Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 12, 2009

MEET THE MEMBERS OF THE MOB.... The Wall Street Journal had an interesting item today on President Obama's town-hall event in New Hampshire. It noted, among other things, the gathering of protestors outside the event that "verged on a street brawl," with "opposing forces lined up like screaming armies on either side of the street."

One of the protestors, in particular, brought a unique perspective.

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."

Now, my goal is not to pick on Diane Campbell, whom I do not know. She's quite clearly confused, though, and has come to believe some ridiculous lies. Campbell has apparently been so enraged by the right-wing nonsense she's been told, she feels entirely comfortable going out in public with signs comparing the president to a Nazi, and telling a reporter, on the record, that health care reform is comparable to Hitler's Holocaust.

But let's not overlook the irony of Diane Campbell's situation. Government-run, taxpayer-financed health care has kept her mother alive. Government-run, taxpayer-financed health care provides treatment and care to her sister. Based on the descriptions, it's safe to assume the costs associated with treatments for Campbell's mother and sister are enormous, but taxpayers and a socialized health care system pick up the tab. What's wrong with that? Not a thing.

Except, of course, that Diane Campbell is now trying to convince people that health care reform is both radical and dangerous.

I'm reminded once again of something Josh Marshall said the other day, about a different right-wing protestor: "[L]et's all collectively throw a little cold water on our faces and just realize that this is some really crazy stuff. The health care debate is now being driven by a perverse nonsense feedback loop in which the Palin/Limbaugh crowd says all sorts of completely insane lies, gets a lot of ... how shall we put it, impressionable people totally jacked up over a bunch of complete nonsense."

Steve Benen 9:20 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (72)

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Someone please give that foolish woman her 15 minutes of fame. Track her down interview her and ask her those same questions. The disconnect has to be pointed out time and time again.

Posted by: John R on August 12, 2009 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

Why does Diane Campbell want to kill her mother and sister? Is insurance company profitability that important to her?

Posted by: Rick B on August 12, 2009 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Stupid is as stupid does. What we have here is a failure to communicate. Forest Gump meets the fuck you spirit of Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke!

With their focus on Jefferson's tree of liberty quote, my dear brethren on the far far right have forgotten the one about the need for a collective wisdom!

Surely this is the best of times and the worst of times . . ah, but that would be the French version of our dangerous political landscape these days!

Privatized intellects do us little good here in our great democratic nation of America. -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on August 12, 2009 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

Well, seems simple enough to me. Offer to take a list of names, to which the president promises in front of witnesses to affix his signature. Those individuals would be exempt, at their professed wish, from any provisions of the health care reform bill. They would not be able to access a public option, and could go on paying for private insurance with no assistance from the socialist government.

It'd be refreshing to see them screaming in protest outside the offices of their insurer in a few years.

Posted by: Mark on August 12, 2009 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

"...in which the Palin/Limbaugh crowd says all sorts of completely insane lies, gets a lot of ... how shall we put it, impressionable people totally jacked up over a bunch of complete nonsense."

Josh Marshall left out the part where the corporate media performs their normal duties as enablers, echo chambers, and message amplifiers for the reich-wing!

Posted by: SadOldVet on August 12, 2009 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

Funny, your article and comments here. When Bush was compared to Hitler and Cheney to Goehring, the left side of the media not only happily reported, but helped create those comparisons. now, with the tables turned, the left is all up in arms (oh, sorry, you don't believe that owning arms is something Americans shoudl do). Of course both comparisons are ridiculous.

As long as poeple fall for this two party oligarchy we have going in this country, the evil generated by either party will continue. America needs to wake up, and recement the left and right together. Everything else is schizophrenic, and creates the delusions we see around us.

America has become a psychotically driven country politically.

Stop the madness. Stop believeing the left and the right, and start listening to the Constitution, and nothing else.

Posted by: Chris on August 12, 2009 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

i dunno what josh marshall's socialist cold water splashing is going to do about the idiocy sweeping thru the country.

Perhaps the pandering of these sad folks by the media and political websites is part of the problem, too. you know, spreading the nihilism around for fun and profit.

Posted by: neill on August 12, 2009 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

Throwing cold water against bullets usually doesn't work.

Obama made perhaps a fatal political mistake by letting Congress recess before voting on healthcare. What we are witnessing could be the last gasp of democracy before mob rule.

Obama's other big mistake was not to, by whatever means, control right-wing radio and Faux news. Thirty years of self-reinforcing propaganda from the right has created an army of true believers, victims all (or so they believe) living in a fantasy world.

70-million voted for Obama. 60-million didn't. That's a big army, and one that could easily prevail. When the national guard is called in on this on what side will they be?

