Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chris Matthews Interviews the Health Care Gun Guy, Lex Goes Off the Chain

I should let this must-see speak for itself, but first, one anthropological observation (AO) and one non-anthropological one (NAO).
  1. AO: Notice how the Health Care Gun Guy seems to think he has acquitted himself well. That, my friends, is the most important thing about this back-and-forth, and I would love to hear your thoughts on Health Care Gun Guy's worldview. It speaks to how the Tea Party episteme is immune from most progressives' idea of the "facts." By extension, it calls into crisis the efficacy and/or coherence of whatever semblance of "civil society" and/or deliberative, public, political discourse these Town Halls are meant to constitute. Tea Parties are all about "Liberty," but weirdly, they are also impervious to the basic democratic processes that progressives and moderates think of as being boring, sure, but also sacred. (In short, the emergent conservatism/political theater/Angry Old Man Draped in Historic Garb aesthetic is a way bigger threat to the "incomplete project" of modernity than postmodernism ever was. Remember the definition of fascism as the "aestheticization of politics." Fascism is, after all, always available (if not appetizing) for disgruntled non-majorities in liberal democracies. )
  2. NAO: I am frightened for the safety of the President, and even more fearful about a certain right-wing tendency's overall effect on our society. If this is the sort of generalized anxiety that comes out of the woodwork when we are merely trying to pass a limp-ish public healthcare option...what's the Cap and Trade debate going to look like? Are people going to move away from the 'BHO is not a citizen, BHO is a Muslim' meme, into "BHO is selling our planet to space aliens who will give us daily rectal exams and make us wear veils and shawls?" This would be funny if it weren't the most un-fucking-funny fucking thing I can fucking think fucking of.


Anonymous said...

"When Timothy McVeigh bombed the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, he was wearing a T-shirt. On the back of the T-shirt, perhaps as a nod commemorating Patriot's Day [April 19, the date when--in 1861-- a crowd of Maryland secessionists attacked a Massachusetts regiment passing through Baltimore], was the famous quote from Founding Father Thomas Jefferson: 'The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.' On the front of McVeigh's shirt was a picture of Abraham Lincoln. Printed under Lincoln's face was the caption 'Sic semper tyrannis' [the oath uttered by John Wilkes Booth immediately after he shot Lincoln on April 14, 1865]."

"[In December of 1995, the catalog that sold the shirts] reassured _Southern Partisan_ readers who had ordered the shirt: 'Due to a surprising demand for our anti-Lincoln T-shirt, our stock has been reduced to odd sizes. If the enclosed shirt will not suffice, we will be glad to refund your money or immediately ship you another equally militant shirt from our catalog.'"

--Sarah Vowell, Assassination Vacation, pp. 57-58.

EZ said...

I couldn't agree more. I was going to put a post up on this, but you beat me to it. So, I'll just post a comment...
Instead of taking potshots at Nancy, people need to recognize this crap for what it is...hate

Dave Neiwert over at orcinus noted Maddow covered this topic last night:
Franklin Schaeffer, the author of Crazy For God and a man who knows whereof he speaks when it comes to the great white underbelly of the American Right, really laid it out last night on Rachel Maddow's show:

Maddow: Do you think that calling the president a Nazi, calling the president Hitler, is an implicit call for politically-motivated violence?

Schaeffer: Yes I do. In fact, this rings a big bell with me, because my dad, who was a right-wing evangelical leader, wrote a book called A Christian Manifesto -- it sold over a million copies. And in that book he compared anyone who was pro-abortion to the Nazi Germans, and he said that using violence or force to overthrow Nazi Germany would have been appropriate for Christians, including the assassination of Hitler. He compared the Supreme Court's actions on abortion to that. And that has been a note that has been following the right wing movement that my father and I helped start in an evangelical context all the way.

So what's really being said here is two messages. There is the message to the predominantly white, middle-aged crowds of people screaming at these meetings, trying to shut them down, but there's also a coded message to what I would call the loony tunes -- the fruit loops on the side. It's really like playing Russian Roulette -- you put a cartridge in the chamber, you spin, and once in awhile it goes off.

And we saw that happen with Dr. Tiller, we've seen it happen numerous times with the violence against political leaders, whether it's Martin Luther King or whoever it might be. We have a history of being a well-armed, violent country. And so really, I think that these calls are incredibly irresponsible.

The good news is that it shows a desperation. The far right knows they have lost, they've lost the hearts and minds of most American people, for instance, who want health care. But they also know that they have a large group of people who are not well-informed, who listen to only their own sources, who buy the lies -- for instance, all this nonsense about euthanasia being mandatory, and all the rest of it. And these people can be energized to go out and do really dreadful things.

