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Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Cadre of Graveyard Rats

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Is it possible to overdose on hypocrisy? Rush Limbaugh's about to find out -- he's taken one helluva dose. I'll explain in a little bit, but first we need a little background.

A couple of weeks ago, the Democratic Party's radio address was delivered by 12-year old Graeme Frost. The subject was SCHIP -- the children's health insurance program. In advance of a predicted veto of an expansion of SCHIP (a prediction you didn't have to be Nostradamus to make), the idea was to put a face on the program. Graeme was involved in an car accident three years ago, suffered severe head trauma, was in a coma, and recieved payment for his treatment thanks to the program. His sister's injuries were even more severe, she's still in recovery. Think Progress gives us a sample of the address:

If it weren't for CHIP, I might not be here today... We got the help we needed because we had health insurance for us through the CHIP program. But there are millions of kids out there who don't have CHIP, and they wouldn't get the care that my sister and I did if they got hurt... I just hope the President will listen to my story and help other kids to be as lucky as me.

Whether or not it's cool to have this kid deliver the address is an open question -- and one I'm not extremely interested in. It's not much of a stretch to imagine a kid giving a similar address for the GOP, asking "What if my mom had had an abortion?" Trust me, it'll happen eventually.

This post isn't about SCHIP, Bush's veto of it, or whether or not kids are valid spokespeople. The purpose of this post is to demonstrate what bags of crap people the on far right are.

Which, of course, brings us to the bloated drug addict. The elevated levels of hypocrisy in Rush's blood are due to a post on his site (he puts up transcripts of his show as blog posts), titled Why Democrats Must Lie to Win. Again, you don't have to be Nostradamus to guess that it's a collection of lies.

I had some rudimentary information on this two weeks ago, and it wasn't enough for me to trust going with. But since then, it has been verified, and most of it's been verified by a "Freeper" at Free Republic. Everybody is writing about this now, since the Freeper posted it over the weekend. This 12-year-old kid that the Democrats used in the Saturday radio address to whine and moan and cry to President Bush about the SCHIP children's health program, it turns out that the family of this kid sends its kids to "one of Baltimore's expensive private schools." This family owns a house in a neighborhood of homes valued in the $400,000 to $500,000 range. This family bought commercial property in 1999 for $160,000.

A few problems here. First off, the kids get a break on the school. Graeme has a scholarship (the family pays $500 a year) and, despite Rush's claim that they both attend "one of Baltimore's expensive private schools," his sister goes to a different school that helps with her brain injuries. The state picks up the entire tab.

Rush is also apparently unaware of the concept of "averaging." If the typical house in a neighborhood is worth $400-500k, that doesn't mean that every house is worth that. That's what you call your "average." The Frosts bought their home sixteen years ago for $55,000. But mathematical concepts are beyond the bloated drug addict, which explains his support for Bush's economic policies. Both Bush and Limbaugh believe you can borrow your way out of debt. They suck at math.

But the biggest mistake that Rush makes is relying on a freeper as his source. Freepers are fanatical right wing lunatics who post at website called Free Republic. They're like the political equivalent of UFOlogists -- they spend a lot of time coming up with reasons to believe things that are complete horseshit. Freepers live in a pre-logical world, where the idea that you look at evidence first, then come to a conclusion, is entirely foreign. They, like Limbaugh, Bush, or any given neocon, put belief first and proof second. This explains creationism.

Since then, the story's taken off in that psych ward that's the right wing blogosphere. Michelle Malkin, who seems to be in a competition with Ann Coulter for the title of "Most psychotic media personality of the 21st century," has taken it and ran with it. She begins a post on the subject with a quote from a fellow nut, Mark Steyn. At the National Review's site, Steyn writes, "The Democrats chose to outsource their airtime to a Seventh Grader. If a political party is desperate enough to send a boy to do a man's job, then the boy is fair game." So begins the right wing attack campaign.

On a 12-year old brain-injured boy. Evil and stupid go hand in hand.

Malkin also reports she engaged in what can only be described as stalking. She went to the father's workplace and spoke with someone there who described the family as "struggling." She drove by the house. Seeing it for herself and thinking about the $400-500k horsecrap, she admits those estimates "are high." But, after getting smacked square in the face with reality, she soldiers on with her "attack the kid" campaign. Since belief comes first, any contrary evidence you find is discarded. You cherrypick only supporting evidence.

