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A Dose of Reality From Doctor Obama
August 10, 2009 12:50 PM   Subscribe

Health Insurance Reform Reality Check. The White House has just launched a new site to attempt to counter concerns arising from the various factual distortions, misrepresentations and wild-eyed fears that some participants in the ongoing health care reform debate have loudly been voicing lately.

Consider this recent example of the kind of "talking point" the new site is meant to help counter, as brought to light by Josh Marshall's indispensable Talking Points Memo: one prominent health care reform critic recently opined that, if theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking--a life-long Brit--had been born British, Britain's socialist NHS would have ordered him euthanized, depriving the world of one of its best-loved geniuses, all in the ruthless, jack-booted pursuit of affordable and accessible health care.
posted by saulgoodman (276 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
Excellent. This should definitely put a stop to those town hall hooligans.
posted by hifiparasol at 12:54 PM on August 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


This should definitely put a stop to those town hall hooligans.

That was sarcasm, right? A few facts never got in the way of a political movement before.
posted by Pragmatica at 12:56 PM on August 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Especially that one.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:57 PM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


But the response headers for the site show it's running nginx. That's an HTTP server written by a Russian. So clearly this is just another communist plot to take away our old people and turn them into soylent green, right? If Obama had our nation's best interests in mind surely the site would be running IIS?
posted by caution live frogs at 12:57 PM on August 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oh, come on. How are people supposed to know that Hawking is British? He doesn't speak with an accent at all.
posted by maudlin at 12:58 PM on August 10, 2009 [66 favorites]


Good site. BUT I really hate Obama's webdesigner, and have since the days of the primaries. White text reflected on a shiny pale blue background? Logos for external sites made to look like foggy clouds? It just all seems so . . . plasticky. Ugh.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:58 PM on August 10, 2009


If the people who are misinformed were getting their information from whitehouse.gov to begin with, there would not be the need for something like this on whitehouse.gov, where they probably will not see it.

And so the circle closes in on itself, to loop around like this, for infinity.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:59 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


That was sarcasm, right?

Yes, it was. This website is a fantastic idea (I mean, seriously, it's about fucking time the White House did this), but getting the birther/anti-health-care crowd to listen to reason is like trying to punch your way out of a swarm of bees.
posted by hifiparasol at 1:00 PM on August 10, 2009 [94 favorites]


why can't they have text and/or transcipts? i can't watch videos at work.

and i'll by the time i have free time this evening, i probably will have lost my desire to think about health care reform any more today.
posted by sio42 at 1:01 PM on August 10, 2009


Two recent concerns appear to have been omitted:

(1) "Obama's gonna EAT mah BABY!!1"

and

(2) "Keep the government out of my Medicare!"
posted by joe lisboa at 1:03 PM on August 10, 2009 [15 favorites]


Crap site. Video, video, video. Text is easily linkable, easily quotable, and the most universally accessible format. It's also much faster to absorb, for those of use who are even moderately literate.

The web works best as a text-based medium, and I am so fucking sick of people trying to turn it into television. There aren't even easy links to the transcripts. Why not link the transcripts, for Christs' sake?!
posted by mr_roboto at 1:03 PM on August 10, 2009 [64 favorites]


but getting the birther/anti-health-care crowd to listen to reason is like trying to punch your way out of a swarm of bees.

wow. that's the best metaphor i've come across for it yet.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:03 PM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


So clearly this is just another communist plot to take away our old people and turn them into soylent green, right?

Ew, no. They'd be worse than mutton.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:04 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


And yes, I'm invoking the sake of multiple Christs. Thanks for asking.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:04 PM on August 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


hifiparasol: "That was sarcasm, right?

Yes, it was. This website is a fantastic idea (I mean, seriously, it's about fucking time the White House did this), but getting the birther/anti-health-care crowd to listen to reason is like trying to punch your way out of a swarm of bees.
"

If that swarm of bees was a bunch of flying Mitch McConnells, I'd have a go at it.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:04 PM on August 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


those of use who are even moderately literate

Honestly, I don't think that's the website's target audience.
posted by hifiparasol at 1:04 PM on August 10, 2009 [18 favorites]


The Obama team continues its "speak softly and carry a big stick" strategy, while the GOP seems intent on finding out whether a sufficient minority of the country can be ginned up into such an irrational frothing rage that it scares the rest of us out of ever fixing the place
posted by crayz at 1:06 PM on August 10, 2009 [21 favorites]


Honestly, I don't think that's the website's target audience.

Do you think the designers seriously considered that? I mean, are they really designing for the illiterate among us? Personally, I think this design is just braindead web2.0ism.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:07 PM on August 10, 2009


those of use who are even moderately literate

Honestly, I don't think that's the website's target audience.


Exactly. You'll notice all the content is designed to be easily email forwarded (which is how a certain kind of person seems to get all their info these days).
posted by saulgoodman at 1:07 PM on August 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


if theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking

And all this time I thought he was real.
posted by ODiV at 1:08 PM on August 10, 2009 [128 favorites]


Exactly. You'll notice all the content is designed to be easily email forwarded (which is how a certain kind of person seems to get all their info these days).

That makes it even worse. Email is a text medium!
posted by mr_roboto at 1:09 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I don't think that's the website's target audience.

Well, as Astro Zombie pointed out, the target audience isn't real likely to have WhiteHouse.gov in their favorites list.

Now if some enterprising hacker could get a redirect on RushLimbaugh.com or Drudge, or even (laws, laws) Fox News, that would be something.
posted by Pragmatica at 1:09 PM on August 10, 2009


It's specifically meant to counter the email trees that go around, just like the Obama campaign myth-debunking site was, mr_roboto, and yes, I definitely think they were targeting those efforts at very specific, YouTube-and-email-forward-lovin' segment of the population, effectively or not.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:09 PM on August 10, 2009


No one wants to convince the birther/teabaggers of anything. They're not convincible. The goal here is to try to stop the nuts from convincing sane people of anything.

As long as the debate is between complete nutcases on one side and the Obama administration on the other side, Obama wins. I want more disruptions at town halls, more appearances by crazies on MSNBC and Fox talking about how Obama is an evil satanist communist muslim.

Fox News ratings will keep going up, and independents and moderates will continue flocking to the Democrats in droves.
posted by empath at 1:09 PM on August 10, 2009 [8 favorites]


You and I dwell in rarefied circles, mr_roboto. Even a lot of the most talented and socially intelligent kids I know are more comfortable with YouTube clips than even the simplest written exchanges.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:11 PM on August 10, 2009


Crap site. Video, video, video. Text is easily linkable, easily quotable, and the most universally accessible format. It's also much faster to absorb, for those of use who are even moderately literate.

The web works best as a text-based medium, and I am so fucking sick of people trying to turn it into television. There aren't even easy links to the transcripts. Why not link the transcripts, for Christs' sake?!
posted by mr_roboto at 4:03 PM on August 10 [1 favorite +] [!]

Agreed. Video can't be shared easily and it's annoying as hell. I hate all sites that insist on converting information to video without a text option, unless there's something that has to be physically demonstrated. This does not. There's no way to distill and personalize information so it's a waste of time and energy. And it's taken WAY too long for the Obama crowd to put this page up. It should have been up and then revised by the beginning of August.
posted by etaoin at 1:11 PM on August 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


THIS IS JUST LIKE WHEN HITLER AND STALIN AND FDR GANGED UP ON US IN WWII
posted by Flunkie at 1:12 PM on August 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


Also, I like that they have the mid-level staffers in their office doing these in their cubicles. Makes them seem like normal people, not high powered lobbyists. It's a nice touch.
posted by empath at 1:12 PM on August 10, 2009


These types of sites are useful, because the real damage to the discourse here is the whack-a-mole game we're being forced to play with prefabricated talking points.

I have been debating a lot of opponents of health care reform and it's really ridiculous. You talk about lower costs, they talk about longer queues. You counter them on queues, they talk about socialism. You counter them on socialism, they talk about how we can't afford these changes during a recession and I'M LIKE DOGGAMMIT I ALREADY TALKED ABOUT LOWER COSTS CAN YOU FOCUS PLEASE FOR TEN MUFFING SECONDS GRAR! (I have to adapt my profanity because I'm often arguing with family members, usually the ones who are already on medicare yet cannot fathom that the government might be able to run anything oh no here's another GRAR).

...ahem. Having a tightly-crafted response ready for these spammed talking points makes it that much easier to dismiss their claims with authority. You may understand the ideas in support of your point, but stringing the ideas together into verbal argument on-the-fly usually leaves a lot of logical gaps even if the overall point was perfectly logical.

And worst-case scenario, you can just reply with "here's the site that says how wrong you are. go to it and stop being wrong please." This is also known as "snopesing" your opponent.
posted by Riki tiki at 1:13 PM on August 10, 2009 [16 favorites]


Even a lot of the most talented and socially intelligent kids I know are more comfortable with YouTube clips than even the simplest written exchanges.

Take a look at Snopes. 90% of rightwing email forwards are pure text.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:14 PM on August 10, 2009


And so the circle closes in on itself, to loop around like this, for infinity.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:59 PM on August 10


That is what we affectionately refer to as 'propaganda.'
posted by Pastabagel at 1:16 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was mostly kidding about the illiteracy of the target audience, but this:

Exactly. You'll notice all the content is designed to be easily email forwarded (which is how a certain kind of person seems to get all their info these days).

...makes a lot of sense to me. This isn't meant to win over the Town Hall Hooligans, just to preset a counterpoint to otherwise sensible people who might otherwise just sort of absorb their arguments through osmosis. Remember how Al Gore invented the Internet? By the end, even he was making jokes about that meme, even though it was patently untrue. And as absurd as it was on its face, it gained acceptance because people kept repeating it and there wasn't a substantial enough message out there to counter it.

This isn't an attempt to control the weather, merely an effort to pass out umbrellas.

On preview, what everyone else said.
posted by hifiparasol at 1:17 PM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


What makes people actively work against their own self interest?:
Gladney, 38, was handing out the same flags after a town hall forum in Mehlville Thursday night, when, he says, he was attacked by members of the Service Employees International Union.
...

Gladney did not address Saturday's crowd of about 200 people. His attorney, David Brown, however, read a prepared statement Gladney wrote. "A few nights ago there was an assault on my liberty, and on yours, too." Brown read. "This should never happen in this country."

Supporters cheered. Brown finished by telling the crowd that Gladney is accepting donations toward his medical expenses. Gladney told reporters he was recently laid off and has no health insurance.
posted by octothorpe at 1:17 PM on August 10, 2009 [36 favorites]


You're right. Fuck it. Let's just bring Bush back. His websites didn't suck this much ballz.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:18 PM on August 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh, come on. How are people supposed to know that Hawking is British? He doesn't speak with an accent at all.

Except for what he actually says. "A Brief History of Time" is classic British humour poking fun at Americans for not calling underwear pants. He was going to call it "A Pants History of Time" but realized using brief instead would be more subtle since Americans wouldn't get it all.

I can translate due to being a Canadian and thus am earnest like an American but still a subject of a monarch and in desperate need of things to feel superior about (like universal health care).
posted by srboisvert at 1:19 PM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I want more disruptions at town halls, more appearances by crazies on MSNBC and Fox talking about how Obama is an evil satanist communist muslim.

Instead of letting the brownshirts burn down the Reichstag again, I'd like to see some FBI investigations of right-wing terrorist cells and of Republican politicians and media who indirectly and directly sponsor the cells' activities with free media sponsorship and by wasting valuable airtime in our legislative halls to voice disproved conspiracy theories.

And beyond being in the way, these folks are getting violent or are inciting violence, with the end goal to disrupt a legitimate government. Put these violent dopes in jail before they do more damage to the country. Eight years of their crimes was enough.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:20 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Take a look at Snopes. 90% of rightwing email forwards are pure text.

Good point, roboto. I hadn't considered that. Still, though, I think there's overall some good execution here.

"snopesing"

This is great. I'ma start using it.

That is what we affectionately refer to as 'propaganda.'

Oh, good. You said that.

NO I DIDN'T MEAN THAT KIND OF EXECUTION! BACK! BACK YOU TROGLODYTES! BACK!
posted by hifiparasol at 1:21 PM on August 10, 2009


saulgoodman: "those of use who are even moderately literate

Honestly, I don't think that's the website's target audience.


Exactly. You'll notice all the content is designed to be easily email forwarded (which is how a certain kind of person seems to get all their info these days).
"

this is not a good strategy. forwarded emails that get quoted again and again by republican voters and pundits are text for a reason. people can read text on any computer in any location they can check their email. it can be read on any phone that checks email. some people don't watch videos at work, but will read text forwards. some phones don't handle video at all, and almost none do flash.

the whole point of a campaign like this is "share this." but video doesn't share as easily. this site is designed to be ammunition for people to use against fallacious claims from pundits and their listeners. so what you need is the ability to say "look here, at this bit of text on this page. see how that says you're wrong." you don't want to say "hang on a sec, let me click ahead in this youtube video and wait for the part of the stream I'm looking for to buffer so I can hopefully show you the relevant soundbite, provided I clicked at the right part of the timeline and don't have to reclick and rebuffer." it may sound nitpicky, but it matters. you want copy-pastable bites, not streaming video.

if i'm discussing these issues with someone on metafilter, I COULD theoretically post a link to the video and say "listen to what she says at 2:30" and I COULD theoretically transcribe a soundbite myself directly into my comment. but I'd be far more likely to quote something if it were text on the page that I could just select and ctrl+c. as someone else mentioned, there aren't even any transcription links. or if there I haven't found them, yet.

hell, these things are hosted on youtube, and they don't provide a simple youtube link to copy. I have to use the youtube menu.
posted by shmegegge at 1:21 PM on August 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh, come on. How are people supposed to know that Hawking is British? He doesn't speak with an accent at all.

if theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking

And all this time I thought he was real.


He comes from the future! He speaks through .. a COMPUTER!

Crap site. Video, video, video.

