Hatroit Wingnuts: Paintballers Gone Amok

Hate+patriot=Hatriot.

Republican+fundamentalist Christian=Repubimentalist.

It’s important to remember these new additions to the American lexicon, because they’re becoming more and more prevalent in the USA.

In fairness, the term Repubimentalist should not single out Christians, or even just republicans, because it applies to any religion carried to fundamentalist extremism by its practitioners.  When that happens, these folks, regardless of their chosen faith, use their self-appointed self-righteousness to believe and proclaim they are on a mission from a “higher authority” and thus they are above the law of the land.

Al Qaeda is a good example of religious fundamentalism carried to its most brutal extreme.  Those terrorists believe that any and all acts of fear, hatred, murder, rape, brutality, torture and the like are justified in the name of their holy mission to do the work of the prophet, as they have rationalized it to themselves, of course.  In the western advanced industrialized world, most find it difficult to believe that people could do such things to each other.  People believe, “In our evolved and civilized world, no one would ever do such things!” Right?

Don’t be so sure.

Last week in the good ol’ USA, nine people were arrested on a variety of federal charges for plotting civil unrest in general and murder of law enforcement personnel in particular.  The group, known as the Hutaree, meets the classic definition of hatroits, i.e., people claiming to love America while hating the majority of Americans; they see small towns and rural areas as the “Real America”, and they mistrust large cities which are full of liberals, African-Americans, Hispanics, and the undeserving poor.

Hutaree was alleging plotting to murder law enforcement officers as part of a program of terrorism evidently designed to bring the average American around to their way of thinking.  They rationalized their proposed actions as a fight against the anti-Christ, which scripture says is coming.  In typical fashion for groups such as these, their rationalization was their means to justify their desired ends, which, in reality, is the destruction of the US federal government and a total return to local-only government.  In other words, they want to turn back the clock two thousand years to a time of feudalism and barbarians.

This group might have been little more than a “gee whiz” to most people if it were not for the fact that groups such as the Hutaree have sprung up in unusual numbers over the past two years.  In 2008 there were estimated to be 42 of these hatriot groups in the USA, a number that more than tripled to 127 in 2009.  That this increase has taken place during Barack Obama’s first year as US president is no coincidence;  many members of these groups are white supremacists whose hatred for all non-Christians and non-whites is a driving force in their desire to bring forth a second civil war.

It’s also fair to say that a considerable amount of psychological delusion is probably present in the minds of these folks.  They really believe that they are on a divine mission and that they can convince the majority of white Anglo-Saxon Christian Americans to either join them, or at least cheer them on.

One other astounding fact about these groups is that they believe that in order to preserve democracy, they must trounce all over it.  They believe that in order to preserve the US Constitution, they have to ignore it as they reject valid election results and use force instead of established channels of civil appeal to accomplish their objectives.

That’s understandable in a way, since it is clear that they have neither the clout, the data, nor the research to effectively convince anyone in an intellectual debate on the merits of any issue they are so emotionally tied to.  This fact makes them even more dangerous, because they appeal to the most primitive emotional motivations of humanity:  hate, fear, and the ability to rationalize their own self-righteousness in the name of religion.

Unfortunately, these groups will continue to sprout up.  Because of that, it’s critically important to categorize them properly:  the only thing that distinguishes them from the Islamic terrorists such as Al Qaeda is that they are not internationally organized like Al Qaeda, and they do not have Al Qaeda’s resources.  Otherwise,  home-grown suicide bombers would be a common here as they are in Iraq.  Just because they are Americans doesn’t make them any more acceptable to the civilized people of the world than Al Qaeda is, regardless of their reasons or rationalizations.

After all…if all some of them really wanted to do was to play soldier or commando, they could have joined a paintball club.

GOP: Sore Losers to the Bitter End

Last week, We, the PEOPLE!! stated that two things would be true this week that were not true last week:

1.  The senate health care reform bill will either have passed or been defeated in the US House of Representatives

Well, the bill  passed, with a not-quite-razor-thin margin of 219-212, and was it was signed into law yesterday by US president Barack Obama.  In fairness, the prediction was going to be correct no matter what.

2.  The health care reform debate raging in the USA will have calmed down several notches to the level of puffy statements of victory and tear-jerking statements of regret by the winners and losers, respectively.

This one was pretty much on the mark as well.  Most (though not all) democrats can’t wipe the smiles off their faces.  The GOP is running around trying to sell umbrellas to anyone that they can convince that the sky is falling.  Sadly, because of all of the mis-information they put out, as well as because of the people who are either too lazy or too stupid to research the truth for themselves, a lot of umbrellas are selling.

