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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Conservikaze

In the waning days of World War II, the once mighty forces of Imperial Japan were facing defeat in detail.

It was a situation nearly inconceivable only a few short years before.

The military commanders of Japan, xenophobic Bushido warriors who saw themselves as the spiritual descendants of the fabled Samurai, believed that they were favored by the ancient gods of their religion and as such felt morally superior and exceptional in every regard.  So they confidently and deliberately started a war knowing they were outgunned and short on resources but certain of their victory. They began as a formidable force and they scored solid wins early on, but not in the later critical battles that would ultimately decide the conflict. After a series of rapid victories, Japan’s warriors suffered one bitter setback after another.  It took a while and the fighting grew ever more fierce and brutal, but after Midway the ultimate end of the campaign was never really in doubt – and yet the most extreme elements in Japan’s military government continued to soldier on in a fervent state of denial, futilely praying that some miracle would reverse their fading fortunes. 

Until finally, bloodied and ragged, even the extremists knew that they could not win.

In a sane and rational world they would have cut their losses and stopped fighting then (in a truly sane and rational world, they would have found a way to resolve their problems without going to war in the first place, but I digress). But, of course, we don’t live in a rational world and so the fighting raged on long after the end was no longer in doubt. 

Knowing that they could not win, knowing what was at stake, knowing that millions of lives were hanging in the balance, the extremists choose instead to sacrifice entire populations.

As fate rushed inexorably toward them, they became increasingly desperate.

And desperate men choose desperate solutions.

These desperate men chose suicide.

Not just the small suicide of seppuku and of the kamikaze, but suicide on a grand scale.

They chose to end their way of life.

It was a civilization that had once, long ago, been admirable in it’s own unique way, steeped in honor and duty and selfless obligation enshrined in ancient tradition.  But recently that way of life had been perverted by extremists and had become morally diseased and brutally bankrupt and stripped of all the ideals that had once made it great.

When such a philosophy decays to such a degree it is nearly impossible to reverse course, human nature being what it is, and mass suicide then almost always becomes an attractive option to the extremists.

When it became obvious that they could not win, the extremists of the Rising Sun chose to kill their entire civilization rather than surrender to the inevitable, rather than make an honest peace and seek compromise with their enemies. When those nuclear fireballs blossomed above Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they signaled not just the end of the war, but the end of the warrior.

It was the end of a religious and political philosophy. 

It was the end of a way of life.

And it was the end of extremists who simply could not and would not meet others halfway.

History is replete with such examples big and small.

Always the extremists are willing to commit suicide rather than admit their defeat, rather than compromise.

“Does anyone remember Charlie Sheen when he was kind of going crazy last year? He was going around, jumping around saying ‘winning, winning, we’re winning.’ Well I kind of feel like that. We are winning. And I’m not on drugs but we’re winning, I think we really are.”

That was the Republican from Kentucky, Rand Paul, comparing conservatives to a deluded substance abuser before the Liberty Political Action Conference last Thursday night.

We’re winning, I think we really are. We’re like Charlie Sheen! Winning!

Meanwhile Armageddon falls even now from the sky, but, yeah, we’re winning.

We are a week from yet another self-inflicted disaster, from suicide writ large – and Rand Paul, like a drug-addled sociopath, is convinced that his extremism is winning.

That America is somehow winning.

“I think we’re also winning in regards to cutting spending. Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that the sequester is not actually really cutting spending but it is cutting the rate of growth of spending. I didn’t vote for it because I didn’t think it was enough, but now I’m trying to hold firm to it so we don’t break the sequester and actually spend more than the sequester.”

Sequestration is a winning strategy about the same way as the Japanese sending the Battleship Yamato, alone and unprotected, low on fuel and ammunition, on a one way suicide mission to Okinawa was a winning strategy.  Those who sent the battleship knew that she would not survive, they knew that the battle was lost before it even began, but they told those sailors that their sacrifice would change history and then they sent the ship anyway.  Yamato was destroyed out of hand and went down with most of her crew still bizarrely convinced that they could turn the tide of an already lost war. 

Extremists are always willing to sacrifice their loyal followers, and everybody else, in pursuit of their dogmatic idealism.

I think we’re winning, say the extremists, despite the fact that it’s obvious they are not.

And their fanatical minions charge into battle and commit suicide on command.

Why?

“I think if we approach these issues with passion and zeal…the passion and zeal to defend basic justice and the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, I think we will be the winning party.”

Because they have passion and a zeal to win. Because their hearts are pure. Because they die in the service of right and light. God loves them best.  Blah blah blah, it’s always the same martial drumbeat. The same willingness of their leaders to suicide instead of compromise.

As if the opposition wasn’t just as passionate in their beliefs, wasn’t filled with just as much zeal and just as convinced of their own righteousness.

Passion and zeal, not reason, no compromise, idealism over the greater good. It’s all or nothing as they drive inevitably toward self immolation.

Paul says, “I think we will be the winning party.” 

Party.

And that tells you all that you need to know.

Paul and his fellows are perfectly willing to burn down the country for their idealism, if they can’t have it, no one will.

These are extremists, the political equivalent of bushido warriors. They have seized control of the GOP and the once admirable conservative philosophy of small government and personal freedom, and perverted it into a fanatical xenophobic hatred of any government at all. 

They have replaced reason and compromise with unblinking red-eyed zealotry.

House Republicans have now voted forty-two times to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Forty-two times.

And last Friday, by a vote of 230-189, the conservative majority in the House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution that would finance the federal government through December 15, but remove all funding for the ACA.

The bill has no chance in the Senate.

The bill has no chance of passing the president’s desk.

House Republicans cannot win no matter how many kamikaze attacks they launch – and yet they continue to throw themselves upon their swords and threaten to kill us all in some quixotic gesture of defiant seppuku. 

Next the Senate, if they bring the bill to the floor at all, will strip out the provisions defunding the ACA and then send the resolution back to the House.  They have less than a week to reach a compromise and if history is any guide, they won’t.

If no deal is struck, the government will shut down on October 1st.

And even if a deal is reached on the continuing resolution, the federal government will hit its borrowing limit, the so-called debt ceiling, a few weeks later. 

The debt ceiling must be raised, there are no other options.  This is not a limit on future spending, but a payment for money Congress – including conservatives members of the House – have already spent.

Republicans, or more correctly the fanatical extremists who hold them hostage, declare that the ACA must be repealed or they will shut down the government and default on the nation’s debt. 

This is the equivalent of killing yourself to keep from losing.

Defaulting on the national debt will do more long term damage to the United States than all of the terrorist attacks we have ever faced, combined.

And yet, this is exactly what Republicans are threatening us with.

The last time republicans threatened to default on our debts, it cost the nation nearly $19 billion, put millions out of work, and resulted in a national credit downgrade. This time it will be far worse. And that is only the result of the threat, not its actual implementation.

Republicans justify this terroristic extremism by saying that we must reduce government spending, or more precisely the national debt.

And yet, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office the estimated budget impact of the ACA is a positive.

When estimates are compared on a year-by-year basis, CBO [Congressional Budget Office] and JCT’s [Joint Committee on Taxation] estimate of the net budgetary impact of the ACA’s insurance coverage provisions has changed little since February 2013 and, indeed, has changed little since the legislation was being considered in March 2010. In March 2010, CBO and JCT projected that the provisions of the ACA related to health insurance coverage would cost the federal government $759 billion during fiscal years 2014 through 2019 (which was the last year in the 10-year budget window being used at that time). The newest projections indicate that those provisions will cost $710 billion over that same period. 

Those amounts do not reflect the total budgetary impact of the ACA. That legislation includes many other provisions that, on net, will reduce budget deficits. Taking the coverage provisions and other provisions together, CBO and JCT have estimated that the ACA will reduce deficits over the next 10 years and in the subsequent decade.

That’s correct, a combined committee – both democrat and republican – continuously working since the ACA’s passage into law, having examined the law in detail, having continuously analyzed the ongoing implementation of the law, and having access to the best economic figures available and the best subject matter expertise in the nation, continue to the report that the ACA will in fact reduce overall government spending over the next twenty years

The ACA will reduce government spending and will provide access to healthcare for more than 30 million uninsured Americans.

Conservative extremists know this, and yet still threaten us with suicide if they don’t get their way.

This isn’t about reducing the debt. By Rand Paul’s own admission, it’s about winning – in the Charlie Sheen fashion. QED.

If the continuing resolution is not passed, the government will shut down.

If the debt ceiling is not increased when the bill comes due, the federal government will default on its debts.

House Republicans, held hostage by a handful of Tea Party extremists in thrall to a small minority of libertarian fanatics, have loudly declared that they are perfectly willing to destroy the good faith and credit of the United States of America in utter defiance of the Constitution they claim to revere so very much, solely in order to defund the ACA.

Knowing that they can not win, they are fully willing to commit suicide on a grand scale.

If only they had put one fortieth the effort, one fortieth the passion and the zeal, into actual healthcare reform, into immigration reform, into election reform, into finding solutions to gun violence, into job creation, into creating an actual budget that actually decreased government spending and the national debt in a reasonable and sustainable and logical manner.

But they can not. 

Instead they have chosen the illusion of winning.

Like those battle maddened Imperial Japanese commanders, they are no longer capable of reason.

House Republicans are no longer “the loyal opposition,” they exist only to seek revenge for the shame of their party’s loss to Barack Obama. Their uncompromising extremism drives them forward oblivious to all else, fixed on a single unobtainable goal that they will never reach even as their civilization crumbles unnoticed around them. Their unreasoning rage and boiling arrogance blinds them to the very people who they are supposed to be representing and they leave us all sitting out in the open, unprotected, while death falls from the sky.

Americans as a nation had a clear opportunity to end Obamacare themselves.

Last November they could have elected a president who promised to repeal the ACA by executive fiat on his first day in office.  Instead they overwhelmingly reelected Barack Obama. The message to congress, to conservatives, and most especially to the Tea Party extremists, was clear and unequivocal: their philosophy was soundly rejected by the people and the country they claim to represent.

And yet, the extremists refuse to admit their defeat.

They are pathologically incapable of it, they are pathologically incapable of reason and compromise.

Which is, of course, the very nature of extremism.

Always there are extremists who know that they are on the wrong side of history, they know it, and yet instead of compromise and reason they inevitably choose to ride the last bomb down into oblivion.

This really isn’t about the Affordable Healthcare Act.

It’s about denial.

It’s about arrogance.

It’s about burning obsession

It’s about all consuming hatred.

It is about saving face.

It’s about willful pride.

