The Right Benefits From Every One Of Our Distractions And Confusions: Keep Us Busy And We Can’t Focus.
Americans: A Silly People Concerned By The Inane While The World Burns
By Grant Lawrence (about the author)
I am an American. I was born and raised in the heartland of the Midwest. But I have a difficult problem trying to understand many Americans.
We have tremendous and sometimes horrendous problems that are facing America and humanity. Rather than dealing with these problems, we have a political machine and a managed media that presents a fake left/right, conservative/liberal paradigm. Most Americans fall for this foolishness and they argue over the inane.
This controversy over President Obama giving an address to school students is a perfect example of stupidity gone berserk.
I guess many Americans have never heard of a civics lesson or that their President is supposed to represent the people. No, a lot of Americans think that President Obama's talk urging students to stay in school and get an education is an evil tyrannical plot to control the minds of kids.
Now keep in mind that schools don't have to show President Obama's speech and that it is on a topic all Americans should endorse, this speech is considered by the nearly lunatic here in America as a type of totalitarian gimmick straight out of Hitler's Germany or Stalin's Soviet Union.
A bizarre state Senator Steve Russell says, "As far as I am concerned, this is not civics education — it gives the appearance of creating a cult of personality. This is something you'd expect to see in North Korea or in Saddam Hussein's Iraq."
The type of reasoning displayed by state Senator Russell is what passes for leadership here in much of America.
So while we have 2 wars raging, the banksters have looted the treasury, real unemployment is running near 20%, a depression grows, and 100 million Americans are without adequate healthcare, we have Americans upset over an address the President wants to give to students.
I am completely serious when I write that I sometimes feel as if I am trapped amongst a type of zombie race of people that have lost common sense and reasoning by a mass disease that attacks and destroys the frontal lobe.
But in reality, Americans are the product of a mass of people raised on commercial television and fascist political propaganda. Americans have been told what to think, what to buy, how to behave, and how to feel from corporate advertising and ideology that is instilled in them in every aspect of their lives. Americans believe that their consumerist thoughts and behaviors are somehow individualistic, but they are programed into them from their earliest childhood.
The result of this total corporatist brain washing of nearly all Americans is that they have lost their awareness and their reason.
We are presently facing a fascist agenda that has contributed to the collapse of our ecosystem along with the collapse of a world economy. It is imperative that Americans move past the lies, the programming, the propaganda, and the ignorance presented by the Military Industrial Mind Control Complex and into Awareness and Good Sense.
It is time for Americans to Wake Up and Grow Up. But first they must turn off the TV and quiet their minds.
Krauthammer Nails It - Draconian Health Insurance Regulation : NO ...
He needs to be impeached tomorrow! If we give him a plane and a Black American Express, maybe he will go on permanent vacation and let the Big Girl Hillary run the country. Notice how I by-passed VP (who the hell knows where he is? ...
NO QUARTER - http://www.noquarterusa.net/blog/
I’m a capitalist, not a socialist. I’m a centrist, not a liberal or libertarian. I’m definitely not a Republican or a conservative, but I want this country to achieve a public health insurance policy that actually works, not pie in the sky wishful thinking. I don’t want it to bankrupt the country or any industry that employs millions of people. I want a bipartisan approach to solving the problem; that way, maybe some common sense will prevail.
Charles Krauthammer, a Conservative OpEd columnist for the Washington Post and a frequent guest on Fox News (among other Republican news sources), had this piece published by WaPo August 28, about three days ago. With the title, “Obamacare: The Only Exit Strategy,” I was intrigued. However, I’ve become pretty jaded with OpEd pieces on Health Care and Health Insurance lately. I’m getting sick to death of it!
I read through the opening paragraphs, blah blah, more criticism and advice for Obama on how to salvage this program, and more strident predictions of what will happen in Congress. I’ve seen plenty of this stuff before.
But this I like! What really made me sit up and pay attention was this, the last item in his numbered list:
5) Promise nothing but pleasure — for now. Make health insurance universal and permanently protected. Tear up the existing bills and write a clean one — Obamacare 2.0 — promulgating draconian health-insurance regulation [emphasis added] that prohibits (a) denying coverage for preexisting conditions, (b) dropping coverage if the client gets sick and (c) capping insurance company reimbursement.
What’s not to like? If you have insurance, you’ll never lose it. Nor will your children ever be denied coverage for preexisting conditions.
I like the concept. I hate the insurance industry, kind of like I hate slaughterhouses, but I honestly can’t take the position that health insurance should be abolished. There are millions of people making a living in that industry, and most of them are not rich by any stretch. At a time when the need for jobs outweighs all other considerations as our nation’s top priority, in my opinion, I can’t endorse killing any particular industry, no matter how loathsome it is to some people.
