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Republicans are vile creeps


 

“Some people are shits, darling.”—William S. Burroughs

Like Republicans.

I live in Los Angeles, where I honestly don’t know ANY Republicans. I’m sure there must be at least a couple of them living here, but I’m not planning to actually go out looking for them any time soon. Let ‘em stay under those rocks. In fact, I don’t even know a single Republican who I am not related to by blood or by marriage. As in none, not one, zero.

These family members aside, I do not like Republicans. I hate them. If you are a Republican, I hate YOU. Seems like the majority of my fellow Californians might feel the same way, luckily—the GOP is a politically insignificant entity in California, where the Democrats hold a supermajority and practically every top job in the state—so Republican idiocy will probably never touch my life in any sort of meaningful way, except, of course, for reading annoying, blood-pressure raising articles about the GOP asshats we do still have here, like this at The LA Times.

Opponents of the Affordable Care Act never stop producing new tricks to undermine the reform’s effectiveness. But leave it to California Republicans to reach for the bottom. Their goal appears to be to discredit the act by highlighting its costs and penalties rather than its potential benefits.

The device chosen by the Assembly’s GOP caucus is a website at the address coveringhealthcareca.com. If that sounds suspiciously like coveredca.com, which is the real website for the California insurance exchange, it may not be a coincidence. Bogus insurance websites have sprung up all over, aiming to steer consumers away from legitimate enrollment services. Just a couple of weeks ago California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris shut down 10 bogus insurance sites, some of them with names very similar to the real thing. She must have overlooked the GOP’s entry.

A goddamn fake healthcare website! How low is that? If you click on a tab that reads “Don’t have health insurance” on the homepage, you are taken to a “penalty calculator” and not a premium calculator. Shits! They’re evil shits. Imagine that you’re an earnest person with preconditions seeking affordable health insurance and you stumble into this site by accident. It would be infuriating.

The GOP site also takes careful pains to explain to the young how THEIR money will be subsidizing health care for the old. Keep it classy GOP… Hey wait a minute: I thought old people were the GOP base?

And don’t young people eventually become old people? This may have already occurred to some of them. Bit of a mixed message there, isn’t it? Not like cognitive dissonance has ever been much of an impediment to Republicans, but this strikes me as being as incompetent as it is evil and in such a small, petty way. There’s even a section devoted to scaring people that signing up for Obamacare will result in identity theft!

Shits.

Hunter at Daily Kos wrote:

If you are so nasty a person that you can’t live with the thought of insuring yourself because it means some other person might get healthcare using one one hundredth of a cent of your money, the world will certainly not be missing you much after you are gone. Godspeed!

This is yet another of the reasons the current incarnation of the Republican Party is little more than a political oozing sore. There is probably a downside to trying to kill off your own voters to score a momentary political point, but let’s just say the members of the party brain trust in my state could meet in a closet and still have enough room for the vacuum and boxes of Christmas decorations.

Yep, that’s our Republicans. How I love California.
 
 
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Quality television programs equal income, argues horrible person


 
In what would surely be the most amazing troll posted to a serious web site in recent memory if it didn’t seem to be perfectly earnest, columnist, author, and apparently completely shameless toady to the ruling class Virginia Postrel has argued on Bloomberg View that ordinary people are better off economically today than we typically reckon - because the quality of TV has improved. I’m not even slightly kidding about the impossibly stupid thing I just told you.

On a flight across the country, you watch the playoff game on live television, listen to some favorite playlists as you catch up on work, then relax with some video poker. Arriving home, you delete the game from your DVR and consider your options. Too tired for an intense cable drama—which you prefer to experience in immersive weekend marathons of at least three episodes each—you stream a first-season episode of “Duck Dynasty” from Amazon.com, then run last week’s “Elementary” from your DVR queue. While watching, you check IMDB.com to see where you’ve seen that familiar-looking guest star before, then you jump to your Facebook and Twitter feeds. You finish the evening with “SportsCenter,” recorded just far enough ahead that you can skip most of the commercials.

