The Cause of the Republican Shutdown: Melanocytes

Mike Stanfill explains what’s really behind the GOP shutdown:

As if there’s a reason any more logical than that.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • popeyoni

    I believe this is the truth.

  • Gideon

    Could be true for some of them, I suppose. But not for all. I have the…pleasure of often encountering Tea Party sympathizers at work. I think their viewpoint is simply a lethal combination of many flavors of ignorance and faulty models. Such as the false idea that poverty is always a direct consequence of personal moral failure. Or that the borrowing of a massive sovereign nation, which manages its own currency, needs to be managed exactly like the borrowing of one household. Or that the labor market is efficient. Or that immigration injures the economy. Or that the proper response to malinvestment is a lingering money-starved depression. Or that government spending is always a drain on the economy…except when the military does it. Or that basic science research is replaceable with corporate R&D work.

    I mean, they could be frightened by extra melanin. But they’re certainly ignorant as well about a great many things.

  • Paula M Smolik

    Higher than the average president, certainly. Not higher than the average container. He’s very light-skinned. Plenty more melanin in the population.

  • MyScienceCanBeatUpYourGod

    Racism is a component but the whole story is bit more complicated. This is one of the better articles I’ve seen explaining current right-wing insanity:

    “Since the late 1960s, America has seen the growth of what the late Donald Warren in a 1976 book The Radical Center called “middle American radicalism.” It’s anti-establishment, anti-Washington, anti-big business and anti-labor; it’s pro-free market. It’s also prone to scapegoating immigrants and minorities. It’s a species of right-wing populism. It ebbed during the Reagan years, but began to emerge again under the patrician George H.W. Bush and found expression in support for Ross Perot and for Pat Buchanan with his “peasants with pitchforks.” And it undergirded the Republican takeovers of Congress in 1994. It ebbed during George W. Bush’s war on terror, but has re-emerged with a vengeance in the wake of the Great Recession, Obama’s election and expansion of government, and continuing economic stagnation.”

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115134/gop-death-watch-final-days-republican-party

  • Brian Odeen

    You are basically saying that the Republicans are racist. I would expect more from you.

    There are two sides to this battle. If the Democrats argue that the Republicans shut down the government over “a few trifling details”, then why did the Democrats not just give in on those “few trifling details” since they’re so unimportant.

    If those “few trifling details” are in fact a BIG DEAL (as they seem to be to both sides), then the Democrats are just as at fault for the shut down because they refused to compromise.

    I think the real problem is that political ideologies are basically the same thing as religions. Each side has a set of beliefs about how things should be. Many of those beliefs are not based on any logical examination of the facts.

    When you, on this page, delve into political ideologies and try to argue that your side (liberal) is the “logical” side, I can only laugh. BOTH extremes are insane and religious in nature.

  • Brian Westley
  • Brian Odeen

    Yes, very nice, but it’s still hyperbole and talk.
    A Democrat arguing that the other side wants to burn down the house (or part of the house) is specious and brings caustic rhetoric into an issue where even the PUBLIC is split.

  • Pattrsn

    Okay, so on one side we have a desperate attempt to subvert democracy by shutting down the federal government by the republicans and on the other side we have an attempt to keep the democratically elected federal government functional. You’re right those are both equivalent ideologically driven extremes.

  • Pattrsn

    Weird how a movement created and funded by big business and espousing a big business “small government” free market ideology can be considered anti-big business. I guess when it comes to bullshit you might as well go big.

  • Brian Odeen

    Exactly how are the Democrats trying to keep the government functional? I don’t see how that is the case!

    Again, I have to point out that both sides are wrong.
    If anyone can prove that one side is right, please do so.

  • islandbrewer

    Exactly how are the Democrats trying to keep the government functional? I don’t see how that is the case!

    Well, Democrats are the ones trying to keep government … what’s it called, again …. open. That’s functional. Not open is pretty much not functional.

    Wait, you’re going to turn out to be one of these “The federal government doesn’t work!” people, aren’t you.

  • skeptical_inquirer

    I don’t think it’s the whole story but definitely part of it. But I also think that there’s also a really strong anti-intellectual streak in this country, especially when tons of money will be given to football & stadiums but scientists, teachers & educational supplies are begrudged anything they get. There’s also this bizarre worship of some ‘golden age’ that never existed but seems a weird mash-up of the 1950s & the pioneer days but with today’s technology with the Founding Fathers worshipped as demi-gods (weird since many of them were deists) which can only come back if the present age is burned to the ground.

    I think the melanin factor definitely intensifies it but the underlying currents would still be there.

  • Anat

    But considering that currently still more than half the population is much lighter than him, definitely more than the median container, probably more than the average container.

  • baal

    Go watch this.

    It’s Bill Moyers providing perspective that only intelligence and wisdom can. It’s more than clear to me that the oligarchs (teaparty faction) and the dominionists (right wing christians) want to crash the country.

  • Jim Jones

    > If the Democrats argue that the Republicans shut down the government over “a few trifling details”.

    When did Democrats claim this? The Republicans want to destroy Obamacare/Romneycare because it will be harder for their party’s real owners to loot. The people want it – that’s why the sites collapsed under the demand. But a few wealthy Republican ‘contributors’ want to put their greed over the nations need.

    Only one side is extreme – not the Democrats.

  • Brian Odeen

    First, I don’t see any evidence that either party is interested in keeping the government functional. Functional, to me, implies a budget.

    Second, considering that the federal government does not seems to be functional, then it would follow that the federal government does not WORK.

    The federal government is gigantic but how the hell would we get rid of it at this point? The U.S. NEEDS the services provided by the government and I don’t see any way to reduce that need.

    It is in our interest to make sure that the federal government DOES work. Of course, when you have people voting based on their beliefs (ON BOTH SIDES), you end up with exactly what we have.

