(Jack Ohman via GoComics.com)
There’s nothing like a professional when you want it done right, and the current disaster has brought out the consummate professional in Mr. Charles P. Pierce:
… In the year of our Lord 2010, the voters of the United States elected the worst Congress in the history of the Republic. There have been Congresses more dilatory. There have been Congresses more irresponsible, though not many of them. There have been lazier Congresses, more vicious Congresses, and Congresses less capable of seeing forests for trees. But there has never been in a single Congress — or, more precisely, in a single House of the Congress — a more lethal combination of political ambition, political stupidity, and political vainglory than exists in this one, which has arranged to shut down the federal government because it disapproves of a law passed by a previous Congress, signed by the president, and upheld by the Supreme Court…
This is what they came to Washington to do — to break the government of the United States. It doesn’t matter any more whether they’re doing it out of pure crackpot ideology, or at the behest of the various sugar daddies that back their campaigns, or at the instigation of their party’s mouthbreathing base. It may be any one of those reasons. It may be all of them. The government of the United States, in the first three words of its founding charter, belongs to all of us, and these people have broken it deliberately. The true hell of it, though, is that you could see this coming down through the years, all the way from Ronald Reagan’s First Inaugural Address in which government “was” the problem, through Bill Clinton’s ameliorative nonsense about the era of big government being “over,” through the attempts to make a charlatan like Newt Gingrich into a scholar and an ambitious hack like Paul Ryan into a budget genius, and through all the endless attempts to find “common ground” and a “Third Way.” Ultimately, as we all wrapped ourselves in good intentions, a prion disease was eating away at the country’s higher functions. One of the ways you can acquire a prion disease is to eat right out of its skull the brains of an infected monkey. We are now seeing the country reeling and jabbering from the effects of the prion disease, but it was during the time of Reagan that the country ate the monkey brains…
Yo, fuck Reagan.
And monkey brains, though popular in Cantonese cuisine, are not often found in Washington DC!
Took the day off work today, just saw I could be home and hear about all the ACA stories and how everything went on the officially first day.
Now though, I gotta go to bed and go to work tomorrow (bah-humbug). But I just had to share, cause this commercial for Volkswagen has been giving me life since I first saw it. Has anyone else seen it too? God I love that video and that song!!!
Volkswagen Commerical uses Ah Ha’s “Take On Me”
Posted this in the baseball thread, but it fits better here:
A friend has a friend who works at a Koch Industries company. They got a letter today telling them they would not have health insurance through the company beginning in 2014 “because of Obamacare.” Aren’t they big enough that they’re going to have to pay a penalty?
The friend has a health condition, so this is going to hit her harder than some.
Excellent summation. I’m putting this one right up there with erstwhile commenter Renato’s crack that Reagan made America feel better about itself the way getting drunk makes one feel better about losing one’s job, losing one’s house, and being flat broke.
And yet the equity markets were up nearly 1% today. As someone who works in finance, the invisible hand ain’t as smart as it seems – particularly because I see no way forward on the debt ceiling if this is what we have going on for the budget right now.
If anything, the invisible hand’s opinion is “BOTH SIDES DO IT!!!111” and that things will magically figure themselves up. Invisible hand ain’t got time for any of that (where that = politics).
Culture of Truth
Pierce is one those few writers who is actually worth reading.
This includes the pre-Civil War ones? I’m just asking – I honestly don’t know pre-Civil War politics well enough to judge, but just by looking at the fruits they bore…
George W. Bush rates a mention here as well. Inheriting a country with a budget surplus and breaking it deliberately on two wars and two rounds of tax cuts looked like rank incompetence and handouts to his business base at the time, but seeing how fucknuts the GOP is capable of getting, it’s fair to wonder if fucking up the government for the sake of fucking up the government wasn’t also a deliberate part of it.
It’s that time of year here again, so thought perhaps some BJers might find the food offerings (with a distinctly local skew) at the Maui County Fair (this Thurs. – Sun.) moderately entertaining.
There may even be an unfamiliar item or three in the list.
Out in the Alley a Dead Horse is Beaten:
“Maybe he likes older women.”
sorry that’s all I’ve got on monkey brains
@NotMax: Looks delicious. Love Maui – last time I was there was in 2008, wish I could go back soon…
@PsiFighter37: why would tge markets be down? The shut down, while it may impact some companies, means that the fed wont be tapering any time soon, which means more $$$ which if memory serves me right have not been circulating down, but being sucked into capital markets. Moar easy money!
