The latest news from La Lulu is that she has refused to debate Ezra Klein. Ezra was mean to her, see. Her “refusal” amounts to one long self-pitying temper tantrum.

M’love, the first rule of blogging is, if you can’t take it, don’t dish it out.

I second Mustang Bobby:

Not a big surprise, and I don’t think Ezra is surprised that not only did she turn him down, she used the opportunity to launch another full-scale attack on him and anyone he’s met, talked to, or sat next to in an airport departure lounge. And frankly, I think that while Ezra may have made the debate offer in good faith, he knew what the response would be. But it was nice of him to at least make the offer and to prove once again that the right wing is not interested in discussion or discourse; they just want to make a lot of noise and obscure the fact that they can’t make their case.

Tbogg provides an ode:

Brave Ms. Malkin ran away.
Bravely ran away, away!
When debate reared its ugly head,
She bravely turned her tail and fled.
Yes, brave Ms. Malkin turned about
And gallantly she chickened out.
Bravely taking to her feet
She beat a very brave retreat,
Bravest of the brave, Ms. Malkin!

Lots of people are linking to an old Malkin post in which she complains how hard it was for her and her husband to find an affordable private health insurance policy. They settled for a high-deductible plan. Today she says,

Grown-ups, on the other hand, will be able to grasp effortlessly that if I had decided not to buy private insurance and then demanded that the government cover my medical expenses and insure me after a catastrophic accident, then, yes, why, yes, you could flap two HYPOCRISY! cards up and down in each hand until your feet lifted off the ground.

What they haven’t yet realized is that if they face a medical disaster similar to what the Frost family went through, their insurer will drop them like a hot calabasa unless state regulations say otherwise.

See this discussion on health care that was on CNN last June. The young lady representing the Right kept going on about how she didn’t have health insurance because she was self-employed and wanted some kind of tax credit so she could afford it. She already can deduct every penny she spends on health insurance from her taxes, but that’s not good enough. Further, since she’s young and healthy she thinks it doesn’t make sense for her to purchase health insurance when she sees a doctor maybe once or twice a year.

See also “We Are All Uninsured Now.” The fact is that the increasing numbers of Americans without health insurance is creating big honking social problems that affect all of us, directly or indirectly. It can’t just be dismissed as somebody else’s “bad choice” that’s “not my problem.”

A perspective from the grown ups (you have to be 50 years old to join) at the AARP:


Mark Steyn patiently explained once again today that parents of four children earning 45,000 dollars a year should just work harder and sell their house to pay for health insurance:

    Mr Frost works “intermittently”. The unemployment rate in the Baltimore metropolitan area is four-percent. Perhaps he chooses to work “intermittently,” just as he chooses to send his children to private school, and chooses to live in a 3,000-square-foot home. That’s what free-born citizens in democratic societies do: choose. Sometimes those choices work out, and sometimes they don’t. And, when they don’t and catastrophe ensues, it’s appropriate that the state should provide a safety net. But it should be a safety net of last resort, and it’s far from clear that it is in this case.

Setting aside the total dishonesty of that — surely Steyn has been informed by now that the Frost kids go to private school on scholarship and the house was bought for 55,000 in 1990 — what has become crystal clear in this debate is one that I think needs to be discussed. The Republicans believe that people should be completely destitute, living in a one room shack and working two jobs before they “deserve” subsidized health insurance. The middle class who are one car accident or one cancer diagnosis away from losing their jobs, being unable to afford either the cadillac COBRA plans from their employers (my last one here in California was $1700.00 a month and I’m healthy) must not be allowed to keep ANY assets.They must be, as Steyn’s pal wrote, “dying on the streets with sores on their bodies” before they qualify for aid.

But, of course, neither will they necessarily even be able to buy private health insurance at any price even if they do live in a one room apartment with their four kids and work two jobs. (I was turned down recently because I had had gum surgery in 1996.)

See also Sadly, No, TRex, and Morte.

Update: See also Time magazine, “The Swift-Boating of Graeme Frost.” The only problem with this article is that it attributes the reprehensible behavior to “bloggers,” not “right-wing whackjob bloggers.”

Update2: Hale “Bonddad” Stewart:

Under the Malkin theory, either poor people shouldn’t have children because insurance is too expensive, or the poor should go into debt to pay for insurance which under the new bankruptcy laws is tantamount to indentured servitude.

Read the rest of Hale’s post for a grand argument for single-payer health care.

