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I am quite done with ultraconservative crazy person and actual member of Congress, Steve King. He does, mind you, continue to impress me, not because of any intellectual prowess or rhetorical skill on his part but as a near-perfect example of conservative id, unfiltered, with no particular rhyme or reason to it other than outright pissedness. This clown is only in the House of Representatives because somewhere in the bowels of Iowa, there was an appreciable number of actual Americans who thought it would be a dandy idea to put him there. This would seem to in fact be a very bad idea, at least in hindsight, because his every utterance and mannerism suggests a person who is perhaps not fully grounded in the same dimension as the rest of us, and whatever dimension Steve King straddles, it's not one of common sense. No, this guy is a loon—and a very, very mean-spirited one. Here he is ranting on a Family Research Council-sponsored webcast about the nasty, nasty law to help repair the nation's clearly broken current healthcare system:
"You know when I look at this and this whole picture of you seeing the expansion of the nanny state here in America and the administration reaching into every aspect of our lives, the Obamacare piece addresses about 1/6 of our economy and a great big chunk of our American freedom and liberty. I define it this way, the sovereign thing that we have is our own soul, and the federal government hasn’t yet figured out how to nationalize our soul. They did figure out how to nationalize some investment banks, some insurance companies, some car companies and our skin and everything inside it. That’s Obamacare—it’s a nationalization—it’s a government takeover of our sovereign responsibility to manage our own health. Not only do they take over our skin and everything inside it, but they put a ten percent tax on the outside if you go to a tanning salon, Tony."
Sweet merciful crap. If Hannibal Lecter was ever elected to Congress, it'd look like this. And sound like this. And wear that suit.


The whole dynamic of the health care debate is, on the Republican side, asinine. Figures like King—no, that is unfair, like every single last goddamn one of them, from the miserable Gilded Age sycophant Paul Ryan to the bumbling political weathervane that is John Boehner, and everything between those two points of view, and on the outskirts of them, and even the so-called moderates that for the last four years could not moderate their way out of a sandwich bag—are convinced that it is a matter of "freedom and liberty." The freedom and liberty they speak of, however, is much blunter than perhaps what the Founders intended. The liberty is the liberty to let people die on the streets; the freedom they speak of is the freedom of not giving a damn if it happens.

No, that's not too cruel a summary. I'm sorry for potentially wounding the feelings of psychopaths, but it's just not. That is the precise summation of every argument made against health care reform under the banner of government overreach and liberteez and keep your law off my body!—that last one being another Steve Kingism, proving once and for all that the man does not have a self-aware neuron anywhere in that vapid noggin of his. I don't detest people like Steve King because they are unintelligent; I detest them because they are malevolent. The worst ones are the ones who dress up the let sick people die if they weren't clever enough to find insurance that will cover them with a bit of Jesus, since we all know that Jesus' prime lesson for humanity was that health care should be a for-profit industry focused on denying as much actual health care as possible.

If Republicans were not content to just let sick people die on the streets, they would propose an alternative. They would endorse the parts of the law that they could, indeed, find agreement with. They could endorse the myriad parts of the law that they, themselves, came up with—for example, the now-hated "mandate." They could do anything, for that matter, short of frothing on about how freedom and liberty is at stake merely from a government attempt at addressing what is, by any rational measure, a national crisis.

(Continued below the fold)

If a child is unable to get health insurance of any kind due to a condition at birth (for example, my own child, rendered "uninsurable" for a heart murmur that was already long gone by the time she began school), do we just not allow them access to health care? And why is it better if for-profit companies make that decision, rather than the government deciding differently? What of otherwise healthy uninsured people who have an emergency, say, a car accident—is the premise truly that they should have thought of that before, but if they didn't, fuck them? How does it benefit society to have a vast, book-length plethora of medical diagnoses that represent a financial death penalty for anyone unfortunate enough to stumble across even one, at any point in their lives? If we are spending one-sixth of our entire economy, as Steve King says, on these things, why the hell are we not seeing better results? And how in hell can anyone argue that there is no decent reason for the federal government to involve itself in that?