Video can convey a more personal message, especially when faced with some huge government effort. Text has no personality, you can't look it in the eyes (well, unless you stick googly eyes on it). I don't think this website is intended to be the Snopes of the US healthcare reform effort.

Maybe they're thinking of the remixing or autotuning potential?
posted by filthy light thief at 1:21 PM on August 10, 2009


Doesn't the FAQ section seem to be the talking points for each of the videos? Surely you could forward those?
posted by cavalier at 1:24 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile Dick Durbin, the Senate Majority Whip (i.e., the number 2 Senate Democrat), has said that he is open to a bill that does not include a public option. The administration might do better to bring its own party into line rather than waste time making websites that will be dismissed out of hand as propaganda.

Remember, the suggestion that people send in 'fishy' emails and other misinformation to be corrected on this website was met with a lot of outrage from the noise machine. Lots of calls of thoughtcrime, fascism, etc by people who horribly distorted the purpose of the program while conveniently forgetting programs like Operation TIPS.
posted by jedicus at 1:25 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


This really isn't meant to convince the "deathers" who are disrupting meetings - it's a countermeasure to hopefully inoculate reasonably sane folks who're hearing horrible things about the Obama Death Plan but are open to the possibility that what they're hearing isn't Gospel truth.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:26 PM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


just for a laugh they should have added a random live / die button.
posted by ciderwoman at 1:30 PM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


maudlin: How are people supposed to know that Hawking is British? He doesn't speak with an accent at all.

srboisvert: Except for what he actually says. "A Brief History of Time" is classic British humour poking fun at Americans for not calling underwear pants.
 _
|O

Whooooooosh....
posted by tzikeh at 1:30 PM on August 10, 2009


Why would the White House think its staff caries credibility with the people who buy these rumors in the first place?
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 1:30 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


All of this talk refers to the House bill (so why not house.gov), but when will we see the Senate version? I'm already disappointed that single-payer is a pipe-dream--how much more watered-down legislation will pile on? Ugh. It makes me long for the days when a doctor would come to your house and fix your busted knee for nickel (and lobsters had luscious coats of fur).
posted by mattbucher at 1:32 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


On a related note, The Onion had my favorite quote about the Town Hall Meetings on their Facebook page:

"BREAKING: Injury Sustained Disrupting Town Hall Not Covered By Insurance"
posted by aranyx at 1:33 PM on August 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


This will have zero effect on the birther cretins and their like, but most people are not at either extreme of the spectrum, most people are just trying to pay their bills and have some fun when they can. Those are the people that the right-wing propaganda is targeting, not the ten percent at the far right of the spectrum. The idea is that some people, like me for instance, will be able to point our friends and family who are confused by the whole healthcare debate, to a source of information that, while certainly partisan to the healthcare reform effort, provides some reasonable debunkings of some of the more egregious exaggerations and lies that are being forwarded around.

Or, what Riki Tiki and everyone else said. I do agree that text would be nice, though.

BONUS: MetaFilter: Like trying to punch your way out of a swarm of bees.
posted by Mister_A at 1:33 PM on August 10, 2009


I was debating the issue with my college-educated sister in law who is staunchly opposed to healthcare reform. She uses all the right wing cliches and phrases to defend her position.

She said that when her husband lost his job a little over a year ago they had no problem finding affordable insurance on their own. I asked to see how she managed to do this for a young family of five on her single, very modest income. The policy she bought through Esurance/Aetna, had a $375 monthly premium for which she got a $10,000 annual deductible before any coverage kicked in, no baby well-care coverage, no maternity coverage ans no prescription coverage. (They would need to borrow from 401K or family to come up with $10K).

Yet she would no budge, calling me and my like socialists and Nancy Pelosi an ugly bitch who thinks she knows everything.
posted by punkfloyd at 1:34 PM on August 10, 2009 [14 favorites]


Whooooooosh....

Did you need anything explained to you, tzikeh?
posted by ODiV at 1:35 PM on August 10, 2009


THIS IS JUST LIKE WHEN HITLER AND STALIN AND FDR GANGED UP ON US IN WWII

WAS THAT WEHN THE GERMANS BOMVBED PEARL HARBOR?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:36 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


This really isn't meant to convince the "deathers"

"Deathers"? I kinda like that actually. When paired with the 'Birthers' you get a real Alpha-and-Omega-of-Crazy thing happening.
posted by quin at 1:37 PM on August 10, 2009 [8 favorites]


Why would the White House think its staff caries credibility with the people who buy these rumors in the first place?

Because we can clearly see in the video that they are not eating old people and dead babies. If nothing else, that particular rumor is not true.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:39 PM on August 10, 2009


aranyx: You don't even have to go to the onion. Reread octothorpe's comment and quotation again.
posted by boo_radley at 1:39 PM on August 10, 2009


one prominent health care reform critic recently opined that, if theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking--a life-long Brit--had been born British, Britain's socialist NHS would have ordered him euthanized, depriving the world of one of its best-loved geniuses, all in the ruthless, jack-booted pursuit of affordable and accessible health care.

I detect a flaw somewhere in the reasoning.

Of course, I am one of those reality-based types, so I cannot follow conservative thinking at all.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:39 PM on August 10, 2009


The problem with "snopes-ing" your relatives' idiot emails is that they respond with either "Well, it doesn't hurt to pass it along, even if it's false" (grandma) and "well, Snopes is part of the liberal media" (aunt). It's fun.
posted by notsnot at 1:39 PM on August 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


The Mu of Crazy: OBAMA GONNA OFFICIALLY LOWER THE GOVERNMENT DEFINITION OF MIDDLE AGE TO 23
posted by Flunkie at 1:39 PM on August 10, 2009


Hell, this ain't even about healthcare for a lot of the more rabid right wingers out there. The premise is simple: Obama. Must. Not. Have. This. Victory.

The contrarian asshole in me would vote for the healthcare bill just to oppose such contrarian assholes.

Hrm... uh oh.
posted by Pragmatica at 1:40 PM on August 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


That was sarcasm, right? A few facts never got in the way of a political movement before.

I think the key thing here is not to give up hope in convincing our fellow citizens on this. That was the whole part of the "Hope" mantra of the Obama campaign--too many liberals often threw up their hands and said that these people cannot be reasoned with, cannot be stopped. That is simply not true and has been the fatal weakness of the left for years. Obama refuses to believe it, and that refusal got him elected President.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:40 PM on August 10, 2009 [27 favorites]


we can clearly see in the video that they are not eating old people and dead babies.
Not yet they're not.
posted by Flunkie at 1:40 PM on August 10, 2009


boo_radley I am quite disappointed in myself for somehow glossing over that completely, thanks!
posted by aranyx at 1:40 PM on August 10, 2009


aranyx: The Onion had my favorite quote...

'BREAKING: Injury Sustained Disrupting Town Hall Not Covered By Insurance'


I think the irony is that this is actually true. Unless it's one of those things where one reporter got duped by The Onion and another reporter quoted the first reporter.
posted by Riki tiki at 1:42 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Exactly. You'll notice all the content is designed to be easily email forwarded (which is how a certain kind of person seems to get all their info these days).

That makes it even worse. Email is a text medium!


No, forwarded email is a word doc and or powerpoint slideshow medium.
posted by Artw at 1:43 PM on August 10, 2009


MetaFilter: like trying to punch your way out of a swarm of bees
posted by me & my monkey at 1:44 PM on August 10, 2009


punkfloyd: She said that when her husband lost his job a little over a year ago they had no problem finding affordable insurance on their own. I asked to see how she managed to do this for a young family of five on her single, very modest income. The policy she bought through Esurance/Aetna, had a $375 monthly premium for which she got a $10,000 annual deductible before any coverage kicked in, no baby well-care coverage, no maternity coverage ans no prescription coverage. (They would need to borrow from 401K or family to come up with $10K).

A huge problem in this debate is the confusion between catastrophic care insurance and health insurance. As a bunch of people pointed out in the "You Do Not Have Health Insurance" thread, health insurance done right is health assurance. Catastrophic care insurance is a lot like car insurance: ethically, we care about it only inasmuch as its a bad idea for people to be bankrupted by accidents. Heath insurance, OTOH, matters a great deal ethically because of its relation to a fundamental right to health. If you believe in that right, you believe in health assurance, which (absent single-payer) means health insurance for everybody.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 1:46 PM on August 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Oops, a little late to the punch with that.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:46 PM on August 10, 2009


notsnot: "The problem with "snopes-ing" your relatives' idiot emails is that they respond with either "Well, it doesn't hurt to pass it along, even if it's false" (grandma) and "well, Snopes is part of the liberal media" (aunt). It's fun."

My reponse to that is, "Well Snopes cites their sources. If you have such disdain for them I hope you'll hold yourself to at least that high a standard." It actually worked to shut down the "Obama is a MUSLIM" emails for about a day.
posted by Riki tiki at 1:46 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


getting the birther/anti-health-care crowd to listen to reason is like trying to punch your way out of a swarm of bees

Bees are useful. I suggest it is more like trying to punch your way out of a swarm of shit-flies.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:47 PM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Shit-fly hater.
posted by Mister_A at 1:48 PM on August 10, 2009


notsnot: "well, Snopes is part of the liberal media" (aunt).

I love imagining George Soros rubbing his hands together in 1995 and cackling about how he'll start an urban legends website that will come in handy to force communism and euthanasia on the masses in 14 years time...
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 1:48 PM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Half of Snopes is Canadian, so they're definitely suspect.
posted by maudlin at 1:49 PM on August 10, 2009


You all poke fun, but I just had a frustrating (and pointless) facebook argument with an old high school friend. He's convinced that Obama's healthcare plan is going to result in pressure to kill old people instead of treat them, "just like we're seeing in Europe". I tried to get him to explain where in Europe they were killing old people and he wasn't quite sure, but he knows it's true.
posted by Nelson at 1:50 PM on August 10, 2009


The assailant was a...
KENNETH GLADNEY, SAYS HE WAS ASSAULTED AT PROTEST: Well, first, I was there to sell, you know, flags and buttons and stuff that said, "Don't tread on me." And I was setting out there, and I guess something got — just went through my head. I said I'm just going to give them away and stuff like that. So a pastor's wife walked up to me, and she just took a liking to some of the buttons. So I start showing her some of the buttons and everything. This guy walked up and he said, "Who in the — who in the blank is selling or giving away this stuff here?" I said, "Sir, this is my merchandise. And would you like a flag or a button or something like that?" And he said, "What kind of 'n' are you to be giving this stuff out."

INGRAHAM: Now was this man — I'm sorry to interrupt. But Kenneth, was this man — did he happen to be African-American? I read somewhere that...
posted by boo_radley at 1:50 PM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


The problem with "snopes-ing" your relatives' idiot emails is that they respond with either "Well, it doesn't hurt to pass it along, even if it's false" (grandma) and "well, Snopes is part of the liberal media" (aunt). It's fun.

Snopesing is mostly for the other hapless emailed victims of Grandma's racist rant, in my experience. I have actually had people be angry when I tell them that muggers with knockout gas disguised as perfume sample aren't actually lurking in the mall parking lot. The masochistic roots of that anger is something I don't really want to explore.

Much like that of the Medicare-loving anti-government types, now that I think about it. They want to be fighting an evil communist dystopia, and who are we to tell them they're not?
posted by emjaybee at 1:54 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I get all my facts from whitehouse.com
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:56 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


well, Snopes is part of the liberal media

While I realize that logic has no bearing on anyone who believes the "liberal media" is a real thing, I've always sort of suspected Barbara Mikkelson is a bit of a right-winger, particularly after her kerfluffle with Michael Moore.
posted by hifiparasol at 1:56 PM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


My response to that is "Well, Grandma, I guess I'll start forwarding this email that says you're a whore. Because, well, it doesn't hurt to pass it along, even if it's false, right? Boo-yah! In your face, old woman!"

no, i wouldn't. but i might think it.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:57 PM on August 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


(the crazy thing is that grandma is a Democrat, and honestly passes the crap along in the name of her odd idea of fairness)
posted by notsnot at 1:58 PM on August 10, 2009


Anecdote time: I know of a young cancer patient who is totally deadset against healthcare reform. He's always talking about how it's socialism and how Obama would just as soon kill him if he could get away with it.

He's constantly having fundraisers to pay for his $200,000+ medical bill.

That kind of invincible ignorance cannot be reasoned with. It can only be pitied.
posted by Avenger at 1:59 PM on August 10, 2009 [14 favorites]


I've always sort of suspected Barbara Mikkelson is a bit of a right-winger, particularly after her kerfluffle with Michael Moore.

Can you blame her? Without the bullshity GOP-spewed talking point forwards she has to routinely (as in weekly, if not daily) swat down, what do you think would be left of snopes save for false Amber Alerts?
posted by joe lisboa at 1:59 PM on August 10, 2009


So I just popped onto the Fox News website to see what they were saying about all of this (OBAMA KILLS ELDERLY etc.), and I have a question. Why do they have a "Maxim Monday" feature (NSFW-ish link)? Since when have news outlets pushed soft porn? Am I missing something? Is the BBC about to start a "Top Ten Tits" segment?

Christ, Fox is schlock.

posted by djgh at 2:01 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


The policy she bought through Esurance/Aetna, had a $375 monthly premium for which she got a $10,000 annual deductible before any coverage kicked in, no baby well-care coverage, no maternity coverage ans no prescription coverage. (They would need to borrow from 401K or family to come up with $10K).

I'm convinced Americans have gradually been duped into becoming the best consumers in the world: a whole nation full of dyed-in-the-wool suckers whose biggest blind-spot is thinking ourselves savvier than everyone else.

So we gladly pay for food packed with cheap fillers (practices like injecting water into meat products to weigh them down that might have gotten a butcher's hand chopped off in a medieval marketplace are routine in ours). And by default, the beverages in restaurants and bars come with more ice than beverage in them. And our health insurance policies feature high deductibles and so many exclusions they don't even cover things as fundamental to human health and continued existence as childbirth. Hell, after Katrina, how many people in the affected regions were astonished to learn that their catastrophic hurricane insurance included a flooding exclusion that allowed insurers to get out of paying claims if they could demonstrate virtually any degree of water damage (even if the damage was due to rain coupled with wind damage, not flooding)?

