Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Best Health Care System In The World

Did you hear about the lady who was charged $83,046 by a Chandler, Arizona hospital to treat a scorpion bite?

Sounds fair, right? After all, as the opponents of "European style socialized' medicine are so fond of reminding us, "we have the best health care system in the world."

Of course, in Mexico, which for those of you who went to school in Arizona, is not in Europe, pharmacies charge about $100 per dose for scorpion anti-venom.

But we're not in Mexico, dammit!

So watch what happens through the magic of the "free market" and unfettered capitalism:

The American importer, using the efficiency of the best economic system ever devised, sells that same $100 anti-venom to its distributors for $3500. Per dose. Because, uh, well, because they can. Hey, people gotta eat!

The distributor then sells it to hospitals for $3780. Per dose.

And the hospital charged the lucky patient $39,652. Per dose.

Throw in the emergency room expenses and, voila, the total is $83,046.

For what pencils out to about three grand worth of treatment.

The lady's insurance company, no dummies they, agreed to pay only $57,505. Because somebody has to draw the line against soaring health care costs...(yes, I am being sarcastic again.)

I'm sure that everyone will agree that we'd be crazy to tamper with a system that works so well.

[The hospital involved has announced that they are lowering their charge for the venom to "just" $8000. Per dose. I guess going from grotesquely ridiculous to merely ridiculous is how we measure progress around here.]

Friday, September 21, 2012

It Really Doesn't Matter

It really doesn't matter that:

Willard Mitt Romney has proven himself, over and over and over again, to be a clueless, incompetent boob.

Or, that he has shown, repeatedly, that he couldn't care less about anybody but himself and his rich friends.

Or, that he has shown, repeatedly, that he doesn't understand anything about foreign policy, or the limits of military intervention.

Or, that he has shown, repeatedly, that he has a fundamental  misunderstanding of what made this country great economically and what might make it great again. (Hint: it wasn't outsourcing and vulture capitalism.)

No, despite all this there are tens of millions of people who will vote for him simply because he's white.

They will respond to the various dogwhistles of Rush Limbaugh, Fox "News", Karl "Calling Me Turd Blossom Is Actually An Insult To Turds" Rove, and the billionaire Republican backers who love America so much that they are willing to spend hundreds of million of dollars to destroy democracy, if it lowers their taxes a little.

Because, well, you know. The other guy is black. And he only wants to help them.

That's the way they think and nothing, no leaked tapes, no idiotic responses, no campaign gaffes, no mountains of evidence, will change their minds.

So, it occurs to me that old people who vote for Romney/Ryan deserve to lose their Medicare.

And middle class people who vote for Romney/Ryan deserve to lose their Social Security.

And working class people who vote for Romney/Ryan deserve to have their jobs shipped overseas.

And uninsured people who vote for Romney/Ryan deserve to go broke paying medical bills.

And poor people who vote for Romney/Ryan deserve to lose the safety net.

And women who vote for Romney/Ryan deserve to have no say in what they do with their bodies.

And young people who vote for Romney/Ryan deserve no future but mountainous student loans, minimum wage jobs, and perpetual war.

Because, in the immortal words of one of America's Latter Day Patron Saints, Forrest Gump, "stupid is as stupid does."

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Big Stick

Apparently there are just two settings on the Republican Foreign Policy machine:

"Off" and "War".

Sounds like we'll be at war with Syria and Iran shortly after a Romney inauguration. That would be payback to Sheldon Adelson. (As if the multi-billion dollar tax break wasn't enough.)

After all, got to keep Sheldon happy and that means keeping Israel (with her nuclear arsenal that no one is supposed to mention) safe.

And anybody else who dares look at us cross-eyed better watch it, too. You hear me Libya, Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt?

But not, of course, Saudi Arabia. Because even though they fund the most anti-American forms of fundamentalist Islam all around the world, and even though most of the 9-11 hijackers were Saudis, they are our friends. And we take care of our friends.

What about Russia and China? Fuck 'em! Had about enough of those commie bastards. They'll get with the program or feel the Wrath of Willard!

