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August 19, 2009 5:03 AM   Subscribe

Ma'am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table - I have no interest in doing it! Congressman Barney Frank confronts a woman at a town hall meeting who compared Obama to Hitler.
posted by crossoverman (350 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite

 
Now if only the rest of your congresspeople had the balls to talk to these idiots as they deserve to be spoken to. Instead, you have congresspeople that pick up the dining room table and carry it around with them. Instead, they lean on it, and eat off it...
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 5:07 AM on August 19, 2009 [54 favorites]


On one hand, I agree with him and it's refreshing to see that sort of nonsense addressed for what it is, rather than trying to dignify it. On the other hand, if you're going to make those type of cracks, then you lose the ability to turn around with your next breath and say:
"Do you really think that's thoughtful conversion?" Frank said at one point in response to the verbal attacks. "Do you really think that advances your argument? I mean, I thought you were thoughtful people here to have a conversation."
posted by cribcage at 5:08 AM on August 19, 2009


The woman made a meaningless argument and he put her in her place. Of course he gets to wonder what the hell they are doing making that sort of comparison and then verbally attacking him because he didn't lie down and take it.
posted by crossoverman at 5:13 AM on August 19, 2009 [11 favorites]


Go Barney!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:15 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Calling a gay jew... a nazi?
And here I thought our rightwingers were bad...
posted by _dario at 5:17 AM on August 19, 2009 [38 favorites]


Wepwesentative Fwank is my hewo!

Seriously (and hopefully no offense for my ham-handed joke at the expense of his speech impediment), I love Barny Frank and this is just another example of why.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:18 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Barney's Great Adventure (new yorker profile)
posted by Non Prosequitur at 5:18 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Approved.
posted by knapah at 5:18 AM on August 19, 2009


Yabba Dabba Dooo!
posted by gman at 5:22 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Barney Frank rules so much. I remember I fell in love with him the first time I saw him, which was in a campaign commercial in 2004.

*bunch of commie nonsense* followed by "I'm Barney Frank and I approve this message. Who else would?"
posted by DU at 5:22 AM on August 19, 2009 [9 favorites]


Go Barney. I'd move to MA just to be with him (and for the socialist health care), but I live in the district with another awesome member of congress, Jan Schakowsky.
posted by nax at 5:25 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, here's a fifteen-minute video that begins with the Obama-is-Hitler lady and continues, just to give you an idea of what Frank was putting up with all night.
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 5:26 AM on August 19, 2009 [21 favorites]


...you lose the ability to turn around with your next breath and say:

"Do you really think that's thoughtful conversion?" Frank said at one point in response to the verbal attacks. "Do you really think that advances your argument? I mean, I thought you were thoughtful people here to have a conversation."


I don't think you do lose your ability to say that any more than Wolfgang Pauli lost his ability to do science when he pronounced a theory not even wrong.
posted by DU at 5:26 AM on August 19, 2009 [27 favorites]


This was linked elsewhere, and all the commenters were crowing about how he put this woman in her place, etc. I was really excited to watch it, hoping that he was actually going to address the absurdity of her question, but instead he just got in and sniped her a bit. I understand that this conversation is frustrating, and involves one side yelling nonsense while the other side says "nuh uh!", but in a situation like that, where the noise level was reasonable, and the woman was genuinely listening (or at least not outwardly combative), Frank had a chance to make some real, worthwhile points about healthcare reform, instead of going the Dorothy Parker route. He is an intelligent, articulate guy, as evinced by his comeback, but this 'funny' response has the larger effect of demonstrating to the opponents of reform that those in favor are dismissive of them and unwilling or unable to come up with a real reason or logic behind the reform.
posted by orville sash at 5:27 AM on August 19, 2009 [8 favorites]


I kind of love this guy now.

I am thrilled to see a politician say what I've been thinking about these people: What planet are you from?
posted by cmyk at 5:30 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nothing combative about calling a gay Jew a Nazi sympathizer. She probably would have come around to his POV if he'd just laid out some policy details.
posted by DU at 5:31 AM on August 19, 2009 [49 favorites]


I hear what you're saying, cribcage, but the way I heard that was that Rep. Frank used a variety of the tools in his pretty extraordinary rhetorical toolbox to shut down the woman and other protesters.

I'll second Non Prosequitur's suggestion of the New Yorker profile. I loved Rep. Frank when he came to Minneapolis with Rep. Ellison to hold an open hearing about the foreclosure crisis last year. This article made me love him even more.
posted by elmer benson at 5:32 AM on August 19, 2009


One thing that pained me most about moving north of the Charles was that Frank was no longer my rep.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:35 AM on August 19, 2009


I've got to give Franks credit for not using the phrase "fucking idiot" in his response, I don't think I could have kept from saying it.

And, orville, that woman was neither "genuinely listening" nor looking for a "real reason or logic", it would have been a waste of Franks' breath, and he communicated that very well.

The noise generated by the right wing nut-job media and their ditto-head followers has one purpose, to influence the outcome of the next election...they will say anything that they think will cloud people's judgement, including making Obama look like Hitler on a poster, calling him a socialist, and defaming him in any manner possible... they could give a shit about truth, and they don't care about the people of this country...
posted by HuronBob at 5:37 AM on August 19, 2009 [24 favorites]


Nothing combative about calling a gay Jew a Nazi sympathizer.

Really, what could be more reflective of Hitler's "useless eater" policies than proposing programs to give everyone access to affordable healthcare?
posted by Pollomacho at 5:41 AM on August 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


but this 'funny' response has the larger effect of demonstrating to the opponents of reform that those in favor are dismissive of them

When opponents of reform are equating Obama with Hitler and showing up to town hall meetings carrying loaded assault rifles, maybe the common ground needed to communicate with them is yielding fast.

If healthcare opponents have become marginalized, they will have few to blame but themselves, by now. It's not Senator Frank's fault that these people are violent bozos, and he's not at all obligated to humor their insane bullshit. His time is as valuable as any other Senator's, and they should pay him the same respect they would pay any Republican legislator.

If they can't do that, then they'll quickly find themselves without a voice in most any non-brownshirt venue.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:42 AM on August 19, 2009 [62 favorites]


He's trying to talk sense! Quick, shout him down with one of the phrases from our sheet of talking points!

Go, Barney, go. He makes this native Bay Stater proud for telling it like it is.
posted by Spatch at 5:43 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Barney Frank is my hero. There's no reasoning with the dingbats who show up to do nothing but disrupt for the sake of disruption, and call Obama "Hitler" because they're too meek to admit they're racists. You go, Barney.
posted by xingcat at 5:45 AM on August 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that lady was a LaRoucheian, not a right-wing evangelical Glenn Beck-head.
posted by billysumday at 5:54 AM on August 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


I was really excited to watch it, hoping that he was actually going to address the absurdity of her question, but instead he just got in and sniped her a bit.

The point of that absurdity is that you have to shoot it down with the withering contempt it deserves. "Why do you support this Nazi policy?" is as much a form of bad faith argumentation as "When did you stop beating your wife?", because if you answer the question, you risk conceding the contemptible assumptions hidden in the question.
posted by jonp72 at 5:54 AM on August 19, 2009 [14 favorites]


Another example of Godwin's Law. This woman is an idiot. So are the legion of folks who called Bush a Nazi.

As much as you think it advances your political agenda to compare your opponent to the Nazis - it ultimately just makes you look like an idiot. If you think any aspect modern American political discourse is "like the Nazis" you should read more history.

(...Good for Barney...)
posted by LakesideOrion at 5:57 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


And of course that photo on the Fox News article linked upthread makes it look like Barney just stood there, lost and shrugging, while the crowd raged against him.

From the footage I've seen on the local news about the event, there were plenty of people there asking about and for healthcare reform. It's sad that the only takeaway we'll see nationally from the event is Frank putting down a nutter.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:57 AM on August 19, 2009


The disruptions at these town hall meetings are not democracy, but an undermining of democracy. They are pure political theater, organized by PR firms and based in a deliberate campaign of misinformation intended to terrify the very ignorant, and then turn their terror into outrage, and they are supported by Republicans in office, not because Obama's nascent health care plan is especially bad, but because they're sole purpose is the craven seeking of power, and they are so furious to have lost the power that they so hideously abused for eight years that they have turned bullying and obstructionist, and will do anything at all to try and make Obama seem like a devil, and make his policies fail, so they can trumpet his failures during the next election to attempt to seize power again. It is pure political theater, and a hideous betrayal of our democratic ideals, which rely on the free exchange of valid and factually accurate ideas.

Civility? War has been declared on us, and these people who show up at the town hall meeting with guns and inflamed rhetoric are not interested in forwarding the democratic process, but shouting it down. They are missiles lobbed at democracy by powermongers using the same propagandistic tools favored by totalitarians, and if Barney Miller had been able to open his mouth and incinerate the woman, dragonlike, with a massive puff of flame, he would have been justified in doing so.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:57 AM on August 19, 2009 [297 favorites]


in a situation like that, where the noise level was reasonable, and the woman was genuinely listening (or at least not outwardly combative)

She was proudly waving around a picture of Obama on which she had drawn a Hitler mustache. That woman wasn't listening to shit.
posted by sugarfish at 5:58 AM on August 19, 2009 [34 favorites]


If Democrats went to Republican events and behaved like these teabaggers, they'd be tasered and thrown in jail. Rep. Frank showed amazing restraint.
posted by 3.2.3 at 6:02 AM on August 19, 2009 [18 favorites]


But, but. But. She wasn't a Republican. Why do people keep saying she was? Gah.
posted by billysumday at 6:08 AM on August 19, 2009


Astro Zombie, I would favorite yours infinity if I could. Every single person in America should read that post.
posted by zardoz at 6:09 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


The disruptions at these town hall meetings are not democracy, but an undermining of democracy. They are pure political theater, organized by PR firms and based in a deliberate campaign of misinformation

they may have started that way, but things have gotten out of control - i can't imagine how people showing up outside of these meetings with assault rifles is any kind of good p r - maybe some people like what they see, but most of us are going wtf?

and to think people on the left used to complain about free mumia signs and stilt puppets at protests being off message
posted by pyramid termite at 6:15 AM on August 19, 2009


Hateful nuts who are not ready for any kind of reasonable argument deserve the verbal spanking they get from people like Barney Frank.

Reasonable people who question health reform but are willing to discuss things reasonably can read Roger Ebert's essay instead.
"Death panels" is such an excellent term. You know exactly what it means, and therefore you know you're against them. Debate over. ... I saw a documentary last year about Lee Atwater, the strategist for the Reagan and George H. W. Bush campaigns, the mentor of Karl Rove and George Bush. The man was a brilliant creator of memes. Among his coinages were "Whitewater," which inspired a $70 million federal investigation into a $28,000 financial loss. He made "Willie Horton" a code term. He got many people to believe "Michael Dukakis opposed the Pledge of Allegiance." He was capable of outrageous invention, as when about the Willie Horton ad he said with a straight face: "I don't think a lot of Southerners even noticed there was a black man in that ad."

Atwater might have been proud of "Death panels." Those two little words have derailed the town hall meetings, by stirring up such unruly dissent that legislators have been shouted down by their own constituents. The town halls were designed to promote rational discussion of health care, a dialogue between lawmakers and their constituents. They have failed. Now those two words threaten to derail the public option provisions of the Obama plan.
Meanwhile: 45% Of Americans Believe, Falsely, That Obama Will Create Death Panels
posted by maudlin at 6:17 AM on August 19, 2009 [11 favorites]


I like the idea, Astro Zombie, but I think that would have set Hal Linden's moustache on fire.
posted by adipocere at 6:17 AM on August 19, 2009 [19 favorites]


There's also footage of a woman screeching "Heil Hitler!" at an Israeli man talking about health care at some sort of right-wing "town hall" in Las Vegas.

This whole "protest" thing has gone way beyond the bounds of standard American political discourse as we have known it.
posted by blucevalo at 6:20 AM on August 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


No, Obama is Miller. Frank is Fish. I think Rahm is Wojo.
posted by maudlin at 6:20 AM on August 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


Frank had a chance to make some real, worthwhile points about healthcare reform, instead of going the Dorothy Parker route

It's all they understand.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:21 AM on August 19, 2009


"I'm pretty sure that lady was a LaRoucheian, not a right-wing evangelical Glenn Beck-head."

Yeah, we need a good fpp on LaRouche and his wackadoo world because he's been out of the public eye for a while now, a lot of people probably don't know much about him, and I've noticed in quite a bit of the town hall footage that gets picked up for quick mainstream media hits (e.g. the weirdest of the weird) that the ones pushing the Nazi angle tend to be LaRouche cultists.

(Not to say that the meme hasn't been picked up by the larger Fox News-watching, "there's a you-know-what in the White House, and when I go to the Wendy's now, they're all jabbering in Spanish - what the hell's happened to this country?" crowd, but I think that's what's driving this particular strain.)
posted by Naberius at 6:25 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


My brother is about to move into his district in September. We're all very pleased.

Go Barney Frank, you are an awesome American.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:26 AM on August 19, 2009


Barney Miller (For Astro Zombie.)
posted by raysmj at 6:28 AM on August 19, 2009


These demonstrators, shouters and disruptors are afraid. They are just the pawns. They seem to be mostly white and middle or lower class. They are being told that someday soon, maybe in their children's generation, Hispanics and Brown People will be in the majority in America. Our newly elected President is Brown (or black, if you prefer). They feel that they and their way of life are threatened. Can we figure out a way to address these people that will allay their fears? Fearful people are dangerous people. They are easily used. I know they are ignorant and plain stupid, but there must be a way we can show them the light.
posted by Hobgoblin at 6:29 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Barney Frank and Chuck Schumer should have their own zany show about being roommates with Jeff Sessions.
posted by munchingzombie at 6:30 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


How does CNN giving this lady 30 seconds on-air spouting this nonsense help move the health-care discussion forward? Do you need more tabloid news on tv?
posted by Bearman at 6:31 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Either she's mentally ill or she has some amazing cajones.

Either way, go Barney! Thank goodness he didn't take the Claire McCaskill route: "don't you trust me?"
posted by Leezie at 6:34 AM on August 19, 2009


I think it's important to note that if Abe Vigoda were British, he would be dead by now.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:34 AM on August 19, 2009 [12 favorites]


It is pure political theater, and a hideous betrayal of our democratic ideals, which rely on the free exchange of valid and factually accurate ideas.

Show me a time in our history when a bunch of people ever assembled together for the purpose of freely exchanging valid and factually accurate ideas beyond the level of a school board meeting. It's never happened. It's a fiction. Political discourse in this country has always been and will always be about propaganda, frustration, anger, tactics, violence. To imagine some idealized, perfect time in our nation's history where everyone got together and sat around a table with a cup of tea and hammered out how things should work is just as ridiculous, untrue, and insidious as the nostalgic fever-dreams of a white Christian utopia that so many conservatives seem to have. The fact is, it's always easier to stop something from happening, or to destroy the process of achieving progress than it is to build something, create something. The conservatives know this, it's their MO for chrissakes, and they're trying to do it once again. Whenever there is the threat of progress, there is tied with it the threat of violence to stop that progress from happening. Do we have the resolve to push through and persevere anyway? Maybe progressives had more backbone in the 30s.