Posted by: rrk1 on August 12, 2009 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

with the tables turned, the left is all up in arms (oh, sorry, you don't believe that owning arms is something Americans shoudl do).

and sorry to you, but those who resort to ignorant strawmen arguments will not be taken seriously either. Buh-bye!

Posted by: Allan Snyder on August 12, 2009 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

"...start listening to the Constitution, and nothing else"

The framers of the constitution intended it to be a living document that adapted to the times. But I suppose it's easier to live in the past than to deal with the complexity of the present.

Posted by: Dr Lemming on August 12, 2009 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

I think what is ignored or underestimated is the number of people who think they can believe what they see on TV.
Many of these protesters grew up in the age of an active FCC and the Broadcasters' Code. I don't remember many ads then like the infomercials now with the likes of Kevin Trudeau spending hour after hour selling snake oil.
News organizations may have been inaccurate but they had to correct their inaccuracies. The "Fact Check" that is done now with trumpets was a given.

The "somebody said it--so it MUST be true" ethos mocked on SCTV is now SOP. If Betsy McCaughey had been subjected to the same standard of truth as a local sports reporter, she'd never have made it to a set. Instead, anyone spouting lies to that extent is usually followed by a "There you have it, folks" and a cut to the Michael Jackson Resurrection Watch.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on August 12, 2009 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

"When the national guard is called in on this on what side will they be?"

Doesn't matter too much with a couple of hundred million guns around...

Posted by: Vokoban on August 12, 2009 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

Diane (like the rest of her ilk) has no substantive knowledge of health care. And she doesn't care. All she knows is that some black fascist/socialist/communist/muslim/noncitizen has taken over their country and it is her god-given duty to bring him down.

Posted by: Doctor Whom on August 12, 2009 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

The Right gets a lot of its venom and over-the-top craziness from other sources than Faux News and nutty talk radio, although those continue to contribute. Many on the Left say, "I can't stand to watch TV any more, it's such a crock of shit. I get most of my news from blogs". Ditto the Righties. A lot of the urging to extreme behaviour such as you're seeing comes from blogs established and run by true believers or cynical hacks who know better, but see an advantage to encouraging mob hatred.

I can't think how you're going to affect that. The Right pays individuals to act as spoilers on Leftist blogs and to contribute contradictory talking-point messages in an attempt to shift the discussion. Doing the same thing on Rightie blogs would likely have the same effect, but would only jack them up to a higher degree of fury.

Posted by: Mark on August 12, 2009 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Let's have a little compassion, people. Diane Campbell is scared to death. Her mother and her sister are barely hanging on, and change poses the threat that people she loves will lose a measure of care that is essential to their lives. These are real flesh and blood people, family, whom she has helped care for, and their lifeline is at stake. She is frightened of any change. I feel for her.

Not so much for those who have the attitude of "I've got it good, don't rock my boat," and even less for "stop anything this black president tries to do."

But for Diane Campbell change is frightful, and not unreasonably so.

Posted by: Bill H on August 12, 2009 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

What's odd is that most of these mob members seem older, meaning that the majority of them probably receive benefits from Medicare or the VA.

I'm beginning to think what concerns some of them is that they'll be forced to share medical care with others who now don't have any, which will result in benefit cuts.

Or maybe I'm being too generous and they're just a bunch of idiots, though one can be selfish and an idiot at the same time.

Posted by: g. powell on August 12, 2009 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

As they say, only in America. An average American is basically an idiot.

Posted by: Ajay on August 12, 2009 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

...start listening to the Constitution... -Chris

Ever read it? Remember the part about promoting the general welfare?

Everything else is schizophrenic... -Chris

Along with the glaringly false equivalence and everything else you were wrong about in your comment, you didn't even reference the correct psychological disorder. Schizophrenia symptoms typically include delusions of grandeur and various types of hallucinations, and while applicable to the political world in many ways, is not indicative of the multiple personality disorder or dissociative identify fugue you were referencing.

Regarding Diane and her mother, I call it like I see it. They're racists. I've said it before, and I'm sure it will come up again: we have dramatically underestimated the degree to which having a black President would unhinge some people. They're not confused; they're willfully ignorant scum who would rather sink the nation than educate themselves because of the level of melanin in our President's skin.

I would add they have an embarrassingly inadequate understanding of history which allows them to so easily make comparisons to incomparable and horrible events.

Posted by: doubtful on August 12, 2009 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

start listening to the Constitution

Sorry, but you have to READ the Constitution.

Bush was compared to Hitler because he thought is was "just a fucking piece of paper," and you supported that.

Posted by: JM on August 12, 2009 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

Bill H -

I'll have compassion for those who merit it. If Dianne was truly concerned, she would have gotten off her ass and done a little fact-checking. Her real goal is to express her rage over an imaginary threat she has no intentionn of resolving.

