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Question for the tea party and everyone who voted for tea party Republicans in November: Did you enjoy your purely cosmetic vote to repeal the health care reform law? Personally, I would feel pandered to, and not particularly satisfied with all of that fiscally expensive congressional time being wasted on a vote that meant absolutely nothing. But that’s me.

I mean, you and your peers are obsessively focused on budget deficits and the national debt. Perhaps all of that federal money, all of that federal time and all of those federal resources would have been more effectively spent on something that had a chance of actually happening. Instead, you mandated that your Republican members of the House spend countless dollars on a symbolic exercise in, well, hooey. Nonsense. The political equivalent of pissing into the wind.

Considering that many of us on the progressive side of the political divide supported the health care law in part because it actually reduces the deficit, and considering that many of us on the progressive side of the political divide supported the stimulus and, within it, the largest middle class tax cut in American history, I’m getting a strong idea as to who is more interested in fiscal discipline and who isn’t.

With this meaningless vote, not only have the Republicans proved themselves to be entirely disinterested in reducing the deficit, but they’ve also reinforced their obsession with bumper sticker slogans, self-contradictions and utterly nonsensical political gestures.

Here are two more fantastic examples of how Republicans seriously dislike health care reform, socialized medicine and “government-run” healthcare — that is, until they actually need it.

You may or may not recall a study conducted before the health care reform law was passed by the office of Rep. Anthony Weiner. At the time, 55 Republican members of Congress were enrolled in Medicare, including Senators McCain, McConnell, Kyl, Shelby, Lugar, Inhofe and Grassley. All of whom were opposed to the public option and health care reform.

On the House side, Rep. Weiner’s list includes Peter King, Phil Gingrey, wingnut Virginia Foxx and the godfather of the tea party movement Ron Paul. Seriously, Ron Paul! All 55 members are accepting a form of the public option. Government-run health care. Socialized medicine. I wonder what Ayn Rand would say about Ron Paul accepting Medicare? A program that, more than anything else, will help to bump the national debt from 15 percent of GDP to 35 percent of GDP by 2082. And they claim to be worried about the debt? That’s rich.

Where are the tea party budget hawks — the tri-corned hat reenactors with their misspelled signs and racist voodoo portraits of the president — screeching for Ron Paul to give up his share in American socialism?

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Many Americans assume the new health care reform act will benefit mostly the poor and uninsured and hurt everyone else, according to polls. As Matt Yglesias wrote, “Basically, people see this as a bill that will take resources from people who have health insurance and give it to people who don’t have health insurance.” Those who still oppose the reform say that people ought to pay for their own health care.

We all believe in the virtues of hard work and self-reliance, but these days it’s a fantasy to think that anyone but the mega-wealthy will not, sooner or later, depend on help from others to pay medical bills. And that’s true no matter how hard you work, how much you love America, or how diligently you take care of yourself. The cost of medical care has so skyrocketed that breaking an arm or leg could cost as much as a new car. And if you get cancer or heart disease — which can happen even to people who live healthy lifestyles — forget about it. The disease will not only clean you out; it will leave a whopping debt for your survivors to pay.

And the truth is, we all pay for other peoples’ health care whether we know it or not. When people can’t pay their medical bills, the cost of their health care gets added to everyone else’s bills and insurance premiums. When poor people use emergency rooms as a doctor of last resort, their care is not “free.” You pay for it.

Another common fantasy about medical care is that the “free market” provides incentives for medical companies to develop innovative new drugs and treatments for disease without government subsidy. It’s true that private enterprise is very good at developing profitable health care products. But not all medical care can be made profitable.

For years, the U.S. government has been funding medical research that the big private companies don’t want to do because there is too much cost for the potential profit. This is especially true for diseases that are rare and expensive to treat. An example of a recent advance made possible by government grants include new guidelines for malignant pleural mesothelioma treatment developed by MD Anderson Cancer Center researchers. Another is a blood screening test for mesothelioma developed by thoracic surgeon Dr. Robert Taub. The health reform act provides for more dollars for such research, from which even many of the tea party protesters will benefit.

The biggest fantasy of all was that people who had insurance didn’t have to worry about health care costs. But the fact is that in recent years millions of Americans have been bankrupted by medical costs, and three-quarters of the medically bankrupt had health insurance. And yes, insurance companies even dumped hard-working, law-abiding patriots. But the health care reform act will put an end to that, and now America’s hard-working, law-abiding patriots are more financially secure, whether they like it or not.

