Seriously.  Because when the Republicans first started this shutdown mess, it was about defunding Obamacare.  Since that wasn’t going to happen, it then became about just delaying Obamacare.  Now it’s not about that anymore either, and most Republicans sound like they aren’t quite sure what it’s about, only that they want to get something out of it.

So before the economy collapses and everything goes to hell, let’s give the Republicans that pony they never got from their parents.  Or a plate of cookies.  A gold star.  One of those participation trophies that says you lost, but you still showed up to the game, so yay!  A kiss on the boo boo to make it better.  An apology from Obama’s election campaign team for being too smart?  More Benghazi hearings, this time with cheerleaders?  Another copy of the President’s birth certificate?

Is there a little holiday present we can give the Republicans to help end this insanity?  I can think of a lot of things, except for what they really want, which is to see the President impeached, tarred and feathered.  That ain’t happening, guys.  Take the pony instead.

As I sit here working away at my desk, I hear your voice shouting in my headphones.  “We need to stop Obamacare…we have to defund it…the American people must be defended…”

Psssst….hey you…health care reform is already here.  Our state exchange website is open, and in the next few days, I will be helping my parents to sign up on it.  My mother, who was previously turned down by insurance companies–not for any serious pre-existing conditions, mind you–only for a single visit to the doctor in her past–she will finally be able to get insurance.  So will my father, who recently found contract employment which does not offer health benefits.  At his age, it is difficult for him to find a job which isn’t contract or temporary.  Some of my friends who were uninsured will also be getting coverage.  If being able to breathe easier about their well-being means that I’m selling out to big government, I’m okay with that.

And here’s another thing–the medical insurance company I work for is already enrolling new members for our exchange plans.  My employers are doing what any normal business would do–competing for customers.  We are expecting tens of thousands of new members.  So what do you think is going to happen now?  Do you think that if you lie on the ground and kick your feet and scream, my company is going to turn around and drop all those people it just signed up?  Or do you think my bosses would prefer to see those premium payments come in?

And yes, this is why I’m still at my desk so late, listening to you.  I’ve been working long hours because of health care reform.  In the real world in which I reside, this law is a done deal.  But I can understand what you’re doing, you over there on the Congress floor.  Hey, I like a bit of good drama just as much as the next person.  And that’s all this is–drama.  Whether it’s being done for votes from your base, or prestige, or whatever else.  All that huffing and puffing of righteous anger is only for show.  And you know that as well as I do.

Part deux, in which Republicans continue to long for the advances of a strong, manly leader, so much so that they fall head over heels for an ex-KGB man.  Here I thought that they were supposed to be anti-Communist.  I should have known that they would always choose the Commie over the black guy in the White House.

I just wanted to take a moment to remind the conservatives who are waxing nostalgic over George W. Bush’s unwavering foreign policy (At least Bush went to the United Nations!  Wait…I thought conservatives hated the United Nations?) and who are expressing disdain over Obama’s perceived weakness–I would like to remind them that most of the world, including many Americans, is still recovering from the hangover caused by W’s “I’m the decider” leadership.  This is one of the things making the Syria situation so complicated.  When the British parliament voted against supporting American military involvement in the region, the fiery speeches given mostly came down to one question:  “Remember Iraq and Afghanistan?”  If anything, Obama was criticized for wanting to rush into action, not for uncertainty.  A survey of British voters shows that 59% of them are feeling cautious because of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  And of course, surveys also show that the American public is very opposed to getting involved in Syria, deeply war-weary because of our two long military entanglements.  Not that it’s a bad thing if Americans have become a bit more skeptical about war.

The point is, it will take time for all of us to heal from W’s decisions…and in the meantime, the Republicans would like to see even more of the leadership style which got us in trouble in the first place.  I’m glad they’re not in charge of this situation, otherwise we might be fighting the entire world by now.  After all, anything less than that just wouldn’t be manly enough.

A few nights ago, I plopped into bed and turned on Coast to Coast AM.  I hadn’t listened to the show in years.  Back in college, I used to put myself to sleep every night with the UFO abduction stories, ghost hunter recordings and chupacabra sightings.  Sure, I knew that a lot of what I was listening to was complete bullshit, but it was oh so entertaining.  There was the guy who played speeches backwards to reveal what was in the speaker’s subconscious, and caught Bill Clinton saying “I love women!”  There were the alien-human hybrid babies, and supernatural indigo children.  I could turn the radio on and hear someone say “I’ve talked to the dwarves, but they don’t know if the fairies ever sleep.” 

So I got tired of the endless war and slaughter being reported on the BBC, and thought, I wonder what’s happening on Coast to Coast?

What’s happened is that the show I used to love is dead.  More accurately, it has turned into just another conservative talk show.