And if you are honest with yourself, you can’t possibly think insurance is all bad. There are few alternatives in our society that will protect the average person from catastrophic medical costs if that emergency arises. It’s commonplace to hear people say, “Thank God I had insurance!” When you hear of someone suffering an injury or losing their home in a disaster, the first words friends are likely to say are, “You’re insured, aren’t you?” Or when a traffic accident occurs, what a relief to be able to simply exchange insurance info with the other party, rather than having to hire an attorney to settle the damages.
Private insurance is fraught with abuses, to be sure. And the outrageous salaries and bonuses at some companies are scandalous. But insurance as a concept is a pretty good idea: pooling resources to individually protect those who are in the pool. This is the basis of most business enterprises, from partnerships to public corporations. It’s the basis of taxes to pay for necessary functions of society. And it’s the basis of how families function.
As we search for a better way to provide health coverage for all our citizens, let’s not put a whole industry out of business. We need every job we can muster in this country right now.
It would be better to do as Krauthammer suggests, I think, and that is to heavily regulate health insurance companies. As he explains:
The regulated insurance companies will get two things in return. Government will impose an individual mandate that will force the purchase of health insurance on the millions of healthy young people who today forgo it. And government will subsidize all the others who are too poor to buy health insurance. The result? Two enormous new revenue streams created by government for the insurance companies.
If this can be made to work, I can’t think of any reasonable argument the insurance companies can make against it. And as Hillary Clinton always pointed out, paraphrasing, if everyone is insured, the pool is large enough to protect the insurer, which in turn can bring down the cost of premiums.
And here’s what makes it so politically seductive: The end result is the liberal dream of universal and guaranteed coverage — but without overt nationalization. It is all done through private insurance companies. Ostensibly private. They will, in reality, have been turned into government utilities. No longer able to control whom they can enroll, whom they can drop and how much they can limit their own liability, they will live off government largess — subsidized premiums from the poor; forced premiums from the young and healthy.
It’s the perfect finesse — government health care by proxy. And because it’s proxy, and because it will guarantee access to (supposedly) private health insurance — something that enjoys considerable Republican support — it will pass with wide bipartisan backing and give Obama a resounding political victory.
Well, I don’t give a flying F*** about Obama’s need for a victory, but if it gets bipartisan approval, I’m very interested. Even optimistic.
I can’t help but think a profit motive for insurance providers would be a safer step at this point than the government administering health plans directly. Our government budget is already insanely out of whack. The Treasury is a sea of red ink. It’s obvious bureaucrats can’t manage money as well as the capitalists.
But like anything political, there are more opinions than there are people. And for every action, there is a reaction. So before we jump to conclusions, let’s allow Krauthammer to finish his point:
Isn’t there a catch? Of course there is. This scheme is the ultimate bait-and-switch. The pleasure comes now, the pain later. Government-subsidized universal and virtually unlimited coverage will vastly compound already out-of-control government spending on health care. The financial and budgetary consequences will be catastrophic.
However, they will not appear immediately. And when they do, the only solution will be rationing. That’s when the liberals will give the FCCCER [President Obama's Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research] regulatory power and give you end-of-life counseling.
But by then, resistance will be feeble. Why? Because at that point the only remaining option will be to give up the benefits we will have become accustomed to. Once granted, guaranteed universal health care is not relinquished. Look at Canada. Look at Britain. They got hooked; now they ration. So will we.
I completely agree that once an entitlement program is started, you can’t unring the bell. That’s why we must be extremely cautious about enacting a new, incredibly huge, entitlement program. The burden on the budget will be bad enough if done as he suggests, with the government propping up only those who can’t pay insurance premiums to private insurers. It would be a million times worse if government employees are running the whole show. I’m convinced of that.
We already have a shortage of doctors and nurses, especially general practitioners. And most med school grads want to make good money, so they specialize. The capitalistic system allows them to reap the rewards of their 12-years of college. How many will go that distance for a government paycheck?
To meet the demand of either a public option or single payer, we’d have to start licensing nurse-practitioners by the millions to staff government-run clinics around the clock. Seven years of college instead of twelve, for example. Or maybe less, as the needs increase. And none of that fancy hospital lab equipment for these clinics. They won’t be able to afford it.
Hate it all you like, but the capitalistic approach to health care has led to the incredible advances we have seen in nearly all areas of medicine. Private health insurance has played a large role in financing the process, even though we all know of horror stories about insurance companies. But still, they have prospered and most people benefit from it.
Insurance companies can be regulated, and they should be. I believe that even with “draconian regulation,” they will be prosperous and employ millions. And we will have the protections we deserve.
Inside of a decade, government-run insurance and/or health care can become bankrupt, mediocre, or both. If anyone can do it, the government can!
Karl Rove Believes Health Care Has No Impact On The Economy
To start with, the president is focusing on health care when the economy and jobs are nearly everyone's top issue. Voters increasingly believe Mr. Obama ...
