This Reagan audio clip from 1961 is being trotted out again just like it is every time we debate changes to our health care system. What I don’t get, however, is why anybody thinks it is relevant? If anything, what it should demonstrate is the fact that Reagan was clearly wrong back then, just as conservatives are wrong today for opposing universal health insurance. Reagan was talking about all the awful things that would supposedly occur if the country adopted Medicare and Medicaid. Clearly it did not happen the way he said it would. We did not turn into a “socialized” nation and lose all of our freedoms. Let’s look for a minute at the results that Medicare has produced:
Since the advent of Medicare, “the health of the elderly population has improved, as measured by both longevity and functional status,” said one study published in the journal Health Affairs. In fact, according to the study, “life expectancy at age 65 increased from 14.3 years in 1960 to 17.8 years in 1998 and the chronically disabled elderly population declined from 24.9 percent in 1982 to 21.3 percent in 1994.” Leaders of the Commonwealth Fund wrote in May that, “compared to people with private insurance, Medicare enrollees have greater access to care [and] fewer problems with medical bills.” The report added that this finding is significant when considering that those Americans on Medicare represent a demographic that is more likely to be in poor health and to have lower incomes. Prior to Medicare, “about one-half of America’s seniors did not have hospital insurance,” more than 25 percent “were estimated to go without medical care due to cost concerns,” and one in three were living in poverty. Today, nearly all seniors have access to affordable health care and only about 14 percent of seniors are below the poverty line.
There is no question that Medicare has been an overwhelming success. If the program has problems today it is because of the out-of-control spiraling healthcare costs and the fiscal mismanagement of Republicans - specifically the Bush administration - over the past eight years. Rather than ignoring this problem the way the Republicans did, the Obama administation is trying to deal with it for the sake of future generations. There is no immediate upside for Obama or for Democrats who are liable to lose seats in the House due to all the fearmongering and stonewalling from Republicans.
But you certainly should not be able to ressurect stale, old fearmongering that is more than 48 years old, which has been so soundly discredited and disproven, and try and use it again today. That is outrageous.
Why (not) get the government out of the way and help let the free market and capitalism solve the problem?
First off, the “free market and capitalism” are never going to “solve the problem” because that is not what they do. Capitalism is an economic system that is designed to maximize profits for private industry. It is not designed to provide social services and health care to the people who are most in need. There is no profit in doing that. In terms of health care, capitalism works to provide services to those who are best able to pay for it. When you look at how our health care system works to serve those with money, it looks great. The best in the world! But when you look at how it works to care for the population as a whole, it is flat-out lousy, which is why we rank something like 37th in the world with the highest costs and among the lowest life expectancy. It’s because the system doesn’t work for such a large segment of the population that is unable to pay for it. That is why the government has to step in to provide health insurance coverage for those who fall through the cracks. It is what they do in every other civilized country in the world and it is what we need to do here. It doesn’t mean that the government will take over the healt care system, or even take over health insurance. It will just provide an alternative (public option) for those who currently cannot afford a private health insurance plan. But would that mean that some people already covered by private insurance might switch to a government plan? Maybe, but so what? Isn’t that what the free market is all about? If the government plan is going to be better than what the private insurers are offering then they better get on the ball and offer something better. It’s called competition.
If healthcare was such a right as some on the left claim it is…then why would they be willing to put the government in control of it? We don’t give the government control over our right to free speech or right to free expression of religion.
First, it is the government that protects our rights to free speech and freedom of religion. We would not have these rights if it were not for the government. Second, we already entrust the government with our most important and vital functions such as national security and emergency services. The U.S. military is a government-run, “Socialized” system. We also have government run police stations, fire departments, judicial system and prisons. If the government is so bad at running things, as conservatives today maintain, then why aren’t they out there right now demanding that we privatize the U.S. military? I thought we had the best and strongest military in the world? Suffice to say that conservative attacks on the government today are overblown (and I would argue unpatriotic) and hyped to serve a partisan agenda that is detrimental to our nation as a whole and meant only to serve the interests of some very powerful, private interests.
The prospect of a $9 trillion debt over then next 10 years sounds horrible. But fortunately it is not really as bad as it seems as Paul Krugman makes clear today.
There are two main reasons for the surge in red ink. First, the recession has led both to a sharp drop in tax receipts and to increased spending on unemployment insurance and other safety-net programs. Second, there have been large outlays on financial rescues. These are counted as part of the deficit, although the government is acquiring assets in the process and will eventually get at least part of its money back.
