Conspiracy Theories

Opponents of Health Care Overhaul = Birthers, Vol. 3

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Previous episodes from Salon's Joan Walsh and the New York Times' Gail Collins. Today, Paul Krugman:

We'd like to register our opposition to the public option

That is, the driving force behind the town hall mobs is probably the same cultural and racial anxiety that's behind the "birther" movement, which denies Mr. Obama's citizenship. Senator Dick Durbin has suggested that the birthers and the health care protesters are one and the same; we don't know how many of the protesters are birthers, but it wouldn't be surprising if it's a substantial fraction.

And cynical political operators are exploiting that anxiety to further the economic interests of their backers.

Get used to this line of argument as the August congressional recess punts the action into the public square, and bewildered supporters of reform legislation look for creative ways to sway the stoopids.

NEXT: Reason Morning Links: Health Care Clashes, Hacker Attacks, and Lethal Rehabilitation

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  1. Shut the fuck up, Paul Krugman.

  2. He’s scrambling to to his Dullard cred up.

    Dear Gog, do these assholes really think this shit or are they just trying to steer the flock in that direction?

  3. As stupid as the “anti-war people hate America” crowd.

  4. “to keep his Dullard cred up”

  5. Awesome use of the alt-tag on that picture.

  6. I love it. Their utter cluelessness and isolation from reality shall be their undoing.

  7. This line of thinking is pathetic. Quite a few people–probably a substantial majority–are concerned about where the government is taking us. Especially with healthcare. So telling everyone that any concerns are lies and that they are ignoramuses and totally misinformed will do what in 2010? Help the Democrats?

  8. Being trendy helped the Democrats in November, PL, so why won’t it continue to?

  9. First, love that movie.

    Second, it’s amazing how far people will go to paint disagreement as something other than honest debate. The “birther” movement is whatever it is…so the hell what? Birthers still vote and still have the right to speak out against socialized medicine, right?

  10. There’s lots to be disturbed about with this healthcare “reform”.

    That said, I think those who are getting VIOLENT over it probably ARE the same bunch of right wing nutjobs who buy the birther bullshit.

  11. Somebody go back and get a shitload of dimes!

  12. ACORN and SEIU are right wing nutjobs who buy the birther bullshit?

  13. The liberal left’s utter contempt for half of America is finally and fully out in the open. Their post-election crowing has been replaced with mid-summer whining and foot-stamping. To see the left dissolve into irrational, childlike tantrums is a wonder and a delight. Who could have predicted that it would happen this soon?

  14. they’re probably reacting less to what Mr. Obama is doing, or even to what they’ve heard about what he’s doing, than to who he is.

    Because anybody who doesn’t swallow the Presidential platitudes hook, line and sinker is by definition a raaaaaaaaciiiiiiiist!

  15. And what was the outcome when Birchers were calling Vietnam War Protestors “commies” and “pinkos?” Ordinary folks saw their sons and daughters protesting and knew they weren’t.
    Can’t wait for the shot of a helicopter lifting off the last statist congressman from the Capitol dome.

  16. “That said, I think those who are getting VIOLENT over it probably ARE the same bunch of right wing nutjobs who buy the birther bullshit.”

    Violent? Pure. BS.

  17. All Democrats and Libertarians are Truthers, right?

  18. Right, Pro L.

    Of course, since all Republicans and Libertarians are Birthers, that means Libertarians are all Truthers AND Birthers. We got the sweet spot on that Venn diagram.

  19. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/08/07/health-care-town-hall-turns-violent-tampa/

    Yes, violent.

    The people that are using violence to oppose healthcare reform are IMHO probably the same right wing nutjobs who believe the birther bullshit.

  20. Of course it’s the same people. It’s always the same percentage of the population, always the same demographic. The GOP constituency has become almost totally homogenized. At any rate the right’s hysteria over healthcare is about as connected with reality as are the birthers.

  21. Xeones,

    That’s what makes us so charming.

  22. “Of course it’s the same people. It’s always the same percentage of the population, always the same demographic. The GOP constituency has become almost totally homogenized. At any rate the right’s hysteria over healthcare is about as connected with reality as are the birthers”

    I see Tony has taken all the left’s talking points to heart.

  23. Fools! If you disagree with me that means you are Birthers! Ha! Caught you!

    If any of you were a Keynesian saltwater economist with a Nobel Prize like me you’d understand that if the free market doesn’t result in a socialist Utopia then is a failure.

    People have to pay for medical expenses out of pocket? Market failure! Banks go out of business when they gamble away billions of dollars? Market failure! The government incentives that led to employment-based insurance dominance? Market failure! No free lollipop at the bank? Market failure! A single deformed M&M in a economy-sized bag? Market failure.

    What you non-credentialed and un-prizeinated fools don’t understand is that every dollar not collected by the government and spent on the noble and blessed unfortunate is a market failure. The government has the right to take all those little green slips of market failure in your wallets right now. You’d just waste them on cheap Chinese crap and SUVs anyway.