Ok, so, people are bringing guns to events for the purpose of intimidation. And? It doesn't seem to be working - in fact, health reform supporters are beginning to outnumber health reform protesters at many of these town hall events. If in the unfortunate event that one of these fringe black-helicopter NWO nuts ends up firing a gun in a public place, it won't spark a Paultard revolution. It will completely diffuse the movement and shift the momentum back to the Democrats - most Americans don't like people shooting other people at public events, and these town halls have already gotten enough media attention so people will rightly blame the far-right for anything that happens.

There is a lot of hand-wringing right now going on in Democratic circles. Hand me the smelling salts already. Buck up, Junior. The right got their side fired up, now the left is all riled up. We've got spirit, yes we do, we've got spirit, how bout you! A year ago I didn't think it was possible that America would even consider a public option for health insurance - now a majority of Democrats are willing to abandon the President if he doesn't include it in a congressional bill (which would be sort of difficult for him to do, since he's the Prez).

There is still hope. Real progress can still be made. And some random guy at a public event with a holstered gun is not going to stop it. Kent Conrad and Ben Nelson are more of a threat to progressive ideas than some brain-washed LaRouchey. Eyes on the prize.
posted by billysumday at 6:35 AM on August 19, 2009 [69 favorites]


Well played, sir.
posted by robcorr at 6:37 AM on August 19, 2009


Thank goodness he didn't take the Claire McCaskill route: "don't you trust me?"

Yeah, if nothing else, this town hall stuff is pointing up very clearly how completely out of touch a lot of Congresspeople are with anything resembling reality. That goes for members from both parties. That footage of Sheila Jackson-Lee taking a call on her cell phone while a woman in the audience is talking about her experiences with the health care system is pretty amazing.
posted by blucevalo at 6:39 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


What I don't understand is that some people are coming out against socialized medicine, even as they accept it for themselves.

From the WSJ: "Diane Campbell of Kingston, N.H., held a sign with Mr. Obama's face superimposed on a Nazi storm trooper, a sign, she said, that was made by her chronically ill mother.

Her mother's hereditary autoimmune disease is treated with expensive transfusions of gamma globulin, paid for by Medicare. Her sister, Louise, was born with no arms and one leg, and is also covered by Medicare, the government-run, health-insurance program for the elderly and disabled.

'Adolf Hitler was for exterminating the weak, not just the Jews and stuff, and socialism -- that's what's going to happen.'"
posted by Houstonian at 6:41 AM on August 19, 2009 [15 favorites]


On the other hand, if you're going to make those type of cracks, then you lose the ability to turn around with your next breath and say:

"Do you really think that's thoughtful conversion?" Frank said at one point in response to the verbal attacks. "Do you really think that advances your argument? I mean, I thought you were thoughtful people here to have a conversation."


Alright, if you think he should have tried using reason: How do you know that he didn't try to be reasonable first and then resort to the smackdown? How do you know that he didn't try to be reasonable, issue the smackdown and then try reason again? We only have a partial clip of the whole event.

Personally, I don't think that she was capable of thoughtful conversation. That was pretty apparent.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:42 AM on August 19, 2009


It's a fiction. Political discourse in this country has always been and will always be about propaganda, frustration, anger, tactics, violence. To imagine some idealized, perfect time in our nation's history where everyone got together and sat around a table with a cup of tea and hammered out how things should work is just as ridiculous, untrue, and insidious as the nostalgic fever-dreams of a white Christian utopia that so many conservatives seem to have.

No, I don't think you have to posit a happy, fluffy, airbrushed history where rational, calm Americans sat around a conference table neatly lined with dainty place settings to conclude that there is something unusually out of kilter with people proudly toting semiautomatic weapons at a presidential event and screeching "Heil Hitler!"
posted by blucevalo at 6:42 AM on August 19, 2009 [8 favorites]


You know, I have to say these health care forums are one of the worst ideas ever. What's the point of these things? To communicate to the american people about a serious topic? This is a bad way to do that. Just print up a couple pamphlets or something. Yeah it takes time and effort to read but less time and effort to drive out and sit through the show. To listen to the voices of the american people? Um poll them, that way you get a representitive sample. This is the equivilent of going to the star wars premiere and determing that 20% of americans like dressing up like chewbaka. To answer peoples questions? Establish a telephone line and an FAQ. You shouldn't have to drive to the circus to get your questions answered. To create the illusion of dialogue? That's about right.

But since illusion is politics they have to be judged by the political effectiveness and in that respect they seem to be a terrible failure. It makes it seem like there are a ton of angry cranks terrified of trying to fix a profoundly flawed system. I mean there probably are literally more than a ton, but as a percentage they are dramatically overrepresented in town hall meetings. Do you know how people actually make decisions. By deciding what's normal. By splitting the difference. And if it looks like half of america or more (since the circus makes for good tv) is furious at a dangerous government program people will decide that there has to be some truth to that. And politicians being like people but even more cowardly are even more scared of the vocal opposition.

Nixon was right about there being a silent majority. He was wrong about a lot of things but right about that. And it probably never occured to him to throw little rallies for the rabble to rouse.
posted by I Foody at 6:43 AM on August 19, 2009 [10 favorites]


Have I been watching so much Barney Miller that I misidentified Mr. Frank?

Sheesh. Back to bed.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:43 AM on August 19, 2009


> There's also footage of a woman screeching "Heil Hitler!" at an Israeli man talking about health care at some sort of right-wing "town hall" in Las Vegas.

That's just... appalling. The guys seems like he can't believe what he's just heard. She could scarcely have been more offensive if she'd spat on him. Never mind politics, how can you stand face to face to another human and be so contemptible towards them.
posted by adamt at 6:43 AM on August 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


She was most definitely a LaRouche-ite. I saw them at a town hall last night with their Obama/Hitler posters. I even picked up a couple in case they are collector's items some day - their stupidity is truly of historical portions.

But they're not Republicans or just idiots, they're a cult. They're a political Fred Phelps, a Time Cube. They're not to be feared, merely pitied.
posted by fungible at 6:44 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm not an American, so I tend to watch this nonsense (along with the guys bringing guns to Obama rallies and yelling "Heil Hitler" at Jews) with detached amusement rather than cringing in frustration and embarrassment, but speaking as a RWer, the left has overplayed the Hitler card so many times that it's perversely satisfying to see it used against them, even if in the most ridiculous and dishonest manner. People fall for it. The town-hallers may be morons, but they're our morons, and that's what counts in the final analysis.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 6:46 AM on August 19, 2009


There are all sorts of things that have never happened that we should nonetheless aspire to.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:46 AM on August 19, 2009 [8 favorites]


The town-hallers may be morons, but they're our morons, and that's what counts in the final analysis.

What does that even mean? I'm not being snarky -- I'm trying to understand what you're saying, and I truly don't understand it, and I don't think I'm especially dense. What counts in the final analysis? How does it count? How does the fact that "they're our morons" matter? How does this connect with what you're saying about the left "overplaying the Hitler card"?
posted by blucevalo at 6:51 AM on August 19, 2009 [9 favorites]


Astro-Zombie, you left out only one detail: they're working.

We can all tell our grandchildren that we were there when rational thought left public discourse, to only be replaced with childish screaming. Why? Because childish screaming is working.
posted by Legomancer at 6:58 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


The town-hallers may be morons, but they're our morons, and that's what counts in the final analysis.

That's a fairly moronic thing to say.
posted by EarBucket at 7:01 AM on August 19, 2009 [13 favorites]


I appreciate what everyone who has responded to my response has said about the ability of a woman waving a picture of Obama doctored to look like Hitler around to listen to what Frank had to say. At the same time, I think that he could have incorporated his insouciant wit into a response which actually addressed this woman's hyperbolic wingnuttery, and driven home a point that much more powerful. Just because you and I and Barney Frank are tired of trying to reason with unreasonable people doesn't mean that becoming passionate and abusive will benefit us in any way. In fact, I think being dispassionate, on message and consistent (a lot of with the Obama administration has failed to do in the health care reform debate) is the most powerful line of defense. To his credit, after watching the extended clip upthread, I think that Frank represented himself and his ideas pretty well, doing exactly that: belittling interruptions while staying calm, articulate, and on message.

I empathize with everyone who is exhausted by the volume of stupidity that we are bearing witness (or witless?) to. I just don't agree that fighting fire with fire will get us anywhere in this situation. The integrity of public debate is already pretty well eroded, and I don't see any reason to be a party to that.
posted by orville sash at 7:03 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Quick correction: Senator Frank is actually a Representative. Mea culpa.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:06 AM on August 19, 2009


> There's also footage of a woman screeching "Heil Hitler!" at an Israeli man talking about health care at some sort of right-wing "town hall" in Las Vegas.

That's just... appalling. The guys seems like he can't believe what he's just heard. She could scarcely have been more offensive if she'd spat on him. Never mind politics, how can you stand face to face to another human and be so contemptible towards them.


Did you notice, at the end, when he's trying to get back on topic and discuss how much health care cost him that year, she's doing this fake boo-hoo crying thing? After verbally spitting on the guy and having nothing but contempt on her face for him when he calls our on out it? Disgusting. Just disgusting.
posted by sandraregina at 7:07 AM on August 19, 2009 [15 favorites]


her out on it.
posted by sandraregina at 7:10 AM on August 19, 2009


I'm pretty sure that lady was a LaRoucheian, not a right-wing evangelical Glenn Beck-head.

Not much difference, these days.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:10 AM on August 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


Barney is Frank.
posted by The Whelk at 7:11 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm impressed with the Israeli's self-restraint. I don't think I could have stopped myself hitting her.

The list of things depressing me about America has been growing longer and longer recently. Death panels, assault rifles at political rallies, the Obama/Hitler posters, etc. Barney Frank's response here reminds me that the US isn't entirely full of nutters, they're just the vocal ones. (and controversy sells)
posted by knapah at 7:13 AM on August 19, 2009


At the same time, I think that he could have incorporated his insouciant wit into a response which actually addressed this woman's hyperbolic wingnuttery, and driven home a point that much more powerful.

"Yeah, well the Jerk Panel called and..."
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 7:13 AM on August 19, 2009 [19 favorites]


The town-hallers may be toting guns, but they are pointing the guns at Democrats and that's what matters in the final solutionanalysis.
posted by DU at 7:14 AM on August 19, 2009


I know this might sound crazy, but it might just work. We divide up the USA into three sections. The far left gets the west coast, the far right gets the east coast, and everyone else lives in the middle.
posted by digsrus at 7:14 AM on August 19, 2009


You know, I have to say these health care forums are one of the worst ideas ever.

perhaps - since rep dingell's rowdy town hall meeting, michigan's congresspeople have decided not to have any that are open to the general public

But since illusion is politics they have to be judged by the political effectiveness and in that respect they seem to be a terrible failure. It makes it seem like there are a ton of angry cranks terrified of trying to fix a profoundly flawed system.

so basically the opposition has now portrayed themselves as a "ton of angry cranks" - that's political effectiveness right there

napoleon said it - never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake
posted by pyramid termite at 7:15 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


As much as you think it advances your political agenda to compare your opponent to the Nazis - it ultimately just makes you look like an idiot. If you think any aspect modern American political discourse is "like the Nazis" you should read more history.

Well sure, no aspect as long as you don't count a crowd of people who routinely dismiss vast swaths of humanity as sub-human, want to extract revenge for the crimes of a few on an entire demographics and consider thinly veiled threats of violence (or, occasional actual violence) for political purposes as being like anything that might have gone on in Germany circa 1936, then sure, they're as different as night and day.

Personally, I'm unwilling to trust anyone with an oven much bigger than you need to cook a mid-sized ham the moment I learn that my disagreeing with them makes me a subhuman in their eyes.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:16 AM on August 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


At the same time, I think that he could have incorporated his insouciant wit into a response which actually addressed this woman's hyperbolic wingnuttery, and driven home a point that much more powerful.

... and ended up with cnn ignoring it - i'm almost wondering if the networks are paying these people to act up so they'll have good footage to increase their ratings
posted by pyramid termite at 7:19 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


What does that even mean? I'm not being snarky -- I'm trying to understand what you're saying, and I truly don't understand it, and I don't think I'm especially dense. What counts in the final analysis? How does it count? How does the fact that "they're our morons" matter? How does this connect with what you're saying about the left "overplaying the Hitler card"?

What I mean is that the fact that they may be full of shit on this particular issue (healthcare) is less important to me than the fact that they are on the same side of the political spectrum. Obama's attitude towards the 1st amendment means he needs to fail. Healthcare can take a bath. It's a matter of correct priorities.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 7:22 AM on August 19, 2009


Obama's attitude towards the 1st amendment means he needs to fail. Healthcare can take a bath. It's a matter of correct priorities.

Nose, meet knife. Face is crying and crying, but fuck it. Spite trumps all.

Oh, wait, you're not American and you have no empathy. This is all a game to you.

(Oh, and first amendment? Really? Pray, explain.)
posted by maudlin at 7:27 AM on August 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


Obama's attitude towards the 1st amendment means he needs to fail.

What on earth are you talking about? Seriously. I have no idea what you're saying.
posted by ValkoSipuliSuola at 7:29 AM on August 19, 2009 [21 favorites]


so basically the opposition has now portrayed themselves as a "ton of angry cranks" - that's political effectiveness right there

One of the reasons why it has become tougher is due to misperceptions about the president’s plans for reform.

Majorities in the poll believe the plans would give health insurance coverage to illegal immigrants; would lead to a government takeover of the health system; and would use taxpayer dollars to pay for women to have abortions — all claims that nonpartisan fact-checkers say are untrue about the legislation that has emerged so far from Congress.

Forty-five percent think the reform proposals would allow the government to make decisions about when to stop providing medical care for the elderly.

posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 7:29 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


What I mean is that the fact that they may be full of shit on this particular issue (healthcare) is less important to me than the fact that they are on the same side of the political spectrum.

The same side as what?

Obama's attitude towards the 1st amendment means he needs to fail.

wha

Healthcare can take a bath. It's a matter of correct priorities.

The correct priorities apparently being that a political failure for Obama is more important than that people can afford to see a doctor?
posted by DU at 7:30 AM on August 19, 2009 [9 favorites]


The childish screaming's not working. It works in the sort run, but they're going to be sorely disappointed.

Be patient.
posted by grubi at 7:35 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Barney Frank: America's gay, catty best friend.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:40 AM on August 19, 2009 [21 favorites]


I'm not an American, so I tend to watch this nonsense (along with the guys bringing guns to Obama rallies and yelling "Heil Hitler" at Jews) with detached amusement rather than cringing in frustration and embarrassment, but speaking as a RWer, the left has overplayed the Hitler card so many times that it's perversely satisfying to see it used against them, even if in the most ridiculous and dishonest manner.

