Tag Archives: nihilism

The Nihilist Sound and Fury of Chris Collins

17 Oct

There isn’t any way to sugarcoat it. Republican Representative Chris Collins (NY-27) voted last night to maintain the shutdown of the federal government, and to risk the United States’ first-ever default on its sovereign debt. His behavior during this crisis has been striking for its patronizing cynicism, backbencher grandstanding, and nihilist sound & fury. 

Below is a collection of almost every Tweet sent from Collins’ account, starting the week before the shutdown through Wednesday morning. It tracks nicely with the general rudderless cluelessness of the Republican shutdown of 2013. 

When Chris Collins followed along and voted to shut the government and risk default over Obamacare, he and his cohorts effectively stole $24 billion from the U.S. Economy. In the midst of a slow recovery from the 2008 global financial meltdown and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, Collins helped to slow GDP growth this quarter from an estimated 2.6% to 2%. For all his concern-trolling about “small business”, this is inexcusably irresponsible. 

And for what? Look at the chart above. As they stumbled and bumbled through this standoff that Senator Ted Cruz orchestrated for them, the Republicans made wild and crazy demands of the Democrats and the President – DO THIS or the shutdown will continue and we’ll flirt with default on debt that the US has already incurred – Iraq War, Bush tax cuts, Afghanistan war, bank bailouts, stimulus – existing debt. They got none of it. 

Frankly, they bought their own bullshit about what a weak negotiator Obama is; what weaklings the Democrats are. They’ll cave. They have no resolve. But instead, cooler heads prevailed and a deal was struck to do everything that Obama wanted and nothing that the tea party wanted – reopen the government, raise the debt ceiling, and then we’ll talk. This was the deal that the Senate passed overwhelmingly last night; that the House passed overwhelmingly last night. That margin, to me, is the difference between realistic representatives who are in Washington to do right by the country – who put people and the good of the nation over partisanship – and the reactionary ideologues who make up the secessionist America-last bloc. The latter is the group to which Collins firmly belongs. 

The tragedy of it is that he would plunge an already weak economy into unprecedented chaos; that he chose to stab the wound more instead of placing a Band-Aid on it. But it gets worse: 

That’s from Facebook, but this is what he told the Buffalo News’ Jerry Zremski: 

“The bottom line is, I didn’t come here to kick the can,” said Collins, who was elected to Congress last year. “This doesn’t deal with any of our entitlement spending. It doesn’t change the trajectory of our deficit, which is $700 billion a year. And therefore I can’t support it, and I’m going to vote no,” he said before Wednesday night’s 285-144 vote to approve the legislation.

Entitlement spending. Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. The 27th may be packed with Republicans thanks to gerrymandering, but it’s also packed with seniors who rely on Medicare and Social Security (there’s lots of rural poverty, too, so don’t think there aren’t plenty of Medicaid recipients, as well). When you examine the Tweets below, you’ll note that Collins considers Medicare and Social Security (at least) to be “essential services”. Which ones does he want to cut? By how much? What barriers does he want to place between seniors and their entitlements? Means testing? Changing the age of eligibility? 

The continuing resolution passed Wednesday night is, by the way, a continuing of a Democratic cave to the Republicans – it contains the sequester cuts, which Democrats vehemently oppose. The spending is already significantly lower than the Democrats wanted – even lower than what Paul Ryan originally proposed. It is so spartan that it was supposed to be the fallback position so politically unpalatable to both sides that it would act as an incentive for everyone to work out a compromise. 

So, Chris Collins – this self-appointed champion of small business over people, wants to: 

  • Abolish Obamacare, ensuring the continuation of the third-world insurance status quo we had in 2007, which means medical bankruptcies, lifetime maximums, less coverage for more money, profit motive to prevent people from getting care they need, and coming between people and their doctors; 
  • Reduce spending on “entitlements” on which seniors rely, like Medicare and Social Security; 
  • Risk the country defaulting on already-incurred sovereign debt – something that has never before happened and which every responsible economist has warned would be a catastrophe for people and businesses throughout the world; 
  • Maintain the government shutdown; 
  • Do real, palpable harm to his constituents in order to score political points against the President. 

Collins isn’t one of the moderate Republicans that reflect the New York GOP – he is a nihilist who would just as soon have his district secede from the nation to escape the duly elected clutches of OBAMAPELOSI. He wants to destroy America over a law that Congress passed, the President signed, and the Supreme Court upheld, which helps Americans get affordable, quality health insurance. Whatever harm Collins thinks Obamacare is doing to the country, it pales in comparison to what default would do, and he voted to default, voted to keep the government closed, and voted to slow economic growth. Chris Collins is an utter trainwreck. 

