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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Graeme Frost and collateral damage in political discourse 


[See below for bizarre personal update.]

Regular readers of political blogs other than this one have been following the Graeme Frost episode, in which the anecdotal healthcare experiences of a particular child and his family were cited by Democrats as evidence in favor of a specific social program (the details of which hardly matter). Righties responded that his case is quasi-fraudulent political showmanship and responded with anecdotes of their own, namely that the Frost family was more affluent than portrayed by the Democrats. Lefties, including thoughtful and respectable lefties, regard this as yet another example of right-wing "smear" tactics. The New York Times described some of the back-and-forth on this morning's front page.

Frankly, I think virtually everybody involved has behaved, well, disingenuously and hypocritically. Politicians are intellectually dishonest when they argue for any public policy from a particular case, and everybody knows it. Private individuals who allow themselves to be used for fundamentally disingenuous and partisan purposes -- or, for that matter, a genuine desire to bend public policy to their own preferences -- willingly enter the political fray and volunteer for all the abuse that attends publicity in the internet age.

Unless of course they are children dragged along by their parents, who should be ashamed of themselves.

Partisan bloggers of the right (in this case) who manufacture outrage over the personification of public policy should remember that it was Ronald Reagan who turned the practice into high art. Partisan bloggers of the left who object to "smear" tactics somehow do not notice (in this case) when their own politicians use children as human shields and suicide bombers in political combat.

Both the recruitment of the Frost family and the second and third order argument over it is dishonest and brutalizing. Remember that, if ever a political operative invites you to appear in front of a television camera to argue for a particular social policy. You are collateral damage walking.

UPDATE: OK, this is freaky. My mother emailed to report that Graeme Frost is the grandson of very old friends of my parents, people I've known my entire life. For personal reasons I am not going to give up further details, but I can say this -- Graeme's grandfather went to Princeton and has always lived in one of the half-dozen or so most famously rich suburbs of New York City. I have no idea the extent to which there has been intergenerational flow of funds in the Frost family, so this is not evidence that Graeme's immediate family is in fact more affluent than portrayed. But Graeme's father had the great advantage of highly educated parents and material comfort growing up, so neither is the family disadvantaged in the sense that most Americans understand the term.


43 Comments:

By Blogger Fritz, at Wed Oct 10, 10:07:00 AM:

Hypocrisy on both sides? Maybe. But it is argued very persuasively that the rhetoric and tactics on the right are far uglier than the response on the left. I find this persuasive - but then again, Michelle Malkin is and always has been pretty repulsive to me. If she is typical though...  

By Blogger Fritz, at Wed Oct 10, 10:15:00 AM:

Also see the posts following the linked one on EK's site. I do think he's right that political debate has become very sick, and I don't think the lefties are the ones taking it over the line. (Here's hoping MM actually takes him up on that debate invitation!)  

By Anonymous Chuck Adkins, at Wed Oct 10, 11:37:00 AM:

The cute part is how I was attacked... I said it on my blog and I'll say it here. I wasn't defending SCHIP, not at all, I was defending that families right to privacy. That's why I put malkin's real address, Phone number and Arial picture of her house on my blog. I removed it after a reporter for the Baltimore Sun asked me to kill it, because they were doing a story on Malkin.

If Malkin wants to try painting me as moonbat, fine. I'll just paint her as the right wing fascist that she is.  

By Blogger Ricky, at Wed Oct 10, 11:42:00 AM:

I was defending that families right to privacy.

That's fine, I wouldn't have gone to their house, either. But, chuck, the family made the decision to step into the PUBLIC ARENA. You cannot do that and then play victim when your own cameras are turned off & someone else's are turned on. You can't put the genie back in the bottle and please stop pretending that you can. Criticize Malkin at your leisure, but when someone decides to be used as a political crutch - and that's exactly what happened - then they can't then complain when folks decide to ask for a receipt for the medical bills.  

By Blogger Ricky, at Wed Oct 10, 11:43:00 AM:

Fritz,

We'll hae to check with Clarence Thomas, Linda Tripp, Matt Sanchez, Robert Bork, Kathleen Willey and a host of others as to whether or not the soft-spoken left has ever raised its cackles (and you can then peruse lefty sites to determine what you'll say in response). Or, maybe we can go to one of the sites that posts Joe Lieberman in blackface? Or one of the MANY sites that cheer any time some GOPers health is in question?

Human decency or degradation knows no political ideology. Neither does mindless cheerleading and self-congratulation or seeing how much further one can go to feminize an entire political party (to the point of now claiming that people are 'smearing' the kid.....is there not one shred of honesty left?).

