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Monday, August 10, 2009

Frank Schaeffer Calls out Unpatriotic Brownshirt Tactics

My friend Jackie points me toward this instructive interview of Frank Schaeffer on MSNBC. I've previously cited Schaeffer's apology for having participated in the right-wing propaganda machine that has fostered violence like the murder of George Tiller. He recognizes the same propaganda tactics in the right-wing lies and shouting over health care reform:

Key passages:

The good news is that it shows a desperation. The far Right knows they have 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. The Glenn Becks of this world literally are responsible for unleashing what I regard as an anti-democratic, anti-American movement in this country that is trying to shut down legitiatmate debate and replace it with straight out intimidation.

And it is ironic that they are drawing a parallel to Hitler. I wouldn't draw such a parallel but I would draw a parallel to the brownshirts of the 1930s who got into a habit of shutting down diseent and maing it look as if they had a majority by spreading out in groups just as these folks do, screaming the loudest, and making debate impossible.

...We're talking about a small, angry group of white people who, to paraphrase Bart Simpson, the election broke their brains.

If Schaeffer's concern about radical right-wing rhetoric inspiring hate and violence sounds extreme to you, consider that mild-mannered reporter Kevin Woster voices a similar concern.

The Republicans and Fox News fear-mongers have, as SD Humanist points out, nothing to offer, no practical policies or solutions. They can only project their paranoia and plead for affirmation from someone, anyone, that their failing fraidy-cat worldview is o.k., that it's o.k. to pretend you're Rambo refighting the Cold War again and again, that it's o.k. to replace questions and conversation with "fistfights, arrests, and hospitalizations."

Meanwhile, we Democrats just want to debate, govern, and solve problems. It's hard to be a decent, civil American like Frank Schaeffer among the reptilian Glenn Beck bullies. But such is the burden of being a true patriot in a civilized society.


  1. Their pandering isn't rational because they know their demographic isn't rational. They specifically try to draw in unbalanced people because they know they are in for life. You can't reason with most of them because they reject reason.

    A demographic that you can't lose so long as you stay a bit on the crazy side is hard to pass up.

  2. Steve Sibson8/10/2009 11:41 AM

    Reject reason?

    I have yet to get this answered by the reasoned elite:

    Question: Should someone else pay for your $1 million per day health care bill? And if so, for how many days? Those questions need to be answered before we continue down the road of socialism.

    So I ask the question a different way, since no one wants to address the amount. Who should set the maximun amount of healthcare coverage and why:

    1) The one receiving it
    2) The one paying for it
    3) The government

    Let us see if the movement of reason can answer that question.

    As for Frank Schaeffer; a true Christian would be concerned when atheists use your work. And second, when atheists use your work to show dishonor to your mother and father, a true Christian would have concern over violating God's commandment of honoring thy father and thy mother.

  3. Steve,
    Don't forget: "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."

  4. Steve,

    You can't really call this socialism, because the public option would simply compete with what will be a more regulated market.

    Insurance companies sometimes have a cap, like $1,000,000 or $2,000,000, or unlimited for a lifetime. There aren't 1M medical bills per day. So what extensive level of care should we get? That is a totally legitimate question.

    Right now, those procedures are pre-approved based on a person's medical condition and a formalized set of criteria. Extended care requires concurrent reviews. Our care is very regulated right now regardless of what plan you select.

    Will an insurance company (or a new government plan) pay for anything and any amount? Medical management has been standardized throughout the insurance industry. It is a valid point to question if the current system would continue as it is. I have assumed so.

    Following is a good link or do your own search for utilization management: "Standards for the decision making process have become more explicit with the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC) and the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA) developing standards that apply to different components of utilization management."


  5. Steve:

    Who is setting it now?

    1. Can't afford it so don't get it
    2. Can afford it but policy is limited
    3. Got it but it's more profitable to deny the claim endlessly until you die

    The answer is insurance companies, so none of your answers are correct.

