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Deconstructing Stupid

Here’s a newsflash; I’m not opposed to making cuts to medicare. I believe that we can cut medicare spending significantly, while improving services for medicare recipients. One of the really good aspects of the health reform bill was how cuts to medicare were made. I wholeheartedly agreed with cutting funding to medicare advantage.

If you’re not familiar with medicare advantage, let me give you the broad strokes. It was an experiment that Bill Clinton tried, where he outsourced medicare to private insurance companies. The idea was the old republican mantra that private companies can “do it” more efficiently than government can. I believe it was an experiment worth trying. But fifteen years into it, the results were in; not only did it cost 14% more than traditional medicare, but it didn’t deliver better results. It was a nice try, but it failed. Defunding it and getting our 14% back made all the sense in the world.

I believe that there are similar cuts that can be made. I’ll get to those later.

Paul Ryan put this out yesterday:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJIC7kEq6kw[/youtube]

Apparently, he’s decided that instead of back peddling out of his disastrous plan to fuck seniors, he’s going to double down. I’m not sure if he’s going for an Oscar a la Al Gore, but I wouldn’t waste my time lobbying the nominating committee if I were him.

Bear with me while I go through this point for point, because it’s not all bullshit.

The first point that he makes is that Americans spend fifty times more on healthcare today, than we did in 1960. Yes Paul, that’s because we have a system run by private corporations. He fails to mention that we pay more than double (per capita) for health insurance than other countries with nationalized health care systems do.

Next he talks about how medicare spending will nearly double in the next ten years. The actual increase amount is 86%, but I can see how “double” has a more dramatic effect. Those figures are true. What he didn’t say is that in relation to GDP, this represents a growth difference from 3.6% of GDP now, to 4.1% of GDP in 2020. Yes, the amount of spending is going to explode, but a little bit of relative perspective goes a long way. By the way, I love it how everyone acts like no one saw the number of baby boomers coming. What the fuck? You couldn’t count all of the births from sixty-five years ago, and predict how many medicare recipients there would be today? If we’d been making incremental adjustments all along, there wouldn’t be a “crisis” now. Shut the fuck up with your crisis nonsense, especially if you’ve been in the house for over twenty years.

The next point he makes is actually a good one. We have a system that pays for procedures, rather than results. It’s referred to as “fee for service”. This system doesn’t encourage curing a patient. It incentivizes doctors to rob the system by running tests in perpetuity so that they can get paid for each test. We should absolutely change the system so that it pays for results. This is the type of cost savings measure I can get behind. But I have to say that his line about, …” A patient is very disconnected from the cost” made me vomit in my mouth a little. Do you really think that if a patient knew what each procedure cost, they would know enough to pass on an MRI that may or may not be necessary? How the fuck are they supposed to know if it’s necessary? People go to school for nine years to learn if the MRI is necessary. The implication is that the patient is glutting themselves on health care as if it’s a luxury item, because they don’t know how much it costs. Asshat.

Then he makes the tired, lame ass comment that medicare costs are going up because there’s no competition. Hey asshole, go back to the numbers at the beginning of your presentation and see how much “competition” had helped out with health care costs in the past sixty years. Also, review the cost difference between medicare and medicare advantage. You might be able to make this point if private insurance costs were growing at a significantly lower rate than medicare costs are. They’re not. They’re growing at a much faster rate, even with a much younger population in the private system. The only reason why medicare is in “crisis” is because of exploding enrollment numbers, not exploding profit margins. And by the way, in which universe are private insurance companies clamoring to grab that “hip replacement” segment of the US demographic? Let me reiterate, asshat.

Then he goes into how his plan is going to “save” medicare. This is the most comical statement of them all. Here’s how you know that he’s not saving medicare: right now when grandma goes to the doctor, that doctor gets paid with a check from medicare. Under Ryan’s plan, there will be no more checks from medicare. The doctor will ostensibly be paid with a check from the private insurance company that is chomping at the bit to get grandma’s business. Good god, there are so many things wrong with that last sentence. But the bottom line is that there will be no medicare. His plan will give seniors vouchers for $15,000 per year to go buy their own insurance. There will be medicare in the sense that those deductions will still come out of your paychecks for your entire working lives. But at the end of it, that money will ultimately get paid out to private companies. Do I even need to break down how fucking stupid that is?