For these men, it isn’t about winning – because they have already lost.

Rather than admit defeat, these extremes are willing to sacrifice the rest of us upon the altar of their own vainglory.

This isn’t about winning, it is about not having to admit defeat.

When you eliminate all thoughts about life and death, you will be able to totally disregard your earthly life. This will also enable you to concentrate your attention on eradicating the enemy with unwavering determination…
                     - Tokkōtai Pilot’s Manual (Kamikaze), Imperial Japan, 1944

 

 


Postscript:  After the bombs fell, the fanatics who had led Imperial Japan into a pointless conflict were gone forever. 

They willingly destroyed themselves and their own followers.

And their way of life was erased from the flow of history.

Interestingly enough, the civilization that emerged from the ruins of their corrupt philosophy was sane and reasonable and willing to coexist with its neighbors in peace. 

Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. 

The suicidal conservikazi in Congress should take note – but they probably won’t.

228 comments:

  1. Wow! I really wish that some of the people I know who need to understand this would actually ... well ... understand this. Thanks!

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    1. What a JOKE. So, let me get this straight. Jeornimoe should have just shut the F up and did what the white man said? The middle east has NO REASON to "hate us" and should just take what we dish out? You guys are a joke, insane and imporal, your examples are foolish, selfish, and indicative of teaching what you want to be taught. Gandi would be ashamed of you

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    2. So, Martin Luther, and Malcom X, just shut your mouth and comply? Malcome and AMrtin must have hated people, and when they couldn't get there way...what? You guys are sick in the head, truly...I don't see HOW you can even live with yourselves. But you do, because you are selfish, and believe MIGHT makes RIGHT. UNFORGIVABLE

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    3. Daniel, what in the fuck are you talking about? Are you off your meds or do you have an actual point?

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    4. Your point, is to comply when facing extreme odds? Your point is that if the majority says so, just eat it. Well, you see, the masses like you LIVE off the heros and villians of society. You just write sillness, as OTHERS fight the fight, whether it be for gay rights, black rights, ACA, or whatever. At some point, all people are the "extremists". You MUST be willing to take sacrafices for your cause. Doing so is not delusional. It happens..from time to time...that despite and agsint all odds, things change....."like Obamas hope and change". sometimes it happens, and people like you are dip shits that rely on other vilians and heros to do the heavy lifting

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    5. IM talking about you being a dumb fuck, and relying on others to do the heavy work, while you run around and do as you are ordered. Dumb Shit. Im telling you to stand on principles, even in the darkest hour, you coward. Im telling you, that THIS is how America was formed, by SUICIDAL people doing what they thought need to be done you fuckhead. Your in the navy, because you follow orders, just as your blog suggests. You are a joke. Im telling you that once YOU were the extremist you dipshit. That once upon a time, black men stood up to the likes of assholes like you, and slavery finally fell down despite ALL signs that it wouldn't. That you are a dipshit with now grounding. You should not be in the military, because the military FIGHTS on PRINCIPLES, HONOR, ETC (or its supposed to) asswipe...

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    6. Daniel, did you eat a bad mushroom or something? Or were you raised by wolves? Come back after you've gotten professional help, until then you're done commenting here. Any more gibberish from you will be deleted out of hand.

      Christ, and conservatives want to convince me they're sane, yet whenever they show up here they sound like a chattering monkey with a head injury.

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    7. Watch out, I fear he will start flinging his own shit at your any minute now. Geeze, where do these people come from?

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    8. In this case I know exactly where he came from. Facebook.

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    9. Hey Jim,

      Forgive me for my ignorance. I know enough to know that I don't know enough, and I'm smart enough to know that I'm not smart enough. I see fanatics on both sides and all around us. I don't know who (or whom?) or what to believe. I've just gotta keep my powder dry, keep my head down, and keep marching.
      It does seem that ol' Daniel is off his meds, or on too many. Does he not remember that you can find him, or is he hoping that you do?
      I think the world is actually run by those guys from "The X Files" in the darkened, wood paneled board room in NYC. They decide the fates of us all.

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    10. "Or were you raised by wolves? "
      I think you've insulted wolves.

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    11. And mushrooms, you, have insulted mushrooms. The senseless prattle spewed forth comes from a distorted personal perspective. Without question a few significant journeys with some potent psilocybin mushrooms would do much to compose mankinds addled thinking.

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  2. What amazes me is that they seem to think that Obama will wipe out his signature program for a measly 2 month CR. If these folks were serious, they'd be offering a 2 year deal on the debt limit, and fixing SNAP, and writing a full year budget, and then they could ask for a second look at some of the provisions of the ACA that really bug them, but instead they want to kill it for nothing. This is pure grandstanding (or suicide) (or maybe bullying extreme) it sure isn't any form of negotiation.

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  3. yep! MOST of the men i'm acquainted with have turned into nothing but hate-machines. i'm proud of the few who have dug in their heels and refused to lower themselves to it.

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  4. This is so on point, and well done. I cannot express enough how much this should be shared and read by everyone who needs to read it.

    I especially liked the historical comparison to the Imperial Japanese leadership in WW2. Nicely done.

    Yes, I did tear up at one point. I think about where you described the Yamato being sent to Okinawa, with no chance of surviving. Forcing us to destroy it, and all the men on it.

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    1. Thank you. It is good to hear someone acknowledge that there are always real people on both sides of the conflict. The eventual victor does not enjoy the price they have to take from the suicidal "enemy".

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    2. You forget that I'm a Navy sailor. I most certainly respect and admire the dedication and professionalism of the men who crewed the Yamato on her last futile voyage. That doesn't mean that I respect the decision that cost them their lives, or that I would have hesitated to sink them myself.

      War is a damned dirty business, and I speak from experience.

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  5. Terri, See I think the ones who need to understand it most -the very same dickheads who wake up every morning thinking the only important item on their to-do list is to vote to defund the ACA- in fact actually do understand exactly the point Jim is making. And think- hell yeah!

    They know very well that without some way to make everyone pitch into the health insurance pool then those who were fortunate enough to have insurance, or to be able to afford it, would go on paying for the health care of those who were uninsured, just in the most inefficient, most expensive, least likely to help people stay well, manner possible. Driving up rates. Driving more and more to drop their insurance, which only drove up rates even more, and even faster.

    The ACA isn't perfect, not by a long chalk. It still shovels money into the pockets of the insurance companies' shareholders. Money that we ought to be using to, you know, look after sick people, but it's still a lot better than no ACA at all.

    They know all that and yet they still vote and vote to defund it, and ululate and whine about it, still talk about it as if it was giving free 'stuff' to the undeserving. When in fact it is just the opposite: a plan, cooked up by those famous commies at the Heritage Foundation, to make sure MORE people kicked into the insurance pools, to try to cut DOWN on the number of people they like to call 'free riders', even though most people would recognize them only as people who just couldn't afford the premiums.

    But the worst of it? The worst of it is that all those dickheads would write a new ACA law, pass it AND fund it, before breakfast tomorrow, if and only if they could figure out a constitutional way to limit its benefits only to white folks.

    After all, the dickheads who have voted 42 times to defund the ACA all have really good health insurance for themselves and their families. paid for by all of us. So they got theirs. And they know that the people who vote for them haven't got the will to see through the shit stirring, and have only one thought about the ACA, which is that they don't want to be paying for Those People to go to the doctor any time they feel like it.

    Even though if they had health insurance they were already paying for it, just in the stupidest way possible. and if they didn't have any, well... now they could have some at a price they could, for once afford.

    BB

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    1. I'm not talking about those people who are directly responsible for the latest suicice mission - I'm talking about the conservative Tea Party followers - fellow citizens - who just do not understand how much crashing and burning is going to hurt everyone. Those people are the ones who really need to wake up and "get it" - but they are not going to be willing to "get it" - because their minds are so twisted by the politicians they idolize. They believe what the people you are talking about are telling them. A bunch of them are on my friends list, and getting facts through to them is virtually impossible.

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    2. Grr ... *the latest suicide mission

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    3. Terri, I'd wager a fair few of the TP faction you're referring to are the sort buying up gold, guns, and ammunition. Watching zombie movies and subconsciously fapping to the idea of watching it all burn, because well they're prepared so how bad could it be... for them.

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    4. I think you're right about that Arthur. Except I think a fair number of them are actually looking forward to the real-life version of the zombie apocalypse. I think they actually think it will be more fun than the life they are stuck in now.

      BB

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    5. Oh! Oh! Go listen to this. http://www.reverbnation.com/play_now/song_2787825 You know, this song is pretty old at this point; too bad it's still relevant. *sigh*

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    6. Actually, they hate poor white people, too. And the disabled and elderly. So, you know, that's a little more egalitarian.

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    7. They don't hate poor white people, nor poor disabled white people, nor poor elderly white people. They merely feel contempt for them all. Which they prove by on the one hand courting their votes and appealing to, and fomenting, their basest fears, while on the other hand doing nothing at all for them.

      Hatred is more complicated than contempt, because it's all tangled up with fear, an that means they save up all their hatred for the Others.

      BB

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  6. http://www.politicususa.com/2013/09/22/ted-cruz-falls-fox-silent-asked-win-obamacare-fight.html

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    1. Dan - checked out your link above. Now I'm shaking & feel sick to my stomach. Does he actually believe the garbage he's spouting, or is it just political lies? I'm not sure which is worse.

      c.c.thomas

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    2. I live here in Texas (Houston, actually) and as far as we can tell, Rafael Edward Cruz, the out-of-control Cruz Missile, really and honestly believes what he's saying and doing. He and others of his ilk are doing their best to destroy "the full faith and credit" of the United States, along with driving multiple wedges to ensure that folks can't join together in removing these examples that Jim exhibited up above. They WANT to destroy the country, from what I keep hearing, and will do everything in their power to do so. If that means a government shutdown, they'll do it. If it means defaulting on our debts, they'll do it.

      And it worries me that there's a sizable minority of citizens who actually support such actions.

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  7. David Hume (Nobel Peace Laureate - Northern Ireland) once observed that victories are not the same thing as solutions. The Republican Party seems to have no room for politicians seeking the latter. I doubt a George Romney, a Nelson Rockefeller, a Nixon, or even a (tax-raising) Reagan could find a safe home in the party today.

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  8. "We’re winning, I think we really are. We’re like Charlie Sheen! Winning!"

    Let me please point out that Charlie Sheen was crazy...like a fox.

    6 months of scenery chewing and calculated public 'insanity' netted him a $2.5 million dollar contract buyout from CBS, bailing from the zombie remains of his television show, and an easy slide to yet anther hit series on a different network.