And we've seen it in front of abortion clinics, I'm afraid we're going to see it with some of our political leaders. And the Glenn Becks of this world literally are responsible for unleashing what I regard as an anti-democratic, anti-American movement in this country. It is trying to shut down legitimate debate, and replace it with straight-out intimidation.

part 1.... more in a moment...

EZ said...

Digby also just talked about the "surprise" at the RW hate that has been "ginned" up

Here is digby:
I actually suspect that many in the Obama White House believed the hype about changing Washington, which was always patent nonsense. Perhaps the more cynical among them felt that his race actually protected him from the kind of low level character attacks that the right usually employs. But they didn't get it. The right doesn't need to resort to low level character attacks on Obama because he's black. It's baked in.

So they can just call him Hitler, even though it makes no sense, and gin up the most outlandish conspiracy theories and their crazies are on board without anything having to be said. The conservative base, and a good number of people whose committment to progress of any kind is pretty thin on a good day, can easily be prodded into providing the kind of entertaining sideshow the media just love. Et voila --- teabagging.

If these Democrats had spent less time gossiping about what Clinton really did with Monica or handwringing about Gore's "lies" and more time analyzing how those spectacles unfolded, they wouldn't be caught flat footed today. But they didn't because they blamed Clinton for being "weak" and Gore for being "inauthentic" as if those were the real problems. I'm sure it made them feel very confident that it couldn't happen to them.

But, of course, it can, because it's not a function of the individual Democrats who are the targets of these juhads but rather the nature of the opposition. Until they finally grok that --- and after impeachment, stolen elections and Cheney it's mind-boggling that they still haven't done that -- this will keep happening.

what digby said...

Anonymous said...

health care gun guy also gave a quick h/t to John Lott's book _More Guns, Less Crime_, in which Lott argues that higher rates of gun ownership are causally correlated with lower rates of crime and violence. In the inevitable media storm that accompanied the release of the book, Lott asserted that he based his argument on the results of a "national survey [he] conducted." more on this story from Jon Wiener:

"[Northwestern University law professor] James Lindgren...asked Lott about the national survey Lott claimed to have done. Lott told [Lindgren] that he lost all the data--on 2,424 people--in a computer crash.

Lindgren saw this claim for what it was: 'all evidence of a study with 2,400 respondents does not just disappear when a computer crashes,' he wrote on his website in September 2001. 'Having done one large survey (about half the size of John Lott's) and several smaller surveys, I can attest that it is an enormous undertaking. Typically, there is funding, employees who did the survey, financial records on the employees, financial records on the mailing or telephoning, the survey instrument, completed surveys or tally sheets, a list of everyone in the sample, records on who responded and who declined to participate, and so on. While not all of these things might be preserved in every study, some of them would usually be retained or recoverable. Just to get a representative list of the US public would take consultation with an experienced sampler and probably the purchase of an expensive sample. As far as I know, there was no cheap commercial list of almost every person or household in the United States from which to draw a good sample.'

But John Lott had none of this: no funding, no records of employees or phone calls, no tally sheets, no consultants, nothing. He told Lindgren the phone calls had been made by undergraduate volunteers who he had not paid. He said he couldn't remember the names of any of them. He said he had no phone records because the student volunteers called from their own phones...He didn't have a copy of his survey instrument and didn't remember the wording of the questions. As for the sample, he told Lindgren he drew it off a CD-ROM, but he didn't have the CD-ROM and didn't remember where he got it.

In a last-ditch attempt to come up with evidence that the survey had indeed been conducted, Lindgren suggested emailing all former students who might have worked on it...to see if any remembered it. But Lott objected to this effort...

Lott did provide one piece of direct evidence that he did the national survey--one person who said he had been telephoned as part of it. That person is David M. Gross, a Minnesota attorney who is also a former board member of the National Rifle Association and a founding director of the Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Association."

--Jon Wiener, Historians In Trouble: Plagiarism, Fraud, and Politics in the Ivory Tower, pp. 138-140.

lex dexter said...

WAY MORE BACKSTORY ON HEALTH CARE GUN GUY from Harball regular and irish-catholic, Joan Walsh.

John Lott said...

Note on post and one of the replies:

I think that William Kostric did fine. I have been on Chris Matthew's show a half dozen times and he has always been very nice to me, but Kostric had a hard task. Matthews was basically yelling at Kostric most of the time and this was probably the first time that Kostric had been on national TV, possibly the first time that he had been on TV at all. I would like to see most people do half as well under such circumstances.

As to the silly, NAO claim Kostric represented no threat of harm to anyone. In fact, that same day a union member assaulted Kostric and a friend of his and Kostric behaved himself perfectly.

Finally, the second anonymous poster is completely wrong about the facts here. A detailed list of evidence on the point can be obtained here. Besides the fact that two people who took the survey have come forward, there are many other pieces of evidence that anonymous (or Wiener) has decided to ignore.

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