What this tells us is that right now it’s good to run a deficit. Consider what would have happened if the U.S. government and its counterparts around the world had tried to balance their budgets as they did in the early 1930s. It’s a scary thought. If governments had raised taxes or slashed spending in the face of the slump, if they had refused to rescue distressed financial institutions, we could all too easily have seen a full replay of the Great Depression.
With Ted Kennedy’s passing it will become imperative for Democrats to pass health insurance reform in his memory. Republican obstinance and abuse of the filibuster procedure will necessitate that at least part of the bill be passed through the reconciliation process. Republicans fought for six months to keep Al Franken from taking his rightful place in the Senate. Now they will have another six months during which Democrats will be one vote short of what is needed to break their never-ending filibusters. It will take that long before a special election can be held to fill Kennedy’s seat. State Democratic lawmakers in Massachussetts shot themselves in the foot by passing a short-sighted law a while back to deny then-Gov. Mitt Romney the power to appoint a temporary replacement. Their display of partisan spitefulness will now cost Democrats an important vote for the rest of the year.
Let’s talk for a moment about why the age of Reagan should be over. First of all, even before the current crisis Reaganomics had failed to deliver what it promised. Remember how lower taxes on high incomes and deregulation that unleashed the “magic of the marketplace” were supposed to lead to dramatically better outcomes for everyone? Well, it didn’t happen. To be sure, the wealthy benefited enormously: the real incomes of the top .01 percent of Americans rose sevenfold between 1980 and 2007. But the real income of the median family rose only 22 percent, less than a third its growth over the previous 27 years. Moreover, most of whatever gains ordinary Americans achieved came during the Clinton years. President George W. Bush, who had the distinction of being the first Reaganite president to also have a fully Republican Congress, also had the distinction of presiding over the first administration since Herbert Hoover in which the typical family failed to see any significant income gains. And then there’s the small matter of the worst recession since the 1930s. There’s a lot to be said about the financial disaster of the last two years, but the short version is simple: politicians in the thrall of Reaganite ideology dismantled the New Deal regulations that had prevented banking crises for half a century, believing that financial markets could take care of themselves. The effect was to make the financial system vulnerable to a 1930s-style crisis — and the crisis came. “We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals,” said Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1937. “We know now that it is bad economics.” And last year we learned that lesson all over again.
And yet, as Krugman goes on to note with some dismay, so many people have refused to learn that lesson. They continue to harbor this Reaganite disdain for anything associated with the government and are unwilling to acknowledge that many government programs have worked very well over the years. And worse, they insist on continuing to vote for Republicans for public office! Please stop the insanity!
Did anyone think that getting healthcare reform done was going to be easy? Yes, I know that Obama came into office with huge approval ratings - especially when compared with the dismally low approval ratings of his immediate predecessor. I know that Democrats have large majorities in the House and Senate. And still we read everyday stories like this one from Salon that practically write the obituary for meaningful healthcare reform. Liberal pessimism seems to be peaking right at the moment when we need to come together and make the final push on behalf of this vitally important legislation. The Democrats’ big majorities are actually not as big as they seem because of the Republicans’ extreme obstinance and their continued abuse of the filibuster in the Senate. Remember that the Democrats’ “filibuster-proof” 60 votes in the Senate only works if you are counting that backstabbing little weasel Joe Lieberman and a healthy Ted Kennedy. And that is not even mentioning the concessions that would be needed to keep Blue Dogs like Ben Nelson, Kent Conrad and Blanche Lincoln on board. But if we could get a straigh up-or-down vote it would be a snap to pass health reform. Thus we need to use the reconcilliation process that bypasses Senate rules and gets it done. The whole big fight up until now has been to see whether or not Democrats will have to go that route. If enough Republicans could be coaxed to cross over - Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Dick Lugar, and so forth - to make up for Lieberman/Nelson/Kennedy, then all would be good. But if not, then we will have to go forward with the alternative plan - which now appears to be likely -- Is The White House Ready To Ditch Republicans And Turn to Reconciliation? But in the meantime, we’ve had all this handwringing from Liberals and Democrats bemoaning a Clinton-era loss that will lead to another 12 years of banishment to the political wilderness for the Party. Nonsense! Get a grip, people! Step back, take a deep breath and recognize that the administration could not just plow ahead with reconciliation without first giving the bipartisan approach a try. We needed the Republicans to demonstrate their obstinance before deciding to go the reconciliation route. Otherwise, the reform opponents would have used it to scare people into thinking that a secret plan was being pushed through without adequate review. Things are not as bad as they seem. It was never going to be easy to get a good reform package passed. There is very little upside in it for Obama or for Democrats. Providing health coverage to a bunch of poor people who still won’t turn out to vote while upsetting lots of well-off people who always do vote is not the smartest thing to do politically. But it was the right thing to do morally and in the long-run it will make our country a better place to live and raise our families.