    We should all 'lose' the way Charlie Sheen did!

    Charlie was crazy like a fox. These guys are crazy on Fox.

    There's a difference!

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    1. Ha, ha, ha! That's awesome, dude! :-)
      And like usual leaving poor sad sack Alan holding the sack! ;-)

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  9. Outstanding! The fact that I was listening to Depeche Mode's "Pimpf" while reading today's entry (as I did quite by accident) made it all the more intense.
    Perhaps, if this world's madness had a score, it would facilitate a more determined navigation though it.

    Thank you.
    Diane

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  10. I agree with you about the futility and arrogance of their actions. I disagree with you on the cause of their actions.

    The ACA is just the focus. It is widely seen as the current president’s biggest legacy item. Some of those that are so against the ACA now actually voted for it originally. Their anger is totally directed against the sitting president.

    The loss in 2008 was, in retrospect, understandable by the Republican power brokers. Conventional wisdom says that the choice of VP will not propel the ticket to victory. They failed to see that the choice of VP could sink a ticket. The Wasilla Grifter was so unpalatable to the independent voters that they voted for Obama as the lesser of the two evils. The Republican spin doctors learned from their mistake. They consoled themselves by repeating the mantra: one term president.

    The loss in 2012 was impossible to stomach by the very same Republican power brokers. They did everything right. They offered up a bland rich eastern guy for president and a charismatic southern guy for vice. This had worked for them a dozen times before. The loss was by MORE than 2008. This was not possible. Could the American people actually be OK with a – a – a – BLACK MAN???!!!

    The Republicans hate Obama with a white hot passion. Because he is Black. No other reason. It is pure racism. We have a long way to go in this country before the Dream of Dr. King comes to pass.

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    1. Micro quibble, Paul Ryan is from Wisconsin, not the South...

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    2. Paul Ryan was from Wisconsin, and I wouldn't exactly call him "charismatic."

      But I do agree with you that the Republican hatred of Obama stems merely from the fact that he's a black man in power, not from his policies. (Because if he's a socialist, he's a pretty piss-poor one.)

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    3. Sorry about that - my bad. Now I must commit seppuku.

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    4. Paul Ryan=Wisconsin Rand Paul= Kentucky. Think there is some confusion in the names. The stupidity is pretty much the same in both.

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    5. The stupidity is in assuming that all conservatives hate Obama because he is black. While such a notion may fit neatly into your narrative, it is simply not true.

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    6. Nick formerly from the O.C.September 22, 2013 at 2:14 PM

      Matthew M -- while it's true that not all conservatives hate Obama because he's black, it's similarly undeniable that quite a few individuals hate him because he's black.

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    7. I won't argue that point, and those people are generally too stupid to be involved in any meaningful conversation. I was merely taking slight umbrage to the statement that all Republicans hate Obama because he's black. And I'm not even a Republican. Nor am I a Democrat.

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    8. Attributing the fanatical level of Obama Derangement Syndrome entirely to racism is overly simplistic.

      The majority of Obama haters would deny racism as the cause of their hatred. And in most cases they'd be telling what they see as the truth. They don't see themselves as racists and they'll spend hours telling you why.

      A more correct term is xenophobe. They are afraid of the "other." Liberal. Chicago. Democrat. Intellectual. Skin color just makes it easier to see Obama as alien and to heap on false labels such as Kenyan and Muslim and Radical and Antichrist in order to create a bogyman that they can be justified in fearing openly.

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    9. Also, to acknowledge Matthew McCollum's second comment, he is correct. Not all Republicans, or conservatives whatever their affiliation, are either racists or afflicted with a burning hatred of the president.

      They simply think that they are right and that Obama is wrong. There are plenty of honorable conservatives left, they're just drown out by the extremists.

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    10. I've been called an extremist many times, though I don't understand why. Okay, so maybe I'm a conspiracy nut. That may have something to do with it.

      At any rate, I always go into a debate fully expecting to have my views slightly altered. In my opinion, it's the only honest way to expand one's horizons and understand one's environment. Far too many individuals fail to think for themselves, instead adopting the views of others. There will always be debate, and that's healthy. Pure hatred of anyone with an opposing view is not.

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    11. Has anyone considered this is all just a grand drama put on by the Corporations' puppets to divide and distract us from the complete usurpation of power by corporate interests, and by extension the wealthy? This is just a Barnum and Bailey three ring circus to get you to forget that the Congress has eliminated your inalienable rights, that the Corporations are running the government, that 95% of all productivity gains over the past 40 years in the US have gone to the top 5%, that 400 families have amassed the equivalent wealth of the bottom 180 Million US citizens - I could go on.

      Congress has engineered thèse faux issues, and, masterfully manipulated by the Corporate news organs (FOX, NBC, CBS etc), the American people have eaten it up and bought into their narrative.

      Think about it.

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    12. I consider myself a Republican and a conservative, but not as they are currently defined -- like Jim, I've been left behind. For many years now, they have not fielded a candidate or a position I could stomach. Andrewnygard has it nailed; the whole thing is political theater designed to distract us while our pockets are being picked.

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    13. "They simply think that they are right and that Obama is wrong. There are plenty of honorable conservatives left, they're just drown out by the extremists."

      Well, I say that what I want to conserve is the land and the people. Which, naturally, makes me a radical leftist. :-)

      At what point, though, do conservatives decide they--perhaps you--are wrong? The past three decades has seen the implosion of conservative economics and the exposures of huge hypocrisies in many conservative cultural positions. When do conservatives just say "Enough already," and change their thinking?

      (cut and pasted from other comments elsenet) I’ve been reading Jay Forrester lately and, without agreeing with his entire argument ("Limits to growth," more or less), he makes the excellent point that, when a trend is exponential, everything is fine until just before the end. If something doubles every 20 years and there’s a hard limit, well, it can go for quite a long time…until 20 years before the end. And then, boom! Things fall apart in a generation. And, in fact, this is how societies collapse. Everything is fine until just before the end.

      It seems to me we have the choice of an apocalypse of belief or a physical apocalypse. I have changed my thinking. But that is, by definition, a radical approach.

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  11. Joe, this is my first visit to your blog. I'm not quite sure what to say. I've always fantasized there was a white guy that roamed the earth like you. One who could love his culture and somehow still manage to not only recognize the madness brewing on the right wing, but find the guts to speak up! I knew there was one!!! I looked around at the guys at my workplace...crickets. My few white male friends in my social circle...crickets. In a house, by a mouse, in the rain, by a train! None!! Please tell me there are more. Is there a community of you somewhere? Perhaps you could consider disbanding and dispersing yourselves among the populace and breeding like wild rabbits! I do believe our future depends on it!

    Anyway, I've read (skimmed) your rules.
    I only have one issue. I'm addicted to ellipses...
    I don't know when or how it started, but I beg of you to consider being gentle with my fellow ellipsites. It just feels like the best way to convey a thought that you want to linger in the air a while, you know?

    I look forward to visiting often. Reading your thoughts is a wonderful antidote to the increasingly louder voices in my head that tell my I can get away with showing up at a Tea Party rally and becoming the first black female mass murderer fueled by political angst.

    Thank you...

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Maybe this Joe character will tolerate ellipses?

      Delete
    2. Joe tolerates ellipses, unless they're used in place of periods to end a sentence. Then he is unfortunately angered ... you wouldn't like him when he's angry.

      Delete
    3. LOL!! Sorry. I don't know where I got "Joe" from. Well, I do: common 3-letter guy's name that starts with "J". Sorry I failed to double-check before replying. But, if Joe is the alter ego who'll make room for a little tolerance for us ellipses fanatics (hey, there are worse things to be addicted to!), it's a pleasure to meet both of you! :o)

      Delete
    4. I have to tell my ellipses to behave when I comment here. It's a hellish battle.

      Delete
    5. I only have one issue. I'm addicted to ellipses...

      Tell me about it...

      Delete
  12. Another footnote: The Japanese word "kamikaze" literally means "divine (or heavenly) wind," and was originally used to describe the typhoons that (seemingly) miraculously appeared to protect the Japanese mainland from invasion by the Mongols; every time the Mongols sent an invasion fleet, it was ultimately beaten into impotence by storms. This was the historical basis for the Imperial Japanese belief that the mainland immune to invasion. The term as we came to know it was essentially a form of jingoism.

    And, yeah. Towards the end of the war, the military caste that had more-or-less taken over the government was well aware that they were being curb-stomped, but they refused to admit defeat to the point where they were training schoolchildren to fight off invading troops with improvised spears. Even before we nuked Hiroshima, Emperor Showa wanted to surrender, but Tojo and his cronies refused to do so; Showa had to personally make the surrender request over radio, and it was only because he was considered to be a god incarnate by the Japanese people at the time that they obeyed.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I vaguely recall from my history lessons that certain military ministers actually tried a last minute coup /after/ the bombs had dropped to 'persuade' the Emperor that surrender wasn't necessary because they could instead convince every man, woman and child to fight to the death to resist the invaders and the Allies fighting spirit would surely break before that...

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  13. Brilliant commentary Mr. Wright. @JimBob, I agree. Sadly the most important thing Obama may accomplish as president is exposing the deep rooted racism in the USA that has been hidden repressed and denied for too long.

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    Replies
    1. I totally agree Charles. The big question for our society is what do we do with this? Do we go back to the bad old days or go forward to the acceptance in our society of those that are not like the white majority (majority for now).

      Delete
    2. Charles, while there is undoubtedly still deep rooted racism in the USA,you never would have elected a black President in 1968. So things are looking up. USA! USA! USA!

      A view from Canada.

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    3. Charles, while there is undoubtedly still deep rooted racism in the USA,you never would have elected a black President in 1968. So things are looking up. USA! USA! USA!

      A view from Canada.

      Delete
  14. Article 1 section 8...

    The Congress shall have Power To borrow Money on the credit of the United States...

    Congress can borrow money through the issuance of bonds and other means. When it borrows money, the United States creates a binding obligation to repay the debt and cannot repudiate it.


    " The Government Accountability Office has consistently held that the Treasury Secretary already has “the authority to choose the order in which to pay obligations of the United States” to protect the nation’s credit. Indeed, such authority is inherent in the 1789 act that established the Treasury Department and entrusted it with the “management of the revenue” and the “support of public credit.”

    Remarks by Congressman Tom McClintock

    HR 807

    Hmmm, looks like another suicide mission as far as the National Debt is concerned, debt payments will be made no matter what some congress people attempt to do, un constitutional or not.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Passion and logic so rarely co-exist. I see it as something of an historical anomaly (miracle?) that the founding fathers of the American political system managed to navigate past passion to principled logic.