Update 3: John Roberts on CNN this morning repeated the rightie claim that the Democrats are to blame for the assault on the Frosts.

John Cole (emphasis added):

I can understand why people would get frustrated if the Democrats put up a little boy who stated “Please don’t kill this bill or I will suffer.” It would be demagoguery and shameless and it would be hiding behind a kid.

But that isn’t what happened here. What happened here is that the Democrats chose someone who had been helped by the program, and they stood up and told people that it had helped them and an expansion might help others. …

… It wasn’t hiding behind a kid, it was the picture of advocacy by citizens who had been helped by a government program (Given the governance of the past few years, I will admit that it is entirely conceivable that a certain subset of those screeching are unaware that government programs are allowed to help people. Not all of them are designed to whisk people away to secret CIA facilities or read your email and listen to your phonecalls.).

It is, also, not the first time something like this has been done. By now you have heard of Noah McCullough, the nine year old who traveled with Bush to advocate on behalf of social security. Or the snowflake babies, on stage with Bush when he vetoed the stem-cell bill. My memory is not perfect, but I do not remember similar campaigns to viciously attack these kids and their families.

Aside from the disgusting nature of the attacks on the Frost family, this is one of the things that has many of us aghast. To what end are these Freepers and Malkinites and Corner readers attacking these people, as even if the Bush veto of the expansion holds, they are going to still qualify for the program? The inability to recognize this, and the instinctive need to just attack, attack, attack and smear, smear, smear is what has surprised me the most. This is not a policy dispute to these folks- this is tribalism, and something deeper and darker and more sinister. It was a mob whipped into a frenzy, a blind rage, and there was no point to it other than the rage itself.

21 thoughts on “Malkingate

  1. ‘And a child shall lead them…’
    Right to the perdition the righties deserve. This attack on a child and his parents has exposed just how unempathetic these “people” are, and just how pathetic they can be.

    Swiftboating a 12 year old is about as low as you can get… Wanna bet they can go even lower?

    PS: Don’t take my bet – it’s for suckers. You know in your hearts they can go lower.

  2. Malkin is just plain mean, it seems that the right likes their women that way, must be some kind of S&M thingie.

    Several years ago I was invited to attend a Thanksgiving dinner hosted by a man who was my “big brother” when I was a kid. We have kept in touch over the years, and our families get together on occasion.He was a really great guy back then, but I’ve noticed a marked change in the past few years.

    At the dinner he was quite proud to be a “big Bush supporter”, used the phrase “it’s God’s plan” several times, and went on about how if this were truly a “Christian nation”, we would only need lawyers to draw up contracts because there would be no need for law suites. He was never like this in the past.

    After dinner I went outside with the men, all of whom were 20 or more years older than me. They talked about their golf games, trips with the grand kids, etc., then one brought up the costs of prescription medicine. They were all old enough for medicare and had that coverage plus they got add’t discounts through the V.A.
    which they seemed quite proud of.

    I said my brother had cancer but had no insurance and was having a difficult time. He had lost his job as an R.N. due to pleading no contest after being charged with touching a minor girl inappropriately. After that, he was unable to get a job with benefits, and the jobs he could get didn’t last because he was now a sex offender and would be fired when the employer was contacted by his P.O.
    My friend pointed his finger at me angrily and said “who’s gonna pay for that?!” (his cancer treatment). I was stunned.The man knew my brother well when we were young.

    Because my brother had no health insurance, he got poor treatment with little or no follow up. He has a deep basal cell carcinoma on his face which was treated with surgery and radiation and left him disfigured. Several months after the radiation, he developed a sore in his mouth which turned out to be a squamous cell carcinoma, they are frequently side effects of radiation therapy. That cancer has now metastasized and is in his lung and inoperable. He has between 6 mos to a year.
    Part of my brothers problem is that he made some bad decisions, part is because our system is geared toward punishment rather than rehabilitation, but more than that, because he had no insurance he did not get the care he needed early, and got no treatment for the mental disorder he suffers from (depression).

    I talked to him last night and he said that things got so bad that he was eating only cheriros with water for several weeks because he couldn’t afford milk.
    His depression kept him from calling me for help and he had no phone and lives 2 1/2 hrs from me.. He finally got SSI benefits, but like I said he has about 6 mos left. He is getting hospice care through the state which is wonderful, but prevention is worth a ton of end of life benefits.
    My brother owns a small house that is paid for. Before the realestate bubble popped he could have sold it for about $150,000.
    But the money would have gone to his health care and he would be homeless, the hospital gets his house after he dies.

