I'LL READ IT LATER

The late, anything but great Jesse Helms was one of the nation's foremost crusaders against pornography, which he called "poe-nah-gra-fuh". This prompted Bill Hicks to make the accurate observation, "I don't think you should be against something until you can pronounce it."

An enterprising Slate writer tracked down six guests who recently appeared on Sean Hannity's Fox News program to explain how Obamacare was causing them grievous harm. Showing that no lessons have been learned since 2008, when the McCain campaign decided to make a mascot out of an unemployed, unlicensed plumber who couldn't tell the same story twice, it appears that Hannity thought it best to choose a group of people who were either flat-out lying or just completely ignorant of the new law and its requirements. My favorites:

First I spoke with Paul Cox of Leicester, N.C. He and his wife Michelle had lamented to Hannity that because of Obamacare, they can't grow their construction business and they have kept their employees below a certain number of hours, so that they are part-timers. Obamacare has no effect on businesses with 49 employees or less. But in our brief conversation on the phone, Paul revealed that he has only four employees. Why the cutback on his workforce? "Well," he said, "I haven't been forced to do so, it's just that I've chosen to do so. I have to deal with increased costs." What costs? And how, I asked him, is any of it due to Obamacare? There was a long pause, after which he said he'd call me back. He never did.

For someone with four employees (JOB CREATOR! HURR!) the sole requirement is that the employer inform them of the government website for exchanges. That could be done in an email in 10 seconds. And then there's:

When I spoke to Robbie, he said he and Tina have been paying a little over $800 a month for their plan, about $10,000 a year. And the ACA-compliant policy that will cost 50-75 percent more? They said this information was related to them by their insurance agent. Had they shopped on the exchange yet, I asked? No, Tina said, nor would they. They oppose Obamacare and want nothing to do with it. Fair enough, but they should know that I found a plan for them for, at most, $3,700 a year, 63 percent less than their current bill.

It's not amazing that people are horribly misinformed about the law given how easy it is to be horribly misinformed – more accurately, how it is impossible not to – when living inside the Beck – Fox News – Limbaugh conservative media bubble. It is amazing that there are people who refuse to even look at the website. To refuse to buy On Principle is silly, in my opinion, but one's choice. To form those principles based on fourth-hand information that was incorrect when it was first-hand is a symptom of two things. First, it shows how willingly the Teabagging rubes allow themselves to be screwed by their masters. Second, it emphasizes that for all their talk of freedom and demands to know The Truth, what these people really appear to want is to be force-fed information by their chosen mouthpieces like geese being fattened up for foie gras.

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37 Responses to “I'LL READ IT LATER”

  1. J. Dryden Says:

    David Cross describes the epiphany he had while watching a Tea Party collective yelling against government-enabled health insurance–he realized that he didn't actually *want* these people to receive *any* kind of health care–he wanted them to not have insurance, to not receive preventive treatment, to fall prematurely ill, and to die. "I want there to be fewer of you, and more of me." The misanthrope who own the lion's share of my soul agrees.

    Only insofar as these fuckheads have children who have not yet grown into smaller, slimmer versions of their idiotic parents–and some few of whom may manage not to do so–do I wish that these yammering dolts possessed the coverage needed to keep their younglings alive. Apart from that: fuck 'em. I no longer believe in the power of rational argument to convince them that it is the frying pan that is hitting them in the face that is causing them pain, rather than gay marriage and Benghazi.

  2. Tom Says:

    Remember when MSNBC framed a man for a racial hate crime and our president parleyed it into an election victory?

    It's almost as if stupid people aren't unique to one "side" of the political compass.

  3. bill Says:

    Tom, popcorn…

  4. middle seaman Says:

    Stupidity, ignorance and fanaticism are the building blocks of many political movements. The Tea Party couldn't exist without these three traits. The American faux-left, the one that brought us a repeat performance of Jimmy Carter by Obama, uses exactly the three legs.

    We couldn't tell who is decent and normal without the fanatics. They do, then, serve an important societal role.