 

 

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Did You See the Mayoral Debate & Other Things (UPDATED)

15 Aug

1. Federal prosecutors may soon ask  to exhume a dead convicted drug dealer who died while awaiting sentencing. Well, there’s a death certificate, but the government has reason to believe the guy’s not dead. An ingenious getaway attempt, if true, to escape on paper. This would make a great script. 

2. I watched the last half of last night’s mayoral debate. Unfortunately, not one channel saw fit to broadcast it live on TV. I had to find a stream online (and thanks to the magic of Apple TV, we were able to Airplay it to the TV after all). The local media – Channels 2, 3, 4, and 7 and YNN all abrogated their responsibility as FCC licensees to inform and educate the population. It is unconscionable that Channel 4, who had one reporter acting as moderator and another on the panel, couldn’t see fit to preempt a couple of Merv Griffin game shows to get this debate to as wide an audience as possible. Absolutely disgusting. 

You can watch it here at WIVB.com. Mayor Brown seemed petty and defensive – his closing argument implored voters to pick him over a bunch of “novices”. Burn.

But when the sitting Mayor can’t accomplish simple, promised reforms in his seven years in office, why not consider the novices? I also think Tolbert’s work history is far more extensive and accomplished than Brown’s, and Rodriguez was a Marine. Denigrating their backgrounds and experience is hardly a winning strategy for someone who went from being a legislative staffer to the Common Council to the State Senate, and never stood out for bold initiatives or ideas, but relied instead on the power of the political machine. 

For their parts, Bernie Tolbert acquitted himself well, but Sergio Rodriguez was a standout. He was conversational – he didn’t sound like he was reading off a script or memorized group of talking points. He was answering questions in a way that really connected with an audience that was audibly hostile to the sitting Mayor. Tolbert’s substance was very similar to Rodriguez’s, and they pressed the Mayor relentlessly on crime, jobs, and education. 

The only advantages I think Brown has now is his massive, loyal-by-necessity machine, and his huge pile of cash. Well, they’re actually pretty huge advantages when you put it that way. But in terms of connecting with voters and really questioning the engagement and competency of a Brown Administration which is taking undue credit for progress with which it had nothing to do, Tolbert and Rodriguez have a real shot if they can get their messages out. You could hear, if not feel, the frustration and dissatisfaction rolling through the assembled crowd. 

When Rodriguez and Tolbert said they wanted to make the city more business-friendly by streamlining permitting, lowering fees, increasing predictability and uniformity, and setting up a “one-stop shop”, Brown said the city was working on it. 

Working on it?! You’ve BEEN THE MAYOR FOR SEVEN YEARS. YOU CONTROL – WITH ORWELLIAN EFFICIENCY – EVERY EXECUTIVE FUNCTION IN CITY HALL. SEVEN YEARS AND YOU’RE STILL “WORKING ON IT?” City Hall is – and has been – a fetid swamp of bureaucratic sloth and mendacity.

When describing Yugoslav communist self-preservation, corruption, and stasis, Milovan Djilas wrote that a “New Class” had been created, comprised of dictatorial bureaucrats. In Buffalo, we have the same phenomenon – marginally educated people hired and retained not for their merit, but for their politico-financial loyalty to the bureaucrat-di-tutti-bureaucrats, Byron Brown. Forget the “political class” of WNY – our larger problem is this new patronage class. They are neither working class nor transitioning into middle / upper middle class; they have instead carved out their own patronage class whereby your social mobility is founded on the political ties – and donations – you make, rather than your labor, smarts, or merit. It takes seven years to do simple things because the patronage class is united in its opposition to any reformation of the bureaucracy that guarantees it its oft-redundant jobs. 

Byron Brown cannot take on the patronage class because his entire political career is founded on their interdependency. 

The candidates can talk about downtown domed football stadiums until the cows come home, but there is a huge question mark hanging over the city of Buffalo that Mayor Brown hasn’t even seen – much less answered – in the 7 (SEVEN!1) years he’s been occupying the 2nd floor of City Hall. 

3. The Congressional Republicans’ descent into nihilistic brinksmanship continues apace. When your only philosophy and platform is to hate Obama and deny millions of people access to affordable health insurance, I guess that’s what you’re left with.