The Express-News has a story today about the State Board of Education coming out with a first draft for standards for history books. The big news is that the conservative board members are pushing to include key moments in the history of wingnuttopia - specifically the founding of the Moral Majority by Jerry Falwell; Phyllis Schafley’s Eagle Forum and successful campaign to villify and defeat the Equal Rights Amendment and the rise of Newt Gingrich and his Contract On America that led to the 1994 takeover of the government by Republicans. I don’t have a particular problem with any of this except that the story implies that they also want to eliminate references to “liberal” groups and figures in history. The story does not explain this very well so I’m not sure what or if anything has been proposed yet. I’ve seen student textbooks that talked about the ERA campaign and would think that Schafly’s involvement in its defeat should be included. And the whole Moral Majority/Christian Coalition movement is definitely worthy of putting into context in the history books. But so is the downfall of Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker and the whole PTL scandal. The 1994 election and the “Republican Revolution” certainly warrants coverage in the history books, but so does the abject failure of the Republican ideology as the bone-headed supply side economics program led to massive increases in the federal debt and the replacement of “Tax and Spend” with “Borrow and Spend”. As long as we are being more inclusive and not less so, I can’t complain too much. But the real question will be how much emphasis to place on each section and the positive or negative spin that these rightwing idealogues on the board will try to impose on the textbook manufacturers.
I can’t help but feel just a little sorry for Kay Bailey Hutchison right now. But only a little. This gubernatorial election looked early on like it would be a cakewalk for her. The triumphant U.S. Senator coming home after a successful stint in Washington to take the crown in Austin as the new governor of the Lone Star State. Incumbent Gov. Rick Perry was unpopular and had outstayed his welcome having already served longer than any Texas governor in recent history. But now, at the formal outset of her campaign, the landscape suddenly looks much different. Down in the polls and facing a surprisingly aggressive campaign from Perry, Hutchison no longer looks like the heir apparent. Her campaign kick-off event in her home town of LaMarque was poorly attended and featured a major screw-up by one of her campaign workers who repeatedly mispronounced the name of the high school hosting the event - the one where Hutchison used to be a cheerleader. It’s pronounced “LaMark”, not “LaMarkee”. The Perry campaign has set up a website from which to launch attacks and lampoon Hutchison throughout the campaign. They are also trying to use her service in Washington against her by referring to her as “Washington Kay.” In addition, they are having a large truck follow her around with the name “Kay Bailout Express” which attempts to tie her to the federal stimulus package. Apparently, in Republican circles these days, actually trying to DO something to fix, resolve or at least lessen the impact from the Republican-induced recession is bad, bad, bad. I suppose this is because it would somehow be seen as an acknowledgement that Republican economic ideas failed and were in part to blame for the economic crisis currently plauging the country. Better then to just ignore the problem and do nothing. Better yet, blame the people who are trying to fix the problem with having caused it. This is precisely what Rick Perry is now doing. I do not envy Kay Bailey having to run against Perry in the Republican primary. He has been working hard recently to ingratiate himself with the far-right loons who infect the core of the Republican Party today by talking about secession, threatening to refuse badly needed stimulus funding for the state and appointing far-right lunatics to the State Board of Education and elsewhere. Are there enough sane people left in the Texas Republican Party to turn Perry out in a GOP primary? I have my doubts. And it doesn’t look at this point as if Kay Bailey Hutchison is going to be up to the challenge.
A man toting an assault rifle was among a dozen protesters carrying weapons while demonstrating outside President Obama’s speech to veterans on Monday, but no laws were broken. It was the second instance in recent days in which weapons have been seen near presidential events.
