Friday, August 14, 2009

From Birther to Deather

h/t to Tim C. for the picture taken at the Obama health care town hall meeting in Portsmouth, NH - see more: Blue Hampshire

Who doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory? US history is full of them. I was brought up with one of the most enduring of all. I was in second grade when JFK was assassinated. Was it the mafia, Fidel, the CIA, the KGB, J. Edgar Hoover or the Federal Reserve who ordered the hit? There are also those who believe the moon landing was faked, as was the holocaust, that there are extraterrestrials on an Air Force base in Nevada, that the Clintons had a hit list and murdered numerous people, and that the US government committed the terrorist acts against itself on 9/11. That’s just a sampling – there are so many more.

Apparently there can never be too many conspiracy theories. We now have the birthers – those who believe that Barack Obama was born in Kenya or is an Indonesian citizen, and his Hawaiian birth certificate is a fake. This theory has grown and flourished since the campaign. Some of the crazier members of the GOP in Congress have advanced this nuttiness – and of course it’s being spread by the lunatics of right wing talk radio and hate TV. CNN has seen ratings plummet because Lou Dobbs has been advancing this theory – and that tells us all we really need to know about where this all came from.

It’s all about skin pigmentation, baby. Barack Hussein Obama is different, he is other, he’s a Muslim, he’s a terrorist, he is not like us! Meaning, of course that he’s not Caucasian, and he has a funny name. White people (normal people) do not have funny names. Just ask any guy named Bubba.

The far right is veering off even further into the craze-o-sphere with this stuff. The opposition to Sonia Sotomayor was based on 3 things. She was nominated by a Democrat, she is a Latina, and she is a woman. All the other stuff was just filler to distract from those 3 things. The GOP is becoming the party of resentful white folks – and their water carriers in the media are only too happy to advance any crazypants theory that comes along.

The latest wearers of the crazypants are the deathers. Those are the folks telling you that Obama wants to kill Grandma. Sarah Palin telling you that a “death panel” would have voted to kill baby Trig. This is all related to the hysteria around the public option in Obama’s health insurance reform bill. The right is bleating about how this is all a plot to create gummint controlled health care.

Yessiree Bubba, the gummint would be making your medical decisions for you, according to the deathers. They are wonderfully silent on the current reality – which is that health insurance companies make medical decisions all the time. They tell you what doctors you can see, how long your treatment will last, how long you can stay in the hospital – and above all, whether or not the care you need will be covered by the insurance you’ve been paying ever increasing premiums for. A closer look at health care town hall meeting disruptors and protestors will show that the protestors are white, well-to-do, and many are Medicare age. Most of them don’t seem to grasp the fact that Medicare is a gummint run health care program.

The deathers bleat about how Obama wants not only to pay for abortions, but wants everyone to have one. This, of course, is not true – but since when is fact important? It’s estimated that upwards of 20,000 people die every year because they didn’t have health insurance. No concern for them. Only a lot of phony concern for the not even conceived yet.

The truth is that a public option would allow people choice in insurance. A public option would compete against the insurance companies. Free marketers claim that they want choice and competition – but really, they don’t. According to a report by Health Care for America Now (using data from the American Medical Association), there have been over 400 health insurance company mergers in the last 13 years. Less than a dozen companies now dominate the health insurance market. This is one reason premiums have increased as much as 300 percent in the last decade.

The national discourse on health insurance reform is dominated by the conspiracy theorists. The current system benefits the insurance companies, drug companies, and the politicians who take campaign donations from both of those entities. There is no responsible coverage of the health insurance industry. There is little coverage of the uninsured – or how their numbers are increasing, with unemployment on the rise. There is no responsible coverage of the deather movement. The death panels are a lie. No one is going to pull the plug on grandma. There is a provision that would pay for folks on Medicare to meet with counselors to help them with end of life decisions, like living wills. This is not mandatory. It is an option. It is a chance for people to make their own end of life decisions – because if they do not, someone else will do it for them.

The current discourse also benefits the corporate owned media, who suffer from the same monopoly problem as the health insurance industry. Instead of debunking lies, the mainstream media has devoted most of their time to covering the disruptors and protestors at health care town hall meetings. This is, by the way, the goal of the far right – to grab the media attention, continue to feed the resentment of angry white folks, and perpetuate lies – thereby maintaining the status quo.

Signs seen outside President Obama’s health care town hall in Portsmouth:

“ Hey America you want change? Hitler did to.”
“ B.H. Obama go home to Kenya.”
“Stop the Trojan Horse of Islam”
“Commies Love Obaba socialism ask Putin”

printed as an op-ed in the Conway Daily Sun on August 14, 2009
© s bruce 2009


DissedBelief said...

Susan I'm disgusted and appalled at the language used by these losers. No one dare tell me this isn't racism in its worst form. It is evident in Limburger (Rush)cheeseheads comments also.

The exact things "they" are screaming will happen is already here as you mentioned eloquently in your article.