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The Rage Is Not About Health Care

The New York Times- Opinion

Published: March 27, 2010
THERE were times when last Sunday’s great G.O.P. health care implosion threatened to bring the thrill back to reality television. On ABC’s “This Week,” a frothing and filibustering Karl Rove all but lost it in a debate with the Obama strategist David Plouffe. A few hours later, the perennially copper-faced Republican leader John Boehner revved up his “Hell no, you can’t!” incantation in the House chamber — instant fodder for a new viral video remixing his rap with will.i.am’s “Yes, we can!” classic from the campaign. Boehner, having previously likened the health care bill to Armageddon, was now so apoplectic you had to wonder if he had just discovered one of its more obscure revenue-generating provisions, a tax on indoor tanning salons.

But the laughs evaporated soon enough. There’s nothing entertaining about watching goons hurl venomous slurs at congressmen like the civil rights hero John Lewis and the openly gay Barney Frank. And as the week dragged on, and reports of death threats and vandalism stretched from Arizona to Kansas to upstate New York, the F.B.I. and the local police had to get into the act to protect members of Congress and their families.

How curious that a mob fond of likening President Obama to Hitler knows so little about history that it doesn’t recognize its own small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht. The weapon of choice for vigilante violence at Congressional offices has been a brick hurled through a window. So far.

No less curious is how disproportionate this red-hot anger is to its proximate cause. The historic Obama-Pelosi health care victory is a big deal, all right, so much so it doesn’t need Joe Biden’s adjective to hype it. But the bill does not erect a huge New Deal-Great Society-style government program. In lieu of a public option, it delivers 32 million newly insured Americans to private insurers. As no less a conservative authority than The Wall Street Journal editorial page observed last week, the bill’s prototype is the health care legislation Mitt Romney signed into law in Massachusetts. It contains what used to be considered Republican ideas.

MORE HERE

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Los Angeles Times- By Kathleen Hennessey and Ashley Powers

March 28, 2010

Reporting from Searchlight, Nev. – Gathered amid the dust and sagebrush of the Nevada desert, thousands of conservative “tea party” protesters responded Saturday to their critics with what might be called the young protest movement’s unofficial motto.

Don’t tread on me.

Dozens of yellow flags bearing that defiant message, along with the image of a coiled snake poised to strike, whipped in the wind above the crowds rallying in the tiny highway hometown of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Along with repeating familiar tea party themes — government is too big, the healthcare overhaul is socialist — the protesters pointedly answered critics who say the group’s rhetoric has fueled violence and threats against Democratic lawmakers in an increasingly poisonous political climate after the passage of healthcare legislation.

“Don’t ever let anybody tell you to sit down and shut up, Americans!” said former Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. A hearty crowd huddled in a dirt lot for the “Showdown in Searchlight” cheered.

The rally was originally intended to stir up opposition to Reid’s bid for reelection this fall.

But the parade of speakers seemed equally focused on defending the young protest movement from its detractors, an acknowledgment that any association with the vandalism, threats and slurs reported by Democrats could harm tea party aims and drive away allies.

MORE HERE

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Screeching Dingbat Delights Group of Teabaggers

WONKETTE– 9:56 PM on Sat March 27 2010
By Ken Layne

Oh well, here she is, Miss Also America, proving once again why nobody would give her a job as a local-teevee-news announcer because GAH nails on chalkboard, etc. Your editor almost drove out to the southern Nevada mining town of Searchlight to witness this public-speaking abortion. But, honestly, being in the same town as Sarah Palin once was more than enough.

As Frank Rich writes in tomorrow’s NYT: “At least four of the House members hit with death threats or vandalism are among the 20 political targets Palin marks with rifle crosshairs on a map on her Facebook page.” So, the Wasilla Grifter is doing about as well with this as she did with winning the vice presidency, or sticking with her job as Alaska’s governor.

Let her pack up her bags of money and tacky leather dresses and go back to Alaska, forever. Fucking idiot crook. [Los Angeles Times]

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THE DOCTOR MIGHT BE IN Cubans young and old at a Havana clinic in 2004. Sven Creutzmann/Polaris

Global Research, March 26, 2010
Digital Granma Internacional – 2010-03-24

Barack Obama is a fanatical believer in the imperialist capitalist system imposed by the United States on the world: “God bless the United States,” at the end of his speeches.