As much as we've garnered a reputation, we haven't cornered the market, so not being an American doesn't mean you're not an asshole.

Also, two wrongs don't make a right—ever heard of it?
posted by defenestration at 7:40 AM on August 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


Obama's attitude towards the 1st amendment means he needs to fail.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 7:22 AM on August 19 [+] [!] [?!?!???]
posted by kid ichorous at 7:40 AM on August 19, 2009 [31 favorites]


We divide up the USA into three sections. The far left gets the west coast, the far right gets the east coast, and everyone else lives in the middle.

YOU try telling most New Yorkers they have to move to the West Coast. This would not fly.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:41 AM on August 19, 2009 [9 favorites]


I don't know who LaRouche is (sounds like I should be grateful for that), but if this is really his doing, maybe some pictures of his face with that Hitler mustache would be more appropriate.

Actually, that's a really bad idea, even though it would probably get some democrats TV time for a change.

Anyway...Go, Barney Frank!
posted by misha at 7:41 AM on August 19, 2009


The correct priorities apparently being that a political failure for Obama is more important than that people can afford to see a doctor?

Yes. Obama has shown himself to be hostile towards the principle of free speech, so he must fail. It is indeed unfortunate that many Americans cannot afford to see a doctor, but those who cannot and yet voted for a president who is hostile to free speech should not expect sympathy.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 7:42 AM on August 19, 2009


It is indeed unfortunate that many Americans cannot afford to see a doctor, but those who cannot and yet voted for a president who is hostile to free speech should not expect sympathy.

Sir, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table - I have no interest in doing it!
posted by DU at 7:44 AM on August 19, 2009 [51 favorites]


In fact, I think being dispassionate, on message and consistent (a lot of with the Obama administration has failed to do in the health care reform debate) is the most powerful line of defense.

I think orville sash has done a good job of arguing for this position, and this strategy debate is an ongoing one for the scientific community as it wrestles with creationists. When the argument is refereed, as it was in the Dover School District trial, the result is predictable. But in a public forum, the rules are different, and engaging in debate and presenting dispassionate, reasoned arguments in a very real sense plays into your opponents’ hand, encouraging the notion that you should ‘teach the debate’ and allowing an equivalency between evolution and creationism that is not valid.
Yes, Frank could have talked about what the law said with regard to end-of-life issues and Obama’s position on whether ‘certain lives are not worth living’ and he could have given a reasoned smack-down based on facts. But that would allow this woman and those like her to frame the argument – to make the debate about healthcare hinge on what is in fact a minor issue in the overall health care legislation. Combustible Edison Lighthouse’s link shows how successful the insurance lobby (with the help of their useful idiots and a compliant press) has been in this framing.
What Barney Frank has chosen to do here (in my opinion) is the best way to move forward. In the longer video clip that NolanRyanHatesMatches posted above, you can see him disagreeing with other speakers without belittling their ideas. But by calling out this woman he is drawing a line – if you want to engage in this debate, your ideas have to have some semblance of reasonableness.
posted by Killick at 7:44 AM on August 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


Yes. Obama has shown himself to be hostile towards the principle of free speech, so he must fail. It is indeed unfortunate that many Americans cannot afford to see a doctor, but those who cannot and yet voted for a president who is hostile to free speech should not expect sympathy.

Arguing with you would be like arguing with a table, or whatever Frank said.

Anyway, to put it politely, I don't share your priorities and think your on the wrong side of a very important line here.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:44 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Damn you, DU.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:45 AM on August 19, 2009


That poor dumb woman had no idea of what she was going to say nor what others would do after she had dropped her inane Nazi comment. It seemed like that was all she had thought about was that shocker soundbite moment and no game after. She and others like her have devised their entire debate schema based on talking head pundits on cable news. It's good to see that that strategy fails in actual exchanges in real life, and it was also kind of satisfying to see her wilt when he asked her what planet she was living on.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:45 AM on August 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


Obama's attitude towards the 1st amendment means he needs to fail.

Adolf Hussein Obama can take my capital letters from my cold, dead hands!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:46 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


As much as we've garnered a reputation, we haven't cornered the market, so not being an American doesn't mean you're not an asshole.

Americans are not assholes. In general they are excessively liberal in outlook which verges on naive and gullible at times. I'm serious, even in comparison to Europe. In Europe it is all for show, countries like France and Denmark are far more right-wing (in practice) than you think.

Also, two wrongs don't make a right—ever heard of it?

Lesser of the two evils - ever heard of it?
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 7:48 AM on August 19, 2009


Obama has shown himself to be hostile towards the principle of free speech

Well, if you say it, it must be true!

I doubt you remember when Bush protesters were arrested for simply fucking wearing "No Bush" t-shirts to a town hall.

You're an idiot if you think that Obama suppresses free speech, and you're downright disabled if you think he's somehow worse than Bush. And if you don't believe me, why don't you spout your drooling nonsense from that "free speech zone" right over there, friend. No, a little further. A little further. Okay, good, I can't hear you anymore.
posted by billysumday at 7:49 AM on August 19, 2009 [25 favorites]


Lesser of the two evils - ever heard of it?

I have, but I am not sure how it factors in here. Could you detail what Obama's contempt for the first amendment is, and why it is a greater evil than letting poor people die for lack of health care. Please be very specific.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:49 AM on August 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


Geez. As much as I hate telling people who are far smarter than me what to do, please guys, stop feeding this troll.
posted by nushustu at 7:51 AM on August 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


Obama's attitude towards the 1st amendment means he needs to fail.

I suppose you mean by that that since he's granting an audience to the rabble and trying to address their complaints on their own terms then that means his initiatives are not worth pursuing? Look at your statement another way. George W. Bush routinely dropped pithy comments about the USA being a free country so protesters to the Iraq war could say what they liked but at the end of the day he still prosecuted the war.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:51 AM on August 19, 2009


Please be very specific

heh
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:51 AM on August 19, 2009


I really want to shake Barney Frank's hand. Thank you for standing up to these fear-mongering idiots.
posted by browse at 7:52 AM on August 19, 2009


I want to shake Barney Miller's hand.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:53 AM on August 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


L.P. Hatecraft demonstrates adeptly how the right-wing uses trolling to derail legitimate argument.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:54 AM on August 19, 2009 [32 favorites]


Americans are not assholes. In general they are excessively liberal in outlook

Are you sure you meant to put South Korea as your location in your profile?
posted by adamdschneider at 7:54 AM on August 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


Obama has shown himself to be hostile towards the principle of free speech [citation needed]
posted by EarBucket at 7:54 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, these nutters really don't know how to dress for their TV appearances. Tank top and sunglasses on your head? Almost as bad as the birther lady who looked like she took a break from mowing the lawn to cause a ruckus at a town hall meeting.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:55 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


ah, another fine day for the commonwealth. yay barney!
posted by rmd1023 at 7:57 AM on August 19, 2009


In Europe it is all for show, countries like France and Denmark are far more right-wing (in practice) than you think.

On the issue of health care -- and I was under the impression we were talking about health care -- they are not more right-wing than America; these two countries actually have health care. It is not just for show. They do not actually put old people in front of death panels.

On the issue of free speech and freedom of expression, I believe both countries are far more restrictive than America. So if you equate protecting the first amendment with the right wing, they are also more left-wing in that sense.

I think there's more anti-immigrant sentiment in both countries; is that what you mean?
posted by creasy boy at 7:57 AM on August 19, 2009


I have, but I am not sure how it factors in here. Could you detail what Obama's contempt for the first amendment is, and why it is a greater evil than letting poor people die for lack of health care. Please be very specific.

I'm talking about the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

I am skeptical that very many poor people die from lack of health care in the USA who would live under Obama's proposed system. In any case I view free speech as more important.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 7:58 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


LOL.
posted by EarBucket at 8:00 AM on August 19, 2009


I'm talking about the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

LOL. Okay.
posted by billysumday at 8:00 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm talking about the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Wow. You are a genuine nut. Megakudoes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:00 AM on August 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


Is there a polite way to tell somebody that their priorities are indefensible?
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:01 AM on August 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


I'm completely confused. Obama said he supports the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act. How is that anti-First Amendment?
posted by Houstonian at 8:03 AM on August 19, 2009


Is there a polite way to tell somebody that their priorities are indefensible?

This guy seems to have the right idea.
posted by EarBucket at 8:03 AM on August 19, 2009


How is that anti-First Amendment?

If we can't murder gay people, then the Muslim Socialists have truly won.
posted by EarBucket at 8:04 AM on August 19, 2009 [46 favorites]


Wow, I thought the First Amendment thing would turn out to be the warrantless wiretapping. And even at that, I was going to say that as much as I hated that, I wasn't going to stomp on healthcare because of it.

But it turns out you are talking about protecting the ability of bigots to beatup gays. I just....wow. Dining room table.
posted by DU at 8:04 AM on August 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


Holy shit, someone actually believes that? Really?
posted by Houstonian at 8:05 AM on August 19, 2009


Are you sure you meant to put South Korea as your location in your profile?

That's where I live. BTW, health care is great here, I went to the doctor last month and it only cost me about 20,000 won (around $USD 16).

America is the last bastion of free speech in the world. In the UK they are already sending people to jail for Holocaust denial and other ridiculous "crimes" such as "insulting minorities". Am I wrong to want to dig in my heels as far as the USA is concerned? If the USA caves in to orgs such as the ADL and SPLC, who will be left in the world to fight for freedom of speech? Do I have to move to China or Russia?
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 8:07 AM on August 19, 2009


It's always funny when there's a thread about nutters and then one shows up. The internet is so interactive.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:07 AM on August 19, 2009 [32 favorites]


gotta say L.P. Hatecraft, your posts come across as ADHD nonsense. Not trying to be inflammatory here, but Christ man, focus... lets see, according to Derailing for Dummies you should play the "Surprise! I Was Playing “Devil’s Advocate” All Along! " card pretty soon.
posted by edgeways at 8:07 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, I get it. It's a clever performance piece to demonstrate the parallels between being trolled in an internet thread and being trolled in a town hall meeting.

Right?
posted by Pragmatica at 8:08 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I ♥ Barney Frank.
posted by ericb at 8:09 AM on August 19, 2009


Once again Barney Frank is my Big Gay Hero.

From the New Yorker profile:
"Not long ago, Paul Begala, the political strategist, was speaking at a fund-raiser for a gay-rights group and said, 'When I told my father, back in Texas, that I was speaking to an L.G.B.T. group, he said that sounded like a sandwich.' From the audience, Frank called out, 'Sometimes it is!'"
posted by kirkaracha at 8:09 AM on August 19, 2009 [56 favorites]


Look, H.P. is right - if we want universal coverage, why bother with the people beating up teh gays? Their medical bills will be covered, after all.

</snark> - obviously, I hope
posted by SirNovember at 8:09 AM on August 19, 2009


- I'm pretty sure that lady was a LaRoucheian, not a right-wing evangelical Glenn Beck-head.

- Not much difference, these days.


No, there really is quite a difference. One couldn't be more AM radio-controlled if it were a fucking toy car; but the LaRouche canvasser is more of an opportunistic infection, thriving only in the gaps of a disrupted discourse, slipping into the wake of voices shouted hoarse to mutter his revolutionary spells over the crowd. LaRouche supporters do not care why the pulpit and picket lines, why the television cameras and the riot cops; only that someone left a microphone on. They freeload on other causes, piggyback on magic bullets and conspiracy theories, seek out and egg on conflict, and if they were to be crucified to the axis of Dungeons and Dragons morality, theirs would be chaotic stupid. Don't assume that this has a thing to do with Obama or healthcare.
posted by kid ichorous at 8:09 AM on August 19, 2009 [19 favorites]


Am I wrong to want to dig in my heels as far as the USA is concerned?

If it causes people to die for lack of health care, then, yes.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:10 AM on August 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wow. You are a genuine nut. Megakudoes.

Thanks, that means a lot to me. I'm not a nutcase though. I'm just high on life after living it for a prolonged period of time in a country without ridiculous restrictions on person freedom (ironically enough, a former East Asian dictatorship). You may think that the West is where people are "free" and in the East they "live a strict, regimented existence". In fact the opposite is the case.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 8:11 AM on August 19, 2009


Does the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Law mean that I, as a straight man, can't beat up another man for being a jackass in public? Because I'm a stupidophobe and I'd hate to have to create a "stupid panic" defense for smiting people.

Back on track: Go Mr. Frank. Nicely done.
posted by mephron at 8:12 AM on August 19, 2009


I don't actually think in scare quotes.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:12 AM on August 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


In the UK they are already sending people to jail for Holocaust denial

This is bollocks by the way. There's no law against holocaust denial here.
posted by knapah at 8:12 AM on August 19, 2009


We've officially entered Nilbog, friends.
posted by defenestration at 8:13 AM on August 19, 2009


America is the last bastion of free speech in the world.

Violence against gays and lesbians is not free speech. Except in Texas, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska and Iran.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:15 AM on August 19, 2009


L.P. Hatecraft: "I'm talking about the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
"

oh my god, this is the awesomest thread ever.
posted by shmegegge at 8:16 AM on August 19, 2009 [12 favorites]


This is bollocks by the way. There's no law against holocaust denial here.

Ask Simon Sheppard and Like O'Farrell.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 8:17 AM on August 19, 2009


So which is it: is America the last bastion of freedom, or is the East a lot more free than America?
posted by creasy boy at 8:19 AM on August 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


If that women is a dining room table, Hatecraft is a half put-together IKEA computer desk.
posted by defenestration at 8:19 AM on August 19, 2009 [21 favorites]


L.P. Hatecraft: "America is the last bastion of free speech in the world. ... Do I have to move to China or Russia?"

L.P. Hatecraft: "You may think that the West is where people are "free" and in the East they "live a strict, regimented existence". In fact the opposite is the case."

One of these things is not like the other...
posted by shmegegge at 8:20 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ask Simon Sheppard and Like O'Farrell.

I don't think there is anyway to deny that this is a derail. In no way does hate crime legislation in the United Kingdom have anything to do with health care reform.

L.P. Lovecraft, no matter how forcefully you may feel about the importance of protecting somebody's rights to hate other people, could I respectfully ask that you not try to link it to unrelated subjects in order to make it the topic of conversation?
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:21 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


also, why would American hate crime laws cause you to leave South Korea in favor of China or Russia?

I mean, don't get me wrong, I love that you make no sense, but... sense. you should make some.
posted by shmegegge at 8:21 AM on August 19, 2009 [9 favorites]


woman*—EDIT pony, plz.
posted by defenestration at 8:22 AM on August 19, 2009


Ok, I'm from Texas so -- although we are by no means all nutjobs -- I've heard my share of crazy, intolerant shit. But really, I know NOBODY who thinks like that.