Little of this customized entertainment would have been possible a decade ago—and almost none of it shows up in the income and productivity statistics that dominate our understanding of the economy. A form of progress that large numbers of people experience every day, the increase in entertainment variety and convenience represents a challenge to the increasingly conventional wisdom that American living standards have stagnated, at least for the middle class.

Hear that, middle class? Standard of living, schmandard of living, you people have TIVOS!

Now, I suspect that viewings of Duck Dynasty and SportsCenter don’t show up in income stats because TV shows aren’t income. But what do I know? I’m not the former editor of Reason. Or a shockingly tone-deaf, overprivileged asshole.

After all, it’s not as though no one has noticed the improvements. Critics often opine on whether the proliferation has produced a “new golden age of television,” while media companies and advertising agencies live in fear of what all that competition means for future profits. From the mobile-phone business to social media—not to mention movies, games, music and sports—an enormous amount of innovative talent goes into developing new entertainment goods and services.

Yet in the economic statistics that measure living standards, this real-life value goes largely ignored. For the very reason that entertainment is so cheap, the enjoyment people derive from having a better chance of finding exactly what they want, when and where they want it, doesn’t count for much. Giving consumers new features for little or no additional money increases well-being but doesn’t do much for productivity statistics.

I would venture a guess that the proliferation of the entertainment industry into every nook and cranny of American life doesn’t find its way into productivity statistics because sitting on your ass watching So You Think You Can Fart Your Life Away is the opposite of productivity. But of course, I’m just a humble pop culture scribe for Dangerous Minds, not a respected, Ivy League-educated columnist for The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The New York Times and Forbes. Or a self-satisfied, grotesquely over-rewarded libertarian tool.

But let’s skip to the money shot, huh? Does she or doesn’t she tell us to watch cake?

“Too many people presume that what the poor want from the Internet are the crucial necessities of life. In reality, the enchantment of the Internet is that it’s a lot of fun,” the Indian journalist Manu Joseph observed in a September New York Times essay. “And fun, even in poor countries, is a profound human need. Quality of life is as much an assortment of happy frivolities as it is the bare essentials of survival.”

Holy free market, she actually managed to outsource her “Let them eat cake” line to India. Got that, poor people? Quit hogging those public library Internet terminals for your stupid job searches and bill payments! There’s fun to be had - ENCHANTMENT, even!

So let’s recap - time wasted is income! We can fairly extrapolate from this that the unemployed are the wealthiest people in America - so long as they watch assloads of TV. Thinking of goosing your budget by canceling that cable subscription and using the savings for unproductive mundanities like heat and food? Not so fast! Grey’s Anatomy is health care! The Apprentice is a national jobs program! BY GOD, THE SYSTEM WORKS.
 
postrel
Virginia Postrel, totally down with the commoners—the kind of Libertarian you can have a beer with!

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Wal-Mart’s Walton family are parasites and moral pariahs and should be treated that way


 
The Winchester House, a sprawling Queen Anne Style Victorian mansion in San Jose, CA with no apparent rhyme or reason is a bizarre architectural manifestation of the guilty conscience (if not acute schizophrenia) of Sarah Winchester, widow of gun magnate William Wirt Winchester and one of the richest women in American history.

After the death of her baby daughter, and later her husband, Sarah Winchester came to believe that her family were haunted by the ghosts of people who had died by Winchester rifles, and that only by continuously building the spirits a home could she appease the ghosts (Through a medium her husband was alleged to have told her that the house must never be finished.)

I could not help but to think of Sarah Winchester when I read an item this morning on Business Insider that tells of how a Cleveland, Ohio-based Wal-Mart store is holding a food drive — for the very people who work there…

A sign in the store reads: “Please donate food items so associates in need can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner.”

Breathtaking isn’t it? This is America’s largest employer. THIS is how low things have gotten.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer quoted Norma Mills, a Wal-Mart customer complaining “That Wal-Mart would have the audacity to ask low-wage workers to donate food to other low-wage workers — to me, it is a moral outrage.”

Kory Lundberg, a Walmart spokesman, said the food drive is proof that employees care about each other.

“It is for associates who have had some hardships come up,” he said. “Maybe their spouse lost a job.