Cost-saving under a reform bill will only involve removing superfluous waste. The only "death panels" that exist reside in the boardrooms of private insurance companies.

If you believe that Dianne's faux concern is merited, you need to get off your ass and do a little fact checking, too.

Posted by: bdop4 on August 12, 2009 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

What's odd is that most of these mob members seem older, meaning that the majority of them probably receive benefits from Medicare or the VA.

and that's why I'm not too scared of this insurance industry sponsored "army" of confused older people who are mostly dependent on "government run" health care.
do they really think they'r changing anyone's mind, as opposed to making complete asses of themselves on national television?

Posted by: Allan Snyder on August 12, 2009 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

Let's have a little compassion, people. Diane Campbell is scared to death. -Bill H

My capacity for compassion for those who make baseless and ignorant comparisons to the Holocaust is unsurprisingly nonexistent.

Posted by: doubtful on August 12, 2009 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

I think Bill H above is right. Looking at these mob members, it's obvious that many them don't have a hell of a lot going for them. These are people who probably should be socialists. But instead the Right effectively scares them by saying if we share govt resources more broadly, then they will receive less.

The GOP used the same tactic successfully to scare poorer whites by saying that giving broader rights to black people was a threat. We're just seeing an updated version of that tactic.

Posted by: g. powell on August 12, 2009 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Chris,

> Funny, your article and comments here. When Bush
> was compared to Hitler and Cheney to Goehring,
> the left side of the media not only happily reported, - Chris

Wow, there is a left side of the media? Only if you are a wing nut.

Hint to clueless: Calling a conservative/republican for what they are doesnt make the callee a leftist.

You will need a brain-transplant to see beyond Left/Right.

Posted by: Ajay on August 12, 2009 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Allan Snyder -- I'm beginning to agree with you. I think the GOP may have made an error by deploying this army of untelegenic misfits.

Posted by: g. powell on August 12, 2009 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

Its too bad that so many of these protestors do not realize what every serious journalist knows: People like Rush Limbaugh are merely entertainers.

Who would have thought there were any people who would believe their lies?

Posted by: David1234 on August 12, 2009 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

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.

Not to mention that Louise's sister was born without a brain. I can't imagine what the hospital bills for that look like.

Posted by: chrenson on August 12, 2009 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

When Bush was compared to Hitler and Cheney to Goehring, the left side of the media not only happily reported, but helped create those comparisons.

In a word: Bullshit.


.

Posted by: spork_incident on August 12, 2009 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

No one can change the minds of folks like this woman. They are beyond reason. 20+ years of the media allowing far-right/religio-nutjob lies and misrepresentations go unchallenged (in fact, the media has been an active promoter of many of these, just for the 'controversy') has created a large, vocal but minority segment of zombie like ignoramuses inthis country.

The problem (and fault) right now lies with the Blue Dogshites, particularly those in the Senate. This would all be unnecessary if only they would agree to vote against filibusters and let the proposal go to a vote. Worthless pawns who refuse to represent those who elected them.

Posted by: bubba on August 12, 2009 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

In any population there are a fair number of "impressionable people" who would believe the moon was made of cheese if the right "authorities" affirm their worldview. These people are usually devout and desperate followers and they are prone to violence and elimination politics. It is doubtful if these people can be enlightened in a legislative time frame. Our strategies should not be aimed at the impressionable class but at those who activate it to play a role in a private elitist agenda. This time around it is to protect health insurance profits, next time it will be to protect fossil fuel profits. It is no mistake that these are cash cow monopolistic industries. Perhaps we should change our language and decry the tyranny of monopolies that are bleeding Americans dry.

Posted by: bellumregio on August 12, 2009 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

I admit I'm enjoying this particular USA summer of madness, or is it just a normal USA summer of amusement. Good to see Obama, however, finally off his ass and trying to cover up his or his staff's inaptitude in regard to teaching USAers about health reform. It's likely just me, but isn't he always late to the party? The craziness of some of his fellow citizens really is a sign of his lack of earlier engagement on supposedly one of his key election promises, as Bromwich writes
: "their [individuals who are confused about the details of health reform or just current facts i.e. "what is medicare?"] level of ignorance is his responsibility".

The one thing, I think, the world now knows for sure is that Obama certainly isn't any teacher. You either arrive having already been pronounced full on a particular matter or you seem shit out of luck with the POTUS. If Obama blows this little attempt at change maybe he;ll learn to adjust his work habits and maybe take a teaching course or 2 before some real crisis comes along ha, ha, ha.

