New Rules: 11/11/11

From the last show of the season.

“If A Christmas Carol was performed by the Tea Party Dramatic Society, it would be a cautionary tale about how the hero, Scrooge – a blameless job creator – is turned into a socialist through the corrupting influence of Tiny Tim…”

Hopefully, the clip won’t get pulled by the folks at HBO, but you know what copyright nazis they are over there at Time-Warner.

OWS & The Tea Party

Some very sensible observations about similarities and difference between the Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party movements from Karl Denninger, who helped form FedUpUSA (a precursor of the Tea Party) in the wake of the March 2008 Federal Reserve bail out of Bear Sterns.

Libertarian Hypocrisy

In the Republican “Tea Party Debate” earlier this week, when Ron Paul was asked whether or not a healthy, uninsured 30-year-old man should be left to die if an unexpected tragedy put him into a coma, he unsurprisingly replied that someone who meets such an unfortunate end without insurance should not get a safety net and therefore, as a consequence of their poor choice and lack of foresight, simply be allowed to die. (A sentiment enthusiastically cheered by the audience of doughy white people, many of whom will be imposing on the healthcare system before too long for one reason or another.)

Well, guess what? It turns out that Kent Snyder, the campaign manager of Ron Paul’s last unsuccessful run for President, died in 2008 from viral pneumonia at the age of 49, leaving an unpaid hospital bill in excess of $400,000… He may have had insurance coverage, but clearly it wasn’t anywhere nearly sufficient to cover the costs of his treatment.

So, how could this fierce libertarian zealot have allowed himself to be so inadequately insured for such an unexpected calamity?

In his response to Wolf Blitzer’s question – as he frequently does when confronted with such real or hypothetical moral dilemmas – Ron Paul wistfully described the good old days when churches, friends and neighbours would simply come to such a person’s aid. And it seems such individuals did in this case – well, sort of… and after the fact.

A fund was created posthumously to raise money to pay off Snyder’s $400,000 hospital tab, but it seems that it quickly ran out of steam at the about the $28,000 mark. Bottom line therefore is that the society of “welfarism” and “socialism” that Ron Paul so contemptuously abhors, most likely ended up absorbing the remaining $372,000 of his former campaign manager’s unpaid medical bills because neither he nor his church, friends or neighbours could fully account for them. Go figure.

This seems to be the problem with the libertarian doctrine… their theoretical notions individual “freedom” often don’t translate well into real world experience. In other words, when the rubber meets the road, it turns out they’re woefully impractical.

Update: Seems former Florida congressman Alan Grayson wasn’t too far off the mark after all with his controversial description of the Republican approach to healthcare as being: 1) Don’t get sick; 2) And if you do get sick… DIE QUICKLY.

Comparing Tea Partiers to the soulless robots in Bladerunner owing to their absence of empathy is classic Grayson.

Sick, of course… but also funny as hell.

I’m sure a “liberalzombiesmustdie” version would be just as amusing; most certainly to those who despise liberals. Also not hard to imagine the stereotypes and cast of undead characters that would be involved…

Update: Speaking of which, Keith Olbermann didn’t find the game funny in the least, awarding it a “Worst Persons in the World” nomination last night and calling for a boycott of Starvingeyes Advergaming, the company promoting it.

Shrill Bitch Alert!

Video of Sarah Palin squawking at speaking to “supporters” of a newly formed group called “Tea Party of America” today at a rain-soaked rally in Iowa… and covered LIVE by Sun News! Go figure.

In a Godly portent worthy of Michele Bachmann, “thunderstorms moved through Indianola in the hours before the much-anticipated event… sending drenched Palin supporters running for cover.”

Do Teabaggers Read Books?

Well, not that much, apparently. At least if sales figures for the latest raft of books penned by Tea Party icons are any indication of that group’s appetite fer book learnin’…

Despite widespread media hype, TroubleMaker, by vacuous non-witch and failed Senate Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell, sold a paltry 2,200 copies nationwide during its first week – of which 1,500 were actually purchased by aides working for O’Donnell. The audio version fared even worse with total sales of just 12 copies. Yep, count ‘em, twelve!