And yet, we always remain convinced that the choices we have as consumers are better than the equivalent choices available to consumers in any other part of the world. My first extended stay in Germany, seeing first hand that my mom and my sisters, even living near the bottom of the economic ladder as they did, ate better food and enjoyed a better quality of life and higher standard of health care than virtually any American I knew--man, that was something.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:04 PM on August 10, 2009 [58 favorites]


Since when have news outlets pushed soft porn?

In your city, you don't have a newspaper with Page Three girls in bikinis?

(Those papers have the same audience as Fox.)
posted by rokusan at 2:04 PM on August 10, 2009


Since when have news outlets pushed soft porn?

Since 1969.

It's a staple of Murdoch-owned media enterprises.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:05 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


The web works best as a text-based medium, and I am so fucking sick of people trying to turn it into television.

Radio worked best as an audio based medium until they added video to it.
posted by bz at 2:05 PM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Arguing about video or text, so this is how liberals are gonna screw this up...
posted by Mick at 2:09 PM on August 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Radio worked best as an audio based medium until they added video to it.

Jesus Christ. What we're doing right now is text based! This entire functionality would fail in video. It would be possible for us to be quoting and bantering video comments back and forth, but it would be incredibly unwieldy. Text is fast, easy, and broadly accessible. That's what makes the web useful as a multidirectional communication medium rather than a broadcast medium.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:10 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Right now they want this (the healthcare reform site) to work as a broadcast medium, and with good reason. Can you imagine what would happen if people were allowed to comment in a little pane beneath the video?
posted by Mister_A at 2:13 PM on August 10, 2009


Can you imagine what would happen if people were allowed to comment in a little pane beneath the video?

Can you imagine what would happen if people were allowed to copy the text into an email message and mass-forward it to their address book?
posted by mr_roboto at 2:14 PM on August 10, 2009


My mom is in her early sixties and won't be eligible for Medicare for a couple more years, hasn't worked in probably three years, is and has been uninsured for at least the last year, has three chronic conditions that require a ton of prescription meds and she STILL rants against the evils of socialized medicine. I've basically stopped talking to her because I think she qualifies as mentally ill at this point and I can't cosign this bullshit anymore. I pray that she hits Medicare eligibility before homelessness, right now it's looking pretty neck-and-neck, though.
posted by The Straightener at 2:14 PM on August 10, 2009


Imagine that, MeFites prefer websites to be mostly text.
posted by benzenedream at 2:15 PM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


mr_roboto: There's a major disadvantage of the internet using only text as a debate medium.

I agree!
posted by Riki tiki at 2:17 PM on August 10, 2009


boo_radley: INGRAHAM: Now was this man — I'm sorry to interrupt. But Kenneth, was this man — did he happen to be African-American? I read somewhere that...

Well, they never did catch Ashley Todd's attacker (and he was also... nudge, nudge... you know...).
posted by hangashore at 2:18 PM on August 10, 2009


I agree that transcripts (and references!) would be nice, mr_roboto–I was addressing your comment about the web as a multidirectional medium v broadcast medium. I thought you were implying that you'd like to see multidirectional communication on that site.
posted by Mister_A at 2:19 PM on August 10, 2009


I read faster than I watch people talk. Thanks to the magic of ASCII, I can still cut and paste most text I read — hard to do that with video. Every time I see one of these videos appear, I have to fight the urge to see if I can look up any of my old accounts gifted to me by friends at Gallaudet, then try to forge emails from deaf-and-hoping-for-transcript@gallaudet.edu. Unethical, I know, but I suspect it would be deeply satisfying.

For all of the work that went into the videos, they couldn't put up a transcript? Really?
posted by adipocere at 2:20 PM on August 10, 2009


I thought you were implying that you'd like to see multidirectional communication on that site.

I was just responding to bz's analogy. It's wrong to think of video on the web as recapitulating the radio->television transition. The media are just too different.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:21 PM on August 10, 2009


My girlfriend has been suffering with lupus for 15 years. Unfortunately, her monthly prescription drug bill is $1200 just to keep her alive, all out of pocket because no insurance companies will cover her due to her condition.

On Thursday, August 6, 2009 Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV) introduced S.1630, “The Affordable Access to Prescription Medications Act of 2009.” This bill can protect people with lupus and other chronic diseases from high out-of-pocket expenses for their prescription drugs.

There are several potential new treatments in the near-term pipeline that may provide a better quality of life for people with lupus. But these anticipated new treatments will mean nothing if people with lupus are not able to access them because they are cost-prohibitive. Another example: some people with multiple sclerosis, another autoimmune disorder, may pay out-of-pocket in excess of $800 a month for access to new medications.

For people with serious or life-threatening conditions such as lupus or ms, S. 1630 can provide greater access and affordability for necessary prescription treatments. Can you tell I would fist bump Sen. Rockefeller if I saw him?
posted by netbros at 2:25 PM on August 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


Why do they (Fox) have a "Maxim Monday" feature (NSFW-ish link)?
Cheesy network grasps at cheesecake? Anything for traffic.
posted by Cranberry at 2:27 PM on August 10, 2009


Imagine that, MeFites prefer websites to be mostly text.
Certainly its credibility is enhanced by the professional white background.
posted by cairnish at 2:28 PM on August 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Take a look at Snopes. 90% of rightwing email forwards are pure text.

This is worth underscoring. Not only is it the text medium, but the message that fits into a text medium. Think about what kind of message-crafting you have to do in order to boil something down to text. You have to reduce, reduce, reduce. And political groups on the right are masters of this.

* He's not really a citizen.
* He's a socialist.
* They're wrecking the economy.
* They're gonna take away your Medicare.
* They'll own General Motors.
* It'll be just like France.
* They're gonna kill grandma.

Across the pond, one of the most devastating arguments was simply, "Labor isn't working."

Where are the hyper-boiled down counter-arguments? Here's what this site offers:

* Reform will stop "rationing" - not increase it.
* The "euthanasia" distortion on help for families.
* Vets' health care is safe and sound.
* Reform will benefit small business - not burden it.
* Your medicare is safe, and stronger with reform.
* You can keep your own insurance.

Except for the last one and the one about veterans, they're arguably all about nuance and clarification, written by educated, nuanced professionals. But any conversation that starts with "here, let me educate you" is not something Cletus, Jethro and Annie-May care to hear about, because they think they're already mighty well educated, thanks you very much.

Are you telling me that the only people that can craft a simple message are all working for Jon Stewart? What are they being paid? Can somebody double it?

I walked into a gun store they other day (yeah, a gun store, deal with it). Behind the counter was a poster that simply read:

"In these uncertain times, all sales are final."

Beneath it was a picture of Obama.

Simple. Elegant.

Simple-Minded and idiotic, of course.

But it works.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:31 PM on August 10, 2009 [11 favorites]


I worked as a Field Organizer on Obama's campaign last Fall. Many people ask me how I think he's doing now. Well, I am very impressed.

I remember on the campaign, as I helped dozens of volunteers learn to register voters and lead canvasses and phone banks, one of the most frequent questions asked by activists was: "When will Obama finally implement the Death Panels?"

Of all his campaign promises, this one was the dream that many of us thought would be hardest to achieve.

We knew that popular support for the Death Panels would be difficult to build, and there would be resistance from many. But we went out, knocked the doors, made the phone calls, and finally weare seeing our dream of Death Panels coming to fruition.

Now, I have not had time to slog through all five versions of the 1,000+ page Health Care Bill to fully understand how the Death Panels are supposed to work, but I think the following will be a somewhat accurate synopsis.

At first, the Death Panels will have limited oversight. These Neighborhood Death Panels for Change will comprise ACORN members, Radical Muslims, OFA donors and volunteers, and everyday citizens like you and me. For the first year, as the Death Panels begin their mission, there will only be two categories of people that Death Panels may choose to euthanize: Downs Syndrome babies and The Elderly. As the Neighborhood Death Panels For Change gain experience at making these life or death (death, usually) decisions, beginning with Year Two they will be granted jurisdiction over providing mandatory euthanasia services for Colicky Babies, and Anyone Over 65 (which will also save us a bundle in Medicare costs). Year Three of this Five Year Plan will see expansion to include slaughtering All Children and Anyone With Sinusitis, Grey Hair, or Foot Fungus. And so on, until our Master Race of Muslim Community Organizers are all who remain.

And then we will start in with the education reforms.
posted by Cookiebastard at 2:35 PM on August 10, 2009 [54 favorites]


Take a look at Snopes. 90% of rightwing email forwards are pure text.

On the other hand, look at the emails forwarded from my aunt. Lots of ridiculous images, often duplicated through whatever magical mean the email reached my inbox. Maybe Snopes strips out the animated gifs that provide nothing for the discussion?
posted by filthy light thief at 2:36 PM on August 10, 2009


And if it's not animated images, it's text in all sizes, fonts, and colors.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:38 PM on August 10, 2009


At least one of the loonier scares floating around the internet regarding health care reform is that it might even pay for some of the health care costs of transexual people.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:39 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


From a hilarious op-ed at Investors Business Daily:

"People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless."
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 2:40 PM on August 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


In your city, you don't have a newspaper with Page Three girls in bikinis?

(Those papers have the same audience as Fox.)


Actually, this is a revelation. I've always wondered why Fox was crap, because I've been judging it by the standards of a serious news outlet.

Error.

Of course, it's the American version of The Sun! I feel a lot better now.
posted by djgh at 2:42 PM on August 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


"In these uncertain times, all sales are final."

Beneath it was a picture of Obama.


That's actually pretty hilarious. At least in my area, all sales at gun stores have always been final, even when GWB was still keeping America safe.

Interesting how a simple photo can modify that message considerably.
posted by quin at 2:43 PM on August 10, 2009


Oops. Should've searched for Hawking instead of IBD. Or, you know, read the more inside.
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 2:43 PM on August 10, 2009


Here's some text you can fwd to your fwd-happy relatives. Maybe it'll get them thinking (but maybe not)
posted by Mister Moofoo at 2:50 PM on August 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Oops. Image, not text. I lose.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 2:51 PM on August 10, 2009


Why do they (Fox) have a "Maxim Monday" feature (NSFW-ish link)?

Um... because sloganeering is an effective way to brainwash your audience and get them to repeat your talking points without thinking much?
posted by hippybear at 2:55 PM on August 10, 2009


In 1968 this is what I imagine the Republican web threads would have looked like.

If we'd HAD the internet back then.

I am seriously thinking of becoming an Independent.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:58 PM on August 10, 2009


The View From Your Sickbed
posted by homunculus at 3:02 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd forgotten that I set up a rule to auto-archive any email with 'fwd' in the title. I did a search and saw what my relatives have been sending me.

I almost gave myself a black eye from facepalming so hard.
posted by mullingitover at 3:02 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


We Already Have 'Death Panels.' If You Can't Pay the Bill, You're Sent Home to Die.
posted by homunculus at 3:09 PM on August 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


Thanks l33tpolicywonk. Well said.
posted by punkfloyd at 3:10 PM on August 10, 2009


Sarah Palin's Very Own "Death Panel": In one 2 1/2 year stretch, 227 adults already getting services died while waiting for a nurse to reassess their needs. Another 27 died waiting for their initial assessment, to see if they qualified for help.

State programs intended to help disabled and elderly Alaskans with daily life are so poorly managed, the state cannot assure the health and well-being of the people they are supposed to serve, a new federal review found. The situation is so bad the federal government has forbidden the state to sign up new people until the state makes necessary improvements.

No other state in the nation is under such a moratorium

Source
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:11 PM on August 10, 2009 [9 favorites]


I love Obama. Really. But this is doomed. The last time they tried this -- with his Stop The Smears campaign -- it resulted in the Birther movement.

They've already tried being rational. Fight fire with fire and get this to pass. It's what Americans want, as poll after poll shows, and we'll finally join the rest of the civilized world when it does.
posted by MoreForMad at 3:23 PM on August 10, 2009


Does anyone have a link to form letters or templates to send to Congress members in support of health care? I'd really appreciate a few pointers.
posted by boo_radley at 3:26 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's too late now (?) and god knows I'm no politician but... here's how I'd have handled all these Town Hall ambushes:

1) Get a massively powerful PA w/ generator backup, have it well guarded

2) Congressman / Senator gets a mic, audience member w/ question(s) gets the another

3) Congressman / Senator gets the mixer (volume control)

4) Congressman / Senator stays until all questions have been answered honestly and in great detail (obviously this will require some prep, tough noogies yr honor!)

Should he / she be confronted with a shouting mass of ignorance, up goes the volume on the mic they control, down goes the audience mic.

After each question and answer exchange, the Congressman / Senator asks "did I answer your question". If the reply is "No", repeat or expand upon answer given. If the reply is "Yes", offer thanks and move on to the next question / questioner. Repeat until no questions remain. Seriously. Do this. It might take all night. So it goes.

The bottom line is a lot of the opposition to health care reform is built on misinformation... some knowingly so, some just honest mistakes. Either way, it has to be clarified / corrected.

Get going!
posted by MeatLightning at 3:26 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


The last time they tried this -- with his Stop The Smears campaign -- it resulted in the Birther movement.

Well, he did manage to get elected President in between those things. The Birther thing is an act of desperation born long after the election campaign in which it might theoretically have been relevent, because the party of George W Bush still has no coherent criticism of Obama.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:27 PM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


meatlightning that sounds honestly like a terrible idea
posted by boo_radley at 3:27 PM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


saulgoodman, in addressing what you've written, I have to say, that's not something we were just duped into. It's our function. Leading countries have to be consumers. However, leading countries get to be consumer by getting access to resources from other places. Colonialism allowed it such that you would get the resources, enslave the people, and get high quality products on the cheap due to an utter lack of fairness and equity. The conditions that allowed industry to prosper in the United States were heavily to due with a lack of decent work conditions which allowed stuff to get made on the cheap, but still be of high quality. The cost in dollars would be traded for a cost in lives. However, once you stop colonizing and empire building, you have to consume. That's your position. The trouble is, we don't have a model to produce things effectively for developing countries that they can consume, and we don't have a model for non-productive national existence: that is, to be a state which still has a viable model of existence and quality of life forgoing basic labour. A huge chunk of Western Europe does have that model.