If you think I'm mistaken, then you can disprove me quite easily by logging in as a commenter at any of the top, oh, let's say ten lefty blogs and claim to be a black conservative pushing for lower taxes and your opposition to affirmative action & then come back and tell us how you weren't denigrated.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Oct 10, 12:29:00 PM:

As I understand it, this family has a house, a commercial building, and two children that go to private school. A bad auto accident occurred and they are now covered for care even though they refused to buy their own health insurance. Facts, maam.

And this is Howard Dean's evidence we need the S-Chip bill passed. Did I miss anything?  

By Blogger z, at Wed Oct 10, 12:29:00 PM:

Criticize Malkin at your leisure, but when someone decides to be used as a political crutch - and that's exactly what happened - then they can't then complain when folks decide to ask for a receipt for the medical bills.

But that's not what happened. A poster at Freerepublic put the Frost family's home and business address on the internet, and other posters put up thier pictures and wedding invitations, and now they're getting vicious phone calls from people they don't know. Michelle Malkin, "journalist" flew across the country to to drive by the Frost home, and talk to people who knew them, but never spoke to the Frosts, never asked them for an interview, never offered to let them defend themselves against the (baseless) accusations that are still being flung at them. If you can't see the problem here, I don't know what else to say.  

By Blogger z, at Wed Oct 10, 12:33:00 PM:

A bad auto accident occurred and they are now covered for care even though they refused to buy their own health insurance

Wrong. The children were covered by S-CHIP before the accident, and it saved the family from being financially destroyed by the medical bills. That's why they were invited to go on the radio and say how it helped them. The whole point of S-CHIP is to provide coverage for families who make too much money for Medicaid and too little to afford private insurance. People like the Frosts.  

By Blogger DEC, at Wed Oct 10, 12:47:00 PM:

Yes, democracies are rather messy.

John Steinbeck once wrote about Cannery Row in Monterey, California: "Its inhabitants are, as the man once said, 'whores, pimps, gamblers, and sons of bitches,' by which he meant Everybody. Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said: 'Saints and angels and martyrs and holy men,' and he would have meant the same thing."

That pretty well sums up America, too.  

By Blogger Fritz, at Wed Oct 10, 01:06:00 PM:

Ricky: denigrated? sure. And that's OK. Will they be as hate-filled and vicious as Malkin, and go to the lengths that z described? No, they won't. There's a line, and the righty bloggers crossed it, just like they have several times before.  

By Blogger Ricky, at Wed Oct 10, 01:22:00 PM:

But that's not what happened.

That's exactly what happened. They agreed (as is their right & I do not criticize) to be used as a political crutch by the Democratic party because of the issue. The family agreed to step into the arena, now you guys want to waive the pink flag of victimization whenever someone asks questions that don't come from Nancy Pelosi's office. Sorry, when you decide to step in front of the cameras and take a side in the political arena, you no longer are afforded the role of private person who wants to be left alone.

and it saved the family from being financially destroyed by the medical bills

Fine. So, let's be clear on this: the family's personal story is okay as long as it pertains to the legislation that you want & they support; they're off limits if anyone dares to consider if this example really represents the 'working poor' because it's too personal.

Look, I know you guys continue to try this tact, with Cindy Sheehan & Liz Edwards & Mike Fox & John Kerry, where you declare them above reproach and their words gospel, and I surely don't want anything negative to be thrown in their direction (other than their bad decision making, in this case refusing to purchase health care for their kids while definitely NOT living the life of the working poor) but, you guys really, really, need to grow up and accept that you're not helpless waifs (even though that's the way you portray yourselves as you attempt to destroy the integrity of anyone who disagrees with you).

Will they be as hate-filled and vicious as Malkin, and go to the lengths that z described? No, they won't.

Really? Read any of the comments in the post Klein posted (or the follow-up)? Care to see what your innocent side says about Malkin while your head is buried in the sand? Want to see some of the photoshops and besmirching that has taken place in more mainstream sites (by that I don't mean the nutroots, which is for the clinically insane)?

Sure you want to go there? I'm saying neither side is better....you sure you want to disagree? Hey, I can take you on a trip down 'Bush allowed 9/11 to happen' lane, if you wish. It has a population of roughly 35% of the Democratic party, according to the polls you guys love when they lean your way.

I don't think you want to go there. Cripes, it'd take me about 10 seconds on Democratic Underground to undo any work you could possibly put into any rebuttal. But, if you truly think that the left wing isn't as nasty as the right wing, go right ahead. My initial response will be "screw them" & we can go from there.  