@NotMax: Chicken fried bacon? I r intrigued…
1) I love the fact that they just said “because of Obamacare,” nothing more specific. I think their documents just read “because of [blank space in which you insert the needed scapegoat].”
2) Yeah. The fact that Koch Industries, of all corporations, is saying “we can’t afford to provide health insurance for our employees,” is so transparent it’s ridiculous. In case I had any doubt that the “Obamacare is the reason we can’t pay your health insurance” meme that’s been going around was a sack of shit, this dispelled it. They’re just denying coverage to their employees like they have been for years, and Obamacare’s the latest excuse.
3) At the same time, I wonder if all these companies aren’t shooting themselves in the foot. Massive purges of employer-provided health care will only increase the flood of people looking to get their own insurance through “Obamacare.” End result, a greater amount of enfranchised employees whose health insurance isn’t at their boss’ mercy, and who’ll remember that “Obamacare” helped them when their employer kicked them to the curb.
Ah yes those glorious Reagan years of seeing the paycheck dwindle while supporting a family of 8. It made me feel so good (not) when David Stockman in recent years said he was wrong and regrets having done his trickle down BS.
In regards to the reference of a monkey here with Reagan, my Dad thought it was hilarious having had the monkey’s uncle elected.
Perhaps the Market was up 1% BECAUSE Obamacare is the law of the land and the captains of industry outside of Kochland recognize the benefits to our country of a functional market for insurance.
Perhaps the Market was up 1% BECAUSE Obamacare is the law of the land and the captains of industry outside of Koch-land recognize the benefits to our country of a functional market for insurance.
@Chris: This includes the pre-Civil War ones? I’m just asking – I honestly don’t know pre-Civil War politics well enough to judge, but just by looking at the fruits they bore…
I’m kinda thinkin’ the 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 31st Congresses were not winners. The 44th Congress was not a winner either. And the 65th, well, they certainly passed a lot of bills. So there’s that.
@PsiFighter37: And yet the equity markets were up nearly 1% today. As someone who works in finance, the invisible hand ain’t as smart as it seems – particularly because I see no way forward on the debt ceiling if this is what we have going on for the budget right now.
Nothing happening. Expecting the R’s to surrender quickly, no harm done.
[‘Back to normal, of a sort.’]
@PsiFighter37: I suppose if investors had figured this was going to happen, reaction could have already been built into the market, but I was surprised too. I was also surprised to see gold take a crap this morning. Someone here speculated that it was doomsday preppers panicking and cashing out. I wouldn’t have thought the preppers made up a big enough portion of the market that they’d be able to move the price that much, but I’ve underestimated teh crazee in the past, so I’ll believe anything on that. And the price did stabilize as time went on, so I suppose it’s entirely possible that real investors stepped in and picked up some bargains after the Beckians finished peeing themselves. I have to think, however, that the current prospects for the debt ceiling have “short sale” written all over them.
Villago Delenda Est
It can all be traced back to the election and subsequent deification of a shitty grade Z movie star. One who stumbled through his entire eight years in office as either an incompetent, yet amiable, boob, or an Alzheimer’s addled boob. Take your pick.
Yet, it was still possible to install in office an even more incompetent boob 12 years after the shitty grade Z movie star was, thankfully, term limited out of office.
The decline of America started on January 20th, 1981.
@Violet: Are the bastards cutting your friend’s pay? Because if they terminate healthcare benefits without cash compensation, that’s exactly what they are doing. The “because of” is complete nonsense. Nothing in the ACA says that employers should reduce benefits; the whole thing is designed to maintain the structure in place. It does, of course, mandate that she cannot be refused insurance because of preexisting conditions, so there’s that, and it provides subsidies at some income levels. But this kind of manipulation on the part of employers is why we really need to get away from employer-based healthcare. I hope your friend is OK.
@Villago Delenda Est:
one of the things I remember hearing back then (I was in HS) and hearing over and over and over was “capital gains tax cut”
look at the income inquality since Reagan’s tax policies, and you’ll see they worked as planned.
So now there are 10 House Republicans on record as saying that they will support a funding bill without strings attached. Just seven wimps to go, and then if Boehner puts it to the vote Cruz is (temporarily?) shafted.