What do they mean ‘no laws were broken’? This is completely nuts! This guy should have been tackled by the Secret Service, tied up and thrown in the pokey for the duration of the president’s visit. I can’t believe people are acting like it is no big deal for some nutjob to carry a loaded assault rifle (or any type of gun) to a presidential campaign event. Can you imagine the reaction if a radical from some group like the Black Panthers or a follower of Louis Farrakhan had shown up with a gun at a rally for Ronald Reagan back in the 1980s? Would people have shrugged and said the person was just exercising their 2nd Amendment rights?
THE PENANCE HAS NOT BEEN PAID.... Following up on this item from yesterday, I had an interesting conversation via email yesterday with Bruce Bartlett, a veteran of the Reagan and H.W. Bush administrations. Bruce made a point that really resonated with me, and he was gracious enough to allow me to republish it here.
I believe that political parties should do penance for their mistakes and just losing power is not enough. Part of that involves understanding why those mistakes were made and how to prevent them from happening again. Republicans, however, have done no penance. They just pretend that they did nothing wrong. But until they do penance they don’t deserve any credibility and should be ignored until they do. That’s what my attacks on Bush are all about. I want Republicans to admit they were wrong about him, accept blame for his mistakes, and take some meaningful action to keep them from happening again. Bush should be treated as a pariah, as Richard Nixon was for many years until he rebuilt his credibility by more or less coming clean about Watergate with David Frost and writing a number of thoughtful books. One reason this isn’t happening is because the media don’t treat Republicans as if they are discredited. On the contrary, they often seem to be treated as if they have more credibility than the administration. Just look at the silly issue of death panels. The media should have laughed it out the window, ridiculed it or at least ignored it once it was determined that there was no basis to the charge. Instead, those making the most outlandish charges are treated with deference and respect, while those that actually have credibility on the subject are treated as equals at best and often with deep skepticism, as if they are the ones with an ax to grind. I am truly baffled by this situation, as I’m sure you are.
As regular readers may imagine, I find this overwhelmingly persuasive. Bush/Cheney policies failed so spectacularly, Republican candidates and officeholders are generally reluctant to associate themselves with the tarnished name of the previous administration. But Bush/Cheney policies are still those of the contemporary Republican Party. Nothing has changed. Failure and defeat haven’t chastened the GOP at all, and if given a chance to govern again, Republican leaders are quite anxious to return to the exact same agenda they embraced when they were in the majority. And the political mainstream seems to think this is sane. The same Republicans -- literally, the self-same individual people -- who were astonishingly wrong about pretty much every area of public policy in recent years, are the same Republicans who feel confident that they’re still credible, knowledgeable, and correct. Not because they’ve changed their larger agenda or worldview, but because a brief period of time has elapsed. They feel justified proposing a five-year spending freeze in response to the economic crisis. They feel comfortable pretending to care about the “death panels” policy they already endorsed, promoted, and voted for. They have no qualms making bitter complaints about deficits and debts after having spent most of the decade increasing the size of government, increasing federal spending, and creating of some of the largest deficits in American history. We’re not supposed to point and laugh at their humiliating ideas and attacks -- we’re supposed to negotiate with them. What’s more, rejected in large numbers by voters nine months ago, and after spending the last seven months acting like confused children, these same Republicans now insist what they really deserve is to be back in the majority again. Seriously. I suppose the word that keeps coming to mind is “consequences.” The Republican Party of the Bush era failed in ways few have even tried, burdening the nation with challenges and crises that are difficult to address and painful to even think about. They believe, however, there should be no consequences for this. There’s no need, they say, to alter their political beliefs at all. Indeed, they see their main goal as the loyal opposition to undermine efforts to clean up the mess they left. They’re the arsonists hoping to convince the public not to have confidence in the fire department. No penance, no consequences, no self-reflection -- only the expectation that they be treated as a serious group with a credible agenda. It’s probably one of the most frustrating aspects of the larger political discourse. Individual issues aside, there’s a temptation to turn to Boehner, Cantor, McConnell, et al, and say, “We’re still waiting for that apology.”
Yep, just like I’m still waiting for that apology from Mark for smearing Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer.
President Obama is now facing the same kind of opposition that President Bill Clinton had to deal with: an enraged right that denies the legitimacy of his presidency, that eagerly seizes on every wild rumor manufactured by the right-wing media complex.
