I go on vacation for a week and a half, and while I was gone the conservatives made major advances in their multi-front war on truth, common sense, and the American Way.
Apparently the Republicans did not realize that when they blocked an extension of unemployment benefits, they also blocked an extension of flood insurance — never mind that flooding in Rhode Island was the worst it’s been in 100 years, with some rivers several feet above all-time records. Boston saw its wettest March since record keeping began in 1872, while bridges and highways have washed out from Maine to Connecticut and sewage systems have been overwhelmed to the point that families were asked to stop flushing toilets. National Guard troops have been mobilized to aid residents in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts. But then, if the insurance had been extended, that would have meant that the insurance companies would actually have had to pay for the damage suffered by those covered. Come to think of it, didn't we just have a national debate on whether people should at least have the opportunity to be covered by insurance?
RNC Chairman Michael Steele wasn't paying attention, I guess. It looks like he was more occupied with upholding the reputation of the party of "family values" by watching simulated lesbian sex in that bondage-themed Hollywood strip club. The right-leaning blog Red County reported that the outing was part of an RNC push to recruit local "Eagles," the party's honorary tag for young, big-ticket donors. But wait! That's not all! Looks like the RNC has some very interesting definitions for "office supplies."
Not to be outdone, Ron Paul decided to spread the alarm that passage of the health care reform bill was going to force the IRS to recruit and train 16,500 new agents to track down those deadbeats who refuse to buy health insurance (never mind that anyone with an income of $88,200 will receive sufficient federal subsidies to afford said insurance). Factcheck.org amply refutes that particular claim.
The GOP in Florida hasn't been any help either. They're too busy preparing for a criminal investigation into the fiduciary conduct of that state's party leadership.
Big business got into the act, too. Boeing, AT&T, AK Steel, 3M, Caterpillar, Deere, Prudential, and Valero Energy have all said that passage of the health care reform bill is forcing them to take significant charge-offs on their balance sheet… thereby giving the National Republican Congressional Committee an opportunity to claim that HCR is "a job-killer." It seems, though, that they're reluctant to admit what's really causing those corporations fiscal pain. Under the previous system, major corporations were subsidized by the government to provide prescription drug coverage to their retired employees. At the same time, corporations could claim on their tax returns that it was they — not the taxpayers — who paid for the drug coverage, and could write the expense off as a tax deduction. For anyone who might wonder where that came from, the corporate welfare in question began with passage of the Bush administration's prescription drug bill in 2003. Also of note is the origin of the amount of money these corporations claimed they were going to lose — the size of the accounting reductions being announced is so large, analysts said, because they project out the benefit from the current subsidy for 30 years, rising with health care's current inflation rate, and then crams it all back into a one-quarter loss. Voodoo economics, indeed.
The health insurance companies chimed in by claiming that the language of the health care reform bill did not require them to cover children with pre-existing conditions. Yeah, playing politics by denying care to children with pre-existing conditions. That's a sure-fire way to stand up to the creeping socialism of Obamacare, isn't it?
It's very strange how many in the Tea Party depend on government programs like Medicare and Social Security or government jobs, but the Tea Party — or many of the several organizations claiming to be THE Tea Party (including Dick Armey's "FreedomWorks") — are planning a nationwide protest on April 19. Now most people with experience in law enforcement don't like coincidences, so one must ask why it is the Tea Parties are holding this rally not on 'tax day' – April 15 – but four days later on the 19th. You see, April 19 was a day of significance to another famous anti-government figure: Timothy McVeigh. That's the day he blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City, killing over 100 innocent men, women, and children as he did so. But why did McVeigh choose April 19 as the day of this horrific act? April 19, it turns out, is of special significance to neo-Nazis. I'm not sure why that's so – since Hitler's birthday came on April 20 – but a quick Googling of "neo-Nazi April 19th" will show that they do tend to hold that particular day as one of some importance to them. In fact, that same search will show the reader that the neo-Nazis are planning several protests this coming April 19. Now the militias who claim no connection to neo-Nazism hold a different significance — they say it's a "day of concern," and point back to events beginning with the battles of Lexington and Concord way back in 1775, and, more recently, the Branch Davidian cult fiasco in Waco back during the Clinton years. Furthermore, the various Tea Party organizations have put out the word to not allow neo-Nazis at their protests. But still – all this begs the question: why did the anti-government Tea Party choose April 19? It was just a coincidence, I'm sure. Of course, just a mere coincidence. One wonders what Timothy McVeigh would have thought about their choice.