  5. Sarah Says:

    We couldn't tell who is decent and normal without the fanatics. They do, then, serve an important societal role.

    The problem comes when there gets to be too many of them.

    (Also, don't knock not buying On Principle. I don't shop at W*lM*rt unless I have to, and even though I hardly think that makes an impact on their $300+ billion global empire, it does make me feel better about myself.)

  6. Anonymouse Says:

    Back in the summer of 2011, a neighbor who had stage 4 lung cancer took a gun and blew his brains out. I didn't know the guy well, but I'd known he was terminally ill, and I wasn't particularly suprised he'd chosen to end his life because he looked like he was one step from the grave the last month or so he was alive. Right after the funeral, the pastor (whose SUV sported a Sarah Palin 2012 bumper sticker and still sports it today) told me that the neighbor was 'forced' to kill himself 'because of the Obama death panels'. I explained what we knew of the ACA back in 2011 (that it was in place in Massachusetts, that there are no death panels, and that it wasn't due to even start until 2014) to no avail. Reality went in one ear and out the other. That pastor still believe there are death panels coming to kill of of us this to this day.

  7. Anonymouse Says:

    That should be "The pastor still believeS" not "still believe". Sorry for the typo.

  8. Dbp Says:

    "Remember when MSNBC framed a man for a racial hate crime and our president parleyed it into an election?"

    Nope. Don't recall anything vaguely like that happening.

    Hey, while we are remembering things, remember that one time that one George Zimmerman hunted a black kid for sport and white supremacist organizations like the Tea Party called him a hero? Man, that was super racist.

    /counter trolling

    And on topic, these people are stupid. Truth to these people is whatever their gut tells them. If it sounds right (and "rightness" is heavily influenced by the messenger), it is right. They believe they have this incredible understanding and insight into the world and just one look tells them all they need to know. It is very similar to the way biblical literalists interpret reality. If reality contradicts their bible, reality is wrong. But (sometimes) replace bible with "first half assed, stupid opinion they come up with" and you have movement conservatism. Facts are stupid things, an old white guy's beer belly is indisputable.

  9. c u n d gulag Says:

    Many of these morons are the same ones who go out and buy the old light bulbs instead of the newer much more energy-efficient ones, and then, as some form of protest, leave their lights on all day and night. I guess they feel that paying their electric companies more is patriotic!

    If these rubes want to pay full-freight and subsidize the health care of others, who are we to complain?

    And if these rubes decide to do without, then fuck them and theirs – submit their names for consideration to The Darwin Awards.

  10. RosiesDad Says:

    The media has been complicit in this. You can find all kinds of stories about people losing their insurance policies due to non-cornforming status with very little attention paid to the cost of replacement or explanation about what the differences are between the non-conforming policies and the policies that do conform under the ACA. Or the actual cost of the replacement.

    Richard Mayhew has tackled some of this over at Balloon Juice.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2013/09/26/im-being-oppressed-and-made-better-off/

    As an aside, the article Ed linked to was on Salon, not Slate, and the author, Eric Stern, was an advisor to former Gov. Brian Schweitzer. And is also the son of NBA commish David Stern. (New Yorker with a law degree from Columbia who relocated to Montana because he likes the lifestyle. Sounds like a good life plan even if he can't find a decent bagel.)

  11. Anubis Bard Says:

    I'm always bemused by the polling that purports to gauge how popular these Democratic health reforms are, when pretty much none of the people being polled have the vaguest understanding of what those reforms actually are.

    The conservatives have been blasting away with the right wing wurlitzer sowing confusion, fear, and misunderstanding. But the liberal "Nuh Uh!"s haven't exactly clarified things with a clear and straightforward explanation. And I think that is mostly because putting Obama's signature achievement in simplified terms doesn't make it sound very grand or heroic. "We're going to require everyone to buy an insurance policy; we're going to require the insurance companies to sell everyone an insurance policy; and we're going to chip in some tax dollars for people who can't afford to buy an insurance policy."

