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Reality Messing With Your Narrative? Create A More Congenial World

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The troubled healthcare.gov website officially cost $93 million (the total of the contract awarded Montreal-based CGI Federal). Media Matters reports that the Sunlight Foundation estimated a cost of $70 million and The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler wrote,


A conservative figure would be $70 million. A more modest figure would be $125 million to $150 million.” Kessler noted that the cost for the entire health care project beyond the website would be “at least $350 million.

Yet the Republicans are outraged that the website cost $600-odd million and still doesn’t work. Rep. David Camp (R-MI), Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means is even holding a hearing to determine why the government spent $600 million on a website that doesn’t work even though the government didn’t spend $600 million on a website.


There won’t be any hearings about the $24 BILLION they spent of taxpayer money to shut down the government, but they are angry about a non-existent $600 million.

What gives? Well, give me a few minutes here to ridicule the Republican Party and I will tell you what I think is going on.

Every fan of fantasy/Sci-Fi or role playing games knows about something called world-building. The author in the former and in the latter, the game master, creates a believable, internally consistent world to which the reader/view/gamer reacts.


Keep in mind, these worlds are created for entertainment purposes.

The Republican Party has engaged in a little world building as well, creating a fantasy world to which the base reacts. This fantasy world includes not only a past, or history, which is fleshed out by dime-a-dozen fable-peddlers like David Barton, but a present, supported by a noise machine led by Fox News, which reports not actual, facts-on-the-ground news but fantasy news about events in this fantasy world.


This world has been created because Republicans don’t like the real world, because the real world, the world of our shared reality, has been found to be uncongenial to right-wing ideological claims.

This alternate world on the other hand justifies every single Republican position. In this alternate world, President Barack Obama is a Kenyan Muslim terrorist sympathizer. This is a problem because in this world, “real Americans” are white Evangelicals who have not shifted gears mentally since the last crusade. Any contrary information that comes from outside this world, or echo-chamber, will of necessity be ignored because it does not fit the established storyline.


We saw an example of how this closed system functions yesterday when Dick Cheney employed the myth of the Obama Apology Tour on ABC’s This Week. This mythic event was also a driving force behind the so-called Benghazi scandals. But there is more at work than simply a rejection of President Obama.


In the Republicans’ fantasy world, they can wave Confederate flags, engage in racist rhetoric and somehow not be racists. They can preach religious freedom while denying it to everyone outside of themselves. They can be pro-life while denying life to mothers and on a wider scale, necessary healthcare to millions. They live in a world where President Obama, even had he been born in Kenya, is not American but Ted Cruz, born in Canada, is.


The problem is, none of us live in their carefully constructed fantasy world.


Liberals, reacting to real world events – to things that are actually done or said – are typically befuddled and often horrified by claims coming out of the conservative fantasy America, an America in which the Constitution is based on the Ten Commandments and written by Christians for Christians, a world in which the Founding Fathers were modern-day Evangelical Christians, where white Europeans did not steal land from the Native Americans, where slavery was not really such a bad thing, and the American Revolution was fought by conservatives for religious freedom.


On a psychological and philosophical – not to mention religious – level, it is a world in which the European Enlightenment never took place and the Dark Ages never ended. It is a world in which what was known to be true to Bronze Age tribesmen remains true today despite 3,000 years of scientific and technological advancement.


That is the depth of the divide between Democrats and Republicans in 2013.

Unfortunately, this leaves us with an absurd situation where Republicans can talk about things that never happened as though they did, but Democrats cannot talk about things that DID actually happen.


Let’s take a prominent and significant example:


We live in a world where the Civil War was about slavery, where the Confederate flag represents what Confederates of the 1860s say it represented: racism, at least according to the Vice President of the Confederate States of America, Alexander H. Stephens and all those who applauded him:

But not to be tedious in enumerating the numerous changes for the better, allow me to allude to one other-though last, not least: the
has put at rest forever all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institutions-African slavery as it exists among us-the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution… The prevailing ideas entertained by [Jefferson] and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old Constitution were, that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally and politically…This idea, though not incorporated in the Constitution, was the prevailing idea at the time. The Constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly used against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the idea of a Government built upon it-when the “storm came and the wind blew, it fell.”


Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition. [Applause.] …Those at the North who still cling to these errors with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind; from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is, forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics: their conclusions are right if their premises are. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights, with the white man….They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal.

Note to tea partiers: That is what the Confederate flag means. It is about states’ rights only to the extent that the right in question was the right to own other human beings.


Conservatives shake their heads and say liberals are rejecting facts, drinking Kool-Aid and so forth because we don’t fall over ourselves agreeing with them. But how can we when what they’re talking about exists only in their own imaginations. It would be like George R.R. Martin suddenly becoming angry with his readers and viewers for refusing to shape their choices according to what’s taking place in Westeros.


Martin would never do this. He knows perfectly well what world he lives in and that the world of his fantasy novels and miniseries has nothing to do with our shared reality. Republicans cannot because they will not make this distinction, and never the twain shall meet.

We were headed down this fantasy road already when Barack Obama took office. There is no denying the rot had already set in. But since 2008 they have dug themselves an even deeper hole.


They have based their entire platform, every word spoken and every action taken, on delegitimizing our first black president. If they backed down now they would be admitting that they have wasted not only their time but ours, and billions of dollars ($24 billion on the shutdown alone) on an ideology that is based on the rejection of something that does not exist in the real world: a Kenyan Muslim terrorist-sympathizing president.


