06 August, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

You know, folks, unjustified paranoia is normally considered a sign of severe mental illness. A normal, healthy person would read this:
There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can't keep track of all of them here at the White House, we're asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.
and understand that the White House is trying to keep up with the exploding amounts of misinformation being spread about their health care reform efforts. You can't debunk a rumor if you haven't heard it. If you're a sane, healthy person opposed to health care reform, you merely laugh at the administration's efforts and enjoy the fact that they're so busy with crap they'll have less time to counter your (possibly saner) arguments.

People suffering from terminal paranoia react this way:
RedState interpreted this to mean "the White House wants you to report ... anybody publicly opposing" health care reform. Soon after, Rush Limbaugh had embraced the same line, and Malkin wasn't far behind. Naturally, Drudge joined the fun.

By late yesterday, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was asserting that the White House wants Americans to report on each other. Today, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) appears to have completely lost his mind.

Cornyn says this practice would let the White House collect personal information about people who oppose the President.

"By requesting citizens send 'fishy' emails to the White House, it is inevitable that the names, email, addresses, IP addresses and private speech of U.S. citizens will be reported to the White House," Cornyn wrote in a letter to Obama. "You should not be surprised that these actions taken by your White House staff raise the specter of a data collection program."

Cornyn asked Obama to cease the program immediately, or at the very least explain what the White House would do with the information it collects.

This is what politics in America in the 21st century has come to.

Steve Benen wants to believe these fucktards are just whipping up the base, and themselves understand what reality is. I believe they're certifiable. So for the next great American reality teevee show, I think we should assemble a panel of expert psychiatrists and evaluate a different Con each week.

Grassley's a good contender for resident sociopath:
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, has taken the lead role in negotiating the health care reform bill for the GOP. But earlier today during a radio interview with Iowa City’s KCJJ, Grassley steered the conversation with a caller toward rationing health care services among the elderly, one of the right wing’s favorite fearmongering tactics when it comes to health care reform. And as an example, Grassley cited Sen. Ted Kennedy’s (D-MA) brain tumor. Grassley said that in countries with government-run health care, Kennedy “would not get the care he gets here because of his age.”
Using a colleague's brain tumor as a fear-mongering tactic is remarkably crass. Talk about a fucktard with no sense of decency. And no grasp of the truth, which is that old people have a better chance of getting older in those horrible socialized medicine countries. But, y'know, telling the truth doesn't suit Crassley, so he lies.

Maybe, like this fuckwit, he's lied so long he's come to believe his lies, and can no longer comprehend the simplest bits of reality:

Reagan administration economist Art Laffer appeared on CNN’s Newsroom yesterday to debate health care with CAP Senior Fellow Judy Feder. At the height of the debate, Laffer offered a curious argument against health care reform:

LAFFER: I mean, if you like the Post Office and the Department of Motor Vehicles and you think they’re run well, just wait until you see Medicare, Medicaid, and health care done by the government

That's right. They've so convinced themselves that government can't do anything right that they've talked themselves into thinking that Medicare and Medicaid aren't wildly-successful government programs. That's one of the reasons we have seniors screaming "Keep your guvmint hands off my Medicare!"

People are so fucking pathetic.

The Teabaggers, who've allowed themselves to be whipped into a frenzy by cynical corporate interests, are now rapidly spiraling out of control. I wonder how those astroturfers are going to react once it's sunk in that they've unleashed a dangerous mob? Do they think that rabid freaks making death threats help their cause?
Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC) will not be hosting any town hall events this August -- instead, he's making himself available to constituents for one-on-one meetings about health care reform -- and at least part of the reason is this: His offices have received threatening phone calls, including at least one direct threat against his life.

"We had no town hall events scheduled for the August recess anyway, but in light of everything that's happened -- we have received a threatening phone call in the D.C. office, there have been calls to the Raleigh office," said Miller communications director LuAnn Canipe, in an interview with TPM. The threatening call in question happened earlier this week.

"The call to the D.C. office was, 'Miller could lose his life over this,'" said Canipe. "Our staffer took it so seriously, he confirmed what the guy was saying. He said, 'Sir is that a threat?' and at that time our staffer was getting the phone number off caller ID and turning it over to the Capitol Police."

Or that rabid mobs assaulting elected officials will win over the masses?