    It ain't tyranny, and it ain't exactly transformative health care policy either. It is what it is, and I doubt 5 per cent of the population grasps the basics.

  12. Kathy K. Says:

    What amused me greatly this morning was my inability to link this article on Facebook because … Facebook isn't working properly.

    Honestly, anyone would think there were never any problems on the web.

  13. GunstarGreen Says:

    @Anubis: It's not even the confusion on the policies, honestly. Polling consistently shows that when you ask someone what they feel about the policies of the Affordable Care Act, and then ask them what they feel about the policies of Obamacare, the favorability goes down in the latter case.

    The exact same policies, described the exact same way, suddenly become less palatable to a chunk of the population once you put Obama's name on it.

    And they try to tell us that the teabaggers aren't about racism.

    This is also, by the way, why the right goes out of its way to call the law Obamacare each and every time, and they never mention its actual name. Because contrary to popular belief, the political elites of the American right aren't stupid — they just know that their voting base is, and they abuse that fact as hard as they can.

    As demonstrated, people complain about the ACA because they have been instructed to complain about the ACA by their Republican overlords, all facts and realities be damned. There is no point in attempting to govern a nation of the idiots, by the idiots, and for the idiots. These people don't know what the law is, they don't want to know what the law is, all they want is to be told how to live their meaningless lives by their economic betters. They say they refuse to pay for the next guy's healthcare and he can just go to the ER, completely ignorant of the fact that they do in fact pay for those ER visits — in the form of higher premiums and higher healthcare costs. But that doesn't matter. They're fat, stupid, and happy on their couch, listening to the likes of Hannity explain why it's okay to be a dumbass hick, just keep voting Republican.

  14. John Says:

    Uh, Ed says "an enterprising Slate writer tracked down six guests and then he links to a Salon article.

  15. JohnR Says:

    People are stupid – dog bites man! A whole lot of people don't like to think and prefer to be told what to do and what to believe. Well, there's a shock! The interesting thing (or so it seems to me) is that so many of them have thrown in with the Mad-dog Paranoid Party. It's like a Vicious Circle of Fear. Meanwhile, it may be that a bunch of us do this (rely on what "everybody knows" and what we hear from our circle, rather than go out and find out what's accurate), but some of us are more curious than fearful, and some of us occasionally remember that once in a while we may even be wrong. Personally, whenever I start feeling like that, I hunker down and wait. It always passes, and hopefully sooner rather than later.

  16. Jared Says:

    > completely ignorant of the fact that they do in fact pay for those ER visits

    Actually they pay quite a bit more, since routine checkups can find and fix problems long before they become massively expensive ER visits.

  17. WereBear Says:

    Why does anyone stay in an abusive relationship? Because those times it is not abusive are so GOOD.

    They know just what to say. They apologize so sweetly. They know exactly the buttons to press.

    It's no different watching Faux News. Don't change, Fox cries! We love you just the way you are!

  18. cromartie Says:

    Only insofar as these fuckheads have children who have not yet grown into smaller, slimmer versions of their idiotic parents

    @j.dryden The joke's on you for thinking the kids grow up to be slimmer than their parents.

  19. Benny Lava Says:

    This, to me, goes to show something I've long felt: conservatives are a bunch of suckers. There are plenty of smart conservatives, but they are so damn credulous they will buy anything. There once was a researcher who investigated conservative groups and ended up on every weird mailing list imaginable. Of course it must be a goldmine to sell conservative mailing lists out; these are the most gullible rubes out there.

  20. quixote Says:

    @Dbp, who didn't "Remember when MSNBC framed a man for a racial hate crime and our president parleyed it into an election victory?"

    The candidate was Michael Dukakis, the opponent was GHWBush (He wasn't president yet. It was during the campaign.) and the felon involved was Willie Horton.

    At least, I'm pretty sure the incident Tom was referring to. There may have been others I've forgotten. The media supplies no shortage of crap.

  21. Wareq Says:

    It's like these guys take pride in being ignorant.

  22. Mingent Whizmaster Says:

    The more people there are, the more stupid people there are.