    If we treated dogs like that there would be riots in the streets.
    Sorry this is so long, but it’s true and it’s now.

  3. Erinyes,

    What a tragic story! And so indicative of the mindset of SO MANY of your fellow citizens.

    In the past month or so I have finally understood that the US has descended into fear and fear breeds hatred. The fear of Osama bin Laden is nothing compared to the fear of falling through the cracks of a Swiss-cheese system. I think if you scratch the surface, all those people who wouldn’t give a cent to help all those undeserving ne’er-do-wells know in their heart of hearts that there but for the grace of God go they.

    Believe me, I am not trying to justify their meanspiritedness, just perhaps understand it a bit better.

    I am not a praying person, but please tell your brother that a stranger from another country is thinking of him.

  4. Thanks,
    BTW, my parents moved here from Canada in 1953. I was born shortly after.Thanks for the kind thoughts…………

  5. So Malkin & hubby had a difficult time finding an affordable health ins policy. They must not be wealthy enough to weather a catastrophic illness or accident if they were that concerned about finding a plan they could afford. And they had to take a high deductible plan just like so many americans have to, if they are able to even get insured. Right wingers just don’t seem to comprehend that unless they are ultra rich or have family that can help with money, they are not safe, they are not insulated from circumstances not of their doing that could wipe out all their assets.

  6. Why do American conservatives insist on life being miserable when it doesn’t have to be? One of the great mysteries.

  7. One of the comments at Ezra’s blog parodied Monty Python:

    Brave Sir Malkin ran away,
    Bravely, bravely ran away,
    She shrieks and she rants
    ’cause she shat in her pants,
    Brave, brave Sir Malkin.

    I like the Brave Sir Malkin moniker and think it should be adopted, kind of like Olbermann’s reference to “Comedian Rush Limbaugh”.

    Seriously there is no content behind the vindictives. A waste is a terrible thing to mind. Send her to Coulterville and ignore her. She has nothing to add and is a distraction that reframes the discourse in unproductive ways. Adios Sir Malkin.

  8. Virginia, #6 – the simple answer is that conservatives want life to be miserable because their own lives are/were miserable. They cannot conceive of a different world, and would strongly dispute your assertion “that it need not be”. In their limited view, misery is how it is, that there can only be winners if there are also losers. Many of them have unresolved trauma from childhood. Many of them act out the mean nastiness they themselves received, because that’s all they know, and it feels good. There’s a lot more to say, but this is it in a nutshell.

    A liberal is a conservative who’s been through therapy.

  9. This article and the Comments which follow really display something. Mostly the eternal desire of left wing elitists to feel better about themselves because those right wing nutjobs are evil, hatemongerers.

    Is it possible that Malkin’s decision to purchase a high deductible, affordable, plan was a smart move? Maybe one that should be repeated by all these poor sobs who can’t afford 1700 a month coverage? I assure you, I make less than 45k a year, but with a high deductible plan, I can afford health insurance. And I realise that he makes that much with children, and children cost quite a lot. I still assert that it is not impossible for all of us to have our own health insurance. A high deductible will keep payments low, and allow you to afford it when the bad things that could destroy our lives come into play.

    And, at the risk of sounding like a hate filled nutjob (which I will be charachterized as anyway, seeing as I’m a hated “neocon”) in response to the #2 post: Tragic, yes, but why should anyone else be expected to pay for a situation that your brother has brought on himself? You demonstrate a severe lack of personal responsibility. Maybe if your brother hadn’t plead no-contest to improperly touching a female minor, or, since he didn’t contest it, one can assume he did it, so maybe if he’d kept his hands to himself. Surely then, he would have had a job, maybe with a health plan, maybe not, in which case he could have bought an affordable, high deductible plan. He’d be fine then, wouldn’t he?

    So is it the government’s fault? The right-wing nut jobs fault? Or his own fault? Forgive my lack of tears and sympathy. I’ve lost family members, and I imagine it’s very difficult for you. But your words reek of misdirected rage and dissapoinment.

    Now, I know that my post will be used as an example of the “looniness, and crazed rambling” that you guys love to accuse us right wingers of. That’s ok. Maybe one or two of you will get a clue. I just couldn’t keep silent any longer.

