Monday, April 21, 2014

Obamacare & the Five Stages of Republican Grief

With the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, surpassing expectations in enrollment and defying the naysayers' economic forecasts of doom, as well as predictions of the country being littered with the corpses of seniors and children, Republicans have now reached the fifth stage of grief. How they will deal with that final phase is not yet clear, but let us look at the K├╝bler-Ross model and how they have dealt with the first four stages.

Denial: In March, 2010, John Boehner symbolized the GOP denial of unstoppable realty best when in his final words before the vote on the House floor, he crowed like a frustrated capon that had been gorging on corn mash, "Can you say it was done openly with transparency and accountability, without backroom deals and struck behind closed doors, hidden from the people?" When Democrats responded with a resounding chorus of "Yes!", Speaker Boehner uttered the line that will be remembered as his Patrick Henry moment, "Hell no you can't!"

Yes, Republicans were in complete denial that what they most dreaded, that being an act that would prevent millions of their fellow Americans from being denied health coverage, being forced into bankruptcy or suffering and dying needlessly, was about to become law. And that in spite of the millions spent and the endless lies spewed. This could not be happening.

Anger: Yes, Republicans were angry. Of course they're always angry, but this was different. They perceived it as cruelly unfair to have this flawed and obviously unworkable law shoved down their throats, and by a Black man with questionable origin and religion yet. They began mobilizing their base, who responded by noisily taking to the streets with misspelled signs, funny hats, scooter chairs and assault weapons. So angry were they that some Republican leaders even began threatening secession, but became only angrier when the general reaction was, beside wild howls of laughter, about what one would expect from the homecoming queen being told by the school dork that he wasn't asking her to the prom. In other words, "Good! Secede you stupid fucks!"

Bargaining: Seeing that the situation was desperate, Republicans entered the next stage. Unfortunately, bargaining is not their strong suit and went something like this: "We won't destroy life as you know it if you just repeal Obamacare." However, this was not viewed as bargaining, but more as blackmail. Republican poll numbers began to plummet to never-before-seen negative digits as Americans registered their resentment at having a figurative gun stuck in the back of their collective heads because some child with leukemia might get treatment and her parents not end up in unmarked paupers' graves. Republicans gave up on bargaining.

Depression: With threatening, or as Republicans call it — bargaining — a resounding failure, the GOP entered the depression stage. As utter hopelessness took hold, they began the masturbatory process of staging meaningless repeals of Obamacare in the House, to the exclusion of all other business. When they reached fifty failed attempts, most people stopped counting, but realizing they had not yet gone blind or had hair grow on their palms, Republicans continued their pointless, costly fantasy.

Democrats were not without pity, however, and set up 1-800-REPEAL where Republicans could call and have a very sexy female voice tell them huskily that she just loved repealing Obamacare and they're so fucking hot and do it again baby. Oh yeah, do it again. Squeal.

Acceptance: This is the final stage, but Republicans are unlikely to reach it in our lifetimes. Even with 8 million people (and counting) signed up, the cost of healthcare dropping and less of our citizens likely to die, they just can't take that final, calming, humanizing step. And since they have no idea what to replace the ACA with, and no ideas for governing beyond giving rich people poor peoples' money, they will be running in 2014 and 2016 on taking health care away from millions and millions of people.

The outcome cannot yet be predicted, but one thing is certain. 1-800-REPEAL is always busy.

©2014 Kona Lowell

You can hear a reading of this blog every Wednesday at 7 PM Central at Brass Knuckle Progressives Radio.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bill Kristol, Neocon Nostradamus

The venerated pantheon of seers and oracles is as expansive and momentous as History herself. The Oracle at Delphi, Cassandra, The Brahan Seer, Edgar Cayce, The Amazing Criswell, Jean Dixon, Miss Cleo and of course, the great Nostradamus are among the revered prophets enshrined in her temple of augury. But there is one more that must be added to that illustrious canon: Bill Kristol.