  24. I don’t suppose those who are protesting can’t be protesting about this socialism being crammed down our throats and their knowledge of what socialized medicine has done to all other countries where it’s been tried. No, they must be demonized into being the same people as the birthers.

  25. That said, I think those who are getting VIOLENT over it probably ARE the same bunch of right wing nutjobs who buy the birther bullshit.

    In my experience, this kind of demonstration of outrage moving to anger bordering on violence is not that uncommon without any central organization. It is very natural when a local meeting has an issue on the agenda that draws a great deal more attention than normal. Many people show up with strong convictions on both sides. There is usually not enough space or time for everyone to speak. The A/C is unable to keep up with the number of people inside and doors open. Topic gets sidetracked. Frustration rules the day and a elementary schoolbus level of debate takes over in which the loudest wins.

    As many times as I’ve seen this scene play out I never find it discouraging. This is how democracy and self governance really works. That passion and emotion is the first step to getting people really involved on the local level.

    First, we just have to get over ourselves and realize, in general, we are ugly people when put together in bunches.

  26. We must institute the Veterans’ Administration Hospital model in the country, ASAP. By force, if necessary. I know a veteran, and he says *it works*.

    And that’s good enough for me.

  27. The GOP constituency has become almost totally homogenized.

    You mean rich moustache-twirling CEOs or uneducated gun-clinging rednecks?

  28. socialism being crammed down our throats

    No, no, Obama is FACE RAPING you with COMMUNIST NAZI SATANIC health care legislation.

  29. Hey Tony! Fuck you and your chickenhawk president!

  30. Anyone who wishes to take this to the next level should cite specific examples of lefty arrogance and hatred toward us unwashed, uneducated Americans and send it to their sponsors. Democrat propaganda houses like MSNBC might despise us, but they can’t afford to lose advertising revenue. It takes only a few well-written letters to the right people. Bean-counters will choose dollars over diatribes every time.

  31. The smart thing for the democratic congressmen is to cancel their little townhall meetings and ignore these protesters and/or accuse them of being nazis. I’m sure it won’t have any impact on their electoral chances in 2010.

    As tensions rose further, Rep. Castor was escorted out of the town hall by police after Reed encouraged her to leave.

    “People shouldn’t be afraid of their Governments.
    Governments should be afraid of their people.”

  32. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/08/07/health-care-town-hall-turns-violent-tampa/

    Yes, violent.

    The people that are using violence to oppose healthcare reform are IMHO probably the same right wing nutjobs who believe the birther bullshit.

    I read that same story earlier this morning. Sounded to me like the violence was perpetrated by a bunch of union members, with whom the Dems had stacked the place, trying to keep everyone else out. Gotta have an audience that seems sympathetic, you know, even if they have to be brought in.

  33. Unfortunately a lot of the town hall people ARE birthers, particularly the more hysterical ones that seem to go viral on YouTube. Which is why the Republicans need to stop tolerating the birthers; they’re the noise that is drowning out the signal of legitimate criticism of Obama’s policies.

  34. “That said, I think those who are getting VIOLENT over it probably ARE the same bunch of right wing nutjobs who buy the birther bullshit.”

    Fluffy stated in the previous thread that from what he could tell, it was the organizers who were resorting to violence.

  35. This has James Carville written all over it. Just like Rush was magically chosen as the “leader of the Republican party” we now have the idiot meme, “any who oppose socialized medicine are birthers”

    When people reject your arguments all you have left are slogans. “It’s the economy stupid” isn’t an argument about taxes or spending but a mindless slogan that can be repeated when uncomfortable questions arise.

    Watch for this answer in the coming weeks in regard to the “health care reform” debate. When questioned about costs or rationing you will hear the birther response many times.

  36. Fluffy stated in the previous thread that from what he could tell, it was the organizers who were resorting to violence.

    Only out of frustration of the racist obstructionism of those who oppose Obama’s healthcare plan because of the color of Obama’s skin.

    Proof? Remember Hillary-care and the previous Dem President, who was white? Libertarians and Conservatives loved him and his healthcare plan, and never had a harsh word to say about either.

  37. Seeing that picture made me realize that I’d far rather have Cleavon Little in the white house than Barack Obama.

    -jcr

  38. Seeing that picture made me realize that I’d far rather have Cleavon Little in the white house than Barack Obama.

    Pardon me while I whip this out…..

  39. …and before anyone asks: Yes, I do know that Cleavon Little died in 1992.

    -jcr

  40. Seeing that picture made me realize that I’d far rather have Cleavon Little in the white house than Barack Obama.

    Well Cleavon Little was at least a funny sort; Obama’s just a scary, Joker-face clown.

  41. Cleavon Little?

    No way! He was gay and from Hollywood!

    Rush and Fox would have the nutjobs believing he’s the antichrist come to deliver the US to Satan through his gayness.