Fortunately, Americans seem to viscerally understand that Paul Ryan’s plan blows. But the downside is that everyone is caught up in black or white thinking. The choice is either leave it alone or kill it. Neither of those will work. We need to take a critical look at the system and make smart cuts that improve the system and ensure its longevity. Unfortunately, I don’t think that we’re going to make it that far into the national conversation. My prediction is that we’re going to be plagues with “medicare crisis” talk for the next couple of decades.

That should be fun.

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My Heroes

The voters in New York’s 26th district are my freakin heroes for that they did yesterday.

Not because they voted democrat, but because they held their noses and voted in their own best interest. I say that the held their noses because the last time a democrat won in New York’s 26th, God was a child. This is a district that votes republican, always. They vote republican when a Bush is on the ballot, and they vote republican when a Palin is on the ballot. These are hardcore republicans. Voting for a democrat must have been physically painful for them. And yet they did it, because it was the right thing to do.

They left party loyalty at the door, and voted their consciences and their pocketbooks. I honestly wish that more Americans would take their lead. There should be no such thing as a “safe district”. Safe districts are a big part of what’s wrong with America. Safe districts make it possible for politicians to take your vote for granted and then shit all over you with it.

Every time your kids’ school district has to cut their budget, you should be voting out the candidate you voted in last time with no regard to party affiliation. Every time unemployment benefits or any other social safety net that you’ve paid into gets cut, you should be voting out the candidate you voted in last time, with no regard to party affiliation. Do your roads look like shit? Vote out the the person that isn’t budgeting for those repairs. Are there less cops on the streets of your neighborhood? You know what to do.

This idiocy of accepting that there’s “no money in the budget so what could your guy do?”, has to stop. Your guy will find the money if you incentivize him properly. There is no better motivator than job security to light a fire under someone.

I have repeatedly said that publicly financed elections must happen in order to fix our system. If you’re not inclined to hit the streets and collect signatures in order to secure a ballot measure, then at least stop being a party loyalist. You neuter your own vote every time you continue down the path of blindly voting for the candidate with the right letter after their name.

Don’t misunderstand me – I want you all to get out there and collect signatures for publicly financed campaigns. We’re completely fucked until that happens, so I’m not giving anyone a pass on that! But as you’re working up to the motivation to permanently fix our fucked up democracy, you can put a band aid on it by voting your own best interest and not being a dependable vote.

Whether the GOP will get the message that New York 26 sent remains to be seen. I can tell you they put the fear of God in democrats (including Obama) that were talking about cutting medicare. I’m going to go ahead and guess that talk of cutting social security isn’t going to continue either. Make no mistake, democrats were definitely going to agree to cuts to both programs. I would be shocked if they went in that direction after what happened yesterday.

They’re all going to start sounding like FDR now. Not because democrats are the good guys, but because democrats tend to be more afraid of their constituents than republicans are. Republicans know they have blind loyalty locked in with their voters, or at least they did. I’m not the kind of sunny optimist that expects that red districts all across the country will suddenly go blue in order to save the social programs that Americans resoundingly want. But I am the kind of sunny optimist that believes that we need just a few to flip, in order to get the GOP off this path of destruction (for a year or two, anyway).

So I say, BRAVO to New York 26. You made what I know was a painful choice, in order to save a program that Americans cherish. I wish that more Americans would follow your lead.

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There Used To Be A Time In America

When people felt shame over having done something shameful. I don’t know when those days left us, but they’re long gone.

Shamefulness has become a source of revenue, not to mention hubris.

Take this jackass radiovangelist that has failed to predict the rapture twice. Now one would think that he would quietly slink off into hiding but no, he’s back with a lame ass explanation that he got the math a little wrong. And does he feel bad that his idiotic devotees gave away all of their possessions and (some) killed their pets? Of course not! Because you see, he never instructed them to do that. Shameful! And an asshole. And you know what? He’s going to continue to get donations.

Then there’s disgraced former Speaker Of The House, Newt Gingrich. This is a guy that has no shortage of shit to be ashamed of. Let’s set aside his personal life for a moment. He was forced to resign the speakership by his own party. What part of “forced to resign from the last position I was elected to”, says , “I should definitely pursue a much higher office”? What kind of sociopathology leads one to make this conclusion?