See all stories on this topic
Al Franken talks an anti-healthcare-reform mob down
Chris Matthews Hardball: Protester William Kostric brings gun to presidential town hall in NH
By ALAN FRAM (AP)
WASHINGTON — Interest groups are unleashing a torrent of modern and old-fashioned lobbying tactics at members of Congress returning for the autumn battle over health care, from spending sky-high amounts on TV ads to staging rallies in the capital and perhaps outside insurance company offices.
Plans include a massive, 8 million-piece direct mail campaign by AARP, the lobby for older Americans that has generally supported the health overhaul drive. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will send lawmakers a letter next week signed by 2,800 companies and business groups opposing the effort, and is working with local chambers of commerce to bring business people to Washington to lobby legislators later this month.
The nation's television stations, which last month hosted more than $28 million in ads on the health overhaul, may see even heavier spending in September, according to Evan Tracey, president of the Campaign Media Analysis Group in Arlington, Va. Should the health battle spill into December, this year's total might hit $200 million — roughly the same as was spent in multiyear fights over tobacco regulation and the Medicare prescription drug program, said Tracey, whose company tracks political advertising.
"It's not just a couple of big players, this is coming from all corners, large and small," said Tracey, who said over 60 groups have advertised on the issue so far, more than he's seen on past issues. "This has only one way to go, and that's up."
The high-intensity lobbying underscores the pivotal moment that business, consumer, political and ideological groups believe is arriving in the health care fight.
President Barack Obama and Democrats driving the effort lost ground during an August recess that saw noisy protests at some lawmakers' town hall meetings and dimming support for the president in polls. With Obama planning to address Congress on the issue Wednesday, interest groups want to help shape opinions as Obama and members of Congress decide what August meant and what the legislation should look like.
"The next few weeks are critical," said David Certner, legislative policy director for AARP.
His organization is running a national, multimillion-dollar TV ad campaign through mid-September that features an ambulance swerving from cars trying to block it as an announcer says, "Special interest groups are trying to block progress on health care reform, derailing the debate with myths and scare tactics."
Even so, some groups say they will restrain their spending for the next couple of weeks while assessing what Congress might do. Their decisions, in part, will be based on actions by leaders of the Senate Finance Committee, who by Sept. 15 are trying to craft a compromise seen by many as Congress' best chance at bipartisan legislation.
"We'll gauge where members of Congress are going as they come back, and then determine where we go from here," said Karen Ignagni, president of America's Health Insurance Plans, the insurance industry trade group.
The insurers, whom the White House and Democrats have painted as a villain in the health battle, have spent millions on ads supporting the general concept of overhauling the health system. But they strongly oppose Obama's proposal to create optional government-run coverage to help push down costs, which the White House has signaled it might abandon.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, poised to be the campaign's biggest spender with plans to spend up to $150 million in ads generally backing a revamping, will also hold back in early September while awaiting the Finance Committee's work, said Ken Johnson, a senior vice president.
Health Care for America Now, an amalgam of more than 1,000 liberal and labor groups, is asking supporters to call lawmakers Wednesday and Thursday in support of an overhaul. It is also planning to have members hold demonstrations outside insurance company offices around the country later in September.
The National Physicians Alliance, a progressive doctors' organization, is considering banding with other medical groups to bring doctors to Washington for a rally in early October. The Tea Party Patriots, a national grass-roots conservative group fighting Obama's plan, is planning a demonstration in Washington on Sept. 12.
Conservatives for Patients' Rights, long one of the biggest advertisers opposed to Obama's plan, launches a $600,000 ad campaign Tuesday, the day Congress returns from its recess, saying Obama's plan could lead to government-run health care. Organizing for America, the Obama campaign apparatus now part of the national Democratic Party, is planning house parties across the country during the president's speech, at which supporters will be asked to contact their members of Congress to voice their support.
CIA doctors, psychologists participated in torture of prisoners ...
“That in itself is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions. Doctors are certainly guilty of war crimesfor permitting torture to go forward and overseeing it while they had the authority to stop it.” “The required presence of health ...
American Everyman - http://willyloman.wordpress.com/
Posted on September 4, 2009 by willyloman
(A recent article by John Gartner published in Psychology Today claims that conspiracy theorists are dangerous and delusional people. You know, when people like myself first started writing that Bush and Cheney were lying about WMDs and Iraq’s connection to 9/11, we were called “outrageous conspiracy theorists” for saying it. When early reports came out about people being tortured by CIA and private contractors in Iraq at Abu Ghraib, those reporting the stories were labeled “conspiracy theorists” and unAmerican.