This opposition cannot be appeased. Some pundits claim that Mr. Obama has polarized the country by following too liberal an agenda. But the truth is that the attacks on the president have no relationship to anything he is actually doing or proposing. ... The truth is that the factors that made politics so ugly in the Clinton years — the paranoia of a significant minority of Americans and the cynical willingness of leading Republicans to cater to that paranoia — are as strong as ever. In fact, the situation may be even worse than it was in the 1990s because the collapse of the Bush administration has left the G.O.P. with no real leaders other than Rush Limbaugh.
Over on FaceBook I am completely outnumbered by friends and family who lean rather hard to the right and are (in my view) totally misinformed and thus adamantly opposed to any type of health insurance reform. It is tempting to get into “discussions” on FB with some of these folks, but I am afraid that FB is not the proper forum so I hold off on commenting. If they want to have a discussion, they can comment on my FB page or find my blog. The fact that most do not reassures me that my instincts in this matter are correct. Still, when I see a comment like this one - “we can see the waste and fraud in medicare, medicaid, social security, food stamps, and i am sure numerous other govnt run programs and know why they should not be in charge of health care!!!” - I want desperately to respond. So I will do so here on my blog - even though the person making the comment will never see it, but that is probably just as well. Waste and fraud in Medicare, Medicaid, etc.? Sure. I’m sure you can find waste and fraud in almost every government program. But you can also find waste and fraud in most private businesses as well. There is nothing inherent about government that leads to waste and fraud, it is just a human phenomena. Any large organization or operation is going to have these problems. For those who think private industry is so much better than the government, here is a reminder from a few years ago -- The Corporate Scandal Sheet Remember these guys? Enron, Worldcom, Adelphia, HealthSouth, Tyco, Arthur Anderson, Global Crossing.... Or how about all the private contractors in Iraq who were bilking the government for millions of dollars? The only reason that government waste and fraud will seem more prevalent is because it is always out in the open. Much of the private scandals go unreported, unnoticed and uncorrected until they grow so large that the whole thing collapses like a house of cards the way Enron did. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Food Stamps and the numerous other government-run programs referenced above have all got their share of problems. But they also do a tremendous amount of good for the nation and provide a necessary level of service that could not be replicated by private charity. Without these social support programs that rightwingers resent so much, our entire economic system which props up our middle-class society would collapse. Talk about pending disasters... We’ve already seen what happens when rightwingers are put in charge of every aspect of the government for eight years. We are dealing with the fruits of that woeful experience right now.
Since Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel has been besmirched here in the comments recently, I thought it would be good to repost this article from TIME that lets him respond to the smears and the craziness.
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the medical ethicist and oncologist who advises President Obama, does not own a television, and if you catch him in a typically energized moment, when his mind speeds even faster than his mouth, he is likely to blurt out something like, "I hate the Internet." So it took him several days in late July to discover he had been singled out by opponents of health-care reform as a "deadly doctor," who, according to an opinion column in the New York Post, wanted to limit medical care for "a grandmother with Parkinson's or a child with cerebral palsy." (Read an interview with Obama on health care.)
"I couldn't believe this was happening to me," says Emanuel, who in addition to spending his career opposing euthanasia and working to increase the quality of care for dying patients is the brother of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. "It is incredible how much one's reputation can be besmirched and taken out of context." (See pictures of health care for the uninsured.)
It would only get worse. Within days, the Post article, with selective and misleading quotes from Emanuel's 200 or so published academic papers, went viral. Minnesota Representative Michelle Bachmann, a fierce opponent of Obama's reform plans, read large portions of it on the House floor. "Watch out if you are disabled!" she warned. Days later, in an online posting, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin attacked Emanuel's "Orwellian thinking," which she suggested would lead to a "downright evil" system that would employ a "death panel" to decide who gets lifesaving health care. By Aug. 10, hysteria had begun to take over in places. Mike Sola, whose son has cerebral palsy, turned up at a Michigan town-hall meeting to shout out concerns about what he regarded as Obama and Emanuel's plans to deny treatment to their family. Later, in an interview on Fox News, Sola held up the Post article. "Every American needs to read this," he declared. (Read "What Health-Care Reform Really Means.")
By this point, Emanuel, who has a sister who suffers from cerebral palsy, had arrived in northern Italy, where he planned to spend a week on vacation, hiking in the Dolomites. Instead, he found himself calling the White House, offering to book a plane home to defend his name. "As an academic, what do you have? You have the quality of your work and the integrity with which you do it," he said by phone from the Italian Alps. "If it requires canceling a week's long vacation, what's the big deal?" (Read TIME's cover story "Can Obama Find a Cure?")