  42. Speaking of dead comedians, I’d rather have George Carlin in the senate than Al Franken.

    -jcr

  43. This has James Carville written all over it.

    Now that I think about it, yes, it does. Carville was all about bullshit and smear tactics.

  44. He was gay and from Hollywood!

    So what? Ronald Reagan was, too.

    What? You mean to tell me that Nancy wasn’t a drag queen? No way!

    -jcr

  45. Sounded to me like the violence was perpetrated by a bunch of union members, with whom the Dems had stacked the place, trying to keep everyone else out.

    Bingo. I would not assume for an instant that any violence was perpetrated by opponents of health care reform. I find it suggestive that violence only cropped up a week into Dem attempts to discredit opponents. I want to know exactly who committed the violence before I draw any conclusions.

    Of interest:

    Opponents said liberal organizers had attempted to allow early admission to those who were seen as favorable to health care plans making their way through Congress, but Reed denied the accusations, saying those brought in were organizers helping to set up the town hall.

    Together with the statements that people were allowed into a side door (to a meeting organized by Democrats), but excluded from the front door, and it sounds like there may have been some packing of the meeting.

  46. Yes, violent.

    The guy in Tampa who got his shirt torn from his back was anti-Obamacare. The people who roughed him up and tore the shirt off his back were pro-Obamacare.

    The people who had to be subdued by the police in St. Louis were pro-Obamacare people who freaked out because protestors wouldn’t go away.

    [I’m not saying I agree with their arrest, though, because since the cops arrested a reporter also who refused to stop taping them, for all I know the St. Louis arrests were “contempt of cop” bullshit. All I’m saying is that the morning “violence” links are not links to stories about violence committed by anti-Obamacare people.]

    And by the way: Krugman is a fucking hack. This cocksucker, who wrote that you can’t say that the Reagan tax cuts had a net positive effect on revenue because he isn’t satisfied that there’s enough evidence, is willing to accuse all anti-Obamacare people of being birthers on the basis of no evidence at all.

    If you’re an asshole who sets an impossibly high standard of proof for other people, and a ridiculously low standard of proof for your own statements, you are a fucking hack. Krugman is the economics and public policy version of a Creationist. It can’t be stated often enough.

  47. I’d rather have George Carlin in the senate than Al Franken.

    Al Frankin? Now there is someone who looks like a clown or the Joker (Romero’s Joker.) Just look at his mouth.

  48. “Al Frankin? Now there is someone who looks like a clown or the Joker (Romero’s Joker.) Just look at his mouth.”

    Which he uses everyday to suck Dean Barkley’s dick in gratitude.

  49. I’m melting! I’m melting.

    All my beautiful wickedness….

  50. There’s nothing I can say about Paul Krugman that we don’t all already think.

  51. you denialist libtards are all the same.

    at least now we know you are birthers and you will be further marginalized.

    I fail to see why someone would feel it necessary to take libertarianism so seriously.

    Here’s a sure-fire method of discussing anything with a libertarian:

    Don’t. Libertarianism is political/economic insanity dressed up in logical fallacies. Just chuckle and give them rhetorical pats on the head for being so gosh-darn cute.

  52. Who just farted?

  53. This is the whole argument from the socialized medicine crowd? “Our esteemed opponets are fundementalist wingnuts, therefore you should support gummint takingover your health care.”

    Character assassination? Guilt by association? Neo-McCarthyism? That’s it? Seriously?

    Holy shit. The bill must be far, far worse than we ever thought if this is all they have to offer in support of it.

  54. “Holy shit. The bill must be far, far worse than we ever thought if this is all they have to offer in support of it.”

    LEAVE BARACK ALONE! LEAVE HIM ALONE!!!

  55. LEAVE BARACK ALONE! LEAVE HIM ALONE!!!

    Someone HAS TO make that video.

  56. My guess is there are some fake birthers out there trying to legitimize the comparison. Not that plenty of birthers aren’t part of the teapartys, but they probably don’t try to further marginalize their brand with stupid violence.

  57. If all Birthers are racists, and all objectors to Obamacare are Birthers, then all objections to Obamacare are based only on racism.

    Remember when the leftists on the board scoffed when when predicted that all criticism of Obama would be shrugged off as merely racism?

  58. Remember when the leftists on the board scoffed when when predicted that all criticism of Obama would be shrugged off as merely racism?

    Remember when joe’s next act was to accuse everyone here of racism, and vanish in a puff of self-righteous indignation over the chimp thing?

  59. The world’s most famous community organizer is whining about community organizing.

  60. Remember when joe’s next act was to accuse everyone here of racism, and vanish in a puff of self-righteous indignation over the chimp thing?

    I got called (not by joe) a racist for saying a govt program (the CRA) had negative consequences, and Obama hadn’t even been elected yet.

  61. Nice one, Granger. I wonder if ACORN is helping round up hard-cases for the townhalls.

  62. The Democratic party is panicking, lashing out like a cornered animal, all because its effort to take over the health-care industry is coming apart like so much wet toilet paper.