This country is so deeply divided, I see absolutely no middle ground and worse, no common sense, no compassion and nothing more than right wing fanaticsm.

I thought we were in trouble before, but I'm concerned for our future. Blessings to you and yours.

Anonymous said...

I can understand your comments Susan, because this is how you make money and support yourself, but your followers appear to be just that, followers. Both posts reek of racist comments.
I have to listen to both Fox and MSNBC, just to get the real story. Our politicians (both sides) only care about maintaining the status quo when it suits them and changing it when it suits them.
We have "losers" on both sides and the middle is always the key.
Allowing for Co-ops and crossing of statelines will give competition to our corrupt insurers. Tort reform doesn't need to be talked about but just implemented, but the attorney lobby is all powerful and corrupts our politicians. Term limits need to be enacted. We don't need career politicians.
You and your commenter spout off racism about angry white folks. The gentleman in St. Louis who was beat up by the SEIU was an African American exercising his rights against this plan.
Everyone loves to yell racism and sexism when something happens to them that they don't like. Not every action is based on racism or sexism.
Lets take the Gates/Crowley incident. Prof Gates and many others claim racism. If I, as a white male, was disrespectful of a law enforcement officer, I would be arrested too, which has happened. I learned my lesson and I always act respectful. We are suppose to respect officers and if we don't, expect to get arrested whether your black, white, yellow, or green. I'm not saying there isn't racism out there, but it doesn't occur ALL the time something bad happens. People use that as an excuse. My generation has never really known segregation and we think differently then the Baby boomers. I lump my generation together (knowing there are people who are racist/sexist) as a majority because that's how we grew up and it gets better with each successive generation.
We do not think like the older generations and so don't label us because of your faults.

THE said...

For someone reluctant to sign their name, you sure are offering up a lot of criticism and a lot of misinformation, anonymous.

For starters, if you think blogging, or writing bi-weekly editorials for a free newspaper is how I support myself, you're not thinking very clearly.

If you think that listening to Fox gets you some kind of real story, it's no wonder you're not thinking clearly.

Denying the racism inherent in the quest of the birthers - or the signs being held up at the town hall meetings is an interesting concept. I find that phony liberpublicans who deny that racism exists.

As for the rest of your assertions - this is my blog. This is my op-ed, and I get to express my views as I see them. I get to label angry white guys all I want. If that's an issue for you - I suggest you find a more agreeable blog to read.

I do moderate the comments here, because I don't feel any compulsion to give space to people whose sole intent is rudeness or insult.

ALL said...

And in breaking news from NARAL Pro-Choice America, it turns out that government provision of healthcare means that women’s healthcare will be allocated through a political process, and when women’s reproductive healthcare is allocated through a political process, women’s reproductive healthcare ends up being subjected to the vicissitudes of political debate over abortion.

NARAL may not draw the conclusion from its report, but the editorial board here at News of the Obvious will: setting aside outright political prohibitions, which aren’t likely to pass in the near future, a broad expansion of political control over women’s healthcare is the single worst thing that could possibly happen towards undermining women’s access to abortion and reproductive medicine. -Rad Geek People's Daily

DissedBelief said...

Sometime has lapsed since I've had the opportunity to come to your website Susan, but read with interest the comments by "Anonymous". I'm white and spent a lot of unhappy times growing up in Apartheid South Africa. I know racism when I see it. I sees it!!! Loud and clear. We can all live in denial Mr. Anony Mouse, but living that way doesn't help too many people does it? It is racism and IT IS sexism, pure and simple. I lived it, I recognize it and its ugly. Thr truth always hurts doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what you two do not get? And I mean that with respect. I didn't give a name because I didn't think it was important to make one up like all other commenters. Call me Ishmael. That has no underlying meaning, in case you are wondering.

I was only commenting that two people identify racist actions and words and use them themselves. It looks like the truth hurts you I'm sorry to say. You proved my point exactly. I didn't grow up with hate as DissedBelief has done. Now you see it everywhere.

I already said racism happens, but not all the time.

I didn't vote for President Obama, nor do I like his policies, at least most of them. He seems like a wonderful man, but I think he is going to expand government too much and create run away inflation.

No offense, but the fanatical left, as well as the same right, are like alcoholics. Either you say you're an acoholic or you are in denial.

Everyone must be a racist, or they are in denial? I'm sorry if you thought my comments were rude. I was only offering an observation and my rudeness may only extend to our politicians. Even the moderates are on the take in some fashion.

ALL said...

No, we are not all racists. It is abhorrent & discriminates against the liberties of many individuals. It has no place in a civilized society.

Roderick T. Long says in an interview: "It's a way of getting credit without having to earn it. If I am superior to you because I am of a different race from you that means I can just claim a kind of superiority over you without ever having to do anything. No personal effort of mine is involved. 'Hey I am better than you I can identify myself with all of the achievements of my race.'"

THE said...

All - I hate to break it to you - but we do not live in a civilized society.