    Now it's comedy and tragedy all the time on Capitol Hill, as our system has been ground to a halt by the Bushido buttheads who insist on never spending a dime on human needs ... but somehow see no problem at all with shoveling cash and tax credits at big sugar, Monsanto, the oil bidness, and a host of other corporate sucklings at the federal teat.

    You called it, bro. Not sure how I arrived here on your page - blame Facebook - but I think I've found a new bookmark. Kudos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome aboard, mind the white cat he bites people who use the word 'bro.'

      Delete
  16. Well written and well thought out. Sadly, I doubt anyone outside of the choir will listen to the sermon.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Right then. What in the name of sanity can relatively regular folks actually *do* about any of this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Write your Congress-critters, especially if they are on the far right wing, about what is important to you. Talk to your friends and family calmly about facts versus political lies. Vote. Get your like-minded friends to vote- less than 40% of eligible people vote, which is how the most extreme minority wins.

      Delete
    2. Fight for rational redistricting, these people can be irrational because they know their seats are 'safe' . If there was a law that required maps to be drawn to make most seats competitive, or even a law that required all districts to be drawn with no more than 10 straight lines, then we'd see voters choosing their representatives, instead of the current case where representatives choose their voters.

      Delete
    3. That's going to be hard. A few years ago AZ voters passed an initiative to create a bi-partisan redistricting committee. After the Goldwater Institute (our 4th branch of government) lost a lawsuit to get rid of it, we had our committee. They redistricted our state and national districts to be much more competitive and the screaming of the Rs could be heard to the moon. They lost their supermajority in the state lege, and we picked up three more D seats nationally. However, the (three guesses who) Goldwater Institute is suing (again) to overturn this. They know they can't win in a fair election.

      Delete
  18. From what I remember from history classes (having a parent who was a history teacher kind of kept me interested) I think at least underlying their rhetoric was also the uncomfortable awareness that if they were to surrender, they were going to be held accountable for stuff like Nanking and Bataan just to name a couple of better known examples...

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    1. Which is entirely the point. The GOP know that they're mostly responsible for the financial mess the country is in. There's no way these posturing prima donas are actually going to take responsibility for their actions. What scares me is the fact that they might actually attempt to start another civil war before they give up this farce. There are certainly enough of their followers who spout this gibberish.

      Delete
  19. For far too many years, I've been pointing out that a solid knowledge of history is the best antidote to right-wing claptrap. Harry Truman, a highly educated and well-read man, once said that the only thing new in the world is the history you do not know. He was right.

    Here in ths blog, we have a man who knows his history proving this point better than I ever could.

    Bravo, sir.

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  20. The sinking of the Yamato was symptomatic of another problem that the Imperial warmonger command had: They could not view their opponents as being as being as brave, intelligent and capable as they were. The Yamato was sunk primarily because the Americans knew exactly where the Yamato was located because the Japanese codes had been broken, and had been broken bad for many years by that time. Numerous times lower officers tried to bring evidence to the upper echelons that the codes had been broken -- General MacArthur in particular had a bad habit of taking action based upon intelligence that could have only been obtained by listening in on encrypted Japanese communications. Each time their concerns were dismissed because Japanese cryptographers had insisted that the codes were unbreakable, and thus there was no way that lesser gaijin could have broken them.

    Similarly there have been a number of lesser Republican officials attempting to bring it to the attention of their masters that current Republican actions will result in disaster. But again, like the Imperal Japanese war council, the Republican leadership is incapable of viewing their opponents as being as brave and intelligent as themselves and thus dismisses those concerns because surely the opponents will be frightened and surrender utterly once confronted by clear signs of Republican bravery. The Japanese war council maintained that mentality up until the day that two Japanese cities disappeared underneath mushroom clouds. What will it take for the Republicans to learn that lesson, one wonders?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Republicans won't learn the lesson.
      They'll go down in a fiscal mushroom cloud of their own making, and we'll burn with them.

      We'll be the ones who learn the lesson... (I hope)

      Delete
  21. I've been saying for weeks that the current GOP strategy looked a lot like the sheriff from "Blazing Saddles" saying "Stop, or I'll shoot the Sheriff!" with six guns at their own chins.

    The difference, of course, is that we liked the guy from Blazing Saddles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That "guy" was the incomparable Cleavon Little. And his line in that movie that I most associate with our current Commander in Chief is when he steps inside a door saying to himself (in a reference to the people of the town): "Baby! You are SO talented...and they are SO stupid!"

      Delete
  22. Jim,
    Excellent essay...I'm an Eisenhower Republican and I've been appalled for years at the degeneration of my party. Many of us fought at the local level against what we saw as fascism but obviously we lost. We were outspent at every step. Now we face extinction as a political party unless we can manage to drive the extremists from the leadership positions. I don't think it can be done at least not at the present but I will not give up the fight.
    Frank Frey

    ReplyDelete
  23. I used to think that the Washington insiders were faking these extreme views so that they could continue to swindle votes and money out of small town America. I honestly believed that the vast majority of GOP politicians, operatives, and think-tankers saw these simplistic as marketing tools.

    Then, on election night, I watched one of the best-informed operators in the GOP, Karl Rove, totally and genuinely drink the Flavor-Aid. No way he faked his shock when he melted down on air about FOX News' audacity at calling Ohio for the President. Everyone I knew, regardless of party, understood the President was going to win. Not these people.

    With the help of technology and sheer bloody-mindedness, we've become dangerously good at filtering out information that disagrees with our views. It requires knowledge and discipline to avoid finding oneself in an echo chamber. Ivy League-educated political professionals with decades of experience are not immune, nor am I. I've become convinced that these folks believe 60 percent of Americans agree with them on most issues. Those few who don't have become very good at faking it.

    I would have disagreed with you 18 months ago. Now I'm convinced that you are correct in the broad strokes. This is not a happy conclusion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The hacker group Anonymous claimed to have stopped Rove from rigging the Ohio vote counting. There have been strong rumors that it was done in 2004 and would go a long way to explaining why Rove was so shocked that it didn't work this time. Both times all the vote counting servers in Ohio went dark at the same time. The back up system is in another state and owned by a GOP company with strong ties to Rove. Anonymous claims to have planted a firewall into the system and password protected it, causing Rove's flunkies' machines to not have the access needed to insert the doctored vote counts.
      Is any of this the truth? I personally don't know. But as I said it explains his reaction quite well.

      Delete
    2. Read Jim's "Lost Horizons"

      Delete
  24. From reading the accounts of the Yamato's few survivors, and those of the scattering of Japanese soldiers captured in the last months of the war (Max Hastings' "Retribution" contains a number of good anecdotes), it seems to me that for most ordinary soldiers and sailors the plan to commit national suicide was not a welcome prospect - but they were bound into a strict hierarchical organization in which disobedience would exact the same personal price. Many of them were reluctantly willing, at best.

    Such is not the case with modern Republican extremists; they face no such retaliation for breaking ranks: ostracism by cronies, perhaps, but new peer groups are readily available, and the announcement of a return to political sobriety need not even be public.

    What drives them on, I believe, is a combination of continued delusion and hatred, both self-reinforcing. Simply put, they've got too much of their own self-worth and pride invested in ideology to abandon it, even when proven decisively wrong. They have to keep doubling down.

    I have an aunt who, 30 years ago, hailed her only grandson as the family's shining hope. Nothing was too good for him, his path would always be smoothed, and he could do no wrong. She hoped thus to make him both successful and dutiful.

    What happened, of course, is that he grew into an utterly irresponsible, drug-addled lout, narcissistic and proudly ignorant. He's sucked her and all immediate family dry, stealing the little that they couldn't afford to give.

    Her reaction has not been to cut her losses and try belatedly to instill some discipline, but to keep enabling him. Yet anyone can see that she knows it's hopeless, and the once-cheery woman has become bitter and withdrawn. Facing her failure now would be tantamount to confessing that she has wasted 30 years, the last reasonably good years of her life, and that only bleakness lies ahead.

    I think the same excruciating choice faces many Republicans; and they lack the moral courage and resilience to endure the truth.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Actually, if a Republican breaks ranks he is basically committing political suicide in today's Republican party, because he *will* be primaried by a Tea Party activist in the next election -- a Tea Party activist backed by very deep pockets. Even if he manages to fight past the Tea Party candidate, he will have managed to deplete his resources to the point where he is unable to put up a good fight against the Democrat. And he will *never* be able to get big Republican donors again, which, given that most Republican candidates don't have mass appeal to middle class people with money to donate, means his career is over.

      So yeah, he's in pretty much the same situation as the sailors on the Yamato, but with one important difference: He *could* decide to simply "retire" and find some other career, unlike those sailors, who would have been shot out of hand if they said "y'know, I don't want to be a sailor in the IJN anymore." Susan Collins didn't get shot when she decided she no longer wanted to be part of the lunacy. Just sayin'.

      Delete
    2. Yep, that's just what Nate Silver said in arguing that most Congresscritters are accurate reflections of their primary-voting constituents. When I was referring to the lack of penalty for opting out of the lunacy, though, I was really referring to the voting base, not the elected representatives. I should have made that clearer. If enough of the fanatical base drops away, the primary threat will fade.

      Delete
    3. Greg - ETC(SW) USN - RetiredSeptember 23, 2013 at 2:53 PM

      I think you could accurately describe the GOP phenomena as "Groupthink" - posted from Wikipedia . . .

      To make groupthink testable, Irving Janis devised eight symptoms indicative of groupthink.

      Type I: Overestimations of the group — its power and morality
      1. Illusions of invulnerability creating excessive optimism and encouraging risk taking.
      2. Unquestioned belief in the morality of the group, causing members to ignore the consequences of their actions.

      Type II: Closed-mindedness
      1. Rationalizing warnings that might challenge the group's assumptions.
      2. Stereotyping those who are opposed to the group as weak, evil, biased, spiteful, impotent, or stupid.

      Type III: Pressures toward uniformity
      1. Self-censorship of ideas that deviate from the apparent group consensus.
      2. Illusions of unanimity among group members, silence is viewed as agreement.
      3. Direct pressure to conform placed on any member who questions the group, couched in terms of "disloyalty"
      4. Mind guards— self-appointed members who shield the group from dissenting information.

      We used to use a video in team training in the Navy based on the space shuttle Challenger disaster (the decision making process that led to the failed launch). The video used the US military in prior to Pearl Harbor and the Bay of Pigs invasions as other bad examples. They contrasted JFK's approach to the Cuban Missile Crisis as an example of overcoming Groupthink. I think you can see a lot of Groupthink symptoms in their reasoning.