    –Fred Salography's 2nd Law of politics

  23. ladiesbane Says:

    Okay, anything worthwhile that costs money is anathema to devout conservatives because it's more important to have lower taxes than it is to have roads, schools, etc.; I get that. So it's slightly counterintuitive that they would be willing to pay more for insurance. Sometimes a LOT more.

    Granted, we do not know the exact qualities of the plans. People talking about two different policies rarely compare benefits or mention it if they do. Insurance is a magic wand for most people, who forget that coverage varies in proportion to cost and there is *always* a cheaper policy out there. Not everyone remembers the $10,000 deductible when they are ogling the low premium. But that is my personal gripe.

    Is it safe to say that the anti-ACA folks are paying for the privilege of saying Eff You to the President? All in the self-soothing guise of choosing principles over price? And if individual coverage through the ACA is truly comparable in coverage at a lower cost, that they will eventually surrender their noble Eff You Mr. President and come to the (ahem) dark side?

    We finally found something they care about more than money…but it's not schoolchildren, the infrastructure, public health, or anything else that is essential to a functional society. These people are appalling, sorry.

  24. John Doheny Says:

    What seems to be getting totally lost in this discussion is…the ACA sucks. Seriously. It's a welfare scheme for insurance companies.

    The only vaguely progressive parts of the law, the restrictions on pre-existing conditions and the medicaid expansion, are hanging by a thread. Any state with a Republican governor is blocking the latter, and the former will possibly be stripped out of the bill in the upcoming "budget negotiations" with the lunatic Tea-tards. Which will leave the perfect "business friendly" bill; a mandate to buy crap insurance from private companies, with taxpayer-money assistance if you're too poor.

    This isn't rocket science. People all over the world have better, cheaper healthcare than we do, at less than half the cost, per patient. But we can't adapt any of those real-work working models for ourselves, because socialism. Instead we wind up with this "uniquely American" Frankenstein monster of a bill. Pathetic.

  25. J. Dryden Says:

    @ cromartie: Oh, I know, but the operative word is "yet." I mean, I know they will–of course they will–most people inevitably grow up to become the version of their parents they most resented as teenagers. But this isn't MINORITY REPORT–I have to reserve my condemnation for those who have actually committed the crime/sin of becoming the Hutts of the booboisie, and reserve judgment on those who have not yet done so–basic decency demands that we allow for the possibility, however fanciful, that their larvae will not follow in their frighteningly deep-set footprints.

  26. Xynzee Says:

    @Dryden: those aren't footprints. Those are butt-grooves.

  27. Xynzee Says:

    @Doheny:
    Bill Cosby said (Bill Cosby: Himself) "It takes an awful lot of intelligence to be that stupid."
    The upshot being if there's something you don't want to do, make such a hash of it so that no one will ever ask you to do it again.

    Susan B. Anthony dollars anyone?
    GM Diesel engines, killed the market for decades.

    So why should this be any different? Despite being an easily sabotaged handout to insurance companies, it's a step better than before.

  28. Bob Says:

    @ John Doheny: an elimination of yearly and lifetime caps is a HUGE improvement. Something in the neighborhood of half of all Americans were uninsured or underinsured pre-ACA. There is a reason that the US leads the world in bankruptcies caused by medical bills.
    But hey, let's scrap the ACA and [magic rainbow unicorns fall from the sky] and switch to single payer.

  29. Sarah Says:

    That pastor still believe there are death panels coming to kill of of us this to this day.

    Possibly because the pundits are still yammering about death panels to this day. Where I am, for some reason some of the AM talk radio hosts (Limbaugh, Hannity, Herman Cain) have migrated over to one of the FM radio stations, and I think it was Hannity who just this afternoon was reading portions of the ACA on the air and yapping about that one kid who needed a lung transplant and was denied a set of adult lungs. This constitutes a death panel. As if that weren't already occurring under the current system, with the shortage of viable organs and the astronomical costs for transplantation. And naturally it wouldn't occur to any of these morons that the solution might be to promote organ donation and [gasp] stem cell research. Ye gods and little fishes, the stupid, it burns.