In fact, I want to know, since Metafilter is not a democracy and we're all "throwing away our First Amendment rights," are outrageous statements like this allowed here?
posted by Houstonian at 8:22 AM on August 19, 2009


Having watched a few of these town hall videos, I keep seeing this same pattern come up with the questioners. Their questions usually go:

"Hello. Here is a relatively salient point about the health care proposals. My question to you, elected official, is OBAMAHITLER SOCIALISM DEATH PANELS KENYAN?"

I mean, go back to the NECN video with the full 15 minutes of Frank vs. his constituents. The woman starts off with a good point -- most states, budget-wise, are underwater. The question to Rep. Frank should be "How can you justify this program in a time when social programs/schools/prisons are bleeding cash?"

Instead, it's down the Godwin rabbit hole she goes.

I've seen this countless times now. Yes, there are those who just open straight up with KENYAN HITLER WANTS TO KILL MY BOY! but for the most part there's a good question there, which they immediately squander by burying it in the rhetoric of the anti-health care reform puppetmasters.

It does make me think Obama's team is going at this all wrong. They're using logic and being countered with emotion. They should be using emotion, too. Obama should be talking about his mother's struggle with cancer every damn second. Make it into a perverse, quixotic crusade if they have to. But make it emotional. Make it about how the Insurance Companies Want You To Die So They Don't Have To Pay. Or about The Insurance Company Who Would Not Pay For A Life-Saving Treatment Because It Was Too Expensive. Create enemies. Say you'll bury those enemies. Suggest those against said enemies are with the enemies.

It does make you miss Dubya. They were ruthless. They didn't let anything stop them, they just went right on and told Congress to get in line or else. Only a couple of times did the Republican Congress turn on them -- Social Security and Harriet Miers. Rest of the time, they just shoved it through and wore shit-eating grins the whole time. They even pushed through an expansion of Medicare over the objections of their conservative wing.

I know what Obama's trying to do -- he's trying to restore the bipartisanship of the post-WWII era that expired with Gingrich. But Contract With America (aka the last time the Congressional GOP had anything resembling a strategy) was almost 20 years ago now. Give the GOP enough rope to hang themselves, then say, "I offered an opportunity to the GOP to work with me, but they refused, and I think it's more important to have Reform than to allow the Enemies Of Freedom, er, Decent Health Care For All Americans to win." And keep doing it. Over and over. Hit home the line that it's the GOP's fault they won't talk to you.

And as for the Blue Dogs, tell them you'll work with Congress regardless of whether it's controlled by the Dems or the GOP, and you hope they can get re-elected, but given there are so many seats to defend it's going to be hard for the DNC to adequately disperse election money to all districts, I know you understand, hope you have work lined up in 2011. They'll come around pretty quickly.
posted by dw at 8:23 AM on August 19, 2009 [61 favorites]


L.P. Hatecraft, rather; apologies for getting you name wrong.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:23 AM on August 19, 2009


Ok, this dude we're having fun with here links to lots of "White Nationalist" sites on his website. Piss off, dude.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:23 AM on August 19, 2009


MeMail me for the link if he takes it down.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:24 AM on August 19, 2009


South Korea is not China or Russia. America is currently more free than most of Europe and Australasia (with the exception of a few holdouts), but is on the verge of sacrificing it all. If America caves in and votes for laws against Holocaust denial and so on, most other Western countries will soon follow. That is why it is so crucially important that America holds on to the 1st Amendment. I don't have problem with criminalizing violence against gays (this is already against the law), but criminalizing hate speech is criminalizing free speech.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 8:25 AM on August 19, 2009


LPH, the problem with hate crime laws is not really that they infringe on first-amendment rights, but rather that they give police and prosecutors yet another means to stack charges and leverage a plea bargain. Utter a racial epithet during the scuffle? Great, we can just add that to your minimum sentence. That is, of course, unless you want to forego your right to trial and put your John Hancock right here...

Still, complete red herring.
posted by kid ichorous at 8:25 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I fucking love it. MORE! There needs to be MORE Of this kind of shaming these jack-asses and putting them in their place. When these clueless dingbats can participate in reasonable, fact-based civil dialog, then engage them. Until then, fuck 'em and feed 'em fish heads.
posted by PuppyCat at 8:26 AM on August 19, 2009


I'm pretty sure that lady was a LaRoucheian, not a right-wing evangelical Glenn Beck-head.

If you watch the full video she confirms it herself in the first 45 seconds, claiming the "Nazi T4" part of the health-care bill "already has been defeated by LaRouche".
posted by scalefree at 8:27 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ah. I'd assumed that his concern for murderers and racists and Holocaust deniers was at least an attempt at high-mindedness; sort of a 'defend to my death your right to say it' kind of thing. Turns out he's a Nazi who links to Stormfront and David Duke on his website. Nice.
posted by EarBucket at 8:27 AM on August 19, 2009


In fact, I want to know, since Metafilter is not a democracy and we're all "throwing away our First Amendment rights," are outrageous statements like this allowed here?

In the case of "Bushhitler", not since 2005.
posted by dw at 8:27 AM on August 19, 2009


I'm talking about the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Eureka, I think I've finally found the motherlode of crazy!
posted by blucevalo at 8:28 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ask Simon Sheppard and Like O'Farrell.

Sheppard does not appear to have been charged with Holocaust denial:

A Leeds Crown Court jury yesterday found Sheppard guilty on five of the charges, with the allegations in the two trials all concerning publishing racially inflammatory material, distributing racially inflammatory material or possessing racially inflammatory material with a view to distribution under the Public Order Act 1986.

Hell, go to London's Hyde Park on a sunny day, and you'll hear all kinds of cranks on soapboxes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:29 AM on August 19, 2009


On the issue of health care -- and I was under the impression we were talking about health care -- they are not more right-wing than America; these two countries actually have health care. It is not just for show. They do not actually put old people in front of death panels.
Hmmm... maybe we can get coverage for living will counseling back into the bill after all. We just need an appropriate advertising campaign:

France doesn't have Death Panels! Crazy left wing liberal extremists like Mitch McConnell don't want America to have Death Panels either! Mitch McConnell wants America to be like France! That's not the America we grew up in!

They can have my Death Panel when they pry it from my cold, dead hands! Till then, go back to France, Mitch! Or should I say, Pierre!
posted by Flunkie at 8:29 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


How can we get Barney Frank to school the rest of congress on how to respond to this type of idiocy?

If there's such "grass-roots" organizations (like Freedomworks) preparing Cliff's Notes for the scared and angry citizen, why shouldn't we create a similar defensive for the scared and angry congressman?

Generally i believe that most of the anger is manufactured, as Astro Zombie mentioned (and as much as i wish it were the first time i read it so eloquently, in my case that honor goes to Rachel Maddow, who has been investigating the source of these attacks for a few weeks now). It is not illegal to lobby for any amount of change or stagnation on any policy in this country... and apparently it isn't even illegal to call yourself a grassroots organization and have your primary source of funding be directly linked to corporate and political agendas.

And yet, as all of these people who are easily swayed into believing things like 'death panels' would be a prerequisite for health care reform, or somehow that giving insurance to an entire nation somehow mirrors the policy of Nazi Germany get handed their talking points, the unfortunate drag of literally validating every other loonie in the nation grows -- That if their ridiculous worries and questions from alternate universes cannot be addressed, you're against free speech. It's as if we must become so sensitive as to leave all of our rational directives at the door when we enter the town hall just to put those that haven't got the sense in them to realize what is possible and what is fantasy at ease.

How can we possibly get through to people that have no intention of listening, and ultimately is this the best weapon the defense has?
posted by phylum sinter at 8:29 AM on August 19, 2009


We've officially entered Nilbog, friends.

The dreaded Land of Zero Crappers?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:29 AM on August 19, 2009


Ok, this dude we're having fun with here links to lots of "White Nationalist" sites on his website.

It's a topic of interest to me as a foreigner living in an Asian country, purely because I am interested in debating racial issues. I also have links to anti-racist and anti-fascist websites. However, I am not "anti-racist" or "anti-fascist".
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 8:30 AM on August 19, 2009


Ask Simon Sheppard and Like O'Farrell.

Sheppard's the guy who hosted RedWatch right? The one that posted names and addresses of left-wing activists and politicians on the net .... for perfectly innocent purposes I'm sure. He also, if I remember correctly, described Auschwitz as a holiday camp. The investigation into him and his associate (below) began when they started pushing leaflets about the "holohoax" into synagogues.

Luke O'Farrell, that's the pen-name of Stephen Whittle, convicted alongside Sheppard under racial-hatred legislation. A racist of such character that he couldn't even publish his unpleasant material under his own name.

I actually agree with you that free speech protections should be stronger, but there's a difference between being allowed to read and think what you want, and being a racist cunt who pushes offensive material into the faces or homes of the targets of their vile beliefs.
posted by knapah at 8:30 AM on August 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


Regardless, maybe you should move the discussion of "first amendment rights" to a thread where it is appropriate.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:31 AM on August 19, 2009


I don't think there is anyway to deny that this is a derail.

The thread is about nutters interrupting the health care debate; we have a live specimen right here. An object lesson, if you will. How could this possibly be a derail?

It's such a perfect example of the current right-wing turn of mind: point vaguely in the direction of several contradictory arguments and then bring it all back to Nazism.
posted by creasy boy at 8:31 AM on August 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


also... Nazi punks, fuck off!
posted by geos at 8:31 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is starting to focus waaaay to much on an individual who doesn't even want to talk about the subject of the thread.
posted by Pragmatica at 8:31 AM on August 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


I appreciate what everyone who has responded to my response has said about the ability of a woman waving a picture of Obama doctored to look like Hitler around to listen to what Frank had to say. At the same time, I think that he could have incorporated his insouciant wit into a response which actually addressed this woman's hyperbolic wingnuttery, and driven home a point that much more powerful.

Sometimes, it's just not possible, because the interruption has brought things so far off the track that you have to do something stern to bring it back on course.

To wit: we started this conversation talking about Barney Frank, and yet we are all now suddenly talking about how passing a law against hate crimes is unconstitutional.

In a case like this, addressing this wingnuttery just keeps you off course, and the only thing to do is call them on it and get back on course.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:32 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


I repeat my last comment.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:35 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


[few comments removed - if this needs to go to metatalk, please take it there, but turning this into an analysis of one person's blog is getting into strong derail territory. Helpful tip: next time, not titling a thread "You know who else had "death panels"?" if you'd like it to go well is a great idea]
posted by jessamyn at 8:36 AM on August 19, 2009


It's such a perfect example of the current right-wing turn of mind: point vaguely in the direction of several contradictory arguments and then bring it all back to Nazism.

He's spewing hate and disinformation pretty well, but not a lot of intimidation through either scary lies or actual weaponry. I give him a 7/10 townhallz.
posted by DU at 8:36 AM on August 19, 2009


Let's instead think about how awesome it would be if Barney Frank were to bust in on other town halls just as one of the local nutters starts ranting about socialism/nazis/kenya/death panels. Representative Frank would rev the engine of his motorcycle, toss his graying hair in the breeze, and shooting a biting quip straight from the hip.

Other nutters would start to yell, but then Frank would crack a whip or something, cowing them. Then Bon Jovi would start to play and he'd drive off into the sunset, popping a bitchin wheelie as he crosses the town line.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:37 AM on August 19, 2009 [12 favorites]


The thread is about nutters interrupting the health care debate; we have a live specimen right here. An object lesson, if you will. How could this possibly be a derail?

But this thread is also about crying Nazi as the classical ad-hom fallacy. And Metafilter should not be trying to vitiate someone's arguments based on what literature they read in their spare time.
posted by kid ichorous at 8:38 AM on August 19, 2009


Gooooo Barney.
posted by kldickson at 8:38 AM on August 19, 2009


Ah, nevermind. My fault for letting myself get trolled.

But in the case of Town Hall meetings... i think Mr. Frank took the best approach to those that seemed to have some real vinegar in them as long as their logic stood up at least a little bit. When it didn't, he did the right thing too and compared them to a dining room table.
posted by phylum sinter at 8:38 AM on August 19, 2009


By the time this thread is over, Hatecraft will have provided enough fallacious arguments and sloppy reasoning to provide (bad) examples to serve as fodder for every Critical Thinking and Logic textbook printed from now on—for the rest of time.

/rerail

Barney Frank, you rule.
posted by defenestration at 8:38 AM on August 19, 2009


So, to the people who are accusing you of being a racist, you reply: "I'm not an anti-racist."

That is some Cat5 dumb right there.
posted by billysumday at 8:41 AM on August 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


H.P. Hatecraft: So, this Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention act... have you read it? Unlike the proposed health care reform bills, this one is only a couple of pages. It defines hate crimes as "willfully caus[ing] bodily injury." At the end of the bill, it explicitly guarantees free speech:
(4) FREE EXPRESSION- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to allow prosecution based solely upon an individual's expression of racial, religious, political, or other beliefs or solely upon an individual's membership in a group advocating or espousing such beliefs.
There's nothing here that endangers free speech, and certainly nothing here that should distract us from giving health care to people who can't afford it.
posted by JDHarper at 8:43 AM on August 19, 2009 [9 favorites]


I'm talking about the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

You mean the act that explicitly says this:
(3) CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS.--Nothing in this division shall be construed to prohibit any constitutionally protected speech, expressive conduct or activities (regardless of whether compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief), including the exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment and peaceful picketing or demonstration. The Constitution does not protect speech, conduct or activities consisting of planning for, conspiring to commit, or committing an act of violence.

(4) FREE EXPRESSION.--Nothing in this division shall be construed to allow prosecution based solely upon an individual's expression of racial, religious, political, or other beliefs or solely upon an individual's membership in a group advocating or espousing such beliefs.
So, in summary, the act allows for additional punishment for acts of violence when evidence shows they're motivated by specific reasons. There are plenty of reasons why one might disagree with this. I'm not even sure I agree with it. But to say it has anything to do with free speech just shows how little you understand what free speech means. You can say anything you want. No violence, no punishment. It's when you ACT that you are punished.

It's a topic of interest to me as a foreigner living in an Asian country, purely because I am interested in debating racial issues. I also have links to anti-racist and anti-fascist websites.

I have trouble finding that credible. Is "NZ blue" anything like "Prussian Blue?"

I am not "anti-racist" or "anti-fascist".

That, on the other hand, I have no trouble believing.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:44 AM on August 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


Helpful tip: next time, not titling a thread "You know who else had "death panels"?" if you'd like it to go well is a great idea

Whoa, blame the victim much? The protestor (and those the protestor apparently sympathizes with) actually referenced Hitler and "death panels" herself, this isn't something the poster made up.
posted by DU at 8:44 AM on August 19, 2009 [8 favorites]


Of all the items to hang your political hat on, I gotta say that the right to hatefully insult minorities is one of the nuttiest.

