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September 11, 2009
The Liberal Media, At It Again

The oh-so-liberal CNN website is leading with the headline: Rep. Wilson raises more than $200,000

Yes, the "big story" is that the guy who doesn't believe the words in a bill define the bill (such a Republican point of view), raised $200,000 from people who--I don't know.

Think it's okay for a grown man to scream like a toddler? Think it's acceptable for a member of Congress to shout at the President? Think (we're in "oh, so Republican" territory again) you can change reality by yelling that it ain't so?

Buried 'way down behind the cut, near the bottom of the story, is the also-ran, unimportant "news" that the guy who ran against Wilson last time raised $750,000 in the same time-frame.

Posted by AnneZook at 12:33 PM | Comments (3)
I'm Not Always Right, But I'm Always Loud

Republicans? Do not "share" power.
Republicans? Take power when they have it and do what they want with it.
Republicans? Believe "sharing" is a sign of weakness.
Republicans? View Democrats' unwillingness to use the power they've won as impotence, not restraint, and as an opening through which they, the Republicans, can take back power without having to wait for another White House run.

For eight years we watched those in control of the Republican Party trying to dismantle this country. Following, broadly, along the lines of Reagan and his cohorts, they dismantled worker and environmental protections. They weakened legal protections for individuals while loosening restraints that kept corporations from running amok and indulging in, for instance, massive financial fraud. They came near to completing the population's transition from "citizen" or "voter" to pure consumer.* They even, with a sop to their "small government" roots, made a concerted attempt to bankrupt the country.* *

Bush and Cheney and their conspirators lied, cheated, tortured, and murdered. They treated the Constitution as a nuisance and every citizen of this country as a potential terrorist.

Mr. Obama rode into the White House on a massive surge of popularity and support that was as much about repudiating the Torture Czar & Co as anything else.

He talked about what, at the end of the day, matters more to most of us than the increasingly shrill and unbelievable proclamations of "Mission Accomplished" coming from the White House. He talked about restoring our faith in our country and ourselves, about resuming our position among the world's "good guy" countries. He talked about universal health care.

Access to health care. Guaranteed. If you need a doctor, you can see a doctor. Don't worry about the bill.

The Right? Wigged. Out. Totally and completely. A popular Democratic President was bad enough, but a guy who actually intended to, you know, do things in Washington?

Do--ohmigod!--LEFTY things? A guy who intended to take people's tax dollars and spend them helping people?

The Rightwing Machine went into action and six months later the waters are so muddy that people without health insurance and desperately in need of health care seem to be wavering on whether or they actually support the President.

Republicans pretend to care about "small business" while they rake in huge campaign contributions from the very monolithic corporations driving independents businesses under across the country, and they pretend to care while they're fighting a bitter battle to defeat one idea that would offer massive benefit to small businesses.

A public option, a true public option would lift the burden of providing health care insurance from the backs and the red ink side of the ledger books of almost every small business in the country. Even a contributory public option would bring a collective sigh of relief--and free up a ton of money for economy-boosting capital expenditures.

Money spent in the country benefits the country--it circulates and boosts the personal and national economies.

I know somewhere in that simple thought is something that the Right fears more than, well, almost anything. I just can't figure out what it is.

Why is it okay to spend a trillion dollars butchering people in Iraq, but not okay to spend ten billion dollars saving people in the United States?

As far as that goes, why is investing in this country anathema to the Right? How do they think their corporate campaign contributors will move their goods if the roads crumble, the bridges crumple, and the rail lines disintegrate?

Who do they think will do that all-important 'consuming' when the South is in ruins from hurricanes, the Midwest is under two feet of floodwaters, and the West Coast is burnt to a crisp?

What are they thinking?


* It surpasses belief. I couldn't believe it then and I still don't. Bush's suggestion for how we could pull together to get past 9/11 was for everyone to go shopping.

That, I think, more than anything else we've ever seen, illustrates how They see us, don't you think? There's an odd and unsettling sort of disassociation in the concept--we are not people or citizens or voters. We are--unpersons. Merely consumers. (Really, if you look at it that way, it's very sociopathic.) (It's always a good day for me when I find a way to call Bush names.)

* * How else would you define a Medicare 'prescription benefit' structured to wreak budgetary havoc while benefiting major campaign contributors, serious attempts to drain the Social Security trust dry, and invading Iraq when we were already fighting a major war in Afghanistan? Add their systemic work to raze environmental, worker, food, and legal protections for the planet and the people and it all starts to look rather nasty.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:11 AM | Comments (1)
September 08, 2009
Do It My Way

Elsewhere, in the world o'blog, I've been chatting with people about my crazy freelance clients. It amuses me, lets off a little steam, and (names have been changed to protect the stupid) does little or no harm to anyone.

In a recent chat about a client with a fixed worldview that doesn't leave room for, you know, facts, one commenter contributed his own brush with the lunatic fringe in a correspondent combining Holocaust denial with predictions of a near-future apocalypse. What wigged me out was not the Lunatic Correspondent--the crazy will always be with us--but my otherwise sane and intelligent friend's willingness to engage with this person.

