Friday, August 7, 2009

Mobs: long, deep tongue-kiss Edition

DougJ: Euthanizing old people

I’ve always regarded the vaccine-autism theories as the ne plus ultra of crazy medical rumors. But I think the idea that the government will euthanize old people as part of the health care reform package far surpasses it.

Is this bias on my part, as a liberal? (The vaccine-autism stuff seems to have more traction among liberals, while the euthanizing old people stuff is believed exclusively by conservatives.)


Actually, it wouldn't, and it doesn't. But RedState's Erick Erickson is going after the AARP for its tacit support of Democratic health care reform proposals.

The corresponding [AARP] email campaign says one of the myths is that the healthcare plan promotes "euthanasia", which it objectively does -- as even members of Congress say in unguarded moments. [...]

Does the AARP's members know about the endorsement of a healthcare plan that requires seniors to get instruction every five years on assisted suicide -- a fact the AARP calls a "myth"?

Ever wonder why far-right opponents of health care reform seem so confused? Erickson's post is a helpful example. Notice that he insists that it's "objectively" true that reform promotes euthanasia and mandates suicide instructions -- a claim he calls a "fact."

Melinda Warner explained, "Multiple sources have debunked this ridiculous, desperate rumor that has been spread with the intent to frighten the American public. It is vile that Erickson and his ultra-right cronies are propagating this lie. No Democrat -- or any other politician/policy wonk/federal employee -- wants to encourage euthanasia. The only people you hear talking about it are the Republicans."

Right, and the only reason they're saying it is because they're so desperate to defeat reform, they're not above lying.

But I'm curious about something. The AARP has an extensive D.C. presence and knows full well how to read legislation. The group exists to represent the interests of seniors. If health care reform really did promote euthanasia and "require seniors to get instruction every five years on assisted suicide" -- in our reality it doesn't, but if it did -- the AARP's staff would know about it. And they'd raise holy hell.

What I can't quite figure out is, from Erickson's odd perspective, why the AARP go along with such a proposal. Obviously, the conservative attack is insane. But reality aside, from the far-right worldview, what would the AARP have to gain from promoting an idea that would kill off its membership? Maybe someone can translate crazy-right-wing-blog-post content to English for me.

Jane Hamsher (FDL): David H. Koch’s Americans For Prosperity: Health Care Bill Is “The Final Solution”

At an event on the "Patients First" bus tour of David H. Koch's Americans for Prosperity held in Pueblo, Colorado, speaker Mark Harrison says that the House health care bill -- H.R. 3200 -- is like Hitler's "final solution":

Part of this process is called end of life counseling and part of the end of life counseling can be an end of life order.

Let me repeat that, part of this end of life counseling on line 429 of HR 3200 deals with an end of life order.

What does that mean?

End of life. Another word for that is death.

Order. What's another word for that? A sentence.

Now, you folks review with me a little bit as I recall Stalin in 1920 issued about 20 million end of life orders for his fell Russians.

Pol Pot did it during the Vietnam war. He issued about two million end of life orders.

It's being done in Africa today, Mugabi is doing it every day.

Adolph Hitler issued 6 million end of life orders. He called his program the final solution.

Rachel Maddow ripped AFP's Tim Phillips last night as he tells bold-faced lies about the organization's Exxon funding. Telling lies to old people and terrifying them seems to be part of the game plan.

  • Steve Benen adds:

    It's tempting, at times, to feel a little sorry for the right-wing mobs, made up of people who may not know better. They're convinced that fascism is upon us and competition between private and public insurers will mean the end of Western civilization. Clinton-era tax rates represent Soviet-style governing, and those FEMA concentration camps, staffed by ACORN volunteers, are right around the corner.

    But the pity quickly dissipates when I see them applauding the clown comparing health care reform and the Holocaust. They may be victims of a right-wing con, but they also have a responsibility to at least give decency and critical thinking a try, and resist a mass movement that's more than a little dangerous.

    Policy fights like the one we're watching unfold put their character on display, and it's not a pretty sight.

  • John Cole: Will They Have Any Regrets

    So wingnuts are now leaving threatening messages at the SEIU headquarters and urging each other to carry guns to the health care meetings, and I wonder- when this escalates and someone is killed, will the folks who have been whipping these people feel the least bit ashamed? Will the folks who have been lying about euthanizing seniors feel responsible in the slightest? Will all the seniors on government run Medicare feel silly for screaming socialism? Will John McCain, who has spent every single day of his life prospering under socialist government run medicine try to walk things back?

    Will Jon Henke post some more Monty Python videos?

    I’m so sick of these people. Just angry, angry, angry. And they are being manipulated by people who know better for purely political reasons. Just evil.

Josh Marshall says Knock Me Over with a Feather

Grassroots activist and "just a mom" at town hall turns out to be GOP official and former staffer for candidate who the host of the town hall, Rep. Steve Kagen (D-WI) beat last year.
Josh Marshall: Widening Gyre

We had a number of emails last night discussing how much of what we're hearing from the right now should be considered incitement. There are numerous instances of anti-reform advocates explicitly comparing President Obama's health care plan to the Holocaust, for instance -- jumping from the hideous and outrageous claim that reform means euthanasia and going from there. We get desensitized to this stuff. But it's worth taking a moment to give that a long think -- comparing the president's reform plan to the Holocaust.