      Delete
    4. Excellent point. I agree. I think Hofstadter's classic "Paranoid Style In American Politics" plays into it as well, unfortunately. It's hard for me to hear of much modern political interaction without thinking of Hofstadter.
      Just an aside - if you'd like to read an outside account of the Challenger process, Richard Feynman wrote one that appears as an appendix to his book "What Do You Care What Other People Think?" Might be an interesting companion to the Navy's perspective.

      Delete
  25. unfortunately I find that your article draws an exacting parallel between Imperial Japan and extremists in the Republican Party. It is a sad thing when reason has no place in discourse.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm really not all that concerned with the potential shutdown of the government. It won't have a huge effect on anything except the Republican party's reputation, to be honest, though everyone will spin it to look like the end of the world.

    Defaulting on the national debt, however, could ruin the national economy. It isn't as splashy as shutting down the government, but the effects will be *far* longer lasting. Think the middle class is being squeezed today? Watch what happens when the economy *really* implodes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It won't have a huge effect on anything except the Republican party's reputation...

      If the government does shut down, I suggest that you drive over to your local VA and sit in the darkened lobby. Give it a couple of hours, then get back to me on how it doesn't really effect anybody.

      Sequestration and the threatened government shutdown have already cost me, personally, thousands of dollars and it's likely to get much, much worse for me after Oct 1st. While I agree with the general gist of your comment, you're a little off on the particulars.

      Delete
    2. Once again, constitutionally, which is held so dear by the "New Republicans", states that congress CANNOT stop the United States payments on the national debt.

      Constitutionally congress HAS to pay the debt it has already approved. Congress can stop any future funding except for debt payments.

      Imagine how pissed a ton of people who support the "New Republicans" will be when the learn that their Social Security checks and Medicaid payments are delayed. Not to mention their children and grandchildren who lost or had a cut in their food stamps or unemployment compensation also every person that depends on VA services courtesy of the "New Republicans".

      Didn't Greece try the Austerity thing, how did that work out for them?

      Delete
    3. Jim, I don't say "no effect", and I agree that the short term effects of "shutting down the government" (which is not what will actually happen, thankfully; *that* would be a cluster activity of monumental proportions) will affect many Americans. Those effects will make the Republicans look *very* bad in the short to mid term, which (while seriously not worth the human costs) is not the worst thing in the world.

      But failing to raise the debt ceiling means that we very likely will default on our debt, with a severe long-term impact on the nation as a whole. Probably that "severe long term impact" will include *worse* austerity measures than anything sequestration has already or will cost in the short term, and it will almost certainly go on for a very long time.

      Delete
    4. You know what happens if the government shuts down? My husband still has to go to work, because he's essential personnel, but they don't have to pay him until they finally get around to starting the government back up. If that takes longer than three weeks, we fall behind on payments for everything from cars to the orthodontist to the mortgage. And we are not alone. This doesn't distress you, nor most of the people who don't realize the impact it has on individuals, but lack of services will affect my friend with PTSD, and his wife, and his job prospects, which now takes us out to the private sector. If a butterfly flapping its wings can cause a hurricane, imagine what sort of damage can be done by shutting down an entire government in a fit of pique.

      Maybe, maybe people will remember this during the next election, but I seriously doubt it. In the meantime, my credit will be tanked, and my friend who served loyally through three tours of front-line duty will be suffering because some guys in D.C. decided to throw a tantrum.

      Delete
  27. WRT Rand Paul crowing about the GOP "winning": These guys are starting to sound like commies from the Soviet era. It's all about what's good for the party, not what's good for the country.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Brilliant comparison to the Republican Party. I salute you and your research abilities.

    ReplyDelete
  29. This idea that the Republican party has been taken over by a few crazy tea partiers just isn't an accurate reading of reality. BOTH parties have been taken over by the corporatocracy. The GOP has just been taken over completely. They will do the corporations' bidding because in the short term it will get them re-elected, and guarantee their future income.

    Now where I agree is that their short term thinking doesn't make sense. Where will they all go, to hude from the starving masses when everything collapses. No wall will be thick enough or tall enough, and no country is far enough away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. BOTH parties have been taken over by the corporatocracy.

      Well both left and right certainly have their share of paranoid conspiracy nuts, I'll grant you that.

      While the left certainly has it's share of issues, this essay wasn't about comparing one side to the other and frankly the false equivalency fallacy irritates the hell out of me.

      The current stalemate is provably the result of a handful of intractable extremists, all of whom are proud and vocal members of the Tea Party caucus.

      Delete
    2. Wait a minute! The majority of the House is not "a handful of intractable extremists"--it's more than half the elected representatives of half the country.

      Digby, who I mentioned elsewhere, suspects that the current stalemate in Congress may be resolved by a "compromise" that would involve ratcheting cuts to Social Security. Since Obama and the Democratic leadership have already agreed to this--it was the radical right that refused to take yes for an answer--this seems to me depressingly plausible.

      Delete
    3. As the saying goes "I don't belong to an organized political party. I'm a Democrat." There are far too many differing groups under the Democratic umbrella to march in lockstep the way the GOP currently is.

      Delete
    4. The Democratic party is currently split between conservative and liberal (but not too liberal) wings, and the conservatives are in the driver's seat. They don't--exactly--march in lockstep, but they don't have to; the conservative wing is unified enough. Together with the Wall Street Republicans (who will probably become Democrats, if the far right continues its dominance of the Republicans), they constitute the ruling coalition of the United States.

      Delete
  30. What a dumb train of (alleged) thoughts... Both the original blog and most of the comments...

    So the House is obstructionist because they won't fund 0bama-care. But the Senate somehow ISN'T obstructionist because they want Obama-care so badly, they will shut down the govt. if they don't get it?

    The majority of Americans DON"T WANT it!

    You people are stupid.

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    Replies
    1. Uh huh.

      The majority of Americans DON"T WANT it!

      I think you mean: The majority of PEOPLE WHO THINK EXACTLY LIKE ME don't want it.

      But, see, here's the thing, Anonymous, you're not the majority of Americans. And you're less of a majority with every day that passes. And It's about time you realized it.

      You people are stupid.

      Perhaps. Then again, you're the one tossing around the fourth grade playground taunts and acting like an obnoxious brat, so if the shoe fits and all of that.

      Delete
    2. Apparently Anonymous overlooked the part of your post where you point out that the majority of American voters voted for Obama in 2012 and thus for the continuation of Obamacare.

      But I've noticed that these tighty righties don't like democracy so much, they call democracy "tyranny" (huh?), so maybe he didn't overlook it, maybe he just disagrees with the notion that voters should have the ability to vote for policies and people that he doesn't like. SO it goes.

      Delete
    3. Well, I'm speculating here, but given the gist of his comment and the general outlook of people who type Obama with a leading zero instead of an O, if I had to guess I'd say that he did read it, Tux, and then dismissed it with a derisive snort. Because, if I'm reading him right, he doesn't actually consider any of the rest of us real Americans.

      When he says "the majority of Americans" he means Americans like him and the rest of us can fuck right off to sissy socialist Canada land.

      If I had to guess.

      Delete
    4. Maybe you should stop guessing and get off your ass and do your homework. As I said, the majority of Americans do NOT WANT 0bamacare. Read it and weep, fools:

      http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/september_2013/51_favor_government_shutdown_until_congress_cuts_health_care_funding

      YOU ARE THE MINORITY! Get it through your Neanderthal skulls!

      And for those of you who think we live in a "democracy", you should have paid better attention in class.

      WE LIVE IN A CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC, WITH A BICAMERAL LEGISLATURE AT THAT! NOT A DEMOCRACY!

      There is absolutely nothing wrong or obstructionist about one house fighting and feuding with the other. It's American as apple pie.

      Oh, and did I mention?

      If you support 0bamacare, YOU ARE IN THE MINORITY!


      Delete
    5. Poll: Most Americans Support Federal Shutdown to Defund ObamaCare

      http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/health-care/item/16568-poll-most-americans-support-federal-shutdown-to-defund-obamacare

      Delete
    6. Just so I'm clear here, Anonymous:

      First you scream at me about how a 'majority' of Americans don't want the ACA.

      And then you tell me that, well, heck, we don't actually live in a democracy, which would directly imply that what the majority of the people want is irrelevant anyway.

      Far be it from me, being just a stupid Neanderthal and all, to point that you're stepping on your own dick, but, well, there it is.

      Delete
    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    8. Actually, according to a recent Pew survey, only 23 percent of respondents, a little under half those opposed to the Affordable Care Act, support efforts to defund or otherwise obstruct implementation of the law. A majority of opponents (27% of respondents) want lawmakers to "make it work as well as possible."

      http://www.people-press.org/2013/09/16/as-health-care-law-proceeds-opposition-and-uncertainty-persist/

      Delete
    9. Rasmussen as a polling service has a polling process that tends to skew to the right; they called the last election for Romney, for instance.

      Anonymous, you don't have a case. Who are you trying to persuade?

      Delete
    10. The majority of Americans do not want Obamacare? You're delusional. From The Hill: " just six percent of registered voters favor delaying or defunding Obamacare. By far, it’s the least popular strategy for moving forward with the health reform law. Most people said they wanted to find a way to make the health law work. Thirty-one percent of respondents said that Congress should “make changes to improve the law,” 22 percent said Congress should let the law take effect, and 11 percent wanted Congress to expand the healthcare law further. Thirty percent wanted Obamacare to be repealed altogether.

      Just 7 percent of Republicans chose delay and defunding."

      http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/320235-poll-defunding-is-least-popular-option-for-obamacare

      Delete
    11. Brilliant riposte Anonymous! We humble ourselves before your Cicero level oratory.

      Seriously, if the majority of American's wanted the ACA repealed they would have voted for Romney. They didn't. Heck, if the majority of voters had their way the Congress would be Democratic, there were more votes for Democratic house members than Republicans. Only gerrymandering keeps the house Red. And the Senate minority has bottled up legislation for the last 6 years through unprecedented filibustering. That's just reality. Which has a known liberal bias.