By Blogger Ricky, at Wed Oct 10, 01:35:00 PM:

What he said  

By Anonymous Dr. Mercury, at Wed Oct 10, 01:44:00 PM:

"Hypocrisy on both sides?" - Fritz

Well, of course there's hypocrisy on both sides. People are only human, after all. When it becomes noteworthy is when the mutual hypocrisies are about the exact same thing.

Personally, I'm wondering why TH snubbed the debate yesterday. For any of you who didn't watch it, it was terrific. Fred was great, Rudy proved once again why he's going to take the Convention (the guy's got 'camera charisma' that just won't stop), and if only Chris Matthews had gotten his vocal chords operated on to drop them an octave, the whole thing would have been perfect.

If you're too busy today to read how your local fave bloggers reacted to it, allow me, as a public service, to encapsulate their riveting, incisive, penetrating analysis of the event:

"The frontrunners were great! Everybody else was a total loser!"

Which, remarkably, is the exact same thing they've said after every debate.

In short, they embarrassed themselves. Again. Some "pundits" we've got.

Smart move on your part, TH. :)  

By Blogger David M, at Wed Oct 10, 02:05:00 PM:

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 10/10/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.  

By Blogger Miss Ladybug, at Wed Oct 10, 03:28:00 PM:

The Frost family opened themselves up to scrutiny when they agreed to be "spokespersons" for the Dems. MM didn't fly across the country. The Frosts are in Maryland, and MM lives somewhere in the DC area. That's not flying across the country, and it's not stalking. As MM said, THIS is stalking. The Frosts' children were covered under the EXISTING program. What the Dems want is a vast expansion of the program. Do you think a 25 year old man and his 23 year old wife and their two children, if earning less than $82,000, should ALL FOUR qualify for S-CHIP? He||, no. THAT is what the President vetoed. If you're over 18, you are NOT a child. This is just a backdoor introduction to government-run health care. THAT is socialism run amok.  

By Blogger markg8, at Wed Oct 10, 05:04:00 PM:

President Bush encouraged 9 states to cover not only kids but poor adults too, mostly poor parents under SCHIP when Republicans controlled congress. Now he’s cynically playing politics trying to look fiscally “responsible” by scuttling the whole program. That won’t happen but it will cost Illinois alone an extra $75 million to push these adults into Medicaid according to the Chicago Tribune, by far a more expensive program to both Illinois and federal taxpayers than SCHIP.

That makes no financial sense at all. But then our whole hodge podge healthcare system which is twice as expensive as most other countries in the world doesn't either. Hopefully it will make no political sense either when the American people kick the Republican party to the curb next year.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Wed Oct 10, 05:09:00 PM:

"But then our whole hodge podge healthcare system which is twice as expensive as most other countries in the world doesn't either."

Yet people from all across the world flock to the US for treatment.

Including Canadians. Who HAVE universal health care.

Hmm.  

By Blogger Miss Ladybug, at Wed Oct 10, 06:02:00 PM:

The 'C' in S-CHIP stands for "children". If you aren't a child (e.g. - if you are otherwise considered an adult in the eye of the law), YOU SHOULD NOT QUALIFY FOR A PROGRAM DESIGNED TO HELP CHILDREN. Like I said before, this "it's for the children", but covering people who AREN'T children is just a stealth way to get "universal", government-controlled health in place. I'm uninsured until I get a full-time permanent job, but I'm not asking the government to met my healthcare needs. Neither should any other able-bodied adult.  

By Blogger Fritz, at Wed Oct 10, 06:54:00 PM:

Yeah, Ricky, I want to go there. Citing extreme examples of obnoxious blog comments doesn't prove anything, because everyone's an asshole when they have their anonymity, left and right, which is not a point I'm trying to dispute. My point is that the right-wingers will rip into people and try to destroy them personally in a way that is over the line, and then proudly stand up for what they are doing - they have no remorse or shame. Find me an example of Ezra Klein (or someone of his stature) spewing the kind of hate-filled garbage that Malkin (the leading right-wing blogger by traffic, according to EK) regularly outputs, and then you might have a point.  

By Blogger markg8, at Wed Oct 10, 06:57:00 PM:

Tell it to the Bush Administration ladybug. In the meantime if you get sick or hurt I as a taxpayer am going wind up paying much of your bill when you declare bankruptcy, the medical institutions you use write off your care, and/or Medicaid picks up a chunk of the tab.

dawnfire this is for you:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/12/opinion/12sun1.html

"Seven years ago, the World Health Organization made the first major effort to rank the health systems of 191 nations. France and Italy took the top two spots; the United States was a dismal 37th. More recently, the highly regarded Commonwealth Fund has pioneered in comparing the United States with other advanced nations through surveys of patients and doctors and analysis of other data. Its latest report, issued in May, ranked the United States last or next-to-last compared with five other nations — Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom — on most measures of performance, including quality of care and access to it. Other comparative studies also put the United States in a relatively bad light."  