We know all those arguments. We know them, we have repeated them, at one time in the not too distant past we even debated them, before everything related to the basic health of American citizens became, for Steve King and his rotten ilk, the fucking march to communism. And the answer that Steve King and the others have reliably given, through their profound lack of other alternatives, is screw the sick, fuck the poor, and goddamn the rest of you for even caring about these things. It was even one of the roundabout arguments before the Supreme Court: Your honors, does the federal government really need a say in the health and common welfare of its citizenry? It may be one-sixth of the entire economy, but that's hardly commerce, is it? And why should it not be left up to the states to decide which groups of their citizens should be left to die? Deciding at the federal level, well now, that just sounds like oppression.


I want to go through Steve King's statements stitch by stitch. I want to do this because at heart, I think they reveal a truly rotten human being, someone who holds others (religious or otherwise, sick or otherwise, liberal or conservative or otherwise) in absolute contempt, someone so overtly hostile to the notion of common good that he barely can recognize the concept of nation at all. Every pissant little thing, for Steve King, is an abomination. Asking him to do a single bit, a single shred of anything for his fellow man is, apparently, akin to torturing the malevolent old fart. That this sack of anti-human crap can prop himself up on the crutches of religious freedom and find, apparently, some dismal premise of support for his own sociopathies should be driving people into the streets to all but tar and feather the old bastard. Don't believe me? Let's have a look-see:

You know when I look at this and this whole picture of you seeing the expansion of the nanny state here in America and the administration reaching into every aspect of our lives,
Every aspect? Really? And nanny state? Really? Yes, it is a lovely phrase that has been etched on the inside of every good conservative's bowels, but how is the concept of reforming a clearly inefficient and uneconomical health care system akin to a nanny state? Conservatives like Mr. King (I'm not going to use the honorary Representative King here; I think we have all had quite enough of pretending this little shit deserves even that much) are all about the Constitution, and demanding Constitutional citation for government's every act. Here is one I think the fellow might enjoy:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
You will note there the words general Welfare, which either indicate that the founding fathers of this great nation were all rabid communists, or that it was established even 200 some odd years ago that establishing the common welfare was as uncontroversial a task of government as common defence, which beats it only by a single comma. Thus I can find evidence for my obscene position—that government has the duty to intervene in cases where the general welfare of its citizenry is at stake—in the first 30 damn words of the document. It does not say anything about how such interference might be an abomination; there is nothing in there suggesting that the welfare of children should be left to the whims of the company contracted by the company for whom the child's parents work on any given year; there is nothing in there suggesting that corporate power ought to hold steadier sway over the basic fucking human decency of granting all Americans at least the right to not die outright if their parents did not properly read paragraph 17, subclause 27-c of some contract somewhere where it said in case of cancer, fuck you in small print down near the bottom of the page.

The notion that any nation not specifically made up of sociopaths has a duty to provide at least a minimal standard of care for its least fortunate members does not represent a nanny state. Recognizing that insurance industry has been incapable of providing this minimal standard does not make America a nanny state. Recognizing that health care is a truly universal need is not acting like a nanny state. Proposing we do one goddamn thing about it does not represent a nanny state. A nanny state would demand things like eating your broccoli because it's good for you. Allowing that a 20-something-year-old with a preexisting condition might, just might, have the same right to life and liberty as any other American does not sound very much like a nanny state to me.

But perhaps we should give Mr. King more credit; perhaps he is merely stupid, and farted out nanny state because, as I suggested before, somewhere on the inside of every true conservative's colon, the words nanny state is tattooed in bold, black ink, and the fellow simply cannot help but blurt it out whenever he gets worked up about something. So let's continue, and see if he can say any one goddamn thing that might be more substantive.

the Obamacare piece addresses about 1/6 of our economy and a great big chunk of our American freedom and liberty.
Well, it appears we're going to have to wait a bit longer for that substance. Yes, let us say that "Obamacare," otherwise known by more sensible people as the Affordable Care Act or some derivation of such, addresses one-sixth of the entire national economy. Well, that sounds like it might be substantive enough for Congress to act on to me. I am no congressman, and thank God for that, but if one-sixth of my nation's economy was roundly deemed to be a failure, I would feel pretty damn good about the notion that it ought to be addressed. And addressing it would not mean becoming a nanny state. And passing a damn law would not represent tyranny.

But what I truly want to know, and what I would happily waterboard someone to get out of them, because at heart I am just not that nice of a person, at least not at the moment, is what chunk of "our American freedom and liberty" is at stake here. Because I have been listening for a very long time, to a very large number of conservatives, and I haven't heard a description of that lost freedom and liberty even once.

