How the Republican Healthcare Mess Makes Sense

Edit: As of Friday afternoon, Sens. McCain (hard no) and Collins (somewhere shy of hard no) have announced opposition, stalling the measure. Let’s hope it stays that way, and that both parties can work on a real plan to improve the healthcare system.

The blade is not yet to the throat, nor the gun to the temple, but by next Friday (or maybe Saturday) America may be in the middle of its biggest hostage crisis of the modern age. The Republicans, in a greedlust for victory on healthcare, are sneaking up behind the country, ready to strike.

The bill, a stinker in a long line of stinkers, will be not a millstone around the GOP’s neck, but a tombstone at its feet, if it ever activates. But that’s not what it’s meant to be at all. This timebomb is DACA 2.0: meant to bend Democrats to the Republicans’ will. Under the president’s DACA order, the hostages are the dreamers. Under Graham-Cassidy, the hostages are the millions who will lose coverage obtained under the ACA.

The notion that the American people are subject to political violence is hardly new or surprising, but it is a heartless and despicable fact. The Republicans want massive wealthcare, but they also want to undo all the things in the ACA they cannot touch under reconciliation rules. This is not serious legislation at all, by any measure. It has not benefited from study or debate, or even from a full CBO score. Governors oppose it, all the medical associations and nonpartisan nonprofits say no.

The only thing that’s left is a hostage play. For the low, low price of 50 votes, the Senate Republicans can shove this mess back to the House, where if the Republicans there can decide to wax their mustaches, they will hold the threat of death over enough Americans that the Democrats will have to cave in. That will, they believe, let them pass a 60-vote bill in the Senate, which will be less insane than Graham-Cassidy, will let them do a victory lap for repealing Obamacare, and will still let them shove a bunch of money in the rich peoples’ pockets.

This sort of abuse is irredeemable. There are millions of people who are stressed and anxious, as hostages to the GOP. This is nothing short of protection racketeering by a major political party on behalf of the wealthy. This is organized crime.

And sadly, that’s the only way this mess of a bill makes sense. All civic-minded Republicans should reject any attempt to hold their countrymen as hostages for legislative ends. A vote for Graham-Cassidy is a vote for tyranny.


Pause 2.0

This is going to take some time. Please continue to be patient.

Post images will continue to be missing for now. Theme will be abnormal. “All is calm, all is bright…”


2016 DNC Preview, RNC Review: The Republicans Went Vegetarian

Sure, there was lots of red meat at this convention, but there was no beef. This election cycle the Republicans have gone full vegetarian, substituting hate for what used to pass as red meat.

There was hatred of Hillary Clinton. A typical convention would treat the crowds to plenty of vitriol against a candidate through an assault on their policy proposals. They want to fund the IRS or whatever. Instead, the assaults to Clinton focus on trumped-up scandals like Benghazi. They’re snakeoil-level with this stuff, as I actually encountered an advertisement for fermented wheat germ extract that claimed that Hillary Clinton is involved in a conspiracy with Big Pharma that kills 100,000 people per year (“If you want to keep your teeth for good, you better throw away your toothpaste!”).

There was hatred of Black Lives Matter, a movement whose main goal is the reduction of the number of people killed by police. Again, the fake meat here is the fact that it’s all taste-and-texture attacks, focused not on why policy recommendations might be problematic, but on how awful people are for wanting to not get shot by cops and daring to say something about it.

There was hatred of people who unlawfully immigrate, with a focus on the worst-of-the-worst as proxy for all. The reality is that there are millions of people who work hard for low wages, both immigrants and citizens, and the policies the Republicans support do nothing for any of them. Crime is a separate issue from immigration, and to conflate the two is as contrived as can be.

Fake and disgusting dish after dish of food-colored-red tofu. Grilled to abjection. Smothered in a secret sauce, by the nominee, where he insanely promised lower taxes, debt reduction, higher wages, and massive infrastructure spending, all immediately.

Hillary Clinton also announced her running mate ahead of the convention, which is one fewer thing to make news during the convention. Regardless, one expects a much cleaner show from the Democrats than the Republicans managed, but there could still be some fireworks.

For one, we will see how much beef the Democrats bring, versus how much meat analogue. Will the convention be as anti-Trump as the RNC was anti-Hillary, or will the focus be on governance?

For another, while there was a formal Never Trump movement, there was also a Not Hillary movement from the Bernie Sanders side of the party. That activist-heavy wing may actually teach the Republican insurgents a thing or two.

Instead of the ‘Make America _____ Again’ themes, the Democrats have ‘________ Together’ (except for Tuesday, which will be “A Lifetime of Fighting for Children and Families”—I guess ‘Fighting Together’ wasn’t deemed worthy?), and we’ll see if they can actually stay on message.