Most significant here is not the right-wing liars and demagogues making this stuff up but the fact that they've convinced a significant number of their followers that this stuff is true. That's a very dangerous situation.

We should also keep in mind that the birther-mania, as comical as it is on one level, is all part of the same fabric with the Hitler and Holocaust comparisons, an aggressive process of denigration and dehumanization, dressed up around claims about paperwork and places of birth, but all escalating and churning the belief of a minority of Americans that President Obama is not a legitimate president but rather a usurper.

It's always important for us to remember what the last eight years have again taught us, which is that America has a very strong civic fabric, one that can withstand, absorb and conquer all manner of ugly behavior. It can take in stride a lot of angry rhetoric, townhall fisticuffs and more.

But as this escalates we should continually be stepping back and thinking retrospectively from the vantage point of the future about where this all seems to be heading.

John Cole says it is Your Party Now

Jon Henke about the near riots at the health care forums:

Reports out of Florida indicate that Democrats have decided to do something about the emerging threat of those pesky voters talking back to their betters. You see, the way it works is the politicians talk AT the people, and the people shut up and listen. These angry people are doing it wrong.

Here’s the video of the behavior Henke is encouraging:

They weren’t there to debate and discuss. They were not there to exhange ideas or to be heard. They were there to disrupt- they were chanting “tyranny” before the Rep. even started talking. They were there to shut things down and to intimidate. This wasn’t a public meeting, it was a near-mob.

I hope the Republican party enjoys the very public long, deep tongue-kiss they are having with Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and the lunatic fringe.

Sargent: Robocalls Now Directing Reform Foes To Get Out To Rallies?

Marty Kady reports that yet another town hall meeting — this one held by Dem Rep Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona — was overrun yesterday by protesters.

But this detail from Kady’s story jumps out:

Sources say the protesters showed up after a robocall — it’s unclear from whom — went out to Arizona voters encouraging them to show up at the event. The event was supposed to involve one on one chats with Kirkpatrick, a freshman member of Congress.

Now targeted robocalls are being pumped into districts, urging people to go and stampede rallies? Who’s behind these robocalls? Who’s paying for them?

Turns out that the anti-reform group Conservatives for Patients Rights called on activists to get out to this town hall on its Web site. But a CPR spokesman denied to me that his group was behind the robocalls.

This takes things to another level. Seems worth digging into. Needless to say, if any of you readers have heard such calls — or anything else, for that matter — please let me know…

JedL: Fox pushes “calendar” of Democratic “town hall battles”

Fox’s James Rosen promotes a list of "town hall battles" to be hosted by Democrats, neglecting to mention a single town hall being held by a Republican.

Rosen, who describes these town halls as "battles" of a "gladitorial" nature, offered a laughable excuse for targeting Democrats: he claimed the location of Republican town halls was secret because he hadn't been given "the spreadsheet" disclosing the schedule. Of course, there is no such "spreadsheet." All it would take to find out the schedule for Republican town halls would be picking up the phone and placing a few calls to the press secretaries of members of Congress.


JON SCOTT: These town hall battles, I guess they're going to be going on as long as Congress is in summer recess, huh?

JAMES ROSEN: That's right, and in fact Fox News has obtained a large Excel spreadsheet showing the schedule of town halls for Democratic members of Congress. Believe me viewers, if we had the spreadsheet for the Republican members as well, we would share that with you, but here's just a little look at what's going to be going on town hall-wise next week.

Senator Claire McCaskill, the Democrat of Missouri, is going to be hosting two town halls in August 10 in her home state. Senator Arlen Specterr, the recent convert to the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania has a couple as well. The next day, on the following day, Pete DeFazio, the Democrat of Oregon will be in Cave Junction.

As I say, who knew, Jon, that town halls were really so gladitorial?

SCOTT: That's for sure. All kinds of battles going on there.

h/t: ThinkProgress


C&L: Glenn Beck jokes about putting poison in Nancy Pelosi's wine

Glenn Beck had a glass of wine with Nancy Pelosi last night.

Of course, it wasn't actually Pelosi. It was some poor Fox employee made to sit across the desk from Beck with a cardboard Pelosi mask, holding a glass of juice of some kind that was serving as a stand-in for wine.

It was all meant to spoof Pelosi for supposedly listening only to "millionaire contributors" instead of her constituents.

But then he tossed in a little "joke":

Beck: I just want you to drink it. Drink it. [Laughs] Drink it! I really just wanted to thank you for having us over here to wine country. You know, to be invited, I thought you had to be a major Democratic donor or longtime friend of yours, which I'm not. Oh, ah, by the way, I put poison in your -- no I --

Funny, it seems like only a couple of days ago Beck was imploring his viewers not to resort to acts of violence. (It was.) And now he's encouraging violence by joking about poisoning the Speaker of the House.

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