What’s most telling, though, is that the GOP is pushing to have the health care reform law repealed, as if president Obama would even remotely consider signing a bill to do so.  If the GOP is expecting a huge backlash on the part of the American people in November, they’re really banking on an eventuality far in excess of its realistic expectations.  The fact is that by November, most people will probably bear witness to the fact that among the few things that have changed is that people with pre-existing conditions, as well as the poor, can now buy affordable health insurance, and that dependents can stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26.  Thus, it remains t be seen how the GOP can claim with a straight face that those changes are evil, demonic, cost-prohibitive and destructive of the very fabric of American society.

Besides their ridiculously futile attempt to repeal health care reform, the GOP is also attempting every possible procedural delay tactic in the known universe in the senate regarding the “reconciliation” bill passed in the House of Representatives to fix a few of the items in the original senate bill that differed in the house.  They will attempt to embarrass the democrats, even though the “reconciliation” bill is bound for passage in the senate, anyway.

The GOP understands that it really cannot stop health care reform.  But instead of simply going on record with their opposition to the law in general and specific portions of it in particular, the GOP has decided to “slash & burn”, or, put another way, to make the process as painful as possible an event for everyone else.  And to what end?

It seems that a growing multitude of independents and some moderate republicans are realizing that the GOP is not the answer to their problems or concerns.  The GOP has whined and moaned about the democrats using the same legislative tactics that they, themselves have used for years when they were in control.  An increasing number of thinking citizens have taken notice of that.

Furthermore, more and more people are realizing that those GOP lies about the sky falling if health care reform becomes reality are nothing more than blustery, hate- and fear-mongering fairy tales and not fact-based.  In fact, since health care reform passed the House on Monday, the US stock market, which is the purported sweetheart of the GOP, has posted two straight days of gains.  If Wall street likes health care reform and thus doesn’t buy the GOP fear-mongering, and Wall street and the GOP are tied at the hip, then why on earth would the GOP think it has the remotest shot at repealing it??

It is unfortunate that the USA has gotten so politically polarized, a fact that probably has its origins with the right-wing Bush Syndicate of 2001-2008.  It was the Bush-Cheney-religious-ultra-right-lunatic-fringe conglomeration that gave power to the wing-nuts who think that this is still 1861 and the civil war can be re-fought with a different result this time.  Those folks don’t care about the USA as much as they care about  preserving THEIR INDIVIDUAL PERSONAL POWER in the USA.  And as long as they think they have a shot at winning, they’ll keep at it…diverting energy and resources away from joint problem-solving and toward the purpose of propaganda to promote their selfish agendas.

For the rest of us…the fact that the USA has finally moved one step closer to the place where every other industrialized country on Earth is, i.e near-universal health care for all, is something that people for generations to come will benefit from.  But for those increasingly fewer who remain adamantly convinced that the USA, solely among all other industrialized nations, will whither and die because of health care reform, We, the PEOPLE!! has a short recommendation:

Move to Iran.

The Final Countdown (With Comedy Relief)

Next week at this time, two things will be true that are not true right now:

1.  The senate health care reform bill will either have passed or been defeated in the  US House of Representatives, and

2.  The health care reform debate raging in the USA will have calmed down several notches to the level of puffy statements of victory and tear-jerking statements of regret by the winners and losers, respectively.

However,  at this moment all eyes are still on Washington and the battle of the (deficit vs. belly) bulge.

The fight between the two diametrically opposing sides really does seems boil down to two diametrically opposing philosophical arguments between the all-for-one-and-one-for-all folks (we’ll call them “C”‘s for collectivists for the sake of this discussion) and the I-got-mine-and-tough-if-you-didn’t folks (individualism fans whom we’ll call the “I”‘s).

The C’s believe, among other things, that opportunities are not naturally equal for everyone because of variable factors such as individual intelligence and energy levels, economic environment, parental & educational differences, and so forth.  They also believe that, at a minimum, public safety functions work best when people pool their collective resources for the common defense against war, crime, natural disasters and yes, disease and personal injury.  They further believe that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  As a result, they support the implementation of rule and law against abuse of power, regardless of whether the power abuse is physical or economic.  Specifically regarding health care, they believe that every person has a right to medical care and no one should die or even suffer simply because they do not have access to health care.

The I’s pretty much believe the reverse of the C’s.  They believe that no one should have to subsidize the well-being of anyone else.  They support the concept that everyone should be personally responsible for all effects on their lives.  While they do generally support collectivism when it comes to the military and police forces, they do not support much else that might cost them tax money.  They are content with the concept that because the US constitution guarantees the right to bear arms, these arms should be part of daily life, and people should take personal responsibility for their food, protection, and property (except if these are threatened by a country or other large organization).  They believe that the unbridled free market should determine the economy, and that even if there is some abuse, it’s all part of a free society, and that the economy will take care of its own.  Specifically regarding health care, they believe that if you get sick, it’s your personal responsibility to have health insurance.  If you don’t have health insurance (for whatever reason), that’s just too bad.  You should have had it.

