Sen. Rickey Hendon’s rhetorical mastery of the obvious deserves a watch.
It ain’t full equality, but at least it’s officially a conversation, with legal status.
An astute IMP reader informed us of “Capitol Fax” uber-blogger Rich Miller’s foray yesterday into the land of adolescent personality politics.
And it seems to be well worn ground for Miller, at least where it comes to one gentleman.
Apparently Rich has fashioned himself as an authority on Civil War politics, specifically Ole Abe himself, and has used/is using that hyper-inflated belief in an attempt to smear an individual for voicing an opinion over three years ago.
That individual would be one John Laesch, former Congressional candidate in IL-14 district.
John, if you don’t recall, came within a handful of votes of winning IL-14’s 2008 Democratic general primary, despite being outspent 17-1 by the eventual victor, Bill Foster.
Less than 1/2 of 1 percent, in a honest-to-gawd grass roots campaign.
So Rich Miller, who has shown an amazing amount of competence in bringing news of Springfield’s chicanery and general goings-on to the masses, apparently decided attacking John Laesch was worthy of the day’s news, and re-posted, in the words of commenter “How Diasappointing”, an “isolated soundbite” of video of Laesch at a campaign event over three years ago.
The clip, originally posted on a Laesch smear site on YouTube, is an 18 second excerpt from 2006, where Laesch suggests that President Lincoln acted predominantly upon economic, rather than moral concerns when issuing the Emancipation Proclamation.
Miller’s transcription of the clip:
“Abraham Lincoln, I don’t know if you know this, he didn’t [free the slaves] for the right reason, social justice. He just did it because so many white people were out of work because they couldn’t compete with slave labor.”
Miller finds that prospect, or we should say, that isolated video soundbite amusing, and when challenged by a commenter on his site,
– How Disappointing – Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 4:22 pm:
Wow, Mr. Miller, personal attack politics do not become you…BTW, I do love isolated sound-bites that lead to historical discussions in the comments. Perhaps you could tell us, since you saw fit to try and ridicule Mr. Laesch for his opinion, what the impact of slave labor was, and please detail the evolution of Mr. Lincoln’s position regarding slavery as a moral question. Feel free to cite historians of note.
I’m assuming you must have this information, no?
Rich responds in a fit of rhetorical maturity:
– Rich Miller – Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 4:32 pm:
HD, I’ve read quite a lot of Lincoln history, so I think I’d put my perspective up against yours any day. To defend Laesch’s moronic statement is just goofy, especially considering that legalizing slavery was an active subject in Illinois up to and during Lincolns tenure in the Illinois House and he fought against it.
So, bite me, moron.
The commenter responded:
– How Diappointing – Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 5:42 pm:
Never suggested any expertise in the period-but figured you must, since you saw fit to try and ridicule someone else’s opinion.
Please do provide cites, and why you feel they are the most accurate historical works…And the use of sound bites from political attack sites is not only poor journalism, it’s also reflective of the poster’s personal integrity.
(Please feel free to read the –whole thread– IMPs is happy to drive traffic to Rich’s site for this one) There were 45 comments when he closed the thread last evening.
So IMPs, not well-versed in 19th century American history, (not unlike the commenter) turned to teh almighty Google which took exactly .31 seconds to return this piece, published in the New York Review of Books earlier this year.
Esteemed Northwestern University Professor Garry Wills reviewed a book edited by esteemed Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (yes, President Obama’s beer buddy) on Abraham Lincoln’s own words on racism and slavery.
So deep was Lincoln’s belief in a free market of labor that he condemned slavery for impinging on the free whites’ right to the fruits of their work. The slave owners’ profits from the unrequited toil of their slaves gave them an advantage over those who paid their workers, making the latter less competitive than they would otherwise be. One of the reasons Lincoln wanted to keep slavery from the territories was to protect the opportunities of free white workers…
.31 seconds. Love technology.
So intellectually, Rich’s attempt to smear Laesch is unsound to say the least, and although we will acknowledge that a young candidate’s attempt to shorthand a complex issue was somewhat clunky, we also acknowledge that Laesch’s point is in fine intellectual company in the ongoing historical debate as to Lincoln’s motives.
The exchange between Miller and the commenter continued, with highlights including Miller’s use of the words “sillyness”, “moronic”, and a plea in defense of the right to make fun of people. All in a rather blood-bathy string of comments, in which even Georgia (Georgia10, former front-pager for Daily Kos, now an employee of the Gianoullias’ campaign) felt need to jump in to defend her credentials.
IMPs knows politics is not a business for the faint of heart or willowy of spine, but we wonder, why John Laesch?
-As Miller was attempting to hold Laesch up to ridicule to reflect upon the gentleman for whom he now works, one hypothesis suggests his loyalties could lie with the opposing camp.