Other things to watch for:

  • Hillary Clinton will be sitting in at the hotsauce dunking booth from 10-2 each morning, as penance for her email mishap; tickets start at $2K for three balls
  • Judicial Watch immediately granted a motion to depose Tim Kaine for information about Hillary Clinton’s use of email as Secretary of State
  • Bill Clinton under fire after plagiarizing part of his speech from My Little Pony
  • Confetti (made of shredded emails) and balloons

News Snippets for 26 September 2015

Candidates Dropping Like Flies

Just as quickly as candidates joined the GOP field for the nomination for president, they are dropping out. At this rate, the GOP field will run a deficit by Thanksgiving. The party is seeking a stopgap measure to keep the Republican meat market from insolvency.

From March to June, 17 major candidates signed up, a rate of about four per month. So far September has seen two drop out, bringing the total left to 15. As no new entries have come, the entrance rate has already dropped to about 2.5 per month, and it will fall below the exit rate in November unless something changes. Assuming the trend continues, the field will be entirely depleted by next May, well ahead of the July 2016 Republican National Convention.

Do Volkswagens Ever Win?

The axiom that ‘cheaters never win and winners never cheat’ is undergoing more scientific scrutiny as carmaker Volkswagen concludes its emissions testing experiment. The CCO (Chief Cheating Officer) of the corporation announced early results are inconclusive, stating, “We sort of got away with it, for awhile. We made a lot of money. We’re not sure if it’s a long-term strategy, though. Further tests will be needed.”

Trump Considering Run for Papacy

Donald Trump has publicly attacked Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church, calling him several names and saying he is not flashy enough to turn around the falling attendance rates. Trump says he may make a bid to become the Bishop of Rome, if things don’t pan out with his current presidential campaign. “Make the House of God Great Again” is on the short list for his potential slogans.

An alternative plan would see Trump move to Rome and only visit the USA every once in awhile. “I noticed that everyone made such a big deal about the Pope coming, and one of my servants told me about this whole ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ thing. I might have to try that,” Trump said. Fingers crossed.

Pope to Readdress Congress

The Pope, saying he is pretty sure they didn’t get the message the first time, is hoping to give a second address to Congress. “I think a lot of them just saw it as another day, another motivational speaker. A glorified pep rally. But I was trying to get them to pull their heads out of their asses. I am doubtful it worked,” the Vicar of Christ said.

“I get it,” he added. “All that money and power goes to their heads. It swells their heads up, inside their rectal cavities. At this point, I don’t think a few words of warning from me will get the job done. I feel I need to go back and try again. With lube and forceps, this time.”

One exception to the phenomena may have been John Boehner, who unexpectedly announced his resignation following the Pope’s address. Boehner, a Roman Catholic, has been criticized in recent months by some in his own party for not being heartless enough for their tastes.


What Makes Revolution?

The recent events in Egypt have been described mostly as either a military coup or a revolution. Not much as both. But what makes a revolution, in the political sense? All sorts of products have been called revolutionary, but few have been. Maybe some uses of the Internet have been revolutionary. Maybe some improvements in weaponry have aided in revolutions.

Was the United States Civil War a revolution? Was the Great Depression?

Was the emergence of life on earth a revolution? Will Artificial Intelligence emerge, and won’t that be a revolution?

It’s a revolution if it changes what? The name of the leader? The name of the country? If it makes the history books in 20 years, 100, 1,000 years?

One might decide that the revolution is the time of turmoil, prior to the emergence of a new status quo. That we cannot live with revolution, but only live before and after it. That during revolution, we are not ourselves. We are transformed by the revolution into something else for a time.

That is true of war, disaster, of so many of life’s greatest triumphs and travails. That identities are lost in the haste and upheaval, children’s stuffed animals, to be found and stitched up, or lost completely.

Can revolution be unanimous? Is it a revolution when all a nation’s rail gauge is standardized over a two day period? Or when everyone switches which side of the road they drive upon? Couldn’t there still be some identity loss, even then? A particular angle of sight on the road, seen daily for years, now forgotten with a lot of other little things.

And for the masses, is revolution seldom more than just the feeling of change and progress? That someone somewhere marches onward, that they by their very existence lend energy and purpose to even our most tedious tasks.

Was reality TV a revolution? Was 3D TV a failed coup?

The web is a revolution. Every day you can find something you never found.

If you want a picture of the web, imagine a kitten — forever.

– Hfpshf Psxfmm, 3968

But the web is a revolution. Every day you can find corporations and governments trying to bully humans. Identities are lost in the web. The governments, unable to understand it, wear it on their head like a kid who finds a bra.

Video is a revolution, both on and off the web. The police are finding this out, as photographers and citizen journalists find out what the ground smells like. But maybe there is an axiom that the greater information flow (signal/noise) wins. Not sure if it works like that.

It seems sensible to not save the word revolution for the rare and complete upheavals. But still to defend it against being tagged to sell product. To find little revolutions in the day-to-day. Not to relish in them, but to study them. To ask the question seems to be the greatest revolution, the mental equivalent of turning over the stone, to see what’s under it.