What is the freedom? The freedom to die if you have the wrong kind of insurance? The freedom to have your child die, if you do not have a job that gains you the proper benefits (which, it might be added, it would also be tyranny to require employers to provide?) Or is it simply the freedom to not give a flying damn if that happens to other Americans, so long as you've got yours? Is the liberty involved here the liberty to act as an island, to forego all moral obligations to your fellow man, to forego investing in the general welfare (but not the general defence, heavens no) if you feel that it is just too onerous a task to be bothered with?

Every definition of this particular freedom and liberty that I have yet heard revolves around the freedom to be a son of a bitch, and the liberty to let other Americans die in the streets rather than pay one damn dime to help them. Like King, it is often couched in religious terms—my religion allows me to donate as I see fit to make sure only the right people are kept alive, and only if I feel like it, and only at the times I wish, so that none of the faggots or the Muslims or the ethnic people get it. For many people, their obligations to their fellow man consist of charity—but never of duty.

I define it this way, the sovereign thing that we have is our own soul, and the federal government hasn’t yet figured out how to nationalize our soul.
Full stop. You may define it that way, Mr. Steve King, but that is only because you are a delusional freak dreaming of phantoms. I have yet to see one article of one law even suggesting nationalization of the soul. There have been, to my knowledge, no government research projects on how to nationalize souls. I am able to find no forms at my local library or post office dealing with soul nationalization. And from my lowly self to the greatest lawyers in the land, I'll be damned if a damn one of us can find anything in American health care law suggesting that the nationalization of souls might be in the offing. Perhaps you are merely an asshole?

I have no desire to nationalize your soul, Mr. King. For one thing, I can do better, and the national soul, if someday implemented, would be a far worse thing if it included your own tainted contribution. No, nobody wants to nationalize our souls—I am just asking that you have one.

Again, note the crude and crippled attempt to make the decision as to whether to keep sick Americans alive an issue of spiritual freedom. And note the bastardization of spirit required to do so, but still come down on the more soulless side of it.

They did figure out how to nationalize some investment banks, some insurance companies, some car companies and our skin and everything inside it. That’s Obamacare—it’s a nationalization—it’s a government takeover of our sovereign responsibility to manage our own health.
And a great many of these things, if not all of them, were roundly and cheerfully supported by Republicans until such time as they started loathing the notion of collective government at all. Investment banks failed at great national expense—the government stepped in. Insurance companies collapsed because of their ineptitude and corruption—government stepped in, because the common economic good dictated we do something about it. In both cases, government went to extraordinary lengths to make sure the nation got a shitty deal on the whole thing, lest we upset the corporate giants that fucked the whole thing eight ways from Sunday in the first place. In both cases, that was considered the conservative thing to do. George Bush did it! Nice, upstanding Republicans did it! Why, bailing out our corporate overlords to avoid a warned-against total economic meltdown was the very height of bipartisanship, don't you recall? If it happened again tomorrow, Mr. King, you would be standing at the podium demanding we protect the bankers and the insurance companies and condemning anyone who thought otherwise. Maybe even the car companies, if they were from your state, or if their board members gave you a ring on the phone, or if you had a shred of concern for any member of the working public who did not have an income measuring in the millions-per-year. (Just kidding, Mr. King. I would never presume even for a moment you gave a flying shit about such things.)

There is no attempt to nationalize our skin, Mr. King. Patent it, yes. Corporatize it, yes. Affix a price to it? Daily. But not nationalize. There is no attempt to intrude in the sovereign responsibility to manage our own health. ("Sovereign": adj.,  a buzzword thrown around primarily by anti-tax loons who reject the very notion of a national American government, who hold that no laws can apply to the individual, and who generally stockpile guns and wait for some indeterminate apocalypse that they presume to be lurking behind every mailbox and in the shadow of every stoplight.)

Manage your health as you wish! Eat wood chips, drink paint, jump off a building using an umbrella for a parachute for all I care. Nobody gives a damn about your health, Mr. King. Thanks to the vagaries of the ballot box, you are set for life. We care about the other people who also have a sovereign responsibility to manage their own health, but due to the logistical collapse of one-sixth the national economy are denied the ability to do so.