“This is part of the company’s culture to rally around associates and take care of them when they face extreme hardships,” he said.

Extreme hardships like working at fucking Wal-Mart!?!?

Wouldn’t it be awesome if when someone told a lie, they’d just spontaneously combust? I would love that…

But what does any of this have to do with Sarah Winchester’s guilty conscience, you ask? At least she had one. Sarah Winchester acutely felt the wages of death that made her so rich and it ruined her life.

As everyone should know by now, but it still bears repeating, the Walton family is the richest family in the world and they collectively own over 50% of Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer and second largest corporation. The family is worth a combined total of $150 billion as of August 2013 and the six most prominent members of the family have approximately the same net worth as the bottom 30% of American families combined.

They didn’t do a goddamn thing to earn this money. Nothing. They inherited every cent of their billions.

Every item that is purchased at a Wal-Mart has a tax built in for the Walton family. The supply chain that reaches to factories in Chinese and Indian slums? There is a tariff at each stop along the way that goes, ultimately, into the Waltons’ bank accounts. Think about it for two seconds, that is what’s happening.

If it was a sea of faceless shareholders, well, that’s harder to personify, but this is ONE family.

Wal-Mart is America’s #1 private employer.

And they don’t pay a living wage.

The Waltons live like pharaohs and their workforce can’t afford the necessities of life. In a very real sense they and Wal-Mart are beginning to personify everything that’s wrong with capitalism. A single family owning the equivalent of the collective wealth of the poorest third of the country? Could even Karl Marx have predicted THAT? It’s preposterous and yet… it’s the way things are.

If the Waltons wanted to change the fundamental fabric of American life for the better, they could raise their associates up to $20 an hour and set a powerful example for other companies to treat the people who DO ALL THE WORK with actual human dignity. If they did that—and studies have shown it wouldn’t hurt their bottom line much at all, and even if it did, I think they can take the hit—well, it’s a whole new America. It really would be.

But to hold back on improving the lives of so many people, that is one of the single most obscene things I can contemplate.

Up to the Waltons, of course, for now at least, but when the revolution comes—and it will eventually—it’s their heads that are going to be on the ends of sharp sticks…
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Toto’s ‘Africa’ sucks, we all know that, but you should still hear this guy explain WHY it sucks


Just look at these idiots

I will not oversell this with breathless Upworthy-esque superlatives. It might not be the funniest or the most brilliant thing you’re going to see online all day. But it is damned witty and amusing, and absolutely worth spending ten minutes with, should you happen to have a spare ten minutes to kill. Award-winning essayist and short story writer Steve Almond - known for Candyfreak, Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life and God Bless America - in a speech given at Tin House Magazine’s 10th anniversary celebration in 2009, delivered a terrific takedown of that depressingly durable, dangerously soporific, and shamefully not entirely unenjoyable early ‘80s hit, “Africa,” by the indisputably crappy band/punchline Toto.

Though it’s maybe shooting fish in a barrel, this needed to be done. Toto were a canned band of six session musicians, previously footnote-worthy for their work on several best-selling light pop and vaguely fusiony rock albums, who united so as to grope for stardom in their own collective right. They were responsible for some of the most unlistenable radio dreck of their late ‘70s/early ‘80s heyday, but “Africa,” from their ha-ha-we-won-all-the-Grammys blockbuster 1982 album IV, is the massive and enduring überhit that’ll get played at all of their funerals. And it’s not hard to see why, as really, it’s an undeniably pretty song with a very well-crafted emotional arc. And it’s kinda soothing. And it grooves along well enough in the background, so you sorta don’t mind it, and then oh right on, here comes that big soaring chorus and JESUS BALLS CHRIST it’s so obviously a douchey black hole into which all that is not mightily vile gets sucked and yet this creepy, pandering, empirically wretched smooth-jazz/pop dross has been a mainstay for over 30 years and how how HOW THE FUCK DID YOU DO THAT, TOTO, YOU AWFUL, AWFUL MEN? I am persuaded that a horrible bargain was struck with the same pop Satan that handed “Orinoco Flow” to Enya.