Now on to his personal life; what kind of asshole has three wives, two of whom started off as mistresses, and still finds the audacity to say shit about family values? Are you fucking kidding me? You would think that he was Ms Manners! He was banging the current wife while the last wife was being treated for cancer. Shameful! And tacky!

And he’s an idiot. We found out last week, that he has a revolving credit line of half a million dollars at Tiffany’s. He’s an idiot because for that kind of money, he’s either having another affair, or he’s spending it on his wife. Hey Newt, you don’t need to buy expensive jewelry to keep a woman that was willing to blow you in the parking lot of the hospital where your wife was receiving chemotherapy treatments! She’s a cheap whore! Cheap whores don’t need Tiffany’s kind of maintenance.

And then there are members of the Bush administration. Those shameful assholes have the audacity to go on television and give their opinions about the assassination of Bin Laden that they failed to accomplish? Unfuckingbelievable! If your opinions had any credibility you would have gotten the job done. Why aren’t these people ashamed? One failed war, one failed occupation, a failed assassination, and no shame? How is that possible? The only person that seems to have a modicum of decency here is George W Bush (yeah, I didn’t see that coming either). At least he’s got the decency to shut the fuck up and hide in shame.

Why is this happening? Because we so want to be right in our ideology, that we’re willing to go the distance to defend it. We’re willing to go far beyond the point that reason and logic should allow us to go. It’s easy to see this in other people, but seems to be virtually impossible to see in ourselves. Sure, the rapture whackadoodles are easy to mock, but if you think about it, they’re just desperately clinging onto something to believe in and they refuse to be deterred.

Republicans are the most effective defenders of their party. How did that turn out for them? Not a single accomplishment they can point to since Nixon opened up trade with China, and the worst president in US history, by every measure of a failed presidency. And yet, some of them are still hoping that the brother of the worst president in history will ride into the race on a white horse to save the day.

And for democrats, it’s easy to see where republicans went wrong. But it’s impossible to see where they’re going wrong. I hear Stephanie Miller and Randi Rhodes defend, and take up the mantle of apologists for Obama every single day. They never talk about the torture of Bradley Manning, or the extension of the patriot act. They don’t lie about it, but they don’t bring it up either. If they don’t inform their listeners, they damage Obama because it’s up to a politicians’ constituents to keep them honest. If those constituents don’t know what’s going on, they can’t do that. And pretty soon, they will find themselves defending shameless people without even realizing what’s happening to them.

Our politicians and celebrities are shameless because we encourage them to be. It’s like our collective self esteem relies on being right at all costs. Well, I say that the cost is getting too expensive. It’s time to step back and adjust our opinions based on the facts at hand. Molding the facts to fit our opinions isn’t working for us. We’re just making shameless people really fucking rich. And we’re encouraging more shamelessness.

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The B-Team

Remember my plea to sane republicans a couple of weeks ago? You know, when I begged them to speak up and drown out the crazies that are entering the republican primaries for the presidential election? Well, my sunny optimism has been extinguished.

It happened when Obama announced that Bin Laden was dead. Once that happened, Obama’s chances of not winning reelection dropped to roughly 5%. In my opinion, the only thing that will prevent Obama from getting a second term, is if the economy collapses before the election. Even this current state of painfully slow recovery won’t harm his chances of reelection. Short of a total economic meltdown, he’s going to serve four more years and republicans know it.

No republican operative with half a brain, can possibly assume otherwise. And my guess is that they won’t even bother putting forth a serious candidate because it’s a losing battle. Ronald Reagan failed to secure the republican nomination twice before he finally succeeded in 1980. Times have changed. I don’t believe it’s possible for a two time loser to take a third stab and succeed anymore. Our culture has changed. Once the stink of “loser” is on you, it’s almost impossible to wash it off. I can’t imagine that republican operatives are going to set up a serious candidate to lose.

In fact, I’d be surprised if Mitt Romney actually went through with a run this time around. He’s already lost a primary bid once. One more defeat, and his political career is done.

Sadly, this is going to be a republican primary of freaks from the fringe. They’re too stupid and ideological to realize that Obama is unbeatable. We’re going to be subjected to Michelle Bachman (I’m positive she’s going to run) and Rick Santorum’s batshit craziness for the next year. Yippee for America! It’s going to be 1995 all over again but much crazier since republican primary voters are significantly more radical than they were in 1995. They won’t all be insane, but the nonwhackos are going to be B-list players. Truthfully, I don’t know if the republican party has any A-list players left, but I know that they won’t make much of an effort to find one until 2016.