I’s like to call the C’s are socialistic communists, while the C’s compare the I’s to selfish neanderthals and fascists.  If it wasn’t for the huge potential impact of health care reform, the back and forth between the C’s and I’s would be more fun to watch than the World Wrestling Federation.

Of course, health care issues have been around for a long time.  The I’s are doing everything in their power to stop the C’s from passing the senate health care reform bill, claiming that the C’s need to “start over” with a clean sheet of paper.  But what the I’s are not addressing is why, when they controlled both houses of congress for six years, along with the presidency for eight years, they did absolutely nothing to “start over” to fix health care in the USA.

It’s summed up in this little story someone sent in recently:

A woman married three times walked into a bridal shop one day and told the sales clerk that she was looking for a wedding gown for her fourth wedding. “Of course, madam,” replied the sales clerk, “exactly what type and color dress are you looking for?”

The bride to be said, “A long frilly white dress with a veil.”

The sales clerk hesitated a bit, then said, “Please don’t take this the wrong way, but gowns of that nature are considered more appropriate for brides who are being married the first time – for those who are a bit more innocent, if you know what I mean! Perhaps ivory or sky blue would be nice?”

“Well,” replied the customer, a little peeved at the clerk’s directness, “I can assure you that a white gown would be quite appropriate. Believe it or not, despite all my marriages, I remain as innocent as a first-time bride. You see, my first husband was so excited about our wedding, he died as we were checking into our hotel.

My second husband and I got into such a terrible fight in the limo on our way to our honeymoon that we had that wedding annulled immediately and never spoke to each other again.”

”What about your third husband?” asked the sales clerk.

“That one was a Republican…” said the woman, “Every night for six years, he just sat on the edge of the bed and told me how good it was going to be, but nothing ever happened.”

This time next week, that little ditty will still be true.

Another “Morality Guard” Bites the Dust

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.  That can happen when a lack of intelligence combines with a lack of knowledge.  Each one of those factors is bad enough by itself, but combined in a single person, they make for bizarre entertainment and sometimes tragic entertainment.

A case in point is the saga (debacle?) of now-resigned former US Congressman Eric Massa, a conservative democrat from upstate New York.  Massa was elected to congress in 2008, claiming to be one of the “blue dog”  conservative democrats.  In fact, he was a republican until leaving the GOP over the Iraqi war in 2004.  As will become evident, Massa was all over the board in his view of different issues.

Upon learning that he was the subject of an congressional ethics investigation because of allegations by his own staff that he had “groped” them”, Massa first announced on March 3rd, 2010 that he would not seek re-election to congress in November 2010.  He claimed this was due to a return of his non-Hodgkin lymphoma, with which he was first diagnosed in 1996.

Two days later, on March 5th, he announced he would resign his seat in congress effective March 8th, claiming both health issues and the ongoing ethics investigation as the reasons for his departure.

On  March 8th, Massa appeared on a conservative talk show and claimed that the White house put pressure on him to resign because of his opposition to the health care reform bill.  His claim was that the democrats figured that with him gone, theywould need one less vote to achieve a winning majority vote in the House of Representatives.  With this “revelation”, GOP conservatives became piranha-like, smelling blood in the water.

The GOP plan was to tell the American people that the ruthless democrats would stop at nothing, including sacrificing of one of their own, to ram health care reform down everyone’s throats.  To that end, Massa was invited onto conservative Glenn Beck’s talk show on Fox News.    Beck reasonably figured that Massa would provide him with the empirical evidence necessary to effectively attack the democrats’ ethics and tactics in “pressuring” Massa to resign.

Man, was he in for a surprise!

As the show started, it became painfully evident that Massa was not as advertised.  Within the first seven minutes, Massa admitted to groping a male staffer.  Then he admitted to having parties at a Washington DC townhouse where he was living with four unmarried man.

Finally, he showed Beck some photographs of “bawdy naval rituals” featuring Massa and others, which Beck immediately classified as not suitable for television, stating that the photos looked more like an “orgy” in the 1979 porn movie “Caligula”.

The interview went rapidly downhill from there.  Beck kept pressing Massa for evidence and particulars about the allegation of democrats pressuring him to resign because of his stance on health care reform.  But Massa could not provide a single name or fact to support his claims.  In desperation, Beck finally begged him to “Name names,” and  “Show us where to throw the dirt.”  The best Massa could do was to say, “I don’t know how to be specific.”

Finally, Beck himself admitted to his TV audience that the interview had been a waste of time.

But wait!  There’s yet another bizarre twist to this story about the man who knew too little about media reporting and wasn’t smart enough to figure it out for himself:

The reason that Massa opposed the  health reform bill in congress was not because it was too liberal;  he opposed it because it was TOO CONSERVATIVE!!!!!