Sure, Art Bell had his own libertarian streak, and I didn’t always agree with him, but I don’t remember him ever leaning this heavily on politics.  The new host (at least the one I heard that night) and his callers pretty much engaged in an hour of the most tired, predictable kind of Obama bashing, even with a few Obamacare jabs thrown in.  Hey, they have the right to their opinion, but if I wanted to hear that sort of thing, there are about a gazillion other radio shows like that on the air.  To my amazement, the hour ended with words of high praise for John Hagee…and when I researched a little further, I discovered that religious right pastors have been regular guests on the show lately.

I realize that it’s only natural that the personality of the show changed when Art Bell left.  It’s just that I feel the way a conservative Rush Limbaugh fan would feel if they turned on the radio and discovered that Rush had now turned into a home improvement talker, and a crappy one at that.  The essence of the show is different.  Coast to Coast used to be an eerie nighttime journey into the paranormal.  It was a unique kind of programming, and it stood out.  Now, it sounds like everything else out there.

And so I tucked my tail between my legs and went crawling back for more depressing Egypt news from the BBC World Service.  Maybe I just need to find a good ambient music station for my nights…

North Korea made itself look ridiculous (as usual) when its news agency announced back in November that an ancient unicorn lair was located in Pyongyang.  In Korean legend, the unicorn was ridden by King Tongmyong, and the discovery of the lair proved, according to the KCNA’s propaganda, that Pyongyang was once the capital city of Ancient Korea.

Thankfully, American conservatives are not the North Korean Communist regime, but they are on a similar unicorn quest these days, willing to believe anything which supports their theories and discard any facts which stand in the way.  They would rather be convinced that Obama stole the election than examine the reasons why they lost it.  They claim Hillary didn‘t resign, but was “fired“ because of Benghazi.  They really think the American public is clamoring for the Paul Ryan budget.  As long as it states that they are good and Obama is evil, any crazy hypothesis will work.

Even for a liberal like me, it’s too painful to watch–not to mention that it makes any kind of reasoned debate impossible.  Come back to reality, conservatives.  Listen to Bobby Jindal and don’t be the “stupid party”.  Hint:  unicorns don’t exist.

Interesting quote from David French, director of “How to Survive a Plague”, commenting on why today’s LGBT generation might be less radical about their political fight:  “Hasn’t all identity politics hit a wall?  Feminism as identity politics is nothing like it was in the ’70s and ’80s, the way we talk about race is all kind of blurred now.  I don’t know how to describe the period we’re in, but it’s post-identity politics.”

Post-identity politics.  As a woman, I would agree with this statement, especially the part referring to feminism.  My question is, would this be a positive development–a sign that there is less discrimination for these various groups to worry about?  Or does it simply mean that people are not speaking out as much about the problems which are still in existence?  After all, these days when you draw attention to racist innuendo against the President you’re playing the “race card”.  If you argue too loudly for women’s rights, you are an angry feminist requesting special birth control perks from the government.

I think it’s obvious that the undercurrent of bigotry is still there.  Witness the 2012 election, with its food stamps race-baiting and the male politicians fixating on women’s health, the angry red staters arming themselves to the teeth because that African guy got re-elected.  Perhaps the real issue is that the way talk about all this is, as French said, “blurred”.  Maybe we shouldn’t be afraid of playing our cards and stating our identities, and shouldn’t be in such a hurry to be post-everything.

Well, one of my New Year’s resolutions (besides flossing more often) was not to argue politics as much.  We’ll see how long that one lasts.  I have a feeling it will go the way of that other resolution to spend a half hour on my elliptical every day.  Obviously, when I break my resolution (when, not if) I will do it here.

Still, I’ve bought myself several nice boxes of art supplies and am going to attempt to make this year more about creativity and less about debating.  And it’s not just because it will keep my blood pressure low and help me live longer.  It’s because the political debates I’m seeing out there are scaring me.  The discussion has gotten more polarized since the election, not less.  I would have thought the election results would have settled some things (“hey, maybe the people of this country don’t despise that Obama guy”) but the fight to prove that he is somehow illegitimate and wrong has only intensified.  There is genuine hatred in the conversations.  It really sounds like people are about to start shooting each other, or start shipping off those they disagree with to labor camps.

And like many mild-mannered individuals have done throughout history, this makes me want to drop out and tune out of the politics thing completely.  In fact, it makes me want to curl up and hide somewhere.  I thought I was tougher than this, but it doesn’t feel so great when you are classified as the evil Other to be eliminated.  (It also makes me think my boyfriend was right when he said the Interwebs are full of right-wing crazies who might be out to get me.)

So, it’s off to draw some cute woodland creatures holding hands and singing, for the sake of my own sanity.  I know perfectly well that I can’t resist a good fight–as long as it remains verbal–so I’m sure I’ll be back.  But what is happening to the political scene right now…it’s not good, it’s just not good.  I have a very bad feeling about all this.