Newt is DOA. My prediction is that he’s out of the race by July. He shot himself in both feet and both knees when he prematurely attacked Paul Ryan’s plan to shit on the elderly. He should have waited ninety days to do that. But since he’s a complete idiot, his bad timing has him getting punched harder from the right than from the left. Most republicans have turned on Newt, which means that his ability to raise money is gone.

I have to say that Newt and Trump have been the biggest morons in this whole thing. Neither of them ever really expected to be president. They were going for either attention (Trump) or money (Newt). But they both damaged their brands so badly that they won’t be president, and won’t get any more money or attention.

I don’t believe that Sarah Palin is going to get into the presidential clown car. I never did. Not being in office is entirely too lucrative for her. But since Bachman is very likely to go in, we didn’t exactly dodge the “dim witted, hot but crazy” bullet.

My hypothesis won’t take long to prove or disprove. We’ll know if republicans are serious by August. If they don’t have a serious candidate in the race by then, they never will. And all you have to do is follow the money to know how it’s all going to turn out. The corporate campaign donations for the fourth quarter of this year will say it all. If the money is predominantly going to Obama, then it’s done. Don’t get me wrong, I’m positive that corporate America will generously show their love to congressional and senatorial republican candidates. But they’re going to hedge their bets by stuffing Obama’s coffers if they believe he can’t be beaten.

This republican primary season is going to be a clown parade that makes The Jim Rose Circus look like a Disney movie. But the worst part of this isn’t the assault on our dignity and intellect. The worst part is how fucking relaxed Obama is. He knows that he’s untouchable, which is historically the worst kind of president. I like my politicians scared. Scared of the repercussions that come with fucking me. Obama clearly isn’t scared, which is bad for all of us. He’s got the confidence that comes with knowing that the American people have nowhere to go.

If he were the type of president that actually had an agenda that he felt passionate about, now would be the time to flex his muscles. It’s too soon after the Bin Laden killing to tell if he’s going to go in that direction. The optimist in me hopes that he will leverage his political capitol to do some good, but the pragmatic side of me doesn’t see that happening.

I think that we’re going to get more political theater from Obama. I believe that he’s going to continue playing good cop, while perpetually being defeated by the bad cops. This debt ceiling issue is a pretty telling sign of what we can expect. Everyone knows that the debt ceiling will be raised. Republicans can’t block it because their Wall Street benefactors won’t allow it. Republicans are literally impotent to block the raising of the debt ceiling. And yet we’re going to see “concessions” in the form of billions of dollars in budget cuts that hurt the middle class  coming from democrats. It’s all going to be bullshit designed to make you think that democrats are well meaning, but impotent to stop it. Sound familiar? And if you fall for it, you’ll have the gratification of being on the “good team”, but you won’t have anything else.

The republican circus will be fun to watch, there’s no doubt about that. But if you’re a democrat that’s actually paying attention, fun is the only gratification that you’ll get out of it. If you’re like me, the negative ramifications of having a president with no fear of losing the next election will temper any glee that you may feel.

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Something In The Air

I’ve been reading articles and polls on President Obama’s rating bump since Bin Laden was killed. He’s gotten a ten point increase in his approval rating as a result of the killing, putting him at around a 56% approval. Most of that bump comes from republicans and independents, which isn’t surprising since most democrats have largely stuck with Obama all along.

I thought a ten point bump was oddly low, even though most pundits expected that he would get “as much as a ten point bump in approval”. Why do I find it odd?

Because I looked at Bush’s approval ratings. Prior to 9/11, Bush’s approval was hovering in the low to mid 50s. On September 12, 2001, his approval rating shot up to nearly 90%. In hindsight, this is fairly shocking since Bush was largely absent that day. He was busy flying from Florida, to Louisiana, to fucking Nebraska. This, after dicking around at an elementary school for a full twenty minutes after the initial attack. America needed a daddy that day, and our president wasn’t there. Rudy Guiliani was going to have to fill that role until Bush could get his shit together at 8:35 that night. But Americans were too shocked to notice all of that so when he finally decided to be a fucking leader, we were happy he was there. We were like kids with absent, deadbeat dads; grateful that he showed up, and happy to forgive the abandonment of the years between appearances. And we showed our gratitude with a 90% approval rating.