What happens is a state produces. Then, it gets enough of a hold on itself that it can produce at profit and begin consuming. Then, you get higher and higher quality consumption. And some countries say 'what do we consume now? What is our higher quality stuff?' And at the same time, they're producing something higher quality; really good healthcare and education for their people. Access to massive distribution lines to transport healthy foods. That is, these are things of national importance which foster improvements in the national health, and are homebound, so you invest in yourself.

The direction America went in, however, was to step into a social chasm. We understood we had to buy things to have a better life, but we couldn't detach from a production of lesser quality things, and the racial issue in this country left a large vacuum that required filling with lower level work and not much development. Because of how divided we were in terms of social equity and because of how truly politicized that division was, we never got to a place where we agreed to do those bigger things. We were close. The 1930's, 1940's, and 1960's were a good indicator. But we wasted a lot of it. Mainly on war. But war is an excellent example of how we have the right idea, but apply it incorrectly.

War is about national improvement. Defense spending. You create amazing things, and just their existence improves the status of your nation. The trouble is, we haven't made more effective wars. Our arsenal is overly expensive. And the reason it is, is to provide low-level work. You can't be a country producing things for yourself that are so low-level. You're production has to be above your consumption. That is, you don't make buicks and purchase cadillacs. We have such a schizophrenia in our consumption and production models which can be linked directly to the schizophrenia in our social models due to social inequity brought on, basically, by having a slave based economy in half our country for a great deal of time.

So, even with war, we have this big project that's about national defense. Then we just make low level work out of it everywhere. We could have a high quality, massively efficient product worth consuming. But instead, we extend the cost irrationally with no improvement of quality to create jobs.

See also: General Motors. That was part and parcel of their business models.

There's a new book out, actually, arguing on something tangential to this. The book is about the misnomer of growth as something important, and saying at a certain point, essentially, that you are a developed nation and growth does not account for much. It's saying similar things, but from a different angle. It's called The Spirit Level, which discusses the problem, but this is more a discussion of one of our failures in addressing that problem.
posted by happysurge at 3:31 PM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


we'll finally join the rest of the civilized world when it does

Hardly. But it's a step in the right direction.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:33 PM on August 10, 2009


Here is how these town halls should be handled: lots of cops. People should feel free to speak their mind and listen to a response, but if they intend to entirely shut down a democratic meeting with their screaming, they should feel apprehensive.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:34 PM on August 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is the shit we're up against, received last night from a pretty intelligent but sadly conservative coworker of mine. Note that what is purported to be a digest of each section is, of course, not true at all. I LOVE the idea of video rebuttal; conservatives and reading comprehension really don't go in the same sentence.

=============
RE: this is some info taken directly from the new health care reform



Health Care Bill <>
Pg 42
The Health Choices Commissioner will choose UR HC Benefits for you. You have no choice!
PG 50 Section 152
HC will be provided to ALL non US citizens, illegal or otherwise
Pg 58
Govt will have real-time access to individual's finances & a National ID Healthcard will be issued!
Pg 59 lines 21-24
Govt will have direct access to your banks accts for electronic funds transfer
PG 65 Sec 164
Is a payoff subsidized plan for retirees and their families in Unions & community orgs (ACORN).
Pg 72 Lines 8-14
Govt is creating an HC Exchange to bring private HC plans under Govt control.
PG 84 Sec 203
Govt mandates ALL benefit packages for private HC plans in the Exchange
PG 85 Line 7
Specs for of Benefit Levels for Plans = The Govt will ration your Healthcare!
PG 91 Lines 4-7
Govt mandates linguistic approp services. Example - Translation for illegal aliens
Pg 95 Lines 8-18
The Govt will use groups i.e.., ACORN & Americorps to sign up individuals for Govt HC plan
PG 85 Line 7
Specs of Benefit Levels 4 Plans. #AARP members - Your Healthcare WILL be rationed
PG 102 Lines 12-18
Medicaid Eligible Individuals will be automatically enrolled in Medicaid. No choice
PG 124 lines 24-25
No company can sue GOVT on price fixing. No “judicial review” against Govt Monopoly
PG 127 Lines 1-16
Doctors/ #AMA - The Govt will tell YOU what you can make.
Pg 145 Line 15-17
An Employer MUST auto enroll employees into public opt plan. NO CHOICE
Pg 146 Lines 22-25
Employers MUST pay for HC for part time employees AND their families.
Pg 149 Lines 16-24
ANY Employer with payroll 400k & above who does not provide public opt. pays 8% tax on all payroll
PG 150 Lines 9-13
Business with payroll between 251k & 400k who doesn't provide public opt pays 2-6% tax on all payroll
Pg 167 Lines 18-23
ANY individual who doesn't have acceptable HC according to Govt will be taxed 2.5% of income
Pg 170 Lines 1-3
Any NONRESIDENT Alien is exempt from individual taxes. (Americans will pay)
Pg 195
Officers & employees of HC Admin (GOVT) will have access to ALL American's financial/personal records
PG 203 Line 14-15
“The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax” Yes, it says that
Pg 239 Line 14-24
Govt will reduce physician services for Medicaid. Seniors, low income, poor affected
Pg 241 Line 6-8
Doctors, doesn't matter what specialty you have, you’ll all be paid the same
PG 253 Line 10-18
Govt sets value of Doctor’s time, prof judg, etc. Literally value of humans.
PG 265 Sec 1131
Govt mandates & controls productivity for private HC industries
PG 268 Sec 1141
Fed Govt regulates rental & purchase of power driven wheelchairs
PG 272 SEC. 1145.
TREATMENT OF CERTAIN CANCER HOSPITALS - Cancer patients - welcome to rationing!
PG 280 Sec 1151
The Govt will penalize hospitals for what Govt deems preventable readmissions.
PG 298 Lines 9-11
Doctors, treat a patient during initial admission that results in a readmission - Govt will penalize you.
PG317 L 13-20
PROHIBITION on ownership/investment. Govt tells Doctors what/how much they can own.
PG 317-318 lines 21-25,1-3
PROHIBITION on expansion- Govt is mandating hospitals cannot expand
PG 321 2-13
Hospitals have option to apply for exception BUT community input required. Can you say ACORN?!!
PG 335 L 16-25 Pg 336-339
Govt mandates establishment of outcome based measures. HC the way they want. Rationing
PG 341 Lines 3-9
Govt has authority to disqualify Medicare Adv Plans, HMOs, etc. Forcing peeps into Govt plan
PG 354 Sec 1177
Govt will RESTRICT enrollment of Special needs people! WTF. My sis has down's syndrome!!
Pg 379 Sec 1191
Govt creates more bureaucracy - Telehealth Advisory Committee. Can you say HC by phone?
PG 425 Lines 4-12
Govt mandates Advance Care Planning Consultant. Think Senior Citizens end of life
Pg 425 Lines 17-19
Govt will instruct & consult regarding living wills, durable powers of atty. Mandatory!
PG 425 Lines 22-25, 426 Lines 1-3
Govt provides approved list of end of life resources, guiding you in death
PG 427 Lines 15-24
Govt mandates program for orders for end of life. The Govt has a say in how your life ends
Pg 429 Lines 1-9
An “advanced care planning consultant” will be used frequently as patient's health deteriorates
PG 429 Lines 10-12
“advanced care consultation” may include an ORDER for end of life plans. AN ORDER from GOV
Pg 429 Lines 13-25 -
The govt will specify which Doctors can write an end of life order.
PG 430 Lines 11-15
The Govt will decide what level of treatment you will have at end of life
Pg 469
Community Based Home Medical Services=Non profit orgs. Hello, ACORN Medical Svcs here!!?
Page 472 Lines 14-17
PAYMENT TO COMMUNITY-BASED ORG. 1 monthly payment to a community-based org. Like ACORN?
PG 489 Sec 1308
The Govt will cover Marriage & Family therapy. Which means they will insert Govt into your marriage
Pg 494-498
Govt will cover Mental Health Services including defining, creating, rationing those services
Health Care Bill << Contact your congressman and senator and let them know what you think.
Since your congressman and senator have not read the bill, you might want to tell them the facts.
Thanks Much.
posted by John of Michigan at 3:39 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm British, and I'm just pissed off with ranty Americans badmouthing a health system I'm both proud of and fond of (while still knowing it has its faults). I know I'm not alone in this.

Now - can we sue them for libel?

It's been established that UK libel laws encourage libel tourism. I'm certain that the NHS has been libelled (if you can't libel an organisation I'm sure we could spin it that a person, like the Chief Medical Officer is indirectly libelled). I want to sue all those ranting, lying bastards for every penny they've got.

If successful this would mean that Republican money would end up part-funding the NHS, which would be the most wonderful thing.
posted by Coobeastie at 3:46 PM on August 10, 2009 [16 favorites]


Boo - maybe so?

I'm just saying there's a legitimate debate in there somewhere and either people want to shout about it and avoid moving things forward, or they'll appreciate the opportunity to be heard and discuss the issues.

East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94's approach might be more realistic and yield similar results.

I mean, code pink got tossed out of plenty of hearings for their shouting right?

Personally, I find cutting off debate for the sake of time generally pointless... a tactic that is often abused and thus raises suspicion that it's really not about digging into an issue but about regurgitating talking points as quickly as possible.

Ex: One of the charges is that the reps haven't read the bill. Maybe so. So read it out loud and explain as you go... What? You don't want to stick around and hear it?

Why not?
posted by MeatLightning at 3:49 PM on August 10, 2009


Pg 503-511
Your marital relations will enter the Government Option Program. Spouses, welcome to rationing!
posted by Danf at 3:51 PM on August 10, 2009


An email forward of uncertain provenance:
This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the U.S. Department of Energy.

I then took a shower in the clean water provided by a municipal water utility.

After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC-regulated channels to see what the National Weather Service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration determined the weather was going to be like, using satellites designed, built, and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

I watched this while eating my breakfast of U.S. Department of Agriculture-inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

At the appropriate time, as regulated by the U.S. Congress and kept accurate by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the U.S. Naval Observatory, I get into my National Highway Traffic Safety Administration-approved automobile and set out to work on the roads build by the local, state, and federal Departments of Transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the Environmental Protection Agency, using legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve Bank.

On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the U.S. Postal Service and drop the kids off at the public school.

After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health administration, enjoying another two meals which again do not kill me because of the USDA, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to my house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and Fire Marshal's inspection, and which has not been plundered of all its valuables thanks to the local police department, and which has not been bombed to smithereens thanks to the various branches of the United States Armed Forces.

And then I log on to the internet -- which was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration -- and post on Freerepublic.com and Fox News forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can't do anything right.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:54 PM on August 10, 2009 [142 favorites]


Just wrote to my way-overprivileged Blue-Dog CongressCritter. Suggested he and his staffers see what happens if they try to get individual policies in this state (without using his name). Maybe it would be instructive. Somehow I don't really feel better.
posted by dilettante at 3:54 PM on August 10, 2009


from that note posted by Sarah Palin (emphasis mine):
And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.
Under the current system, "good" jobs are the ones that come with lavish health insurance plans, among other benefits. If your job doesn't offer "good" health insurance, or that insurance is vulnerable, like happens so often when you work part-time or for a small business, you can pay out of pocket for an individual plan. Of course, because this is really only feasible once you make a certain amount of money, there is already denial of coverage (and therefore, health care) based on a subjective judgment of one's level of productivity in society (i.e., what you can pay).

Such a system is downright evil.
posted by oaf at 3:55 PM on August 10, 2009 [10 favorites]


John of Michigan: A useful point-by-point rebuttal of that email has been put together.
posted by jedicus at 3:58 PM on August 10, 2009 [17 favorites]


Spouses, welcome to rationing!

We're already limited to 500 spouses here on Metafilter. Down with socialist spouse rationing!
posted by jedicus at 3:59 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hmmm... http://deathpanel.gov seems to be down.
posted by Flunkie at 3:59 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't understand all the rhetorical (I guess that's what they are) references to ACORN. Was there something about ACORN that conservatives fear? Is ACORN supposed to be the Democrats version of Blackwater? Or do they just like the acronym and use it randomly like saying "BOOGETY-BOO!" to highlight a point that is supposed to scare the reader.

Also, since it doesn't quote directly from the actual bill, they could say anything, because most of the people who would receive this are intellectually lazy, and simply trust that the original sender already did the reading part, they're just providing a totally factual account in "plain English" that an "average American" can understand. Which I always assumed to say "something a moron who barely graduated high school could understand." Sadly, it seems that the American education system has gone way downhill since I was attending any public institutions, and that should read "something a moron who barely graduated college could understand."
posted by daq at 4:00 PM on August 10, 2009


The Health Insurers Have Already Won - How UnitedHealth and rival carriers, maneuvering behind the scenes in Washington, shaped health-care reform for their own benefit
The [insurance] industry has already accomplished its main goal of at least curbing, and maybe blocking altogether, any new publicly administered insurance program that could grab market share from the corporations that dominate the business. UnitedHealth has distinguished itself by more deftly and aggressively feeding sophisticated pricing and actuarial data to information-starved congressional staff members. With its rivals, the carrier has also achieved a secondary aim of constraining the new benefits that will become available to tens of millions of people who are currently uninsured. That will make the new customers more lucrative to the industry.
"The White House's Deal With Big Pharma Undermines Democracy" - Robert Reich says the administration's promise not to use the government's purchasing power to lower the price of drugs in return for a large, pharmaceutical industry sponsored ad campaign in support of health care reform undercuts and threatens the democratic process

Zeke Emanuel on the Health Insurance Exchange - His focus – unlike most progressives – is not on the public option, but on the Health Insurance Exchange [viz.]