The attacks on Emanuel are a reminder that there is a narrow slice of Americans who not only don't trust government, but also have come to regard it as a dark conspirator in their lives. This peculiar brand of distrust helps create the conditions for fast-moving fear-mongering, especially on complex and emotionally charged topics like the life and death of the elderly and infirm. Prairie fires of that kind are hard to douse when the Administration's own plan for health care remains vague, weeks away from being ready for a public rollout. The health-care bill that recently passed the House does not contain, as some have suggested, any provisions that would deny treatment to the elderly, infirm or disabled like Sola's son. One provision allows doctors to be reimbursed for voluntary discussions of so-called living wills with patients, but does not in any way threaten to deny treatment to dying patients against their will. The legislation anticipates saving hundreds of billions of dollars by reforming the health-care system itself, a process that would try to increase the efficiency of medical care by better connecting payments to health outcomes and discouraging doctors from unnecessary tests and procedures. The Obama Administration hopes that many of these reforms will be made in the coming years by independent panels of scientists, who will be appointed by the President and overseen by Congress. (See 10 health-care-reform players.)
This is where the criticism of Emanuel enters the picture, since he is just the sort of scientist who might be appointed to one of those panels. For decades, Emanuel has studied the ethics of medical care, especially in situations where a scarcity of resources requires hard decisions to be made. His work sometimes deals with the hardest possible decisions, like how to choose who gets a single kidney if there are three patients in need, or the reasons that doctors order tests with little medical value. Emanuel's reputation ranks him among the top members of his field. He is published often in the best journals; he has been given multiple awards for work to improve end-of-life care. At the White House, he has taken a free-floating role at the Office of Management and Budget, advising on a wide range of health issues.
But in a country where trust is in short supply, Emanuel has become a proxy for all the worst fears of government efforts to rein in costs by denying care. "The fundamental danger is that the American people are being asked to delegate all these life-influencing decisions," explains Betsy McCaughey, the conservative scholar who wrote the New York Post attack on Emanuel. "There is a lack of transparency here."
In her Post article, McCaughey paints the worst possible image of Emanuel, quoting him, for instance, endorsing age discrimination for health-care distribution, without mentioning that he was only addressing extreme cases like organ donation, where there is an absolute scarcity of resources. She quotes him discussing the denial of care for people with dementia without revealing that Emanuel only mentioned dementia in a discussion of theoretical approaches, not an endorsement of a particular policy. She notes that he has criticized medical culture for trying to do everything for a patient, "regardless of the cost or effects on others," without making clear that he was not speaking of lifesaving care but of treatments with little demonstrated value. "No one who has read what I have done for 25 years would come to the conclusions that have been put out there," says Emanuel. "My quotes were just being taken out of context."
For Emanuel, the entire experience has been a painful education in the sometimes brutal ways of politics, something his brother has long endured and dolled out. "I guess I have a better appreciation for what Rahm had to go through for years and years," Emanuel says. But that appreciation does not solve the question raised by the controversy. There is universal understanding that the nation's fiscal course is doomed without major changes to health care, but whom will the American people trust to carry it out?
Emanuel, for his part, plans to continue his work, which is focused on finding the most equitable and ethical way for this reform to be carried out, even if he has opted against returning from the Italian Alps. "I am an Emanuel," he says. "We are pretty thick-skinned. I am not going to change my colors. I am not going to crawl under a rock."
Rightwingers are really big on making pledges and so I found this "Conservative Pledge" to be most interesting. Following is the pledge with my comments and interpretations in bold...
I will support the People’s right to self-defense. And the right to carry loaded guns anyplace we feel like... and not just little small-caliber pea-shooters either. We mean big-honking elephant guns and bazookas with automatic firing and unlimited clip capacity.
I will be devoted to the principle of blind justice. And “blind justice” means being completely oblivious to any ounce of empathy or human compassion. It means applying the harshest penalties and sentences regardless of the attenuating circumstances. It means closing your eyes to the consequences of so-called “justice”.
I recognize the media for its bias, bullying and deception. This is pure projection coming from the folks who get all their news from the radically-biased, bullying and deceptive Fox News and the rightwing radio talk shows. What could be more bullying than people like Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck screaming at and shouting down people on their shows who dare to disagree with them?