Almond’s fine belittlement of the accursed thing begins with a funny line-by-line parsing of the lyrics - which make very nearly no sense. He goes on to quote at length from a truly stupid interview with Toto’s lyricist, revealing that the man, though gifted at extracting money from the pop charts, was kind of an embarrassingly clueless fuckstick. Almond concludes with some brutal truths about the narcissism of white, Western privilege that I would love to blockquote here, but to do so would be to rob the man of his well-earned money shot. I’ll let him do the rest of the talking.
 

 
Hat tip to Paul Scot August for bringing this little gem to my attention.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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American democracy dies, murderers caught on video (or The Republicans pull a REALLY creepy move)


 
If you haven’t seen the video yet of Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) on the floor of the House asking for a clarification on the rules of the shutdown, believe me, it’s well worth watching.

There’s a compelling reason it’s been garnering hundreds of thousands of YouTube plays the past few days: Very simply it shows—beyond the shadow of any reasonable doubt—that the Republicans not only planned the government shutdown in advance, but that they made damned good and sure that when their neanderthal putsch started, there would be new rules in place to prevent it from being voted on.

It’s astonishing. It’s not like I expect that this clip will be discussed on Fox News anytime soon, but a Republican with even a modicum of intelligence, honesty and decency would be obliged to see exactly same thing that the rest of us see when we watch this clip.

If you’re unclear of exactly what’s happening, under normal circumstances any Congressperson can call for a vote on any bill at any time.

Not anymore! Prior to the shutdown, the Republicans very quietly passed H.R. 368, a measure that only House Majority Leader Eric Cantor can call for an end to the shutdown.

That’s right Eric Cantor and ONLY Eric Cantor—not even Speaker of the House John Boehner or any other ranking Republican—unless Cantor gives his express permission for a designee to do it. Via Talking Points Memo:

So unless House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) wanted the Senate spending bill to come to the floor, it wasn’t going to happen. And it didn’t.

“I’ve never seen this rule used. I’m not even sure they were certain we would have found it,” a House Democratic aide told TPM. “This was an overabundance of caution on their part. ‘We’ve got to find every single crack in the dam that water can get through and plug it.’”

Congressional historians agreed that it was highly unusual for the House to reserve such power solely for the leadership.

“I’ve never heard of anything like that before,” Norm Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told TPM.

“It is absolutely true that House rules tend to not have any explicit parliamentary rights guaranteed and narrowed to explicit party leaders,” Sarah Binder, a congressional expert at the Brookings Institution, told TPM. “That’s not typically how the rules are written.”

The rule change was made to prevent a majority vote from becoming even a possibility without the expressed consent of ONE MAN! Fewer than 25% of Americans support the GOP’s shutdown and yet here we are

This is democracy? It’s thisclose to being fascism. The dummies are in charge. Minority moron rule. Joseph Stalin or Il Duce would laugh at what America has become. The whole thing is worth watching—and infuriating—but by around the 5:00 mark, the cat’s out of the bag thanks to Congressman Van Hollen.

Judging from the rapidly escalating number of YouTube views, I think it’s safe to say that it’s not going back in again. Please share with everyone, even, make that especially, your Uncle Ronnie the Teabagger. He’s never going to hear about this from Rush or see it on the Fox News, but Uncle Ronnie really needs to know about this…
 

And then there is this, an earlier, less dramatic, but in no way less revelatory confrontation that took place two weeks ago when Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) noticed something seemed fishy and asked some uncomfortable questions of the Rules Committee chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX), who flat out admits that she’s right!

“That’s what I’m saying. We took that away.”

Sessions tells her of GOP “resolve” in the debt ceiling battle. Here’s her response:

“Oh, Mercy. It just gets deeper and deeper. I want to tell you the resolve that I think you’ve got. And despite the fact that every one of you said, over and over ad nauseam, that you didn’t want to shut the government down, we spent some time down in my office watching so many of your members — right after they were elected in 2010 — saying how much they would like to shut down the House to great applause.”

“I think it is really shortsighted, I think it is an atrocity to the Rules of the House. And I think you’re putting the whole country through this angst and this aggravation that we did not need to go. This one we could have done without.”