      Delete
    12. I've seen the ads against Obamacare and I'll admit they make a strong case except when I research their claims not one has been correct. Also those who want affordable care repealed were firmly FOR the various components that comprise the bill. I guess GOP would rather spend their money telling lies but then that has been their answer for far too long. Not once in all the "repeals" has any REPLACEMENT been suggested. The response is repeal and trust us to come up with something bright and shiny and perfect in every way. Well look back through history. When is the last time any Republican came up with a plan to benefit the entire country? Eisenhower did build the interstate system but that was sold as a defense move as well - when we look at social security, medicare, equal rights you'll find the GOP was always against them. I'd suggest you look up some of FDR's old speeches. GOP was claiming the same dire results then and lies have always worked for them. Not saying Dems don't lie, lord knows everyone does but they also know if they don't come through on their promises at some point they aren't going to get re-elected. I urge every voter to recall the platform the GOP ran on in 2010. Jobs were #1 priority and yet not ONE jobs bill has been passed AND because of sequestor and now this budget crisis they created how many jobs will be lost? When it is said GOP voters are not too bright it is difficult not to accept this as an absolute fact.
      Marlene

      Delete
  31. An unsustainable system can't last for long. Is our way of life unsustainable? I believe it is. If it has to be broken before it can be improved, then so be it. There are obviously enough people who vote based on faith and feeling rather than logic and reason, so we're going to keep having these clowns in our government.

    Suicide really might be the solution.

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    1. Suicide really might be the solution

      There turn out to be unpleasant side effects.

      Delete
  32. I wish more of the people who need to read your posts would actually read them. But they don't.

    I read you, because you are always right on...right on. It's my pleasure.

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    1. Oh they're reading this post. See the anonymous comments above.

      Frankly, I'd be just as happy if they stayed over on The Blaze.

      Delete
  33. "The military commanders of Japan, xenophobic Bushido warriors who saw themselves as the spiritual descendants of the fabled Samurai, believed that they were favored by the ancient gods of their religion and as such felt morally superior and exceptional in every regard."

    This is very similar to how the Nazis saw themselves, except that they regarded themselves as the descendents of the Teutonic knights.

    I also have to quarrel a bit (being my usual contrary self) with the "fabled Samurai." "Samurai" means noble in Japanese (and "daimyo" means "lord.") The samurai were powers in Japan until Meiji, and their influence was very much felt in the time of Hirohito, though they were not directly active as the German Junkers were in the first third of the 20th century.--the pedantic raven

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    1. "The military commanders of Japan, xenophobic Bushido warriors who saw themselves as the spiritual descendants of the fabled Samurai, believed that they were favored by the ancient gods of their religion and as such felt morally superior and exceptional in every regard."

      WOAH! OMG! That sounds just like Democrats and Progressives, to me! They think the same way!

      Delete
    2. I must admit I do feel morally superior to the kind of people who would cut off food stamps to young children and Medicaid payments to sick elders and such. That's because I, like, read this Bible thing where some dude called Jesus says we should feed the poor and care for the sick. You might try reading it sometimes, Anonymous. Jesus is like this groovy hippy dude who is, like, totally against war and hate and totally for taking care of the sick and the poor, and has this really cool motto about how to live life, he says something like "Be most righteous to one another." It's a really cool book, you should try reading it sometime!

      - Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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    3. Me, I favor Odin. He kept ravens. Um, the Nazis thought Wotan (same god, different spelling) was really cool. Oh, wait...

      Seriously, do you really believe that Democrats are trying to bring back the old German gods, or the Kami? Because that's what you are saying.

      Delete
    4. I'm with you, BadTux.

      Facebook meme:

      'So, America was founded by a foreign born, brown skinned, Jewish guy that never spoke a word of English, fed and healed the poor for free, defended a woman from being slut shamed and killed, and chose not to conform to either Religious or Political nonsense?

      Cool. When are we gonna start that?'

      Personally, I'm not into Iron Age fairy tales, but I've kept ravens for years, so I'm still on your team, guys.

      Delete
    5. "Seriously, do you really believe that Democrats are trying to bring back the old German gods, or the Kami? Because that's what you are saying." - The Raven

      I find it unlikely, because I suspect it would have been mentioned at the meetings. We do, however, have secret handshakes. That's how we pass ballots for stuffing the boxes.

      Delete
    6. Rob Field, you DO realize that the Anonymous troll above probably thinks (though I find it a stretch to use that word for him) that you are serious.

      Raven, slight quibble. The Nazis thought they were the descendants of Atlantians who were the source of all Aryans.

      Delete

    7. "I must admit I do feel morally superior to the kind of people who would cut off food stamps to young children and Medicaid payments to sick elders and such. That's because I, like, read this Bible thing where some dude called Jesus says we should feed the poor and care for the sick. You might try reading it sometimes, Anonymous."
      <\quote>

      Read and weep. Republicans in the House RAISED the total amount spent on your precious food stamps (the majority of which are NOT taken by poor little children but by able-bodied sloths abusing the system with MY FREAKING TAX MONEY!:

      http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Food-Stamp-Cuts-Spending/2013/09/23/id/527183

      Boo-hoo! So sad. Stop believing everything you read in your liberal lame-stream media!

      Delete
    8. Newsmax, Anonymous? Newsmax? You're actually going to dismiss the "liberal lame-stream" media as unreliable and then you actually quoted Newsmax. Seriously? That may be the saddest thing I've seen all month.

      They're my tax dollars too, Anonymous, and I'm perfectly fine with them going to feed Americans.

      Between this goofy comment, and the similar spittle-flecked gibberish you left down below, I think you've covered all the Glenn Beck talking point for today - and frankly, I'd like to thank you for confirming the basic gist of my essay, i.e. that people like you are rage filled hysterical lunatics.

      You're done now. Go away. You won't be allowed to comment again.

      Delete
  34. I think most of the House Tea Party Republicans gangsters, not even wanna-be noble warriors. It's all a pose with them. I don't think they realize it's suicide; they think they're taking hostages. And because they are gangsters, they are willing to do a lot of destruction as long as it enriches them.

    And--so long as there are media, with a radical-right propaganda network, their constituents will not throw them out.

    If it helps, the last time this came up, the impact of default was discussed at length. The consensus at the time was that it would be awful, but it probably would not destroy the credit of the USA, though it would hurt.

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  35. Digby reminds me of a remark of A Famous American, back in 1860: "Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events."

    It is, of course, from Abraham Lincoln's Cooper Union Address in 1860.

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  36. A friend and I have been speculating for a year or so that the Republicans are following the path of the Whig Party. They emerged from that implosion and I do wonder if we are seeing the same thing happening again. If this does happen, I have to wonder what what will take their place.

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    1. I've been speculating about this for nearly four years. Problem is, I have trouble believing it. As for what will replace it, I would say it would be a coalition party dominated by women and younger people, and it will contain both libertarian and liberal elements. Call it the Progressive Libertarian Party.

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    2. The Whig Party imploded because they couldn't figure out what to do about that whole slavery thing, not because of stupidity. I don't think we've ever seen an American political party implode from reaching critical mass of stupidity before. Thus why Jim had to reach to Imperial Japan for an example, the Taisei Yokusankai Party.

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    3. I quoted Lincoln from 1860 not to far above this. Perhaps it is possible.

      Delete
  37. I learned a new phrase this week which summarizes a lot for me;being fractally wrong; wrong at every scale of resolution.

    I have spent time around people who I think are basically Teapartiers in good faith, if you can imagine such a thing. The ones I'm thinking of all live in the same county their great great grands lived in.

    I would love for some patient sociologist (?) type to interview a bunch of them, and a bunch of "us," whoever "us" is, and try to tease out what are some of the underlying beliefs which set a person up to believe one thing or another.

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    1. The real problem is that, well, in the end you can test beliefs against reality. Let's take a biggie: will cutting government spending improve the economy at this time in the USA? Well, we can look at parallels: we have our own history in the depression of the 1930s, we can look at the current situations of the UK, Iceland, various other European countries. We can also do economic modeling. And the answer, so far as anyone can tell is, "No, cutting government spending in the USA at this time will make the current depression much, much worse." The Federal deficit is not our major economic problem at this time.

      Now, will the Tea Party Republicans believe that? Um...

      Delete
    2. "I would love for some patient sociologist (?) type to interview a bunch of them, and a bunch of "us," whoever "us" is, and try to tease out what are some of the underlying beliefs which set a person up to believe one thing or another."

      Jeannette,your lucky day arrives!:
      http://sociology.ucsd.edu/faculty/bio/documents/Gross.etal.11.ARS.pdf

      Or, if neurology is more your thing:
      http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2011/09/07/your-brain-on-politics-the-cognitive-neuroscience-of-liberals-and-conservatives/#.Uj-zgsakpWI

      Delete
    3. I guess what I'm getting at is that "good faith" isn't enough. It doesn't matter how sincere your beliefs are, if they are in conflict with reality, and this cuts in every direction, but right now it's the radical right that seems to be living in some place where the sky is green.

      Delete
    4. I sometimes think the radical right lives in a universe of pink unicorns and cotton candy trees. Which is fine and dandy, but then they try applying the rules of that fictional universe to *this* universe and the results are usually... not good. At which point they, like the Communists, whine "our ideas simply weren't implemented correctly, the solution is to implement them *harder*!" Sigh!

      A real conservative, of course, believes in going with what works rather than indulging in radical untried experiments. For example a real conservative would look at health care systems around the planet and choose ideas that produced better results for a lower cost than the current U.S. system, which undeniably doesn't work (it'll work marginally better with the Obamacare patch-up bag on its side, but still not as well as in many other countries). Unfortunately we have a real dearth of real conservatives here in America today and thus the conservative choice -- likely a Medicare For All type system like the French use, given that we've experience with it here in America already, know that it produces good results (our old people are the healthiest old people on the planet) and could just expand the current Medicare system to the rest of Americans without any new programs at all -- is completely unacceptable to right-wing radicals. Which is why I keep saying that we need a real conservative party in America. Oh wait, we have one, they're called the Democrats. LOL!

      Delete
    5. Rob, I'll add another:

      http://www.salon.com/2013/09/15/inside_the_conservative_brain_what_explains_their_wiring/

      c.c.thomas

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    6. "No true Scotsman…"

      This is a big topic, perhaps too big for a little blog comment. But, what the hell. I'm sleep-deprived, which is as good as having a drink for impairing judgement.

      1. We don't get to say what conservatism is. Conservatives do.
      2. A lot of what now calls itself conservatism is what the left calls reactionary politics; that is, simply reacting negatively to change. Since nothing like a unified health care system has ever existed before in the USA, reactionaries are agin it.
      3. A lot of what reactionaries react to is the erosion of established privilege. A lot of what conservatives are defending and even trying to extend is unjust.
      4. Conservatives tend to work to conserve social forms, rather than philosophies. In times of change, this necessarily hardens into reactionary politics. At the beginnings and the ends of exponential growth, what worked for your father and grandfather will fail spectacularly for you, and it will do so a generation. ("All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned…" People who don't read socialists can't steal their good lines.)