  6. Steve Sibson8/10/2009 6:42 PM


    If insurance companies are, then the receiver of the benefits and the payor are ultimately deciding the maximum coverage. And that is the way it needs to stay. Medicare and Medicaid have proven that. Too bad what they don't pay for are paid for by private plans. That is why private plans have become unaffordable.

  7. Christine Nelson8/10/2009 7:07 PM

    While I don't really have a comment on the health care bill, I do have a comment about the tone and usage used at the beginning of the blog. I would consider myself a conservative person, which leads me to the Republicans (not because I like all their policies, just because I can stomach the Democrats less). Am I a person walking around causing violence? Murder? I do think abortion is wrong and that Dr Tiller was a misguided person (I do not agree with anyone walking into a church and killing someone, EVER). But I think comments like that make blogging just a guy in front of a computer; there's an agenda being pushed. Now do MSNBC, CNN, and FOX news all do the same strange agendas? Probably. I think I'll end up like Mr Sibby in the end...

  8. "The Glenn Becks of this world literally are responsible for unleashing what I regard as an anti-democratic, anti-American movement in this country that is trying to shut down legitiatmate debate and replace it with straight out intimidation."

    Precisely what Glenn Beck says about the Nancy Pelosis of this world.

    What happened to our new era of bipartisanship and mutual understanding?

  9. Better to let them die?
    It's sad some people care more about their car than other people's health. We mandate coverage so our car is repaired or replaced when a 20 something causes an accident, but we allow those 20 somethings to go without health care. Yet, when they need emergency care we treat them and admit them if necessary rather than let them suffer or die, because as a whole we're not that kind of country. That 20 something can't pay out of pocket so the hospital and physician eat it and ultimately pass that expense on to actual insured persons. It's clearly essential to have mandatory enrollment. With that, insurance companies are going along with insurance reform, because it's simply about the numbers and their continued profit.

    It's unbelievable when Republicans say they don't believe in mandatory enrollment. They should also say they want people to die without treatment. That would be the absolute responsible thing to do, just not a country most of us want to live.

  10. Looking at content of the video and the tactics used right now by the insurance industry and the GOP to disrupt, to rile, to use emotionally charged words - how are any of those tactics solving any problems? The town halls are being turned into circus side shows and really scary.

    Why is it that Schaefer speaking out against dangerous rhetoric and unstable tactics gets labeled "unChristian". Someone dropped and left their gun at a health care debate in AZ a few days ago. Someone is bringing guns to town hall meetings, which are now notorious for disruptive and counter productive behavior. Imagine that. With crazy turned up to 11, you know someone unstable is hearing Palin and assuming her over the top, attention-seeking Facebook entry is accurate about "death panels" or getting the idea about poisoning a Congressman or Congress woman from Glenn Beck. The people being stirred up get the memos from people vested in making huge profits in the insurance industry - who don't really care about people or their welfare, just the money. The yelling and fears are made up and manufactured.

    How can you NOT discern the difference? I've yet, Steve, hear or read you denounce those that hang Congressmen in effigy, joke or suggest the Speaker of the House be poisoned, admit that Palin was wrong about the "death camp" comment - or at least counter productive and over the top. You attack Schaeffer or label him as unChristian, yet what he speaks about is some very unChristian behavior in the rhetoric, the half truths, the corporate greed plan of action (disrupt, yell) provided in memos.

    If we all started looking at the "love your neighbor as yourself" route, we'd all see to it that we were all covered and no one had to be denied health care.
    Right now what I see is a "I've got mine, it stinks to be you.", or a "Listen, I make a killing denying people coverage and medical procedures. Can you go in and yell, scream, disrupt some so we keep things as they are?" and a huge "But, I just got a check for $1,000,000,000 from the health insurance industry towards my re-election fund and I owe them."

    Wipe off your discerning specs, there's evil, but Steve, you are the one enabling it and just don't like that Schaeffer is calling your group on it.


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