Fast forward to nearly ten years later to Obama. He finally avenges 9/11 by killing the mastermind behind the events of that day, and we only approve of him to the tune of 56%. What the fuck? Why did the guy that was merely in office at the time do so much better than the guy who did something about it did? It doesn’t make sense. We’re America. We fucking love it when the belief in our God given superiority is on validated. We shot Bin Laden in the head, and gave Pakistan a heartfelt “fuck you” by not telling them that we were going to do it. It really doesn’t get much more badass than that.

So what’s the problem? Is Obama just the shittiest president we’ve ever seen? Hardly! Regular readers of this blog know that I’m no cheerleader for Obama, and I’m definitely not an apologist for him either. I don’t think that this comparatively lackluster approval has much to do with Obama, anymore than I thought the Bush 9/11 bump had to do with Bush. I believe this is all about Americans realizing that our government isn’t working for us anymore.

When Bush took office, we had just come off eight years of relative comfort and prosperity. Granted, it was all built on a house of cards, but we felt prosperous. We felt so prosperous that we had the luxury of talking about a presidential blow job for two years. Americans like to bathe themselves in utterly irrelevant bullshit, only when important things aren’t happening. Bullshit is fun when you don’t really have a care in the world. Trump’s disappearance from the news this week is proof of that. We were inundated with birther and afterbirther bullshit, until Bin Laden was killed. Something important happened, and we stopped caring about the bullshit (for a while, anyway). Bush benefited greatly from the prosperous America that he inherited.

But during the course of Bush’s eight years in office, that illusion of prosperity melted away. In the past ten years, the bottom 60% of workers in America have received a 1% salary increase while the cost of gas, milk, and health insurance have doubled. And that 1% increase is achieved by working longer hours. Being American is just getting fucking harder, and everyone knows it. Americans are getting angrier every day. We saw it in the town halls during the health reform debate. We’re seeing it in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana in regard to collective bargaining rights. We’re again seeing it all across the country in town halls, where Americans are professing their adamance about keeping medicare in tact and instead, insisting that we raise taxes on the rich.

Something palpable is in the air in America. Americans might not exactly know why they’re getting screwed, or exactly how they’re getting screwed, but they’re not confused about the fact that they’re getting screwed.

In my opinion, this is a really good thing. It’s the start of something. The sunny optimist wants to believe that this is the start of taking our government back (sorry to use the teabagger matra, but I have to). The shitty and dysfunctional government that we have didn’t happen to us, it happened because of us. It happened through decades of ignorance and apathy on the part of the American people. When we don’t pay attention to what the government is doing, they get to rob us blind. And they do it with our tacit permission. And when Americans start noticing that things are shitty, our politicians misdirect our anger toward gays, immigrants, the elderly, international terrorist bogeymen, or the other party. They do this successfully, because we’re not paying close attention.

I want to believe that we’re in the early stages of paying attention. If my sunny optimistic vision for America comes to pass, it will require traveling a long long road. We’re at the first step of this road; deeply rooted discontentment.

This blog is largely about the next step in getting where we need to go. We need to disabuse ourselves of the notion that our political party are the good guys, and the other party are the bad guys. As a party loyalist, you are most susceptible to misdirection. You will always be rewarded for your blind loyalty with fewer opportunities to succeed in America. The George W Bushes will not keep you safe, and your loyalty to them will always be rewarded by redistributing your wages to the likes of Haliburton. The Barack Obamas will not give you healthcare at a reasonable cost. They will always divert trillions of your dollars to pharmaceutical and insurance companies by making shady backroom deals. Your blind loyalty will make you cheer them while they do it. You’ll get so swept up in team loyalty, that you will accept the notion that this was the best they could do, despite the fact that your own lying eyes never saw so much as one fiery speech supporting the public option that you really wanted. Your party loyalty is crippling your ability to see the actual solution to America’s problems.

Which brings me to the next step. Our elections shouldn’t be about candidates or parties. Our focus should be on changing the system. We’re never going to get good government if we don’t get the money out of the system. We need to be focusing on getting publicly financed campaigns for every seat in every state in the country. We need to organize to get ballot measures on the books in every state. Most people don’t realize that we have this option in America. Our congressmen aren’t the only people that can pass laws. We have that power too. All we need to do is get organized and collect signatures to put a measure on the ballot in every state. We need to be talking about publicly financed elections all the time. We need to get the word out. Everything else is just a bullshit distraction designed to confuse you about the definition of who “us” against “them” are. It’s not about “us” democrats versus “them” republicans (or vice versa). It’s about “us” earners versus “them” corporations.