Our Unhinged Debate on Health Care Reform - Andrew Sullivan provides a pretty good summary of the policy questions at stake in the health care debate [cf.]

"A Huge New Entitlement" - That's what Peggy Noonan calls Obama's healthcare proposals. Where is there an entitlement?

"So taxpayers were left shouldering the costs anyway" - If only my girlfriend's employer had to provide coverage. If only that coverage were subsidized and available through an insurance exchange that included a public plan. If only there were better cost controls. If only people in much worse financial and health situations than my girlfriend's had access to these things, too. If only.

re: form letters, it's not to congress but this one from the AARP is interesting!

re: the spirit level, sounds like a couple other books out now :P
posted by kliuless at 4:04 PM on August 10, 2009


Was there something about ACORN that conservatives fear?

ACORN stole the election because a few ACORN workers filled out fake voter registration forms to get extra cash, resulting in zero fake votes being cast and therefore a landslide victory for the black guy.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:06 PM on August 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


Here is how these town halls should be handled: lots of cops. People should feel free to speak their mind and listen to a response, but if they intend to entirely shut down a democratic meeting with their screaming, they should feel apprehensive.

I'm not sure that would work so well. "You saw him repressing me. Come and see the violence inherent in the system!"
posted by oaf at 4:07 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have been a loyal Democrat ever since I could vote (30+ years).

That being said, I've about had it with the present Democratic legislators that can't seem to find a set of balls between them. All the senior guys with any pull/power have been, or are in the process of being, bought by the corporate scum who are running our present show. One example? Democrats can't even agree as one on the Employee Free Choice Act. IMO, if you can't get behind the EFCA, you don't deserve a D after your name.

Anyway, the upshot is this. Last week I wrote the DNC and my Congressman and Senators explaining that, if the upcoming Health Care Bill did not at least contain a robust public option, they ( the Democrats) would henceforth lose my sure-thing vote in the future. No ifs, ands or buts.

I've been loathe to say this up until now, but it's time for a third party.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:11 PM on August 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


Oaf - the irony of that situation alone would make it worth giving it a shot.

I'm guessing it's the same crew who screamed bloody murder about Obama not supporting the cops in the Gates / Crowley affair...

... they could dig up Ice T and NWA and really have a go at completely blowing my mind.

Tea Baggers: Those folks who fight racism and police violence and invasion of privacy!
posted by MeatLightning at 4:14 PM on August 10, 2009


A month or too ago ACORN did some kind of protest thing at the bank across the way from where I work. It was very weird - there were probably more police and media there than actual protestors, and they seemed to be there for exactly as long as it took for all the media people to get a good look at them before leaving, but while they were there they were very, very loud and annoying.

I'm pretty sure that's nothing to do with why the right wing have such a burning hate-on for them though.
posted by Artw at 4:14 PM on August 10, 2009


kliuless: "re: form letters, it's not to congress but this one from the AARP is interesting!"

I started with this statement and massaged it a little bit.
posted by boo_radley at 4:19 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Com'on, everyone for healthcare reform - let's do an information blitz! It's easy to send an email forward, pass on notes on Facebook, etc. The only way to counter act misinformation is with the proper information. There are some who will never believe the facts, but there are plenty of people who just don't think about it hard enough and accept what lies they've been told by a trusted friend or family member.
posted by agregoli at 4:21 PM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Text text text text

Have a nice day :)
posted by designbot at 4:22 PM on August 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


In a Plea for Health Reform, a Widow Picks Up Her Paintbrushes.
posted by gman at 4:25 PM on August 10, 2009


I've said before that I'd vote for a cow that offered socialized health care. I have a chronic condition and have paid at least 1/2 of my salary for years (and hey, when I was unemployed, I paid MORE than my entire salary, considering my salary was nothing) for health insurance.

And I don't mind paying, but what I mind is that when I MOVE or CHANGE JOBS, I have to change insurance. I had to recently switch from the MA based system to private insurance in Rhode Island and the whole thing was such a mess that I *still* ended up paying retail for one of my prescriptions due to the amount of time it takes to process paperwork. (Which was compounded by the *oh so slight* error that instead of *my* necessary documents, the previous insurer sent me SOMEONE ELSE'S paperwork.)

It made me change my opinion on socialized medicine though. All of these forms to pay pretty much the same thing for nearly identical coverage...

It doesn't have to be a cow. I would vote for a TOMATO that offered socialized medicine.

Many people are one-issue voters. Most of 'em it's abortion or gun control - with me, it's health care. GIVE ME ACCESSIBLE PRESCRIPTIONS, OR GIVE ME DEATH. PERHAPS LITERALLY.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:27 PM on August 10, 2009 [12 favorites]


I've been loathe to say this up until now, but it's time for a third party.

While as a left-libertarian (think Chomsky) I certainly agree, I also know that said third party would yield about half the political power the FOX-powered contingent enjoys, and that only in the blue states. Red states, fugettaboutit.

The way things are skewed, we need the Dems more than they need us.
posted by @troy at 4:28 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


The World Health Organization's ranking
of the world's health systems
USA is 37.
And the free market genius who sits next to me drones about choice when he is a 55+ y.o. consultant whose family of 5, including a special needs son, who has benefitted greatly from the ADA, is covered under his wife's National Education Association Health plan.
I am really starting to realize that the general attitude of about half of the US population is 'I've got mine so f**k you; I don't even care if you and/or your kids die.'
True freedom (to be a selfish short-sighted idiot).
Freedom to worry about health care bankrupting you and freedom to worry about how to py for your kids' education.
It’s a beautiful world (from the Reagan years)
posted by hooptycritter at 4:29 PM on August 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


references to ACORN

= uppity negroes angling for things they haven't earned
posted by @troy at 4:32 PM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


So what is Sarah Palin doing for healthcare now that she's unemployed, anyway? That should be some pricey insurance, what with a Down's baby and at least two other kids under 18.
posted by dilettante at 4:34 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Regardless of how effective it will be: Thank christ. It's about damn time, and I wish it would have been put up sooner. The site it links to ( http://www.healthreform.gov/index.html ) is also a great resource.

Anyway, now to read these 152 posts...
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 4:38 PM on August 10, 2009


So what is Sarah Palin doing for healthcare now that she's unemployed
Who needs health care when the pastor of your church is a skilled exorcist?
posted by Flunkie at 4:42 PM on August 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Honestly... if everyone single person who wanted health-care reform would attend these town hall meetings and insist on civility it would go a long way to shutting up the screamers. There are intelligent, respectful ways to run these affairs, but there are all held on a patchwork system, so while some town halls are held with little to no incidents, others devolve into absolute chaos.

There was a fellow on NPR today saying he had no problem with medicare paying for Dr. consultations on end-of-life issues, but
1. didn't want the gubment issuing guidelines on what bases to cover in these discussions
2. thought the cost reduction strategies would nudge the Doctors into slyly maneuvering people into DNRs
3. It's all about PANELS people
4. Didn't want any statistical information collected in regards to these discussions.

The above points kind of contradict some of the main complaints the screamers have...
1. cost, well ok, lets NOT have such strict cost savings ok?
2. Without government guidelines about what topics to address then it leaves the door OPEN for the doctors to push their own particular agenda on their patients.
3. accountability, by collecting statistics we can make the programs better, less invasive and find out what people want.

gah.. the whole thing almost makes me wish I had a Sen/Rep I didn't like so I could go rail against them, un/fortunately I'm stuck with Kloubauchr, Franken and Oberstar all of whole seem to be actually working on this issue.
posted by edgeways at 4:42 PM on August 10, 2009


mr_roboto, perhaps you could make a suggestion directly to the sitemaster(s) regarding the inclusion of video transcript, instead of having kittens about it on an unrelated site, buried in a thread over 100 comments deep.

jedicus, thanks for the link to the rebuttals on the misinformed email list. Dealing with the anti-reform crowd [for me] is too much like trying to have an objective conversation about spirituality with a bible thumper. I still haven't figured out a way to get through their emotional fog to their Rational Gland. To be honest, I'm not sure they have one.
posted by yoga at 4:45 PM on August 10, 2009


So what is Sarah Palin doing for healthcare now that she's unemployed, anyway? That should be some pricey insurance, what with a Down's baby and at least two other kids under 18.

Todd's on a great plan!
posted by PenDevil at 4:45 PM on August 10, 2009


And thanks, DesignBot.
posted by yoga at 4:48 PM on August 10, 2009


Tea Party Sign: "Keep The Guvmint Out Of My Medicare"
posted by homunculus at 4:49 PM on August 10, 2009


Only way a 3rd party would be effective is if we had a robust voting system, some function of IRV. Otherwise it just splits the vote and the worst option always maintains control.

Canada, for example... the majority of Canadians are liberal, (even a good chunk of Conservative Canadians are more liberal than some USA Democrats)... there are a number Left of Center political parties, and one main Right of center party, who holds control? Harper and the minority conservatives. If there was a unified L of center party the Conservatives would face a near 2:1 disadvantage in the House

I do not rail against Nader voters, by no means do I do so. But, believing in a 3rd party without our structured 2 party system gave Bush the toe hold he needed.
posted by edgeways at 4:54 PM on August 10, 2009


The Health Insurers Have Already Won -

The [insurance] industry has already accomplished its main goal of at least curbing, and maybe blocking altogether, any new publicly administered insurance program


.. and by using their corporate media cronies to help spread all of those "socialism" etc.. lies on Clear Channel (radio) and all of the cable networks and syndicated pundit shows - (all of these outlets having successfully banned progressives).

Just like with abortion and gay marriage- the prols are bamboozled and used as pawns to advance and maintain the status quo of the ruling class and Corpoate America and duped into voting for the people that have made their lives more miserable for the last three decades: Republicans.
posted by Zambrano at 5:14 PM on August 10, 2009


Dammit I voted for Obama so all those overweight, diabetic 50 year olds who down a bottle of vodka every day and make twice as much as I do in some labor intensive blue collar job and don't have to carry around a smartphone on the weekend to deal with e-mails from their boss ... dammit I voted for a confusing and oppressive Kafkaesque system to end these people's lives!

I wanted them to come home, sit down and turn on Fox News only to see this in their mail:

Health Care Omnibus Reform 104.32
As a categorized citizen 400.01 and 600.50 please SMS your BMI to 440-01 or FTP your BMI weekly using a comma delineated plain-text file to the following FTP server:

2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334
(IPv6 only, for IPv4 please submit USDOC4433.01 to SMS 440-05)

Failure to respond will decrease your Present Value of Economic Worth by 25.8 daily or 10.5% of your Estimated Median Worth, whichever is greater.

They'll toss it aside at the first glance of "SMS" and "FTP," only 4 weeks later to wakeup in a white, windowless room with a condescending doctor injecting them with a lethal dosage of barbiturates, explaining that all this could have been averted if they had only kept their PVE above 2%.
posted by geoff. at 5:17 PM on August 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Personally, I am tempted to oppose the healthcare plan on the basis that it doesn't go far enough. It's pretty obvious that the healthcare lobbyists have been hard at work at creating something they can profit from while substantially raising the barrier to any future reform, thus prolonging the misery. Alas, the Democrats are mostly a bunch of spineless cowards too busy posturing to be bothered with effective solutions.
posted by Hylas at 5:17 PM on August 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Will there be a waiting list for spine transplants under this new "gub'mint" plan?
posted by benzenedream at 5:30 PM on August 10, 2009


those of use who are even moderately literate...
...Honestly, I don't think that's the website's target audience.
posted by hifiparasol at 4:04 PM on August 10
Well, as Astro Zombie pointed out, the target audience isn't real likely to have WhiteHouse.gov in their favorites list.
Now if some enterprising hacker could get a redirect on RushLimbaugh.com or Drudge, or even (laws, laws) Fox News, that would be something.
posted by Pragmatica at 4:09 PM on August 10
l sure hope Obama's people have created information sites other than Whutehouse.gov to get their message across -- not necessarily something that might appeal to the the typical Wal-Mart shoper, but rather the typical Penney's or Target shopper.

posted by vhsiv at 5:56 PM on August 10, 2009


Ahhh, shit.

Can someone give me a reason to be optimistic right now? Because I really want one.
posted by notswedish at 6:03 PM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


John of Michigan: Keith Olbermann pointed his finger at the Liberty Counsel for starting that e-mail.

God willing, the proverbial fool will be rendered powerless this time around, hopefully in time for school, and the flu season.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 6:24 PM on August 10, 2009


... and oh yeah, a direct link to the LC's take on healthcare reform.

Alarm and astonishment seem to be a theme there...
posted by JoeXIII007 at 6:27 PM on August 10, 2009


I've been thinking about the idea that this is the "only shot!", "It's now or never!"...is this really true? If Obama is shot down and pulls another Hillarycare in which the Repubs (and Blue Dogs) kill the bill, it'll mean that health care costs keep going up. People will be more and more in debt, and the political pressure to change the system will just get louder and hotter. What I don't know is how long that will take, but it's certainly conceivable that it'll happen during Obama's second administration.
posted by zardoz at 6:51 PM on August 10, 2009


This website depresses me because it's pretty and useless, in that Potemkin-y way that a number of this administration's initiatives seem to be.
posted by blucevalo at 6:52 PM on August 10, 2009


LIKE ACORN, HMMMM???

Truly, thee clarion call of the hideously uninformed. Would Jesus bat an eye if I kicked anyone who said this in the fucking teeth?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:54 PM on August 10, 2009


Those pearls won't clutch themselves

B: You realize what you've done, don't you?

A: Drawn a link between the spreading of malicious falsehoods and the practice commonly referred to as "lying"?

B: Well, yes, that. That's not allowed.

A: "Allowed?"

B: Right. You can say, "Sarah Palin's statement is false," because, you know, it is. And you can say, "Sarah Palin's statement is malicious," because, again, it's generally regarded as a mean thing to say about other people that they want to set up a death panel and kill your handicapped child.

A: I suppose it could be worse. You know, she could have accused health reform advocates of setting up a "buggery panel" in which bureaucrats would take turns ...