“And I must tell you that I’m more and more angry now that I understand what you have done is take away our ability is to really make a motion for that Senate vote.”

Guess what? The Tea party-led government shutdown came THE VERY NEXT DAY!

Go right to 1:20 and start from there. If this isn’t an admission of guilt, I don’t know what would be…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Christian group thinks it’s ‘better to die than to live’ in pro-gay world!


 
Last night as I was writing this post about the end of the world fantasies of the Christian Right, I came across a ridiculous quote from dim-bulb entertainer Pat Boone who once said that he’d rather his young daughters died than to be raised under godless Communism.

I’d imagine that little Debby and her siblings would have felt differently, perhaps.

Here’s a new one, though: Christian political organization,The Family Leader, headed up by the sleazy Bob Vander Plaat, says it is better to die than live in a world welcoming of gay people.  In an article posted on their website with the title “9 Reasons You Will Be Made to Care,” The Family Leader group laid out a manifesto of ignorance, as Gay Star News reports:

They referenced the Disney Channel featuring a lesbian couple on a TV show, a California bill ensuring trans people can use the right bathroom, the US evangelist who was arrested in London for spouting anti-gay hate, and the Colorado baker facing jail after refusing to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.

The boycott of Barilla pasta has pissed them off too. What’s a poor Christian who is “being targeted by homosexual activists who’s [sic] agenda is clear: approve of my lifestyle or pay the consequences” to do, The Family Leader asks.

“At first, the cases were few and far between. Now the number of cases are building, and the collective threat is growing, with the goal of suffocating Christians’ vocal opposition to promoting a lifestyle which is not consistent with their faith.”

Would Jesus discriminate?

Here’s how it ends:

What will you do?  Will you give in to their agenda by saying and doing nothing? Or will you lead yourself, your family, your church, and your community?  Our nation, our children need leadership. What you choose will impact generations to come.

To paraphrase a quote from Winston Churchill:

“If you do not fight when you have a chance of winning, you will eventually fight when you have no hope of winning, because it will be better to die than to live.”

Or you could just kill yourself if you’re too sensitive to live IN REALITY. Like those nice Heaven’s Gate people.

It’s a modest proposal. A more realistic one.

The Family Leader’s loathesome leader, Bob Vander Plaat, is mulling over running for the Senate in the Republican Party primary in Iowa next year. He could win, too.

Via Joe.My.God

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Glenn Beck: Beware Obama’s Marxist revolutionaries, next stop mass murders!


 
Still trying to live up to his reputation as Glenn Beck, on his program today Glenn Beck insisted that it was really “Marxist revolutionaries” in the Obama administration who were causing national parks and monuments to be shuttered during the GOP-led government shutdown.

Despite knowing fully well which party was to blame for the shutdown, Beck blamed Obama anyway, spinning a yarn about “a secret cabal” in the White House whose goal is to “inflict pain” on Americans.

“I want you to understand you are now seeing what I told you about three weeks ago. I told you they have gone from nudge to shove. Your next step is shoot.”

“Understand they are into shove, every Marxist communist revolution always ends with millions dead. Always, without fail, every time.”

Somehow Beck equates Stalinist and Maoist atrocities to the Washington Monument being closed down temporarily and a supposed starvation endgame of the Obama administration:

“They starved them to death. Why? To teach them a lesson. This is the beginning of teaching the American people a lesson: don’t you screw with us.”

Oddly, considering his animus for the “Marxist” President, at the clips end, Beck admonished his listeners to support his “Defund the GOP” campaign before “it will be too late.”

Seems like odd logic, but it’s Glenn Beck so why bother asking why?

How senile would you have to be to willingly choose to tune into Glenn Beck’s radio show??? His audience must have a collective IQ of approximately one peanut… The folks at Rightwing Watch, they at least get paid for this torture!
 