We will never get good representation as long as that representation is dependent on money that comes from interests that are contrary to your own. I don’t care which party you identify with because this holds true for both sides. Republicans have held onto their loyalty for thirty years despite the fact that their party has done exactly nothing for them during that period. Democrats are happy for the occasional crumb they’re thrown once every decade or so, pretending like this loyalty won’t land them in the same boat republicans have been cruising in for decades.

Stop kidding yourselves. There’s something in the air in America. As politically active and aware people, don’t waste this opportunity by talking about party bullshit. Talk to your friends and family about what the real issue is; the corporate takeover of our government. We need to spread the word and channel this anger toward meaningful reform of our whole system.

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Oddly Ambivalent

This describes my feelings (or lack thereof) about the Bin Laden killing on Sunday. On Monday I chalked up my inexplicable numbness to shock, but I find myself at a loss to explain my lack of strong emotions three days later.

I’ve been reading and watching the reactions of Americans across the country for the past three days, and I find myself reacting to the reactions more than I do to the event itself. I suppose this has helped me to discover what I know I don’t feel.

I don’t feel compelled to condemn those who celebrate. I especially don’t feel the need to condemn the celebratory mood of Americans that were directly affected on 9/11. If you lost a family member or worse (in my opinion), have to live with the memory of watching people jump out of the twin towers, I don’t feel the right to deny you the satisfaction or healing that this may give you. Who the fuck am I to judge your pain?

I don’t feel an overwhelming sense of joy either. I don’t feel compelled to celebrate Bin Laden’s death. I also don’t feel a moral superiority over anyone that is celebrating. I don’t feel the need to diminish anyone else’s feelings with a pompous tweet or Facebook update designed to display my moral or humanitarian superiority.

Here’s the really weird one; I don’t feel compelled to use this event as a political tool. I don’t feel like lashing out at W (if someone can explain that one to me, I’d be eternally grateful). He was incompetent and worthless. We already knew that because there’s a mound of evidence proving it. George W Bush is a fucking jackass that ruined everything he ever touched, but I don’t feel like piling this failure on top of a mound that’s already taller than twin towers will accomplish anything new.

Conversely, I do feel angry when I hear anyone giving Bush credit for Bin Laden’s demise. He doesn’t deserve an ounce of credit, and telling me that he does is an assault on reason and logic. And assaulting reason and logic makes me mad. I will concede that it’s inconceivable to assert that nothing that happened during Bush’s tenure, led to the events of Sunday night. That simply doesn’t make sense. Everything that led to Bin Laden’s demise couldn’t possible have started after January 20, 2009. That’s just stupid. And if you believe this to be true, you’re unspeakably stupid. But I do know that any valuable information that was collected during Bush’s tenure, was never leveraged by the Bush administration to get the job done. We’ve seen a long history of the Bush administration’s manipulation, misunderstanding, and misuse of intelligence gathering. Bush didn’t get Bin Laden because he didn’t care to, and because he was incapable of doing it. Period. The facts speak for themselves; Bush didn’t get it done. With all that said, I’m more angry over the assault on my intelligence than I am the actual fake credit being given to Bush.

I do feel angry when people try and diminish or dismiss President Obama’s accomplishment here. It really takes a special kind of asshole to do that. You really have to be a little dead inside to be wound so tightly into a partisan knot. When your “team” mentality supersedes any kind genuine, visceral emotion, you’re just fucked up beyond what I can comprehend. I honestly don’t believe that I would have negated the very same accomplishment if it were Bush that had gotten it done. I judge people on each individual accomplishment or fuck up, independent of past accomplishments and fuck ups. We like to paint with broad brushes and either lionize or demonize across the board because doing so is easier than thinking. George W Bush is as close to a complete and total fucking loser, as any president we’ve ever seen in the history of the world. I still capable of giving him credit for not fucking up the North Korea situation. I can do this because I’m not a simpleton, and I don’t need for situations to all be black or white in order for my world view to work. If you can’t give Obama the credit he’s due, then fuck you.

My feelings all seem to be centered on issues that are ancillary to the actual event, and I’m mildly disturbed by that. So I’m going to go to ground zero tomorrow, in the hope that some of what everyone else is feeling will seep into me by osmosis.