If Republicans had to acknowledge the real world, they would see their arguments and objections evaporate. They would discover that the things they are saying are, in fact, untrue. Suddenly Kenyan birth would be as valid as Canadian, Muslim as valid as Christian. Their endless parade of manufactured scandals would crumble like the lies they are. They would discover that facts do matter.



Why do they reject reality? Why do they not embrace our shared reality? Simply put, there is nothing in it for them.


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Reality Messing With Your Narrative? Create A More Congenial World


Why do they reject reality? Why do they not embrace our shared reality? Simply put, there is nothing in it for them.


Speaking of rejecting reality, did Obama's economic policies work? :D


Is Obamacare collapsing? :)


Stupid troll.

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There won’t be any hearings about the $24 BILLION they spent of taxpayer money to shut down the government,


Just debunking one sentence out of this garbage OP pretty much makes it all garbage,,,,


There Will Be No $24B Economic Loss From The Government Shutdown
The news has been full of an estimate by Standard & Poor’s that the U.S. economy suffered a loss of $24 billion due to the government shutdown. Interestingly, the reports contain few if any details of where those losses came from and the Standard & Poor’s website does not seem to have any report backing up the figure either. I have found some of the suggested losses and they are all untrue. In reality, there will be no economic loss to the economy from the government shutdown.

Purported losses include lost wages by federal employees and contractors, the value of lost government services, and lost travel spending. Some of these losses did actually happen, but any losses in one part of the economy will be offset by gains somewhere else.

Certainly, some people have suffered losses due to the shutdown, principally those business owners who depend on tourists visiting Washington, D.C. or a federal site that was closed (such as a national park). Federal contractors who could not work and were not paid to work on other projects during the shutdown may suffer losses. However, these losses do not hold in the aggregate because every loss will be offset by a gain.

For all the tourist sites that lost money and visitors during the shutdown, there is a business somewhere that received or will receive more business than normal. People who cancelled trips to D.C., national parks, or other sites may instead have taken a trip somewhere else. Business owners in those substitute locations become winners due to the shutdown. Alternatively, people may have stayed home and spent the money designated for their trip at local restaurants, movie theaters, and shops, creating gains in those businesses.

If a business traveler cancelled a trip, that business will either spend the money on something else or it will end up as profit. Extra profits go to a business owner who will then spend the money. Even if money does not get spent, but is saved instead, those savings become investments which also benefit the economy.

All this lost spending is a perfect example of the famous broken window fallacy, just in reverse from the normal example. In the broken window fallacy, people perceive money spent to fix a broken window as a gain to the economy because they do not realize the money would have been spent somewhere else until it had to be diverted to fixing the window. In the current case money that was not spent somewhere during the shutdown gets shifted someplace else, but it still gets spent.

As to lost wages, federal employees will get back pay completely covering their lost wages during the government shutdown. This means that any spending they did not do during the shutdown, they are busy catching up on right now. Federal contractors may have lost wages during the government shutdown and may not recoup all those losses. However, those unpaid wages should end up as either extra profit for the contractor, savings for the government, or delayed employment for somebody.

If we ignore the slight loss from the delay in spending in a few of the above examples, I hope the above shows that there is no economic damage to the economy from lost wages or cancelled travel due to the shutdown. In the wider view of the whole economy, the money just ended up in different cash registers.

The final item in the supposed $24 billion in losses to the economy due to the government shutdown is the value of lost government services. It is true that many government services not performed during the government shutdown will never be replaced, as government workers will not all be able to make up the lost productivity. However, national income accounts value government services at their cost since there is no other way to value them (given the common absence of a price to provide a market value). Because the government workers are being paid for the days they did not work, the cost of government services will not decline and, therefore, neither will the government contribution to GDP. Citizens will get less for our tax payments, but the official economic value of government will be the same.

Hopefully, this column has provided a clear explanation that the economy will suffer no loss from the government shutdown, let alone a purported $24 billion. Some people suffered indisputable losses because of the shutdown and we can all feel sympathy for those unlucky people. However, the money lost by those people does not disappear as if in a magic trick; it ends up being spent somewhere else and providing an unexpected gain in a different part of the economy.

Many of the losses reported in the news are visible and easy for the media to find. The offsetting gains are harder to find but exist nonetheless. People reporting these stories may not understand economics or they may not wish to acknowledge that government does not grow the economy. Whatever the reason, the reality is that while the shutdown may not have accomplished anything other than disrupting many people’s lives, it did not cause damage to the national economy. That usually happens when the government is open for business.


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Way too many words.


btw skews, the shutdown was more like a dimmer switch than an on/off switch.

Bammy did it all by himself. Dimmed just enough to advantage himself and party politically.


It would have cost less if he didn't "shutdown" open field monuments and ocean waters.

There's your narrative for congeniality: Be only as much of a prick as necessary.


Like sort of being raped. I guess the American public was wearing a tight sweater and asked for it.

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Skews13, do you believe in "If One isn't part of the solution, they are part of the problem." as being socially accurate?


whether you are or aren't, what solution is there, to a never ending problem of leading hypotheticals never arriving to a permanent resolution?

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Speaking of rejecting reality, did Obama's economic policies work? :D


Is Obamacare collapsing? :)


Stupid troll.


That's all you've got? Are you kidding?


All? That Obama utterly bungled the two more important policies of his presidency is "all I've got?" :D


Stupid lying troll.

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