    Also, “open” would imply transparency. Exactly which President has been the least transparent in the last 50 years? Hmm?

  • Brian Odeen

    And the leftists want to drive us into bankruptcy.

  • Brian Odeen

    Democrats not extreme, that’s a laugh.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    One side is making ludicrously excessive demands over something they shouldn’t be making any demands at all over at all, because even making it one damages the stock market and puts people out of work. Those demands aren’t even related to the deficit; they’re purely a lobbyist wish list, like the XL pipeline. They chose to create a situation that would impoverish hundreds of thousands of people for the sake of this wish list, without provocation.

    The other side, in essence, said:
    1. No, that’s ridiculous.
    2. We as a nation do not give in to hostage-takers.
    3. You are intentionally subverting the legislative process as outlined in the Constitution because you didn’t like the results of elections that you tried to rig the last two times.

    So no.

    I have no respect for the Democratic Party, but they are mononucleosis compared to the Republicans’ gonoherpesylisaids..

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Well, that’s quite the argument.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Actually, the public understands this issue well enough to overwhelmingly blame the Republican Party, which, given their propaganda machines, tells you how badly they effed up.

  • Tainda

    I agree with the comic.

    The shutdown is all of them.

  • Jim Jones

    No, that’s reality. The Democrats’ real problem is being too reasonable and trying to see both sides. Usually all they see is the Republicans goose stepping off to the right.

  • baal

    Oh yes, food aide to pregnant women and children is so expensive when compared to the Iraq war.

    Did you miss how the (R) were either silent or dismissive of the national debt when Bush the lesser was in office and picked it right up again when a (D) became president? Have you seen the graphs of the debt (or the deficit for that matter) under (R) controlled congress vs (D) controlled congresses? Hint, the (R) aren’t the fiscally prudent ones.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Indeed. The melanin was just a catalyst for the fear and racism they’ve been pretending doesn’t exist since it became socially unacceptable to be racist. It didn’t go away; it just got smarter… until the pressure got to be too much.

    It says a lot about how pathetic Americans really are when all it ultimately took to make their leashed racism completely break loose (as opposed to its usual cathartic releases such as yelling about “welfare queens”) was one light-toned black guy becoming too popular for about a year.

    It took eighteen months of constant public shaming just to get Tea Party leaders to make one statement criticizing the overt racists in their midst. Think about that.

  • baal

    I’d be happy to agree that the (D) aren’t extreme enough – they aren’t even strong in their moderate right of center positions.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    I sometimes wish I respected Stanfill enough to visit his site again, because I did like his work, and usually like what’s linked here.

  • C Peterson

    Humans are inherently racist. Xenophobia is built in to us, and ethnic differences are the easiest to discern, so they are high on the list of features that stimulate our xenophobia.

    Humans are also rational, representing possibly the only animals on Earth with the ability to override our innate behavior with deliberately chosen behavior.

    A large component of our collective ethics depend on that ability to override innate behavior. Those who harbor such deep hatred for our melanin-rich president (and I do believe that this is a very large component of the hatred) are failing ethically. They know that, which is why they are so adamant that something- anything- other than racism is behind their animus. But since all the things they claim to be the real problems are things that we’ve had in the past, with more melanin-impoverished leaders, and without such deep hatred… well, it’s pretty hard to believe them, isn’t it?

  • Artor

    Please, let’s hear your position. In what way are the Democrats being “extreme.” I eagerly await your reasoned, thoughtful explanation.

  • baal

    You’re misreading “open.” Islandbrewer used it to mean, “not shut down”. That usage does not imply transparency (though transparency is something I fully support and I’ve seen very few politicians and bureaucrats be transparent).

  • Jehnarz

    I cannot begin to describe how much this disappoints me. I fell in love with this blog because it was exactly what I self identify as – a friendly atheist. But lately the posts are seeming less and less friendly and more biased. I’ll give my two cents because I think Brian needs some backup, but I don’t expect many people to agree with or like it (that’s okay, I’m used to people not liking my beliefs).
    The House of Representatives is well within its right to do exactly what it is doing if it does not agree with laws. This is part of a system of checks and balances and the reason why they get to decide the budget. I would be more upset with them had there not been SEVERAL proposals to fund everything but the ACA. To restate, the House was okay with paying for everything just like last year – all the assistance, all the employees, everything – but they do not support and do not want to pay for this faulty bill for something that we can not afford. And we can’t afford it. Why do you think the House didn’t want to approve raising the debt limit? I want universal healthcare as much as the next person, but not in the form of a several hundred dollar fine for overrated insurance (I’ve worked in a hospital as a financial counselor, and the plans offered under the ACA are ridiculous). What’s more, this act does not fix anything. Nearly every hospital already gets federal money to help pay for the medical costs of the needy; every decently sized town and city has at least one clinic that provides free or cheap assistance to those who need it; and all children whose parents do not make enough to pay for their healthcare qualify for Medicaid. Don’t accuse opponents of the ACA of hating poor people or not wanting to provide healthcare, because much better options are already there.
    Lastly, use those powers of observation that I know you all have and decide for yourself what is going on. It might require more research than just reading the Bible, but I should hope you’re up to the challenge.

  • MyScienceCanBeatUpYourGod

    Read the link if you haven’t, it’s fascinating. There’s a whole section about how Rove, Gingrich, a number of others, but mostly Norquist got the big-business and middle-American-radical factions to play nice for about a decade or two before they realized they were at odds with each other, leading to the current split.

  • Brian Westley

    To restate, the House was okay with paying for everything just like last year – all the assistance, all the employees, everything – but they do not support and do not want to pay for this faulty bill for something that we can not afford. And we can’t afford it.

    Currently, people who can’t afford health insurance put off seeing a doctor until their conditions get worse, and then they go to the most expensive health care on earth — US hospital emergency rooms, which have to accept them, and which pass these unpaid expenses onto those who DO have insurance.