Bill Kristol, son of Irving, Father of Neoconservatism, functions as the American version of The Nechung Oracle of Tibet, counseling and forewarning heads of state, politicians and pundits with uncanny accuracy and aplomb. When not making prophetic utterances at Fox News or other outlets fervently awaiting his preeminent prognostications, Mr. Kristol holds forth from his electronic fortress of neoconservative agitprop, the esteemed American Standard. Excuse me, I meant to say Weekly Standard. American Standard manufactures toilets.

Mr. Kristol's soothsaying is legendary, and so of course keeps him in high demand among the networks' Sunday morning Republican infomercials. But what has this vaunted seer forecast that makes him so critically essential to the regressive message?

The list is extensive, but here are a few of the highlights of this breathtaking career in divination.

In 2002, Mr. Kristol eerily predicted that a war in Iraq "could have terrifically good effects throughout the Middle East."

In 2003, Mr. Kristol miraculously predicted that the Iraq War would last for two months, and that weapons of mass destruction would most certainly be found.

In 2006, he stunningly said that if Hillary Clinton "gets a race against John Edwards and Barack Obama, she’s going to be the nominee. Gore is the only threat to her, then. … Barack Obama is not going to beat Hillary Clinton in a single Democratic primary. I’ll predict that right now."

In 2007 Mr. Kristol amazingly prophesied that the Bush tax cuts would send the economy soaring through the stratosphere and that Bush would be entirely vindicated by this brilliant manoeuvre.

Again, in 2007, Mr. Kristol magically said that the civil war taking place in Iraq was not really happening.

In 2008 he wondrously predicted that Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska would defeat Mark Begich.

In 2011, Mr. Kristol knowingly forecast a Rudy Giuliani run for the presidency.

And of course in 2012, Bill Kristol preternaturally predicted an overwhelming Romney romp to victory.

Which brings us to 2014 and one of Mr. Kristol's most recent predictions, that being that Hillary Clinton will likely not run and if she does will be defeated by "a younger, fresher Republican face" because she will be "too out of step with the Democratic primary electorate in 2016."

Time will tell if Bill Kristol maintains his perfect record in prognostication, but if I were Hillary Clinton, I'd start measuring the drapes in the White House.

©2014 Kona Lowell

Catch this blog read live every Wednesday, 7 PM Central, on Brass Knuckle Progressives Radio with host Scott Henderson.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Here Come The NEW Republicans!

Washington, DC. Having realized that their brand is in serious need of spiffy new packaging, the Republican Party is launching a campaign to convince voters that there really is such an animal as a "New Republican." The project, brainorphan of Republican strategist Alex Castellanos, features Republican new kid on the block, former Governor Jeb Bush and radical upstart Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

The ad, which aired for the first time last Sunday, features the pair borrowing Jeff Foxworthy's You Might Be a Redneck schtick and modifying it ever so slightly, all while being buoyed atop bouncy, generic indie folk.

Says Governor Bush, "If you believe that every parent ought to be able to choose their child’s school, and that the economy should be driven from the bottom up, not the top down from Washington, then you’re thinking like a New Republican."

Then Governor Jindal chimes in with, "If you don’t think the Republican Party should be the party of big government, big business or big anything, you’re thinking like a New Republican."

Apparently, the focus groups Castellanos ran this ad by did not include any humorists, historians or people with perceptible cognitive abilities or with memories lasting longer than about five minutes.

Take Governor Bush's passive-aggressive call to arms. Aside from being a thinly burkaed promise to destroy public education by grabbing all the funds and handing them to their backers and cronies who run charter schools, what if all parents picked the same school? Then what? And yes, the economy is being driven from the bottom up. Driven like a herd of cattle to the slaughterhouse. But he's right. The profits are definitely not staying at the bottom.

By the way, Jeb Bush is known as "The Smart Brother." 

Governor Jindal's laughable attempt at passing off the Republican Party as the champion of The Little Guy and definitely, positively, swear to God not the party of Big Business, and steadfastly opposed to "big anything," should keep cynics amply supplied with grist for their snark mills for days. I'll pass on the obvious penis jokes but mention that he left out "big ideas." Doubt that he noticed.

