Sometimes, you know, you can have a thought, or find a thought, and then have another thought, or find another thought — and suddenly it’s just like connecting to wires and lighting the lightbulb.

Of course there are all kinds of stale right-wing talking points flying around about health care reform, along the lines of “pulling the plug on grandma.” But the other day I was reading an intelligent far-right blog (they do exist, they just take some looking to find), and I saw a really good point about providing health care to the uninsured. If we add 50 or 60 million people to the cohort of regular consumers of health care in this country, we are going to need a whole lot of primary care doctors, trauma specialists, pediatricians, and nurses. Such people are the product of copious education and experience; they don’t grow on trees, and you can’t produce them in a hurry. This was the objection set forth in the particular far-right blog.

Ah, but wait. When you have a commodity that you need quickly, and producing it domestically would take too long, what do you do? You import it. If health care reform were to bring about a severe abrupt shortage of medical professionals in this country, that shortage would be filled primarily — if history has been any guide — by Asian and Latino immigrants, obviously highly skilled ones.

Now, of course an immigrant of any sort is a nightmare to the Republican Party. So is the average educated person. So a medically qualified immigrant, disproportionately likely to be a rock-solid Democrat, is exactly what the Republicans wish wouldn’t happen.

If a Republican happens to be yammering at you about the difficulties of health care for the uninsured, just remember: it’s not a new clients they don’t want. It’s the new providers.


Okay.  I almost never link directly to ultraright stuff — in fact I wonder if I ever have — because why give them the audience?  (It’s my obligation, after all, to deprive them of my millions of hits a day. ;))  But this is simply too concise, dense, and polished to ignore, and you need to see it to understand what we’re up against… to understand how concise, polished, and dedicated we need to be in turn, and soon.

As I’ve said before, I’m not scared of a third party; depriving the Republicans of their own rightmost 10 to 20 million votes is the best thing that could happen.  I’m not especially scared of red states seceding; if Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana decide to break off and reestablish an agricultural economy, I’m sure they’ll do just fine, since look at how well they’re doing now.  But I am scared of civil war.  And if that video doesn’t sound to you like a call to insurrection, I respectfully submit that you’re not listening.

America today is a 21st-century social democracy.  There are people in this country — no small number at that — who want to forcibly reimpose an 18th-century individualist republic.  And if they attain any position from which to try, life will not be pleasant, to say the least.

You may recall that about three weeks ago, I wrote:

I’m probably through with Bay Area News Group’s letters columns… What I mind…is that, seemingly, in order to get one letter published I need to write and send five or six.

Well, no sooner was I on the brink of quitting than — isn’t this always the way?  — the situation turned around.  I wrote a letter blasting a global warming denier for making unsupported assertions; it got published, and a week later I was counterattacked by an even bigger fool, which I found delightful.  Editorial rules say you can’t rebut a rebuttal, which forestalls the kind of letter-volley that goes on for months in high-end UK papers — but hey, I don’t mind if somebody smacks me just so long as they mention my name.  I was a PR account executive for seven years, I know how this game works.

So, I am now officially enlisting as the classic graying and grumpy geezer who incessantly writes to the local paper.  This may or may not be pathetic, but I enjoy it, and I figure that I better take my enjoyment while there are still newspapers.

I do hang around the right-wing blogs a fair amount — not so much the total tinfoil-hat ones, although those are fun, but the ones that halfway try to make their kind of sense — the ones that preach originalism, exceptionalism, and theocracy, stridently call for the failure of Obama’s programs and primly claim to delete demands for his assassination… you know, the Sean Inanity crowd.

Now, you remember I went to shrink school.  And in shrink school, one thing they teach you is that if somebody is loudly objecting to something that you’re allegedly doing, the best possibility is that that’s exactly what they’re doing themselves — only they don’t want you to know it.

One claim incessantly made on the right-wing net is that “the Democrats are dumbing down the political discourse.”  This is commonly followed by a lot of snarling about education for African-Americans, undocumented Latinos, African Muslim immigrants, and similar ESL types who are supposedly dumb enough to swallow the Democratic message.  Okay, hold it.

I’m currently in the throes of trying to prove that the level of education of the average Democrat is higher than the level of education of the average Republican.  That takes some doing, although I already know that someone with a master’s or a doctorate is much more likely to be a Democrat than a Republican, but it certainly does seem to be true that Obama’s message — in its granularity and its specificity — is intended for educated people and a lot of Republicans just tune it right out.

It’s also true that Republican haters are easy to spot in places like CNN, because they often can’t spell or particularly make sense.  This morning on CNN Political Ticker, somebody was going off on Specter voting for Sotomayor, and started their post with “Firstly the appointment of this racially predudistic feminist…”

Well, hell, if you saw that and were next in the stack, could you resist?  I posted back “What does ‘predudistic’ mean? I can’t find it in my dictionary.”

Again and again the Republicans take the stance of rampant anti-intellectualism.  It’s like Sarah Palin saying “Anybody who ever took Econ 101 already knows…”  Yeah, Sarah, anybody who took Econ 101 and stopped there. Whereas if you were, say, a cabinet-level Federal officer, or a tenured economics professor, or a Nobel Prize winner in economics, you might just “know” something else “already.”  But the brownshirt Republicans know that heads of the intellectuals are the first ones they want to bash.