I told my friend, "You have to ignore that kind of person. They get validation for their beliefs, not from facts, but from arguing. As long as they find someone who takes them seriously enough to argue with them, they think they have a piece of the truth."

This is one of the Left's big problems. We try to respect the beliefs of others and, okay, that's a good thing. Differences about life on other planets or 'living green' or supernatural deities--we respect those. Beliefs differ because people differ and what each of them needs from life differs. (We don't alter our worldview to encompass their beliefs. All that can be asked of us as rational people is that we allow others to have their beliefs. We cannot asked to share them.)

On the other hand, when we're faced with someone spouting ignorant and ill-informed bullshit, we work just as hard to "respect their position." That's not a good thing. For years I've watched in frustration as the Left announces, time and again, a desire to debate on "the issues" and then immediately abandons its position to chase after some will o'the wisp started by powerful Republicans to distract them (and the 'public') from the topic at hand.

Take today's situation. The discussion started, if I'm not mistaken, around the right of everyone to have access to health care.

This idea was incredibly popular with the voting public--it's one of the platform planks that elevated Obama to the White House.

This, as you might imagine, freaked out the Republican leadership. Hard on the heels of the disaster of Bonehead & Crookface's catastrophic eight years in office, here was a Democrat with both Ideas and massive popular support across Party lines.

They looked into the future and it was not good.

Peace, prosperity, security--these are not the things that Republicans want for the people of this country. It's better (for the Republican leadership) if these things are held just out of reach. They are the carrot with which the donkey is enticed to respond as desired.*

The next thing you know, the media is full of Republican accusations of socialism and impassioned defense of the Sanctity of American Private Industry (as symbolized by bloated and gluttonous multinational insurance corporations).

Offline, they gave their wingnut followers their instructions and the next wave of hysterical publicity came on a flood of accusations of Nazism and racism.* *

And Democrats fell for it. Again. As they always do. Instead of talking about the issues, they tried to rebut the Right's accusations. Instead of focusing on what they, and most of the population, wanted to achieve, they let themselves get bogged down in the vain attempt to refute groundless (and, really, quite stupid) allegations.

And now, instead of riding into the fall triumphantly on a wave of relief from millions of Americans no longer facing financial ruin with a diagnosis of kidney stones or homelessness after a diagnosis of cancer, we're all milling around aimlessly, some of us discussing health care reform, some of us discussing insurance company industry reform, and some of us bleating weakly that Medicare didn't make us socialists and another step down that path does not lead to Nazism and a few of us turning away in disgust from the sight of the first president in thirty years that we almost had faith in falling into the pit labeled "bipartisanship."

Republicans? Have announced that there is no way, no how, no option they will vote for when it comes to guaranteed healthcare for everyone.

Republicans? Are laughing, publicly, at the Democrats' inability or unwillingness to hear this fact.* *

Republicans? Don't do bipartisanship. I am somewhat bewildered by the inability of the White House and the Democratic leadership, to grasp this simple fact.

From the Republicans' perspective, we're just as guilty as they are of ignoring the Real World. They've said, bluntly and in so many words, that they won't play. They must be watching in glee as the Obama administration comes unglued trying to find a way to make that not true.

One of the most admirable things about Obama's campaign was the discipline. They knew their goal and they marched toward it, disregarding the naysayers and the unbelievers and the Party machines. I wish a little of that discipline had stayed with them. They had the support, before they helped muddy the waters of the debate. It's not too late, they could get the support back.

They need to stand up and say enough.

The American people, in overwhelming numbers, have told us they want guaranteed access to health care.

The Republican members of Congress are either unwilling or unable to be a part of the process of creating a plan answer this call. They have told us, in so many words, that there is no plan, no compromise we can offer that would convince them to vote to provide each and every American with access to health care.

Enough time has been wasted. President Obama's health care bill has just been delivered to Congress, and we call on its members for an early vote.


* No, I didnít see where that was going until just then, but it's reasonably accurate. When shorn of Party labels and rhetoric, most of the population supports traditionally "Democrat" positions and issues.

Democrats own the issues and positions that voters largely agree with. This is why most Republican platforms are a combination of cheap jingoism, empty patriotic slogans, and barely veiled appeals to the worst impulses of the radical wingnut portion of the party. Their real, if unstated, platform is "power for us" but that isn't much of a vote-getter. (If they have any reality-based aims beyond that one, I'm unaware of them.)

* * No, of course race doesn't have anything to do with the topic at hand. Like "state's rights" this was a thinly veiled maneuver to incite fear and hatred in the Republican Party's separatist/survivialist/white supremacist population. (And the Nazi accusations, for those who care, are designed to muddy the waters from the not-infrequent comparisons between Bush/Cheney policies and Hitler.)

Posted by AnneZook at 11:51 AM | Comments (6)