As lobbyist-run groups encourage conservative activists to “rattle” members of Congress at local town hall events, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), the president of the freshman Democratic class has revealed that “at least one freshman Democrat” has already been “physically assaulted at a local event.” Connolly warned that conservative groups had taken things to a “dangerous level“:

“When you look at the fervor of some of these people who are all being whipped up by the right-wing talking heads on Fox, to me, you’re crossing a line,’ Connolly said. ‘They’re inciting people to riot with just total distortions of facts. They think we’re going to euthanize Grandma and the government is going to take over.”

Because out-of-control crowds worked so well for McCain/Palin, of course.

And I'm sure that interfering with a Congressman's ability to serve the elderly in his district will look real good on teevee:

The threat of raucus Tea Party activists disrupting public events has led at least one Democratic Congressman to take steps that could complicate his ability to help seniors and veterans.

Indiana Dem Rep Brad Ellsworth’s office confirms to me that worries about disruptions from the Tea Party brigade have led him to rejigger a program that he’d been successfully using to assist seniors and vets who were having trouble getting their Federal benefits.

Here’s how the program worked. Ellsworth would peridocally station himself at a public place in his district — at a grocery store, for instance — to answer questions from constituents, such as seniors and veterans wrestling with bureaucracy. Ellsworth was set to do this tomorrow.

But he concluded that Tea Party activists were likely to hijack the event by shouting about health care, so he postponed the public appearance. “Our concern was that some of these same groups that have been disrupting other public events would also prevent these constituent events from taking place,” Ellsworth spokesperson Liz Farrar tells me.

The local conservative paper in California sure was impressed with the Teabag mob at Rep. Thompson's event:

The Napa Valley Register -- a conservative paper that endorsed John McCain last year -- now has a new editorial condemning the hecklers:

The display was unwelcome -- and unsuccessful if it was meant to move health care reform supporters toward considering the concerns of the critics. Several callers to the Register on Tuesday reported they were repulsed by the aggressive tactics of some members of the crowd.

To the degree the catcalls, chants and shouts were organized -- and it appears from events around the country that they were -- we strongly suggest that the organizers find more constructive ways to get their message out.
I don't know why the Teabaggers act like a bunch of screaming, dangerous children. After all, they've got such awesome role models. Y'know, like Bill "Obama's destroying the country" O'Reilly and Glenn "Yeah he totally is" Beck, the NRCC with their "Recess Roasting" page, John "very hot summer" Boehner, and Michael "if you can't take the heat, prank 'em" Steele:

On today’s call with reporters, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele took credit for the RNC’s response to a new Democratic National Committee ad asking voters to call Republicans and tell them to stop ginning up town hall heckling. The RNC redirected these calls from its main switchboard over to the DNC’s switchboard — a response, said Steele, to the White House arrogantly blaming regular Americans “like my mother, like my sister” for the health care impasse.

“I thought it was a good idea,” Steele said. “Don’t sit there and think you’re going to direct a bunch of angry liberals to call the RNC when I know full well what that’s all about. I get the joke. My response was, talk to your own party, because they’re the ones ginning this up.”

Next thing you know, he'll be shipping whoopee cushions to Teabaggers, because fart jokes are such a sophisticated response to ideas you don't like.

Oh, and the next time the Cons try to play the "but they do it too!" card, keep this in mind:
In the Bush/Cheney years, the Democratic establishment and prominent center-left outlets wanted nothing to do with 9/11 truthers and/or Diebold folks. It was unheard of to see a Democratic member of Congress call Bush/Cheney "fascists," or encourage the Democratic Party to emulate the Taliban.

Conversely, the line between fringe right-wing stupidity and the Republican/conservative mainstream has all but disappeared. Vile nonsense may start on a Freeper thread, but it won't stop there -- the same garbage is invariably found on major far-right blogs (Malkin, RedState), prominent conservative magazines and newspapers (National Review, Weekly Standard, WSJ), talk-radio shows with huge audiences, Fox News, and far too often from elected Republican officials.

Whereas Dems kept the fringe at arm's length, Republicans embrace the fringe with both arms. Both sides have nutjobs; only one side thinks their nutjobs are sane.

And that, my darlings, is the essential difference.


Efrique said...

Did you see this?


(via reddit)

-- the health industry apparently isn't all that keen on the "free market" after all.

Cujo359 said...

Not if it means they have to accept smaller profits. This, ironically, is what a truly free market does.

Riva said...

This is interesting. My question is, are CATS covered under family health care plan?