    It’s ridiculous to say we can’t afford the ACA, because it will SAVE MONEY.

    What’s more, this act does not fix anything.

    It requires coverage of preexisting conditions.

    Don’t accuse opponents of the ACA of hating poor people or not wanting to provide healthcare, because much better options are already there.

    So why aren’t these “wonderful” current options NOT WORKING?

  • KMR

    I don’t think the religious conservatives in this country hate Obama because he’s black. They hate him because he’s the first president who hasn’t catered to Christian privilege. As far as why the non-religious conservatives in this country despise him I believe it has to do with them disagreeing with his fiscal decisions.

  • sunburned

    It will save money? Forgive me if I’m skeptical.

  • Bo

    I understand that every Democrat senator voted against raising the debt limit in 2006. That was when we had 1/2 of our current debt.

    On the other hand, the Republican establishment claims to be for small government and less spending, but expanded all these things under Bush.

    I think the difference between the two party establishments is more in rhetoric than actual policy. They fight each other, but I think that is meant to make them appear different for the purpose of polarizing voters.

    Isn’t Obamacare like a previously written Republican bill….hmm, so the Republicans got it in afterall. I look for the candidates the media is not taking seriously even if they are unlikely to win…that is where you will find one that is not bought and paid for.

  • Miss_Beara

    Don’t accuse opponents of the ACA of hating poor people or not wanting
    to provide healthcare, because much better options are already there.

    Then why do millions of Americans not have health care? Then why do people why try to obtain health care can’t because they have a pre existing condition?

    ACA is not perfect, but it is a step in the right direction.

  • Miss_Beara

    Don’t forget the elderly, disabled, students and low income people. But they don’t need to live or have an education, right? That is a privilege, not a right!

  • Pattrsn

    Oddly enough according to the congressional budget office the debt has dropped to 3.4% of GDP in 2013 from 10.1% of GDP in 2009.

  • Brian Westley

    Well, let’s try it and see how it works. Right now, the USA spends considerably more per person on health care compared to any other western nation.

  • Pattrsn

    I think fundamentally the big nightmare for republicans is that Obamacare will work, that’s why they’re taking such desperate measures to prevent it. After all if it didn’t work all they’d have to do is ride to victory in the next election on the backlash.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    Oh sure they don’t hate poor people. They only think that poor people are lazy parasites on the body of america that are sapping the country of its strength.

    How can you even say that the other options work? The other options leave people to medical bankruptcy. Just as a personal example: my mom didn’t have health insurance and had kidney failure. The ambulance ride and medical bills made it impossible to pay the mortgage and that went down the drain. Now almost 10 years later she is still paying after her medical bills and probably will be paying for the next 7 years because the interest adds up.

    It doesn’t fix anything?
    Sorry if I think that preventing people from being denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions is something or college students able to stay on parent plans longer.

  • Tyrrlin Flamestrike

    “…because much better options are already there.”

    Riiight. My acquaintance spends more on his health insurance each month than I do on my mortgage and internet bill combined. He’s still paying off the ER bill from two years ago (with insurance, BTW) when he had a medical emergency. He’s working two jobs, trying to stay afloat.

    and this is a “better option”?

  • Derrik Pates

    Or to my brother and sister-in-law, who are still paying off the hospital bills from the birth of their now 5-year-old son – when they *had* health insurance. In any other sane first-world country, they wouldn’t have had this debt in the first place.

  • Derrik Pates

    They know perfectly well it’ll work – it’s basically the same thing as Romney’s state health plan that exists in Massachusetts from his tenure as governor. The system works. We know it works. But they have to turn it into a failure anyway, because “fuck you got mine”.

  • Derrik Pates

    Mostly because so many people get little to no preventative care, so when they finally do get health care, it’s an emergency – so it’s more expensive. They can’t afford health insurance, so they don’t get health care. That even-more-expensive emergency health care doesn’t get paid for by the people that need it, because they can’t afford it any more than they could afford health care in the first place, so that cost gets “redistributed” to the people who can. Apparently GP has never heard “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”?

  • WingedBeast

    I think the more logic explanation is that, during the Bush2 years, the right wing in this country got well accustomed to getting almost everything their own way.
    -
    Oh, sure, Bush didn’t really try to get anti-gay-marriage amendment passed and he didn’t do a whole lot on abortion. But, whatever he did try, he mostly got. And, he got it in large part by controlling both sides of the conversation.
    -
    Then, suddenly, a Democrat was elected! “That can’t be! I mean, we’re the real America, so we should win in America! He can’t be a real American… and his melanin content is higher than mine and that makes him even less American!”
    -
    The racism is certainly there. There’s no ignoring it. And, that’s certainly helping them to be a kind of big tent. “It doesn’t matter if you hate that the world is changing around you, if you hate the notion of society being a social enterprise, if you hate the strawman liberals that you hear about on conservative radio/fox news, or if you just hate people based on their race. We’ll let you in no matter why you hate Obama.”

  • Derrik Pates

    I’ve heard the shutdown described as this:

    A husband and wife get into a fight about something. (What? It’s not relevant.) The husband, as the breadwinner, decides that until the wife gives in and gives him what he wants, he’s not going to pay the mortgage. Not only that, he won’t let *her* pay it either, even if she could come up with the money.

    That’s not negotiation. That’s financial suicide.

  • David Kopp

    They actually aren’t within their rights. The Republicans dishonestly instituted a “majority can hold the process hostage” rule on October 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Jd-iaYLO1A

  • Derrik Pates

    Exactly. The debt ceiling was raised repeatedly when G. W. Bush was in office (Google says 7 times); he doubled the national debt. Reagan, the Republicans’ patron-saint, tripled the national debt. Repubs gave up the “fiscal conservatism” mantle 50 years ago.

