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MY DEATH PANEL: The Ultimate Fair and Balanced Judgment upon Six Irritating Right Wingers

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My death panel condemns those who've inflamed this season's fact-free bonfire. Town-hall howlers low on information and high on misdirected anger. Neo-fascists who dare to call democrats and public servants "Nazis." Screeching gray crazies who love their Medicare and hate government-insured health care for everyone else. Keening free-market incoherents who cry, "I don't want the U.S to turn into Russia!" (Russia? Isn't a hyper-capitalist oligarchy exactly what they want?)

Amid this onslaught of New Know Nothings, progressives must get over their tendency to forgive and forget and issue punishments as ruthlessly as hard-core conservatives. My death panel will order ultimate sentences on those who have made a career of misleading the inflamed howlers, rendering just rulings for years of high crimes:

Radio clown Rush Limbaugh is guilty of much more than smearing toxic greasepaint across President Obama's every effort since Inauguration Day. For two decades, his true crime has been popularizing "Nazi" as a comic term for the anti-Nazi humanism he pretends to despise. He's ruthlessly collapsed "socialism" with "National Socialism" and confused legions of factless dittoheads. This junk-talk bozo has blended a noble cause—freedom and equality for all--with a genocidal regime in the calculatingly cute term, "femi-nazis." He has ruined, probably forever, any rational discourse about the real nature of Nazism vs. its opposite, democratic socialism.

While poisoning us with perverse neologisms, Rush is also guilty of serious crimes of character. He is simply not a gentleman, as when he used the airwaves to mock and insult a Parkinson's sufferer or schoolgirl going through her awkward freckles and braces stage, calling Chelsea Clinton the "family dog." The fact that Chelsea has blossomed into brilliant, lovely young woman while Rush devolves into a drug-addicted, prematurely aged old cur may be punishment enough for many. But not for me.

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Rush's Sentence: Death, of course, but it will be entirely self-inflicted, a painful suffocation during a session of auto-asphyxiation while mainlining Oxycontin.

An ex-governor of our second-most unpopulated state, presently unemployed, invented the term "death panel" to describe a proposal to offer optional, free end-of-life counseling to Medicare recipients. She went on to imply that this optional, free end-of-life counseling for elders would encourage Obama to kill her Down's Syndrome child.

The unemployed ex-governor's sentence: She will not be mentioned by name.

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Mitch McConnell and John Boehner—Minority Leaders in the Senate and the House, they take the Congressional podium together, chummy as brothers or lovers, so must be judged as a pair. They share the same rascally GOP wit, too, such as "Boy, if you like the Postal Service, you'll love universal health care." (Ha-ha, imagine, a walk-in facility for every neighborhood, town, and obscure crossroads in unpopulated states, equal care for all citizens across the continent for the price of a...stamp.) McConnell plays the big, dumb, astonished hillbilly: "It's just them terrorists who want this here socialized Nazi med'cine." Boehner plays bottom-feeding used car salesman to McConnell's gruff daddy: "Isn't it the terrorists who want a public health insurance option? Why, kick the tires of Obamacare, and Osama squeals."

Their crimes? Nothing really, except using that shared podium to talk us into war when they were majority leaders. No bodies buried, except in the still-warm coffins of those Kentucky and Ohio soldiers force-marched to Mitch and John's elective, pointless debacle in Iraq. Now the daily spokes-pair move lockstep to the podium to talk us out of a single positive or progressive footstep in the direction of becoming a humane nation.

Sentence for Mitch and John: Find a disgruntled postal worker. Show him the cute witticism above. Point him toward the podium...

Standard-cable Cheetos pitchman Glenn Beck will air any crackpot notion with facetious sincerity, calling on panels of experts culled from Flat Earth symposiums to testify about global cooling, free-will alchemy, and Obama's fictitious Hawaiian birth. The more he talks, the dumber we all become. Beck recently traded around the idea that Obama's birth certificate was a "horrible forgery," then reversed course to distance himself from the birthers he'd aroused.

So it's doubful, but confirmed by expert panels, that the self-proclaimed patriot Beck was actually born in Borneo. Apparently his parents' honeymoon tour of Bali devolved into a detour to the Borneo rainforest, complete with rum-daiquiri strip poker, kindly cannibals, and a hasty consummation in a leaky tent. Though none of this may be true, Beck cannot present documents that dispute his birth on the Asian island, and indeed, a Borneo nanny may have surfaced who remembers suckling the infant Glenn in her thatched hut: "He wouldn't stop smiling with that smug, fake-astonished expression. It was all I could do to not to slap him silly."

Glenn's Sentence: Being slapped silly by that very same Borneo nanny.


Newt Gingrich, unemployed self-styled-gray-eminence-without -portfolio, has been breaking into media panels to imply that, no, seriously, no, we're all wrong, after all, as usual. Obama really does want to ration health care, dispatch a death panel to your house to kill grandpa, because this is exactly where a public option for insurance inevitably leads—no, really.

Newt's Sentence: Alas, like Rush, he too will dispatch himself before the death panel enjoys the pleasure. Invited on another cable show to blab his hard-right palaver with that aged frat-boy insolence, he will choke on a plastic prop banana. His third wife will stand impassively nearby, divorce papers in hand, as Newt writhes in fatal discomfort, expelled from his private insurance for "preexisting condition" (as a mortal homo sapiens). Alas, Newt will expire without benefit of free, optional end-of-life counseling.

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Lee Patton, a Denverite, writes fiction, drama, poetry and nonfiction.
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