    Nancy Pelosi, who will get her own bound volume in the annals of asininity, has outdone herself. When asked by a reporter whether the protests at various town-hall meetings represented legitimate grassroots opposition or were manufactured “AstroTurf” stunts, she replied, “I think they’re AstroTurf. You be the judge. They’re carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on health care.”

    Now this is a pas de trois of dishonesty, slander, and idiocy. Not only is Pelosi lying when she says protesters are bringing swastikas to these town halls, not only is she suggesting that American citizens are Nazis for having the effrontery to get in the way of Obamacare, but she’s also saying that the alleged swastikas are obvious proof that these protests are manufactured by slick P.R. gurus.

    How does that work? What public-relations genius says: “Okay, we need these protests to seem like an authentic backlash of real Americans. Make sure everyone has enough Nazi paraphernalia!”

    http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=YjBmMGVlMWVkOTU1YzIyMzQ0OWNiNjBhMjU1NzMwYjA=

  63. Look, Libertarianism is just another utopian “-ism” that sounds wonderful on paper but does not work in the real world. The concept of a truly free market runs counter to human nature as surely as “from each according to their abilities, to each according to their need.” Do you really think that once a corporation gets big enough they give a rat’s patoot about the “free market.” Heck no, they work for monopoly. That’s in their best interests. We’ve already seen this play out in the free market capitalism of the late 19th century. Robber barons, trust busting, etc. Tell me with a straight face that corporations spend no effort to crush their rivals, and spend all their time and money to create better and cheaper products for the public. Government intervention in the economy is a necessary fact of life. It’s time for libertarians to ditch the religious faith in a free market that can never truly exist, and get down in the muck to battle over the proper limits and goals of government intervention. Once libertarians decide to switch their attention to a “fair market,” and work for a regulatory framework that promotes fair business competition by eliminating the pathway to monopoly, then you’ll be on to something. Until then, you folks are just jerking off on threads like this.

  64. But wait: It gets better. As of this writing, the entire BarackObama.com site was dedicated to “Organizing for America,” with a special page dedicated to “Organizing for Health Care,” where supporters are asked to flood town halls and “make certain your members of Congress know that you’re counting on them to act.”

    They only thing they left out is the instruction to leave the Brooks Brothers jackets and swastikas at home.

  65. These same liberals ignore the work of people like Walter E. Williams because, gosh, he’s a black professor of economics who isn’t on the plantation toiling away shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of Paul Fucking Krugman.

  66. FUCK THE FOG!

  67. Of course the birthers, vocal racists and violent wingnuts are just the gift that keep on giving to the Ds. Why the hell would Obama produce his long form birth certificate? These guys are doing a great job of discrediting (by mere association) his opponents.

    Hate to quote this guy cause he’s a hack (Bill Maher) but he was right on this one:

    “It’s ridiculous to say that all Republicans are racist. That of course is not true. But nowadays, if you are a racist, you are probably a Republican.”

    Oddly enough I oppose all of the currently proposed healthcare “reforms”.

  68. “It’s ridiculous to say that all Republicans are racist. That of course is not true. But nowadays, if you are a racist, you are probably a Republican.”

    Define “racism” outside of views on certain political issues and cite statistics, please.

  69. Giant, quasi-monopolistic corporations, when they’ve existed at all, have acquired their status through the active help and connivance of government. One big flaw in the typical progressive viewpoint is to assume that 19th century corporations were unregulated. In fact, that’s completely wrong. State regulation of business was fairly heavy; it was the federal government that had a diminished role. In other words, without the perfect and wonderful government’s help–at the state level–those behemoth businesses that progressives blame the free market for would’ve never come into being.

  70. Fog,

    They crush their opponents THROUGH use of the government. And no, libertarianism isn’t at all utopian. There would be problems and injustices and inequalities throughout, it’s just that there would be less of them.

  71. Once libertarians decide to switch their attention to a “fair market,” and work for a regulatory framework that promotes fair business competition by eliminating the pathway to monopoly, then you’ll be on to something.

    You mean like ridiculing stupid occupational licensing laws which are designed to protect entrenched market actors from competition?

  72. I am not a fascist!

  73. Johnny,

    Sure thing.

    1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.

    2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.

    3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

    That’s the dictionary definition.

  74. Look, Libertarianism is just another utopian “-ism” that sounds wonderful on paper but does not work in the real world. The concept of a truly free market runs counter to -lalalalallala- eliminating the pathway to monopoly, then you’ll be on to something. Until then, you folks are just jerking off on threads like this.

    “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” Voltaire

    Your fair world of sunshine and equality is an absurdity. I wonder what horrible things you can convince yourself are ok in the name of your fair world? And for god’s sake, what the hell is fair? How do you define that in the real world?

    As for monopoly, I think you should read Justice Learned Hand’s opinion on ALCOA. In fact, just read Greenspan’s whole Antitrust essay. Then you might realize the absurdities you’re preaching.