By Blogger Ricky, at Wed Oct 10, 07:19:00 PM:

Find me an example of Ezra Klein (or someone of his stature) spewing the kind of hate-filled garbage that Malkin (the leading right-wing blogger by traffic, according to EK) regularly outputs, and then you might have a point.

Markos Moulitsas: "Screw them", about dead contractors.

Wonkette parlaying the pornographic "asian girl with ping pong balls" thing towards Malkin.

That took about 90 seconds & two of the bigger leftie sites. And I didn't even delve into the blackface stuff (you know, the acceptable kind of racism), but I can if I decide to actually spend any time whatsoever.

Hey, I warned you not to go there. You'll lose. The party out of power is generally the most vociferous & you guys are nearing "insane" with Bush in the white house.

My point is that the right-wingers will rip into people and try to destroy them personally in a way that is ove the line

Linda Tripp.
Clarence Thomas (you guys investigated what videos he rented).
Kathleen Wiley.

Oh, I guess those were examples of policy differences, right? Should we go to americablog, a site dedicated to destroying gay conservatives by publicly outing them TO THE SOUND OF SILENCE FROM THE LEFT? Oh, no, that's not intimidation (vote my way, or I'll out you!), not at all. The left is full of angels. The folks at media matters told me so (and we know they wouldn't try to personally destroy anyone, would they?)

Feh. Don't be pre-freaking-posterous.

Oh, you could use this opportunity to denounce americablog & its practice of outing those that don't tow the Dem party line, if you wish. It would help in the 'credibility' department. I said early on that I certainly wouldn't have gone to anyone's house, but folks on the left have attempted to DESTROY the lives of many, as I've listed. I can go further (Matt Sanchez, Jeff Gannon, Rush Limbaugh & his private medical records) but I'm thinking that the "it doesn't matter, my side is better than yours" retort will follow, which is generally the case.

I gotta go, Larry Flynt may be offering a million dollars for dirt on me if I don't vote the way he wishes (again, silence from the left on public extortion......yet, you think Michelle Malkin is evil).  

By Blogger Ricky, at Wed Oct 10, 07:23:00 PM:

BTW, this is the type of high minded reasoning that you can get from SOME lefty sites. Remember, this guy is one of the folks that you guys keep telling us is so smart (a major in philosophy?).

I can't differentiate that post from something a 12 year old could publish, but.....whatever, the right is hateful & the left is too busy trying to be reasonable. I read it on the internet from a bunch of people who all say the exact same thing. And think the same way.

Fill in the rest.  

By Blogger jpe, at Wed Oct 10, 07:39:00 PM:

I don't think there's anything wrong with asking the questions that were asked (although it's certainly of dubious relevance to the policy debate), but the righties very quickly went insane (fraud, etc), and that was the problem.

Anyone with half a brain assumed that the kids were getting scholarships as soon it was mentioned they were going to a fancy school, for example. (and the Captain still thinks that that, somehow, means they shouldn't be considered of modest means. I'm baffled by that)

But it immediately turned into an orgy of stupid, vile comments.

There's certainly an extent to which one assumes the risk of hardball politics when one enters the political arena, and that's fine, but that in no way mitigates the sheer idiocy on display.

It wasn't asking questions that was the problem; it was asking patently retarded ones that was.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Oct 10, 09:11:00 PM:

I'm with Ricky except that for my two cents driving out to look at the house is a normal investigative thing for a journalist to do. Bloggers are more or less amateur journalists except that they oblige us with their political opinions without feigning objectivity.

I think it's absurd for anyone on the left to declare that the right is worse about this sort of thing.

This is a good case for why people should focus on ideas, not personalities. As a Republican, I believe in the idea of self responsibility. I think the country would get a lot more mileage out of a culture that encourages/expects certain actions of its citizens.

And as someone who pays for his own health insurance, I'd love to hve a national market. Then I could get decent health coverage for myself for less than $100 a month. (Right now I pay $55 per month with a $4,000 annual deductable.)  

By Blogger Miss Ladybug, at Wed Oct 10, 10:03:00 PM:

markg8~

I had insurance until August when the group policy I was eligible for as a student expired. I paid for that policy myself. I had expected to be fully employed after graduating with my teaching degree by the time it expired, but that didn't happen. As soon as I'm fully employed again (I'm not eligible for the insurance as a sub), I'll have insurance again. I'm not asking for a government handout. I had an earache just after my insurance expired. Didn't cost the taxpayers a dime - I paid for my office visit and the prescription myself. If I do happen to find myself seriously ill before I'm fully employed, my parents will do whatever they can to help me, and I probably won't even have to ask. We're not into expecting the government to do everything for us thing.  