    There’s no such thing as a free ride. But you ask for it anyway/

  10. Ray —

    Is it possible that Malkin’s decision to purchase a high deductible, affordable, plan was a smart move? Maybe one that should be repeated by all these poor sobs who can’t afford 1700 a month coverage?

    “Affordable” is a relative thing. What was affordable for Malkin was not, I suspect, affordable for the Frosts. And now the Frosts can’t get insurance at any price because the kids have pre-existing conditions.

    There’s no such thing as a free ride.

    Of course not. But there’s such a thing as doing things smart and doing things stupid. The right-wing way is the stupid way. It is grossly inefficient; it is making health care itself unavailable for growing numbers of people, yet costing all of us more per capita than health care costs in any other nation of the world; it it a terrible drag on our economy, because employer-based health care is adding to the costs of product we make and sell; it is making the entire middle class more financially insecure, and history shows us that an insecure middle class is the first step toward political upheaval. All of us, directly or indirectly, are at risk; see “We Are All Uninsured Now.”

    Right-wingers can’t see this. They don’t see how things are interconnected. All they say is “I got mine, so bleep you.” There’s another old saying, “cutting off your nose to spite your face” that comes to mind. That’s what the right-wing does; they are so hateful and mean they’d rather trash their own country and impoverish themselves than show the least spark of generosity to anyone else.

    Unless you people are stopped, the U.S. will turn into a third-world shithole. And you’re too stupid to see it.

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  12. Maha,
    “Unless you people are stopped, the U.S. will turn into a third-world shithole.”
    Thanks to people like Ray, we already are.

    Ray, yours is a self-fullfilling prophesy. You come to a website where empathy reigns, and you spit out hateful right-wing talking-points.
    Jeez, what do expect? Mega-ditto’s?

    I want to hear what the other side thinks. But you were unoriginal.
    I welcome you to come back when you have some original ideas. Until then, stay in your own hateful “amen-chorus” sites, and leave ours alone.

    Respectfully Yours,
    cund gulag

  13. Ooops!
    In re-reading, it should say …”leave US alone.”
    I didn’t mean to say that Maha’s site is an amen-chorus. We have our disagreements, don’t we kid’s?

    To prove my point:
    Maha, when are you going to add a “preview?” I’ve been asking for years. I’d help pay for it, but the money I have goes for health insurance:-)

    Love ya, Maha!!!

  14. Maha, when are you going to add a “preview?” I’ve been asking for years. I’d help pay for it, but the money I have goes for health insurance:-)

    I tried awhile back, but I couldn’t get any of the add-ons to work. Maybe I could pay somebody to upgrade to the most recent WordPress (I’m afraid to do it myself) and then they would work. *Sigh* OK, next week I’ll have a beg-a-thon!

  15. Gulag,

    Actually, I expected exactly what I got. You read hate into my argument when there isn’t any. What more could I expect out of you?

    The entire argument is really moot, since it’s over a boy who’s fully covered by a program that isn’t going away. Bush doesn’t want to get rid of S-Chip. He’s said he wants to expand it. I don’t think it should be expanded as much as it would have been without the veto, though. I don’t see why a Children’s health insurance program should include anyone over 18 years old, just for starters.

    Nobody wants S-Chip to go away. It’s a good program. My question is why it needs to be expanded so much, and why that boy was paraded around asking why Bush wanted to take S-Chip away from him, when that would never happen.

    Are any of you thinking for yourselves? Are you really that desperate to have the government take care of you? Whatever happened to the American Dream? Whatever happened to EARNING your way? Where did this sense of entitlement come from?

  16. You read hate into my argument when there isn’t any.

    Possibly not so much hate as disdain. But it’s there, whether you can admit it to yourself or not.

    Are any of you thinking for yourselves?

    I’d ask the same of you. You haven’t said anything yet that isn’t tiresomely unoriginal.

    Are you really that desperate to have the government take care of you?

    Dear, government is an instrument established by We, the People, for taking care of each other. That’s what it’s for — to solve problems that we can’t solve by other means.

    The health care crisis is a massive problem that is dragging all of us down, directly or indirectly. You, too, although you’re too brainwashed to see it. Righties keep yapping about “free market” solutions. If the “free market” could find a solution, it would have done it by now. Every other industrialized democracy on the planet — more than 30 nations — have realized there is no free market solution and established some form of universal health care for all citizens. Only the U.S., permeated by hysterical propaganda about “socialized medicine,” persists in ignoring facts and pretending we can solve this problem with the “free market.”