B: Yes, well, let's not go there, OK? The point is you're not supposed to mention that her false and malicious statement was also a lie.

A: What, then, am I supposed to do?

B: You're supposed to clutch your pearls, put the back of your hand against your forehead and pretend to be massively, personally offended by her "death panel" comment. Swoon and complain of the vapors and keep it up until Palin responds with her lines.

A: Her lines?

B: Until she says she's sorry that anyone took offense over what she said and that she hadn't intended to hurt the feelings of the bureaucrats lining up to kill her parents and her handicapped son.

A: And what, exactly, would that accomplish?

B: This is America. That's just, you know, how we do it.

See also this for a pitch perfect deconstruction of why US civil society is fucked.
posted by Sebmojo at 6:56 PM on August 10, 2009 [8 favorites]


Who cares about these people at town halls or the "deathers"? they just make the right look bad. McCain/Palin tried the same thing at the end of their campaign and it ended badly for them.

What the White House really do is set up "www.Max baucus is a giant douche nozzle if he does not include a government option in the senate finance committee's health reform bill.whitehouse.gov".
posted by afu at 6:56 PM on August 10, 2009


Of couurse, the anti-Obama lunatic fringe of the last election had to sway a public who were pretty firmly behind Obama. The feathers only really have to persuade a few cowarldly and jumpy congressional democrats, who, let's face it, tend to fold at the slightest sign of trouble.
posted by Artw at 7:10 PM on August 10, 2009


I don't understand all the rhetorical (I guess that's what they are) references to ACORN. Was there something about ACORN that conservatives fear?

Yeah. ACORN gets blacks and Hispanics to register to vote. Who we all know vote for busing, welfare and raping our daughters with their gigantic shlongs of color, and whose votes dilute those of the good people who are our color and who vote to keep those undesirables out of our neighborhoods.

It's tribalism, pure and simple.
posted by orthogonality at 7:33 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I friended a guy I knew from junior high last night. Hadn't heard anything about him in ages. Turns out he's an orthopedic surgeon. Very religious. Did charity work in Papua New Guinea. Has two beautiful daughters.

Then I look at the kinds of things he posted on his page. One post after another - "Government can't do anything right", "Obama is an embarrassment", "Great. Now I have to support more of these deadbeats", "leftist wealth redistribution programs", etc...

Makes me wonder. I mean, has he never had to turn down a patient because they didn't have the proper insurance? Does he really consider somebody who needs life-saving or life-improving surgery but can't afford it "a deadbeat"? And if he does... my, how Christian of him.
posted by fungible at 7:41 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Let's make a metaphor. A group of friends get together to play a board game every week. Tired of playing Risk for the past eight years, the friends choose to play Dungeons and Dragons for a change. However, about halfway through making their character sheets, the one person who wanted to play "Cops and Potheads" gets mad and starts yelling that everyone else is a nerd and a virgin. Then, he begins arguing that Dungeons and Dragons technically is more a pen-and-paper game and thus is not an eligible game for the Friendship Game Nite™. He demands the DM show him the page in the manual that refers to the game as a board game. The DM refuses, and points out they have more important things to do right now. The angry guy then starts scraping around the web for random facts about DnD, and becomes convinced of its satanic hidden messages.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:47 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


gah.. the whole thing almost makes me wish I had a Sen/Rep I didn't like so I could go rail against them, un/fortunately I'm stuck with Kloubauchr, Franken and Oberstar all of whole seem to be actually working on this issue.

edgeways, if you feel like railing against a wall, feel free to contact Erik Paulson in my name. I sent them all an e-mail, but I know the one to him fell on particularly deaf ears, as he's pretty much entirely my opposite politically.
posted by graventy at 7:49 PM on August 10, 2009


fungible: "Makes me wonder. I mean, has he never had to turn down a patient because they didn't have the proper insurance? Does he really consider somebody who needs life-saving or life-improving surgery but can't afford it "a deadbeat"? And if he does... my, how Christian of him."

Good point, but I think that denial usually occurs at the level of the insurance company. If a specialist is out of network, chances are the patient won't darken his door unless he has the cash ready.

Speaking of which, I find it ironic that the right wing complains about deadbeats, but then insists that national healthcare will lead to rationed care, meaning that people they specifically refer to as "unproductive citizens" (meaning the elderly and handicapped) will be denied care. Those people, in a nation with no government care (no Medicare/Medicaid), could not afford healthcare as they have smaller income specifically because they're less productive. It's an economic fact that pay is generally proportionate to one's productivity.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:59 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 alluded to the ostensible reason for the right wing's hatred of ACORN, but I haven't seen anybody say it explicitly, so just in case the original questioner is still wondering:

Part of what ACORN does is organize voter registration drives in low-income neighborhoods. They go around the neighborhood and get people to fill out voter registration forms, then turn the forms into the government.

ACORN pays its people who collect these registrations some trifling amount.

Some of the ACORN people fill out extra registrations fraudulently -- for example, filling out two registrations for the same person, or a registration for Mickey Mouse -- and collect a little extra cash from ACORN because of it.

On the planet of the extreme right wing, this means that ACORN stole the election.

Back in reality:

(1) ACORN is required by law to submit all registrations that it collects to the government, regardless of whether it thinks they're fraudulent or not;

(2) When submitting such forms to the government, if ACORN suspects that they are fraudulent, they note them as such;

(3) No matter how many voter registration forms are filled out for a person, that person only gets one vote;

(4) Mickey Mouse doesn't get to vote.

There is essentially no evidence of a single fraudulent vote coming out of any of this, and it's actually hard to believe that any fraudulent votes could come out of it.

It boils down to small scale economic fraud by ACORN employees against ACORN; Planet Wingnut, though, boils it down to massive scale voter fraud by ACORN against the United States.

Also, they blame ACORN for the housing market meltdown, though I'm not entirely sure of the ostensible reasoning behind that one.

Those are the root causes of the hatred. Since then, though, ACORN has become, on Planet Wingnut, one of the major giant shadowy New World Order actors, with their evil, evil tendrils entwined in everything, akin to George Soros, MoveOn.org, and the NAACP.
posted by Flunkie at 7:59 PM on August 10, 2009 [10 favorites]


gah.. the whole thing almost makes me wish I had a Sen/Rep I didn't like so I could go rail against them, un/fortunately I'm stuck with Kloubauchr, Franken and Oberstar all of whole seem to be actually working on this issue.

I've said this before, but I'll say it again: call any elected Republican who runs in your precinct -- state house member, school board member, dog-catcher, and explain that you're holding them personally responsible for any Republican who votes against reform.

That as long as they call themselves Republicans and don't repudiate the Republicans in House and senate who are blocking healthcare reform, you'll not be able to vote for them. Not now, not ten years from now. That they've permanently lost your vote for the office they hold and any higher office they hope to run for. Unless and until they denounce their national party's work to deny you and millions of Americans health care.

Every Republican Congressman and senator relies on a thick web of state house members, mayors, councilmen, precinct captains to get out the vote. And that thick web hopes that their hard work doing that puts them in the position to run for higher office. Cut those roots off from the tree.
posted by orthogonality at 8:08 PM on August 10, 2009 [10 favorites]


Death Pänel would make a great name for a metal band.
posted by jonp72 at 8:09 PM on August 10, 2009


Here's a pretty typical diary from RedState that explains how ACORN is in league with George Soros, MoveOn, LaRaza and Obama and are conspiring to create a socialist worker's state in America. Or something like that. ACORN seems to be the default villain on right-wing site for pretty much anything that they don't like and don't forget, they caused the entire mortgage crisis.
posted by octothorpe at 8:18 PM on August 10, 2009


Did someone mention Death Paneling? Why, I just had the rumpus room redone with it! Looks simply marvelous!
posted by maryh at 9:29 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


And yes, I'm invoking the sake of multiple Christs. Thanks for asking.

Ah, so are your Democrat Secret Muslim Communist Mengeles now preparing cruel bio-theological experiments on cloned Jesuses!?
posted by Anything at 9:54 PM on August 10, 2009


It's hard to explain how depressing this is; I keep telling myself, "It's the death throes of a political coalition, it's loud because they're panicking," but it doesn't help. I've been writing about it on my personal blog -- marveling at friends who say that Obama is literally like Hitler, colleagues who say that the real tragedy about Tiller's killing is that it gave 'The libs' an excuse to send Pro-lifers to the FEMA camps... it just keeps going in a parade of insanity.

I mentioned Palin's "Death committees" comment as an example of the dialogue-polluting lies that make it hard for good-faith debate to occur, and one of these friends responded with anger -- "Do you know she's lying? Have you read every word of the bill? It sounds like you're jumping to conclusions!"

No shit.
posted by verb at 10:05 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


To everyone who provided rebuttals and background on that annoyingly misinformative e-mail, I thank you.

It's too damn hot here in Michigan to do anything productive, so I've been haranguing people I know to contact their reps to support H.R. 3200--a bill that could be stronger, but damn it, it's a start--and all your information will help.

Again, thank you!
posted by John of Michigan at 10:07 PM on August 10, 2009


I've said this before, but I'll say it again: call any elected Republican who runs in your precinct -- state house member, school board member, dog-catcher, and explain that you're holding them personally responsible for any Republican who votes against reform.

That can not be said often enough.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:13 PM on August 10, 2009


Health Care Reform Myths

Lend a hand.

Text!
posted by halcyon_daze at 10:17 PM on August 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


MeTa, for completeness.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:21 PM on August 10, 2009


I mentioned Palin's "Death committees" comment as an example of the dialogue-polluting lies that make it hard for good-faith debate to occur, and one of these friends responded with anger -- "Do you know she's lying? Have you read every word of the bill? It sounds like you're jumping to conclusions!"No shit.

Is this a sign that there are people who treat politics like they do sports? We've all known sports team fanatics who go nuts with it. Huge arguments to be had about the most trite details. And of course none of it really matters in the long run if the their team does or does not win — though you'd never know it from their histrionics.

Maybe the conflict we're seeing is between people who treat politics as a science (a "right answer" can be found for most problems) and those who treat it as a sport ("the Bears have to win or it will be a personal disaster!")

It's time for both Canada and the USA to get a reality-based third party.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:23 PM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Senator responsible for the end-of-life counseling part of the bill which created all this "death panel" nonsense is Johnny Isakson, Republican of Georgia.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 10:24 PM on August 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


Has anyone else noticed how they've changed the phrase health care reform to health insurance reform?
posted by stewiethegreat at 12:01 AM on August 11, 2009


Does anyone have a link to form letters or templates to send to Congress members in support of health care?

boo_radley, the second page of this supporter's guide from OFA (Obama's old campaign organization, now part of the DNC I believe) has a reasonable list of demands for reform, worded as a statement of support for Obama's program to senators and representatives, with some space for a personal statement. It's designed as a leave-behind for office visits, but should make for a solid form letter.
posted by danthony at 12:23 AM on August 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is this a sign that there are people who treat politics like they do sports?

Most definitely. When Bush won* in 2000, my Republican neighbor made a point of taunting everyone

*kind of
posted by equalpants at 12:29 AM on August 11, 2009


...uh, crap, hit Post instead of Preview. Anyway, he made a point of taunting all the Gore/Nader voters around, exactly the way he'd react after his team won a game. "In your face!", etc. It was pretty bizarre.
posted by equalpants at 12:32 AM on August 11, 2009


So, now that Obama has sold us out on prescription drug prices, and with the public option almost certainly gone, is there any reason to continue supporting this "reform?"

Because it looks to me like it will mandate people buy insurance, but with no public option, will not do even the slightest to control costs, while ensuring that prescription drug prices will spiral even higher. Somehow, amazingly, Congress seems to be proposing something that is actually worse than the gawdawfulness we currently have.

What are the reasons I should continue to support this legislation?
posted by dirigibleman at 12:38 AM on August 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


Why is no one saying anything about the White House doing this? They're not exactly a neutral party to this.
posted by champthom at 5:28 AM on August 11, 2009


My boyfriend used to work for ACORN so I got a first hand look at all of this. ACORN canvassers do not get paid per voter registration they get. They do have a quota they're supposed to reach each day, and a few who didn't reach it, if they did make up forms, it was mostly due to being a poor employee, not trying to commit massive voter fraud. If caught, they got fired.
posted by girlmightlive at 5:46 AM on August 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


When Bush won* in 2000, my Republican neighbor made a point of taunting everyone

well, now your neighbor's stuck with a black President for at least four years: sweet sweet revenge
posted by matteo at 6:40 AM on August 11, 2009


What are the reasons I should continue to support this legislation?

Because none of those concessions you take as givens (and that are being reported as such in some cases) have actually been made yet. There is no single piece of new legislation in the process with the features you claim (no public option, sell out on prescription drugs, etc.) because the legislation isn't in its final form yet. All the talk about deals being made, etc., is spurious. Just because one senator says such and such that doesn't mean that's how it is. And just because the drug industry claims President Obama made the deal on pharmaceuticals (which the administration has at least partly denied, BTW) doesn't mean it's so. This is a process. There is no single piece of legislation yet. The thing you're being asked to support is the process going forward until a piece of legislation with at least the most important features makes it through.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:45 AM on August 11, 2009 [7 favorites]


If Americans are so averse to government intervention in health care, why are they so quick to buy pharmaceuticals from Canada, where the (Cdn) government has negotiated pricing?
posted by Artful Codger at 7:52 AM on August 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fresh survey from Indiana University:

It Doesn’t Matter How You Frame It – Americans Remain Divided on Support for Government Involvement in Health Insurance, No Matter What the Role

The takeaway summary, quoting from the abstract:

Many in Washington have spent a great deal of time finessing the descriptions and level of government involvement in the proposed options for health care reform. These results seem to indicate, however, that while support for different descriptions or levels of government involvement may shift amongst certain demographics, the overall levels of support do not differ greatly when dealing with a “public option,” “Medicare-like” plan, or a single-payer plan. It may be that people have already decided if they support or oppose government involvement in reform, no matter what the specifics or level of such reform are.