Let me give you an idea where this sort of thing can go, where following the freeper flag can lead you. Allow me to tell you the story of Andy Stephenson.

Stephenson was an activist on voting rights and clean campaigns. He ran, unsuccessfully, for the office of Washington Secretary of State and worked closely with Bev Harris of Black Box Voting. Their issue was electronic voting machines. For the freepers, any question about the integrity of elections was a questioning of the legitimacy of Bush's presidency. By criticizing corporations like Diebold, they saw Harris and Stephenson as directly attacking their Dear Perfect Leader. So Stephenson and Harris were frauds and, therefore, absolutely nothing they said or did or agreed with could ever, ever be true. Belief preceeding evidence again. The freepers somehow got it into their heads that Andy and Bev weren't even political frauds, but con men looking to trick lefties into sending money to a phony cause.

It was then that things got completely out of hand. Andy Stephensen was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. As a professional activist, he had no insurance. Bev Harris put together a charity to help pay for his treatment. The freepers, with what they call their "minds" already made up, were absolutely, positively, 100% certain that it was all fake. Andy Stephenson was scamming gullible lefties with a phony illness.

No one can tell the story of what happened afterward better than his friend, William Rivers Pitt:

The story of Andy Stephenson's life and death carries with it all the brightness, and all the unspeakable darkness, that exists today in modern American politics... It has been said that you can best know a person by knowing his enemies. In Andy's case, his enemies rank among the foulest, most despicable sub-humans ever to draw breath. A small cadre of graveyard rats endeavored to convince the world that Andy was faking his illness, that the money raised to offset his medical expenses was lining his perfectly healthy pockets. They constructed websites dedicated to this premise, and they spammed dozens of blogs with their spurious claims. They deliberately interfered with the PayPal donations process organized by Andy's friends, causing a delay in payment to the hospital which blew Andy off the surgical rotation for many critical days.

That was from Andy Stephenson's obit in 2005. After they literally hounded this man to his grave, a few freepers remained convinced that he'd faked his death. They could not possibly have been wrong. They were online warriors and fine Christians. They were, and remain to this day, flawless, perfect, and just in their own minds. On the very rare occasion that they consider the possibility that their prey really is dead, I'm sure they comfort themselves with the belief that he deserved it.

Needless to say, the power of the freeper was considerably diminished on the right after this incident. But here they are again, just as convinced that their horseshit is true and just as wrong as they were before. The fact that their target this time is a 12-year old kid is irrelevant. Graeme Frost and his family are devils. They must be crushed. The fate of our Christian nation depends on it.

It's not surprising to see Limbaugh, Malkin, and the rest of the right wing lunatic brigade take up this freeper cause. They're all 12 ounces of smart in fifty gallon drums, with BS making up the difference. In order to be a right wing pundit these days, it's absolutely essential that you be a gullible chump and a horse's ass. It would surprise me more if these morons didn't fall for this crap.

That's not what's so surprising to me -- this is:

Think Progress:

The right wing's attack on Graeme Frost, a 12-year old recipient of SCHIP, is now attracting attention from a number of traditional media outlets. "I think it's really a sad statement about how bankrupt some of these people are in their arguments against S-chip that they would attack a 12-year-old boy," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said.

Mounting evidence suggests that the right-wing smear campaign may have been orchestrated by a staffer in Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) office.

Turns out that some McConnell staffer sent a email to the wrong person -- it ended up in Harry Reid's office. It showed that McConnell's office was tracking the freeper story closely. A McConnell spokesperson declined comment.

The New York Times reports that "An aide to Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, expressed relief that his office had not issued a press release criticizing the Frosts." Sounds like they had one written up and ready to release, doesn't it?

I suppose I should be less surprised. The Republican party really is that desperate. But getting down in the mud with those Pitt called a "cadre of graveyard rats" is despicable. And abusing the power of your office to push this line of crap is even worse.

If this story turns out to be true, if McConnell's office really is behind this smear campaign, then it means that the Republican party itself is no better than the psychotic killers who chased Stephenson to an early grave.


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sometimes, I feel like screaming. This is one of those times. Unreal.