Posted by: Dr Pangloss on August 12, 2009 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

I'm intimately acquainted with someone with a primary immunodeficiency who also gets monthly infusions of gamma globulin. When she was diagnosed, she had costly private insurance. To make a long story short, at one point, after the price of gamma globulin went up on the wholesale market, the pharmacy company contracted by the insurance company refused to supply the product -- their contract with the insurer was for a fixed price -- because they would now be providing it at a loss. The insurer refused to renogiate the contract. It became a stalemate of sorts, but the upshot was that she didn't get the medicine she needed to live for several months until, luckily, she qualified for Medicare.

"Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain." - Schiller

Posted by: R. Porrofatto on August 12, 2009 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

These are nut who really make the issue easy to understand, to just about anyone. Sadly, they don't realy understand it. This person's mother and sister both receive government healthcare. By her own admission, it is quite good. Neither have been killed or forced to commit suicide based on the cost of this healthcare.

Now, should we change to a system in which her mother and sister receive government healthcare, which they already have, magically they will be killed by a Hitler like character.

They seem to fail to understand that nothing actually changes in the equation, except a lot of paranoia is added. Even the dumbest person has to realize this.

Posted by: ashton on August 12, 2009 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

"the left side of the media not only happily reported"

"the left is all up in arms (oh, sorry, you don't believe that owning arms is something Americans shoudl do)."

AND THEN
"Stop believeing the left and the right, and start listening to the Constitution, and nothing else."

That is some powerful crazy, powerful. Please believe what this nut showed he/she/it was incapable of believing.

Posted by: ashton on August 12, 2009 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

I'm intimately acquainted with someone with a primary immunodeficiency who also gets monthly infusions of gamma globulin.

Same here. Not gamma globulin, but something similar. It's because I know that those people are never going to be acceptable to private insurance companies that I support reform.

In a sense, this shows the superiority of a government system/public option: you have the force of voter anger keeping the system providing care for people who need it, while a private insurance company is answerable only to shareholders who want the company to deny treatment, not spend money on it.

Posted by: JustMe on August 12, 2009 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Those who have nothing are so afraid that they will be forced to share with others!

Posted by: capalistpig on August 12, 2009 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter Diane Campbell - "I don't want black/brown/yellow people getting my mothers gamma globulin".

Posted by: Adventuregeek on August 12, 2009 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, this is easy. Have the Campbell mom's New Hampshire nurse, who is probably on board with reform through the American Nurse's Association, give Diane and her mother a polite follow-up call saying she saw Diane on TV and wanted to reassure her that her Mom and sister would continue to receive coverage under Medicare.

Problem solved, no? The temptation here is to blame people like Diane for their ignorance but a little compassion and education may actually sway the tide and separate people like Diane from their malicious, obstructionist handlers.

As Claire McCaskill pointed out in Missouri yesterday, there is no serious discussion about a single payer system, about altering VA medical benefits, nor about changing Medicare coverage.

It's actually people like Limbaugh and Beck who are preventing people from getting the care they need to stay healthy and alive. The distance between the GOP's position and the deliberate denial of humanitarian assistance to fellow citizens is very short. And we're not talking about extraordinary treatment, just basic medicine.

One of the things we are learning from this debate is that some people (like Diane) are willing to place an irrational trust in the views of demagogues who are able to convince the Dianes of the world the government's history of fulfillment of its commitment to her family is an illusion and that she is being duped.

In fact, the government does care about and has a long history of protecting some of the weakest members of our society.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on August 12, 2009 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

What's odd is that most of these mob members seem older, meaning that the majority of them probably receive benefits from Medicare or the VA.

Right, and I think their fear is that expanding these programs will water them down - in other words, Medicare might not foot as much of the bill for Diane Campbell's mother, and they might have to start coughing up more - and maybe they can't afford that.

That these town hall screamers are fighting so hard for the status quo suggests that - at least in terms of health care - they are the lucky, they are the haves, damned if they're going to sacrifice anything for the have-nots. Because that's socialism, as Fox tells them.

Obama couuld/should switch gears and start pounding a basic theme.

Health care reform is for the good of the nation.
The 46 million people who have no health insurance are Americans too.
Covering them makes the nation stronger.
We must think of what's best for the nation.

Puts the wingnuts in the position of having to argue against the welfare of the nation itself.

Posted by: gsmart on August 12, 2009 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

When Bush was compared to Hitler and Cheney to Goehring, the left side of the media not only happily reported, but helped create those comparisons. now, with the tables turned, the left is all up in arms (oh, sorry, you don't believe that owning arms is something Americans shoudl do). Of course both comparisons are ridiculous.

Well, let's look at the comparison:

Under Bush, the United States invaded a country that was no threat to us under false pretenses. It was actually even worse than when the Nazis invaded Poland, since they at least faked an attack from the place they wanted to invade. We just went barreling in with the flimsiest of excuses.