Anyway, I was discussing the US health care debate the other day, as a detached and fascinated Canadian, and I was wondering where all the opposition is ultimately coming from. Sure the flag-waving commie haters are the mouthpieces, but who's pulling the strings? Where does the money and organization ultimately come from?
At first glance, the obvious answer is the insurance lobby. They have the most to gain from the status quo and the most to lose from reform. But they're not that big or influential, so who else?
Then it hit me. Every business, large or small...every employer who offers their employees some kind of health care plan. They have a vested interest in opposing reform. They know that currently most Americans are terrified of losing their employee coverage. They depend on it. Many Americans are putting up with shitty jobs and shitty treatment by superiors because they're afraid to leave. Not for the job or the income, so much as for the health coverage benefits. They're trapped by their dependence on benefits, and their employers are well aware of that fact and can take advantage of it. Universal health care, or even a public option, would give working-class and middle-class employees a freedom and a mobility that would undermine the whole system. Every shitty employer is fighting for their life here, and that makes these reforms even more worth fighting for.
posted by rocket88 at 8:45 AM on August 19, 2009 [22 favorites]


rocket88 - i would say that the mobility is a small threat, but i think there are just as many larger companies that would benefit from not having to provide an incredible healthcare benefits package if a public option were obtainable.

Case in point would be the automotive industry, whose unionized benefits plans have forced profits far into the red while other companies who produce cars in other nations don't have to worry about budgeting in health care.
posted by phylum sinter at 8:50 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: The internet's never ending town hall meeting.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 8:51 AM on August 19, 2009


Mobility, yes. But also the fact that affordable, universal healthcare would be a major liberal Democratic selling point for 20 years. "Remember back in 2009 when we made it so you could go see a doctor? Vote for us!" The GOP cannot let this happen at any cost. There is no bipartisan solution.
posted by DU at 8:54 AM on August 19, 2009 [21 favorites]


Wow.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:54 AM on August 19, 2009


......So, Barney Frank. Where's he speaking next?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:57 AM on August 19, 2009


The GOP cannot let this happen at any cost.

This. If this passes, it'll be as popular as Medicare is, and it'll be the final stake through the heart of the Republican party. They can't let that happen, so they'll tell as many lies (straight-up, bald-faced, pants-on-fire lies) as they need to stop it.
posted by EarBucket at 8:58 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


you know, last time there was a vocal radical movement hounding a president, President Nixon welcomed things like "Town Hall" meetings where he could stand up have himself and his policies compared against long-haired hippy freaks. he actively courted possibly violent confrontations that could get this contrast in the news.

it's now an accepted truth that the outrageous behavior of the radical left led to the second term of Nixon and the eventual Reagan revolution. now that the radical right has taken a page out of the yippie playbook, it will be interesting to see how things turn out.

maybe having powerful people in government and business supporting you makes all the difference...
posted by geos at 8:58 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Armey: Obama will hype up ‘outbreak of swine flu’ to get ‘bed-wetters’ to support health care reform.
posted by ericb at 8:59 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


BTW, health care is great here, I went to the doctor last month and it only cost me about 20,000 won (around $USD 16).

Fuck you, I got mine?
posted by adamdschneider at 8:59 AM on August 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


...who's pulling the strings?

Rep. Markey Reveals Five More Forged Astroturf Letters.
posted by ericb at 9:00 AM on August 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


[seriously: "Start a metatalk thread if you want to, but stop derailing this one, which is about Barney Frank."]
posted by jessamyn at 9:01 AM on August 19, 2009


The results of my new Benny Andajetz/Sane People Who Can Count public survey are in. Some interesting numbers:

Percentage of people using the terms "socialist", "fascist" and "Nazi" that have even a hint of a fucking clue what the terms actually mean: 0.001%

Insanity level of people who argue against universal health care while collecting Medicare/Medicaid benefits: 100%

The efficacy of the proposition that all sides in an argument deserve equal respect: 0%

Percentage of middle- and lower-class citizens being screwed by our present system: 100%

We are still tallying. Stay tuned for more.

Oh yeah, go Barney Frank.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:01 AM on August 19, 2009 [8 favorites]


MetaFilter: a dining room table.
posted by The Bellman at 9:04 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


If this passes, it'll be as popular as Medicare is, and it'll be the final stake through the heart of the Republican party.

The "final stake"? You mean, in the sense that Medicare was the first stake, and old people now overwhelmingly vote Democratic out of gratitude?
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 9:07 AM on August 19, 2009


Every business, large or small...every employer who offers their employees some kind of health care plan. They have a vested interest in opposing reform. They know that currently most Americans are terrified of losing their employee coverage. They depend on it. Many Americans are putting up with shitty jobs and shitty treatment by superiors because they're afraid to leave. Not for the job or the income, so much as for the health coverage benefits. They're trapped by their dependence on benefits, and their employers are well aware of that fact and can take advantage of it. Universal health care, or even a public option, would give working-class and middle-class employees a freedom and a mobility that would undermine the whole system. Every shitty employer is fighting for their life here, and that makes these reforms even more worth fighting for.

QFMFT.
posted by cereselle at 9:15 AM on August 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


If you want me to start caring about your lack of health care, stop pushing for US "humanitarian" interventions outside of your borders.

If you want us to care about interventions in your country, make a separate post about it and stop derailing this one.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:16 AM on August 19, 2009


MeTa
posted by shmegegge at 9:17 AM on August 19, 2009


The healthcare debate, as performed by cats
posted by dirigibleman at 9:18 AM on August 19, 2009 [14 favorites]


I'm quite impressed that one simple quip has created such a Barney Frank love-in. I wonder how many of the I HEART BARNEY crowd have looked into his other activities...
posted by rr at 9:18 AM on August 19, 2009


I wonder how many of the I HEART BARNEY crowd have looked into his other activities...

Frank has a whole lot of pluses and minuses going for him, certainly. A moment of lucid, clearly voiced rebuke to the nuttiness that's been flying around lately is something to cherish, all of that aside.
posted by cortex at 9:20 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


I wonder how many of the I HEART BARNEY crowd have looked into his other activities...

He's a mixed bag, to be sure, but I'm with cortex on this one.
posted by jessamyn at 9:21 AM on August 19, 2009


The "final stake"? You mean, in the sense that Medicare was the first stake, and old people now overwhelmingly vote Democratic out of gratitude?

In terms of party ID, yeah. That's skewed somewhat by the fact that older people are more likely to be racist, and there's really only one way to vote these days if you're scared of brown people, but voters who were coming of age in that era absolutely lean Democratic in their partisan identification.

The big thing strangling the party is demographics, of course. But voters like government spending, even if they claim not to. This will be a popular program once people get used to it.
posted by EarBucket at 9:21 AM on August 19, 2009


As an object lesson, this is useful. One deranged crank can haul an entire thread in his direction with only a moderate amount of screwloosery. These "town halls" are packed to the brim with crypto-fascists, RAHOWA gun-nuts, Laroucheites, Paulites, conspiracy theorists and AM Talk Radio enthusiasts of all stripes.

I wonder if this is a game of "rope-a-dope" Obama is playing with the right - set up a situation where their dumbest and derangest get a showcase on a very important national issue, and then look like goddamn Solomon when he comes out with his own bill, co-written and submitted by a handy blue-dog, for Congress to rubberstamp in the next session.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:27 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Huh? What DU said. The Barney Frank incident has everything to do with "death panels" and "you know who else", which is a thinly veiled reference to Godwin's Law and thus Hitler. Tongue-in-cheek and maybe a little provocative, but hardly OTT editorializing or axe-grinding or gratuitous provocation.

I don't like the major derail and the blog thing is not cool, but I really don't see what's wrong with the title of this post.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:30 AM on August 19, 2009


Or more specifically, how having, say "Barney Frank counters town hall attendee who equals Obama with Hitler" as the title, or anything else really, would have avoided the derail.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:31 AM on August 19, 2009


I wonder how many of the I HEART BARNEY crowd have looked into his other activities...

*sigh* Is this the whole "a friend used his apartment for hookups" thing again? That was investigated and debunked. Incidentally, it was investigated by Larry Craig, who faced his own sexual scandal some years later.

And neither of those cases have anything on Grover Cleveland knocking up someone, Warren Harding using the Oval Office coat closet for sex with a barely-legal girl in 1923, Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings, etc., etc., etc.

Look: our politicians have all been human beings, and human beings occasionally like to have sex. Human beings also occasionally do dumb things about their sex lives. Can we, as a nation, just accept that and move on? Please?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:31 AM on August 19, 2009 [16 favorites]


Hatecraft, eh? Hate, sure, but the ham-fisted way you go about it is hardly crafty.
posted by grubi at 9:32 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Slap*Happy, I think "rope-a-dope" was how he won the primaries and the election. So I wouldn't be surprised.
posted by grubi at 9:37 AM on August 19, 2009


I wonder how many of the I HEART BARNEY crowd have looked into his other activities...

I wasn't too thrilled with how Frank threw transgendered folks under the bus, when it came time to write employer anti-discrimination law. It was hurtful given how much privilege he enjoys as a senior-ranking official, despite being gay in a country that has a habit of writing discrimination against non-heterosexuals into law.

Unsurprisingly, he has received a lot of grief for Fannie Mae, but as with the "death panel" nonsense, it's part of the usual effort by the Republican Party to discredit their opponents across the aisle, especially since he helped draft reform legislation that the Bush administration and Republican Party chose not to get involved with. They instead allowed the economy to collapse.

He's smart, eloquent, usually votes for what improves his constituents' situation with respect to equality of standard of living and civil rights, and in this particular instance, was entirely correct in putting loony right-wing dingbats in their place.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:38 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


NolanRyan's 15-minute clip is really more of a testament to Frank's eloquence than this oh-snap exchange that kicks it off.
posted by kid ichorous at 9:41 AM on August 19, 2009


Well, but he was sort of goaded into saying "Medicare isn't *technically* bankrupt" which is not exactly savvy PR politics.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:45 AM on August 19, 2009


I wasn't too thrilled with how Frank threw transgendered folks under the bus, when it came time to write employer anti-discrimination law.

Nor was I, but he finally came through by re-introducing a trans-inclusive version of ENDA in late June.
posted by ericb at 9:50 AM on August 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


"I try very hard to be a responsible citizen and as a gay man I try very hard to keep track of the marriages I have destroyed, and there really aren't that many. I may have some secret admirers out there and I may have wreaked more havoc than I realize, but they haven't called."

Barney Frank, "Real Time With Bill Maher" (March 11, 2005)
posted by Pax at 9:50 AM on August 19, 2009 [15 favorites]


I wonder how many of the I HEART BARNEY crowd have looked into his other activities...

I wonder how many tinfoil hats it takes to populate a grassy knoll?
posted by blucevalo at 9:54 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wonder how many of the I HEART BARNEY crowd have looked into his other activities...

If you mean by that the "prostitute Steve Gobie brought clients to Barney's apartment" thing, that was exhaustively covered in every Boston news media outlet at the time of the Congressional investigation in 1990, and Frank was re-elected by a giant margin.

Or if you mean that Barney Frank's ex-boyfriend was an executive of Fannie Mae at the same time that Frank sat on the House Banking Committee, again, that was exhaustively covered in every Boston news media outlet, and Frank was re-elected by a giant margin. (Also, Frank did disclose this, just as Senator Phil Gramm disclosed that his wife sat on the board of Enron and headed the Iowa Beef Producers lobbying group while he was sitting on committees that regulated those industries.)

I don't think any supporter of Barney Frank's is thrilled about either set of decisions on his part--I know I'm not--but I also can't point to any politician whose every decision I support.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:55 AM on August 19, 2009


I wonder how many of the I HEART BARNEY crowd have looked into his other activities...

He's a mixed bag, to be sure...


WHAT
THE
FUCK
JESSAMYN??

I can't believe you of all people would use such hateful—

Oh, wait. You wrote "bag".

Never mind.*
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:55 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


What do you want?

I want the lulz!

YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE LULZ!!

62% of Republicans think the government should stay out of Medicare.
posted by billysumday at 10:07 AM on August 19, 2009 [27 favorites]


Fuck Dick Armey and his army of dicks.
posted by kldickson at 10:08 AM on August 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


Does anybody know if there is some sort of listing on where to find these townhall types of meetings in my local area?

I want to ask my elected government official if all the lunatics on the news are going to be eligible for mental health care paid for with my tax dollars.
posted by dogwalker at 10:09 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


62% of Republicans think the government should stay out of Medicare.

Incredible. And sad.
posted by ericb at 10:09 AM on August 19, 2009


France doesn't have Death Panels!

canada does - everyone's heard of the death boards of canada, right?
posted by pyramid termite at 10:11 AM on August 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


Does anybody know if there is some sort of listing on where to find these townhall types of meetings in my local area?

List of Healthcare Town Hall Meetings Nationwide.
posted by ericb at 10:13 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Congressional Town Hall Meetings.
posted by ericb at 10:13 AM on August 19, 2009


62% of Republicans think the government should stay out of Medicare.

I wonder what percentage think the government should stay out of roads. Is the military a socialist project? What should the government do?
posted by knapah at 10:17 AM on August 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


Liberal Bloggers & Teabaggers Unite Against LaRouchites.
posted by sciurus at 10:18 AM on August 19, 2009


Sure the military is a kind of socialism, but at least they kill people so they aren't all bad.
posted by DU at 10:19 AM on August 19, 2009


Show me a time in our history when a bunch of people ever assembled together for the purpose of freely exchanging valid and factually accurate ideas beyond the level of a school board meeting.

It happens every day, in conference rooms all across the world. Corporations work very effectively in this manner, by virtue of being able to weed out the nutters and enforce a hierarchical power structure. That's why corporations do such a good job of getting what they want, and owning everything.
posted by davejay at 10:21 AM on August 19, 2009


Ok, I officially don't get the LaRoucheamites. They're all relatively young, they dress well, they look pretty wealthy, and can be quite articulate. Are they just fucking with us? Who the hell are they? Where do they come from?
posted by billysumday at 10:24 AM on August 19, 2009


Ok, I officially don't get the LaRoucheamites. They're all relatively young, they dress well, they look pretty wealthy, and can be quite articulate. Are they just fucking with us? Who the hell are they? Where do they come from?

The ultimate Anonymous raid?
posted by knapah at 10:25 AM on August 19, 2009


They're like the evil half of Improv Everywhere.
posted by billysumday at 10:26 AM on August 19, 2009 [13 favorites]


But honestly, if someone could explain how the LaRouchies recruit, what precisely they believe in (or against) and what happens to these kids after they sign up, I'd be grateful.
posted by billysumday at 10:28 AM on August 19, 2009


Does anybody know if there is some sort of listing on where to find these townhall types of meetings in my local area?