  30. bb in GA Says:

    @quixote

    That would be Mr Al Gore who was running for the D nomination for Pres in the 1988 campaign that did the oppo research and made widely available the story about the infamous rapist-on-furlough Wille Horton.

    Remeber that Willie was/is a POS sumbitch racist, rapist a**hole hisself.

    Just like Limbaugh and the Magic Negro moment (that was handed to him by Black Liberals), the late Lee Atwater used the gem that ALgore handed him to "take the bark off the little bastard." (for which Atwater apologized for before his death.)

    //bb

  31. Vinny Says:

    There was a great read in the New Yorker about Republicans and Obamcare (ACA) http://www.newyorker.com/talk/financial/2013/10/14/131014ta_talk_surowiecki

    My favorite part: Replublicans say that Obamacare will ruin America,
    "But the overwhelming majority of American businesses—ninety-six per cent—have fewer than fifty employees. The employer mandate doesn’t touch them. And more than ninety per cent of the companies above that threshold already offer health insurance. Only three per cent are in the zone (between forty and seventy-five employees) where the threshold will be an issue. Even if these firms get more cautious about hiring—and there’s little evidence that they will—the impact on the economy would be small."

  32. John Doheny Says:

    @Bob,

    "There is a reason that the US leads the world in bankruptcies caused by medical bills."

    Yes, and it's called private insurance. Which even without "lifetime caps" will still have enough holes and deductables in it to bankrupt you. In other countries, "health coverage" means exactly that. Your health care costs are covered.

    "But hey, let's scrap the ACA and [magic rainbow unicorns fall from the sky] and switch to single payer."

    Great idea. I lived with single payer in Canada for 30 years. $54 a month, no caps, deductables or co-pays.

    Like I said, it's not rocket science.

  33. Bob Says:

    @ John: Look up how health care is provided throughout the OECD. It ranges from complete government control of all facets of health care to all private control – to include insurance – under government regulation. Bankruptcies due to medical bills in all OECD nations other than the US are virtually non-existant. Private insurance in and of itself is not the problem. Un-regulated or poorly regulated private insurance is a problem.
    As for your other argument, no, it ain't rocket science. It's something called politics. Explain me to the politically feasible plan you have for bringing single payer to the US.

  34. John Doheny Says:

    @Bob,

    "Look up how health care is provided throughout the OECD."

    Yes, I recall during the health care "debate" a period where mainstream media embraced "private insurance based" European health systems, like that used by the Swiss. The inference seemed to be that it was possible to have first class healthcare without cutting private insurance out of the picture. What usually went unmentioned though, was the DEGREE of regulation imposed on insurance companies in those countries. Can you imagine, say United Health Care accepting relagation to basically doing nothing more than managing a money pool for a modest, flat fee?

    "As for your other argument, no, it ain't rocket science. It's something called politics. Explain me to the politically feasible plan you have for bringing single payer to the US"

    I don't have one. Do you have a politically feasable plan for telling American private insurance companies that the days of obscene profiteering are over, and from now on all they get to do is manage money pools and payouts for a flat 5% fee? No? Didn't think so.

    I'd agree that the CONCEPT of private insurance isn't the problem,, but private insurance companies as they exist in America today are pretty much the ENTIRE problem. It's their money and influence that buys the politicians, generates the misinformation and scare stories, and convinces the American people that the status quo, wherein they pay more money for worse care, is somehow "the Best Health Care System In The World."

    These people have proven themselves, over and over again, to be undeserving of a place at the table in any healthcare discussion. The fact that they are now guaranteed at least 30 million new customers, often with taxpayer subsidies, is obscene.

  35. Bob Says:

    "Do you have a politically feasable plan for telling American private insurance companies…..Didn't think so."
    No. And that's kinda been my point from the start. But thanks for your utterly meaningless contribution which ignored all realities of the American political system.
    There’s a reason I earlier summarized your perspective as "But hey, let's scrap the ACA and [magic rainbow unicorns fall from the sky] and switch to single payer.” And you just keep proving me right.