The news of Cheney’s connection to Halliburton and the “no-bid contracts” earned reporters the same condemnation from the likes of Mr. Gartner. Mr. Gartner might want to brush up on his history a little bit before making such obvious propaganda claims. Conspiracy theorists have pointed out in the past that the Gulf of Tonkin incident never happened – then they proved it didn’t happen. Conspiracy Theorists said that Nixon and Johnson were engaged in wide-spread bombing of innocent civilians in N. Vietnam and Cambodia – then it was proved that is exactly what did happen. Conspiracy Theorists claimed it was Israel that attacked the U.S. Liberty, killing a number of U.S. service men and women in cold blood – then that too was proved and later dismissed as an “accident”.
Conspiracy theorists claimed that the CIA had been running drugs and illegal weapons to various countries across the world – and of course the Iran-Contra affair and the Church Committee helped shed a little light on all of that. And Conspiracy Theorists claimed that the United States had foreknowledge of the pending attacks on Pearl Harbor – and that too is now well known. It is understandable really that Psychology Today would do their best to tow the line for the criminal cabal of the imperialist agenda; psychologists have been doing it for decades.
Mr. Gartner should take a moment to read the work of people like Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Naomi Klein if he wants to understand the level of service to the throne that psychologists have provided in the past 3/4 of a century. He could read the work of Edward Bernays (the man who admitted that he turned the word “propaganda” into “Public Relations”) the “Father of Public Relations” and nephew of Sigmund Freud. These are but a few things that Mr. Gartner could do to bring himself up to date on some of the REAL dangers posed to the people of this country, were he inclined to actually sound the warning alarm for his fellow countrymen.
Because you see, the conspiracy theorists have served our country well for the most part these past few decades while scores and scores of psychologists have lined their pockets helping with some of the darkest chapters of recent American history. Take torture as an example… below is an article that exposes psychologists helping to torture people in the name of fighting “terrorism”. Just another proud moment in the history of the American psychology industry.)
by Tom Eley, WSWS
A new report by the medical ethics group Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) charges that medical professionals attached to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) assisted in the torture of terror detainees.
CIA doctors also provided a pseudo-medical rationale for torture and used prisoners as human research subjects to determine the effects and efficacy of various methods of torture, the report states. These acts constitute war crimes according to the Geneva Conventions and are clear violations of medical ethics.
PHR called for an independent investigation of medical personnel in the CIA interrogation program. It is seeking to determine how many doctors participated in torture, and on what scientific and medical basis they conducted their work.
The study, “Aiding Torture,” analyzes the role of doctors, psychologists, and nurses in known instances of torture at prisons where terror suspects were held, including Abu Ghraib in Iraq, Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, and Bagram in Afghanistan. It is based on the 2004 CIA Inspector General’s report on torture, which the Obama administration released two weeks ago, in heavily redacted form and in compliance with a court order.
In a press release accompanying the report, PHR asserted that “the extent to which American physicians and psychologists violated human rights and betrayed the ethical standards of their professions by designing, implementing, and legitimizing a worldwide torture program is greater than previously known.”
“The CIA relied on medical expertise to rationalize and carry out abusive and unlawful interrogations,” the group said. Furthermore, medical personnel experimented on inmates through the “aggregate collection of data on detainees’ reaction to interrogation methods.”
“They were experimenting and keeping records of the results,” said Steven Reisner, co-author of the report. “That in itself is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions. Doctors are certainly guilty of war crimes for permitting torture to go forward and overseeing it while they had the authority to stop it.”
“The required presence of health professionals did not make interrogation methods safer, but sanitized their use, escalated abuse, and placed doctors and psychologists in the untenable position of calibrating harm rather than serving as protectors and healers,” Reisner added. “The fact that psychologists went beyond monitoring, and actually designed and implemented these abuses—while simultaneously serving as ‘safety monitors’—reveals the ethical bankruptcy of the entire program.”
It is all but certain that sections of the CIA Inspector General’s report—completely redacted by the Obama administration—deal with instances in which detainees were killed as a result of abuse they suffered in their interrogations. This raises the possibility that medical personnel not only collaborated in CIA torture, but in murder.
The new report substantiates a lengthy section of an International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) report, leaked earlier this year, on the role of medical personnel in torture. The ICRC concluded that doctors were present during waterboarding sessions to observe the results of the near-drowning technique on the oxygen levels in prisoners’ blood.
Likewise, the PHR report asserts that “medical professionals were directed to meticulously monitor the waterboarding of detainees to try to improve the technique’s effectiveness, essentially using the detainees as human subjects, a practice that approaches unlawful experimentation.”
PHR singles out the role of psychologists in waterboarding, who reportedly gathered data on the amount of water used and the length of time prisoners were exposed. “That is experimentation and as such is a war crime,” Reisner said.