  75. The guy in Tampa who got his shirt torn from his back was anti-Obamacare. The people who roughed him up and tore the shirt off his back were pro-Obamacare.

    Fluffy, you call that violence? I’m sure it was just a compassionate demonstration of the need for universal health coverage because you never know when someone will come up behind you and afflict you with strongly-worded political discourse.

  76. Shorter Fog: TEH CORPORASHUNS!!1!1!

  77. Of course many (perhaps most) of the people “disrupting” these meetings are sincere.

    That said…what is the point of going to a town hall meeting and chanting shouting down any and all information coming from the stage?

    I do wonder how many people chanting “read the bill” have, well, ya know “read the bill.”

    http://energycommerce.house.gov/Press_111/20090619/healthcarereform_discussiondraft.pdf

  78. “Until then, you folks are just jerking off on threads like this.”

    I can assure you, Fog, these are NOT the threads I’m jerking off to.

  79. For those who think the benevolent hand of government should steer the course of the economy or serve as a counterweight to corporations, what, precisely, do you think motivates government actors? Our best interest? Does anyone on the planet believe that?

  80. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.

    In other words, middle class white liberalism (the result of thousands of years of human moral and intellectual progress, you know) who want to keep “the others” fed in a human zoo where they can be visited and gawked at, but can’t escape from.

    a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination

    Does Affirmative Action count?

  81. One big flaw in the typical progressive viewpoint is to assume that 19th century corporations were unregulated.

    Actually, in the 19th century, the only way to get corporate status was to have the legislature vote it for you. They were, literally and in a way not true today, creations of the government. There were very few of them, by design.

    So-called “free incorporation”, (sort of a “shall-issue” incorporation law) did more for “anti-trust” and competition than the FTC and the Sherman Act ever could.

  82. “Until then, you folks are just jerking off on threads like this.”

    I can assure you, Fog, these are NOT the threads I’m jerking off to.

    Even if you were, we libertarians are notoriously non-judgmental about the sexual proclivities of others.

    Yank away to free market fantasies, my fanatical brethen! Yank to sweet, sweet freedom!

  83. That said…what is the point of going to a town hall meeting and chanting shouting down any and all information coming from the stage?

    I think the point is that we are opposed to this in principle, and we don’t care what talking points you spout in support of it.

    I do wonder how many people chanting “read the bill” have, well, ya know “read the bill.”

    I think there is a difference in kind between supporting or opposing a bill you haven’t read, and passing a bill you haven’t read into law. Our Masters in DC, from Obama on down, have admitted they haven’t read it, but plan to pass it anyway.

  84. I’m vague on this recollection, but I seem to recall that corporations used to have to have a public purpose in their charter and that their charters could be revoked by a state if the corporation wasn’t serving that purpose. While I don’t know that many charters were revoked without something egregious going on, I’ll bet the leverage this gave the states to get corporations to do their bidding was immense.

  85. “That said…what is the point of going to a town hall meeting and chanting shouting down any and all information coming from the stage?”

    While I can’t speak for others, I go because it provides me an opportunity to show off my swastika patches.

  86. “Our Masters in DC, from Obama on down, have admitted they haven’t read it, but plan to pass it anyway.”

    Which is a stupid as trying to build a car without looking at the blueprints.

  87. Which is a stupid as trying to build a car without looking at the blueprints.

    Fuck off! But first, give us some more money.

  88. We have entered uncharted territory in the fight over national health care. There’s a new tone in the debate, and it’s ugly. At the moment the Democrats are looking like something they haven’t looked like in years, and that is: desperate.

    They must know at this point they should not have pushed a national health-care plan. A Democratic operative the other day called it “Hillary’s revenge.” When Mrs. Clinton started losing to Barack Obama in the primaries 18 months ago, she began to give new and sharper emphasis to her health-care plan. Mr. Obama responded by talking about his health-care vision. He won. Now he would push what he had been forced to highlight: Health care would be a priority initiative. The net result is falling support for his leadership on the issue, falling personal polls, and the angry town-hall meetings that have electrified YouTube.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204908604574334623330098540.html

  89. RC Dean,

    I think the point is that we are opposed to this in principle, and we don’t care what talking points you spout in support of it.

    So, in other words, you are closed minded and uninterested in an honest dialog with those who have differing opinions?

    Real mature attitude and very likely to have no effect on the final shape of whatever legislation gets passed.

  90. I think there is a difference in kind between supporting or opposing a bill you haven’t read, and passing a bill you haven’t read into law. Our Masters in DC, from Obama on down, have admitted they haven’t read it, but plan to pass it anyway.

    Yes. A difference in kind.

    But both demonstrate a pretty serious lack of wisdom.

    “I oppose this proposal that someone else told me was bad for some vague reason. I trust their opinion so much I don’t even want to hear the details. I oppose the bill on principle.”