You can do a search by zip code for upcoming town hall events here (that's where I RSVP'd for the one in our area):

http://my.barackobama.com/page/event/search_simple?source=sidenav
posted by saulgoodman at 10:28 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Corporations work very effectively in this manner, by virtue of being able to weed out the nutters and enforce a hierarchical power structure.

Weeding out nutters (FSVO "nutters") and enforcing power structure is how corporate meetings are (usually) more focused than these town halls. But I wouldn't not characterize corporate meetings as "freely exchanging valid and factually accurate ideas".
posted by DU at 10:28 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


62% of Republicans think the government should stay out of Medicare.

Remember when they wanted to privatize Social Security so they could take advantage of the booming stock market? "'The point is, the individual would get a higher rate of return than if they just send their money to Social Security,' Cheney told an audience in Bakersfield, California, on March 21 [2005]."

I kinda wish we could let everyone make their own decision, with the stipulation that it is a lifetime choice: Do you want this, or no? People who say yes get it, people who don't are forever kept out of it. So, if you think Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, public schools, public roads, whatever, are socialist schemes, then here's your few dollars savings and go away, and don't cry to us when you are screwed by your own decisions.
posted by Houstonian at 10:28 AM on August 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


HURFstroDURF.
posted by oaf at 10:31 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


You can do a search by zip code for upcoming town hall events here

Nifty. thanks.
posted by dogwalker at 10:32 AM on August 19, 2009


Ok, I officially don't get the LaRoucheamites. They're all relatively young, they dress well, they look pretty wealthy, and can be quite articulate. Are they just fucking with us? Who the hell are they? Where do they come from?

/b/'s day job.
posted by ryoshu at 10:35 AM on August 19, 2009


Fox News viewers overwhelmingly misinformed about health care reform proposals.
posted by ericb at 10:35 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


if Barney Miller had been able to open his mouth and incinerate the woman, dragonlike, with a massive puff of flame, he would have been justified in doing so.

Perhaps we could raise enough money for the health care plans by making this a pay-per-view event? I'd watch.
posted by ilana at 10:36 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fuck this, Obama needs to scare the shit out of old people. They're the only ones that vote in large numbers anyways. "Rising inefficient healthcare costs mean if we do not pass this bill, we will not be able to pay for any medical coverage. We are doing this to SAVE MEDICARE."

Bam. Done.
posted by amuseDetachment at 10:41 AM on August 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


But honestly, if someone could explain how the LaRouchies recruit, what precisely they believe in (or against) and what happens to these kids after they sign up, I'd be grateful.

They set up recruiting tables in Harvard Square all the time (as do the Sci*ntol*gists).

There is a lot of information at Steve Hassan's site.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:42 AM on August 19, 2009


about health care reform proposals
posted by Flunkie at 10:43 AM on August 19, 2009


Perhaps we could raise enough money for the health care plans by making this a pay-per-view event?

You know, over time I have seen America getting closer and closer to the stage where the film Americathon is a reality. This would be the final step, I think.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:45 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, man. I live in OH-11 and was wondering if there were any events I could attend, and even if there were any of the ignorant opposition in this strongly Democratic district. And I find out through this thread there was an event a week ago, covered by the public radio station I listen to, and somehow I missed it. I am a failure! At least I got to see that video, thanks sciurus.
posted by palidor at 10:49 AM on August 19, 2009


Matt Bors on health reform craziness: Mein Health.
posted by boo_radley at 10:49 AM on August 19, 2009


bush starts a war, tortures and impisons, people equate to hitler, news media pays no attention.

Obama tries to better life (isn't that the first inalienable right?) through a better healthcare system and the media eats up the hitler comparison like white kids eating mayonaise? What?

and that was the most liberal looking right wing weirdo i have ever seen (pixie cut, spaghetti strap shirt) are they dressing like us now?
posted by djduckie at 11:01 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Personally, I loved how he kept adjusting his junk while waiting for people to calm down so he could answer them.
posted by tylerfulltilt at 11:07 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


All those angry townhall people have gotten so ridiculous that I'm starting to believe that they're all desperately lonely people who want attention and also want to be passionate about something so they feel important. Being involved with this lets them feel like they were a part of something. I can't think of any other reason, because they are so far from actually understanding anything but parroting Glenn Beck's talking points that I have a hard time believing they actually believe what they're saying. They're just fueled by the need to fill that gaping loneliness and erase that feeling of being inconsequential that they're letting their crazies out.
posted by anniecat at 11:10 AM on August 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


the LaRouche canvasser is more of an opportunistic infection, thriving only in the gaps of a disrupted discourse, slipping into the wake of voices shouted hoarse to mutter his revolutionary spells over the crowd.

This is absolutely true. They used to set up a little booth in front of the post office when I was in high school. One of their more charming pamphlets featured an illustration of a mosquito, with a blood-filled hypodermic needle for a body. I made the mistake of asking what this meant, and one of the guys at the booth launched into this long spiel about how mosquitos transmit HIV but the government is covering this up because they banned DDT already, and if people knew the truth about the mosquitos they'd have to make DDT legal again. Oh, I thought, these people are crazy. Fascinated, I took home all the free brochures they had to offer. So with that:

Ok, I officially don't get the LaRoucheamites. They're all relatively young, they dress well, they look pretty wealthy, and can be quite articulate. Are they just fucking with us? Who the hell are they? Where do they come from?

Lyndon LaRouche has been a conspiracy theorist of the first degree for decades now. He's the original, having drifted from one political organization to the next, one philosophy to the next. Anytime you see a conspiracy theorist parodized - an arrogant, crazy old dude on public access television talking about the saucer people or how the British royal family is in the pocket of the Illuminati and such - you have LaRouche to thank. If you're looking for a cohesive political philosophy from LaRouche you might as well give up now, because he doesn't have one. Like his followers, he is and always has been an opportunist, a man who thinks he sees clearly when all others are deluded from THE TRUTH, and will use any and every occassion to expound on his free-association stream of crazy.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:23 AM on August 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


anniecat, I think you make a great point.
posted by grubi at 11:24 AM on August 19, 2009


Saturday Night Live's "Lyndon LaRouche Theater" from 1986.
posted by waraw at 11:35 AM on August 19, 2009


It's not LaRouche I'm necessarily fascinated by, but his followers. They look and sound like...well, kind of like me and my friends. I just wonder how such a diverse and relatively educated group of people end up holding a sign of Obama as Hilter, singing Hallelujah, and believing the words of a known - as you say - conspiracy theorist.
posted by billysumday at 11:36 AM on August 19, 2009


Lyndon LaRouche has been a conspiracy theorist of the first degree for decades now. He's the original, having drifted from one political organization to the next, one philosophy to the next.

I'd even call LaRouche a political surrealist or a political nihilist. Left-wing and right-wing are such pliable playthings to him that they almost resemble Silly Putty. He is the political equivalent of a bad acid trip.
posted by jonp72 at 11:38 AM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


But honestly, if someone could explain how the LaRouchies recruit, what precisely they believe in (or against) and what happens to these kids after they sign up, I'd be grateful.

In short the'yre an odd amalgam of conspiracy theory mated to massive-project technocracy. The conspiracies are mostly borrowed from common fringe memes; Bilderbergers, CFR, Illuminati, 9/11 Truth, that sort of thing. One unique bit is that the British Royal family are secretly behind the majority of the world's drug trade. On the technocracy side, it's all sorts of ridiculously huge projects as the solution to the world's problems; a tunnel connecting Alaska to Kamchatka, colonization & ultimately terraforming of Mars. Members spend much of their time fund-raising/recruiting, either at those ubiquitous card tables or door-to-door, often under false pretenses or over-charging donor credit cards. LaRouche himself spent time in prison for credit card fraud. Their main communication channel is the various newspapers & magazines filled with political conspiracy stories & LaRouche's self-aggrandizing pieces on whatever catches his fancy that day. They're a whole world of crazy all on their own but that's a start.
posted by scalefree at 11:39 AM on August 19, 2009


Yikes. I just made a concerted effort to understand the LaRouche movement. I failed. The whole thing is just unsettling.
posted by diogenes at 11:39 AM on August 19, 2009


saulgoodman, thanks so much for that link! We don't have any town halls coming to us, but we do have people organizing in support of the President's Healthcare Reform, and now I can actually do something to combat the craziness by volunteering.
posted by misha at 11:43 AM on August 19, 2009


If you're looking for a cohesive political philosophy from LaRouche you might as well give up now, because he doesn't have one. Like his followers, he is and always has been an opportunist, a man who thinks he sees clearly when all others are deluded from THE TRUTH, and will use any and every occassion to expound on his free-association stream of crazy.

That's a good description. I made the mistake of trying to figure out the cohesive political philosophy. I'm going to try to stop thinking about this now...
posted by diogenes at 11:43 AM on August 19, 2009


I just wonder how such a diverse and relatively educated group of people end up holding a sign of Obama as Hilter, singing Hallelujah, and believing the words of a known - as you say - conspiracy theorist.

Buying into a conspiracy theory means getting to consider yourself an intellectual rebel, getting to feel vindicated about taboo violation, getting to see yourself as fighting something systemic. That's an attractive kind of drama-in-a-can. Slipping down the slope to holding up Obama Hitler signs isn't something you do by sitting back and being deeply detached about the situation, no matter how much you may fancy yourself a keenly rational outsider.

Getting to that point requires managing to insulate yourself from the healthy worry that you've lost your objectivity. At that point you've lost both your objectivity and your ability to recognize that about yourself, and you've got a whole lot invested emotionally in keeping your heels planted right where they are. No one wants to stand up and say, "shit, I've lost it."
posted by cortex at 11:45 AM on August 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


...So Lyndon LaRouche is kind of like the Wilhelm Reich of politics, in the sense that we're probably all going to eventually agree that he has gone crazy, but we will never be able to agree on precisely when it happened.

...Neat!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:45 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


LaRouche himself spent time in prison for credit card fraud.

His defense attorney? Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark. His client list is something to behold.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:48 AM on August 19, 2009


I just wonder how such a diverse and relatively educated group of people end up holding a sign of Obama as Hilter

I think the conspiracy theorist, as a profession, is better than anyone at playing the David to every imagined Goliath. I wouldn't be surprised if this late crop of converts were part of a larger contingent won during the Bush presidency; but I can assure you that they don't see themselves as right-wing. They would claim to be fundamentally skeptical of anyone capable of taking and holding office - they are, after all, stewards of a perpetual underdog and also-ran. In some ways these are admirable qualities, but in other ways they're the same powers by which a postmodern philosopher disbelieves in everything but in the floorboards holding him up.

And yet, how they believe. The AIDS-needle thing that MSTPT mentions is absolutely real. I think LaRouche's followers still believe that the AIDS-infected must be registered and quarantined in the manner of plagues bubonic and biblical.
posted by kid ichorous at 11:49 AM on August 19, 2009


Wow, I've watched the clip a few times already, and every time my first thought is, "Holy shit, is that Sarah Silverman?" Anyway...

Every business, large or small...every employer who offers their employees some kind of health care plan. They have a vested interest in opposing reform. They know that currently most Americans are terrified of losing their employee coverage. They depend on it. Many Americans are putting up with shitty jobs and shitty treatment by superiors because they're afraid to leave. Not for the job or the income, so much as for the health coverage benefits. They're trapped by their dependence on benefits, and their employers are well aware of that fact and can take advantage of it. Universal health care, or even a public option, would give working-class and middle-class employees a freedom and a mobility that would undermine the whole system. Every shitty employer is fighting for their life here, and that makes these reforms even more worth fighting for.

QFMFT.


Sorry, but no. 10% unemployment is not a world where any employers are worried about retaining their staff. Insurance is hugely expensive for businesses, who then have an incentive to support reform. A public option would only help employers and their employees.

This is purely about defeating Obama. That's all it is. Nothing here is happening in even kinda-sorta squinty-logical good faith. It's all just about trying to shoot Obama down.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:51 AM on August 19, 2009


@billysumday: Lazy people, who are feigning intelligence and interest in a given topic, gravitate towards sources which parrot information which makes indefensible positions rational and easy. Fox News and the DailyKOS construct a large portion of their fanbase on this concept. LaRouche is no different.

And to rip-off 3M:
LaRouche: We don't make you hate the concept of spending tax dollars on those less-well off than you, we make it easier.
posted by Nanukthedog at 11:52 AM on August 19, 2009


And Ramsey Clark is fucking awesome, by the way. I almost got to meet him last summer but he had to cancel the event at the last minute. I was highly disappointed.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:52 AM on August 19, 2009


It's not LaRouche I'm necessarily fascinated by, but his followers. They look and sound like...well, kind of like me and my friends. I just wonder how such a diverse and relatively educated group of people end up holding a sign of Obama as Hilter, singing Hallelujah, and believing the words of a known - as you say - conspiracy theorist.

The underlying methods are the same for all cultic groups; isolation, love-bombing, loaded language. But I think the hook in their case is being able to offer a Grand Unifying Theory of the world, a complex but interconnected & single explanation for everything going on around us, coupled with a series of Big Projects that can solve all our problems if only we'd let them try. They target intelligent but unsuccessful people, giving them a feeling of superiority that they know what's really going on & that when the revolution comes they'll be put in charge of one of the big projects & be given a chance to prove that they really are a special snowflake.
posted by scalefree at 11:54 AM on August 19, 2009


everyone's heard of the death boards of canada, right?

Yeah they played my town last month. Wicked guitarist but the drummer had an off night, I think he might've been playing drunk. Anybody know if their songs are up on iTunes yet?
posted by scalefree at 12:05 PM on August 19, 2009


What's bothering me about my new found knowledge of LaRouche's followers is that there are apparently enough of them in my state (Mass) to have an impact on the majority of townhall meetings. I kept reading about meetings being disrupted by LaRouchites, but I didn't really appreciate what that meant. I thought they were just a fringe political group. I didn't realize they were crazy (or at least believe crazy things). It's rather depressing that my representatives have to spend large amounts of time answering questions from crazy people.
posted by diogenes at 12:11 PM on August 19, 2009


I have hearted Barney since the 80s. Just now, googling for one of his old campaign posters - slogan: Neatness Isn't Everything - I found this wonderful vintage photo.

(I didn't find the damn campaign poster though. If anyone sees it, let me know, ok?)
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:14 PM on August 19, 2009


Fox news naturally has a different take on Barney's performance at the town hall.
posted by Midnight Rambler at 12:16 PM on August 19, 2009


It's not LaRouche I'm necessarily fascinated by, but his followers. They look and sound like...well, kind of like me and my friends. I just wonder how such a diverse and relatively educated group of people end up holding a sign of Obama as Hilter, singing Hallelujah, and believing the words of a known - as you say - conspiracy theorist.

This article, from the Wayne State University paper, has some quotes from former members.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:18 PM on August 19, 2009


Sorry, but no. 10% unemployment is not a world where any employers are worried about retaining their staff. Insurance is hugely expensive for businesses, who then have an incentive to support reform. A public option would only help employers and their employees.

