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    • Killing Herd Animals
      One of the great crimes and tragedies of our world is how we treat the animals we eat (or whose milk or eggs or other products we eat and use.) Factory farming keeps them in tiny enclosures, feeds them monotonous foods, and then when they’re slaughtered it’s a terrible experience: they’re terrified and die in […]
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Aw, Jeez, Here comes the guilt trip: Some advice for the Deaniacs

Alright, Deaniacs and disillusioned Obots, listen up.  You guys were complete and utter fucking assholes churls to us last year but you’re new to the concept of disciplining your politicians so we feel obliged to help.  Solidarity and all that sentimental stuff.

In the past couple of days, Obama administration officials, the Villagers and the self proclaimed creative class new Villagers have declared that we are either insane or aren’t being grown up because we have either urged Congress to kill the health care reform bill or have decided that we will hold politicians accountable at the ballot box if Congress fails to follow our instructions and really reform health care.  We have been told that this may be our last chance, an opportunity like this will not happen again in our lifetimes, that if we don’t go along with a crappy bill millions of people will die and poor people will be left without health care and it will be all our fault.  God, how can we LIVE with ourselves?!  We’re the most heartless craven people on the planet.  There will be blood on our hands forever and we will wander the midnight tubes of the ethernet rubbing our hands and crying, “Out, Out, Damn Spot!”

This, you dickheads, my friends, is called a “Guilt Trip”.  Someday, you may be old enough to have adolescents (a fate you richly deserve) and they will pull this s%^& on you all of the time.  In fact, YOU did it to us last year when you told us that if we didn’t vote for Obama, women would have to go to back alley abortionists and would die, DIE!  How could we “old” women turn out backs on young, nubile, much more intelligent and beautiful Obama women and let that happen?  Didn’t we care about womens’ rights and were we too stupid to know that Democrats and not Republicans were committed to preserving them?   And how did that work out?

Here’s the thing, guys (and you are almost all guys), you and I voted these craven bastards Democrats into power.  They pitched their story to us about Change! and majorities and “getting things done” and universal health care and ending the war and improving the general welfare.  And we elected them and charged them with fulfilling those obligations to us.  Now, it is time for them to put their votes where their mouths were.  Pay up, Congresscritters.

It is not our responsibility to take the blame for a badly crafted bill that will do little to reform healthcare and may saddle us with no competition and a guaranteed consumer for insurance companies for decades to come.  It isn’t our responsibility that cost containment will be next to nothing or that patients may still end up bankrupting themselves because they can’t afford to pay the insurance they are now mandated to pay.  No, that was CONGRESS’ responsibility.  THEY are responsible for this thing they call healthcare reform.  If they want to pass a better bill, then they’d better damn well write one.

What they accomplish with a guilt trip is they take the workload and obligation off of their shoulders and they put it on YOU.  I’m sorry, but were you privy to any of the meetings where they decided what the scope of the reforms were going to be?  No, of course not.  They wheeled and dealed behind closed doors with each other and lobbyists and decided among themselves what the American people were going to get.

So, now they are faced with passing a bad bill or being forced by us to go back to their chambers and make it better before we accept it.  If they get us to feel enough guilt, they won’t have to do the work.  And if they don’t have to do the work, they won’t have to make the insurance companies and hospital lobbyists compromise.  They can proclaim their progressiveness and whine about how unfair Joe Lieberman is but they won’t have to do a single thing for you, the voter.  They can all go home for Christmas with clean consciences because they got us to feel guilty and all we did was take it and shut up about it.  Piece of cake!  Bring on the finance industry reforms and the employment crisis!

See where I’m going with this?  (Sorry I have to ask such an obvious question but after your antics of last year, it never hurts to ask.)

Real grown ups do not put up with this from children.  Why should we put up with it from our elected officials?  What real grown ups do is tell these people that they have a choice: They can do what you tell them to do and do it right or they can suffer the consequences in future elections.  Then, you have to back that warning up with actions.  You have to send money to their primary opponents.  You have to not vote for them for elected office.  You have to vote for the Green party or the socialists or some other player to be named later.  You have to turn your back on them and ignore them when they start pleading.  If you do not back your warnings up with actions, they won’t think you really mean it. And you have to keep doing it over and over again until they get the message and apologize to you and do what you want.

Don’t say it can’t be done and that these Congress people are tough and will hold out.  You can hold out longer and you have an advantage that the insurance companies don’t.

You have a vote.

And I have a vote.

And Katiebird, Bostonboomer, myiq2xu, stateofdisbelief, Kos, Jane Hamsher, Lambert, Violet Socks, Digby and every person in the lefty blogosphere and everyone they know who thinks like they do but don’t read blogs have a vote.

And those votes add up to a lot of discipline. In fact, just the prospect of you threatening to go get your belt has them thinking twice.  They’re looking at the numbers.  They’re testing you to see if you’re serious.  Be serious.

Now, I know you guys didn’t listen to us last year and you are part of the reason why we are in this predicament now.  But you can turn this around if you want and lay down the law and get what you want if you ignore the guilt trip.

Don’t fuck it up.

I have DSL

And even though I live in central NJ surrounded by telecomm giants, my internet connection is pathetic.  It takes me a lonnnnng time to download a youtube video.  If I want to rent a movie or download a book, I have to plan in advance or steal bandwidth from a neighbor. I have never been able to upload a video to my youtube account.

My neighbor has Comcast.  The cable connection is super fast.  I would love to have an internet connection as fast as that but in order to get the cable modem, I have to purchase a package of Comcast TV.  I’ve considered Comcast but it’s really, REALLY expensive and doesn’t come close to competing with my satellite provider for the stuff I would be forced to buy as a package deal.  Besides, Comcast is a behemoth and I don’t like to support behemoths.  I think diversity is healthy in a free market economy.  If I succumb to the temptation of fast internet and buy TV from Comcast, I just make it bigger and more likely to satisfy its own needs as a mammoth cable provider and not my needs as a subversive blogger.

I already have DiSH.  I LOVE DiSH.  The package deal for satellite TV I have can’t be beat.   It comes with all kinds of DVRs and HD and 200+ channels of programming at a great deal. But DiSH doesn’t offer affordable super fast internet.  No, for that, I have to go through Sprint, Embarq, Century Link.  The company keeps changing hands but alas, the service is still sucky.

In the mall, there is a Verizon FIOS booth.  It is cool and shiny and sexy.  “OOoooooooOOOOoooo!”, I exclaim every time I pass it, “When is FIOS coming to <<township name redacted>>?”

“Soon”, they have told me for the past two years.

“But Princeton got FIOS.  Paul Krugman just got his a couple of months ago.”

I got tired of that “soon” answer so I just badgered them one afternoon to level with me.

“Never.  Your township made a deal with Comcast for their municipal needs so Comcast kinda has a lock on your internet options.  We’ve been trying to negotiate with your township but they ain’t budgin’.”

So, essentially, I am stuck with sucky internet.  If I want fast internet, I can dump DiSH and buy the entire Comcast package at an outrageous price.  If I want to preserve some semblance of competition, I stay with DiSH and Century Link, the DSL component of which is soooo far away from my terminal endpoint that I will never get decent download/upload speeds.

What I don’t have is competition.  No, I do not have the option of picking my provider and they in turn do not have the obligation to provide me with decent services at a reasonable price.  I am a captive audience.

It’s a good thing that no one is *forcing* me to buy this crap.