    But what principle is involved?
    Seems like the principle – “I go along with my herd and don’t think for myself.”

  91. Neu, were paying attention and we’ve heard every goddamned lie their spouting already. For you to think we need to hear them out at this stage shows how out of touch you are.

  92. CBoJ, I don’t think the dems are looking desperate. Thanks in part to the media but nostly due to the actions of folks that have no interest in civil discourse, the dems are looking like victims of authoritarians and hate..
    IMO, this will be a huge help in swinging public sentiment farther left. Nobody likes a bully. No matter what their cause.

  93. James Ard,

    So basic principles of civil discourse don’t apply once you’ve made up your mind.

    I don’t see how shouting AT people is ever a good technique for persuading them of the validity of your position.

  94. Wisdom isn’t wasting time listening to drivil spouted by power mongers.

  95. But both demonstrate a pretty serious lack of wisdom.

    Neu–You know as well as anyone that we all have full time jobs, families and many other priorities that preclude all but the wonkiest of us to read 1200 page bills.

    We depend on those who we believe to have integrity and whose opionions we trust to parse the details out for us. Hell, these people get *paid* to do that. Consider it a practical delegation of democratic responsibilities.

  96. JW,

    Sure, sure. But I don’t get the sense that the people shouting down the stage at town hall meetings are basing their opinion on the advice of people who HAVE read the bill. You think Rush or Glenn Beck or Bill O have read the bill? Really?

  97. First, the obligatory Blazing Saddles quote: “Hey, where are the white women at?”

    Second, re this thread. So some of these townhall meetings are getting a little more heated? I say good. First of all, these congressmen deserve a whole shitload of in-you-face disrespect. But, Americans are a pretty passive lot (much to my chagrin). To me, these people showing up are like an iceberg. The fringe few who are willing to show up and actually take up fistcuffs in reponse to a particular policy initiative are like the little bit of iceberg that you see above the surface of the water. Below, is a much great body (of people) who, though maybe not so fired up to take up fistcuff, still disagree with the policy initiative to the extent that it effects their voting decisions.

    Personally, this is great entertainment (damn, yet again Niel Postman got it right). I turn to MSNBC and watch them call the rasabouts “radicals” then I switch the tube to Fox who chastises the fucking snob Dem for snobbing them (the radicals) for having the audacity to exercise their first amendment rights.

  98. It is hard to be civil to people who tell you Medicare is sustainable. Or people who say government competition won’t destroy private insurance. Or people who claim covering more people will cost less. Or people who never mention the costs that torts add to the system. The list of lies is endless.

  99. Sure, sure. But I don’t get the sense that the people shouting down the stage at town hall meetings are basing their opinion on the advice of people who HAVE read the bill. You think Rush or Glenn Beck or Bill O have read the bill? Really?

    If the part of the New Deal the Dems wanted to bring back was locking up all Japanese Americans, and both sides agreed that the goal of the new bill was to lock up all Americans of Japanese descent, would I need to read all 1500 pages of detail before I’d be allowed to oppose it?

  100. Johnny L,

    I would think you would at least want to read enough to CONFIRM that was indeed part of the bill.

    Many who are shouting at these meetings are basing their shouting on incorrect information about it.

  101. It is hard to be civil to people who tell you Medicare is sustainable. Or people who say government competition won’t destroy private insurance. Or people who claim covering more people will cost less. Or people who never mention the costs that torts add to the system. The list of lies is endless.

    But it is worth the effort.

  102. And no, libertarianism isn’t at all utopian. There would be problems and injustices and inequalities throughout, it’s just that there would be less of them.

    What you mean is there would be more of them, but it’s not your problem.

  103. I wonder how this bill effects the tort system? Considering that tort lawyers fight with pedophiles to see who can be the scummiest piece of shit on the planet ( I mean come on, a pedophile will fuck a child because he can’t help it, a tort lawyer will fuck a child if the price is right), I have think that if this plan negatively impacts tort laywer’s legal extortion, then their lobbyist will be working at it.

  104. Sure, sure. But I don’t get the sense that the people shouting down the stage at town hall meetings are basing their opinion on the advice of people who HAVE read the bill. You think Rush or Glenn Beck or Bill O have read the bill? Really?

    So? Have people protesting the Patriot Act read the whole thing?

    I’ll freely admit that I have a bias towards voting against anything that I don’t understand or haven’t read. It’s just good policy in my view. I’m not a stare decisis above all sort of guy, but a presumption of voting against something is entirely reasonable.

  105. At the risk of seeming tendencious, Neu – have you read the bill, or are you taking some other parties’ analysis as dicta?

    I can understand asking for civil dicourse, but isn’t that pretty much passe’ after the evolution in civil politics we’ve seen in the last decade or so? Why would you expect the general mood and tenor to change now that some of the players are ostensibly reversed?