“Medical doctors and psychologists colluded with the CIA to keep observational records about waterboarding,” said PHR Medical Advisor and lead report author Scott Allen, MD. Citing one example, Allen pointed to instances of interrogators placing “a cloth over a detainee’s face to block breathing and induce feelings of fear, helplessness, and a loss of control. A doctor would stand by to monitor and calibrate this physically and psychologically harmful act, which amounts to torture.”
Allen’s reference to doctors observing the fear and helplessness in tortured prisoners is significant. “Learned helplessness” was a central aim of the CIA torture methods.
Medical personnel were involved in the interrogation process from the moment detainees arrived in the prison. The report notes “the role of health professionals in participating in initial psychological and physical assessments of detainees in an intake process closely linked to the process of interrogation [whereby] all interrogations were monitored in real-time by health professionals.”
Medical or scientific experimentation on prisoners of war violates the laws of war and and basic precepts of human rights. It is also a major breach of long-established medical ethics, including the Hippocratic oath, which stipulate that medical personnel must provide care to the sick and wounded and do no harm.
“That health professionals who swear to oaths of healing so abused the sacred trust society places in us by instigating, legitimizing and participating in torture, is an abomination,” states co-author Allen Keller, MD, director of the Bellevue/New York University Program for Survivors of Torture. “Health professionals who aided torture must be held accountable by professional associations, by state licensing boards, and by society. Accountability is essential to maintain trust in our professions and to end torture, which scars bodies and minds, leaving survivors to endure debilitating injuries, humiliating memories and haunting nightmares.”
The experimentation and study of the physical and psychological effects of torture on inmates simultaneously at a number of different CIA prisons could only have occurred if it were organized and ordered by high-ranking Bush administration officials. Taken together with other evidence of torture during the Bush administration, the PHR report leaves no doubt that this was the case.
Bush administration Office of the Legal Counsel (OLC) memos released through court order earlier this year connect the dots. These memos provide detailed descriptions of the physical and psychological impact of various forms of torture on inmates, including waterboarding, exposure to cold water, beatings, extreme isolation, and forced nudity.
The memos noted CIA guidelines that require the presence of doctors and psychologists for some of these methods. But it is clear that the central role of medical personnel at the interrogations was to analyze the “success” of various forms of torture in breaking the resistance of prisoners to interrogators.
“Not only were health professionals involved in designing and monitoring the CIA interrogation program, they also played an indirect but essential role in the legal justifications for the program prepared by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC),” the report notes. “The OLC was asked by the CIA whether certain techniques constituted torture under [US law] by causing ‘severe physical or mental pain or suffering.’ Since the OLC lawyers had no direct experience of the techniques, they necessarily relied instead on the judgment of health professionals. Yet, in a striking example of bootstrapping, they turned for advice about the pain caused by the techniques to the very health professionals who were implementing them.”
It continues, “In essence, the lawyers were asked if the techniques constituted torture and they replied to the CIA that they only did so if the CIA Office of Medical Services (OMS) informed them that the techniques reached the defined standard of pain. The OMS health professionals obligingly passed on through CIA channels their opinion that the pain was not in fact severe.”
The report notes one OLC memo which concluded that waterboarding is not torture because “however frightening the experience may be, OMS personnel have informed us that the waterboard technique is not physically painful.”
The role of US medical personnel in torturing prisoners and experimenting on their bodies recalls the infamous practices of Nazi doctors on concentration camp inmates in WWII. A number of these doctors were tried and convicted at the Nuremberg war crimes trials in the war’s aftermath.
The Nuremberg Code emerged from the trial of Nazi doctors, who claimed that their experiments were not fundamentally different than those carried out before the war. The first of the 10 principles in the code states that in cases of experimentation on human subjects, the consent of the individual is absolutely necessary. The Nuremberg Code of ethics provided the basis for the US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 45 Volume 46, which regulates all federally funded experiments.
ScienceDaily (Aug. 4, 2008) — Doctors who assist in torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment should face prosecution and licensing punishments, says an editorial on the British Medical Journal website.
Steven Miles from the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota, says that more doctors are involved in torturing prisoners than in treating torture survivors. But doctors who assist in torture rarely face professional consequences. He argues that the medical profession must not only dissociate itself from torture but actively investigate and sanction offenders.
More than 100 countries condone the use of torture and up to half of torture survivors report that a doctor was present and oversaw the abuse.
Miles points out that while medical societies are quick to condemn doctors participating in torture abroad, they are not so vocal when it comes to what is taking place in their own country.
In addition, while medical societies support ethical codes that ban doctors from assisting in torture, such as the World Medical Association's Declaration of Tokyo, in practice their policy is to do little, and doctors typically remain exempt from punishment, he writes.