I’m back at work after Thanksgiving break and that can only mean one thing…listening to Glenn Beck in the morning for amusement.  This week, Beck went on for a while about how wonderful and peace-loving his followers are.  He recounted an anecdote about a book signing at which he was protested by mean-spirited, table-climbing Occupy radicals–and in response, his supporters sang Christmas carols.  He talked about how the liberal media will smear them and say they are horrible, when in reality, these are the good people.

I spent quite a bit of time after election night on The Blaze, Beck’s online forum, so something about this didn’t sound right to me.  And lo and behold, here are some quotes from Glenn’s peaceful fans:

“This country or at least half the people in it are a lost cause.  It doesn’t matter who wins at this point if we are forced to live with these vermin.  It’s time we start eliminating them now.”

“I for one will no longer give to charity in the event that my money would ever help someone who voted for Obama or worse someone who didn’t get off their lazy azz to go vote or decided that it didn’t matter.”

“I like Rush’s idea:  kick all of the Liberals out of the West Coast (and shoot them if they try to come back)”

“I’ve lost all faith in america I hope she burns”

“May the coming nuclear strikes hit the big blue cities.”

“Enjoy your trip to the concentration camp and don’t ask for my help, I voted for the American.”

About Californians:  “I don’t want to sound crazy, but why does it seem like they need to be contained or eradicated to control their disastrous spread.”

About libertarians:  “We might as well have shot them all to death.”

“Oh yeah, New York and New Jersey…have fun with the noreaster.  I hope you all freeze.  I hope the rats eat your children while they spread the plague to the dim-witted adults who for years have embraced left-wing politicians that have made your states the disasters they are.”

“I hope you’re regulars at soup kitchens because money troubles wrent your families apart.”

“I hope that Obama gets cancer.”

Ah yes, these are the good folks.  Now, I get that not everyone on The Blaze acts this way, but every discussion thread I went to on this site included multiple comments either threatening violence or wishing suffering and a slow death to those with opposing political views.  And these are the people I’m supposed to go to for Christian love…?

Links to the discussions I’ve culled these quotes from, if you’re brave enough:  here, here, here, here and here.

 

Well, I sure live in exciting times.  The list of states petitioning to secede from the nation has now grown to forty.  And, much to my surprise, my home state of Oregon is on it.  Woot!  Secession party!

But…hold on.  How, exactly, is this going to work?  Oregon is a blue state.  Most of us here voted for President Obama–in fact, almost everyone I know voted for him.  So…where are we going?  I can’t imagine that most Oregonians want to separate themselves from the government they voted for, especially to form a new conservative state they don’t agree with.  Are just the people who signed the petition seceding?  Is a fragment of Oregon going to separate itself from the rest of the state?  I suppose if these are the same crazies who believe in birther conspiracies and legitimate rape, I wouldn’t mind them leaving, but it’s all very confusing.

Oregon isn’t the only place with this problem.  Since the secession list is now up to forty, this naturally means that quite a few states which went Obama on election night are on it, including California, Massachusetts, New York and Washington.  Good luck making that happen.

So I gotta think that the petition signatures were just a gesture of anger by those who don’t like the President, and that the signers knew their action would not really lead to revolution or secession.  It must’ve felt good in the moment, but what was the point?  I doubt that anyone at the White House website cared very much.  But I suppose that an online civil war is preferable to a real one, and I can be grateful for that.

Oh, look.  Somebody isn’t happy with President Obama’s policies.  Specifically, with his and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s education policy.

“This isn’t an education program…. It’s a sorting and killing program, and one we have to stop.”

Sounds pretty extreme.  Is this Glenn Beck ranting again?  Nope.  It’s President Obama’s best friend ever, the left-wing ex-terrorist Bill Ayers.  What else did he have to say about the President’s approach to education?  From the Chicago Maroon article:

He characterized Duncan’s program by three fundamental beliefs:  the idea that education is a market that should be privatized, the view that there is a single metric to measure student intelligence, and anti-union sentiment.

But, but…isn’t President Obama a radical Marxist/Muslim who spent his youth palling around with this guy and blowing up buildings with him?  Privatizing education and anti-union sentiment doesn’t sound very Marxist, does it?  And the President’s Communist friend doesn’t seem very happy with him.  WND and The Blaze have made a big thing out of the fact that Ayers congratulated Obama on his re-election win…but that open letter, again, mostly criticizes the President’s education policy and tries to prompt him to re-examine it.  Not exactly a love letter from a BFF.

Hey, I realize it’s easier–especially after the election didn’t go your way–to go back to portraying the President as a one-dimensional “radical” caricature.  Too bad he keeps failing at being that imaginary person, over and over again.