  • Alierias

    As someone with 2 serious pre-existing conditions, one I was born with(allergies) and one because of a serious accident that wasn’t my fault, I challenge you to lay out the “better options”.
    My insurance payments, while I was a single, small business owner, went from $112 a quarter to over $400 A MONTH, within a year after my insurance co. became aware I was enrolling for treatment for my life-threatening allergy. And this was in the 1990′s too!
    Obamacare should have never included insurance companies — it SHOULD be Medicare for all — screw the 20% profit BUILT INTO THE SYSTEM!

  • Pattrsn

    The government has shut down because republicans refuse to pass a budget unless it included provisions to gut or delay the affordable care act. The republicans have lost in congress, lost in the senate, lost in the courts and lost in the popular vote in their attempts to stop this act and are now willing to wreck the government rather than allow it to pass. Probably they are taking such desperate measures because they know the act will work, if they actually thought it would fail they’d let it pass and gain massive political capital. Of course that’s not the only reason, if it succeeds it will also cement Obama’s legacy and since the legacy of the last republican president has been complete fucking disaster that’s not something they can allow to happen.

  • sunburned

    So, where does the savings come in? Is the cost of health care going to get cheaper?

  • sunburned

    According to the American College of Emergency Physicians and the Department of Health and Human Services as of 2008 the costs of emergency care represents less than 2 percent (1.9%) of the 2.4 trillion spent on health care.

    You can see why I might be skeptical.

  • advancedatheist

    Such as the false idea that poverty is always a direct consequence of personal moral failure.

    In other words, you have a sheltered life and haven’t had much exposure to poor people. I live in rural Arizona and I know plenty of poor whites, and believe me, they stay poor because they make stupid choices in life, like spending more money at the tattoo shop than at the dentist’s office.

  • advancedatheist

    Or that immigration injures the economy.

    Again, more evidence of your sheltered life. The Hispanic immigrant population displays lower IQ’s than the native Anglo-European population, and we can see that in California from the fact that Silicon Valley’s demographics look radically unlike the rest of the state’s. Given the meritocratic nature of Silicon Valley and its companies’ desperate need for high-end cognitive capital regardless of where it comes from, you can’t blame that outcome on “racism.”

    In other words, the U.S. could get along just fine without importing more of a stoop-labor underclass that it doesn’t need.

  • David Kopp

    So not only are you a raging misogynist, but you’re racist as well? Damn. You’re like a caricature, a Poe. Can you really exist, or are you just a troll?

  • Pattrsn

    Yes, interesting article, hopefully the implosion of the republican party occurs before the implosion of america

  • Pattrsn

    Oh my god it’s you again. Not only do you promote nutjob men’s movement evo psyche crap but looney libertarian cliches too. Can’t wait to hear your opinions on race.

  • baal

    Hrm, I wonder if you’ve considered what could drive wages down on average for different business sectors and how that’s part of the demise of the middle class. Hint, it has nothing to do with the races involved.

    For our non-atheist friends, I categorically find AA here despicable and make it a point to call out his BS. I doubt he’s actually an atheist but I’m not willing to play the no-true-atheist card.

  • Pattrsn

    Oh look, you’re a complete raving moron on race too, what a surprise.

  • Matt D

    “Democrats not extreme, that’s a laugh”

    Move aside Voltaire and step back into the shadows H.L Mencken, there’s a new kid in town!

  • tracy two crows

    I just Chortled my tea through my nose on the”gonoherpesylisaids” there. LOL Thanks for making my flu ridden self have at least a good laugh today.With the shutdown,it’s the only medicine us disabled folks are getting!

  • tracy two crows

    You might want to go and adjust your underwear,your teabag is showing with the whole” leftists” comment there.As such,anything you have to say is immediately null and void.Traitors don’t get a voice.Negotiating with terrorists ISN’T the American way,kicking them in their Teabags all the way to GITMO for Sedition and Treason however,IS.Still cracks me up you folks who hate on Gays dubbed yourselves a name reserved for a gay sex act)(Make NO mistake,you guys DID make that),.Would you like some milk to swallow that irony down with?It’s rather pointy.

  • Mackinz

    I haven’t. Could you link to them? I’m unsure what to type in Google and I wouldn’t know which you were referring to even if I found one.

  • baal

    Google “deficit history graph” then select images. Read multiple sites to reduce political bias.

  • eric

    The budget and debt ceiling are only the latest events. The subtextual racism has been going on since a little before the 2008 election. We’ve had Democratic presidents before, but never has having a Democrat elected to the presidency resulted in anything like the Tea Party. And before you say the animosity is about the ACA, remember that the Tea Party came into existence 2 years before the ACA was passed.
    Speaking of which, the problems you cite with it are largely the contribution of the GOP itself. The ACA was a compromise; the Dems wanted something a lot more like standard single-payer, supported by taxes rather than this whole private-purchase-and-fine thing. Seems a bit whiny on the part of the Republican House to insist that US healthcare be run this way, then say they aren’t going to fund it because of the way its going to be run.

  • baal

    The savings could be a lot more if there was a public option with some low margin government plan (like medicare for all).

    Instead, the CBO nets the ACA with lower costs via the exchanges ‘competition’ as well as the 80% spend on care requirement. In other words, it’s a softcap of 20% for overhead + margin on care delivery. Medicare’s overhead is under 1-3% for comparison (depends on how exactly you measure it). There are some scaling issues that make this not exactly appels to apples but it’s still true that we’re paying a lot more GDP to that sector, the sector has huge profits (hidden in the cost column), and we don’t have the best health outcomes across society nor do we get better coverage of the population for it.