      (Reading: Corey Robins, The Reactionary Mind. I have no idea what to send people to for a discussion of the sociology of exponential trends. I expect there are still books being written on the subject, but my dilettante self hasn't read them.)

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    7. The problem is, today's "conservatives" are trying to *overturn* modern social forms. The New Deal era programs, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, have been the status quo for over 70 years in the case of Social Security and over 40 years in the case of Medicare/Medicaid. And Medicare as practiced in France, the US, and Canada is *not* a "unified health care system" BTW, it's just a health insurance plan that happens to be run by the government, and it's been the law here in the USA since the mid 1960's i.e. it is now a proven status quo. The New Deal era approach towards government was the status quo for over 40 years when Ronald Reagan, pseudo-conservative, overturned it, and radical experiments started. What modern "conservatism" isn't about isn't conserving anything or preventing change, what modern "conservatism" is about is imposing ideology and radical change at gunpoint. They're Trotskyites with an ideology morph.

      Delete
    8. Conservatives define themselves in terms of what they oppose.

      George Will (of People ferchrissake!!!!)

      Delete
  38. Wow Jim, I think this is one of the best pieces I have ever read.

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  39. Actually, a reliable poll showed that the majority of Americans express 'mild' disapproval for the ACA (no clarification of 'mild'), but want legislators to make it work, not behave like fucking kindergartners and crash the economy to make some inane point about which no one gives a good goddamn.

    Also, I'm linking to your blog because it's awesome. The world needs more straight shooting, profanity and cat pictures. Keep on keeping on.

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  40. Actually, the poll's results show that a sizable percentage think the ACA doesn't go far enough. Kevin Drum at Mother Jones says it better:

    "According to the poll, 43% of the public says it supports the health care law....Fifty-four percent of those questioned say they oppose the law, also relatively unchanged since 2010. The survey indicates that 35% oppose the health care law because it's too liberal, with 16% saying they oppose the measure because it isn't liberal enough.

    Right. Let me rephrase this:

    According to a recent poll, 59 percent of Americans support Obamacare, while 35 percent oppose it. Among supporters, 43 percent support the law as is, while 16 percent think it doesn't go far enough."

    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/05/obamacare-more-popular-cnn-thinks

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  44. I get that Convservikaze is based on kamikaze. It reminds me of Koyaanisqatsi (Life Unbalanced) and could be named Conservisqatsi as well.

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  45. Great piece. Thoughtful and thought provoking. You nailed it.

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  46. Do not accord them the dignity of associating them with Bushido. Even the twisted version practiced in Japan in the first half of the 20th century.

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    1. Consider me properly chastised, Major.

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  47. A sad commentary that those who want the government to live within it's tax receipts are called extremists. That those who do not want the government to have the control over it's citizens by controlling the healthcare system are called conservakazis. In a sane universe they would be called Patriots. The funny thing is those who live this bizarro dimension will deny they have any hatred in their hearts.

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    1. I think you might have missed a paragraph or two.

      I did not say that wanting the government to live within its means was extremism. In point of fact, I think it's a great idea. Let's all sit down like reasonable adults and figure out a budget and a long term financial plan that does exactly that, since that's what we're paying these idiots for and all.

      What I said was that those who would force a shutdown of government, who would threaten in all seriousness the good faith and credit of United States, are extremist in their views and methodology and that they are leading us to disaster through their willful pride.

      As to the rest of your comment, come back when you actually understand what the ACA is. It's certainly not "government control over it's [sic] citizens by controlling the healthcare system." Try again, Anonymous, try harder.

      Delete
    2. Jim,

      Well why don't you explain the ACA to me? From what I've seen it is the most blatant example of political favoritism in recent history. I used to understand that the Constitution guaranteed that all citizens are supposed to have the law equally applied to them. I am speaking of exemptions. Tell me why everyone in the country is not subject to the new law. Why did our rulers exempt themselves, their contributors, and their friends?

      Delete
    3. 1. Congress, under control of the GOP, had a chance to pass the recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles commission cutting government spending in a controlled fashion. They chose not to do so, and they did not. While I did not agree with all of the S-B recommendations, they were at least saner than the across-the-board sequester cuts. Obviously, the goal of the GOP is not fiscal sanity.

      2. Congress and staffers are supposed to now get their insurance coverage from the ACA exchanges. They are not exempt. What the Tea Party calls "special subsidies" are actually existing employer contributions towards insurance. Many employers, including governments, pay a portion of health insurance as a part of compensation. Tea Party elements of the GOP tried to block this employer contribution, making themselves and their staffers pay 100% of the cost. This financial seppukku is probably unpopular with their staff, given most staff are not millionaires, unlike Congress-members.

      Anonymous is wrong on the facts, and so his or her perceptions and opinions are off with respect to reality. Sounds a little like my brother, unfortunately.

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    4. "Tell me why everyone in the country is not subject to the new law. Why did our rulers exempt themselves, their contributors, and their friends?"

      Well, a lot of the political compromises are sickening, but they are reactions to the manipulative and dishonest tactics used by special interests opposed to the mandate. I will note, however, that elected officials and their contributors and friends, almost universally insured, are exempted by definition.

      By now, everybody knows that the mandate was a Republican idea, which you now oppose because its success would give the Democrats political capital. Since lack of medical insurance causes fatalities equal to between 7 and 15 9/11s every year, blocking the prevention of those deaths for reasons of political careerism amounts to nothing less than treason. I don't mean to be inflammatory, I just don't know what else to call it.

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    5. Anonymous, quit wasting my time. It is not my job, expressed nor implied, to educate you. Your ignorance of the ACA is your own fault, you fix it. There are dozens of avenues providing actual information on the ACA, including the healthcare exchange in your own state. The whole "congress exempted themselves and their friends" nonsense was debunked long ago, five minutes of research from a source other than The Blaze would have told you that.

      As I said, try again. Try harder.

      Delete
    6. But ya'll sure are fine with the government telling me what I can and can't do with my reproductive system. Funny how that works....It's almost like only men are real people to conservatives?

      Delete
  48. Jim,

    So appreciate how you are able to distill your thoughts and present a coherent and logical opinion.

    It is a personal frustration that we cannot find that way to evolve beyond destroying (insert item here) to achieve a goal. I still think Gene Roddenberry would be displeased to see how far the Star Trek franchise continues into themes of violence and war (yes of course since that is what we want to see). Even in our "future" we are still combating with our enemies (xenophobic as you so aptly state). We just cannot seem to find that way to co-exist. Seriously in the future of Star Trek we have the hollyhock. I mean seriously why would anyone need to fight when you can have ANYthing ANYthing right there? It is an example of how we struggle to move away from our eat or be eaten hind brain mentally.

    And on the subject of eat and be eaten. My guess is that given that a number of these people are adverse to physical combat given their avoidance of military service, this is the equivalent they have for fighting ... they must "fight" in their own minds because they are afraid to die.

    There is that cliche that goes you caint fix stupid and that is just what we have here don't we? A good while back I participated in in an work exercise. you know the kind many employers use to try to impose "success" on the rank and file? We all want the success of Apple and Disney without actually emulating their behaviors. So anyway, I digress, the point is this exercise called "Win All You Can" had a very clear objective and my hope was to follow that (google it, read the directions and my hope is you will find a similar goal as I did) What I learned, among other things was 1. You are never ever never ever at the beginning, 2. Some will follow if you talk loud (which I tend to do) 3. Some will follow because they trust you 4. Some cannot even understand the exercise 5. Some people just have to game the system for their own benefit 6. Some people are just at least one bubble off level.

    This is what we have to deal with and right now we are looking at a preponderance of 5s and 6s pushing an agenda for themselves.

    It is just so frustrating to constantly hear people (on both sides) just push an agenda for their own narrow goals -- term limits for all anyone? How these folks cannot see how they are damaging their own soul/psyche/heart with their behavior and beliefs is such a mystery to me. It is like cheating on tests right? Those who cheat just do not see how they are hurting themselves ... (ooh ooh too many elipses) and for what? a grade? or money? Really you are just pumping something into the awful hole in your soul which will expand to the degree you let it when you do not recognize what it really needs.

    thanks again, Jim!

    celia

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    1. damn you autocorrect HOLODECK!

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  49. Per usual, Jim has it just about right. Conservatism as a philosophy has value. Yes, Matilda, free markets - properly regulated - do work. Yes, government can overreach. Yes, liberalism entails excesses of its own for which conservatism provides a much needed counterweight. However, when the right lost sight of the distinction between baby and bathwater last decade, that's where we got into trouble. That's where we still are now. In trouble.

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  50. Beautifully thought out and written, as usual Jim. The foam-flecked ravings of the (sadly self-caricatured) teabag trolls pretty much nails it down for me that you've scored a direct hit. As in accurate.

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  51. What comes to mind for me is the old saying, "they will cut their noses off to spite their faces..."

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  52. Beautifully thought out and written, as usual Jim. The foam-flecked ravings of the (sadly self-caricatured) teabag trolls pretty much nails it down for me that you've scored a direct hit. As in accurate.

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  53. Bravo! Bravo!
    Well written and stated better than anything else I have seen.
    Thank you~

    Scorpie

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  54. (Part I)
    An article recently appeared in the New York Times that discussed a recent study on the wiring of the human brain. The study had found that human beings, when presented with facts that prove false their dearly held prejudices, will dig in on their position and harden their brains AGAINST the facts. The right-wing extremists have capitalized on this trait and made it their strongest weapon against their followers. And it works beautifully. This is why, when you try to convince your dittohead friends of the truth, using facts and figures, they become even more convinced that you are a fire-breathing, baby-killing, devil-worshiping, evil liberal who wants to take away their freedom and their guns, and force them to give up their Christmas Trees.

    I once worked with a man (also a retired Navy veteran) who, faced with the intractable idiocy of Navy civilian command, would mutter, "Sometimes you have to give them want they want."

    I think that maybe he's right, and the only way to school right-wing voters is to let them have their way, i.e., go ahead and shut down the government.

    A lot of innocent people will get hurt if that happens. Just like in war. And this IS a war. It is a war against the people, against common sense, and against Obama, and against reality. It is a war by the wealthy against the poor, by the corporations against the worker and the environment. And we are losing this war.