Remember that Randy Newman song, Political Science? "Let's drop the big one and see what happens." Yeah, something like that.

This will be extremely good news for the defense contractors. Time to order that new Bentley and start shopping for the Maui beach house again! Hooray!

Not so good news for the poor bastards in the military. Or their families.

But they're just grist for the mill, after all.

Besides, they won't be able to afford student loans after Mitt's banker friends get a hold of them, and there aren't going to be any jobs under the "outsourcing President" anyway, so it's just as well. Might as well enlist, huh?

Expendable is the word I'm looking for.

And, whatever happens, Mitt's kids won't be in harm's way, that's for sure. So it's all good!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Say What?

As I was driving from Starbucks to Starbucks the other day, searching for even the vaguest hint of consistency in their products, I heard someone on the radio talking about a "Republican outreach to minority voters." I tell you, I almost crashed.

Let's see. First you consistently, from day one, demonize the first black president by calling him all sorts of names: Marxist, un-American, anti-colonial Kenyan, socialist, non-American, the anti-Christ, American hating Muslim, etc. Your spiritual leader, Rush "Pig Boy" Limbaugh even mocks the First Lady's figure. Stay classy, Pig Boy.

Your mouth piece, Fox "News", attacks a teenage gymnast, who just happens to be black, calling her "unpatriotic" because of her leotard (!) and criticizing her hair (!).

Then there's the organized attempt at rampant voter suppression, including the various forms of what can only be called "poll taxes" being instituted by Republican controlled state legislatures, which is the only way the Republicans have a chance at winning this election.

Add to this the constant dog whistle catch phrases that make up most Republican rhetoric these days.  You know, "welfare", "the food stamp President", "law and order" (the great Jimmy Breslin once wrote that "law and order" means only one thing to a certain kind of white voter: "Get the nigger!").

(I regret having to use that word, but that's what the man said, and he knows what he's talking about.)

Oh, and let's not forget George "Stand Your Ground" Zimmerman, poster boy for the Second Amendment.

And now you decide to reach out to African American voters? Amazing.

As for Latinos, the other important minority voting block, I have two words for our Republican friends: Joe Arpaio.

And how about a couple of letters and a number: SB1070.

But good luck with your outreach!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Big Lie

"His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it."  (excerpted from an OSS psychological profile of Adolph Hitler)

Remind you of anyone?

Of course it is wrong to compare today's Republican Tea Party with the Nazis.

For one thing, the Nazis were much better organized.  Better dressers, too.

However they do share at least a few traits. First there's the fascistic love of pomp and militarism. Remember how hot and bothered the neo-cons got when they saw Simple W. in his flight suit? Not a dry seat in the house! And those were the men...

They love them some war, too. Oh, not to actually fight in--remember Dick Cheney's "other priorities"? But they are very eager for you to fight for them. Because, let's face it, your life isn't nearly as valuable as theirs. (Shocking to think of it, but the Nazis have the moral edge here. They actually fought in their war.)

Then there's the fanatical hatred of the weak or different. Nothing pisses a good Tea Party Republican off more than a different skin color, unless it's a different religion, or a different sexual orientation. Or poor people in general. I think "parasites" is the word they use.

Again I ask, remind you of anyone?

But the biggest similarity is their undying faith in The Big Lie.

And why not? It worked for the Nazis and it's worked for the Republican Party for years. And it's so very easy:

Lie. About anything. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Taxes, Abortion, Healthcare, Education, Welfare, Immigration, Jobs, Foreign Policy, Gun Control, Crime. Then keep on repeating the lie until the simpletons and hillbillies believe it. Fox News and Rush Limbaugh can always be counted on to help with this.

At the same time, in the interest of balanced reporting, the so called "liberal media" will ignore most, if not all, of your lies. Apparently in their eyes, a thousand Republican lies can be counterbalanced by one Democratic lie. Anyway, if and when they do finally notice, enough time will have passed that the lies will have become facts for your base.

The truth can be a powerful thing. But when a political party admits to "creating its own reality", the "truth" becomes anything they say it is.