-A less strategic and base musing is that Miller holds some personal vitriol for the man.
-And the armchair guess following a few libations was that Rich, once the outsider blogging voice for Springfield, has become entrenched in the “inside the corn-belt-way thinking” that he had initially charged himself with exposing, and is well on his way to becoming part of that problem.
Feel free, at this point, to infer that IMPs holds John Laesch in high regard, which is true, and we are few of many (31,587 Democratic voters within IL-14 alone).
But we offer full disclosure – before IMPs was IMPs, we had occasion to work for John Laesch, primarily because of his political courage and intestinal fortitude to run on what IMPs considers the obvious: that a single payer, expanded and improved Medicare for All solution to our nation’s health care crisis was, and still is, the only fiscally and morally responsible reform.
But this was only one plank of a platform that included fair, not free trade with a focus on jobs, and (as a Navy veteran), strong opposition to Bush’s Iraq war, investment in green energy and locally, opposition to the Hastert highway.
This was while his opponent was hawking biometric national ID cards as an immigration solution.
John’s positions were consistently measured against the obvious, that Illinois families are hurting (which is still horribly true).
His campaign inspired many to become further involved in politics, including a few of his old staff who have run for office themselves. And for IMPs, anyway, we were moved to take a serious look at his present employer’s campaign after John became involved, because we knew there would be a strong voice in support of Illinois’ working families. They are hurting, you know.
But none of this is apparently relevant to Rich Miller, who takes more delight in channeling his nine year-old self.
The question as to why remains open, but since our political encounter with John Laesch, IMPs is proud and honored to count him among our most trusted and respected friends, which is why we feel a compelling need to stand against what would appear to be chronic, coordinated character defamation.
And this is unfortunately old news. During his last run for Congress, Laesch was also at the receiving end of one of the most vicious smear campaigns IMPs has witnessed, and Miller took the low road back then too in not taking a strong stand against the politics of personal destruction.
The three year old smear site on YouTube that Miller chooses to reference is also a little peculiar in its following:
Rich, you’re on the wrong side of history on this one, and you owe John Laesch an apology.
cross posted at Progressive Fox
As Bank of America basks in its $45 billion of bailout, turns out it comes up a little short on using that bounty to actually help people.
Just outside the elevators of their vast third-floor command center, attached to the wall, is a cardboard thermometer that shows them inching toward their goal of signing up 125,000 struggling borrowers for a federal program to modify their mortgages…But with weeks remaining to meet the November deadline set by the Obama administration, Bank of America is trailing well behind the other large banks, according to Treasury Department data.
BOA’s mortgage relief temperature may be tepid, but leave it to BOA to raise it to a boil with a dose of surrealistic irony.
…some Bank of America employees continue to express skepticism about whether all of those seeking assistance really need it. “There’s a difference between hardship and entitlement,” said Jerry Durham, Bank of America’s vice president of home retention.
Unintended Master of the Obvious Award Recipient du Jour,
Self Awareness Not Included.
But that won’t deter activists like these.
Kudos to those arrested today. And the Baucus 8–13 before them.
You are proof that we are stronger than a majority of those who represent us.
You took them to school.
Washington is not strong enough to compete with doctors like these.
Dr. Quentin Young, National Coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program, Studs Terkel’s doctor and lifelong fighter for social justice had some wonderfully scratchy words to wear out Sen Max Baucus’ hide in his introduction to the Mad as Hell Doctors on Saturday at the UIC College of Pharmacy.
Doctor Young just celebrated his 86th birthday btw.
And Dr. Paul Hochfeld, an emergency physician and head Mad as Hell Doctor is on his way to Washington D.C. with a message for President Obama:
Please admit it, you are not strong enough to fight these interests.
At least not without us.
Dr. Dean Ornish, medical editor for HuffPo, felt compelled today to carry some bi-partisan water for those intent on profiting off our fellow citizens’ illness, in a piece entitled, Don’t Tread on Me: Transcending the Left Wing/Right Wing Health Care Debate.
I hate to break it to the Doc, but health care reform ceased to be a left/right issue long ago.
As it stands now, it’s purely populist/corporatist, and that transcends all party labels.
Rep. Anthony Weiner, present IMP Master of the Obvious designee laid it all out succinctly during his recent dust-up with Joe Scowlborough, when he asks what the value of having private, for-profit insurance in the mix.
Short answer, bupkis.
But Dr. Ornish sidesteps the free market elephant in the room, and proceeds to lay out his bi-partisan suggestions for perpetuating illness-profit, our own uniquely American macabre lifestyle choice.
For Democrats, it’s a way to make true health care (not just sick care) available to the 48 million uninsured while reducing costs rather than dramatically increasing them, as I outlined in an earlier column.
