18 August, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

As the debate wears on, Cons get more and more ridiculous. And it becomes painfully obvious to all but the Max Baucus's of the world that not a single fucking Con will vote for health care reform even if they're given everything they've ever wanted:
On MSNBC's "Morning Meeting" earlier, Dylan Ratigan asked Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) about "death panels" as part of reform. "I see that as nothing more than a distortion coming from far-left with bringing up these end-of-life concerns," Grassley said, "which are not the issue that we ought to be talking about."

I have no idea what that means. The "far-left" is responsible for a bogus claim Grassley was touting as recently as last week?

Ezra Klein was on the same program, and noticed Grassley's striking approach to reform.

First, Grassley did not speak like Lindsey Graham or Olympia Snowe. He did not come onto the program determined to present a reasonable face and comfort liberals, conservatives and independents alike. Instead, he railed against "government-run health care" and the "Pelosi health-care bill." He talked about bureaucrats and exploding deficits. He sounded like a House conservative giving a stump speech. Grassley presumably leaves his stemwinders behind when he's with the Gang of Six. But this was not a comforting sign. This was not a unifying performance.

Second, Chuck Todd asked Grassley whether he'd vote for the bill if it was a good piece of policy that he'd crafted but that couldn't attract more than a handful of Republican votes. "Certainly not," replied Grassley. Todd tried again, clarifying that this was legislation Grassley liked, and thought would move the ball forward, but was getting bogged down due to partisanship. Grassley held firm. If a good bill cannot attract Republican support, then it is not a good bill, he argued.

Grassley, in other words, is working backward from the votes. If the Gang of Six reaches a compromise that the Senate Republicans don't support, Grassley will abandon that compromise, regardless of the fact that he's the guy who built it.

If President Obama pursues reform with Democratic votes, he's being "partisan." Grassley, meanwhile, will vote against his own compromise bill unless it has lots of Republican votes, but that's not "partisan" at all.

They do live in a special world of their very own, don't they?

At long last, though, they've become too ridiculous for even the MSM to tolerate. Here we have CNN's John King spanking Rep. Tom Price for blatant dishonesty:
On CNN yesterday, John King noted an email that's circulating in right-wing circles, which specifically cites legislative language -- that does not exist -- which "mandates" that the government "has a say in how your life ends." King noted that the claim is false, and explained to Rep. Tom Price (R) of Georgia that even many conservatives concede that the claims are wrong. King asked, "Does it hurt your cause when conservative critics are misleading people and are twisting the facts?"
Price's response is too stupid to print, but basically consisted of "babble babble it's the librul's fault! Babble babble mandated death panels babble."
King responded, "Well, you say it 'mandates.' Others who read the bill, including our organizations, fact-checkers and other organizations' fact-checkers, says that it covers and recommends you have these conversations."
I know, he slipped back into the "you say/they say" dynamic, and that's a bit disappointing. Baby steps.

Continuing the trend, ABC's Jake Tapper whapped Sen. Hatch upside the head with a few actual facts himself. And Rep. Blunt's hometown paper pwnd him so bad he's actually promised to give up one of his favorite lies:

Blunt claimed to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he wouldn’t be able to get his hip replaced in countries with socialized medicine, prompting the paper to respond aggressively in an editorial:

Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Springfield, knows a thing or two about health care. But some of what he knows just isn’t true.

“I’m 59,” Mr. Blunt said last week during a meeting with Post-Dispatch reporters and editors. “In either Canada or Great Britain, if I broke my hip, I couldn’t get it replaced.”

We fact-checked that. At least 63 percent of hip replacements performed in Canada last year and two-thirds of those done in England were on patients age 65 or older. More than 1,200 in Canada were done on people older than 85.

In a subsequent conversation with the paper, Blunt claimed: “I’m glad you pointed that out to me. I won’t use that example any more.”

Well, it's not "I've been wretchedly dishonest about - well, everything - and I promise to stop lying like a rug about - well, everything," but it'll do for a start.

Teabaggers and their corporate masters aren't immune, either:

Mario Solis-Marich at Nuestra Voice managed to get Steve Forbes -- the chief cohort of Dick Armey at FreedomWorks, the outfit that has been organizing the teabaggers' disruptions health-care town halls -- to sit for a 15-minute interview, ostensibly to talk about Forbes' new book, Hey, Son, Do You Like to Watch Gladiator Movies? Power Ambition Glory: The Stunning Parallels between Great Leaders of the Ancient World and Today . . . and the Lessons You Can Learn.

In a quick few minutes he claimed that people in England over 65 years of age could not receive dialysis, that Obama wanted single payer, and that Freedom Works displayed video of the almost violent Doggett town hall on their web site so that politicians can “see what happens” when they lie about financial matters.

Solis-Marich played along for awhile, letting Forbes talk about the need for credibility if you want to be a leader. (One of Forbes' favorite gladiator Ancient Greek hero tales involves a Spartan "outsider" who has to prove himself constantly to his charges through transparency and honesty.) Then he unloaded on him for FreedomWorks' unhinging attacks on the health-care town halls by using patently false propaganda, wondering if that was the kind of leadership he had in mind.