Under Obama, the United States is planning to reform our health insurance system and crazy people have made up fantasies about "death panels" that bear no resemblance to reality.

Are you claiming that the invasion of Iraq never actually happened, so it's exactly like screaming about imaginary "death panels" that don't exist? Because that's the only way I can see a logical claim that complaints about the Iraq war and complaints about health insurance reform are exactly the same.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on August 12, 2009 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK
Hey, this is easy. Have the Campbell mom's New Hampshire nurse, who is probably on board with reform through the American Nurse's Association, give Diane and her mother a polite follow-up call saying she saw Diane on TV and wanted to reassure her that her Mom and sister would continue to receive coverage under Medicare.
Problem solved, no?

Unfortunately, no. Limbaugh and Beck and Dobbs and their ilk have gotten people wound up into such a state of paranoia that having a trusted nurse tell her that she has nothing to fear from health care reform will sound to Diane Campbell like a pod person from "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" has taken the place of the nurse, so she can never listen to the nurse's advice again. After all, she's become an Obamabot. It would actually reinforce her paranoia that people are out to get her and trying to kill her mother and sister.

That's a big part of the question here: how do you break through to people mired in paranoid fantasies who will use any information you give them to the contrary as proof that they're right and there really is a grand conspiracy to declare martial law and kill old people? Limbaugh and other right-wing talkers have built them a world that, though scary, makes sense to them

Posted by: Mnemosyne on August 12, 2009 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

To true believers, there's no hypocrisy here. The problem is that Obama is an unspeakably evil foreign-born fascist/Marxist Sorosist rootless cosmopolitan from the city of thugs, Chicago.

Whatever we have now is good. Whatever we have now, the evil foreign-born fascist/Marxist Sorosist rootless cosmopolitan from Chicago wants to destroy, because he wants to accrue power, and also just for sport.

See? It's simple. No contradiction.

Posted by: Steve M. on August 12, 2009 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

pj in jesusland wrote: "It's actually people like Limbaugh and Beck who are preventing people from getting the care they need to stay healthy and alive."

No, it's actually the for-profit medical insurance corporations who are preventing people from getting the care they need to stay healthy and alive -- for the simple reason that that's what it takes to rake in the huge profits that enable their ultra-rich CEOs to fly around the country in lavish corporate jets, eating gourmet feasts from gold-plated china, while their companies conspire to deny medical care to sick and dying people.

Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are just propagandists, who work for the so-called "right-wing" media, which will be happy to command its legion of weak-minded, ignorant, mean-spirited, brainwashed Ditto-Heads to believe, say and do whatever some rich corporations want them to believe, say and do.

To be a "movement conservative" in America today is to be an obedient mental slave of corporate propaganda. That's it.

That's all there is to "conservatism" any more. Believe and obey whatever the corporations pay Rush Limbaugh to tell you. Period.

Pathetic, brainwashed individuals like Diane Campbell are tools of the rapacious, ruthless, relentless, vicious class warfare of the ultra-rich corporate oligarchy against everyone else. Period.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 12, 2009 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

I stumbled upon a blog for a "patriot" recently and was shocked to see the list of her "news" sources. She said she reads DAILY emails from the following: Liberty Council, FreedomWorks, Tea Party Patriots, Logical Choice Action Group, DC912, the912project, local Tea Party and 912 groups, American Solutions, FredPac, SarahPac, ResistNet, Liberty Alliance, Campaign for Liberty, National Taxpayers Union, Club for Growth, Smart Girl Politics, Americans for Tax Reform, and Tea Party Nation.

The truth is, these people have created an alternate reality. They create their own "facts" using information provided by corporate interests and others who benefit financially from manipulating them. If it wasn't so scary, it would be sad.

In the case of this particular "patriot," the woman is also a school teacher! How can supposedly smart people be so easily led? It's nuts.

Posted by: STL_progress on August 12, 2009 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

The temptation here is to blame people like Diane for their ignorance but a little compassion and education... -pj in jesusland

Who should take responsibility for their ignorance? How do you educate people who are clearly opposed to learning?

Confusion should drive people to educate themselves, not make absurd Hitler and Holocaust comparisons that disparage the true history and gravity of those events.

I think the temptation here is not to blame Diane, but to continue allowing her and her fellow travelers in apathy to shift their personal responsibility to be informed to those who seek to profit from keeping her uninformed.

I understand. Compassion is such a core part of being a liberal, but as I said on another comment thread, I think people are confusing compassion with pity because true compassion requires empathy, and honestly, I certainly can't empathize with someone so married to ignorance, so enshrined in nonsense, who has eschewed the rich tradition of history and replaced it with a cartoonish sporting event.