    Nope, we are stuck with the trend line of society for awhile, and I think the Nixonian analogue is appropriate if, for nothing else to think about the likely escalation of reaction and counter-reaction. Obama has mobilized the hardhards. If this were ’69, I would expect riots in the street as the next delightful milepost while the first derivative (so to speak) of this trend is negative.

    I wonder what the Weathermen of the 21st century will really look like?

  106. Neu Mejican,

    A pacifist wouldn’t need to read the AUMF in order to oppose a war. They’re opposed to war in principle. Similarly, libertarians don’t need to read a bill that is going to massively expand government, because they are opposed to government expansion in principle.

  107. Why is the GOP, Insty, Reason, and all the rest promoting angry mobs rather than resolving issues in a smart and effective way?

    I’m sure it has nothing to do with the aforementioned groups being incompetent idiots or anything!

  108. Who can argue with success? Who won the last election? What tactics were employed? Why expect anyone to adopt the obviously losing strategy of reasoned, reasonable discourse?

    Don’t be such a loser! Adopt the winning sides’ tactics of the loud crowd, and win!

  109. I can oppose a 1000 or 1500 page bill on principle without reading anymore than the table of contents that says “1000 pages”.

    The simple fact that this piece of legislation is so long, and so complicated makes it worthy of opposition. I don’t have to read a bill that long to know that it is a cluster-fuck waiting to happen. This would apply equally to ANY bill. If it takes several hundred pages it simply scratches too many backs. The fact that the Congress doesn’t bother to read it proves this fact. They know they have dealt their contributors a stacked hand. Why bother to read what the other Congresscritters demanded for their contributors?

  110. The simple fact that this piece of legislation is so long, and so complicated makes it worthy of opposition.

    But it’s double-spaced!

  111. “You think Rush or Glenn Beck or Bill O have read the bill? Really?”

    Beck said he read it.

  112. Beck said he read it.

    For 1500 pages, I’d assume their ability to hide bad news surpasses my ability to find it.

  113. creech,

    And what was the outcome when Birchers were calling Vietnam War Protestors “commies” and “pinkos?” Ordinary folks saw their sons and daughters protesting and knew they weren’t.
    Can’t wait for the shot of a helicopter lifting off the last statist congressman from the Capitol dome.

    The Birchers did not support the Vietnam war. They actually opposed it as early as 1954 when the founder of the JBS warned about getting our nation involved in what would turn out to be ‘a quagmire’ as he put it at the time, a decade before anyone else did.

  114. I always make sure I’ve read the bill before I contact my reps, but that’s only for my own understanding. I can quote directly from the bill, and the fucking politician either ignores me or condescendingly claims that I don’t understand it. “It’s not that simple”, or some such. Pfah, as if I can’t read plain English.

  115. I didn’t read all of the comments yet – did anyone say that Paul Krugman is a fucking moron?

  116. I think the point is that we are opposed to this in principle, and we don’t care what talking points you spout in support of it.

    So, in other words, you are closed minded and uninterested in an honest dialog with those who have differing opinions?

    I will keep in mind, Neu, that having reached a principled final decision on an issue is equivalent to being close minded.

    Can I list you as “close minded” on the issue of torture?

    Civility should, of course, be the default mode for any interaction. However, default modes can be departed from in appropriate circumstances.

    Like, for example, when some ignorant knob is spouting obvious lies and vacant talking points to try to get you to go away while they wreck your health care.

  117. One aspect that is being ignored is the involvement of the seniors. You know the one thing you don’t touch in American politics? Right, Social Security, but there is something else that will get you hurt, Medicare. I recall when the seniors lynched Dan Rostenkowski back in the day for some change in Medicare law. Whatever comes out of this in the pages of the legislation, the seniors are going to have to share a slice of the pie. Not going to happen.

    One Reason staffer had an excellent proposal, in theory that is. There is claim made by some reform proponents that you can shave 30 percent off Medicare without effecting services, and so, it was proposed by the staffer, lets try that first and see what happens.

    Nope, not going to happen. No matter if your name is Obama, Pelosi, or Reid. Touch Medicare and it is back to the private sector for you.

  118. I will keep in mind, Neu, that having reached a principled final decision on an issue is equivalent to being close minded.

    Having reached a principled decision on an issue does not = “won’t listen to your perspective.”

    Having a closed mind does = “won’t listen to your perspective.”

  119. At the risk of seeming tendencious, Neu – have you read the bill, or are you taking some other parties’ analysis as dicta?

    FWIW, I am suspending judgment until I get a chance to review the proposal in more detail.

    But, of course, I was not discussing the bill, but the discourse surrounding it.

  120. Marshall Gill,

    I am in general agreement that proposals should be concise and clear…I would add that changes should be measured and incremental, for the most part.

    These principles have exceptions, of course. Sometimes it is better to tear down the whole thing and start over. That may require a more complex piece of legislation.

  121. Having reached a principled decision on an issue does not = “won’t listen to your perspective.”

    Of course it does. If a flat Earth beliver comes up to me and wants to discuss whether the earth is flat, I’m not going to bother listening to their perspective.

