...I wouldn't recommend sticking Glenn Beck's bristly, addled head between your legs, no matter how big of a sweaty douchebag he is, no matter how much his head might remind you of an ambitious French tickler. Use a real douchebag and accept no substitutes. Yes, yes, it's true that Glenn Beck is at the end of virtually every day a bag o' douche but it's never advisable to literally interpret ad hominems like the kind I am about to aim at Beck and the enormous, unpopped zit on his fat ass that goes by the name of Pat Gray.
What I'm talking about is the Obion County Fire Department refusing to put out Gene Cranick's house because he forgot to pay a $75 fee that should've been guaranteed through his property and income taxes. Cranick lost his house and everything in it, including three dogs and a cat, while the fire department watched it burn (it didn't stop them from bringing out the men and engines, however and one is left to wonder why they didn't bring hot dogs and marshmallows).
Cranick offered to pay the fee on the spot to save his house, which is pathetic enough as it is, but the fire chief, who could've but didn't grant a dispensation, basically told him, "It's not our department."
Well, Glenn Beck and his cackling, unpopped zit think this is funny.
Josh Holland had this covered and unpacked pretty well on Alternet two and a half days ago but I think a few things ought to be mentioned. Holland is absolutely correct in widening the gyre so to speak by macrosizing this synecdochal incident into a damning and blistering indictment on the inherent evils of Randian dystopianism.
He also gives a few examples culled from all over the country of social services such as police, student aid and Medicare being pulled out from under the feet of hard-working people because of Republican buttfuckery. The most stunning example is the case of Ashtabula County, Ohio, which thanks to Republican budget cuts, reduced the number of county Sheriff's deputies by more than 50%, thereby allowing convicted violent offenders to loiter on the streets while awaiting their turn to be imprisoned. Simply put, that means there are more bad guys and less police officers on the streets there and judges are now warning county residents to "arm themselves."
This is Ayn Rand's and the GOP's vision: all governments on all levels shrunk and underfunded to the point of irrelevance and providing in return for taxes less in the way of goods and services. It has now gotten to the point where, if you live in Obion County, TN, the county fire department will watch your house burn down if you didn't pay your $75 bribe. Not only that, there's a very real chance if you live next door, your house will burn down, too, even if you paid your $75, as was the case with Cranick's next door neighbor.
And the likes of Glenn Beck think that's funny.
Hardly a word had been raised about the state and county deliberately underfunding the fire dept. even though they cut off their noses to spite their face. Says Holland,
But last December, a county commission on which every member is a Republican voted to rescind a resolution passed years earlier that would have established a countywide fire department. Their rationale was, of course, the need to keep taxes low, but according to the county commission report, that decision was penny wise but pound foolish. “Because there is no operational county fire department,” the officials noted, “Obion County has missed the opportunity to actively pursue receipt of FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) and Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), which could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars of funding.”
Paying the $75 is euphemistically called a "subscription." A subscription is getting the NY Times or The Nation sent to your home. What this essentially comes out to is a bribe that takes us all the way back to the stupendously corrupt and mercenary fire departments of Boss Tweed's New York City of the 1860's.
Last year in July, when writing about health care, Tina Dupuy set the record straight on the Huff Po when she gave us one (now prescient) example that had already occurred to me: The evils of private enterprise and how it rarely if ever reaches the level of proficiency as a government-funded entity. I'd already thought of the 19th century NYC fire department:
Let's look at this reasonably: Firefighting used to be a private for-profit industry. In the 1800's, the early days of urbanization, in cities like New York and Baltimore, there were private "clubs" or "gangs" who were in charge of putting out fires. The infamous Boss Tweed started his illustrious political career at a volunteer fire company. The way it functioned was the first club at the scene got money from the insurance company. So, they had an incentive to get there fast. They also had an incentive to sabotage competition. They also often ended up getting in fights over territory and many times buildings would burn down before the issue was resolved. They were glorified looters. It was corrupt, bloated and expensive -- but at least it wasn't the much maligned "government controlled."
The police department under Tweed and the corrupt mayors of New York was hardly any better. If one must aspire to any intellectual muscularity and fitness, then one must then ask the inevitable question no matter how fearful the probable answer: What next? Where will it end?
Will the same thing happen to local police departments and county Sheriff's offices? Will they or or will not take a statement and investigate your assault, loved one's murder, your mother's or sister's rape, your child's abduction based on whether or not you paid your "police subscription" (your more uncharitable liberals may call it "protection money")?
We're halfway there already.
Every year, many of you, I'm sure, get calls from your local PD or Benevolent Association asking for a donation. In reward for your donation, they'll send to your house a shiny decal to put on your rear windshield. No cop will ever admit to it but here's the way it works in Ayn Rand's dystopian Amerika: It's always the second thing they notice, after your license plate. If you have the shiny silver sticker conspicuously glinting from your rear window that proves you already paid above your fair share of taxes that funds the PD, your chances of getting off with a warning dramatically increase. And it may even determine the energy level behind the investigation when you're the victim. And don't think the local constabulary doesn't make note of who pays and doesn't pay. They're the police: It's their job to kick ass and take names and not necessarily in that order.
But according to douchebags like Glenn Beck and that unpopped anyl cyst of his that was affectionately named Pat Gray, guys like Gene Cranick and not the Republican douchebags who blocked the formation of a countywide fire department are the real bad guys, the ones who "hurt the fire department" by not paying their "subscription" in a timely fashion. A $200,000, $300,000, $400,000 house and the memories, possessions and living creatures lost forever within are suddenly worth less than a $75 "subscription" that no one in America should ever have to pay.
And you will be subject to ridicule just to champion a morally and intellectually bankrupt Randian ideology that has been proven time and again over the centuries to be ruinous and guaranteed of failure.
And this is what the Republican Party will bring about if they take back even one chamber of Congress next month. And with the Tea Baggers calling the shots and giving the establishment GOP their marching orders, you'll see and hear about a lot more homes burning down and people getting killed and thrown off Medicare and children dying because their CHIP funding got taken from them.
Then, you really will be missing the palmier, more humane days of George W. Bush.
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