By Blogger jpe, at Wed Oct 10, 10:12:00 PM:

I had an earache just after my insurance expired.

You're comparing an earache to a catastrophic car accident that nearly killed the Frost kids.

That's absurd. You'll be able to contribute meaningfully when you get out of college a few years and have some perspective.  

By Anonymous DumbAsAPoster, at Wed Oct 10, 10:30:00 PM:

@ Fritz
hate-filled and vicious as Malkin

Please provide three citations of what you consider to be hate-filled posts from Malkin.I would like to find out what constitutes hate-filled?  

By Blogger Ricky, at Wed Oct 10, 10:43:00 PM:


That's absurd. You'll be able to contribute meaningfully when you get out of college a few years and have some perspective.


Unless they decide to spend their money on other priorities & rely on the gov't, instead, that is. It's called "gaming the system" & I know a couple that is doing something similar to what the Frosts did; both have new SUVs, the mom just had her third piece of plastic surgery (her boobs look great, btw) & dad runs his own business where he's the only employee (sound familiar?). Oh, and they can afford it by not having insurance, which is why their son missed 14 days of school last year --- because they wouldn't take him to the doctor until the ear infections got to the point where a prescription was not just necessary but pretty much a last resort.

As long as they're healthy, they'll beat the system. However, if history is any guide, should anything horrific occur & they push for some Democrat legislation and someone find this comment in the future, I'll be accused of "smearing" the kid and "attacking" the family by someone of "stature". And I assume that having a job that pays you less than $35K and pushing for everyone else to take care of those pesky medical bills because you made life decisions that put you in that position is now something of "stature".

This whole episode revolves around "need" and whether or not the family is truly representative of those who NEED taxpayer assistance. That a segment of the debate is composed of people who think that the act of breathing equates to being eligible for taxpayer assistance does not go unnoticed. Oh, but they're smarter than we are (just ask 'em) despite the fact that they need the gov't to confiscate our holdings to take care of them.

They care, you know.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Oct 10, 11:20:00 PM:

I think it's unhealthy for a society when its citizens feel that the government will take care of their needs "for free".

I also think they should teach accounting and economics to everyone in high school.

There is plenty of money to be had if you take care to live your life a certain way.  

By Anonymous vk45, at Wed Oct 10, 11:35:00 PM:

I'd also like to hear read Fritz's response to dumbasaposters request.  

By Blogger Miss Ladybug, at Thu Oct 11, 12:25:00 AM:

jpe~

Don't assume you know me. I have plenty of perspective. I earned my BBA in 1992. I earned my M.Ed less than a year ago. I'm not some wet-behind-the-ears, never-been-away-from-home-before college student.

My comment about the earache (which turned out to be an ear infection requiring an antibiotic) was to illustrate the fact that, while I could probably show up at a hospital, get care, then say I can't pay for it, and leave it up to the taxpayer to foot the bill or for the hospital to write off, I didn't do that. While I was working on my M.Ed., I picked up the student group health insurance. Since I graduated, I am not eligible to renew. No one else paid my insurance premium - I took care of that myself.

Injured in a car accident? At least in Texas, car owners are required to have uninsured motorist coverage. So, if I were to be involved in a car accident which left me seriously injured, even though I don't have health insurance, I'd still have my medical bills coverage because my injuries were related to a car accident.

My whole point is this: however the children ended up injured (and what about the auto insurance??), the Frost family was able to get their children taken care of UNDER THE EXISTING PROGRAM. No expansion of S-CHIP is required to "help the children" of families in similar situations as the Frosts. The expansion of the program that Congress sent to the president is an early attempt to enact universal healthcare, run by the government. If they are successful, Canadians won't have anyplace to go anymore for quality healthcare. Nothing in this world is free. Someone has to pay for it. I just have a big problem with a family whose adults made the choice to not carry health insurance when they have four children. That should have been their priority. The Frosts aren't uber-wealthy for sure, but neither are they "the working poor".  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Thu Oct 11, 08:35:00 AM:

"Seven years ago, the World Health Organization made the first major effort to rank the health systems of 191 nations. France and Italy took the top two spots; the United States was a dismal 37th. More recently, the highly regarded Commonwealth Fund has pioneered in comparing the United States with other advanced nations through surveys of patients and doctors and analysis of other data. Its latest report, issued in May, ranked the United States last or next-to-last compared with five other nations — Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom — on most measures of performance, including quality of care and access to it. Other comparative studies also put the United States in a relatively bad light."

Oh, you mean that the US ranked last when one of the criteria was how socialized the medical system is? What a surprise.