No, dumbing down suits the Republicans just fine.  The only hope they have of bolstering their dwindling constituency is to recruit people who are too uneducated to pose countercases, raise counterexamples, or even ask pointed questions.  Find enough of those people who are, as Frank Rich said in the New York Times a couple of weeks ago, “aflame with grievance,”and… hey, you might have a Republican Party again.  Just not a very smart one.  When somebody talks to you about “the dumbing down of the electorate,” just remember who ultimately benefits.

Speaking of right-wing blogs, I found a scary one yesterday: somebody saying that Hillary Clinton actually favors the abject failure of Obama’s policies, so that she can make a plausible run against him for the Democratic nomination in 2012.  Right off the top, I can think of four reasons the Republicans would love that:

1.  Her economic policies are Republican anyway.
2.  She’s mad enough at Obama after the 2008 nomination — and for being politically neutralized as Secretary of State — that she’d be willing to pin blame on him for whatever had gone wrong by 2011.  (Or so goes the right-wing gossip.)
3.  If she were elected president in 2012, she’d walk into the job not just a lame duck, but a dead duck, on health care.
4.  If she got the Democratic nomination, she’d be the Republicans’ perfect excuse to nominate Palin, say “May the best woman win,” sit back and watch and reach for the popcorn.  How many people hate Clinton enough that they’d vote for Palin instead, we can’t be sure, but I’m not liking the idea.

And one more thing — remember Steel Parasol?  There was a good, if brief, letter in my home-town paper this morning that can be summarized as “I can understand your writer liking GM cars, but personally I’d rather have my Toyota built in Kentucky than a Cadillac built in Mexico.”  It underscores the point that the right-wingers who lament the US economy are talking about an economy that no longer exists — not in the context they insist on dredging up.

I’m off for the weekend to be an über-Democrat.  See you soon!

I seem to be the last person alive to know this, but Sarah Palin just quit, handed over to her LG, and announced she wasn’t running for re-election.  Clear message to the RNC: You nominated me for VP last time, you bastards, and this time it better be President, or else.

Or else what, Sarah?  Or else the Republican Party isn’t crazy enough to nominate you and watch you get fifteen million votes?  Real American Party, here we come.


Well, they didn’t publish my letter about Japanese collectible cars, and that’s typical.  What graveled me was that they published the GM suckup’s letter again, so two weeks in a row.  I expanded my response a little bit, tightened it up, and resubmitted it.  We’ll see.

In the new version I referenced the Honda S2000, a car I’ve always loved and which ended production last month.  But what I didn’t know (thank you, Wikipedia, again,) was that beginning in 2007, there was a tweaked version called the S2000 CR.  It was available only in white and with a red leather interior, and the production ceiling was “less than” 2,000 units.  Golly, you think some of those are in museums already?

Now, Hil asked reasonably how the original writer — and lifelong GM buyer — could be expected to know something about a Japanese car that I was surprised to find out myself.  But that’s exactly my point.  If you’re granted the increasingly scarce privilege of publishing an opinion in a newspaper, don’t just spew without sources, and DON’T WRITE ABOUT WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW.  If you sit there and blow smoke, you’re wasting time, ink, and paper as all three become steadily more valuable.

Having said that, I admit that I’m probably through with Bay Area News Group’s letters columns.  A political editor of the West County Times told me that, no matter how often you write, you won’t be published more often than once a month, and that’s fair.  The stricture is occasionally violated, see above, but so what.

What I mind a lot more is that, seemingly, in order to get one letter published I need to write and send five or six.  I write, I find sources or check sources, I edit before I submit, and on average one letter probably takes me an hour.  Sorry, but I can’t spend five or six hours on publishing a letter in the Times or the Journal once a month.  I’d rather blog, choose my own subject and length, guarantee that I appear, and — best of all — be able to re-edit if I decide that something’s clunky.

Well, stuff about the Minnesota Senate race is becoming clear.  I mean, Norm Coleman fought for eight months, until the whole thing became a statewide and then national and international joke, Michael Steele and the RNC totally had his back, and the Republicans ended up spending almost $1 million.  Now that Franken is a done deal, the cryptofascist bloggers have already begun their drumfire that electing a former standup comedian as a Senator is as much of a joke as the rest of this administration.  Okay, what’s going on here?  I thought Republicans were all about the will of the people.  And even Tim Pawlenty, who’s a rock-ribbed conservative, agreed with that and signed the election certificate.

Okay, CNN this morning says that Franken:

  • Supports an “Apollo project” for clean energy.
  • Supports “comprehensive immigration reform” including a path to citizenship for undocumented workers, tamper-proof ID cards, an end to ICE raids, and — get this — working with Mexico to improve their domestic economic conditions!  Of course, improving Mexico’s economic conditions will take bites out of profits for American companies operating in Mexico…
  • Got installed on the Judiciary Committee in time to support the Sotomayor nomination, which he thoroughly does.

One of my favorite right-wing blogs opined that Franken being seated was “actually a loss for the Left.”  Talk about, as Rabbit used to say, pretzel logic.  Al Franken is going to be a damn good Democratic Senator and a real pain in the rump for the Republicans, which they knew from day one.