Either way, poor old Boehner’s now looking permanently shafted, regardless of what he does.
@NotMax: Holy cow! Does all of Maui spend that entire time in a food coma? I’m thanking heaven I didn’t read that lineup when I was hungry.
I disagree a bit. It is GOP House caucus full of crazy people, lead by a cheesy two-bit hood who shows all the spine, and life, of a jellyfish washed up on the seashore.
Boehner is gutless wonder, a headless nothing, a vessel of void. Ambrose Bierce, Mark Twain, and Dorothy Parker, off on a mean drunk , could not do him justice.
Boehner doesn’t have the guts to do anything but sweep himself into the trashcan of history, which actually does take some kind of guts, but not the kind that belong in a leadership position.
@Suffern ACE: Good point.
one of the essential tenants of the reagan legacy: ‘proud to be a jackass’.
I’ve not eaten a monkey, but I’ve spanked a few on occasion.
Yes, you told us, and we told as much of the world as would listen, which turned out to be not very much.
But it has been a pleasure reading you over the years, especially when you (as you so often have) achieved incandescence.
Peace be upon you.
I am trying to figure out how to get my mom signed up. She can’t afford to pay full price all year and then get her subsidies back as a tax credit. She needs to have the subsidies applied directly to the cost of the policy. The website is still down, so I will have to figure this out later,
@Suzanne: The subsidies are supposedly paid directly from what I’ve read.
And as for the exchanges being slow to respond due to traffic; I call GOP ratfucking with a lot of assholes logging in to tie things up and create a bad first impression. (Think they don’t have that in their playbook?)
I’m thinking about paying the $90 fine and waiting to enroll until 2015.
@Ash Can: having lived with a gold bug for a number of years, I can answer the gold question in bugese.
“The Fed always sells gold to tank the price during a crises to prevent hold from competing with its fiat currency.”
Just Some Fuckhead
@Punchy: Haha, that’s pr0n, not pri0n, ya big sill.
I just tried to create a “Marketplace account” in Florida. The site repeatedly told me that I was giving the same answer to different security questions even though I wasn’t. Then I tried again with a different browser and I am getting “Important: Your account couldnt (sic) be created at this time. The system is unavailable.”.
Clearly Ted Cruz is correct. Just the punctuation mistake in the error message is reason enough to roll back Obamacare, and don’t get me started on the background colors. You’d think our gay president could at least create a tasteful web page with pastel tones.
@Just Some Fuckhead: Kud0s. Well d0ne.
So until he was called on on live TV by MSNBC’s Mara Schiavocampo (a fellow UCLA grad), Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) had been saying on his own website that Obamacare was unconstitutional.
I think it’s just a LOT of genuine demand. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve run into that are desperate to be able to get health insurance.
@? Martin: Concur. I know A LOT of people who are hoping-against-hope that they don’t get sick until January 1. They are all very interested in what this can offer them.
@driftglass: That’s a great article, thank you. Indeed, I’ve been shouting in the void for 10, 20, 30 years now too.
But this is always the way it is! Disasters are always slow-motion disasters. Big ones take much longer to turn into disasters, and people shout with their hair on fire the whole way along, and are ignored.
My favorite example: the last thing Benjamin Franklin did, before he died, in 1790, was deliver a speech to the first Congress under the new Constitution, at the behest of his Amish friends, asking the Congress to please please please outlaw slavery once and for all, or there would be hell to pay. He was right, and there was, it only took another 70 years.
Einstein and a lot of other people saw Germany going to shit in the early 1930s; they didn’t wait for Kristallnacht, let alone for concentration camps, they got the fuck out ASAP.
A friend who is always ecnomically on top of his shit cashed out of the dot-com and California real estate bubbles and left the USA in early 2001, went to Australia, and has been prosperous and happy ever since (I’ve been poor and miserable ever since).
I was fond of reading Krugman and James Howard Kunstler in 2003 and 2004; everything they predicted would go tits-up has gone tits-up (and is still getting even more dire).
And Al Gore has been running around with his hair on fire about global warming since, what, the 1980s? And here we are 30 years later and we’re still burning fossil fuels and the ice caps are melting.
This is reallly the Great Unravelling, as Krugman put it. We are living through the unwinding of the American Empire, and even of American-style “free market” Capitalism (which is collapsing even in Europe under austerity), and, if the oceans keep rising, of modern technological civilization as we know it.
