Antique Map of Ireland 1598 – They Will Not Die, The Conservative Zombies

   Click here for larger image: A Modern Depiction of Ireland, One of the British Isles, 1598 CE

This map was the most modern and sophisticated of the period. It was made by Abraham Ortelius (1527-98),  a Flemish engraver and businessman.

“They won’t stay dead.”  Night of the Living Dead (1968). A movie about conservatives who keep trying to gut Medicare? It could have been. Part of conservative dogma is the worship of free market solutions for everything. There would be nothing especially wrong with that if free market solutions always worked perfectly. As we learned in 1929, 1960, 1982 and 2007 free markets are not always perfect. Not being human in and of themselves, they do not care about people. The people themselves have pretty darn reliable and resilient. That being the case programs like Medicare, a program by and for the people – using some free-market tools ( private physicians and hospitals) has proven to be very successful at providing the services promised regardless of what the market does or what party controls Congress. All while controlling costs better than the pure free market arrangement between business, employees and health care providers. You know the old saying, if it ain’t broke don’t leave it alone. Conservatives do not believe in that. because Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid are heresy. That is what it boils down to. Not the facts. Not what works and what does not. Those who think that Medicare is a great if imperfect solution to health care for seniors and the disabled – you’re a heretic. Those the undead quality of conservative crusade against a program that works. ‘Mediscare,’ Republican style

If you’re thinking of answering this in the affirmative, you might want to pause long enough to learn what transpired on the third floor of the Capitol on Thursday. There, four prominent Republican lawmakers announced their proposal to abolish Medicare — “sunset” was their pseudo-verb — even for those currently on the program or nearing retirement.

In Medicare’s place would be a private plan that would raise the eligibility age and shift trillions of dollars worth of health-care coverage from the government to the elderly. “This will be the new Medicare,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the proposal’s author, announced.

For years, Republicans have insisted that they would not end Medicare as we know it and that any changes to the program would not affect those in or near retirement. In the span of 20 minutes Thursday, they jettisoned both promises.

[  ]….The end-Medicare sponsors are key figures: DeMint is the godfather of the Tea Party, and he was joined by Paul and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), two conservative rising stars. Completing the foursome was Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), an influential thinker. Two other Republican senators, Richard Burr of North Carolina and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, have introduced a somewhat related plan to deal with Medicare, and Rep. Paul Ryan’s House Republican budget would also privatize Medicare, though on a slower timetable.

They avoided the term “vouchers” this time – at least according to the article. Enrolling seniors and one assumes the disabled in a government subsidized program like members of Congress is the new way to gut Medicare. The part they would subsidize is a lot like how vouchers would work ( the squirrelly plan from Paul Ryan (R-WI) which would have plunged millions of seniors into poverty and/ or without health care). Why is shoe horning everyone into this subsidized program so much better? Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) says so. This is all very urgent because, you know, Medicare is going broke in ten years, oh and Iraq has WMD. Medicare’s future has some issues in terms of costs, but those are not due to the program itself, they are due to spiraling health care costs. neither this new undead attack or Ryan’s old undead attack on Medicare has is a solution. On the contrary, they both say here is a little something, try to survive on it. That is not an answer. That is a complete lack of morals and economic justice.

Conservatives and Medicare

ObamaCare -The Affordable Care Act has provisions that will make Medicare more sustainable. Here is the irony. The ACA is a free market solution to health insurance for people under 65. The insurance exchanges are only a type of listing service with pricing. Conservatives want to dismantle a solution for those under 65 that resembles in many ways the program they are proposing for those over 65. So President Obama and Democrats have signed up for free markets solutions for the majority of the population – leaving us all to deal with that mine field – conservatives are opposed. President Obama and Democrats want to save Medicare. conservatives want to turn Medicare into something that looks in some ways like Obamacare or Romneycare. Like a lot of rigid dogma – which does not allow for reason and wisdom – the conservative take on Medicare and the ACA resembles the attacks of regressive zealots during The Age of Reason.

Firm Romney Founded Is Tied to Chinese Surveillance

In December, a Bain-run fund in which a Romney family blind trust has holdings purchased the video surveillance division of a Chinese company that claims to be the largest supplier to the government’s Safe Cities program, a highly advanced monitoring system that allows the authorities to watch over university campuses, hospitals, mosques and movie theaters from centralized command posts.

[  ]…Mr. Romney has had no role in Bain’s operations since 1999 and had no say over the investment in China. But the fortunes of Bain and Mr. Romney are still closely tied.