Some of his acts wounded the sensitivity of world opinion, which viewed with sympathy the African-American candidate’s victory over that country’s extreme right-wing candidate. Basing himself on one of the worst economic crises that the world has ever seen, and the pain caused by young Americans who lost their lives or were injured or mutilated in his predecessor’s genocidal wars of conquest, he won the votes of the majority of 50% of Americans who went to the polls in that democratic country.

Out of an elemental sense of ethics, Obama should have abstained from accepting the Nobel Peace Prize when he had already decided to send 40,000 soldiers to an absurd war in the heart of Asia.

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During the Bush years, members of the far-right would often suggest that liberals were “with the terrorists” if we merely opposed the invasion and occupation of Iraq, or if we opposed the policies of the Republican leadership at the time. In fact, any negative criticism of the president whatsoever was considered unpatriotic “while troops were in harm’s way.” That was the line we heard almost daily throughout the previous decade: don’t undermine the commander-in-chief while troops were deployed in battle. Just don’t. Or Sean Hannity will crush you with his mighty hairline!

But in general, there was this idea among Republicans that liberals were somehow emboldening the terrorists anytime we suggested that it might be a bad idea to eavesdrop on American telecommunications, or that it might be a bad idea to torture detainees, or that it might be a bad idea to invade Iran after having already invaded Iraq and Afghanistan to varying degrees of failure. Either we were with the administration, or we were with the terrorists.

We can debate at another time whether or not anyone is currently “emboldening” Islamic terrorists or putting the troops in jeopardy by constantly accusing their commander-in-chief of hating America, of hating white people, of hating freedom or of hating you personally.

The more important discussion during this groundbreaking week in American history is whether or not legitimate Republican and conservative leaders are instigating and inciting violence against the president, against Democrats, against liberals and, in some cases, against children.

And they are.

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Vandals Attack Dem Offices Nationwide

TPM Muckraker

Justin Elliott | March 23, 2010, 1:00PM

Vandals smashed doors and windows at four Democratic offices around the country in the days surrounding the landmark House health care vote Sunday night, and a right-wing blogger in Alabama is taking credit for starting a so-called “window war.”

Here are the reports we’ve seen from around the country on the mini-epidemic of brick-throwing:

  • Early on the morning of March 19, someone threw a brick through the window of Rep. Louise Slaughter’s office in Niagara Falls, New York, doing $350 of damage, the Buffalo News reported. Slaughter (D-NY) briefly attracted the ire of conservatives over the “Slaughter Solution,” a procedural maneuver that was considered (but, ultimately, not used) to pass health reform.
  • Also in Slaughter’s district, a brick was thrown through the glass doors of the Monroe County Democratic Committee office in Rochester, NY, over the weekend, the Democrat and Chronicle reported. A note attached to the brick bore the Barry Goldwater quote, “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice,” a spokesman for the committee told the newspaper.
  • In the early hours of the morning on Monday just after the House health care vote, someone smashed the glass front door of the Tucson office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), the Arizona Daily Star reported. “The perpetrator likely had to hop the gated fence to get access to the door, since it’s not viewable from the parking lot,” the paper reported.
  • On Friday night or Saturday morning, a brick bearing unspecified “anti-Obama and anti-health care messages” was thrown through a floor-to-ceiling window at the Sedgwick County Democratic Party headquarters in Wichita, Kansas, CNN and the Kansas City Start reported.

Pinson, Alabama-based blogger Mike Vanderboegh has been tracking the breaking of windows at Dem offices after issuing a call Friday: “To all modern Sons of Liberty: THIS is your time. Break their windows. Break them NOW.”

It’s far from clear whether Vanderboegh’s call to arms has anything to do with the incidents around the country.

The Kansas City Star identifies Vanderboegh as a former leader of the Alabama Constitutional Militia.

His blog, Sipsey Street Irregulars, identifies with the so-called “Three Percenter” doctrine: “During the American Revolution, the active forces in the field against the King’s tyranny never amounted to more than 3% of the colonists.”

The March 19 post says:

They will send the Internal Revenue Service and other federal police to do this in thousands of small Wacos, if that is what it takes to force us to submit. This arrogant elite pretends that this oppression is for our own good, while everyone else understands that this is about their selfish, insatiable appetite for control over our liberty, our money, our property and our lives.

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