As long as we continue to absolve Diane and her mother, and Mike Sola, and the guy who hanged Congressman Doggett in effigy, and people who carry signs or deface property with Nazi symbols, of their complicity in their own abject stupidity, we're as responsible for fostering the cult of ignorance as they are, because all they will hear is, "It's not your fault."

Well, I say it is.

Posted by: doubtful on August 12, 2009 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Doubtful, AMEN!

Posted by: STL_progress on August 12, 2009 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with Mark at 9:23. Let all those who think Medicare and government sponsored programs are socialistic and evil simply opt out -- permanently. And let's brook no comments about how they "paid in" already -- they also pay every day for public roads, police, the mail, schools, and so forth that they are not forced to use.

Posted by: Michael Carpet on August 12, 2009 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

I'm beginning to think that all of the rage now being expressed by people is not really rage against a man who has been in office for less than 6 months and who has managed to quell the economic disaster he inherited from the previous administration.

It may just be that while "their" team was at the helm and driving the country off of a cliff in so many ways, they felt they could not voice concern or opposition without being treated as traitors or being told to "love it or leave it" by their own, as they had been gleefully telling so many who saw what was happening and were willing to speak truth to power for the past 8 years.

This is nothing more than bottled up, misplaced conserva-rage at a system that is and has been failing precisely because the Bush administration (their party's people who were elected and/or appointed to run the country's business), immediately raided the public coffers left to them by Bill Clinton and then ran roughshod over the constitution and common sense.

Misplaced rage, Projection, whatever you want to call it. This is an expression of people who are and have been unwilling to look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves if maybe, just maybe, they had been lied to and their fears and hopes taken advantage of for purely political reasons by their own people.

They already know the answer, they just don't want to admit it. That's what all the bluster is about.

They're willful ignorance may unfortunately once again lead America into another civil war.

This time, let's save a lot of money and time and simply let the south secede.

Posted by: Frank on August 12, 2009 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Michael: I am fine with refunding it. lump sum. here's your check for everything you have contributed to Medicare in your career. so let's take a median income of $32,567 (median individual income in the US for individuals working and over 25) assume the income was invested (no load, no fee) in a DJIA tracking fund. over the past 40 years, the DJIA has averaged 6.28% returns (obviously nothing is adjusted for inflation in this calculus)

so say you work for 40 years at the national median salary, paying a full 3% (including employer matching) into medicare. on your 65th birthday, the government will gladly cut you a check for $190k or so. buy them out. at that point, the government has no further financial responsibility for your health care, none. if you incur medical expenses you cannot pay for, the health care provider has every legal right to come after you for the full cost, without sharing those costs with other citizens. honestly, for the average person, statistically, this isn't a bad deal. of course, you don't know that until you die without needing additional care. for my grandfather who died at 72, probably a good deal. for my grandmother who had both knees replaced at 87, probably not.

Posted by: northzax on August 12, 2009 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK
doubtful @ 11:31: Confusion should drive people to educate themselves, not make absurd Hitler and Holocaust comparisons that disparage the true history and gravity of those events.

What's sad to me is that the right have successfully neutralized the Hitler/Nazi/fascist comparisons, which have traditionally been leveled at them and, at a time when those comparisons are more apropos than ever.

Posted by: JTK on August 12, 2009 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Animist, Mr. Progress:

I sense Diane Campbell is in a very vulnerable position and that her confusion is treatable with some personal contact.

On the other hand, Mssrs. Beck, Limbaugh and the people like them who work for the insurance companies deserve a much more forceful response.

FYI, I wrote my State Farm agent a strong letter yesterday threatening to pull my policies unless the company withdrew its support for Beck's show.

I say give everyone who wants to speak a chance to speak at these town hall meetings but when people speak out of turn or attempt to prevent others from speaking they should be escorted from the hall by the police. Get it all on tape so if the GOP tries to claim they are being prevented from speaking they won't have a leg to stand on.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on August 12, 2009 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK
Michael Carpet @ 11:49: I agree with Mark at 9:23. Let all those who think Medicare and government sponsored programs are socialistic and evil simply opt out -- permanently. And let's brook no comments about how they "paid in" already -- they also pay every day for public roads, police, the mail, schools, and so forth that they are not forced to use.

If you're saying that people should be allowed to opt out while still paying into the system, I doubt if that's likely to happen. Even gubanatorial opposition to STIM was mostly just talk (they still want the money, as do their constituents).

If you're saying that people should be penalized for opposing a government program by denying them the benefit, as satisfying as that might be to us, it's only going to strengthen their resolve to destroy it for everyone else. Moreover, they now get to play victim (something they already do all too well).