The financial disclosure forms Mr. Romney filed last August show that a blind trust in the name of his wife, Ann Romney, held a relatively small stake of between $100,000 and $250,000 in the Bain Capital Asia fund that purchased Uniview.

I’m going to take up for Romney a little on this one.  Romney deserves a little heat just because he has tried to use China and trade as an issue against Obama. Mittens can’t have it both ways. Many American companies sell various kinds of security software and technology to nations with less than great human rights records. If you own mutual funds or your pension owns such investment tools, you probably – abet inadvertently support some not so nice people in China, Saudi Arabia or another twenty or so nations on Humans Rights Watch has listed as being authoritarian. Let’s say the Progressive Democratic Caucus tried to pass a bill tomorrow that stopped trade or imposed protectionist level trade sanctions against China or whoever until they cleaned up their act – there would be a collective cry of outrage from the Right and many not so bad American corporations ( Apple, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, among hundreds of others). Just this past November the far Right editors at The National Review wrote,

The final goal of the United States should be a high-quality, pan-Asian free-trade agreement that includes Japan, and eventually China…

November 16, 2011 4:00 A.M.
Bring Free Trade to the Far East

They hedged with the bit about “high-quality”, that could be walked back to mean anything, but they were very high on an Asian wide free trade agreement.

It is not generally considered crazy to pray, to talk to one’s deity. On the other hand when someone thinks that deity is telling them what to do. Than there is the matter of conflicts when the same deity tells several people, hey you’re my favorite. Mark Twain would have a field day with this crowd, “God’s Will”?: Sarah Palin’s Secret Plot to Capture the White House in 2012

In her widely reported interview with CNN on Super Tuesday, she openly stated that she would consider accepting the nomination at a brokered GOP convention:

Anything is possible. I don’t close any doors that perhaps would be open out there, so, no, I wouldn’t close that door. My plan is to be at that convention.

It’s a line she has uttered repeatedly ever since her ill-fated candidacy as John McCain’s running mate in 2008. To most casual observers of the American political process, even Republicans, this would seem to border on the delusional. Her favorability rating among the general populace is now staggeringly low. In many circles, she is a laughingstock or a punch line. She didn’t even bother to enter the primaries. Even Ann Coulter has now turned against her.

[  ]…At least one source close to the Palin family in Wasilla, Alaska, has confirmed that Palin “still believes it is God’s will” that she serve as president, if not in 2012 then perhaps in 2016. Every move she has made in recent months — every attack on Romney and Obama, every push for an elongated primary, every speculation about an open convention — has been issued with this political calculation in mind.

In the aftermath of the devastating portrayal of Palin in HBO’s Game Change, Palin’s once-close political associate in Alaska, the good-government activist Andree McLeod, told me yesterday:

People can laugh all they want, but she ain’t done. She’s only developed a tougher skin through all ‘this’ and, out of desperation, has to inflict more damage for reasons only Sarah and her constantly-changing set of patrons knows. She has become even more dangerous and desperate.

Maybe there is some static on the heavenly line when Mittens, Santorum and Palin are listening since they all seem to think – you know who – wants them, and them alone to be president. Conservatives tend to have the values of a 12th century inquisitor so it is another bit of irony that they are all being a little heretical. Their respective followers tend to eat this divine providence stuff up as well, which does not speak well to their state of mind or moral compass.

The Case for Crazy: What the GOP Would Learn by Picking Rick Santorum

Giving a self-identified “full-spectrum conservative” theo-con like Santorum the nomination would mean we’d really have a “choice, not an echo” election in November. Republicans would be forced to confront the fact that talk about Satan attacking America, negative obsessions with homosexuality, contraception and opposition to abortion even in cases of rape and incest alienates far more people than they attract.

Our politics are looking more and more like a cult because of unprecedented polarization—any issue where there is deviation from accepted orthodoxy leads to an attempted purge. It is absurd that clownish conservative caricatures like Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain were briefly elevated to the top of the polls while more sober-minded presidential candidates with executive experience like Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman Jr. failed to gain any traction. The result is the weakest Republican field in living memory.

John Avlon is pretty savvy guy when it comes to politics, but I disagree about this being a weak field now or the field the Right had six months ago. It is very representative of the conservative movement. He should check out the snipping between different camps of supporters in conservative blogs some time. Their attacks on each other do not make any more sense than their attacks on anyone left of center. It seems that whoever can get the angriest, get in the dirtiest insult, the most venal put-down, is the winner. Facts, the best public policy based on a study they read, basic decency and genuine morality – have nothing to do with who they support. The only thing missing is the actual pitchforks and bonfires.