Miles believes that national medical councils and licensing agencies should ensure that doctors who comply with torture can be punished for breaching medical ethics. This has happened in some countries after the torturing regimes have lost power. For example, the Chilean Medical Society expelled six doctors for overseeing torture during Pinochet's rule, and in South Africa two doctors were punished for failing to report or treat Steven Biko for a fatal head injury inflicted by police. But such examples are rare.
Miles calls for all medical societies to state that abetting torture is a punishable breach of professional conduct for which there are no term limits. Such codes would lay the foundation for holding doctors accountable for torture after a torturing regime loses power, he says.
"Governments that practice torture need doctors. The medical accomplices of torture must not rest in the confidence that they can violate civil society and the ethics of medicine with impunity", he concludes.
Bachmann For President: Are We Totally Mad?
Aug 31, 2009 ... MICHELE BACHMANN IS CLEARLY BAT-SHIT CRAZY. I feel sorry for the Minnesotans who elected her to represent them.
America’s Craziest Member Of Congress Has Hinted At Running For The Nation’s Highest Office, And Who Can Blame Her? Even Her Latest Outbursts Haven’t Threatened Her Bulletproof Status, Michelle Goldberg Reports.
Michele Bachmann has always been on the far right of her right-wing party, but for the past year, her lunacy has been particularly vigorous. First was the McCarthyite demand for an investigation of “anti-American” members of Congress. Then came her fear that Obama was creating “re-education camps” via the AmeriCorps program (a program her son has since joined). There was her call for Minnesotans to be “armed and dangerous” revolutionaries against cap-and-trade legislation and herparanoid opposition to the Census. And on Monday, railing against health-care reform in Colorado, she implored a crowd “to make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass.”
All this raises a question: Will Bachmann ever pay a political price for her fevered outbursts? In today’s GOP, is there such a thing as too crazy?
In 2008, “You had her demonstrating her embarrassing nuttiness repeatedly. And she still won.”
Obviously, the Democrats hope so, which is why there’s already lots of energy around Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District's primary race. “An extraordinary amount of money is pouring into this race very early,” says Brian Melendez, chairman of Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, as the state’s Democratic Party is called. Bachmann, he says, “is not just America’s craziest congressperson, she’s also one of the least effective members of Congress. She does nothing for her district, she brings nothing home, she has no legislative accomplishments she can point to.” He adds, “I’m confident that her true colors have been displayed since the last election in a way that they have not been before.”
At first glance, Melendez’s statement seems quixotic. Last time around, Bachmann’s challenger, Elwyn Tinklenberg, raised $1 million in the days after Bachmann’s outburst about anti-American congressmen. If Bachmann could be beat, 2008 should have been the year to do it.
• Michele Bachmann’s Wackiest Moments“You had an election with a strong trend away from Republicans toward Democrats,” says Norm Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (and Minnesota native). “You had a reasonably attractive, not terribly weak challenger against her, who ended up, because of the notoriety that she achieved, getting fairly well funded. You had her demonstrating her embarrassing nuttiness repeatedly. And she still won.”
Nevertheless, some think Bachmann’s Palin act might be wearing thin. In July, Roll Call reported that the National Republican Congressional Committee had added her to a program meant to boost fundraising for vulnerable incumbents. Physician Maureen Reed, who is battling state Senator Tarryl Clark for the Democratic nomination, recently raised $230,000 in eight weeks, according to Jason Isaacson, her campaign manager. Clark won’t reveal how much she has raised, but says, “We’re going to be competitive. Things are going quite well.”
“The bottom line is that the 6th District isn’t as conservative as [Bachmann] is,” says Isaacson. It’s certainly the most right-wing district in the state—it went for John McCain by almost nine points in 2008—but Isaacson insists that a challenger who is seen as a moderate, rather than a liberal, can “make Michele Bachmann pay for her political craziness.”
Even in 2008, Clark points out, most people in the district voted against Bachmann—but 10 percent of them went for a third-party candidate. (Bachmann won 46 percent, while 44 percent went for Tinklenberg.) Meanwhile, Clark adds, the district has the highest foreclosure rate in the state, something she says Bachmann has done nothing to ameliorate—the congresswoman has voted against every major foreclosure-relief bill and called struggling homeowners “irresponsible.”
Glenn Beck No Stranger To Conspiracy Theories Or Incendiary Rhetoric
Fox News host Glenn Beck has become notorious for his conspiracy theories and incendiary rhetoric. Among other things, he has flirted with the idea that FEMA is building detention camps, suggested that President Obama is purposefully "tanking" the economy to force young people to work for ACORN and AmeriCorps, and said that Obama and former President George W. Bush are "moving us away from our republic and into a system of fascism."
