Feds Express a Decided Interest in Sean Hannity's Pal Hal

Quick, my darlings, to the wayback machine! Remember this bit o’ drama last January?

We’re already aware that the white-supremacist crowd is already creating a higher level of security concerns surrounding Barack Obama’s inauguration.

So somehow it probably figures that Sean Hannity’s old pal Hal Turner would be out there leading the parade of nutcases making threats around the events.

According to Mark Potok at the SPLC, Turner has gone public this week with his threats:

On Friday, neo-Nazi threatmeister Hal Turner, amplifying on an earlier posting suggesting that it would be a good thing to use an unmanned drone carrying explosives to attack the crowds, said a mass murder of those attending the festivities “would be a public service.” “I won’t say what may happen Tuesday but I will say this,” Turner wrote on his blog. “After Tuesday, the name Hal Turner may live in infamy. Let it be known that I saw what was necessary and decided to do what had to be done. I make no apology to those affected or their families.”

Earlier, on Jan. 11, Turner had posted photos to his blog, under the headline “My Inauguration Dream,” of a small, unmanned drone, an electronic guidance system and sticks of dynamite as he laid out one method of attack. He also discussed the possibility of sending up balloons filled with helium and a “payload” and fitted with fuses that would explode the balloons over the crowds. And he displayed a grainy video that purported to show that method being tested. “Too far fetched?” Turner asks of a possible balloon attack. “It got tested and it worked! … Watch the video and imagine what payload, other than the index cards taped to the outside of the test balloons, might be substituted? HMMMMMM. Might be something messy? Something contagious? Something deadly? Ahhhh, such possibilities!” Then, last Thursday, he posted an update, saying: “All the assets that need to be in-place for next week are now in-place; deep within the security perimeter. Everything is a ‘go.’ We have crossed the Rubicon; let history judge us well.”

Hal, you poor silly shit. You’re too much of an assclown to pull of your dreams of wholesale death and destruction, and you made a ginormous ass of yourself blustering threats you couldn’t follow through on. But hey, congratulations – if it was just attention you were seeking, boy, you sure got it:

Today, FBI agents went to the New Jersey home of white supremacist blogger/radio host Hal Turner and arrested him “on a federal complaint filed in Chicago alleging that he made internet postings threatening to assault and murder three federal appeals court judges in Chicago in retaliation for their recent ruling upholding handgun bans in Chicago and a suburb,” according to a statement released by the Justice Department. A summary of Turner’s dangerous tirade against the judges:

Internet postings on June 2 and 3 proclaimed “outrage” over the June 2, 2009, handgun decision by Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook and Judges Richard Posner and William Bauer, of the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, further stating, among other things: “Let me be the first to say this plainly: These Judges deserve to be killed.” The postings included photographs, phone numbers, work address and room numbers of these judges, along with a photo of the building in which they work and a map of its location.

Turner’s posts also “referred to the murder of the mother and husband of Chicago-based federal Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow in February 2005,” saying, “Apparently, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court didn’t get the hint after those killings. It appears another lesson is needed.” In the Justice Department statement, U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald — who announced the charges — said, “We take threats to federal judges very seriously. Period.”

Oh, yes, they do, Hal – yes, they do. And they’ll probably want words about your Inauguration Day threats, too – forms a pattern of escalating murderous ideations, y’see.

It’s okay, Hal. I’m sure you’ll only get a few years, considering all you’ve done so far is make terroristic threats. And I’ll betcha your old pal Hannity’ll be happy to come visit you in prison. No, really. I mean, he hasn’t got a reputation to defend, and the Faux News audience is so far gone they’ll probably rally round you like a martyr.

I mean, a right wing dumbfuck enough to say this about Sanford’s little dereliction of duty…

The two silliest defensive responses from before he fessed up:

“It is refreshing that Mark Sanford is secure enough in himself and the people of South Carolina that he does not view himself as an indispensable man.” (Erick Erickson)


“Are [Cassie] and I married to the only real men left in the entire freakin’ country? Do we only want Momma’s boys or Daddy’s girls in the White House from here on out? Teddy Roosevelt is doing backflips in his grave right now: apparently no one is allowed to go on a writing retreat, take a road trip, or hike, hunt, or fish if they have any political ambitions at all. Unbelievable.” (Little Miss Attila)

…is certainly dumbfuck enough to make excuses for you. They’ll probably write you in prison and everything.

Hell, you get enough of a following going, you might even get the Charlie Manson treatment. How would you like being seen as someone so likely to incite murder and mayhem that you have to be locked up for life, eh? That’s fame, that is.

Couldn’t have happened to a better racist asshole, I’d say.

Feds Express a Decided Interest in Sean Hannity's Pal Hal

What Hilzoy Said

Hilzoy explores Obama’s recent bit of political aikido, and gets right down to the heart of things:

Seriously: Obama is a serious student of the civil rights movement, which in turn drew a lot of inspiration from Gandhi. Both Gandhi and the Civil Rights movement made brilliant use of the following method: you do something right, which you suspect might lead your opponents to do something wrong. If you are right about them, they discredit themselves, without your having to lift a finger. If you’re wrong, you are pleasantly surprised. But you do not have to do anything wrong or underhanded yourself, nor do you in any way have to hope that your opponents are bad people.