In other words, there's no way to compromise, explain, cajole, adjust, reword or do anything to bring the right-wing minority into agreement. They're going to oppose anything, regardless of what it is, because the 'gummint' is involved.

You may have known that already. Now, you have data to back you up.
posted by gimonca at 9:13 AM on August 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


christ, conservatives are like wimpy anarchists. oh noes, the government wants to control me! no way, man! except... don't take away my police, ok? because then a minority might get me.
posted by shmegegge at 9:25 AM on August 11, 2009


I know that years down the road, I don't want my children coming to me and asking me, 'Mom, why didn't you do anything? Why do we have to wait in line for, I don't know, toilet paper? ... The country is slowly being ripped apart.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:33 AM on August 11, 2009


Mom, why didn't you do anything? Why do we have to wait in line for, I don't know, toilet paper?

All I could think about that quote was that maybe the Costco was especially busy..

And now I'm going to start shrieking about socialists when the line at the grocery store backs up because someone decides to write a check.

On a more serious note, how the fuck can we have political discourse... or hell.. discourse at any level with this shit?

If they really believe that healthcare for all is Evil, where the fuck can we go in terms of discussion? If they lead off with "They want to kill my baby", how the hell is this going to be a usable debate?

Why are we dignifying this insanity? It's not just wrong and reprehensible, it's crazy. Not slightly huh-huh crazy, full-bore, unmedicated, loose on the fucking streets taliban crazy.
posted by Lord_Pall at 9:46 AM on August 11, 2009


If they really believe that healthcare for all is Evil, where the fuck can we go in terms of discussion? If they lead off with "They want to kill my baby", how the hell is this going to be a usable debate?
See, this is how neoconservatives felt a few years ago. Everyone kept flipping out on them, and all they were trying to do was invade and occupy a sovereign nation. How can you get anything accomplished when people just won't dialogue about it?
posted by verb at 9:58 AM on August 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


taliban crazy

perfect description. That's the reality of it - one is faced with intractable, unthinking irrationality.
posted by Artful Codger at 9:59 AM on August 11, 2009


New idea:

Free gun with healthcare.

It's win-win!
posted by djgh at 10:05 AM on August 11, 2009


Contacting your Representatives and Senators.
posted by boo_radley at 10:26 AM on August 11, 2009


See, this is how neoconservatives felt a few years ago. Everyone kept flipping out on them, and all they were trying to do was invade and occupy a sovereign nation. How can you get anything accomplished when people just won't dialogue about it?

Except no one ever shouted them down in town hall meetings, because only party-faithful were allowed in to such events on the rare occasions they were held. And every form of public protest, rambunctious or completely peaceful, was strictly restricted to designated "Free-Speech Zones." Remember those?
posted by saulgoodman at 10:36 AM on August 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


(Free-speech zones, I might point out, that were also to all intents and purposes media-blackout zones.)
posted by saulgoodman at 10:38 AM on August 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


The overall problem with health care reform now is that the offering on the table (forget universal coverage, probably not even a public option, and the real threat of things actually ending up even more fucked than they are now) isn't compelling enough to get those who really want health care reform out to fight for it. Meanwhile, the mere idea of change is enough to drive the wingnuts to form armed mobs.

It's got to be maddening to have to reconcile deeply ingrained jingoism with the fact that the US is an utter failure at providing health care for its populace. It also cracks me up when people talk about the possibility of rationing. News flash: a health care system that charges money for care is rationing, implicitly.
posted by mullingitover at 10:44 AM on August 11, 2009


I don't want this country turning into Russia, turning into a socialized country. I want to restore this country to what it was under the Constitution."

They all seem to be stuck back in the eighties fighting Gorbachev; maybe someone should tell them that Russia is not Communist anymore? Also, can anyone explain to me what specific extra-constitutional things they're worried about? Obviously it's not spying on Americans or going to war without a congressional declaration or detaining people without charging them since we gave that stuff up eight years ago. What part of the constitution do they think that Obama is taking away?
posted by octothorpe at 10:48 AM on August 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


What part of the constitution do they think that Obama is taking away?

Most of them haven't read it, so they don't really know. They just believe what the voices tell them is in it and how its being threatened. (And by "the voices," I mean Beck, Limbaugh and their ilk.)

The constitution is actually a pretty boring organizational document that describes the legal authority of the different branches of government and the organizational structure of the government. It's only the preamble and the amendments that wax philosophical or define any rights at all, and even those aren't even remotely relevant to the current debate. In fact, the preamble (if taken as literally as gun rights hard liners take the right to bear arms) arguably supports the argument that the Founders intended America to function in some sense as a welfare state:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

posted by saulgoodman at 11:10 AM on August 11, 2009


What part of the constitution do they think that Obama is taking away?

Article I Section 2

"Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons."
posted by prak at 11:12 AM on August 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I assume you're not saying that they're worried that Obama will take away representation apportioned to states in a means including three-fifths of the number of slaves in that state, so I guess you're saying that they're worried about direct taxes being apportioned among the several states in a manner other than via headcount.

They're almost a hundred years late if they're worried about that part of the Constitution getting taken away. Time to start a new "Pre-Birther" movement, claiming that Obama went back in time to 1913, I guess.
posted by Flunkie at 11:19 AM on August 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


What part of the constitution do they think that Obama is taking away?

Article I Section 2

"Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons."


Not seeing that one. How is Obama taking away Article I, Section 2?
posted by Ironmouth at 11:22 AM on August 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Personally, I think Obama went back in a time machine and slipped in the language in the preamble about the state's role in "promoting the general Welfare." Obviously, that's a Marxist idea--where's BigSky on this? I'm sure he could point me to a citation proving that this language is taken verbatim from one of the planks of the communist party.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:29 AM on August 11, 2009


They're almost a hundred years late if they're worried about that part of the Constitution getting taken away.

No time like the present to get back to the past?

Really, saulgoodman put it well as this is not a nuanced debate between Constitutional scholars. 'Constitution' is being used as synonymous with good; misused in the same way 'socialism' was a few threads back.
posted by prak at 11:40 AM on August 11, 2009


I don't want to speak for prak, but I suspect the Article 1, Section 2 reference is a snark about racist motivations of those opposing Obama's reform efforts.
posted by Riki tiki at 11:42 AM on August 11, 2009


Again, will need to see that answer on what part of the Constitution Obama is taking away.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:43 AM on August 11, 2009


I don't want to speak for prak, but I suspect the Article 1, Section 2 reference is a snark about racist motivations of those opposing Obama's reform efforts.

Aaah. OK, I get it. he's 3/5ths a person.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:19 PM on August 11, 2009


he's 3/5ths a person.

Well, really, anyone who looks like they might need government funded health care is.
posted by prak at 1:20 PM on August 11, 2009


Well, really, anyone who looks like they might need government funded health care is.

Huh? I'd love government funded health care, and I'm at *least* 4/5 of a person.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:20 PM on August 11, 2009


To get seniors to go for health care en masse you need only reframe the debate:

"There are healthy young people out there without insurance and who refuse to pay for insurance because they are young and healthy. This will increase the insurance pool and make insurance cheaper for all".

If they take an "I've got mine so fuck the rest of you" attitude then just show them how they haven't got theirs and let simple human greed take over.

Don't stop there. The dems need a group to step up and be the Olbermanns of the house. Get their faces out there and start calling these republican fucktards "unamerican" on national tv. Tell the people that they would see you die if you can't pay. Just a group of 10 or 12 with some balls and thick skins to get down and dirty and start fighting health insurance pocketed dipshis at their own game. Bring big business on board to decry the cost of insurance as something hurting america and "forcing" them to send jobs overseas. Blame the fall of GM on the cost of insurance. Start spreading hyperbole that insurance industries destroy the very things that Americans hold dear.

You really can't tell white trash America that something is good for them. They're not smart and too proud. You need to show them that the healthcare industry is destroying their most cherished values and institutions without an "I told you so" or without them being able to infer they were wrong (just misinformed) with phrases like "did you know?" on morning talkshows. That is how you win hearts and minds in America.
posted by Talez at 3:09 PM on August 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dan Froomkin: Our Fuzzy President Is About To Come Into Focus
posted by homunculus at 3:26 PM on August 11, 2009


From a comment Wonkette: "All the old S.O.B.s who show-up at the town hall meeting and bitch about socialist run healthcare should have their Medicare privileges automatically revoked."
posted by dilettante at 4:30 PM on August 11, 2009


Late to the game, but this struck me about folks bitching about the video. This site isn't for you. On the internet, you already look up other text sources. This site is for the cable news networks. This is free content for the 24-hour meat grinder. Watch the next few days as these clips are shown as part of the story of town hall riots, etc. Cable news does not work with text.
posted by Furie at 4:58 PM on August 11, 2009


You have no idea what it’s like to be called into a sterile conference room with a hospital administrator you’ve never met before and be told that your mother’s insurance policy will only pay for 30 days in ICU. You can't imagine what it's like to be advised that you need to “make some decisions,” like whether your mother should be released “HTD” which is hospital parlance for “home to die,” or if you want to pay out of pocket to keep her in the ICU another week. And when you ask how much that would cost you are given a number so impossibly large that you realize there really are no decisions to make. The decision has been made for you. "Living will" or no, it doesn't matter. The bank account and the insurance policy have trumped any legal document.

If this isn’t a “death panel” I don’t know what is.

So don’t talk to me about “death panels” you heartless, cruel, greedy sons of bitches, who are only too happy to keep the profits rolling in to the big insurance companies while you spout your mealy-mouthed bumper sticker slogans about the evils of socialism. You don't even know what socialism is. You don't know what government healthcare is. You have no fucking clue about anything except that you lost the last election and you're pissed off.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:06 PM on August 11, 2009 [42 favorites]


Thanks, East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94.

Can't. Favorite. Enough.
posted by lyam at 6:07 PM on August 11, 2009


You know, I'm not even sure discourse with people who don't read the actual material in question and who respond to an attempt at reasoned discussion with 'ASDFGHAEKRGHA SOCIALISM NAZI DEATH UNAMERICAN' is going to do anything.

You're not going to convince these crazies on your own. They have to come around to it themselves, and they probably never will.

Put the information out there on a website that is easy to access. Don't hide anything.

But don't talk to them if they're going to behave like mongrels.
posted by kldickson at 6:12 PM on August 11, 2009


Obama: I Am Not In Favor Of Death Panels
posted by homunculus at 7:04 PM on August 11, 2009


You know, I'm not even sure discourse with people who don't read the actual material in question and who respond to an attempt at reasoned discussion with 'ASDFGHAEKRGHA SOCIALISM NAZI DEATH UNAMERICAN' is going to do anything.
You know, I used to say that.

And then I went to opencongress.org and looked at the live online version of the bill -- the one that people can annotate on a line by line basis. And I came to the section that describes national minimum standards for insurance plans. There is a line that explains that people can keep their 'grandfathered' plans from before the standards go into effect, but new plans must meet the standards.

There are dozens of people annotating that line, screaming that it is the line that outlaws private insurance providers and forces us all into the government's plan. When corrected, they do not even blink -- they just keep repeating it, literally on the same page as the actual text of the bill that proves them wrong.

This is, in my opinion, the very definition of 'acting in bad faith.'
posted by verb at 7:09 PM on August 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


I agree with Camille Paglia.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:58 PM on August 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Jon Stewart Vs. Town Hall Crazies (VID)
posted by homunculus at 8:28 PM on August 11, 2009


Camile Paglia's column in salon is usually just a fascinating opportunity to watch someone name-drop their own name. This time it's a chance to watch her concern-troll herself. "Face it: Virtually all nationalized health systems, neither nourished nor updated by profit-driven private investment, eventually lead to rationing." earth to Camille: that is what happens today, and it happens because profit-driven private onvestment is the only insurance game in town for anyone under 65.
posted by verb at 8:32 PM on August 11, 2009


Maybe the thing to do is to start marginalizing the crazies.

Those that are viciously opposed to universal healthcare can't count for more than 20% of the population. They are batshitinsane.

Instead of focusing on the few loonies who oppose, maybe it's time to start identifying those who support it. The more people are aware of how much support there is, the more they are going to speak up about it.

Or in other words, you need to media whore the hell out of this. If the majority has its way, there will be universal healthcare. But only if you all start demanding the attention you deserve.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:06 PM on August 11, 2009


Check out the updated IBD editorial, with correction: "Editor's Note: This version corrects the original editorial which implied that physicist Stephen Hawking, a professor at the University of Cambridge, did not live in the UK."
posted by jacalata at 11:27 PM on August 11, 2009


Stephen Hawking responds:

We say his life is far from worthless, as they do at Addenbrooke's hospital, Cambridge, where Professor Hawking, who has motor neurone disease, was treated for chest problems in April. As indeed does he. "I wouldn't be here today if it were not for the NHS," he told us. "I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived." Something here is worthless. And it's not him.
posted by maudlin at 5:09 AM on August 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Editor's Note: This version corrects the previously edited editorial which implied that the full extent of the problem with the original editorial was that it implied that physicist Stephen Hawking, a professor at the University of Cambridge, did not live in the UK.
posted by Flunkie at 6:29 AM on August 12, 2009


The editor's note they added being all the more hilarious since they completely took out any reference to Hawking in the article. Though the audio version still had the original paragraph in it as of last night.
posted by Orb at 6:57 AM on August 12, 2009


Someone else noted that that the town hall protesters are getting much, much, more coverage than people who protested the Iraq invasion.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:50 AM on August 12, 2009


They Think They're Mad About Healthcare? -- a really powerful rant on all the foolishness going on at the town meetings.

I had not heard the story about Deamonte Driver, a kid in D.C. who died for want of an $80 tooth extraction.

Seriously. Stories like this are just so fucking unimaginable, especially since they're happening here in the good ole US of A. And it's just completely unconscionable that so much of the anti-reform fomenting is the doing of religious right groups like the Christian Coalition of America and the Family Research Council. What would Jesus do, indeed.
posted by shiu mai baby at 8:14 AM on August 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


The entire aim of this healthcare reform is to increase consumer choice and increase consumer protection. There is nothing significantly controversial there to an informed voter.