And yet this smug masquerade might just work if only they were not chained at the ankles to the Tea Party. Those guys are not going to start thinking like mythical New Republicans. They're going to continue to demean women and minorities. They're going to keep equating science with demonic possession. They're going to obstruct anything and everything. They're going to fight against equal pay, raising the minimum wage, civil rights, marriage equality, voting rights, the unemployed and of course Obamacare. They're going to pursue their bogus scandals like suicidal junkie Quixotes. And every time someone like Jeb Bush waxes poetic (and uncannily human) that undocumented immigrants enter this country as an "act of love," they're going to rear up on their hind legs and demand that 12 million people be deported. Or shot. Whichever.

We've seen this attempt at rebranding before. It was called "Compassionate Conservatism." Jeb's dumber brother ran on it, and won, and he had so goddamn much compassion that up to 1,000,000 Iraqis who never did a thing to us are dead, their country decimated and we're still digging ourselves out of the economic abyss that neocon misadventure created. And these compassionate conservatives also had something of a crush on torture, but they renamed it "refined interrogation techniques." Sweet.

The point is, I can call myself an omniscient interplanetary sex mariachi, but that doesn't make me one. Here's hoping we don't get fooled again.

©2014 Kona Lowell

You can catch a live reading of this blog and more every Wednesday, 7 PM Central, on Brass Knuckle Progressives Radio

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Death Spiral

Washington, DC. Well, the numbers are in and it's 1,099,000 per day! Pretty amazing, isn't it? Most liberal pundits did not believe we'd be seeing numbers like this in 2014, especially after all this country has been through. Yet even with all the intentional omissions, non-stop obstruction, doom and gloom forecasting and outright, endlessly debunked lies, Fox News viewership is still on top.

Which is why the Fair & Balanced network is having such a horrible time dealing with this number: 7.1 million. That of course is the number of Americans who signed up for Obamacare by last night's deadline. It's just about the worst news they've ever had, except for Obama being elected. Twice.

See, Fox News has worked feverishly for years to deprive millions (make that 45 million) of us from having a choice between bankruptcy and wellness. Or death and wellness. And this failure can only lessen their credibility. How can they honestly report on our fellow Americans lining up by the tens of thousands in red states nationwide to willingly submit themselves to socialism and death panels? Well, they can't. And they won't.

But what Fox News will do is put lying sacks of shit like Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) on the air to claim that the administration is "cooking the books" on Obamacare and therefore it's really a dismal failure. They will televise charts that show the number 6,000,000 to be one third of 7,000,000 and charts to show 7.1 million being less than 7 million.Their viewers, not known as math wizards, will not notice.

In coming days they will have House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) on over and over to tell their audience, a solid majority of which will certainly be future Darwin Award winners, that the only way to save this once-great nation is to repeal this freedom-destroying law and give all the money to the Department of Defense and the vastly under-appreciated rich people who make life as we know it possible. Ryan will of course do this while looking as much like a winsome stray puppy as is humanly possible.

And you can count on learning that only old and sick people, you know, people who really need insurance, are signing up and that young people are roundly rejecting it so it's an utter failure and must be repealed. And you will hear that billions and billions of Americans have lost their coverage and are now going to die. And that premiums are going through the stratosphere. And that doctors are quitting because they can't make any money. That it's a train wreck. It's in a death spiral. It's a government takeover of the health industry. Jesus hates it.

Well, here's something you won't hear on Fox News. My wife and I got covered and it saved us $650 per month. And that's a good plan that also pays for alternative treatments like acupuncture (which I swear by) and massage therapy (which I swear during). So fuck you, Fox News. If I'm going to get sick and die, it will not be because my insurance has been cancelled, I have reached my lifetime cap or I couldn't collect enough cans to pay for a new heart.

How many people will not get good, affordable coverage because they bought into the Fox News lies, coverage that might be the difference between life and death? We'll likely never know. But one thing is certain, and that is that Fox News and the Republican Party are dangerous to your health and our country's future. Sadly, even with Obamacare, there's no cure for stupid.

©2014 Kona Lowell

To hear a live reading of this blog, catch me on Brass Knuckle Progressives Radio Wednesday at 7 PM Central or click this link for the recorded version. I'm on right after intro.