'We need to socialize medicine here, because we ranked last in a study where one of the two ranking criteria was how socialized medicine is,' is not logic.

Any study that puts the US behind Canada (because, I already mentioned, Canadians who can afford it flock here for their treatments) and Britain (bad teeth jokes aside, there's currently a string of scandals there about foreign doctors, who make up an absurdly large proportion of medical practitioners, refusing to treat patients who don't conform to their customs, most notably refusing to work on female patients unless they wear headscarves. Not to mention or trying to blow themselves up in suicide bomb attacks, but that's separate) I immediately consider suspect. For instance:

"The British Health Service continues to announce that the official list of those waiting for care is shrinking. This is simply not so; what has happened is that waiting lists to get on waiting lists have been created. After waiting to be seen by a family physician a British patient incapacitated with a spine problem may have to linger for more than a year to see a specialist. It is up to the specialist to determine the urgency of the case and to order any specialized tests. After the wait for the tests and the results (often a process of months) the next wait, of about a year, for surgery begins. Are things getting better? As of May, 2001 all indications were that the British National Health Service continued to "languish from bureaucracy, demoralization and capricious medical fads" (clearly not a formula for success). ( Lawlor S: Britian's Nationalized Medicine Needs Doctoring, The Wall Street Journal Europe, May 3, 2001)."

"Are things better in Canada? A 1998 study by the Fraser Institute located in Vancouver suggests not. Fortunately our Canadian neighbors have the opportunity to opt-out and "escape" their Federal Health Program by bolting across the border. On August 30, 2001 the Wall Street Journal reported that the British National Health Service had nearly one million patients waiting for treatment (40,000 of these waiting for surgery for over a year) and they have officially announced that henceforth the NHS will start paying patients to travel across the English channel for treatment in the European Union countries."

"Socialized health care systems typically address the best interests of the state rather than the individual."

"As privatization has replaced socialism throughout the world the British government (and others) is now turning to partial reimbursement for private health care in order to create a diversified market (Bartley RL: About Freedom in the Free World, Wall St. Jour, October 14, 2002). This represents a timid first step in a positive direction."

From the Burton Report.

Also, I can assure you from years of personal experience in a relatively well-funded socialized medicine institution, the US military, that it sucks. Apathy and incompetence are common, there's no real punishment for malpractice, and the system is weighed down by people without real problems who simply go because it's free. I can count off a number of careers that have been ruined because of medical incompetence. One poor girl was told, after *two* botched surgeries, that she'll never walk unaided again. She could walk fine before the surgeries, it was running that gave her trouble. Now she moves with a cane, after graduating from a wheel chair. I think she's 24 now.

"The U.S. military's health care system attracts doctors who couldn't legally practice in the private sector, according to an investigation by the Dayton, Ohio, Daily News. The newspaper alleges the military employs or has employed physicians who failed multiple state medical board exams, had their licenses revoked or suspended, lost their malpractice insurance or were convicted of crimes.

* The year-long investigation found that military doctors are not required to have malpractice insurance, do not have to be licensed in every state where they practice, and are virtually immune from being sued by their patients.

* Reporters say they found at least 200 doctors practiced in the military with records of incompetence or malpractice from both in and out of the military.

* They also found 77 doctors either failed their state licensing exam or had no evidence in their files that they took it.

* One doctor reportedly failed a medical licensing exam 30 times."

But at least we haven't had any refuse to treat patients for not wearing headscarves.  

By Blogger Fritz, at Thu Oct 11, 11:26:00 AM:

I'll offer two blog posts and one whole book: here, here, and who could forget this gem of a book.

See, I'm not interested in cherrypicking extreme examples - other people have done that for me, and in any case it isn't very useful, because it doesn't really show anything. The posts I linked to you show you a typical example of Malkin's writing. It's full of invective and uninterested in actual debate or discourse; you can feel the rage bubbling beneath the surface when you read it. Make no mistake, Malkin uses the politics of hate to get her points across.

I'm sure you will be delighted to come up with counterexamples of your own, but I stand by my point that the rhetoric on the right is much more filled with hate and rage than the left, on average; after all, which side is the one calling for the apocalyptic clash of civilizations and military action against Iran?  

By Blogger Ricky, at Thu Oct 11, 12:06:00 PM:

after all, which side is the one calling for the apocalyptic clash of civilizations and military action against Iran?