For Republicans, this approach emphasizes freedom of choice and personal responsibility, not to blame people but to empower them. These are things you can do to heal yourself, to keep you and your family healthy that also, by the way, substantially reduce health care costs while improving the quality of care.
His solution? Diet and lifestyle.
Funny thing that this is all the rage now, as the free market has had free reign over our collective health care for countless decades, and has had all the opportunities in the world to promote healthy lifestyles and cost reduction, so the status quo is a direct reflection of what the free market has brought to our nation’s health.
Diet and lifestyle are core factors, but perhaps our childhood obesity epidemic is the strongest proof of how much our political infrastructure, D or R, values free market tenets and campaign cash over societal health. Happy Meal anyone?
The Doctor cites his attempt to promote healthier lifestyles, but then draws a conclusion which undercuts his very argument.
I understand those who think that single-payer health care is the way to go. However, after needing 14 years to get Medicare to do something as obvious as paying for intensive lifestyle changes scientifically proven to reverse heart disease despite the strong personal support of those at the highest levels of government and the leading experts in the scientific community, I share the Republican concern about greatly expanding the power of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. I’m as deeply suspicious of big government as anyone…
Bureaucracies tend to perpetuate themselves, whether they are multinational corporations or large government institutions such as Medicare, often at the expense of those that they are supposed to serve. Too much power in any institution tends to stifle innovation.
So Medicare is the fall guy once again, the one government program which has done more for the wellness of our citizenry than any private insurer, as the power of the insurance bureaucracies gets a free pass, the power that denies care outright to maximize profits and contributes nothing to the overall health of America.
Doc, with all do respect, come join us in working American reality, because your defense of for-profit health care financing only perpetuates our national health care tragedy.
Brought to you this week by RNC Chair Michael Steele.
Late last night, IMPs opened a bottle of 100 proof and decided to watch Michael on FOX riffing on the “Senior Bill of Frights” that emerged Monday, and it wasn’t the barrel aged libations that made our heads spin.
If you choose to watch, hang on to something, ideally your lunch.
Mr. Steele opened by stating that Medicare, “a program our seniors have come to rely on” will remain “largely intact”.
The FOX spokesmodel then chimed in, referring to the “first tenant” (really, tenant!) of the Bill of Frights, protect Medicare.
Cut to Rep. Anthony Weiner, who’s been slicing through the hypocritical right wing gobbledy goo like a diesel-powered comb through the ghost of Ronald Reagan’s hair, citing the 40% of all our tax dollars that presently go to either a single payer system (Medicare, Medicaid) or (gasp!) honest to gawd socialized medicine (V.A.).
Rep. Weiner then wins the Master of the Obvious Award for the week, when he states that if the Republicans don’t want to cut Medicare, they’re supporting a single payer system.
When Michael’s patronizing chuckles wind down, he states that,
“this single payer program known as Medicare is a very good example of what we should not have happen with all of our health care…Government cannot run a health care system, trust the private markets to do it the right way.”
Perhaps the most popular and efficient health care system in our country, Medicare, defended by seniors who will take to the streets to protect it, is completely inefficient, and we should instead trust the private market to “do it the right way”. Which, in turn, is exactly why we need to protect Medicare for the continued care of our seniors.
We didn’t, we tried, we gave up, and ended up watching this.
It’s kind of the same bit, but actually funny.
Yup. The Republicans put it in writing. Selling seniors a bunch of hokum in this “Seniors Bill of Rights” spewed out by the Republican National Committee’s Michael Steele today in the Washington Post.
As is the norm, instead of offering solutions to the problem they smooth talk seniors like a credit card schill offering a really great introductory rate…
That is why Republicans support a Seniors’ Health Care Bill of Rights, which we are introducing today, to ensure that our greatest generation will receive access to quality health care.
Wow. That sounds great. But how?
As the president frequently, and correctly, points out, Medicare will go deep into the red in less than a decade.
Um…yeah, if we do nothing.
Closing the deal with falsehoods…
Third, we need to outlaw any effort to ration health care based on age. Obama has promoted a program of “comparative effectiveness research” that he claims will be used only to study competing medical treatments. But this program could actually lead to government boards rationing treatments based on age.
Health care already is rationed by age. You have to be 65 to be enrolled in Medicare. Until then, it is rationed by the insurance industry.
Is it possible to call the Better Business Bureau on these hacks?
Seniors, please don’t buy into this “Bill of Frights.” Hang up the phone on these boiler room telemarketers of fear, toss out that glossy mailer of deceit and be comforted in the fact that you have the most popular form of health care in the country. No thanks to the Republican attempts to kill it since the ’60s And who can forget the ‘Gipper’ in his own words.
If you like what Medicare has done for you, help everyone get access to an expanded and improved version.