That's not really true, though. Corporations are not entities in and of themselves, to have opinions and desires. They are just the hands of their Directors. And as long as the Board of Directors would lose more to taxes than they would get back from increased profits, they'll be against health care.
posted by kafziel at 12:21 PM on August 19, 2009


Armey: Obama will hype up ‘outbreak of swine flu’ to get ‘bed-wetters’ to support health care reform.

Oh, for fuck's sake. There they go again, projecting their own disgusting tactics onto their opposition. Do they think that moving through the world in a bubble of self-righteous rage protects them from communicable diseases?
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:22 PM on August 19, 2009


You can tell she's a Larooney from her blank stare as Barney Frank is yelling at her. A Republican's eyes would be burning with conservative hatred, or would be shut because she'd be screaming the Pledge of Allegiance back at him.
posted by dirigibleman at 12:24 PM on August 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


I think kafziel has it about right.
posted by Mister_A at 12:26 PM on August 19, 2009


We did a LaRouche post last year ("The Lunatic Fringe"), for those interested in more.
posted by Houstonian at 12:29 PM on August 19, 2009


I thought about going to the nearby town hall meetings with a videocamera, to be able to show that the people interrupting weren't local, but people following the meetings. "But I'm in the Bay Area," I thought. "How nuts would they have to be to try that nearby?"

I might have underestimated them.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:52 PM on August 19, 2009


That woman should come over here and meet my ex-grandfather-in-law. He fought with the French Resistance in WWII. Jewish friends of his were killed in death camps. He was a professional musician (clarinetist with the National Orchestra of Lyon, married to a violinist who herself was originally from Alsace), and with his good ear and help from his Alsatian wife, learned German to an excellent level. He used it to infiltrate German, i.e. Nazi, outposts to later help mount attacks on them. He and his wife are now living their last days peacefully and well-cared-for thanks to national health care, desired by the French people, put in place by a democratic government voted for by the French people, a government that he and others fought to defend from Nazis. "Government of the people, for the people, by the people". Wonder how that phrase of Lincoln's would be received if it were first pronounced in the current times.
posted by fraula at 12:53 PM on August 19, 2009 [11 favorites]


kafziel: fair enough, but the idea that businesses all over are worried that health care will mean mass-quitting is well afar from reality, I think.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:53 PM on August 19, 2009


Obama isn't Hitler, but these people sure resemble the population of Germany in the 1930s.
posted by tzikeh at 12:57 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Obama strikes back.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:07 PM on August 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


Obama isn't Hitler, but these people sure resemble the population of Germany in the 1930s.

In what way? We don't have radical political parties killing each other in the streets. We don't have the biggest circulating news source actively Jew baiting. I haven't heard anyone considered sane blame the economic crisis on either Jews nor communists. I don't hear any disgruntled Vietnam vets arguing that we should go back and finish the job in Southeast Asia. No one has suggested that Canada and the US should merge because of our shared ethno/tribal heritage. No one outside of the lunatic fringe declares Americans to be racially superior. No one has started smashing the windows of Jewish owned businesses. The Republican party does not have a militia force that marches around our major cities intimidating people and beting up gays and jews.

These poeple are radical nutters, but this is not the Weimar Republic quite yet.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:13 PM on August 19, 2009


These poeple are radical nutters, but this is not the Weimar Republic quite yet.

But... but.. My Cabaret reboot!

All that money on fishnets, wasted!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:23 PM on August 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


I actually think this was a great response to give. These questions are intentionally loaded in such a way that there isn't a correct answer. The goal is to shout a big scary accusation in the hopes that the congresscritter blinks and sputters his or her way into a defensive and hedged response worthy of a bad Miss America Contestant. Footage of that would then be spread at length as proof that congresscritters are defensive and vulnerable to the voice of the people.

Frank sees the trap and calls it out for what it is, a batshit crazy and insulting framing of the question.

Meanwhile Rush Limbaugh is classy as ever, "isn’t it an established fact that Barney Frank spends most of his time around Uranus!"
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:23 PM on August 19, 2009


But... but.. My Cabaret reboot!

Rewrite it for dogs, bring on William Wegman as a creative consultant, and call it The Weimaraner Republic.
posted by cortex at 1:32 PM on August 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


I thought about going to the nearby town hall meetings with a videocamera, to be able to show that the people interrupting weren't local, but people following the meetings. "But I'm in the Bay Area," I thought. "How nuts would they have to be to try that nearby?"

Nutty enough...
posted by jonp72 at 1:34 PM on August 19, 2009


Pollomacho: In what way?

In the way that they're looking for someone to blame for their miserable lives, are easily frightened by their screaming leaders into false beliefs, and are buying into the "Jews / brown people Obama is causing all of your misery, and if only we could get rid of Jews / brown people Obama, things would be much better for us, because otherwise Jews / brown people Obama will bring this country to its ruin."
posted by tzikeh at 1:44 PM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


ilana: "if Barney Miller had been able to open his mouth and incinerate the woman, dragonlike, with a massive puff of flame, he would have been justified in doing so.

Perhaps we could raise enough money for the health care plans by making this a pay-per-view event? I'd watch.
"

Nah, I think it will be network.

Does anybody know if Hal Linden will really be the executioner on American Death Panel Season 1? I think it the show might do well in the ratings.
posted by Rafaelloello at 1:45 PM on August 19, 2009


Jews / brown people Obama

I'm thinking that with a large contingent of these people "Jews & brown people & Obama" is more apt.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:52 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Stabbed in the Barack", if you will.
posted by cortex at 1:54 PM on August 19, 2009


Man, not only is that not original, it's not even facetious. I just sneezed some Crazy Boogers all over myself, apparently.
posted by cortex at 1:56 PM on August 19, 2009


"...the comparison of an anonymous person in the 2004 MoveOn.org ad contest of Bush to Hitler generated a massive media firestorm for a full week, with all sorts of political figures and organizations vehemently condemning the actions of this anonymous individual. As a result, I contacted many of those people to ask for their reaction to yesterday's comparison of Obama and Hitler by GOP leader Rush Limbaugh, speaking to his audience of 15 million people."

The reactions.
posted by Houstonian at 1:57 PM on August 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


Real Time With Bill Maher - Dana Gould reports on health care protests and Remote Area Medical
posted by homunculus at 2:07 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Teabaggers Armed With "Youtubes" Confront Max Baucus
posted by homunculus at 2:09 PM on August 19, 2009


Limbaugh took it even further today, really showing his third-grade mental level.

Alluding to Barney Frank's asking the "Hitler" girl what planet she spent most of her time on, Limbaugh opined today, "Isn't it an established fact that Barney Frank himself spends most of his time living around Uranus?".

Like my wife likes to say, "Wow, that's fucking classy."
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:10 PM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Personally I think the "dining room table" is getting a raw deal from the comparison. Most dining room tables make a fine and productive and even aesthetic contribution to the well being of a house and family, whereas most of these Obama is a Hitler/Nazi/Alien/Blah Blah-I suck Glenn Beck/Rush/O'Reilly cock for breakfast, lunch and dinner-LOONIES are just, loud ignorant, obstructionist bullies and racist who're FUGLY, as in F**kin' Ugly, and it's got nothing to do with the way they look or dress.
posted by Skygazer at 2:11 PM on August 19, 2009


Sorry, KirkJobSluder. I missed your comment above.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:14 PM on August 19, 2009


"But I'm in the Bay Area," I thought. "How nuts would they have to be to try that nearby?"

Nutty enough...


Well. Gah.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:15 PM on August 19, 2009


I think it was mentioned upthread, but maybe this is a big bait-and-switch kind of move? We have a solid plan, with this one objectionable item (death panels, aka conversations with your doctor about your end-of-life options). Everyone gets up-in-arms (literally in some cases) about that one item. At the last minute, we remove the item, and pass through the rest, because, well, we removed the objection, right? So no other problems, right?
posted by Houstonian at 2:17 PM on August 19, 2009


I think it was mentioned upthread, but maybe this is a big bait-and-switch kind of move? We have a solid plan, with this one objectionable item (death panels, aka conversations with your doctor about your end-of-life options). Everyone gets up-in-arms (literally in some cases) about that one item. At the last minute, we remove the item, and pass through the rest, because, well, we removed the objection, right? So no other problems, right?

Except they already removed the end of life provisions.
posted by delmoi at 2:29 PM on August 19, 2009


Alluding to Barney Frank's asking the "Hitler" girl what planet she spent most of her time on, Limbaugh opined today, "Isn't it an established fact that Barney Frank himself spends most of his time living around Uranus?".

Most popular voice in radio.
posted by dirigibleman at 2:29 PM on August 19, 2009


There's also footage of a woman screeching "Heil Hitler!" at an Israeli man talking about health care at some sort of right-wing "town hall" in Las Vegas.

The update to that post tells the story as much as the video itself:

"Various sources maintain that this awful woman is wearing an Israeli Defense Forces t-shirt, which is precisely the level of coherence we've come to expect from these Town Hall twits."
posted by Adam_S at 2:40 PM on August 19, 2009


Is the military a socialist project?

Sure is! Free housing. Free food. Free clothes. Everyone dresses the same, just like in Communist China. And they have socialized medicine.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:40 PM on August 19, 2009


Barney Frank is yet another reason why I love Massachusetts politics. The majority of his distirct consists of cities and towns on the south coast- Fall River, New Bedford, etc. These are old fishing and mill towns, full of rough and tumble types, yet year after year, they reelect an openly gay man, because.....well, damn he's good. The man is highly intelligent and quick-witted.

You know what got me about the whole exchange? How at first the woman is all "bad economy, too costly, not the time to reform health care" and although I disagree, I'm listening and thinking that she has valid concerns and then WHAM HURF DURF YOUR HEALTH PLAN IS FOR NAZIS! Seriously, WTF, lady??
posted by emd3737 at 2:47 PM on August 19, 2009


I don't think so because the whole end-of-life counseling thing as it exists within the draft bill is fairly benign. I don't have the bill in front of me, but it would provide greater funding for services that assist patients in making decisions about living wills, DNR orders, and varieties of hospice care.

The whole panic over the government pulling the plug, or more likely not funding extreme measures fails because it already exists in the American system. American insurance companies both deny coverage for experimental or even established "off-label" therapies. American insurance companies already have spending caps and ridiculous loopholes that allow them to not pay for services.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:49 PM on August 19, 2009


Except they already removed the end of life provisions.

Somehow I missed that, even though it happened more than 5 days ago! This only leaves me more confused. The whole "death panel/Nazi" thing was confusing and weird. But, that they are fighting about something that isn't even there anymore is really confusing and weird.
posted by Houstonian at 2:51 PM on August 19, 2009


Does anybody know if Hal Linden will really be the executioner on American Death Panel Season 1? I think it the show might do well in the ratings.

Do well? You sir, have underestimated how big a hit this show would be. Throw a bunch of old people in a house or maybe on an island, have them compete for their chance to live, and give America the chance to vote (99 cents per call) and you have a damn hit on your hands.
posted by graventy at 2:51 PM on August 19, 2009


Various sources maintain that this awful woman is wearing an Israeli Defense Forces t-shirt, which is precisely the level of coherence we've come to expect from these Town Hall twits.

Which is another reason why I don't think the right is a few years way from developing into full-fledged fascism, and is weaker today than even in the Reagan years when they at least had the Communists. The right can't get a consistent mythology going. Depending on which branch of the wing you look at, Obama is a godless communist, a tool of zionism, a closet muslim conspirator, and a nazi.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:54 PM on August 19, 2009


"You know, I have to say these health care forums are one of the worst ideas ever. What's the point of these things?"

Exactly this.

...you do know Obama's LSATs were at least in the 98.8th percentile, right?
At Punahou (in 71) they needed your Stanford-Banai to get in (yes, yes, Stephen Jay Gould doesn't like it, ok) and his IQ was around 170 (almost as smart as me!*).

He could have been a pro poker player (try playing poker with professional politicians who read people for a living, and (it's Illinois) cheat).

Oh, I don't *know* that it's by design that he's not interrupting his opponents while the make egregious errors, or that he laid this out as a scheme knowing the pitfalls of creating an astroturf movement with fanatic rubes.

But people keep underestimating him.

He defeated an entrenched democratic machine with a solid populace based grassroots campaign while exploiting the self-destructing pig-headed ignorance of Palin and McCains bull headed myopia.
I mean, y'all have seen how he fights.

But they keep underestimating him.

Whether he's that smart or not - I hope it continues.


*yeah, that's my tongue in my cheek.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:56 PM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


My understanding is that the end-of-life counseling provision (which has been removed) was "unplugging grandma" and "death panels" is the committee the bill would establish to determine what would and would not be covered under a public option/plan.
posted by Orb at 3:59 PM on August 19, 2009


Fox News' Guide to Winning an Argument: Recut the Tape
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:00 PM on August 19, 2009


Smedleyman: they needed your Stanford-Banai to get in

Stanford Binet? Or is ... I read it as Stanford-Sinai at first, and then thought maybe an offshoot of Stanford on the Hawai'ian islands?

(Stanford-Sinai would be a hell of a hospital)
posted by tzikeh at 4:05 PM on August 19, 2009


Most popular voice in radio.

Yeah but these days isnt that a bit like saying "Biggest name in View-Master reels"?
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:14 PM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


But, that they are fighting about something that isn't even there anymore is really confusing and weird.

They are fighting Obama, who is still there. That is all there is to this. They will say and do absolutely anything to that end.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:19 PM on August 19, 2009


Various sources maintain that this awful woman is wearing an Israeli Defense Forces t-shirt, which is precisely the level of coherence we've come to expect from these Town Hall twits.
Which is another reason why I don't think the right is a few years way from developing into full-fledged fascism, and is weaker today than even in the Reagan years when they at least had the Communists. The right can't get a consistent mythology going. Depending on which branch of the wing you look at, Obama is a godless communist, a tool of zionism, a closet muslim conspirator, and a nazi.
This assumes that distinctions between godless communists, tools of zionism, closet muslim conspirators, and nazis are meaningful to the people who hold these opinions. I don't think that's a warranted assumption.
posted by Flunkie at 4:35 PM on August 19, 2009


Pamela Pilger, the Hitler fan who was shouting at the Israeli man, is not a Larouchite. "I've always been a republican."
posted by mullingitover at 4:55 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not just a Republican, but also she's also had "Biblical values." Good thing she added that, because I really would not have guessed. With her cross earrings, her Israeli Defense Forces t-shirt, and her yelling "heil Hitler," to a Jewish Israeli none-the-less, my understanding of her values were clearly confused.
posted by Houstonian at 5:02 PM on August 19, 2009


And unbelievably, she's got insurance but her husband is uninsured?!
posted by Houstonian at 5:04 PM on August 19, 2009


MEME'D!
posted by Senor Cardgage at 5:12 PM on August 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


Pamela Pilger, the Hitler fan who was shouting at the Israeli man, is not a Larouchite.