  122. Tulpa,

    Really? Can you expand on that for me? In particular, explain to me if you see a distinction between having “a closed mind” and having “reached a principled decision.”

    I am pretty sure that I see a meaningful difference, but I might have missed something.

  123. Note that there may be issues/people for which it is a waste of time to have a dialog and having a closed mind makes sense. I can’t wrench this issue into that box in large part because the the complexity of the proposals makes it seem unlikely that we are in a right/wrong situation. There seems to be a range of proposals with varying levels of validity. The very kind of issue for which dialog is most useful.

  124. I wonder which one of these stupid pundits is going to get taken out first. It’s a numbers game. Demonizing half the country is a good way to find at least one crazy enough to take you up on your aspersions.

  125. I know it was not directed to me, Neu but your question:

    “Can you expand on that for me? In particular, explain to me if you see a distinction between having “a closed mind” and having “reached a principled decision.” ”

    seems terribly obtuse. This is actually very simple:

    Premise 1) I do not want the government to involve itself in any aspect of my or my families healthcare beyond safety issues.

    Premise 2) I want to keep my own money.

    Any initiative that expands coverage so massively will be in direct conflict to premise 1 and/or premise 2.

    So, the open mind you require is one where I am left to be convinced that in some way I need to cough up ever more for others? There is no bottom to that well, is there? Some new entitlement and a sufficient application of charisma is all that should be necessary for me to say ‘yes’?

    No. No conversation. How about you maintain an open mind, and let me start to convince you that nebulous promises of utopian paradises can only lead to a land of unintended consequences, since concentration of decision making in one body increases risk to %100 – there is no recourse on failure.

  126. JSinAZ,

    Well, your elaboration was not related to the question I asked, but it was related to the topic of why one might be close-minded on this issue.

    I still have a hard time wrenching this issue into such a narrow box, at least in part because there does not seem to be a default assumption that the proposals will result in greater overall expenditure (given their stated goal of reducing costs and reducing expenditures).

    The main reason I bring up the issue of “close-minded” above is because I don’t see how someone who has reached that state can justify not allow others who may not have reached that state listen to those on stage. Shouting down people at a town-hall meeting so that OTHERS can’t get the perspectives from both sides does no one any good. If I am undecided, and in the audience at that meeting, it seems very likely that I will listen to the person willing to have a dialog, and ignore the one who aims to shut down the discussion.

    It seems.

  127. add “ing” as appropriate.

    Sheesh.

  128. JB, what is your problem? Hoping a pundit gets “taken out” for being a tool? That would be a Bad Thing?.

    Now, in “honor” of Paul Krugman, I’m going to post WBY’s The Second Coming for anyone who has not had the fortune to read it:

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

  129. Neu, I appreciate your response and actually sympathize with the pain you feel about this situation – “decibels rule”.

    I do think that we are at the point where there is no way to stop this social trend. We are in a real sense doomed to repeat the pattern of the past escalations of volume in US politics.

    I’ll repeat here that I think the closest analogue of the pattern is Nixon’s election of ’68, with Obama as Nixon. I am barely old enough to remember the co-opting of the “hard-hats” by Nixon’s law-and-order campaign, in an effort to squash the popular activist hippie/yippie movement, but it seems that the dynamic in society is the same – there is no way to introduce reason or even reduce the amplitude until the real ugly cathartsis happens.

    The late sixties / early seventies were a truely ugly time in this country, and my argument is that given how successfull the really nasty tactics used in the last eight years have been, it’s going to take a ginourmous amount of ugly before people start to calm down and even want to have a rational discussion.

    Personally, I don’t think showing-up at a town hall and acting like a swine is ever a good thing. But I am now seriously showing up and holding a rude placard of some kind, while wearing a spiffy Nat Nast shirt.

  130. # John C. Randolph | August 7, 2009, 9:46am | #

    # Speaking of dead comedians, I’d rather have
    # George Carlin in the senate than Al Franken.

    Yeah, and where is the poster of Al Franken as Ledger’s Joker? Every soundbite or radio address that this guy gives should have that as the graphic.

  131. There’s not a single central planning effort Neu won’t give a fair hearing to. Best to not waste time debating someone who can be fooled so often.

  132. Krugman is the economics and public policy version of a Creationist.

    I would say “Lysenkoist”, actually.

    -jcr

  133. nowadays, if you are a racist, you are probably a Republican.”

    Bullshit. Al Sharpton is no Republican.

    -jcr

  134. James Ard | August 7, 2009, 8:58pm | #
    There’s not a single central planning effort Neu won’t give a fair hearing to. Best to not waste time debating someone who can be fooled so often.

    Were you aiming at an insult by saying I was fair minded.

    Harsh.

  135. Fair minded is one thing. But the boy who cried wolf eventually gets eaten, not yet another fair hearing. Human instinct rightfully ditches fair mindedness when it becomes unproductive.

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