Beck flirts with the idea that FEMA is building detention camps
Beck: "I can't debunk" FEMA camps conspiracy theory. In March, Beck stated: "We are a country that is headed towards socialism, totalitarianism, beyond your wildest imagination. I have to tell you, I'm doing a story tonight that I wanted to debunk these FEMA camps." Beck further stated: "I'm tired of hearing -- I wanted to debunk them. Well, we've now for several days done research on them. I can't debunk them. And we're going to carry the story tonight. ... [I]t is our government. If you trust our government, it's fine. If you have any kind of fear that we might be headed towards a totalitarian state, look out, buckle up. There is something going on in our country that is -- ain't good." [Fox News' Fox & Friends, 3/3/09] (Beck eventually managed to "debunk" this theory.)
Beck fearmongers that Obama is "genius architect" bent on forcing people to work for ACORN, AmeriCorps
Beck says Obama "wants you to work as a bureaucratic slave to government." From the July 24 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: Well, if the jobs never go away, then why don't you we just raise the minimum wage to $50 an hour? How about $100 an hour? How about $1,000 an hour? That should solve some issues, right? Of course not.
That's why economists are estimating -- wait a minute, the same economists that we're supposed to be listening to about bailing people out? I'm not sure we should listen to them. They're estimating that at least 300,000 jobs will be lost due to the minimum wage hike. That's huge considering that only 2.8 million workers in America earn the minimum wage.
So, why would Obama support a policy that directly hurts young people -- especially nearly half of African-American teenagers, who are already unemployed? Well, it makes sense if you're trying to transform America.
When Obama comes out and says the stimulus is working as planned while the economy is tanking, people assume he's either an idiot or he's lying. I don't think he's either. I think the man is a genius architect, quite frankly, and on this particular case, he's telling the truth.
What happens when kids can't get a job? They become discouraged, disenfranchised. They look for somewhere to land, and guess who's now there to swoop in? President Obama -- tonight, strangely, in these really long jeans -- President Obama and his new government program -- programs and community service organizations, not just AmeriCorps -- not just ACORN, but now AmeriCorps.
Do you remember Michelle Obama's words on the campaign trail?
MICHELLE OBAMA [audio clip]: Barack Obama will require you to work. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual -- uninvolved, uninformed.
BECK: "Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual." Are we to believe that she's kidding or just haphazardly stringing words together and they came out in a sentence?
These people are steering our youth into community service. Ted Kennedy and his ilk are even pushing the idea of forced mandatory service. They're incentivizing working for the government with promises now of paying off college loans -- we told you this last night.
Of course, the catch is you have to -- you have to federalize your loan before they'll pay it. He wants you to work as a bureaucratic slave to government. You work for them for 10 years, and you don't have to worry about any debt for education.
Maybe I'm crazy for going down this road, but from what we already know about Washington, the truth is always stranger than fiction, and the sooner we realize that, the faster we're going to be able to stop and go down the road paved with a couple of bricks of common sense.[Fox News' Glenn Beck, 7/24/09]
Beck: Maybe Treasury is "selling black-market bonds." Discussing the reports of "two middle aged guys with Japanese passports who were stopped by Italian police after trying to enter Switzerland with $134.5 billion worth of U.S. treasury bonds," Beck said, "And this story has not been in The New York Times yet. That's weird, isn't it? That's why we're left with speculation." Among the possible "scenarios" that Beck explored was the possibility that "[t]he treasury or the Federal Reserve is selling black-market bonds or double-dealing some way or another." Beck explained:
And the fourth one [scenario] is really troubling. The treasury or the Federal Reserve is selling black-market bonds or double-dealing some way or another. Maybe because they know of the possible deflation of the dollar, they just can't -- they just can't sell this many bonds.
OK. The worst is if we're running another set of books. We are already running four sets of books in Washington, D.C., why would that surprise anybody? Hopefully, it's just keystone cops, but we don't know. These are guesses. No one is answering questions.
And if this story just dies, mark my word, America. Two years from now, when our dollar really starts to lose its value and we can't sell our bonds because we have too much debt and none of this stuff happen, it was keystone cops, this conspiracy theory will gain power. [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 6/19/09 (transcript from the Nexis database)]
Beck imitates Obama pouring gasoline on "average American"; says, "President Obama, why don't you just set us on fire?" From the April 9 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: So what does Obama do, he says, boy, I'm not -- I'm just out of stuff to do. What else could I possibly do to the American people?
President Obama, why don't you just set us on fire? For the love of Pete, what are you doing? Do you not hear -- do you not hear the cries of people who are saying stop? We would like some sanity in our country for a second!
We didn't vote to lose the republic. We didn't vote for any of this stuff. We voted for change.