She is, however, a horrible person.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 5:16 PM on August 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


Remember when they wanted to privatize Social Security so they could take advantage of the booming stock market?

Here's a screen cap of CNN/Money's front page from 1-11-2005. I found it highly amusing, anyway.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:22 PM on August 19, 2009


Well, she says she believes in "Biblical Values". Which, if I remember correctly, involves a LOT of smiting against those who harm the Jews (if the Jews didn't 'have it coming' for whatever reason). So she's screwed.
posted by sandraregina at 5:26 PM on August 19, 2009


For the record, if we're going to win this battle, we will need to eventually combine our appeals to reason with effective appeals to emotion. Appeals to emotion are powerful things and the Republicans are better at using them than we are. They don't care about logical consistency because, ultimately, they care about winning more.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:35 PM on August 19, 2009


I first encountered LaRouche crazies at a Democratic rally 25 years ago. Their presence is nothing new. Teabaggers are new and are the major source of the disruption of these town hall events. And while there are some who may grudgingly "respect the office, you won't have to travel far amongst them to find most willing to Godwin themselves. Deflecting all the disruption off on LaRouche crazies is just a teabaggers tactic now that these town hall meetings have shown the teabaggers to be just as crazy.
posted by 3.2.3 at 5:39 PM on August 19, 2009


Flunkie: This assumes that distinctions between godless communists, tools of zionism, closet muslim conspirators, and nazis are meaningful to the people who hold these opinions. I don't think that's a warranted assumption.

Perhaps not to the people who hold the opinions, but certainly to the people who craft those opinions. Without a powerful unifying myth of the menacing other lurking just beyond the borders or conspiring under the cloak of social respectability, you don't get very far.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:41 PM on August 19, 2009


Man, just once, just ONCE, I want to see a notorious metafilter troll just up and post something like "Okay fine guys I was just trying to make you get angry and argue seriously against this ridiculous contrived position I cooked up, you know, for the lulz, but you found me out. Once the 10th person said 'don't feed the troll', I knew the jig was up. So I'm turning myself in."
posted by tehloki at 6:04 PM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Perhaps not to the people who hold the opinions, but certainly to the people who craft those opinions. Without a powerful unifying myth of the menacing other lurking just beyond the borders or conspiring under the cloak of social respectability, you don't get very far.

What you say certainly makes sense from a propaganda theory perspective but recent history suggests otherwise. From George Bush's statement that there was no difference between Saddam & bin Laden to Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism, there's a deliberate blurring of identities going on. There's Us & Not-Us; everything that's Not-Us is equally bad, the differences between various Not-Uses are unimportant. It's Manichaeism reborn. We are Light, all else is Dark.
posted by scalefree at 6:29 PM on August 19, 2009


They don't care about logical consistency because, ultimately, they care about winning more.

I don't think that care about it MORE, they just don't care HOW they win. The Democrats, who are always trying to keep everyone happy, have a few more moral hurdles they aren't willing to knock down during the race to the finish line.
posted by crossoverman at 7:02 PM on August 19, 2009


Regarding the Republican woman who screamed "Heil Hitler" at the Jewish man: color me supremely unsurprised. Go toward the right far enough, and you'll eventually encounter anti-semitism. Nazism is extreme right wing.

I always marvel at the unholy alliance between the American right and Israeli Likudniks. Don't they realize that on the right, anti-semitism is barely suppressed for the occasion, and blossoms as soon as there is the least bit of stress put on this "alliance"? Oh, but they realize it - they just make an alliance with the devil for the moment... and have the arrogant faith that they'll not to be consumed by the hell fire. I hope they never have reason to bitterly regret such faith.

But yeah, more often than not, scratch a radical right wingnut, and you'll uncover anti-semitism among many other ugly things lurking just beneath the surface. This kind of holy war between "good and evil", apocalyptic and conspiracy centered world view seems to lend itself to this disease.
posted by VikingSword at 7:23 PM on August 19, 2009


H.P. Hatecraft: So, this Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention act... have you read it? Unlike the proposed health care reform bills, this one is only a couple of pages. It defines hate crimes as "willfully caus[ing] bodily injury." At the end of the bill, it explicitly guarantees free speech

Wrong.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 7:35 PM on August 19, 2009


I always marvel at the unholy alliance between the American right and Israeli Likudniks. Don't they realize that on the right, anti-semitism is barely suppressed for the occasion, and blossoms as soon as there is the least bit of stress put on this "alliance"?

As with most things in life, The Sopranos touched on this deftly:
Beth Rabkin: You can disagree with Evangelicals, but they're great friends of the Jews, because Israel is the Holy Land.

Hesh Rabkin: You wait...
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:43 PM on August 19, 2009


Heh. Steven Colbert is debating a dining table right now on his show.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:33 PM on August 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


> That's where I live. BTW, health care is great here, I went to the doctor last month and it only cost me about 20,000 won (around $USD 16).

What's the average income for a native South Korean, anyway?
posted by Decimask at 10:55 PM on August 19, 2009


Wrong.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 7:35 PM on August 19 [+] [!]


Please do yourself and the rest of us a favor and read the fucking bill before displaying your ignorance of its contents:
SEC. 10. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.

For purposes of construing this Act and the amendments made by this Act the following shall apply:

(1) RELEVANT EVIDENCE- Courts may consider relevant evidence of speech, beliefs, or expressive conduct to the extent that such evidence is offered to prove an element of a charged offense or is otherwise admissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence. Nothing in this Act is intended to affect the existing rules of evidence.

(2) VIOLENT ACTS- This Act applies to violent acts motivated by actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability of a victim.

(3) CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to prohibit any constitutionally protected speech, expressive conduct or activities (regardless of whether compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief), including the exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment and peaceful picketing or demonstration. The Constitution does not protect speech, conduct or activities consisting of planning for, conspiring to commit, or committing an act of violence.

(4) FREE EXPRESSION- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to allow prosecution based solely upon an individual's expression of racial, religious, political, or other beliefs or solely upon an individual's membership in a group advocating or espousing such beliefs.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:20 AM on August 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Slight derail- most corporations I know (mostly just the one I work for...) are breathlessly waiting for the opportunity to pay higher taxes, just to get the healthcare monkey off their backs. In this case, paying the 8% penalty in lieu of having to pay for healthcare means instant, fabulous profitability. Something like 20% of our revenue goes toward healthcare. I would imagine that's fairly common- (having just googled and found a link that says 17.5% of GDP is healthcare spending.

(Also, not for nothing, my company, like many or all other mid to largish companies, don't even really have insurance. They pay Blue Cross for access to their networks and for administration of the plan. But if Frank from accounting has a grabber, all the bills go back to the company. Most of us already have socialized medicine- it's just socialized in tiny groups and in a very inefficient way.)

The only corporations that are against healthcare reform are the ones who get a cut of that 17.5%.
posted by gjc at 4:30 AM on August 20, 2009


Blazecock Pileon:

Well, that's the House bill, not the Senate version, which was what the ACLU press release that I posted said lacked that wording. However I looked up the Senate version and it seems to include those provisions as well.

I stand corrected.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 4:53 AM on August 20, 2009


Christians, there is a whole second half to that book you carry around called the New Testament. I know, I know, you think it's full of commie propaganda like "love your enemies" but really, that's the parts where Jesus actually says stuff. You know Jesus? The guy that was the "J" in your WWJD bracelet. Yeah, turns out he was all in favor of stuff like feeding hungry people, tending sick people, and being nice to prisoners. Before you go rushing off to the nearest Mosque or Synagogue to look for a more Old Testament vengeful God, just remember you toss out the Gospels, you also have to toss out Revelations [sic].

Yeah, I know, it's hard. You may have figured out by now that, we really aren't actually exactly a very Christian nation. I know, commie bullshit, but really, What Would Jesus Do if he too lived in 2009 America? OK sure, we can imagine Him driving a truck, that's fine if it helps build the image for you, but really, think about it... Matthew 22:

36"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

So it sounds like He might have taken this whole "love yout neighbor" crap seriously, and He's supposed to be the messiah? Go figure! Check out this commie crap he spouted from Luke chapter 6:

27"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.32"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Man what a wuss, amarite or amirite? Well, at least Paul wasn't such a pussy. You want some of that good old fashioned sinners in the hands of an angry God shit right? Well crank up some 2nd Thessalonians:

6God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.

Wait, is Paul implying that We the annointed and chosen ones, those predestined to play harps up in heaven might actually have to listen to what that wussy Jesus was saying? We might actually have to do something to earn our slot, like put out an effort? Jeez, can't we just have an easy, quick fix, get into heaven for a low down payment way to do that sissy stuff?

Well, there is something you can do to change that. It's a quick fix, that will only take a little of your cash, you won't actually have to even touch or be around any hungry or sick people. Fix healthcare. Yeah, it's that easy, just support a plan to provide helthcare to all your neighbors, even if there is nothing in it for you. Yeah, that's socialism [I know it's not], but hey, it's the least we can do as Christians. No, seriously, this is perhaps the least amount of effort we could possibly put forth and still consider ourselves remotely Christ-like.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:34 AM on August 20, 2009 [7 favorites]


I stand corrected.

Ok then! We got that all sorted out.

So do you have any other examples of why Obama is pissing on the 1st amendment, or not? Again, please be specific. Must be something really important, right?
posted by zardoz at 5:49 AM on August 20, 2009


kirkjobsluder, my understanding of the "End of Life Care/Kill My Gramma" nonsense is that it is even more benign. The provision is for a one-time one hour consultation, when a patient enters the Medicare system, on the available options for durable power of attorney or similar instrument. Here is a link to an interview with Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) in which he explains the end-of-life care amendment he proposed. Someone here at the 'filter pointed me to this in the first place; probably Astro Zombie.
posted by Mister_A at 6:07 AM on August 20, 2009


Well, that's the House bill, not the Senate version

Did you even click on the link? Did you see, right at the top of the page, where it says:

Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act (Introduced in Senate)
S 909 IS


See the "S" before the bill number? That means "Senate bill." As in, that's the Senate bill. Not the House bill. The Senate bill.
posted by EarBucket at 7:05 AM on August 20, 2009


The Colbert Report that burhanistan mentions is definitely worth watching, here if you missed it.

The table is French Provincial.
posted by Houstonian at 7:21 AM on August 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Barney invoked his heritage to tell the shiksa to gay kocken offen yom . Barney is a mensch.
posted by jim in austin at 8:30 AM on August 20, 2009


[few comments removed - there is a metatalk thread where side commentary can go]
posted by jessamyn at 9:40 AM on August 20, 2009


Thank you for identifying the psycho Heil Hitler lady in the (knockoff*) IDF shirt (full disclosure: I am an IDF vet). I nearly lost my lunch when I first saw this on Rick Sanchez's show on CNN the other day, and I also would have probably pounded her had it been me.

I was vaguely relieved to see her wearing the cross earrings and talking about biblical values, and therefore outing herself as a Christian wingnut rather than a Jewish one. Then I remembered that no matter what flavor wingnut she is, we still allegedly are members of the same species, and I didn't feel relieved anymore.

*The IDF spells Defense with an S, not a C.
posted by yiftach at 10:56 AM on August 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Colbert Report that burhanistan mentions is definitely worth watching, here if you missed it.

The table is French Provincial.


Just what I thought, equating civilized political discussion with a town-hall Ob.ama-Is-Hitle.r-LOON-job, to speaking to a dining room table, is an insult to dining room tables everywhere.

Shame on you, Barney Frank. Shame on you, Sir.
posted by Skygazer at 11:13 AM on August 20, 2009


And even the lamp got in the action. The lamp with the banker shade. Ha.
posted by Houstonian at 11:22 AM on August 20, 2009


What's the average income for a native South Korean, anyway?

A little better than half that of the US, if you use the measure of GDP per capita.

I'm finding all of this very amusing. The idea that South Koreans enjoy more freedom of expression that US citizens is ludicrous.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:34 AM on August 20, 2009


The Colbert Report that burhanistan mentions is definitely worth watching, here if you missed it.

The table is French Provincial.


And he actually got a more meaningful argument out of the table than the woman Frank was talking to.
posted by crossoverman at 3:57 PM on August 20, 2009


The nutters are, of course, being organized and bankrolled by corporate interests.

Ignoring the site on which the interview is posted, check out what Wendell Potter, head of corporate communications at Cigna, reveals about corporate-funded “grassroots” campaigns. Nothing grassroots about them, of course.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:15 PM on August 20, 2009


Then it hit me. Every business, large or small...every employer who offers their employees some kind of health care plan. They have a vested interest in opposing reform. They know that currently most Americans are terrified of losing their employee coverage. They depend on it. Many Americans are putting up with shitty jobs and shitty treatment by superiors because they're afraid to leave. Not for the job or the income, so much as for the health coverage benefits. They're trapped by their dependence on benefits, and their employers are well aware of that fact and can take advantage of it.

That is a very salient point worth repeating to more citizens. Job mobility might be one helluva popular idea.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:18 PM on August 20, 2009


I really liked that article, five fresh fish. To me, it is a clear statement of something we need to continue to remind people: We should be really ashamed of ourselves. We can do better than this.

We have the largest economy in the world, and yet "our system ranks 29th in infant mortality, 28th in healthy life expectancy, and 37th overall."

And his memory of seeing a free health care event in a poorer area of Virginia, where he "saw hundreds of people waiting in the rain while physicians attended to patients in animal stalls or on gurneys lying on the rain-soaked pavement. Tents had been pitched across the fairground lawns, creating a scene 'like something that could’ve been happening on a battlefield or in a war-torn country.... 'What I thought was: ‘Is this the United States?’ It was so remote from my reality. It just seemed impossible.'"

And yet how much does the CEO of Cigna make? "Over $30 million in 2007."
posted by Houstonian at 4:37 PM on August 20, 2009


Hell, I watched a video the other day of some dude who does International Emergency Medical Services.

And they've lately been back in the USA setting up tents and clinics in fairgrounds and parking lots, offering free medical services to Americans — and are absolutely overloaded with work.

The USA is in many respects not a first world nation. Its abominable healthcare system is one example. Corporations holding more power than government is another example.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:56 PM on August 20, 2009


Hey dw, you were right.
posted by telstar at 10:31 PM on August 20, 2009


I am not a politically savvy person. I don't understand the intricacies of the healthcare system or why it costs me $1000 when I go to the emergency room and all I get is extra strength tylenol.

But, if the question is "Should everybody have access to free or affordable health care?" and your answer is an unequivocal "No." then you are either an idiot or you just dislike your fellow humans. Or both.
posted by runcibleshaw at 11:44 PM on August 20, 2009


Hey dw, you were right.

I still can't decide what this is. Homage?
posted by dw at 9:11 PM on August 23, 2009


Performance art. You should be honored. And the awesome fish bit the bait hard.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:47 AM on August 24, 2009


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