    The extreme conservative leadership is well-organized and has excellent strategy. It has managed to distract its followers from what is actually happening to them and has made them believe that Obama is a socialist (seriously, Larry Summers?) . The right-wing disinformation machine has made its followers believe that their biggest threat is from people on food stamps, and from gays who want to marry the people they love. And all the while their masters give largesse to the wealthy while robbing food from the mouths of poor children, whose parents are working double shifts at Wal-Mart and STILL qualify for food stamps. Not because the SNAP program is so generous (it isn't), but because Wal-Mart is so stingy.

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  55. (Part II)
    So maybe it's time to give these right-wing voters what they think they want. It is well documented that red states pay less in taxes and receive more in federal subsidies for their poor, many of whom are white republicans. Let them see what happens when the government is shut down. For once, they won't be able to blame Obama and the democrats. They'll have no choice but to blame the republicans, right?

    Wrong. Of COURSE they will blame Obama and the democrats. The right-wing disinformation machine will see to that. It will instruct them to blame the very people who are trying to prevent the loss of government assistance to the needy right-wing Limbaugh audience.

    Even when they lose their jobs because of tea party intransigence, they will still blame the democrats who are trying to keep them employed. When they no longer have access to healthcare, they will still blame the democrats who enacted a right-wing insurance bill.

    BUT. But when they start to fall ill, with no hope of paying for a doctor in their state which has blocked Obamacare; or when they are threatened with foreclosure because they lost their government subsidized job at the DOT; or when they have to drive an hour to mail their bills because their buddies in congress shut down all the rural post offices; or when they have no public schools left in their dirt-poor town and the nearest charter school is two hours away; or when the local prison releases a flood of prisoners because it isn't receiving enough federal money to feed them - maybe THEN they will think that a little government isn't such a bad idea.

    But I wouldn't count on it. Because, as my retired Navy co-worker and I knew, even as he uttered the words: you can't fix stupid. And there is nothing stupider than someone who would rather see his own house burn than pay taxes for a fire company that would put out a fire for someone he doesn't like.

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  56. Good one again Jim...I studied Japan and you are spot on with that group of extremists...left over from the "good ol' days" so to speak...Miyamoto Musashi "the Last Samurai" figured it out when he retired to his cave to write his books...He was driven to re-asses what Honor means...the extremists in Japan knew about Honor and Bushido... they chose to ignore the Honor part over the Bushido part which lead to the false feelings of superiority of their particular PARTY...A political party or faction...hmmm, Jim, am I getting close? Your analogy is quite accurate...It seems that We also have a party that has lost sight of what it means to be honorable...at the end, the extremists in Japan chose seppuku as they tried to reclaim their honor...now, what was the question?

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  57. http://www.humanevents.com/2013/09/20/obamacare-democracy-and-the-republic/

    "The Republicans are not the ones threatening to shut down the government; Barack Obama and the Democrats are. The choice before them is funding the entire government, except for the badly broken and unworkable program known as the Affordable Care Act, or shutting down the government to defend the ACA. It is unsurprising that every liberal in the nation will lie through his teeth about the nature of the situation, since they’ve put a lot of effort into making the American public frightened of “government shutdowns” and angry at those who precipitate them."

    I'm telling you, the Democraps in the Senate are gonna be the ones responsible for shutting this govt. down. The House is just acting in the best interests of the majority of Americans.

    You know, the ones who don't WANT 0bamacare!

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    1. Another Kamikaze pilot reports for duty.

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    2. this is the post i have been waiting for. It's not us doing it, it's Obama and the democrats fault, same as it was Obama's fault for all the damage that Bush Jr. did to our economy that is now blamed on Obama. where were these people when history was being written? Jim you do a wonderful job, write another one soon so I can read it and the comments and your replys to them...I love it!

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  58. Jim, I really enjoyed this one. As someone who works close to the heart of the (broken) political process in this country, you got to the heart of the real issue with the right wing die-hards.

    As an aside, I have to commend you for dealing with the insane, hateful, illogical spew, i.e batshit crazy comments, in such entertaining fashion.

    I have to confess that watching you take the trolls down is the the other reason I love your writing.

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  59. As I sit in Ukraine sampling 10 different kinds of honey, more cheeses than I ever knew existed, and some really interesting train rides, I will take a minute to ask (to me) simple question. What legislation of any importance has Rand Paul managed to get passed? Shouldn't one criteria for a potential national leader (in his own mind) be the ability to actually accomplish anything on the stage that he is presently operating? (I also asked the same question about Obama, but that is a moot point).

    Danny

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  60. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. As I said up above, you're done commenting here, Anonymous. Fuck off back to Glenn Beck Land and leave the rest of us in peace.

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  61. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. Tell you what, Anonymous, how's about I contact your bosses at KLA Tencor, give them the internal company network address of the company computer you're currently logging into my site from, and see how they'd like it if I made your comments on company time public. That work for you?

      Or, you could stop with the personal attacks, admit to yourself that there are people in the world who you can disagree with in an adult manner, and then go on about your business without being any more the ass

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    2. Heh. Funny how the bravado evaporates with the anonymity, eh?

      The trouble with sharing your magnificent diatribes, Jim, is that it's not possible to distill them down to one- or two-sentence summaries when recommending them; no, each jeremiad must be read in its glorious fullness to be properly appreciated. So I just like and link and hope my readers trust my judgment.

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  62. Brilliant. Tweeted. I might even add that after I read this, I spent time where I could have been pulling weeds (which is useful), looking up the history of the Japanese military. (which could be argued is useful as well) Alright now, off to weed! Thanks!

    a4alice

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  63. I also love watching you take trolls apart, Jim...

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  64. If "kamikaze" means "Divine Wind," would 'TeaParty Republican' translate to "Jezzes Breezes" ??

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    1. You, Sir, are my new favorite. Here, have a free puppy.

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    2. Jezzes Breezes. LOVE it! Made my day. Thanks.
      Chandra in MO

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  65. I live in the DC area, so I get to see the immediate results of this bloody-mindedness on the far right. I am not looking forward to losing what little pay I get. That said, another brilliant posting, which I am sharing.
    M from MD

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  66. "payment for money Congress – including conservatives members of the House – have already spent. " Money that the House has wasted includes the money, time and energy in 40+ votes to repeal (and they don't even say replace anymore) ACA. Yes, Don Young, I'm talking to you. How much money have those unwinnable 40+ votes cost the United States?

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  67. To be clear, the Yamato was not alone, and had a full compliment of ammo.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_battleship_Yamato#Operation_Ten-Go

    But your point still stands. Even by the best standards, it was a one-way trip with little chance of the crew coming out with few casualties. In reality, it was a massive kamikaze mission, regardless of whether it made the trip to Okinawa or not.

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    1. Did not matter what ammo compliment Yamato had. She had no air cover. The battleship era had ended as the Japanese proved when the sunk Prince of Wales and Repulse with air power alone. It was proved at Midway and the Battle of the Coral sea. That ship nor any her battle group had any chance of getting close enough to engage in a surface action. Those men were sacrificed for nothing.Ten-Go was very hard on the picket ships, mostly destroyers, in the Okinawa operation. It had very little to do with the outcome other than more people were killed.

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  68. I'll just drop his here AGAIN. The authoritarians by Robert Altemeyer. http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/
    A psychological study on what makes right wing authoritarians tick.

    If you decide to read this please play special attention to the game he had participants play. It has parallels to the Japanese problem Mr. Wright discussed. In his study Dr. Altemeyer divided his participants into competing countries with set amounts of resources. The non authoritarian participants game had much much more cooperation. The authoritarian participants managed to blow up the world EVERY TIME they played the game.

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  69. That was an excellent comparison Jim. I had not thought about the far right, Tea Party etc. in that light. But I suppose if the Bushido fits wear it? Sorry I couldn't help myself, long work day.

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  70. Well put. It seems that there are factions of every ideology who have signed a "suicide pact". Fortunately at this point only the Republican Party seems to have fallen to their "extremist" faction.
    I do have to protest the characterization of libertarians as the current flavor of "radical conservatives". I know it comes about as a result of Tea Partiers latching on to the libertarian label, it's still an inaccurate description. Sure, Tea Partiers deserve the "radical" label, but libertarian they aren't.
    The Tea Party movement doesn't really want less government, they just want less taxation. The average Tea Party proponent I talk to turns purple when ever I mention balancing budgets by slashing the local flavor of business tax incentives, or repealing local regulations of personal relationships. A libertarian almost always has a logically consistent philosophy on how to reduce the size of government at all levels of society, and fund the necessary governmental activities.

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  71. Thank you for an elegant comparison. I've been getting by on, "If you do something forty-one times getting the same result, yet you do it again, expecting a different result, what does that say about you?"

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  72. "Rove opposed the idea of forcing a government shutdown, largely for fear of the political consequences. Instead, he pushed the idea that Republicans should attempt to delay implementation of the law -- currently scheduled to be fully implemented on October 1, 2013 -- until a Republican president is elected. 'We need to have a President who will sign a measure defunding, repealing, getting rid of, and replacing Obamacare, and until we have a president who is going to do that we are going to be fighting.'"—Brian Powell@Media Matters

    Three years? They're going to try to drag this out for three years?

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  73. Oddly enough, just before reading your essay, I finished "Intrepid Aviators," which was about the sinking of the Yamato and how the Japanese fleet was turned back in that battle. Well said. I have been sharing this.

    NaluGirl

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  74. If only they WOULD fall on their swords, then we'd be rid of them. But they're overwhelmingly chickenhawks, cowards to the core, who send other to do what they're too chickenshit to do themselves.

    And you forget one thing, Jim. This isn't JUST about "winning", it's about denying THIS particular president ANY form of success. This is the pinnacle of the obstructionism they've engineered since he was first elected.

    The GOP is now the party of terrorists and traitors, and they should be treated as such.

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  75. 2. Illusions of unanimity among group members, silence is viewed as agreement.

    It goes farther than that. I had a friend who was--still is, I suppose, though I haven't seen him in a couple years--a Tea Party evangelical who seemed to always assume I agreed with him, though my politics were obviously far to his left. I gave up arguing with him after a while, and just went to the "mmm-hmmm" option when he went into orbit. Which was pretty much every time he opened his mouth. He would begin a conversation with the obvious assumption I knew he was right. Even invited me along on a trip to "observe" the goings-on at Zuccotti park.
    When I read later of the shooting, I emailed him "Hmmm, I wondered why you were going up there." I received no reply, and never heard from him again...

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  76. From The Economist:

    Conservative-purity feedback loop

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2013/09/defunding-obamacare


    Sometimes it's not suicide, but fratricide.

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  77. I just thought you wanted to type the letters A-Z-I in sequence without using the word "Nazi!" Ook ook!

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