it in order to expedite the reduction of unwanted populations.

Left unclear is whether Ginsburg endorses the eugenic motivation she ascribed to the passage of Roe vs. Wade or whether she was merely objectively describing it.

Oh, is it? Is it “left unclear”? Perhaps if one excerpted the entire quote (such as we must accept it in an edited interview), what Ginsburg meant might be a little clearer. This is directly from the interview itself:

JUSTICE GINSBURG: Reproductive choice has to be straightened out. There will never be a woman of means without choice anymore. That just seems to me so obvious. The states that had changed their abortion laws before Roe [to make abortion legal] are not going to change back. So we have a policy that affects only poor women, and it can never be otherwise, and I don’t know why this hasn’t been said more often.

Q: Are you talking about the distances women have to travel because in parts of the country, abortion is essentially unavailable, because there are so few doctors and clinics that do the procedure? And also, the lack of Medicaid for abortions for poor women?

JUSTICE GINSBURG: Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. [Harris v. McRae — in 1980 the court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions.] Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn’t really want them. But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong.

How’s that, Jonah? Clear things up for you any?

Having convinced himself that he has successfully associated our only sitting female member of the Supreme Court with eugenics, a movement most notoriously equated with Hitler and the Nazis, Jonah goes on to drop the bombshell that one of the pioneers of birth control and the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was substantially motivated by eugenics. Wowie! Shocking! To find that out, Jonah must have done some serious digging! In fact, he probably dug up a high school level social studies book, because that’s where I read about it.

I think Jonah’s point is that 1, the early proponents of reproductive choice were racists, and 2, maybe they still are.

Regarding 1, I wonder if he’s aware that many early members of the women’s suffrage movement opposed voting rights for African Americans?

It’s true. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it, if maybe it was feminists, and not all those good ole boys down South, who were responsible for all that Jim Crow nonsense?

And don’t forget about those lily white founding fathers, man. They owned slaves. AND they wrote the Constitution. Does Jonah know this? Because maybe he should do a column about how people who support upholding the Constitution might secretly be trying to bring back slavery.

Regarding 2, Jonah invokes two dudes with absolutely no business representing modern liberals, and tries to imply that liberals want ghetto babies to die because otherwise they will grow up to steal our iPods.

I think Jonah, who has a tendency to infer a lot from things, might want to think twice before entering the whole does-abortion-reduce-crime fray. Because that fray has a whole lot of smart, statics-savvy dudes in it who would not only eat him alive, but would probably also prove to him that, statistically speaking, he sucks ass.

Furthermore, it’s certainly no surprise that Jonah either forgets, or is too stupid to have figured out, that it’s not the children of minorities that probably disproportionately wreak havoc on society, it’s unwanted children. And the well-off have, as Ginsburg pointed out, never especially needed Roe v. Wade. It’s poor and middle-class women who need Roe v. Wade, but especially poor women, who are more likely than others to not be able to afford preventative birth control, either.

Lastly, I think anyone with even a conservative-sized brain can see that modern eugenics is peopled pretty exclusively by conservatives, and not just the extreme, violent skinhead types, either. Take the members of the Quiverfull movement, whose goal is to push out as many fundamentalists whelps as they can in the hopes of keeping their own kind the dominant population in America. And Michael Medved, a prominent conservative, who wrote a column in which he postulated that “American DNA” is choice, because it’s all up-and-at-‘em and pioneer-y, and oh, a certain population that was brought here by force instead of by gumption might just be peeing in our DNA pool. Also, let’s consider everyday conservative dunces like this Fox correspondent, who’s just, you know, a fucking tool.

So, to take the concern that a lot of feminists have for women who have difficulty financing reproductive freedom, and to imply that that concern is motivated by racism, is fairly despicable. To attribute that motivation to Ginsburg, who is clearly not guilty, and then even to Sotomayor, which Jonah shamelessly does, is beyond even the Jonah Goldberg pale.

But, nevertheless, I continue to believe in freedom of speech. I also believe in reproductive freedom. Even Mama Goldberg’s.

Friday, July 10, 2009

All over again

I was walking down the corridor of the place where I work today when I was hit with a powerful sense of the ole déjà vu. I stopped for a moment, as I always do, to see if I could muster forth a premonition of what would happen next, but I was unsuccessful, as usual. I admit that it’s a fairly childish piece of behavior on my part, a bit like crossing my fingers and making a wish whenever I see a white horse, which I still also do, despite my abysmal success record in that area as well. Although you never know. Someday I might still marry David Cassidy.

I read a really interesting explanation for déjà vu somewhere. Basically, it postulated that the feeling could be chalked up to a small, momentary brain malfunction; that a neural misfire could cause a new experience to be routed through the brain on a pathway normally reserved for memory, thus making the present “feel” like the past.