That’s right, folks.  Mass wanted a single-payer health system in the USA.  This is the same health care system currently in Canada, Europe and Australia.  In fact, it also exists right here in the USA in the form of Medicare and Medicaid.  Massa voted against the more moderate House bill because it wasn’t single payer.  Even the most liberal democrats in the both houses of congress didn’t do that!

While Massa’s behavioral actions seem baffling at best, they are at least understandable if one views Massa as not very smart, and not very informed, either.  Someone who isn’t very bright, but is well informed can bamboozle others into believing that he or she is intelligent.  Similarly, a very bright person who simply is not too informed on a given subject might still figure it out enough to convince others that he or she is knowledgeable on the issue under discussion.

Massa seemingly is neither.  He changed his story over and over evidently believing it wouldn’t be noticed.  He seemingly did not know that the “sailor” photos he showed Glenn Beck were not acceptable on television.  And he apparently had neither the intelligence nor the knowledge to figure out that he would appear as hypocritical and untruthful across the entire media spectrum.

Imagine!  Both liberal and conservative media see Massa the same way.  Massa accomplished that feat.  He just doesn’t know how.

GOP Legislators: We Have Great Health Benefits, But Not You

In a world of “have’s” and “have not”s, there is always a certain jealously and rivalry among those who don’t have against those who do have.  There is also a certain fear on the part of the “have’s” that the “have not”s want to take it away from them.  These scenarios are symptomatic of human behavior, and thus at least understandable.

But how does one justify a group of “have’s” who enjoy a government-provided, government subsidized, common sense, multiple choice, quality health care program, but refuse to support making it available to the “have not”s?

As blatantly selfish as that seems, it is exactly what every republican senator and representative in congress is doing.  They will unanimously vote against the democrats’ revised health care reform bills, despite the fact that every GOP member of congress and their families enjoy essentially the same health benefits they will vote against for everyone else.  These health benefits are embodied in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program (FEHB).  In fact, this plan is available to every single active and retired US Government federal employee and his/her dependents.

FEHB is a conglomeration of private health insurance plans which are negotiated yearly between the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the many participating insurance companies.  The program is administered and regulated by the federal government.  OPM sets minimum standards for the insurance companies to comply with. This is no different from the minimum regulation proposed in the revised health care reform bills which are universally opposed by the Congressional republicans.

In addition to national health plans, certain regional and/or statewide-only plans are also available to the feds under FEHB.    This is similar to the health insurance exchanges proposed in president Obama’s revised health care reform bill which is universally opposed by the GOP.

The US government pays approximately two-thirds of each premium under FEHB, and the employee or retiree pays the other third.  This is akin to premium subsidization proposed in the revised bill, which, to remind everyone, is universally opposed by the GOP.

FEHB does not permit insurance companies to refuse coverage for pre-existing conditions, nor does it allow cancellation of policies if someone gets sick.  Sick people do not pay more than well people.  These features are also included in president Obama’s revised health care reform bill, which, again, is universally opposed by the GOP.

Prescription coverage in FEHB is not subject to the “doughnut hole” of coverage suspension that seniors on other plans are required to pay out-of-pocket after reaching a certain amount per year.  This feature is also included in the proposed health care reform bill, which, as you know totally understand, is universally opposed by the GOP.

While FEHB is not perfect, it does allow folks to change plans yearly during a month-long “open season”.  That means that if you like your plan, do nothing and you are automatically continued in your present plan into the following year.  But if you want to change to a different insurance company, you may do so anytime during open season, and every year if desired.  Your new health insurance company then takes over your coverage effective the beginning of the new year.   Certainly, you know that this feature is also proposed in president Obama’s revised health care reform bill, which is universally opposed by the GOP.

The GOP congressfolk oppose providing these benefits, which they and their families enjoy and take for granted, to all Americans.  Yet, not one of them is declining FEHB coverage for themselves or their families; not while they’re active legislators, and not after they retire.

Thus, the democrats have no choice but to attempt to bypass the GOP and get as much of their health care reform plan passed through reconciliation.  The GOP is ranting over this prospect, but history shows them to be the majority users of the reconciliation process since its inception in 1974.  It becomes more and more apparent that the GOP’s practice of “do as I say, not as I do” is still going strong.

Yet, there now seems to be a new rule involved in the GOP playbook. That rule is that it’s okay for them to have a health benefit, but the rest of us are on our own.  Despite the FEHB benefits they enjoy, the GOP still insists that the democrats must scrap their already-passed plan and start over with the GOP.

Well…if the GOP is really serious about that, they can convince everyone (even We, the PEOPLE!!) of it by proposing the following:

Either all Americans will henceforth be covered by FEHB, the same health benefit program that every past, present and future GOP member of both houses of congress (and their families) take for granted, or FEHB coverage for all past,present, and future members of congress will end immediately.

Tag, you’re it, GOP….put your money where your mouth is.