    But while ordinary citizens struggle to be “self-reliant,” big business, big corporations, and special interests groups have no problem being “entitled” to all manner of help from the government. And don’t kid yourself that this “help” trickles down.

    Years ago, people didn’t go into spasms over “entitlements.” What happened is that after World War II corporate and business leaders effected a massive propaganda campaign that re-oriented people away from their loyalties to organized labor and government. (See, especially, Selling Free Enterprise: The Business Assault on Labor and Liberaism, by Elizabeth Fones-Wolf, University of Illinois Press).

    At 56, I’m old enough to have watched the quality of life for American working people erode, little by little. It’s happened slowly enough that people don’t notice it. And of course we have more doodads and gadgets now. But for most working families life is leaner and meaner than it was, say, in the mid-1960s.

    Whatever happened to the American Dream?

    If you want to know what’s killing it, go look in a mirror.

    Whatever happened to EARNING your way?

    That’s exactly what us liberals are trying to maintain; to keep people from being utterly crushed by medical misfortune so that they can get back on their own feet. What you want to do is just crush people and throw them out into the trash.

    Now, get lost.

  17. Ray,
    “Actually, I expected exactly what I got. You read hate into my argument when there isn’t any. What more could I expect out of you?

    Ray, did you not see this?
    “Self-fulfilling prophesy…”
    WOW! You got what you expected!!!
    Mega -whatever’s!!!

    “The entire argument is really moot, since it’s over a boy who’s fully covered by a program that isn’t going away. Bush doesn’t want to get rid of S-Chip. He’s said he wants to expand it. I don’t think it should be expanded as much as it would have been without the veto, though. I don’t see why a Children’s health insurance program should include anyone over 18 years old, just for starters.

    Nobody wants S-Chip to go away. It’s a good program. My question is why it needs to be expanded so much, and why that boy was paraded around asking why Bush wanted to take S-Chip away from him, when that would never happen.”

    “Cause the system is FAILING!

    Ray, why did you write this, if you agree?
    I don’t understand. Maybe I’m stupid…

    Ray, it’s not WHAT you said, it’s HOW you said it. And the complete lack of any originality…

    But, in reality, it was the complete lack of empathy for “eriney’s” brother. whose circumances you don’t know – maybe he pled to avoid a 20-to-life sentence.
    I taught in a Maximum Security” for almost four year’s, so I have some idea’s of guilt and innocence… (And, no, I don’t side with the accused EVERY time)…

    Ray, “There, but for the Grace of God, go I…”

    Once, we here in America, were unique – we had a middle-class.

    Ray, do you know how often that has ever ever happened in history? That a country had a solvent middle-class?

    You can count it on ONE hand, maybe TWO. In all of recorded history.!!!

    Ray, do you want to serioulsy discuss this? Because if you do, Maha can give you my e-mail.
    Maha – feel free to do this!

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  20. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard a rightie proclaim boldly that they don’t want to take care of anyone less fortunate with THEIR tax dollars! Well, newsflash, I don’t want my tax dollars paying for their war, but you see how well that’s working out. It goes into the “big pot” so I say, if you don’t want your tax dollars paying for someone else’s “bad choices”, then just friggin pretend it’s my share that’s covering that, and I’ll pretend your share is paying for the war.

  21. Maha,

    You and I are contemporaries, and have seen all of this happening over the decades. Is it really that difficult a concept: that maybe the government DOESN’T have our best interests at heart, and are busily chipping not only the New Deal (nearly all gone now, if not entirely), but the very Constitution out from under us, so that their grab for total power can be unimpeded by law when they finally show their hand?

    It’s shocking to see how many people, friends of mine among them, are completely without compassion for anyone who has already been victimized, and are unable to extrapolate, to envision themselves as the next victim. Perhaps it’s all one big blind spot:

    “Oh, that could never happen to ME, because I’m smart, and also I’m a good, hard-working person. It must be some fault within Those People themselves. Yes, that must be it. It’s their OWN FAULT, so I’M SAFE, because I’d NEVER be that stupid, lazy and careless. And even if something bad DID happen to me, everything would work out all right, because God really, really does love me best, and everyone would see that…”

    I suppose it’s only human nature to blame the victim, because that makes the blamer feel safe. It’s despicable, but understandable. I guess.

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