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Moral Clarity

In my experience, people that have moral clarity when it comes to politics or world affairs are ignorant, insufferable simpletons. I offer that observation in order to explain why I have not yet sorted out my thoughts in the Bin Laden situation.

Don’t get me wrong, I definitely think the world is a better place with one less lunatic extremist. But pragmatically speaking, his death is more of a emotional victory for America than anything else. It makes Americans that crave revenge feel good. It gives friends and family members of 9/11 victims closure. I’m not minimizing the value of these things, since they’re obviously important to Americans.

Personally, I wish we’d gotten him alive. I want to know what he knew.

His death doesn’t change anything in the world. It doesn’t topple the giant, superfucking scary terrorist network known as Al Qaeda because al qaeda was never what it was made out to be. I never bought into the narrative that al qaeda was this huge organization with tentacles all around the world. Not because I didn’t want to, but because common sense told me otherwise. When we learned that 100% of the 9/11 hijackers were from the same country, we should have all recognized that this was a small operation. If they were far reaching and organized, those hijackers would have been from all over the world. Shit, Cirque Du Soleil has longer tentacles than al qaeda!

The foiled terrorism attempt in the UK in 2006 confirmed my belief that al qaeda was a small operation since again, all involved were (or descendants of) from one single country; Pakistan. Again, this would have been more of a multicultural plot if al qaeda were as big as we’re supposed to believe they are.

In addition to confirming how small al qaeda really was, the UK plot told me something else; Bin Laden moved to Pakistan. When you’re a lunatic with a small number of followers, you recruit and radicalize in your own backyard because you don’t have the means to reach people that are physically very far from you. It was reported for years, that Bin Laden was in Waziristan, on the Pakistan/Afghan border. That sounded credible to me, based on the fact that the UK plotters all had ties to Pakistan. He definitely wasn’t going to hang out in Afghanistan after we went in, no matter how incompetent the Bush administration was.

So in 2007, when candidate Obama declared that he wouldn’t hesitate to go into Pakistan if he felt it was necessary, I was the only liberal on the planet that wasn’t outraged. OF COURSE we had to go into Pakistan. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s dictator at the time, wasn’t doing a fucking thing to help us get Bin Laden. I wasn’t thrilled when Obama ultimately took the drone route into Pakistan. Nothing turns people against you more effectively than if you kill one of their family members, who was just out on a slurpee run to 7-eleven, with an unarmed drone. I would have preferred he taken a more “intelligence” and policing route, you know, the way we catch serial killers and pedophiles. But this isn’t the first time this president has done something I wanted him to do in a way that I completely disagree with. I’m fairly certain it won’t be the last.

Both parties built up al qaedamania so that they could dole billions of dollars in government contracts out to their donors, in a vomitous display of exploitation. Bush was the worst of the worst, since he used this fear to do everything from invading Iraq, to stripping us of our rights to privacy, to taking away the fundamental right to habeas corpus, to a whole host of other bullshit that you’re all familiar with by now.

The one thing about Bin Laden’s death that I do have clarity about is that the GOP won’t give Obama an ounce of credit for effectively executing it. They lorded his death over our heads for eight long years in an effort to scare us into voting for them. And now that it’s finally happened, they are utterly classless. They’ve spent all morning crediting the troops that they fuck over every chance they get and the intelligence community they spent 8 years marginalizing for Bin Laden’s assassination, with no mention of Obama at all. Their minions in the right wing press are coming up with batshit crazy ways to demonstrate that Obama doesn’t deserve credit. Assertions that Bush’s wars have toughened him up, since he obviously wouldn’t have had the stomach for this type of assassination two years ago. Fantasies about how “harsh interrogation techniques helped nail Bin Laden”. Please spare me this assault on logic and reason.

Your party couldn’t get the job done. In fact, I can’t remember the last time your party got anything done for Americans. So if you show some class, then just shut the fuck up. Really, I’m sick of your bullshit.

Readers of this blog know that I hate democrats. But at least once every decade, they throw me a crumb like giving me COBRA, or repealing hateful practices like “don’t ask don’t tell”. This republican party on the other hand, does nothing but debase my country, pick my pocket to enrich their self entitled asshat donors, and crap on days like this when most Americans are proud.

Fuck you, and your “moral clarity”.


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