  • KMR

    The thing I don’t understand about the whole subtexual racism is that it doesn’t take into account the Tea Party’s rabid support of Herman Cain. My whole family considers themselves proud supporters of the tea party, Glen Beck, Fox news, you name it and when Herman Cain came into the foreground all I ever heard was how great he was and how much they’d like to vote for him. I really don’t think Obama scares them because of the color of his skin. He scares them because he doesn’t come across what they consider Christian. The Tea Party movement is all about establishing fundamental Christian ideals as the law of the land. Obama doesn’t even pretend to cater to that and they hate him for it. He’s godless to them and being godless is way worse than being black.

  • eric

    The same HHS that you quote above is on the record as saying the ACA has already saved seniors about $7 billion in drug costs. Are you now going to say that you don’t ttrust their numbers? Or do you only trust the HHS numbers when they support you, and not when they don’t?
    The savings come in the larger insurance pool and in the ability of a larger client base to negotiate better deals with providers. The same way all insurance works. What makes you think health insurance won’t work to amortize risk and cost the same way all other types of insurace do?
    Long-term, it may also come in the form of insurance companies supporting more preventative care, when they realize they can’t dump or raise the rates on someone after they get sick. There is a parallel here with birth control (which is not preventative care, but has similar economic characteristics) – insurers are willing to provide it free because its a net money saver to them. One additional unexpected pregnancy is many orders of magnitude more expensive for them than prophylaxis.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Your racism-informed inability to understand the well-known fact that IQ tests are heavily biased is noted.

    I have a tested IQ of 165, which is several standard deviations higher than it needs to be for me understand that The. Test. Is. Bullshit.

  • The Captain

    I’m going to leave aside your woefully wrong political analysis and just point one glaring thing out to you… “But lately the posts are seeming less and less friendly and more biased.?” “Friendly” does NOT mean agreeing with you on every issue or not having bias!

  • Oranje

    I agree that the above comic was a simplification. You’re right there. But then you stopped being right.

    You don’t get to hold the rest of the government hostage because you don’t like an actual law that was passed, ruled constitutional, and then was the major subject of, say, a recent presidential election. That’s not compromise. And the left being big spenders is such a ridiculous lie it makes me wonder if you’re playing with a full deck.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    It’s that racism is not an all-or-nothing thing. It’s a coloring of one’s worldview with confirmation bias and fear, but each of those can be mitigated by individual circumstance. The vast majority of racists are functional most of the time; what they need is a rationalization.

    Herman Cain was probably as popular as he was because he gave the Teabaggers greater justification to hate Obama. He reduced their misgivings. It’s like saying, “Some of my best friends are black!” It doesn’t hurt that Cain has a lesser version of Newt Gingrich’s power: they are what stupid people think smart people sound like. They aren’t intellectually challenging to the people who might vote for them, and they actively attack those who are for their intellectualism.

    Of course, the Christian thing matters… but look at how they approach it. They claim that he isn’t Christian because they want to “other” and dehumanize him, not because he doesn’t act like it. Saying he isn’t Christian isn’t really a criticism of him; it’s a rationalization for hating him.

  • sunburned

    So by closing a coverage gap in Medicare legislation the ACA is saving seniors money?

    Meanwhile there are numerous reports of many paying substantially more for coverage……myself included.

    I think that without a viable public option offered costs will continue to skyrocket.

  • DavidMHart

    Coming from that little-known, far-off country called ‘rest of world’, where, from our perspective the USA is governed by a moderate right-wing party and an extreme right-wing party, that’s a deeply implausible comment to make.

    This whole kerfuffle is (ostensibly) about an extreme right-wing party trying to shut down a moderate right-wing party’s attempt to provide a modicum of nationalised health care that is vastly more modest than that of just about any other industrialised nation.

  • 3lemenope

    I live in rural Arizona

    It takes special skill to look around a podunk desert town and say to yourself, “You know, I bet the rest of the known universe works exactly like things do here.”

    And that’s assuming you are even correct about the poor folks in your podunk desert town. Signs point to “no” on that one, too.

  • Itarion

    Debt, or deficit? These words are different, but often used the same.

  • Brian Odeen

    Given that most of the “rest of the world” is socialist (and by my standard: extreme), I can see how you could think that our Democratic party is “not” extreme. However, given that the financial policies espoused by the Democratic party have led to a federal expenditure that greatly exceeds federal revenue, I can only conclude that our Democratic party is a fiscal policy extreme, with regards to the U.S. economy.

    I, personally, am quite liberal in non-fiscal policies, so I am not talking about the Democrats in that sense. Moreover, the Republican stance on social issues mostly disgusts me.

  • Brian Odeen

    If you’re looking for me to say that the Republicans are rational in their behavior, you’re definitely not going to get that. My argument is that both sides are crazy AND corrupt.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    That’s not really the point. It’s that the ‘Pubs are so bad that they make the Dems look rational and virtuous (though not competent) by comparison. They don’t even try to live up to their own stated ideology. The Dems make promises that can’t be kept; the Pubs do that AND make promises they won’t keep even when they can AND promises in direct contradiction to their actions. Scott Walker is an obvious example, but a surprisingly common one. He got elected by flat-out lying about his intentions so the unions and liberals wouldn’t push against him until it was too late.

    The Democrats abuse the game; the Republicans actually cheat. They don’t cheat the Democrats; they cheat you, on purpose, with premeditation, with impunity because their machine has convinced enough people that “both sides are equally bad” to keep them going for a good long while yet. That’s actually part of their strategy now. The public blamed the Pubs for the shutdown at something like an 81% rate. That is amazingly high for ANY survey. But the longer it goes on, the more bitterness is going to pile up and shut off peoples’ critical thinking skills, resulting in more even blame. That second shutdown is what they’re actually going for: poisoning minds because they can’t win on any ideological level. They’re dumping their drinks on the card table because they don’t know how poker works and hate losing, and counting on everyone getting too drunk later in the evening to remember who fucked up the deck with whiskey.