While O’Donnell may be the most epic failure of the bunch, authors of other Tea Party books aren’t faring much better.

According to Neilsen’s Bookscan, as of last month, Rand Paul’s memoir, The Tea Party Comes to Washington, had sold just 6,000 copies and Boiling Mad, a highly-touted study of the Tea Party by reporter Kate Zernike, had only sold around 2,000. Last year’s manifesto Give Us Liberty, by FreedomWorks’s Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe has managed to move more than 20,000 units to date, but it has to be kept in mind that much of that came through bulk purchases by right-wing interest groups and friendly PACs (the usual method of gaming the “best-seller” lists).

Perhaps there is some hope to be gleaned from these numbers that the Tea Party is becoming an increasingly unpopular aberration, but of course that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be any less influential. Consider that while in a recent poll the Tea Party ranked lower in approval than any of the other 23 groups asked about, another group approaching it in unpopularity was the Christian Right, which nonetheless remains a key driver in American politics.

Rules, Schmules…

This is quite a long video, and seeing as vita brevis, I don’t expect many to actually watch the whole thing, but it’s quite an instructive, albeit maddening, exercise do so.

You may recall that at the start of the 112th session of Congress, highly juiced by Tea Party sentiments, House Republicans implemented a new rule stating that all bills must include a statement “citing as specifically as practicable the power or powers granted to Congress” to enact the measure. But how does that work when the measure being proposed is blatantly unconstitutional? Well, just watch and see!

I look forward to future bills being introduced into Congress by Democratic lawmakers with an incoherent, “uga booga baka bonga” preamble and seeing whether the same standard of technical rigour will be applied with respect to the new constitutional justification rule…

SOTU: Crazy Eyes Edition!

If there’s one good thing that can be said about Rep. Michele Bachmann’s response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech last night, it’s that it was… umm… Err… Well, it… Oh, bugger.

Here – you watch and meanwhile, I’ll go think of something.

Got it! It was under seven minutes! Phew.

And it had charts.

Snob Story

The concluding part of Bill Maher’s “New Rules” segment last week illustrated some of the glaring contradictions between historical fact and fanciful, revisionist fiction when it comes to the disparity between the fundamental values of America’s Founding Fathers and those of the so-called Tea Party movement that has attempted to co-opt them as spiritual leaders of their reactionary, populist cause.

Writing early last year in New York Magazine about the recent surge of populism in the USA, Kurt Anderson succinctly described the “elitist” disposition of America’s framers this way:

…what those thoughtful, educated, well-off, well-regarded gentlemen did was invent a democracy sufficiently undemocratic to function and endure. They wanted a government run by an American elite like themselves, as James Madison wrote, “whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations.” They wanted to make sure the mass of ordinary citizens, too easily “stimulated by some irregular passion … or misled by the artful misrepresentations” and thus prone to hysteria—like, say, the rabble who’d run amok in Boston Harbor—be kept in check. That’s why they created a Senate and a Supreme Court and didn’t allow voters to elect senators or presidents directly. By the people and for the people, definitely; of the people, not so much.

It’s an excellent article that explores the conflicting dynamic that has existed from the outset in American politics between the “deliberative gentlemen engaged in careful compromise” and “the apoplectic vandals… throwing things overboard.”

Note: The usual warning applies regarding any RTWBM video… HBO may decide to have it pulled down at any time because they’re dicks that way.

Update: As expected, the hyper-vigilant copyright police at HBO zapped the clip that had originally been embedded.

Atlas Shrugging

Tea Party ’09 (July 4th) — Feel the Excitement!


Or not. The sad fact for these disgruntled folks is that there’s only so much room on the turnip wagon to Crazy Town and Sarah Palin has taken up most of it this weekend; meanwhile leaving them aimlessly milling about the civic squares and city parks of fly-over country, their feeble protests and pointless horn-honking largely ignored even by the opportunistic boosters at Fox News.