Hey, I remember back in 1998 (you know, when it was 'cool' to bomb Baghdad?) when the rhetoric from the left was aplomb with claims that Saddam was trying to develop WMDs. And, darned if Clinton didn't call for regime change, too. It's all which prism you're viewing through, Fritz.....you only see what you want to see.

but I stand by my point that

Of course you do. Do you think anyone would actually say or type "well, my side is full of insane rage and hate, but I still like 'em better"? Of COURSE you think the left is more angelic. Of COURSE you're willing to rationalize any evidence of absolute insanity from the upper-tier of the left wing. Remember back before the Petraus add & the polls came back negative, you know, before the left decided that the soldiers were "okay" & they were instead claiming that our soldiers did little other than torture, rape, murder, did I say torture? And then you guys got the talking points that Rush Limbaugh - of all people - was to be taken out as someone who bashed the troops? And who led the charge at the beginning? Why, it was Mister "in a fashion reminiscent of Jenjis Kahn" John Kerry, himself, the most famous soldier-basher in USA history.

But, that was then and it was rationalized. Everything is rationalized.

Of course you think the right is worse. I'm willing to bet that you always thought the right has been worse, except for periods where you couldn't be affiliated with the left (before you were born or in places where you have never been). That's human nature.

I just hope you realize that it's only your opinion, and is no different than your arguing that your favorite song is therefore the greatest of all time.

Lastly: Glenn "sock puppet" Greenwald? Well, at least you left us laughing.....  

By Blogger Fritz, at Thu Oct 11, 01:13:00 PM:

it's ok Ricky - I just hope you realize that, by neatly avoiding any of the points I made, your last post contributes nothing substantial to the discussion. In fact, your confrontational style makes some of my point for me: that the right-wing in American politics is substantially more hate-filled and angry than the left, and more interested in scoring rhetorical points than in actual argument.

Although I do not hold many of the views that you disingenuously imply that I hold, one can, in fact, legitimately hold any of the views that you mentioned, even reprehensible ones such as the allegation that American troops engage in systematic torture, and rationally argue about them without seething with rage and hate. That's what the right is currently much less able to do than the left, and what will ultimately lead to their downfall - on average the right wing is more similar in their tactics to MoveOn.org than to any other group, which is a very ironic of the current political climate.  

By Blogger Ricky, at Thu Oct 11, 02:13:00 PM:

it's ok Ricky - I just hope you realize that, by neatly avoiding any of the points I made,

Sorry, I didn't think I was avoiding any points - I was stating that certainly everyone would think that "the other guys" were worse. Is that not always the case? Isn't that common sense?

In fact, your confrontational style makes some of my point for me

How in the world was I confrontational? By agreeing that you think the right is worse (and hinting that people on the right think the left is worse)? I was not being confrontational. Perhaps you read that into it, but it was not intended on my behalf. Trust me, I can be confrontational, but not on this occasion.

and more interested in scoring rhetorical points than in actual argument.

This post is about a party that sent out a 12 year old kid to read their talking points, right? And, yes, the GOP does the same thing. Sorry, "blood for oil" and "Bush knew about 9/11" aren't actual arguments, and neither is the senate majority leader saying that we've lost the war or another senator stating that our troops are terrorizing citizens. They're intended to foment emotion, much like most abortion arguments do.

on average the right wing is more similar in their tactics to MoveOn.org than to any other group, which is a very ironic of the current political climate.

Hmmmm....I'm trying to figure that one out. You're saying that the right wing is similar in tactics to the most powerful LEFT WING group out there. I think you may have simply added a typo there, because it makes no sense and certainly goes against your argument. The people who imitate moveon.org are......moveon.org and the people who cater to them (read: the Democratic pols who cater to their interests).

Well, I saw the GOP candidates recently addressing the NRA, while around the same time the DNC candidates were addressing the yearlykos. The. Yearly. Kos.

That told me a lot about the current political climate. I agree, though, that the right needs to stay within certain bounds. Last time I checked the polls, a pro-choice pro-gay moderate was leading every evangelical poll among the GOP (Rudy) and last I saw, Markos Moulitsas was the leader of the lefty blogs.

I'm sorry, I cannot agree with your thesis when the evidence is presented. Have you even read the big lefty blogs? Would you like to know some of the quotes from the diminutive Moulitsas.

Although I do not hold many of the views that you disingenuously imply that I hold, o

For that, I apologize. My error. I often rely on the "you guys" or "you folks" terminology far too much. Again, my humble apologies.  

By Anonymous vk45, at Thu Oct 11, 04:59:00 PM:

Fritz,

You said:

"The posts I linked to you show you a typical example of Malkin's writing. It's full of invective and uninterested in actual debate or discourse; you can feel the rage bubbling beneath the surface when you read it. Make no mistake, Malkin uses the politics of hate to get her points across."

I looked at your first two links to Malkin, scanned their content, and read the book title.

That said, I don't quite see your point. I don't sense her 'rage beneath the surface'

Have you considered the possibility of projection?