 
Via Rightwing Watch

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘The elephant must go down. And it must be so wounded it does not get up for a long time to come’


 
Andrew Sullivan nails it…

“I regard this development as one of the more insidious and anti-constitutional acts of racist vandalism against the American republic in my adult lifetime. Those who keep talking as if there are two sides to this, when there are not, are as much a part of the vandalism as Ted Cruz. Obama has played punctiliously by the constitutional rules – two elections, one court case – while the GOP has decided that the rules are for dummies and suckers, and throws over the board game as soon as it looks as if it is going to lose by the rules as they have always applied.

—snip—

This time, the elephant must go down. And if possible, it must be so wounded it does not get up for a long time to come.”

Bingo.

He’s too kind, though. “Wounded”? Merely wounded? Like many of you, I’d dearly love to see that bloated, cigar-puffing pachyderm’s head paraded through the streets on the end of a pitchfork.

The longer this drags on, the worse it’s going to get for the GOP. What’s currently transpiring in Washington is easily the worst political miscalculation made by a political party since… since I don’t know when.

H/T Joe.My.God.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Another blistering, anti-Republican cover from the NY Daily News


 
No, it might not have quite the same humiliating panache as yesterday’s classic “House of Turds” cover, but it certainly shows just how OUT OF THEIR CONTROL the “shutdown” narrative has gotten from the hapless Republican Party, doesn’t it, when they’re losing the support of even the mainstream conservative papers like The New York Daily News?

Yesterday there were essentially two competing and contrasting visuals: On Fox News, Breitbart, Drudge Report and the like, all you saw were signs of strutting cock-of-the-walk Republican imbeciles grinning, bragging, proudly acting like they’d just beaten the hell out of the black guy in a barroom brawl. Each and every one of them seemed ridiculously oblivious to the way people outside of their bubble might regard the accuracy of what they were saying, the validity of their “true believer” arguments and also the ridiculous hubris of their behavior. Consider the non-verbal message the Republicans are sending by turning on Fox News for a little while with the sound down, and you’ll see what I mean.

I’m not gonna lie, I’m all over this stuff. I wish I had a whole wall of TVs like David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth. I can’t get enough. Watching the GOP dig itself deeper in shit IN REAL TIME? Pass me the popcorn and a shot of Jim Beam each time they say it’s the Democrats who won’t negotiate. (I’m seeing this sentence in triple, and sliding off my chair, jus’ so’s you fine people know that, okay?...Hiccup!)

Back in the real world, where most people don’t get their “informations” from screaming lunatics on AM talk radio and ALL CAPS EMAILS FILLED WITH PARANOIAC IDIOCY forwarded from someone they go to church with, well, we saw some of that, too, but what of the millions who were desperate to sign up for affordable healthcare yesterday?

That was news, too and so it now sets up a battle of images that the GOP—who were all so sure that Obamacare would be a resounding flop—did not perhaps anticipate:

One side is against the interests of sick people. This party is also the one favored by the vast majority of Christians, go figure.

How many of these Republican voters truly feel in their heart of hearts that if their savior came back TODAY he’d kick the crutches right out from under a sick person or deny health insurance to someone who can’t afford it? What VERSION of Christianity is that? It’s THE AMERICAN VERSION. No wonder young people want no part of it.

We’re witnessing one of the single most absurd moments in all of American history! These people seem to want to bring on another Civil War solely to deny poor people healthcare! It’s sad, it’s pathetic, delusional, too, but in the main, it’s simply absurd.

When all’s said and done, one factor in all this is is becoming more and more obvious and yet no one will say it out loud: It’s not merely a Right vs. Left political conflict in America anymore, it’s a Smart vs. Dumb thing!

Idiocracy is NOW.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘You get NOTHING!’ Jon Stewart rips the GOP shutdown with one of his most profound punchlines, ever


 
Since none of them probably watch The Daily Show, why not share this clip with every idiot Republican you know, work with or are related to? (Every single blood-relative of mine is a Republican and a Creationist, they don’t seek out Jon Stewart. This morning, he’s coming to them.)

Stewart lays out what’s at stake in the current crisis in Washington so clearly that even a Republican could understand it.

His punchline at the very end is pretty profound. This isn’t necessarily Jon Stewart at his funniest, but this is a must-see segment nonetheless.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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