I will emphasize self-reliance and being able to keep the fruits of one’s labor. Pure selfishness and greed dressed up to sound not quite so bad.
I will promote teaching self-help rather than dependence on government and others. Self-help and self-reliance are the buzz words of the rightwing movement that wants to dismantle the social safety net underlying the foundation of the American economy. It is all part of the Ayn Rand philosophy of selfishness and greed that has taken control of today’s Republican Party.
I will place conservative values and principles above personal desires, weaknesses, fears and regrets. Naturally. Wouldn’t want any of those namby-pampy feelings or empathies to get in the way of efforts to slash government services for the poor, the sick and the destitute.
I will emphasize charity, with its unexpected benefits, rather than support compulsory tax-and-spend programs. Charity is another way of saying “Let somebody else take care of those poor saps.”
I will have a never-ending quest for the truth, despite obstacles based on emotion and personal experience and will spread such truths for the benefit of all. Once again “emotion” is viewed as something that is bad and which should be avoided because it gets in the way of the quest for “truths” and even “personal experience” is bad because you just can’t believe your own eyes when they show you Obama’s birth certificate or pictures of the Apollo astronauts on the moon. LIES!!!! ALL LIES!!!!!
I will give those in authority due respect, however, not to the extent of taking orders or assertions that are contrary to conservative values or moral logic. In other words, I will only respect authorities who agree with me based on my interpretation of “conservative values” and “moral logic”
I will emphasize humility and open-mindedness instead of the arrogant certainty about one’s own views. Phhhhhhttthhhhhh!!! Oh yeah, sure. Let’s just throw that one out there for grins. (wink,wink)
I will not simply complain, but rather will take practical action toward improving my situation. Like sending money to rightwing groups promising to take action for me!
I will use self-control as opposed to a self-indulgent search for instant gratification of desires. Oops. I think Gov. Mark Sanford, Sen. John Ensign, Sen. David Vitter, Rep. Chip Pickering, and many others overlooked this part of the pledge.
I will downplay the significance of wealth, disparities in wealth and materialism in general. Because it is easier to hold these selfish beliefs if you ignore the big pink elephant in the room.
I will recognize and utilize the benefits of competition and hard work in my daily life. Because all those undeserving poor people just don’t work as hard as I do and even if they do they just lost out in the “competition” so tough luck.
I understand that a rising tide lifts all boats, e.g. tax cuts benefit all. Surely whatever benefits me personally will benefit everyone else. Right?
I will recognize the power and liquidity of the free market. All bow and prostrate themselves before the mighty and all-powerful free market!
I will emphasize self-restraint against hurtful activities. And hope that other people will use “self-restraint” too when we can no longer afford our military and police forces.
I will reject the deification of government officials. You know!! The Obamessiah! HaHa!! We called him that to taunt liberals and now we can use it as an excuse to vilify him even more!
I will support those who prove frugal and efficient. Or those who cut my taxes and slash programs for the poor.
The Breakfast Club and Ferris Beuller’s Day Off have always been high on my list of “movies I want to own some day,” but alas upon learning of the untimely death of director John Hughes it occurs to me that I still do not have a single one of his movies in my film collection. So here are the John Hughes films I would love to add to my collection some day:
Breakfast Club Ferris Beuller’s Day Off Sixteen Candles Pretty in Pink Planes Trains and Automobiles Uncle Buck Home Alone I & II
The recent attacks by Republican leaders and their ideological fellow-travelers on the effort to reform the health-care system have been so misleading, so disingenuous, that they could only spring from a cynical effort to gain partisan political advantage. By poisoning the political well, they’ve given up any pretense of being the loyal opposition. They’ve become political terrorists, willing to say or do anything to prevent the country from reaching a consensus on one of its most serious domestic problems.
A commenter at Nick Marinelli’s blog wonders why Democrats think democrats think “all this dissent is manufactuered”. Well, it’s not that I think the dissent is manufactured so much as the anger which is being drummed up by the malicious lies people are being fed about healthcare reform.