Don't want a health insurance mandate? Then give everyone universal health care and be done with it, just like every other civilized nation in the world that does not have to deal with crapsacks named Steve King et al.—or toss the mandate and screw the insurance companies by limiting their rates. Or let the insurance companies reign supreme, profits over citizens, because freedomz and liberteez and sovereigniteez demand it, and simply accept that a larger and larger number of Americans will lose their sovereign rights to manage their own health, because they, through no fault of their own, are turned away for being too unprofitable for one-sixth of our national economy to give a damn about. Yes, what a fine, upstanding nation that sounds like. Screw the common welfare, so long as we have the right to bear arms against any of our fellow citizens who don't like what it's doing to their own kids, am I right?

The word sovereign is indeed key here. It is a touchstone for the greedy and for the inhumane, a nice important sounding word with which cranks and monsters and sociopaths can defend their consciences. It is the word to use when you wish to indicate that your own situation is fine, and you don't want to hear one goddamn thing about the plight of anyone else because you simply Do. Not. Care.

Not only do they take over our skin and everything inside it, but they put a ten percent tax on the outside if you go to a tanning salon, Tony.
Oh, Tony. Tony, Tony, Tony, poor Tony, as rotten an excuse for humanity as Mr. King himself, and yet you still have to feel a little pity for him. Mr. Tony (Perkins, in this case) had to listen to all of that carping and bluster and bullshit, and has not a damn thing to show for it other than the repeated talking points of a very stupid man saying very commonplace and stupid things. There is a tanning salon tax, Mr. Tony, did you know that? I know—it seems abominable. That seems like taxing cigarettes just because of the enormous national costs associated with cigarettes. That seems like taxing gasoline, or luxury planes, or dogs. Fuck the concept of dealing with our national health care crisis, and one-sixth of our national economy, Mr. Tony, because a tanning salon tax just puts the lie to all of it. Now, that does sound like a nanny state. I know—let us agree to remove the tax on tanning salons, and instead raise the tax rates of the rich to something fucking reasonable again, something that would allow government to get by without pinching people's God-given sovereign sunburns.

Or not. I don't care.

Tanning and broccoli, freedomz and liberteez, every damn thing tossed up against the wall to avoid dealing with the basic notion that perhaps people are dying and they don't have to die, and perhaps we could help them if the crapsacks among us could only be convinced to give a damn, and maybe repairing the flaws in our system would be a good thing except that a bunch of people who make a lot of money and have wonderful health insurance and are not currently sick just don't see the problem the rest of us are left to deal with every day, and so just don't care. Sovereignty means go to Hell, less fortunate, does it not? I know that from the Republican presidential debates, where the audience was quite clear on what should happen to people who suddenly need medical care but who cannot, for any one of ten thousand different reasons, afford it.


Does the nation have a soul? I don't know. I do know there is no room in a great many souls for the concept of nation, at least not if it means they have to lift a finger on its behalf. Somewhere along the line it became common wisdom for a subset of the country that common welfare was a very bad thing, because it implied—what, exactly? Somewhere along the line the very, very religious decided that our souls demanded the poor be left to die, according to Jesus or (insert your deity or his/her representative here; pfft—just kidding, we all know that this new American greed is almost exclusively a conservative Christian ideology, a brand spanking new version of Christianity in which the Old Testament reigns and Jesus said blessed are the wealthy, the stubborn, and the greedy sons of bitches, for they will make a good return on their dollar so long as the rest of you peasants keep subsidizing their whims and follies.)

No, this notion of freedom that demands we not have any better a health care system than we have right now, when everything's all gone to hell in a handbasket: I have no patience for that. And I have absolutely no patience for individual monsters like Mr. Steve King, sociopathic anti-Christian monster, a man who would bury the entire nation's government in a shallow ditch somewhere if it meant less work for himself, a man whom the founding fathers would likely beat the crap out of in a dark New England alley, once they had a little bit of drink in them.

Talk of nanny state and nationalizing our soul and sovereignty, all because we dare devise some plan by which more Americans can afford insurance and fewer Americans can get cheated by theirs—that is too much to simply be forgiven as ideological difference. No, Mr. King is simply a blowhard, a sociopath, and an enemy of common decency. He is a rotten man, and I am humiliated that the human race still has to lay claim to the bastard.

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