I like that explanation. Now it makes sense to me to that feelings of déjà vu never come at significant moments, but always come at the most mundane of times, e.g., when I am pulling a long string of cheese off a piece of pizza and dropping it into my mouth, or sitting at the interminable red arrow traffic light near my house, or lounging in my backyard on a summer’s eve, plotting the violent death of the guy.

Amazingly, I don’t believe I have ever experienced an episode of déjà vu while learning that some right wing ideologue is actually a miserable lying hypocrite, which just seems like a stupendous defying of the odds, doesn’t it? I mean, I don’t know about you, but it seems like, if I were to estimate the time I spend each day learning of the real-life hypocrisies of the holier-than-thou, it would have to be about 9 waking hours, plus also about 40 minutes of sleep time a day during which I am hitting the snooze button on the clock radio whilst subconsciously absorbing news from our nation’s capital delivered by the soothing tones of Morning Edition’s Renee Montagne. So…call it 10 hours of hypocrite revelations a day, give or take.

So, no, when I hear that another one of the congressmen who stood at our nation’s seat of government and condemned President Clinton to the damnation of eternal hellfire for cheating on his wife, has in fact actually cheated on his wife, I don’t think “Wow. Déjà vu.” I maybe think, “Another brick in the wall, huh?” or “What a huge fucking surprise,” or sometimes even “WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU EXPECT FROM THESE PEOPLE? HONESTY? INTEGRITY? THEY DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THOSE WORDS MEAN.”

Similarly, when I find out that the $1.9 million (she referred to it as “millions,” but we’ll let that one pass) that Sarah Palin’s office estimated the state of Alaska has spent on defending her against scandals, was comprised mainly of the salaried hours of state attorneys who would’ve had to draw a paycheck anyway, and did not, as she so emphatically assured us, divert money from state troopers or education, I do not feel a sense of déjà vu, even though it is yet another Sarah Palin convenient lie in a veritable avalanche of convenient lies from Ms. Alaska. What did divert money from education was Palin herself, as it turns out. Also, just for the record, she didn’t sell the jet on eBay, she did campaign for the “bridge to nowhere,” she and Todd actually did have health insurance during that time that she said they didn’t even though it was pointed out to her by Todd himself that they did, they were involved in the Alaska separatist group, she did fire that librarian and that police chief, she never met with Russian trade officials, her teleprompter did not break, the Branchflower Report did state unethical activity, holy fucking Christ on a cross I could go on, y’all, but I think probably the recitation of Palin’s prevarications have already caused enough of you to drift away from this post and onto less predictable fare.

The thing is, with Palin and Sanford and Ensign and loonies like Bachman and Santorum and all the others is, they know that they can sell their fucked-up agendas to a certain portion of the public. They know that there are people out there who, for reasons past all sensible understanding, think that their wages are shitty because of Mexicans, and not because of Wall Street, and that gay people are disgusting sinners who do not deserve to live like “normal” people, and that the world was a better place before blacks got all uppity, and that if the government offered them health insurance, then our health care system would be in worse shape than it is now, as if that were possible, readers. As it that were even remotely fucking possible. And they sell themselves to those people as champions of their misguided ideals, and they repeat those ideals, and they tell them that those are the only real ideals, the only truly American ideals, and they enable those people, who, by the way, know in their heart of hearts that they are bitter, and they do embrace guns and religion as a way to comfort their own powerlessness; they enable the ignorance of the people who support them, and those people continue to support them, and it all goes on and on as a part of the huge cyclone of shit that American politics ever has been and probably ever will be, amen.

No, there’s no déjà vu here, folks, because that would suggest that the exposure of right-wing hypocrites is some kind of aberration, some kind of fluke, or trick of the mind. No, there is no such luck for us – as long as politicians make their living selling lies, there will be those who eventually become exposed as liars. What frustrates me is that generally, no one yet seems willing to infer that maybe, maybe they’re all liars.

Well, let me put forth, then, that if you are selling a lie, you’re a liar. And let me suggest to CNN and MSNBC and NBC and CBS and ABC and even Fox – let me suggest that if you pretend to us that you believe that the way to present an issue is to balance every truth with a lie, and let the viewers figure it out, then you’re liars as well. Every time you bring out an Ann Coulter or a Michelle Malkin or Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity to represent “the other side,” you’re a big, fat, stinking, soul-stealing, will-to-live-crushing liar, and if there is a punishment meted out after this mortal life to those who sin against humanity, then yours will surely be colossal, but, hey, there’s nothing new about that.

Monday, July 06, 2009

No time is a good time for goodbyes

Well, readers, I’ve spent the weekend trying to make sense of Governor Palin’s resignation speech, which wasn’t easy considering the only thing more fucked up than the content was the delivery. Is this something they teach you in the beauty pageant world, to talk like your speech is written on the bodies of thousands of tiny bats flying around inside your skull?