OTOH, if we put a value on a particular government service, and allow individuals to opt out, while the government does its due diligence to insure those who haven't paid into the system, don't benefit from the system, the whole idea of progressive taxation falls apart. That's precisely what the oligarchs want, isn't it?

Posted by: JTK on August 12, 2009 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

I have no sympathy for the willfully ignorant. They and their enabling corporate masters can and should be sued for slander and libel.

Posted by: ... on August 12, 2009 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

It�s funny we hear Republicans say that they do not want �faceless bureaucrats� making medical decisions but they have no problem with �private sector� �faceless bureaucrats� daily declining medical coverage and financially ruining good hard working people (honestly where can they go with a pre-condition). And who says that the �private sector� is always right, do we forget failures like Long-Term Capital, WorldCom, Global Crossing, Enron, Tyco, AIG and Lehman Brothers. Of course the federal government will destroy heathcare by getting involved, Oh but wait, Medicare and Medicaid and our military men and women and the Senate and Congress get the best heathcare in the world, and oh, that�s right, its run by our federal government. I can understand why some may think that the federal government will fail, if you look at the past eight years as a current history, with failures like the financial meltdown and Katrina but the facts is they can and if we support them they will succeed.

How does shouting down to stop the conversation of the healthcare debate at town hall meetings, endears them to anyone. Especially when the organizations that are telling them where to go and what to do and say are Republicans political operatives, not real grassroots. How does shouting someone down or chasing them out like a �lynch mob� advanced the debate, it does not. So I think the American people will see through all of this and know, like the teabagger, the birthers, these lynch mobs types AKA �screamers� are just the same, people who have to resort to these tactics because they have no leadership to articulate what they real want. It�s easy to pickup a bus load of people who hate, and that�s all I been seeing, they hate and can�t debate. Too bad.

Posted by: Paul on August 12, 2009 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

This time, let's save a lot of money and time and simply let the south secede.

Posted by: Frank

That's cool, Frank, but Diane Campbell lives in New Hampshire. The insanity is not limited to the South.

Posted by: kc on August 12, 2009 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

We can't allow people to opt out, tempting though it may be (and poetic justice). They will just go to the emergency rooms anyway and we WILL pay for them, being the compassionate lefties we are.

From Hullaballoo blog, the crux of the matter:

"I actually am finding this health care debate quite clarifying. After the years of sanctimonious garbage about "compassionate conservatism" these people are finally being forced to say what they really believe: they just don't care about anybody but themselves. If anything should happen to them personally, or they fail to get wealthy, the government should help them because they are deserving. Others (and I think you know what I'm talking about) simply aren't worthy.


After all, if you acknowledge that someone else has a "right" it means you've lost yours. There's only so much life, liberty and happiness to go around."

This is borne out by the sign I saw a protester holding on TV the other day: "No free healthcare to illegal aliens".

Posted by: Always Hopeful on August 12, 2009 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

I've been hearing this week that our elected representatives are now considering a mandate which forces everyone to buy Insurance in order to bolster the health insurance industry's exposure to pre existing conditions and maintain their immoral 400% + profit margins they have enjoyed over the last 8 years.

Why is that OK in their minds to force people to opt in to a broken and corrupt system but increasing taxes marginally for all is not?

Wouldn't that approach be, for all intent and purposes (and lack of a better descriptor) another form of forced, unrepresented taxation?

Posted by: Frank on August 12, 2009 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Can you imagine just how incomprehensible this will all be in 50 years? "What? They were protesting an expansion of health care designed to save people money in the long term? What was the other momentous political issue of the era, free coffee?"

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on August 12, 2009 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

The point is not that Miss Campbell's whole family is on government healthcare, Einsteins.

The point is that they're enable to envision a different world in which they'd be able to obtain private insurance for what ails them. Unlike you people, they can get out of their own personal experience and think about other people.

Maybe you should try it.

Posted by: Mlke K on August 12, 2009 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

@ JTK and Always Hopeful,

Good points -- I was reacting more than thinking. On the other hand, I doubt many would opt out if their feet were to the fire.

Posted by: Michael Carpet on August 12, 2009 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Can you imagine just how incomprehensible this will all be in 50 years?

Sadly, yes. Ronald Reagan argued against Medicare by envisioning it leading to a world where we would reminisce about when men were free -- and that SOB got elected President!

Posted by: Gregory on August 12, 2009 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK
The point is that they're enable to envision a different world in which they'd be able to obtain private insurance for what ails them.

What's stopping them now? It's a free market, they can buy all the insurance or care they want. And, this will not change under any of the proposed new plans.

You're a real fucking idiot. Hopefully you're getting paid to be an idiot.