  • KMR

    Maybe. I’m from the south so perhaps I no longer recognize current acts of racism for what they are. It could also be though that you’re wrong and the hate and mistrust of him has to do with my first hypothesis, his claims of having a progressive Christian faith which they don’t recognize as being Christian at all. I’ll have to think on it more.
    Your point that they attack intellectualism though is certainly spot on and IMO supportive that there is more nuance behind the right’s active dislike of Obama than simple racism.

  • Brian Odeen

    And yet people will say that democracy works. Look who the idiots in this country vote for.

  • Miss_Beara

    Minor rant

    I knew my uncle was a gun toting Republican, but I never knew he was a Tea Party Republican until I saw him posting Herman Cain and Fox News “stories” on Facebook. One in particular from Cain’s page said that Democrats are solely responsible for the shutdown. He would be one of those people at the Tea Party rally the other day and it is getting worse and worse. It is probably impossible to reason with those people so I am not even going to try and I hope when I do see him, he sticks with the “do not talk about religion or politics” rule.

    My mom, who works in a federal department and has to work during this with no pay, at first blamed both sides for this. I then educated her. I showed her stories, I showed her proof of the months long planning of a shutdown. Thankfully, I have a smart mother.

    He’s godless to them and being godless is way worse than being black.

    Or Muslim. One of the Tea-ers said he should pack up his rug, get off of his knees and put away the Koran. To them it seems to go together since they think Atheists and Muslims hate America and its freedoms.

    Is this over yet?

  • Miss_Beara

    That is really scary. I do not know how people can afford to deliver children in this country.

    It is like college. You graduate and have crippling amounts of debt that other first world countries don’t give their graduates. You give birth and saddled with crippling amounts of debt, with insurance, but other first world countries that isn’t an issue.

    Don’t even get me started on the fact that my boyfriend, who lives in England, has a sister who just gave birth now has 52 weeks of paid maternity leave while new mothers here… well, I think we all know that answer.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    It’s deficit in this case. Easy error to make.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    It’s Top Turd on Steaming Mountain for sure. Furries Sociopaths Ruin Everything.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Ooohhh, magic eight-ball burn!

  • KMR

    The “do not talk about religion or politics” rule never works with my family. Not only do they talk about it but they also lob thinly veiled insults at those who believe differently (mainly me). Holidays are a hoot ;)

  • Drew M.

    ¿Qué? The seeeenior has us feeeegured out.

  • JenL

    But he HAS. He’s kept open and continued to work with that Faith Based Office, and used it quite a bit for ACA outreach….

  • Itarion

    I figured that, I was trying to call attention of the error to Pattrsn.
    I’m often like, “THE DEFICIT’S NOT WHAT WE WANT TO REDUCE. THE DEBT IS!” Because it’s really hard to reduce the debt while having a deficit. But you know that, and the choir comes to the sermon every week.

  • GCT

    If those “few trifling details” are in fact a BIG DEAL (as they seem to be to both sides), then the Democrats are just as at fault for the shut down because they refused to compromise.

    They already compromised, the result is the ACA – a bill that is weaker than the Dems originally pushed for. It was changed as part of their efforts to compromise with rethuglicans who wanted to add riders to the bill that would cause it to fail. Then, the rethuglicans refused to vote for the ACA anyway. After the ACA still passed and went through 2 election cycles where it was a major part of the campaigns of both parties and was not rebuked by the American people, it became law.

    42 times, the rethuglicans in the house ignored all their other duties in order to pass attempts at repealing the ACA. During that time, dems repeatedly attempted to bring bills to the floor that would bring the two sides together to work out a budget, which the rethugs never allowed to happen. Then, the rethugs decided to shut down the government. In fact, they claimed they wanted to shut it down, they claimed responsibility for shutting it down, and only backed off that position once they saw how unfavorable their opinion was in the polls. As soon as that happened, they claimed that it was the dems fault all along, that they were the ones looking to compromise and that Obama was being intransigent by not defunding the ACA (in other words, by not tossing out the previous compromises they already worked out in order to come completely to the rethuglican side). They hoped that they could convince a gullible and stupid American electorate that they were the ones who were reasonable. It seems to have worked at least on you.

  • Pattrsn

    “Given that most of the “rest of the world” is socialist”?

    So, basically you’re clueless on a global scale.

  • Brian Odeen

    RIIIIIIIGHT. Do you even understand what socialism is?

    Plus, I find it interesting that all the complaints about my post say NOTHING about the fact that the original article says that Republicans are racist.

    So, apparently, you all agree with that and are okay with it.

    OR, perhaps you are the one that is clueless about the world:
    http://www.openleft.com/diary/12706/

  • Brian Odeen

    It’s interesting that you choose to attack my intelligence when I say that both sides are wrong. Perhaps if you examined your religious beliefs, you would see that both sides are playing a game.

  • GCT

    What religious beliefs would those be? Oh yeah, the ones that are about looking at the evidence? You’ve yet to present any, and have taken the bait, hook, line, and sinker to put responsibility on the dems when the rethugs made the shutdown happen, boasted about it, and now are backtracking due to their negative poll numbers. Oh, but of course, it’s religious to point this out to you and question your gullibility and intelligence for completely ignoring the evidence and reality?

    Additionally, I’ve had enough experience with people like you who claim to be in the middle, who claim that both sides are wrong, but who always look to unfairly malign one side in order to make them on par with the other. And, it’s always in one direction. Both sides are not wrong in this case, and even if they were, the degree of wrongness is certainly not equal…not even close. In essence, you’re claiming that you are somehow fair and balanced when you deride “both sides” because you’re equating jaywalking with terrorism. It’s dishonest to the core.

  • GCT

    RIIIIIIIGHT. Do you even understand what socialism is?

    It’s pretty clear that you don’t.