My favorite part was this exchange:

Solis-Marich: The leader of FreedomWorks -- you know, and I'm sure, you just wrote a book about leadership, so that's why we're talking about the leaders -- Dick Armey just had to quit his job today at DLA Piper. DLA Piper is a huge lobbying firm that, you know, represented organizations just like AIG, and in fact helped AIG get its massive bailout from the federal government. He quit today because of pressure that, people were basically saying, "Lookit. Of course he runs FreedomWorks. Many of the clients of AIG in fact benefit if this health-care reform does not go well."

Do you think that it would be proper and good leadership for Dick Armey and yourself as a member of the Board of Directors to finally disclose to the American people who actually is funding FreedomWorks?

Forbes: [long pause] I think it's, uh, it's very clear in terms of funding -- and, and, and by the way --

Solis-Marich: OK. Who funds you?

Exhibit A in good journalism: ask the question that your interviewee really doesn't want to answer. I'd swear Solis-Marich nearly has Forbes in tears by the end of it.

And the New York Daily News' Mike Lupica shows Teabaggers no mercy, giving rise to one of the best quotes of the week:
Those idiots come to these town hall meetings more to be seen than heard, and think creating chaos makes them great Americans.

Meanwhile, remember how we said that removing the end-of-life language from the health care bill wouldn't do jack diddly shit to shut up the Teabaggers? How right we were:
The right said a bipartisan, common-sense measure on end-of-life care was scandalous. It wasn't, but reality didn't matter -- conservatives believed it was true, and now it's apparently gone from the bill. The right said a public option would represent a Soviet-style takeover of the health care system. . It wasn't, but reality didn't matter -- conservatives believed it was true, and now the idea is in trouble.

Ideally, reform advocates would be able to see around the curve, predicting what the next ridiculous right-wing attack might be, and preparing a response in advance. But that's not easy; the Republican Attack Machine features a painful combination of creativity, paranoia, and pathological dishonesty.

For example, Amy Sullivan reports on the next conservative temper tantrum.

Now conservative opponents of health reform have found a new threat: home nurse visits to low-income parents. "We are setting up a situation where Obama will be invading parent's [sic] homes and taking away their children," one columnist warned on RightWingNews.com. That something as harmless as home nurse visits has become a target of conservative ire is surprising because of its longstanding popularity with both Republican and Democratic lawmakers. But health reform advocates are scratching their heads at the attacks for another reason: funding for home nurse visits was largely included in health reform legislation to accommodate social conservatives. [...]

[H]ome nurse visits are exactly the kind of pro-family policy that social conservatives would embrace. And they have. The home visitation provision in health reform legislation was modeled on a bill authored by Republican Senator Kit Bond of Missouri. Bond went through a parenting education program in Missouri when his son was born three decades ago and has been a fan of the idea ever since. [...]

Home visits have been so popular with conservatives that the idea kept coming up during conversations White House aides hosted with pro-life advocates earlier this year in an effort to find common ground on abortion. And when Democratic Reps. Tim Ryan and Rosa DeLauro drafted the abortion reduction bill they introduced last month, they specifically included funding for home nurse visits as a way of accommodating pro-life preferences for policies that support women who decide to give birth instead of having abortions.

But that was before conservative anxiety over health reform reached its boiling point.

Now, prenatal counseling, according to the Heritage Foundation, Chuck Norris, and assorted right-wing voices, are "mandatory home inspections."

Will it matter that the idea was sought by the right? Almost certainly not, because intellectual consistency, honesty, and seriousness have had absolutely no role in the policy debate whatsoever.

No, they do not. All that Cons are after is defeating Obama. They don't care if an idea originated on the right - if Obama and the Dems champion it, they hate it. If it were announced tomorrow that the health care reform bill bans abortion, the right would go into a paroxym of fury and immediately demand that ban be stripped from the bill.

Hmmm... maybe we should try that...

Finally, here's today's installment of "Teabaggers with Guns:"

Oh, I am so positive this is going to end well. Via TPM:

About 12 people were carrying guns, including at least one semi-automatic assault rifle, outside a building where President Obama was speaking today.
The man spotted carrying the assault rifle and a pistol, who gave his name only as "Chris", was asked why he was armed. "Because I can do it," he said. "In Arizona, I still have some freedoms." . . . .

Two police officers kept close by. Carrying guns, including the AR-15 assault rifle, is legal under Arizona law.

"If we need to intervene, we will intervene at that time," said Detective J. Oliver.

Once again we see how irony deficiency maims the conservative's ability to reason: those most terrified of The Negro Socialist Non-Citizen Grandmother-Killing President taking away their assault weaponry [roll eyes here] are free who to openly carry them at Obama events without fear of reprisal.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present you some of the most oblivious people on the planet. I'll leave it to you to decide whether I'm talking about the Teabaggers, the Cons in Congress, or the corporate puppeteers.

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