  36. John Doheny Says:

    @Bob.

    "There’s a reason I earlier summarized your perspective as "But hey, let's scrap the ACA and [magic rainbow unicorns fall from the sky] and switch to single payer.”"

    Well yeah, YOU summarized it. Thanks for putting words in my mouth. Can you point me to the part of my original post where I advocated scrapping the ACA? Believe me, I'll take what I can get in this area, but I'm not going to pretend it's anything other than what it is, which is some real weak shit.

    I wish I could figure out what the hell YOUR point is. Are you saying the ACA is beyond criticism? That criticism is "disloyal" somehow? Fuck that. I'm not going to jump up and down doing the varsity rag over something that MIGHT be a small improvement over the status quo. Being a first world nation with third world health care ought to be a source of national embarrassment.

  37. Bob Says:

    “I wish I could figure out what the hell YOUR point is.”
    Well, that certainly gives us at least one thing in common, because I’ll be damned if I can figure what it is you are blathering on about here.
    You have said:
    “What seems to be getting totally lost in this discussion is…the ACA sucks. Seriously. It's a welfare scheme for insurance companies.”
    “Instead we wind up with this "uniquely American" Frankenstein monster of a bill. Pathetic.”
    “These people have proven themselves, over and over again, to be undeserving of a place at the table in any healthcare discussion. The fact that they are now guaranteed at least 30 million new customers, often with taxpayer subsidies, is obscene.”
    So to recap (using your own words so please don’t accuse me of putting words into your mouth again) you claimed “…the ACA sucks…” is a “…welfare scheme for insurance companies…”, is a “…Frankenstein monster of a bill.”, “Pathetic.” and “obscene.”
    Gee, where did I come up with the crazy notion you were opposed to it? All that coupled with you never once saying something like “but as bad as it is I’ll take it” until I called you on it three times. Gosh, why did I think you were opposed?
    I thought the war with Iraq sucked, was a welfare scheme for the military-industrial complex, a Frankenstein monster of a war, and was pathetic and obscene. But I supported it. No, just joshin’ with you – I opposed it. As I would anything that I described in such terms.
    Here’s my real problem with you and all the others out there just like you. Do you really think you need to come here and lecture the readership on basic health care issues?
    Obviously you do – again, allow me to quote you – “What seems to be getting totally lost in this discussion is…the ACA sucks. Seriously. It's a welfare scheme for insurance companies.”
    “What seems to be getting totally lost….” Only in your empty head.
    Have you EVER been to this site before? Are you really going to stand behind that statement? The proprietor and the bulk of the commenter’s haven’t covered that ground enough for you? Holly shit!!!! Thank FSM for John Doheny! Until he came and explained all this no one here at Gin & Tacos knew any of that. I bow before your purity of essence. You are the holiest of the holy, the purest of the pure, the one true believer. The rest of us had only one criticism of the ACA – it didn’t give insurance companies enough.
    Thank you so much for pointing out what we had all missed.
    “The only vaguely progressive parts of the law, the restrictions on pre-existing conditions and the medicaid expansion…” For the first time since the creation of health insurance companies cannot deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. That’s “vaguely” progressive? I know almost a dozen families – dozens of people total – who will now get health care because of that “vaguely” progressive change. How many tens of millions of people are in the same boat? How about the elimination of yearly and lifetime caps – what are they, “vaguely” progressive, middle-of-the-road, conservative?
    Frankly, people like you make me sick. The jackals on the right are doing what one expects jackals on the right to do – fight to prevent tens of millions of Americans from getting basic coverage. But you holier-than-thou Progressive Warriors attack and criticize the most important progressive victory since LBJ was president are helping to undermine it at a time when it is under serious attack.
    Please do all the uninsured and underinsured a favor: keep your pious sermonizing to yourself for a year or so. Once enough people get coverage and it’s too late to roll it all back then come out of hibernation and remind me us yet again of how pure your ideals are compared to the rest of us hopeless corporate sellouts.