    Plus, I find it interesting that all the complaints about my post say NOTHING about the fact that the original article says that Republicans are racist.

    Maybe because it doesn’t say that all rethuglicans are racist. That’s a straw man that you’ve made up. We are not responsible for your lack of reading comprehension.

  • Oswald Carnes

    You’re still alive? I guess prayer really doesn’t work.

  • Oswald Carnes

    I’m okay with saying Republicans are racist, the same way I’m okay with saying the sky is blue, and you are worthless anti-American trash.

  • Brian Odeen

    Wow. Thank you for proving my point.

  • Pattrsn

    You had a point?

  • Pattrsn

    Umm, hate to point this out to you but your link kinda proves you wrong.

  • Pattrsn
  • Brian Odeen

    Really? Exactly what number value in the link registers a country as being “socialist”?

    Here, let me pick a classically socialist country: UK

    The UK’s rating is 42.1%, which means that most of Europe can be considered socialist as can the US. Surprisingly, communist China is LESS socialist (go figure).

    If you want to explain why you disagree with my conclusion, please do so.

  • Pattrsn

    Sorry Brian I just can’t be arsed.

  • Pattrsn

    Because compromise is liberalism and liberalism is socialism and socialism is communism and fascism. So by compromising, the Democrats are just demonstrating their communist/fascist agenda to take over the world and destroy America.

  • UWIR

    What he said about Hispanics displaying lower IQs is, denotatively at least, absolutely true and not racist. However, it is completely irrelevant to the question of whether immigration injures the economy. Given the nature of trade and comparative advantage, the default assumption should be that having immigrants differ demographically from the native population is an good thing, and he utterly fails to present any argument to the contrary.

  • UWIR

    What is your point here? What point do you think you are refuting, and how?

  • UWIR

    Define “biased”. Obviously you’re not using it in the standard statistical sense.

  • UWIR

    He didn’t say it said all Republicans are racist, lying liar who lies.

  • UWIR

    Why should a company pay a woman for not working? You have to be really entitled to feel like you deserve paid maternity leave.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Why should a company pay a man for not working when he’s on medical leave? You have to be really entitled to feel like you deserve to get paid while not working just because you had a car accident.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    I.Q. testing is unintentionally designed by and for people of particular backgrounds, including race, culture, educational level, income, as well as type of intelligence, both by nature and nurture. It tends to be biased in favor of people at least superficially similar to me, and against minorities.

    Look at this blog. Probably few to none of the regular commenters scored that high if they were ever tested, but I could offhandedly count at least a dozen regulars here who are obviously far more intelligent than I am, and many more who probably are. Obama has a score of “only” 130, and, criticisms of him aside, he’s clearly much smarter than me (and I’m not factoring in differences like level of success in that estimation.) I.Q. scores are not much more than ephemeral status symbols to me. They might as well be high school pecking orders.

  • UWIR

    There was a compilation album called “Rock Against Bush” that came out in 2004 and gave a bunch of reason to vote against re-electing Bush in the liner notes, and one of them was that the national debt had increased by a factor of 200 during the course of his presidency. The only way I can see that they got that number was comparing deficit in 2000 to debt in 2004. I find it rather shocking that no one caught the error. I mean, partisan bias is one thing, but when you’re capable of hearing that the debt has increased 200-fold without saying “Hey, that can’t right”, there’s something seriously wrong with you.

  • UWIR

    Do you have a cite for the claim that the Republicans have offered to fund everything except for Obamacare? I’ve seen conflicting reports, with some saying that they’re demanding other concessions, such as allowing employers to not have birth control as part of health care.

    If all they’re doing is refusing to fund programs they don’t like, and not demanding non-financial policy changes, then technically they making use of fact that the constitution gives the House’s authority over funding bills (and, technically, it would mean that it’s actually the Democrats who have shut down the government), but it’s rather contrary to the spirit of the Constitution to do a back-door repeal by simply not funding any program that they don’t like. If Congress passes a law, then inherent in that, the American government has promised to provide whatever funds are required by that law. To just refuse to follow through on that promise is bending the rules at best.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Just in case this whole thing veers off towards mansplaining territory: the partner who didn’t actually give birth rates at least some maternity leave also, at the very least for the sake of the mother.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Remember when The Jungle was something that most people could relate to, because they or those close to them had experienced it? Me either, which is why we have to engage both our empathy and rationalism to understand that the health, financial and human costs of being barbarians far outweigh those of being civilized.

    When I was treated for severe reflux a few years back, the doctors explicitly told me that they didn’t know how I could function with all the pain I must have been experiencing, that they hadn’t seen someone with that much damage who wasn’t sobbing from pain all the time. It had come on me so slowly, though, that I thought it was a normal way to live. Nowadays, with treatment, I get sick very easily from just a small fraction of the discomfort I used to not even notice.

    We’ve been trained to think of our social system as normal, when it is in fact far inferior compared to what it could be, and extremely deleterious by every physical, social, and intellectual measure. People who experience those improvements look on Americans with pity. They can guess how much pain there must actually be just from the endoscopy photos.

  • UWIR

    Wow, you sure did take a whole lot of words to not answer my question. Do you not understand how arrogant and rude your response is?

  • UWIR

    Feminerd, you’ve made it absolutely clear in other threads that you have no respect for civil discussion, so I don’t see the point in trying to discuss whatever “point” you think you’re making with that post.

  • UWIR

    That doesn’t actually answer my question.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Indeed. And I am all for parental leave … for both parents. In fact, I am quite in favor of Sweden’s mandatory few months of paternity leave as well.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Ah, no, it is only that I have no interest in civil discussion with you, but I will persist in commenting on your blatant misogyny and racism when I come across it.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Yes, I do: it wasn’t arrogant or rude. It was slightly sharp for approximately two words.