This is the end.
@Yatsuno: Speaking of brains, I think we may share the same one. That was also the first thing I thought of when I read the title.
“Is that what we ate?!”
@HRA: Oh gawd, I didn’t get that very subtle pun in Pierce’s thing. Of course, the diseased monkey whose brains we all ate was… Bonzo.
@BruinKid: I didn’t know she is a fellow Bruin. I knew Young Ezra and Karen Finney are Bruins.
@fuckwit: I listen to Kunstler’s podcast, but a few weeks ago when he suggested that talk of bombing Syria was just happening because Obama was trying to distract from the economic disaster that was going to happen any day now I realized that man is a bit bonkers. I mean he said 3-4 years ago that within 10 years there would be no commercial air travel, but I guess he’s got another 7 years to be proven right. The dude’s really great on some subjects, mainly urban planning, but he’s a crackpot on lots of other ones.
The young guy on Chris Hayes made me quite emotional and, at the same time, angry. Angry at the GOP fuckers who just want to deny people health care. Just fucking cruel assholes. This isn’t about some kid having someplace to go to after school or a public transportation system which people can use to get where they need to. No, this is fucking with somebody’s life and that somebody’s loved ones. And the Koch assholes putting on those ads dissuading young people from enrolling in Obamacare are just evil. If there is a heaven those assholes better damn well not be there.
@? Martin: I think it is a combination of ratfuckery and demand. TPM is reporting that the NY site had been hit over 10 million times in less than 24 hours. And I also think there are some insured folks who are curious what the final exchange numbers look like, for either personal or political reasons.
(EDIT: If private business ever adopted the GOP standard of eliminating all glitches before launching a new product, we may still be waiting for the first version of Windows)
@fuckwit: Here’s what I consider a major symptom of the Great Unravelling: i drove by this corner near my house that used to have a mexican restaurant. It’s now a car title loan place. On another corner near my house, is another car title loan place. BTW, I live in a solid middle class part of town. I was in Scottsdale, a wealthy Phx suburb, a couple of weeks ago – I saw yet another car title loan place. There seems to be one at every freaking major intersection. And they don’t seem to be going out of business.
@YellowJournalism: Has to be something about Pullman that slightly warps the brain or something. But yeah, Tim Curry’s voice popped right into my skull.
Cliff in NH
Looks like the cartoon is inspired by the Epic Crash: Don’t Always Follow Your Friends Video posted on pinkbike … it was even shown on bloomberg tv today.
It’s nice to follow someone into a new feature, but it’s not so good when the guy in front gets it that badly wrong.
Luckily they were all okay.
@mai naem: I’ve heard that now that the derivatives market isn’t quite so lucrative that they’re all piling into car loans. Ridiculously high interest rates for used cars and refusing to accept any car financing but on the dealers lot itself. Basically all the abuses we saw with mortgage loans transferred into the auto loan market.
Villago Delenda Est
Gold bugs need to be given Kahl Drago’s take on a golden crown.
@lamh36: Great commercial. VW always does that so well. So I’ll see you a German-engineered car and raise you one, because I can’t stop watching this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLwML2PagbY
Makes me want to get a chicken though, not a Mercedes Benz…
@NotMax: Just got a job back on Maui after being away for 20 years, we need to have a Maui BJ meetup, or are we the only two Maui people?
See you at the Fair!
@Cliff in NH:
Now I understand why the web ads for Covered California (our state’s exchanges) have a “hazard” sign of a guy flying off his mountain bike on a similar path. Ouch!
@mai naem: We need to have a PHX BJ meetup.
@Violet: So, they are currently paying something towards health care for their employees, right? Surely everyone will get raises in 2014 to match what used to be the employer contrib — oh, yeah, sure.
@SatanicPanic: Kunstler is right about some stuff, but he lost me the day he proposed the theory that BushCo invaded Iraq because Afghanistan wasn’t “Arab enough” to satisfy the 9/11 Vengeance Lust.
I have a bottle of wine in me, so forgive the language, but fuck the Republicans, every last one of those motherfucking ass wipes of inhumanity and stupidity. I hope a prostitute with active herpes sores rubs her vagina then sticks her finger up the nose of every god damn one of those House Republicans. The economy is finally showing signs of picking up some steam, so let’s flush it right back down the toilet, and take people’s heathcare insurance right with it. Yessiree Bob, can those cretinous asshats get any more destructive? Bend over Ted Cruz, let me give you a dynamite stick suppository.
