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Why there must be a shutdown

I’m back but still pretty busy.  Not a lot of time to unpack what’s really going on here so I’ll try to make this brief.

Here’s my take on both parties’ health care policies/bills:

Republicans= Sharp stick in the eye

Democrats= Better than a sharp stick in the eye

I’m both amused and frustrated at the way party loyalists sing the praises of Obamacare.  It’s NOT all that.  Basically, we are all at the mercy of a private insurance market and medical care industry that has zero incentive to keep costs down.  All we got out of Obamacare is the right to pay for outrageously expensive insurance if we have a pre-existing condition.  Oh, sure, there will be subsidies and tax credits and more medicaid in some states but I figure it will be like getting one of those coupons where the bargain is only marginally better than paying retail and has fine print that says “cannot be combined with any other offer”.

I look at Obamacare and then look at my 10 year old beat up car and realize that I will have to give up getting a new car to pay for the health insurance that I still have to foot the bill for.  A lot of people will be making this mental calculation in the next couple of months.  I think it *will* have an effect on the bottom line.  There is only so much you can squeeze out of people who have vastly reduced or stagnant wages.  Math will get us all in the end.

Nevertheless, it is the law.  It was cobbled together by industry lobbyists, watered down by Republicans, made all but useless by committees and obstructionists and hyper-religious nutcases who would easily agree to condemning a whole generation of Americans to the brink of poverty in order to romanticize the fetus, then voted on by both houses of Congress and signed by the president as his “signature accomplishment”.  He and his party are like gleeful children coming home from school with shiny stars on their chicken scratching artwork, insisting that we stick it on the refrigerator door forever.

But the Republicans have to shut down government over this meh bill because they are part of a cult and their followers are part of a cult.  I honestly believe this because I lived it when I was a kid.  The leaders know what they’re doing.  Ok, maybe they let it go a little farther than they intended to this time.  But the followers really don’t have a clue.  All they know is that the right wing noise machine and its spokesman gives them permission to entertain their secret desires.  Every time they get crazy and get away with it, they get validation that they’re right and good.

I’m reading the new book on Manson right now and I can’t help but see parallels in the way Manson brought forth what was within his followers and gave them permission to do whatever it was they felt like at the moment.  They lived in the now because the world was going to end soon and they would live through it by hiding in a hole in the ground in the desert.  When the dust settled, they would live as evolved beings in a paradise where they would rule forever.  So, what did it matter what they did in the present, especially if it accelerated the end of times?  Anything goes.

That was Susan Atkins’ philosophy when Sharon Tate begged for her life.  Atkins told Tate she had no mercy for her.   Michelle Bachman’s comments about shutting down the government last night has that familiar ring:

“We’re very excited,” said Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). “It’s exactly what we wanted, and we got it.”[…]

Lovely.  So much for Michelle’s mercy for the thousands and thousands of people who will be furloughed this week.

And there will be millions of people glued to Fox and right wing talk radio today where their reality will be shaped.  They will be in the world but not a part of it.  Their reality is not that of the 800,000 people whose livelihoods will be put on pause so Michelle Bachman can be excited.

It is time to face it that half the country is in the grips of a very powerful cult.  That’s not to say that Democrats wouldn’t use some lessons from the gurus to get what they want, like they did in 2008.  But for the most part, it is the Republican base that is following the leaders off a cliff.

If only the rest of us weren’t chained to them.

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