    My bad. I’m very sorry that I attempted to use metaphor and analogy to get across concepts to someone whose primary concern is seeking opportunities to exploit technical definitions as gotcha games in their personal contest with the world. Clearly the method and the target do not align well.

    Your faux civility is not humility or politeness.

  • Bo

    That is not an explanation at all. Sounds like crazy biased talk.

    The biggest difference between the 2 establishments is rhetoric, not policy.

  • UWIR

    You mean, you’ll persist in making accusations of misogyny and racism, but refusing to back them up.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Your post history should be plenty of evidence, UWIR. And last time, I did dig through your posting history to find unambiguous evidence of racism and misogyny. It was your racism that got you banned from LJF, after all, and I heard tell of you getting banned from a second blog as well for it.

    When lots and lots of people all tell you that you have a problem, you might actually have a problem.

  • UWIR

    It was quite rude. An analogy is when you present two situations with a property in common. The property that both have in common in this case is that you think both are bad. That’s not “getting across concepts”, that’s just argument by assertion, which is just one facet of the rudeness of your comment.

    And now you are directly insulting me, and presenting no basis for those accusations, either. And to top it off, when I try to calmly and politely discuss with you the fact that I found your post to be rude, I get accused of “faux civility”.

    I am making an honest effort to discuss the issue civilly. You are leaving me with no doubt that any failure for us to have a civil discussion is your fault, not mine, and that any attempts at civility are futile.

  • UWIR

    “I did dig through your posting history to find unambiguous evidence of racism and misogyny.”
    No, you didn’t liar.

    “It was your racism that got you banned from LJF”
    No, it wasn’t, liar. Libby Anne clearly stated that the reason she banned me was that she doesn’t like people disagreeing with her on her blog. And then she deleted her post saying that. Because she’s a dishonest asshole.

    “and I heard tell of you getting banned from a second blog as well for it.”
    Oh! You “heard tell”. What convincing evidence.

    “When lots and lots of people all tell you that you have a problem, you might actually have a problem.”

    So, resorting to argumentum ad populum? Lots and lots of people say I’m wrong about there being no God. Should I change my mind about that, too? Or is this special logic that only works when Feminerd wants it to? When none of the people making the accusation can defend their accusations, it’s clear that they are the ones with a problem. I challenged you to find one thing I said that was racist. You failed. Saying that there is no “Name you kid Terrel gene” is not racist. In fact, you’re pretty damn racist for disagreeing with me. You seriously think black people are genetically predisposed to naming their kids “Terrel”? That’s really fucking racist.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Actually, I have. It’s there for you and all the world to see in my posting history, whether yours is private or not. And no, LIbby Anne is fine with people disagreeing with her. It happens all the time, and yet you are one of only 2-4 people I’ve seen banned at all. Think about that.

    I did hear tell. From you. You were complaining about being banned from multiple places for racism. If you aren’t a credible source, feel free to admit it now.

    And oh look, you are proving your racism right now! By quoting yourself for all the world to see, you make my job that much easier.

  • Cake

    Whoa slow down, you don’t want to waste another 700 words on issues that only exists in your head again do you?

  • GCT

    Yay, the racists are defending each other now.

    I see that the fact that others have already pointed out what the problem with the IQ statement is has eluded you. I also see that you’ve completely ignored the context in order to jump in and cry that it’s not racist, when it clearly is. No one wants your racism here either.

  • GCT

    Yeah, it did. You’re just ignoring the context so that you can defend racism. You are a racist. Go away, you’re not wanted here.

  • GCT

    He complained that the OP claims that Republicans are racist…full stop. So, when you learn to actually read, come back and let us know. Actually, don’t. We don’t want lying racists like you around.

  • GCT

    I fail to see what’s civil about your racism and sexism.

  • GCT

    That’s bullshit that no one has backed it up. I’ve backed it up, numerous times, yet you simply put your fingers in your ears and say, “I can’t hear you!” It’s also bullshit that Libby Anne banned you for simple disagreement. You’re so full of shit that you probably would cease to exist if you got an enema.

  • Dorfl

    Your post demonstrates very well why excessive concern about ‘civility’ is a harmful thing that we should try to avoid. You don’t actually have any difficulty understanding her point, but complaining about a lack of civility gives you a useful excuse to avoid addressing it.

  • Bo

    Yeah..that makes sense…that was the bottom of the recession…and as all recessions seem to come to the end eventually..there is a little bounce back.

    Was it your point that Obama is doing such a great job that he turned things around? I don’t think that’s the case at all. You could have stuck almost anybody in there after Bush and have that happen…except maybe John McCain….he’d probably have started World War 3 by now.

  • Bo

    I think a lot of the Tea Party sympathizers are sharp enough to realize that the answer to poverty is not giving other peoples money to a few rich politicians in Washington.

    Smart enough too to know that while it may not need to run “exactly” like a household, this doesn’t justify it’s spending…Keynesian talking points and all.

    I will agree that the military ignorance is somewhat rampant in a huge swath of the Republican electorate…not necessarily most Tea Party sympathizers.

    Your other points are just MSNBC or maybe Keynesian indoctrination.

  • Fred

    Could be its just pattern matching to past behavior? At least you didn’t write a 700 word complaint about having to write a 700 word complaint. You used paragraph breaks too, Congratz.

  • GCT

    I think a lot of the Tea Party sympathizers are sharp enough to realize that the answer to poverty is not giving other peoples money to a few rich politicians in Washington.

    This addresses what specifically?

    Smart enough too to know that while it may not need to run “exactly” like a household, this doesn’t justify it’s spending…Keynesian talking points and all.

    Depends on the spending being done.

    Your other points are just MSNBC or maybe Keynesian indoctrination.

    Which points would those be, and how are they wrong? For instance, are you claiming that the “proper response to malinvestment” really is a “lingering money-starved depression”


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