The Pope's had quite a time as well. Perhaps we shouldn't bring up religion here, but when I was Googling the accusations against him, I happened to find out that in 2004, George W. Bush had personally asked the Vatican for help, saying, "not all the American bishops are with me." I'm sure that some people can remember how in the closing months of the 2004 campaign, some bishops began saying they would not allow John Kerry communion because of his views on abortion. But I did not know that the new Pope had by some been called "Bush's pope" since the former Cardinal Ratzinger had had certain ties with George Bush's brother Neil. It seems that in 1999, the not-particularly-religious Neil Bush co-founded a religious organization with the soon-to-be pope in Switzerland. Later, of course, in 2002 Bush signed a consulting contract that paid $2 million dollars in stock over five years to work for Grace Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp., a firm backed by Jiang Mianheng, the son of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, plus $10,000 for every board meeting he attended. But back to the Pope. I normally won't refer anyone to forums, but something is truly rotten in the state of Denmark if even a quarter of what is said in the first two entries on this page are true.
Now Sean Hannity seems to have a situation of his own. Conservative blogger Debbie Schlussel exposed the scam of Hannity's "Freedom Concerts." She notes that according to its 2006 tax returns, Freedom Alliance reported revenue of $10,822,785, but only $397,900 – or a beyond-measly 3.68% – of that was given to the children of fallen troops as scholarships or as aid to severely injured soldiers. She further states that – also according to those tax returns – Hannity's "non-profit organization" claimed over three million dollars in expenses or about eight dollars in expenses for every dollar directly spent for the injured soldiers and the children of the fallen soldiers.
Now I find it really interesting that when I Google Fox News with this story, I find no coverage whatsoever! Nada! Nil! None! Can one imagine the coverage Fox would give if it had been, say, liberal pundit Rachel Maddow who had run the same scam? And if Rachel had called a Tea Party crowd "Tim McVeigh wannabes" (as Hannity did), would they have cheered her as Hannity's Tea Party crowd did when he called them by the name of the anti-government Tim McVeigh? Again, that begs the question… why did the Tea Party choose April 19 as their day to protest?
And ACORN – now that it is no longer a functioning entity – has been vindicated in the 'pimp video' scandal. Gov. Schwarzenegger directed the state attorney general to investigate ACORN, and while ACORN did do some things wrong, it is clear that the 'pimp videos' were effectively a lie. Evidence obtained by the attorney general show that in three videotapes made at ACORN locations in California. One ACORN worker in San Diego called the cops. Another ACORN worker in San Bernardino caught on to the scheme and played along with it, claiming among other things that she had murdered her abusive husband. Her two former husbands are alive and well, the attorney general's report noted. At the beginning and end of the Internet videos, O'Keefe was dressed as a 1970s Superfly pimp, but in his actual taped sessions with ACORN workers, he was dressed in a shirt and tie, presented himself as a law student, and said he planned to use the prostitution proceeds to run for Congress. He never claimed he was a pimp.
But we can't expect the Republicans to do a mea culpa for their media lynching of ACORN — after all, the lies got rid of ACORN. The end justifies the means, right? And we all know that's the way they justified torture.
It's really rather exasperating trying to keep track of all the sheer idiocy that's infecting not only the Republican party but also the conservative core. It's been noted many times how this continual game of "Who's More Conservative" is only resulting in a downward spiral to marginalization for the Republicans (and the nascent Tea Party). Perhaps the most troubling indicator of this is the fact that any Republican or conservative who dares question party dogma or point out the approaching demographic train wreck immediately and summarily has his name stricken from the Rolls of the Faithful. At least it's not as bad as what happens to those who questioned the Soviets or the ChiComs, the North Koreans or the followers of Sharia.
At least not yet.