BECK: We can disagree with each other on policies, but Good Lord Almighty, man, please. Some of us don't agree with all of the policies. We'd like to have a country left in the end of four years. No need to set us on fire. [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 4/9/09]
Beck Sees Fascism And Communism Everywhere
Beck: U.S. government under Bush and Obama moving us "into a system of fascism."Beck said: "I am not saying that Barack Obama is a fascist. I'm not saying the Democrats are a fascist. I'm saying the government under Bush and under Obama and under -- under all of the presidents that we've seen, or at least most of the presidents that we've seen for quite some time, are slowly but surely moving us away from our republic and into a system of fascism." [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 4/1/09]
Beck on health care: "This system is going to come out the other side dictorial -- it's going to come out a fascist state." Beck told a caller: "Let me tell you something, the end game ... for Congress and this president -- and I don't know how many members of Congress even realize the game that they are either being used in or a pawn in. But believe me, they'll take ... the universal health care coverage over what ... skin they do have in it. They're going to come out -- this system is going to come out the other side dictorial [sic] -- it is going to come out a fascist state." [Premiere Radio Network's The Glenn Beck Program, 7/27/09]
Beck: "You have the artwork of Mussolini there, here in New York at Rockefeller Plaza."Beck analyzed the artwork decorating Rockefeller Plaza, and concluded, "So you have the hammer and the sickle. You have the artwork to Mussolini there, here in New York at Rockefeller Plaza." Beck said of a decoration on the Rockefeller building:
So, let's just take it piece by piece, and I'll show you what this means.
First, the sun. The sun represents the bright tomorrow. Right here, underneath the boy, here is the sun. Show me the boy. This is the youth. The next one is the youth here, leading the way. Notice he is ahead of the horses. He's leading the way into the bright future of tomorrow.
Now, this man standing on a chariot, the wheel. The wheel is always representative of industry in any of these progressive pictures or paintings or artwork. So you've got the wheel. Now, let's go to the horses, please. He is standing on a chariot. You've got the industry and the engines of industry, but who's in the back here?
Let's show you his hand. This man's strong hand is holding on to the reins tightly here, holding back the engines of industry being led into the bright future of tomorrow by a young boy. Who is this? Who is this?
This is the strong leader taking that -- using that industry and those machines to lead us into the bright future led by our children. Gee, who's having indoctrination next week? Oh, yeah, that's right. The president. Completely unrelated.
This represents, at the time this was made, Mussolini. This was Mussolini. By the way, the artist that made this -- his son, ironically and tragically died fighting the army of Mussolini years after this was made. This still is up in Rockefeller Plaza.
So you have the hammer and the sickle. You have the artwork to Mussolini there, here in New York at Rockefeller Plaza. [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 9/2/09]
Beck claims Obama's "civilian national security force" is "what Hitler did with the SS," "what Saddam Hussein" did. Discussing Obama's "civilian national security force," Beck said, "I'm finding this -- this is the hardest part to connect to, because this is -- I mean, look, you know, David [Bellavia, former Army staff sergeant], what you just said is, you said, "I'm not comparing" -- but you are. I mean, this is what Hitler did with the SS. He had his own people. He had the brownshirts and then the SS. This is what Saddam Hussein -- so -- but you are comparing that. And I -- I mean, I think America would have a really hard time getting their arms around that." [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 8/27/09]
As Media Matters for America has repeatedly noted, Obama's comments about the necessity of a "civilian national security force" came from a July 2, 2008, speech on service and referred to expanding the foreign service, AmeriCorps, and the Peace Corps.
From Obama's July 2, 2008, speech in Colorado Springs, Colorado:
Today, AmeriCorps -- our nation's network of local, state, and national service programs -- has 75,000 slots. And I know firsthand the quality of these programs. My wife, Michelle, once left her job at a law firm and at City Hall to be a founding director of an AmeriCorps program in Chicago that trains young people for careers in public service. And these programs invest Americans in their communities and their country. They tap America's greatest resource -- our citizens.
And that's why as president, I will expand AmeriCorps to 250,000 slots and make that increased service a vehicle to meet national goals like providing health care and education, saving our planet and restoring our standing in the world, so that citizens see their efforts connected to a common purpose. People of all ages, stations, and skills will be asked to serve. Because when it comes to the challenges we face, the American people are not the problem -- they are the answer.
So we are going to send -- we're going to send more college graduates to teach and mentor our young people. We'll call on Americans to join an Energy Corps to conduct renewable energy and environmental cleanup projects in their neighborhoods all across the country. We will enlist our veterans to find jobs and support for other vets, to be there for our military families. And we're going to grow our Foreign Service, open consulates that have been shuttered, and double the size of the Peace Corps by 2011 to renew our diplomacy.
We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.
Beck suggests health care reform designed as a system of backdoor reparations
Beck says all of Obama's policies rooted in "reparations." Beck said, "Everything that is getting pushed through Congress, including this health care bill, are transforming America. And they are all driven by President Obama's thinking on one idea: reparations." Beck later added that Obama's "goal is creating a new America, a new model, a model that will settle old racial scores through new social justice." [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 7/23/09]