First of all, I think that her usual M.O. of making her family stand up next to her was an excellent choice to make for a speech complaining about how the media exploits her children. It’s irony so thick and meaty you’ll be tempted to eat it with a fork – but use a spoon, of course, readers, to get every drop.

Drops such as the one in which she asserts that deserting the governor’s office while Alaska descends into perhaps unprecedented economic hard times is what’s best for Alaska. Frankly, I couldn’t agree more, but I had no idea that Palin and I would be on the same page on that issue. Hunter S. Thompson once said that when the going gets tough, the tough turn pro. No doubt Palin will come to appreciate that thought as she struggles to deliver on her 11 million book advance from Rupert Murdoch.

Another drop: Palin compared her decision to the inspiration she found when recently visiting American troops in Kosovo and Germany. And what did she find inspiring about the troops there, you may ask? They “don’t give up.”

Palin also went out of her way to crow about how the Supreme Court had reversed their favorite whipping boy, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, on two recent decisions in which the state of Alaska was defending what Palin describes as “states’ rights.” One decision ruled that a mining company does indeed have the right to deposit slag into an otherwise clean, freshwater lake. The other ruled that the state has the right to deny a defendant access to crime scene DNA to test against their own, even if the defendant pays for the tests.

Hey, way to go, Alaska. Now there’s some rights worth fighting for. No wonder your former governor is so proud. Freedom ain't, as country stars and bumper stickers are so found of reminding us, free.

Palin also quite rightly pointed out that part of the reason she was quitting was because she was, by virtue of the announcement that she would not seek re-election that she had just made 30 seconds ago, now a lame duck governor, and lame duck governors do not get anything done, so she had just as well quit in the middle of her first term anyways. I can’t help but wonder if any of the governor’s aides had pointed out that such reasoning was not very sound, since she could’ve easily not announced that she wasn’t running for a second term, and therefore not given away her lame duck status, if that status was so meaningful that she was using it to justify walking away from the office that the voters of the state of Alaska had elected her to. But I’m nitpicky like that.

And not to get into uncomfortable subjects, but did she really say that the world needed more retarded children? Because, Sarah, darling, no matter how much you love your retarded child, and lord knows I believe you do – the world does not need more retarded children. Nor does it need more blind children or deaf children or children born with bodies that do not allow them to run and play. No one thinks things like that. Jesus Christ, think about what you’re saying once in a while, will you?

Some people will no doubt point out that she didn’t really say the world needed more retarded children. She said, in the context of complaining that people were making fun of her son, that “the world needs more ‘Trigs’, not fewer.” And yes, she did put her child’s name in quotes in the official text of the speech. I CANNOT DEAL WITH HER GRAMMATICAL SHORTCOMINGS, PEOPLE. WE DO NOT HAVE TIME.

So what does “Trig” mean, if not a retarded child? A child people make fun of? The world needs more of those? That can’t be right. Maybe she meant a child used as a political prop, but could never be referred to in that way by anyone else but her?

I bet that’s it.

And here’s the last drop: after an entire speech spent denigrating the “REAL climate change” (ho ho!) that occurred in Alaskan politics, and painting the situation there as one completely unworthy of her considerable attentions and talents, she then went on to state that the dude taking over for her was going to be really good at governing it, and she didn’t want to discourage young people from going into politics. Because it’s so worth it! But not for her. And you can change government for the better! If it were even worth changing, which it isn’t. Public service, people! It’s for losers! Or not!

Overall, I think I was somewhat stunned that the entire speech was delivered in a manner so stammering, halting, and disjointed, and with such poor skill and technique that it was hard to believe that the woman stood on the floor of the RNC last year in front of twenty thousand people and lied her ass off with a straight face and wink. If McCain had won, she would’ve been one cantankerous septuagenarian’s heartbeat away from being president! President! Of the United States! I mean, sure, we’ve succeeded in lowering the bar to a stupefying level over the last eight years, but still. Even George W. at his most mind-bogglingly obtuse would’ve had trouble coming up with this:

Life is too short to compromise time and resources... it may be tempting and more comfortable to just keep your head down, plod along, and appease those who demand: "Sit down and shut up", but that's the worthless, easy path; that's a quitter's way out. And a problem in our country today is apathy. It would be apathetic to just hunker down and “go with the flow”.

In other words, only quitters keep trying. Only lazy people continue to work.

OMG, readers, it almost came to be. Remember that, every time you hear McCain prattle on about teaching Iran a lesson or you hear that stupid, bullying, coward of a moron whining on and on about how hard it is for her to stay awesome. Remember. It almost came to be.