The wingnuts have their marching orders now. Under the direction of the Heritage Foundation and evil overlord Jim DeMint, Fox Noise is refusing to call it a shutdown-just a slowdown. Expect all the wingnut outlets to be using this term in a couple of days.
@jl: Varsity slam. Gutless wonder indeed.
@Skippy-san: Stewart ridiculed Fox and the Republicans for trying to downplay the shutdown.
Colbert ridiculed Fox “personalities” for pretending the website glitches signaled catastrophe.
The prophet Nostradumbass
On another subject… Garry Kasparov on Edward Snowden and his new bestest friend, Vladimir Putin.
Congratulations and welcome back.
Been looking for a job here myself for longer than care to admit after closing my business of more than 25 years after the economy went south. Being sixty-cough cough is not conducive to employers rushing to hire.
Cliff in NH
the comments on the bike sites are fighting between signs vs no signs and personal responsibility(in a commercial bike park no less), its really disgusting at times.
I’m sure there are sockpuppets involved, given the bloomberg tv spot…
Cliff in NH
I’m with ya man.
@Skippy-san: Oh you have got to be fucking kidding!
So the Rethugs threw the bomb, blew up the government, and now they’re trying to say, naw, it wasn’t a bomb, more like a firecracker, nothing to see here, move along, move along? I hope they get their asses handed to them.
I’m so tired of all the fucking lying. All the just completely mendacious bullshit spin. You can’t run a society where people have no fucking honor at all, just make shit up, or actively go out of their way to lie as boldly as they can. Up is down, black is white, bullshit is king.
This has to stop. You simply cannot have a functioning social system where the people supposedly in charge of it are completely full of shit. It can’t last. It can’t actually function.
Cliff in NH
My Fav Words, “You Fucking LIAR”
America’s enemies didn’t have to lift a finger to destroy the country. All they had to do was wait for a few dip shit idiots, called Republicans to do it for them.
If the U.S.A. defaults on its debts, it will never recover. it won’t have been done by the communists. It won’t have been done by the taliban or any other extreme group the CIA likes to watch. It will have been finished off by its own politicians, who want to get rid of the ACA and a lawfully elected president. They set out to get rid of Obama and are willing to take the U.S.A. down, to do it. They want to ensure another black president is never elected. The rest is window dressing.
If the U.S.A. fails, it will no longer be a world power. Putin, will have the last laugh. China will own what is left. The 1%ers will move elsewhere. Mexico will look better than the U.S.A.
My husband and I have spent the last twenty years starting and growing our own business.
IMO, if you’ve got a business of 50+ employees and you can’t figure out how to provide your full-time employees some level of health insurance, you’re a shitty business person.
Are we to believe that the Koch empire’s profit margins are that razor thin? Riiiiiiiiiiiiight.
I noticed that for the past two days, my local RWNJ radio has been downplaying the shutdown as well (I expected much screaming and dem-blaming), along the lines of ‘really no big deal/most federal workers are lazy moochers who do nothing anyway’ bullshit.
Why? Just because they know they fucked up? Usually they double down then that happens…
@driftglass: It’s a sad, discouraged topic, but that is some beautiful writing, Driftglass.
True, and this intrigues me, because it suggests that while they are busy breaking vases and smearing their diaper contents on the walls, a shadow has fallen over them…
Perhaps they are sensing the presence of a grownup looming over them?
@Chris: They made a point of delivering the letter on the day Obamacare became law. No advance warning. It’s clear what their message is.
@pete: it’s actually my friend’s friend. My friend was the one panicking that her company was going to do the same thing. She was reassured that it wasn’t. But her friend who works for Koch now has to go out and get insurance herself. Thankfully she can now do that, but still. Total dick move.
I have no idea if they will increase compensation to offset the loss in benefits, but I seriously doubt it. It’s the Koch brothers.
@Comrade Mary: See above. Seriously doubt any salaries will increase.
@elaine benis: It’s clear the Koch brothers are just being dicks because they said in the letter it was “because of Obamacare”. They can keep the insurance if they want to. They want to punish their employees for the fact that they themselves were unable to get Romney elected.
A bit, okay a lot, belated but there’s an important metaphor that the great Mr. Pierce missed:
You can also get a prion disease from cannibalism.