The entire aim of the opposition is to maintain maximum profits. That doesn't bring out the crowds, so they have to invent terrifying lies and align themselves with the racists and the conspiracy theorists.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:53 AM on August 12, 2009


When I say it's not controversial, I mean that it's not controversial for the government to reform healthcare to the planned extent, particularly after the result of the November election. There are plenty of arguments to reform it further.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:57 AM on August 12, 2009


I'm only 25% of the way through reading this thread so far (I'll finish someday, don't worry), but on the subject of talking about health care reform with dittohead closed-minded anti-reform folks:

I have a couple of relatives who are suspicious of the President - A is a Goldwater-era Republican, B is a middle-aged blue-collar guy who started our last conversation with a claim that Obama is a socialist who's trying to ruin the country. I also have other relatives all over the spectrum, including C, who wavered constantly during the last presidential election and completely bought the Kerry-era Swiftboat ads and the later, similar smear campaigns (I'm not sure if she bought the "palling around with terrorists" or not).

Anyhoo -

I tend to avoid talking politics with these folks - life is too short - but in the past few weeks I've been having long, impassioned talks with them about health care reform. A still has a lot of concerns but might - MIGHT - call his congressfolks this week to support real health care reform and in particular a public option. B doesn't tend to call Congress or even vote, but talks to a lot of people, and says he has really reconsidered his position - I've given him a lot to think about. C has not only called all three of her Congresspeople, she also sent written letters supporting real health care reform and in particular the public option.

Every time I talk to A, he thinks the current proposal is single payer; I have to keep saying "I think that might be a really good solution but NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT THAT. That's NOT EVEN ON THE TABLE." The level of misinformation is huge - but, at least with some people, even people who watch Fox News - it CAN be countered.

If you care about health care reform, don't give up. Talk to people, especially people in states where the legislators don't currently support health care reform. If you know Republicans, talk to them, and get them to call Congress in support of the public option and SAY THEY'RE REPUBLICANS. "I'm a Republican, I'm a constituent, I voted for you, and I support real health care reform with a robust public option."

Not everyone will listen to reason, but even Republicans - at least the ones I know - want their kids to get decent health care, want to keep their Medicare, and want to make sure ambitious, hard-working businesspeople can start a new business or leave one job for another without being held hostage by insurance coverage. Help them understand exactly what happens to their kids, their not-yet-65-year-old brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles, their nephews and nieces and cousins who don't have coverage, who might lose coverage.

If all else fails, point out that the Senators and Representatives all get really nice health care on the taxpayer's dime - why won't they set it up so anyone else who wants that care can get it? That usually does the trick. They hate thinking Congress is getting something the rest of us can't have.

Finally, I visited Senator Feinstein's office this week to support a public option. About three dozen people showed up at the same time, and so someone from her office came down to the lobby to talk to us. Responding to concerns that bullies and liars were dominating the debate, he suggested that we call radio talk shows and make sure our side gets heard. I'm not sure I can manage to do that, but if any of y'all are up for giving that a try, I'd sure appreciate it.
posted by kristi at 10:43 AM on August 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


America is teh awesome!

I have to say that having a bunch of ignorant yanks diss it is probably the best thing that;s happened for the NHS's image for ages. Normally it's all grumble-grumble-grumble but now it's all "hang on, come to think of it, our healthcare *IS* brilliant! Fuck you yanks!"
posted by Artw at 10:56 AM on August 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm told that the above email forward is by Anonymous. So now you know.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:09 AM on August 12, 2009


Someone else noted that that the town hall protesters are getting much, much, more coverage than people who protested the Iraq invasion.

Are they not much, much more violent?

Obama is getting 400x the death threats that Bush suffered. This is a pretty clear indicator of how crazy the crazies are.

It really would not surprise me that if push comes to shove, the teabagger contingent will resort to open civil war.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:15 AM on August 12, 2009


An idea: "Think of the Children!"

Universal healthcare for children to whatever age they are allowed to start voting.

Long-term view: you won't have full universal healthcare for another two decades, but your kids and kid's kids will have lifetime universal healthcare. No way they'll vote against it when they've grown up with it.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:21 AM on August 12, 2009


An excellent proposal, fff, except that it'll be twisted into Kids-Only Death Panels!!! in no time.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:33 AM on August 12, 2009


It really would not surprise me that if push comes to shove, the teabagger contingent will resort to open civil war.
That would surprise me very much.

I (unfortunately) would not be surprised if we see some shootings at town halls, and stuff like that - the craziest of the crazies going crazy. But "open civil war"? They, as a whole, don't have the guts.
posted by Flunkie at 12:01 PM on August 12, 2009


Flunkie, unfortunately, some of them do.

I agree with all that our present system is broken.

I agree it needs fixing.

But a hurryup job- no matter by what party-and a job where the perception is that a bunch of crooks is in charge of the process (and yes, this could apply to either party) is one that your average American is not exactly clamoring for.

Having peered under the rock of my own party (and that of the other party as well-years ago we were active Democrats) my opinion is I wish I could throw every last one on either side out and start over with noobs. We'd lose a handful of good people on either side, but we have such a proportion of powermad crooks on both sides that it would be worth it.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:15 PM on August 12, 2009


Baloney. Sure, they may love their fantasies of civil war, and love to talk tough, and love to be part of a mob. And, as I said, I wouldn't be terribly surprised if there are shootings. But open civil war is orders of magnitude beyond that, and frankly I think it's orders of magnitude beyond what these pitiful people are capable of as well.
posted by Flunkie at 12:54 PM on August 12, 2009


Obama is getting 400x the death threats that Bush suffered.

The article you linked to said he's getting 400% more death threats than Bush did. That's 5x, not 400x.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:20 PM on August 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I don't see this ever coming to a bone fide civil war, either. Random crazies are on the uptick, definitely, but we're a long, long way from building barricades in the streets.

For one: we are, as a country, pretty damned lazy folks. We have it so incredibly easy here, compared to the vast numbers of other people on the planet, that we as a nation are BFFs with complacency, and extremely resistant to anything that would disrupt our overall very comfortable lives. For another: a revolution requires a tremendous amount of organization, and a coherent message, and the anti-reformists can't even get their stories straight on what they're outraged about. Thirdly: as pointed out above, a revolution takes a shitload of guts. It takes an absolute willingness to put everything you treasure on the altar of revolution, to sacrifice everything you love because you believe it will ultimately result in a greater good. These people are pissed off, sure, but there's no there there, you know?

What we're seeing in these townhalls is, in my opinion, an extension of the Great Internet Fuckwad theory. The protesters and the weeping grannies and the spittle-flecked bubbas are still effectively anonymous (except for the ones who are ballsy enough to spew their nonsense to the all-too-eager press), and therefore are personally jeopardizing nothing by being part of an angry, irrational mob. There's no risk involved; there's just the cheap thrill of getting your rage on in public, and at the end of the day they still go home to their families and their big-screen TVs and their ranch homes on 0.75 acres, satisfied with a sense that they've actually made! a! difference!, dangit.

Funny thing is, nothing could be farther from the truth.
posted by shiu mai baby at 1:38 PM on August 12, 2009


One reason why I find both the prospect of a conservative-sparked civil war (and the liberal utopian idea of the Urban Archipelago) unlikely is that regionalism in the United States has been steadily waning over the last century. The political, cultural, and economic demarcations that were so critical to the American Civil War (and the American Revolution before that) have become increasingly fuzzy in a global economy with a high degree of individual mobility.

And besides, a revolution or civil war would likely mean the cancellation of NFL and Nascar, and we can't have that.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:15 PM on August 12, 2009


Obama is getting 400x the death threats that Bush suffered.
The article you linked to said he's getting 400% more death threats than Bush did. That's 5x, not 400x.


D-oh! That'll learn me for not reviewing a link after I've dug it out of my "interesting bits" folder!

You are, of course, correct.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:51 PM on August 12, 2009


So if not a traditional War for Southern Independence/War of Northern Aggression style of war, what with the muskets and all, how about a Tamil Tiger style of civil war? A FARC-style war? A Taliban-style guerilla/insurgency force? The IRA?

The wingnuts want a Christian Dominion State. You have a group that is rather like a mirror image of the Parti Québécois. And things have been real tense about the PQ situation for a very long time, with guns and killings and national guard lockdown of citizens. Iron fist stuff back in the seventies.

Your wingnuts currently appear to have traction, and the result is going to be a marked increase in gun violence, racial violence, and political violence.

The rest of the nation is going to find themselves having to come to grips with a new type of culture, just like London did. I think it is fair to call it a form of (un)civil war.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:05 PM on August 12, 2009


five fresh fish: So if not a traditional War for Southern Independence/War of Northern Aggression style of war, what with the muskets and all, how about a Tamil Tiger style of civil war? A FARC-style war? A Taliban-style guerilla/insurgency force? The IRA?

Well, if you want to argue it that way, we've been at war since Oklahoma City and Atlanta. Or since the 16th St. Baptist Church bombing of 1963. I don't think such a broad definition of civil war is very meaningful or useful.

But the other side of the story is that there are some pretty substantial reports going on in the alternative media of town hall meetings where supporters of the reform bill outnumber critics by a fair amount, and intercepted email messages that imply that disruptions are orchestrated and staged around the presence of news media.

Are we going to see a marked increase in violence? Probably. There was a marked increase associated with the debate over military action after 9/11. I don't see that translating into a mass revolt however.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:28 PM on August 12, 2009


Grassley and Steele endorse Palin's lie about "death panels". The Republican Party has officially become the Liar Party.
posted by dirigibleman at 4:03 PM on August 12, 2009


Obama Team Say They Were 'Caught Off Guard' by Right-Wing Healthcare Tsunami
posted by homunculus at 4:05 PM on August 12, 2009


Well, not a mass revolt. A 20% revolt of the 20% nutters, perhaps. The exceptionally nutter.

I mean, you get guys showing up with guns to the town hall meetings, and you just know they're primed for a bad end. Desperate people do desperate things. The nutters are not going to give up the bad old past graciously.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:54 PM on August 12, 2009


If anybody gets shot at one of these town halls, I will personally go to NYC to participate in the mob that burns down Fox News HQ.
posted by empath at 7:05 PM on August 12, 2009


Wow. This senator needs universal healthcare in the worst way. Doctor, stat!
posted by five fresh fish at 7:13 PM on August 12, 2009


If anybody gets shot at one of these town halls, I will personally go to NYC to participate in the mob that burns down Fox News HQ.

This raises a good point: Why aren't we all out vigorously protesting Fox news everyday? Doing everything possible to shut them out, or at least, kick up enough fuss that the rest of the media has to acknowledge what so many of us see already about Fox's right-wing political agitation and failure to serve the public interest.

Shouldn't we be forming human blockades outside the entrances to their studios to keep their cast of sinister exaggerators off the air and to send the world a clear signal about who the real enemy is?

Obviously, the days when the FCC could flex its muscles to put an end to blatant fraud and sedition on the airwaves are gone. Action against Fox is not an option for the current administration, at any rate, because it's such a political landmine--hell, I half think this is Fox's game plan: to push the envelope so far Obama has no choice but to call for them to tone down their rhetoric, which of course, they'll use as fodder to accuse him of being a homegrown Chavez.

So the administration can't stop Fox from inciting its viewers to murder and sedition. But direct action could at least give Fox something to think about. Just hitting Fox's bottom line enough--delaying production schedules, etc.--could force them to rethink their editorial policies a bit.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:38 PM on August 12, 2009


Holy Christ Glen Beck is a goddamned lunatic.

Yes, I just linked to LGF. Even they think he's fucking nuts.
posted by empath at 8:12 PM on August 12, 2009


This raises a good point: Why aren't we all out vigorously protesting Fox news everyday? Doing everything possible to shut them out, or at least, kick up enough fuss that the rest of the media has to acknowledge what so many of us see already about Fox's right-wing political agitation and failure to serve the public interest.


My ironymeter just exploded.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:21 PM on August 12, 2009


But direct action could at least give Fox something to think about. Just hitting Fox's bottom line enough--delaying production schedules, etc.--could force them to rethink their editorial policies a bit.

That would just portray the protesters as liberal thugs.
posted by vibrotronica at 8:23 PM on August 12, 2009


Fox News is ued to being silenced all it's life!
posted by Artw at 8:30 PM on August 12, 2009


Well, you can join the call for advertisers to stop sponsoring Beck. Geico recently pulled their ads.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:41 PM on August 12, 2009


That would just portray the protesters as liberal thugs.

No, if done in a serious way, it could change the national media focus to Fox News and its ridiculously dishonest business model.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:21 AM on August 13, 2009


My ironymeter just exploded.

There's nothing ironic about protesting a machine that spins out lies for profit. The outrage against the tea baggers and town hall rabble-rousers stems from the fact that they've become increasingly violent and don't seem to have even half a clue what it is they're talking about because they've been fed so much information from dishonest actors in the media like Fox. So our real issue isn't with them, it's with Fox.

Taking on the protesters themselves would be unproductive and would probably just lead to an escalation in tension. Protesting Fox raises questions that have to be addressed in the national media that one way or another end up calling Fox's integrity into question, finally giving the other media outlets an opening to focus their attention on the unethical way Fox runs its business. If ultimately, that drove Fox out of business, it would be good for the major networks because there'd be one less competitor for market share. It's a win-win for everyone (well, except those who believe protecting the right of media moguls to spread incendiary lies and stoke internal discord in pursuit of narrow economic interests are essential to the public interest).
posted by saulgoodman at 6:33 AM on August 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


There must be an anti-compete agreement between networks, because one would think it'd be financially advantageous for one of the reality-based (are any of them reality based any more?) networks to savage hell out of its lying bastard competitor.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:26 AM on August 13, 2009


The Swiftboating Of Health Care Reform: When Facts No Longer Matter
posted by homunculus at 1:18 PM on August 13, 2009


When Stating the Obvious Becomes an Act of Courage
posted by homunculus at 2:35 PM on August 14, 2009


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