Posted by: ROTFLMAO on August 12, 2009 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

�If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.� - Joseph Goebbels

Wow sounds just like a democrat.

Posted by: Joe Biden on August 12, 2009 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Really, "Joe Biden"? Well, Steve's blog, here, has been documenting all sorts of Republican lies; indeed, the evidence here is that your quote applies much more aptly to the Republicans.

Perhaps you'd like to counter by providing some examples of what you believe to be Democratic lies, along with your evidence that they're untrue?

I won't be holding my breath waiting, though.

Jackass.

Posted by: Gregory on August 12, 2009 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

I feel sorry for Diane Cambell, her mother has an inherited disease (by no fault of Obama), her sister is missing both arms and a leg (by no fault of Obama) and poor Diane, she is missing a brain (no fault of Obama). She has been brain washed. If she wants government out of health care maybe she and her mother and sister can be the first to give up their medicare!

Posted by: Laura Griffith on August 12, 2009 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

My experience with authoritarians (leaders and/or followers) is that it is perfectly acceptable to hold 2 completely opposing points of view without any sense of conflict. So it is ok for a friend of mine to believe Reagan didn't raise taxes while at the same time accepting the Congressional Record that Reagan raised taxes. Ergo people can act like thuggish Brownshirts at the same time condemning others for being Nazi's. Not much to do about this as they are in the care and feeding of demagogues who are making obscene fortunes thru the ruthless exploitation of these people

Posted by: mickster on August 12, 2009 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Silly Steve Benen: don't you know that if white people benefit, it can't be "government-run"?

Posted by: pseudonymous in nc on August 12, 2009 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

ROTFLMAO Why just about everything dimoturds say is a lie Gregory why should I have to do your research for you? And wow this partisan blog only pointing out Repuke lies? Yep never know a Democrat to lie especially in an echo chamber such is this. And I'll bet no Democrats are corrupt either are they?

So come on and hit me with some more of your pathetic insults tough guy, I'll bet you feel like a real man hiding behind your computer insulting people you don't know anonomously over the internet because they don't agree with your dim world view. Boy child your parents must be proud. Keep crying and lying your tears nourish me.

Posted by: Joe Biden on August 13, 2009 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

Just to make you cry some more Greggy I'll give you a couple more 65 year old quotes that sound as if they could be coming from your hero and his corrupt band. Enjoy.

"How fortunate for leaders that men do not think.” and “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed”

Posted by: Joe Biden on August 13, 2009 at 12:25 AM | PERMALINK

I am in favor of health care reform along the lines the Obama Administration is proposing. I also realize that nothing being discussed would result in elderly or disabled people being "cut off" from health care. However, it is a fact that people with disabilities were one of the targets of the Nazis, and the rationalizations they used were all about compassion good sense ... that these people were really better off dead. The history is there, and it genuinely frightens some people. I suspect that to Ms. Campbell, it isn't about government vs. private at all. It is a very specific fear related to perceived prejudice against the elderly and disabled.

Posted by: Andrew Pulrang on August 13, 2009 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

Diane Campbell is worried about her liberties... because her sister, Louise, has already lost the right to bear arms.


Posted by: Jamey on August 13, 2009 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

I am the much discussed sister of Diane Campbell. First I'd like to say that I am grateful for being born in this great country because I could of been born in a country where my life would of been judged as having little to no value and terminated.

When I was very young our community rallied around my family and raised money so that I could go to Canada to get prostheses. I was taken right in because we had cash, while children from Canada were stuck on extremely long waiting lists. I have had Canadian friends who had been seriously ill yet had to wait months to be seen.

Check out doctors offices and hospitals near the Canadian border you'll find that they have loads of Canadians who come over for their care. Why? Because social medicine, while in principle sounds great, doesn't work. Common sense should tell you that if you cut the doctor's pay leaving them with school loans and sky high liability insurance that we are going to lose good doctors. There does need to be changes made but wouldn't it be more productive to change policies that have made the health insurance costs become astronomical rather than implement a plan that has already proven faulty in other countries?

Socialism doesn't work. We only need to look around to other countries to see this. In the end it will still be only the wealthy who can afford good healthcare. "Those Who Forget History Are Doomed to Repeat It" ~ Georges Santayana

I understand there are people out there with no coverage. I understand that I am fortunate to have the coverage I do. Though to be honest I'd trade it all for just one arm so that I'd have better ability to get out and work.

As for my already losing my rights to bear arms, I have a leg and I have a brain, as I see it I'm already way ahead of many I've seen post here.

Everyone needs to ask this question. If this plan is so great why doesn't our president and senators give up the coverage they have and join the rest of America on it?

Posted by: Louise on August 17, 2009 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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