We had a good time at Fiesta Texas yesterday. My son got a free ticket through a reading program at his school this year so even though we have season passes to Sea World, we ponied up for a day at Six Flags. Naturally it was a scorcher on Thursday. The prediction was for 102 and as it turned out it hit a record 103. But we were prepared with lots of sunscreen and spent the hot part of the day at the water park. I made the mistake of not bringing flip-flops and quickly realized my mistake after we put all our stuff in a locker and headed out for the water. While the wife and kids went on to the pool, I doubled back to get my credit card out of the locker and then sprinted over to one of the gift shops, scalding my feet in the process. I found a pair of cheapie flip-flops for $7 but the kid behind the register just looked at my credit card and asked for my ID. D’oh!! So I had to sprint back across the hot cement a second time to the lockers to retrieve my wallet. This time I was smart and put on my tennis shoes before making the trek back to the shop. Later in the day when it was time to pay for our $35 lunch which consisted of one double-meat cheeseburger, some oninon rings and drinks (seriously), I had my ID ready only to find that they took my credit card without asking for it. Grrrrrr! Fiesta Texas was great. There was lots more than we could do in one day even getting there at 10:30 a.m. and staying until the park closed at 9 p.m. We live close enough to Fiesta Texas that I can hear the fire works every night from my front lawn so it was nice to finally get to see the fireworks and laser light show up close. It will probably be a few more years before we get a season pass to Fiesta Texas. Our kids are still too young for most of the rides and aren’t old enough to appreciate most of the music shows. But they love animals which is why we go to Sea World. I just hope that Six Flags stays solvent and doesn’t close down before then.
Here is my Disney movie collection which has grown exponentially over the years and which I am still looking to add to:
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (VHS) Pinocchio Fantasia (VHS) Dumbo Bambi Saludos Amigos The Three Caballeros Make Mine Music Fun and Fancy Free Melody Time The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad Cinderella Alice in Wonderland Peter Pan 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Lady and the Tramp Sleeping Beauty One Hundred and One Dalmations Sword in the Stone Mary Poppins (VHS) Jungle Book The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit The Love Bug The Aristocats Bedknobs and Broomsticks Robin Hood Escape to Witch Mountain The Apple Dumpling Gang Gus The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh The Rescuers Return From Witch Mountain The Cat From Outer Space The Black Hole The Fox and the Hound Tron Oliver & Company The Little Mermaid The Rescuers Down Under Beauty and the Beast Aladdin (VHS) The Lion King Pocahontas Toy Story (VHS) The Hunchback of Notre Dame Mulan A Bug’s Life Tarzan Toy Story 2 (VHS) Dinosaur The Emperor’s New Groove (VHS) Atlantis: The Lost Empire Monsters Inc. Return To Neverland Lilo & Stitch Treasure Planet Piglet’s Big Movie Finding Nemo Pirates of the Carribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl The Haunted Mansion Home on the Range The Incredibles National Treasure Pooh’s Heffalump Movie Sky High Chicken Little Chonicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe Cars Pirates of the Carribbean: Dead Man’s Chest Meet the Robinsons Pirates of the Carribbean: At Worlds End Ratatouille Enchanted National Treasure: Book of Secrets Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian WALL-E Tinker Bell Bolt Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin The Tigger Movie The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride (VHS) Winnie the Pooh: Springtime with Roo Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers Lilo & Stitch II: Stitch Has a Glitch Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie Air Buddies Space Buddies The Complete Goofy The Chronological Donald Vol. 1 The Chronological Donald Vol. 2 Mickey Mouse in Black and White Vol. 2
The video of an angry mob chanting “Just Say No!” over and over again in an effort to harass U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett during a forum on health care is a prime example of how Radicalism has replaced Conservatism in this country. These people are no different than the radical “Hippies” of the 1960s who came to represent left-wing or liberal politics all the way to the present. If anything, they are even angrier than the “Flower Power” children of the 60s ever were. It is disturbing that these radicals are organizing protests around the country with the express purpose of drowning out any efforts to examining the health care debate in a civil manner. Do you suppose the national media will start portraying these radicals in the same negative light that their 60s counterparts were? Or will they be too cowed by these braying morons’ charges of “liberal bias” to dare offer any critical coverage?
Mean Rachel decides that Democratic gubernatorial candidate is still too Bush League for her tastes.
Our governor is living the life of the rich and famous. It does so on our dime and on the "dimes" of his fat cat contributors. Libby Shaw gives us the ulgy details over at TexasKaos, Our Kept Governor to the Unemployed: Eat Cake.
If nuclear power companies are already having trouble with their credit ratings, why are Texans rushing to throw them billions for plants that even the builders can't finance themselves? Good question, says Citizen Sarah at Texas Vox.