157 + 3

Yesterday the House passed the 9/11 Health Care Bill by a vote of 268 to 160.

In other words 157 Republicans (and 3 Democrats) voted against it, and 4 Republicans (and 1 Democrat) did not vote.

Why isn’t this surprising?

The bill was designed to monitor and provide health coverage to those who responded to the national tragedy of 9/11 immediately and over the long haul, and who have suffered severe health consequences as a result of  their patriotism. The bill was funded by closing a corporate tax loophole, so there is no addition to  the deficit.

So what does the craven objectors cavil at? They call it a “slush fund.” These Republicans, so long used to feeding at the trough of lobbyists and consultants long before Jack Abramoff, are intimately acquainted with slush funds. To them those sorts of things should be available only to the rich and connected, not the patriotic.

The GOP is the party that starts wars and then tosses the bodies and minds of those who thought they were acting patriotically on a scrap hill.

To this party, “Ground Zero” should be used only to whip up xenophobia and hatred. Self-sacrifice is something the GOP is unfamiliar with. It sounds vaguely like asking the rich to pay the taxes they did before George W. Bush.

Even would be speaker John A. Boehner voted against the bill. Sorry, why did I say “even”? Boehner is the chief architect of say anything/do anything as long as it opposes the Democrats. In Boehner’s contracted universe GOP interest = self-interest = what’s best for the country.

As the GOP not-so-slowly moves into proto-fascist territory, they begin to lose all bearings on things like compassion, charity, duty. Having whipped up a frenzy for their own selfish ends (and those of their wealthy, plutocratic sponsors), they now inhabit a world of conspiracy, fear, selfishness and ignorance.

One thing they don’t have, however, is shame.

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