Certainly I can empathize with your contempt for her positions and rhetoric but it might be better if you imitated Tigerhawk's understated tone.

Whoops. Just read the Ezra Klein link. Wow. Now there's a guy that really understands the "politics of hate" at least if that column is representative  

By Anonymous Bird of Paradise, at Fri Oct 12, 12:55:00 AM:

The demacrats idea of health for kids forced ritlin injections and forced brainwashing  

By Blogger Cassandra, at Fri Oct 12, 09:28:00 AM:

Just read the Ezra Klein link. Wow. Now there's a guy that really understands the "politics of hate" at least if that column is representative

Y'all just don't understand! It's only hate when it's aimed at people who agree with you :p

Conservatives, on the otter heiny, don't deserve to be treated decently. Their 'twisted' belief system justifies anything bad you care to say, no matter how hateful and vindictive. Just look at all the posts about outgoing CJS Peter Pace in which he was accused (on no evidence) of molesting male Marines, being a coward, retiring while there was a war on out of greed, et cetera, ad nauseum. I have never felt so dismayed or disgusted as I did reading the MAJORITY of comments on often quoted lefty sites like ThinkProgressyve, Kos, and TPM.

I would have deleted similar comments about ANY lefty politician or leader, though I almost never deleted comments in almost 4 years of blogging.

But there was not a word from the site owners. Not. A. Word.

Shameful.  

By Blogger Fritz, at Fri Oct 12, 12:35:00 PM:

vk45: "Certainly I can empathize with your contempt for her positions and rhetoric but it might be better if you imitated Tigerhawk's understated tone."

Good point. I'll try to do that more. I happen to agree with Ezra in that I do detect appreciable rage in Malkin's posts.

@Cassandra: You can't judge a site by its anonymous comments. You may disagree with the moderation policy on a given blog, but that in no way makes the blog "shameful;" if a blog maintainer chooses not to moderate or respond to a comment, that doesn't mean that he or she endorses or agrees with it.

Additionally, subjective impressions about the quality of the "MAJORITY" of comments on any given blog are pretty much guaranteed to be inaccurate because of confirmation bias: you notice comments that outrage you much more than comments that don't, and so the blog won't get a fair shake. Sorry, but no one should believe any subjective judgments about the overall quality of comments on any blog from anyone - including you.  

By Anonymous truth machine, at Sat Oct 13, 03:37:00 AM:

Right wingers being assholes isn't news. Fritz, you're wasting your time with intellectually dishonest scum like Ricky.  

By Blogger Ricky, at Sat Oct 13, 06:51:00 AM:

I guess that's a point for your "the left isn't as hate-filled as the right" theory despite the above example of what most of us realize is the general representation of what currently constitutes the lefty blogospheric commentary, eh Fritz?

BTW, game, set, match. The discussion just ended.  

By Anonymous DumbAsAPoster, at Sat Oct 13, 11:51:00 AM:

@ Fritz

I have read your citations. Regarding the book, I would have to read it first. I would note that I worked with a German national in South America, whose uncle was interned in the US during WW2. He told me that his uncle reported he had been very well treated in the internment camp. I also recognize that there is a difference between foreign nationals and US citizens. Again, I would need to read the book. I now comment on Malkin’s blogs.

If a political party is desperate enough to send a boy to do a man’s job, then the boy is fair game…..And anytime I send my seven-year-old out to argue policy you’re welcome to clobber him, too.

While that rhetoric is a bit strong, she does explicitly invite reciprocity. It is also of note that “clobber” refers not to Graeme Frost, but to Malkin’s own child. Maybe I have not read closely enough, but I did not locate any attack on young Graeme Frost in Malkin’s posts. Malkin does NOT do to young Mr. Frost what Deb Frisch did to Jeff Goldstein’s two year old son. Rather, Malkin discusses the issue of the choices that the parents have made. From my point of view, that is fair game. Malkin interviewed people whom media people had already interviewed. Unlike Code Pink at Speaker Pelosi’s residence, she simply drove by the Frost home.


The use of Graeme Frost was part of a larger left-wing strategy to hide behind children.

That is my reading of what the article is about.

Malkin goes on to quote from Ezra Klein:

“The shrieking, atavistic ritual of personal destruction the right roars into every few weeks is something different than politics. It is beyond politics. It was done to Scott Beauchamp, a soldier serving in Iraq.”

As I see it, and I have read extensively on the issue, Beauchamp wrote BS, and got called on it. THAT is personal destruction ?

I guess that I AM DumbAsAPost to be unable to detect the hatred you do. I lack the sophistication and nuance to detect the hatred that you do.  

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