That’s what he’s doing now. He has chosen a judge who is by any standard exceptionally qualified, and who has, in addition, a fairly conservative judicial temperament. She sticks close to the law; she follows precedent; having read several of her opinions, if I have any criticism of her, it’s that not seen much evidence of an overarching judicial philosophy other than restraint. (To be clear: if a judge has to lack something, I’d rather it be an overarching philosophy than devotion to the law as written. But I’d rather have both.)

But she is also a Puerto Rican woman. If the Republican Party were led by sane and decent people, this would not matter. But they aren’t. As a result, they seem to be unable to see anything about her besides her ethnicity and her gender. The idea that she must be a practitioner of identity politics, a person whose every success is due to preferential treatment, etc., is apparently one they absolutely cannot resist.

All Obama had to do was nominate an excellent justice, and all that is made plain.

And I hate it. I want to have a reasonable opposition party. I also don’t want people of color, and especially kids, to have to listen to all this bigotry. We should be better than this.

She’s right. We should.

Incidentally, if you find yourself debating a snookered Independent or one of those rare Cons who can actually process facts and might possibly let go of Faux News-style talking points, Hilzoy had a piece up linking to SCOTUS blog, where Tom Goldstein combed through Sotomayor’s opinions and managed to thoroughly maim, annihilate, and otherwise debunk the current right wing blather about how her race means she’ll toss out the law and side with the icky brown people. Upshot:

Other than Ricci, Judge Sotomayor has decided 96 race-related cases while on the court of appeals.

Of the 96 cases, Judge Sotomayor and the panel rejected the claim of discrimination roughly 78 times and agreed with the claim of discrimination 10 times; the remaining 8 involved other kinds of claims or dispositions. Of the 10 cases favoring claims of discrimination, 9 were unanimous. (Many, by the way, were procedural victories rather than judgments that discrimination had occurred.) Of those 9, in 7, the unanimous panel included at least one Republican-appointed judge. In the one divided panel opinion, the dissent’s point dealt only with the technical question of whether the criminal defendant in that case had forfeited his challenge to the jury selection in his case. So Judge Sotomayor rejected discrimination-related claims by a margin of roughly 8 to 1.

Good luck hammering that through their thick skulls.

What Hilzoy Said

Erick Erickson Loses the Last of His Marbles

And I know he’s lost them, because only a mableless man would compare Rush Limbaugh to Jesus.

That’s right. Jesus. Christ.

Peter, under pressure and fear, denied Christ not just once, but three times. Peter, though, feared death. The strain on Peter was great. The rest of us, though, typically fear the opinions of others.

The incidents of late with Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Dick Cheney, and others is why I raise this. Putting it bluntly, were these guys on the left, their fellow leftists would at best be cheering them on and at worst silently nodding along. There wouldn’t be any on that side rushing to the nearest microphone to condemn them.

It gets much worse.

I’m sure it does, but I’m too busy barfing through the gales of laughter to go look. If you guys survive it, let me know how bad it was.

Erick Erickson Loses the Last of His Marbles

They're On About Food Again

Some kind soul needs to sit the Cons down with a good psychiatrist. They clearly have serious issues. Remember when they freaked out over mustard (not to mention the arugula and, well, pretty much everything Obama ever ate)? The food fanatics are at it again, this time attacking Judge Sotomayor for – wait for it – liking Puerto Rican food:

According to Hill reporter Alexander Bolton, “This has prompted some Republicans to muse privately about whether Sotomayor is suggesting that distinctive Puerto Rican cuisine such as patitas de cerdo con garbanzo — pigs’ tongue and ears — would somehow, in some small way influence her verdicts from the bench.”

Curt Levey, the executive director of the Committee for Justice, a conservative-leaning advocacy group, said he wasn’t certain whether Sotomayor had claimed her palate would color her view of legal facts but he said that President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee clearly touts her subjective approach to the law.

Slightly gobsmacked, I called Bolton earlier today and asked him whether this was for real–whether any conservatives were genuinely raising this issue. He confirmed, saying, “a source I spoke to said people were discussing that her [speech] had brought attention…she intimates that what she eats somehow helps her decide cases better.”

Bolton said the source was drawing, “a deductive link,” between Sotomayor’s thoughts on Puerto Rican food and her other statements. And I guess the chain goes something like this: 1). Sotomayor implied that her Latina identity informs her jurisprudence, 2). She also implied that Puerto Rican cuisine is a crucial part of her Latina identity, 3). Ergo, her gastronomical proclivities will be a non-negligible factor for her when she’s considering cases before the Supreme Court.

Got it? Good. This is the conservative opposition to Sotomayor.

You know, when my mother went clinically insane – and I don’t mean metaphorical insane, I mean actual talk-to-the-toaster, end-up-committed-to-a-mental-institution, genuinely psychotic insane – one of the first signs she was going whacko was a pathological fixation on food.

Now, I’m not sure we can Title 36 every Con exhibiting symptoms, considering the sheer numbers involved, but I’m starting to believe it may be necessary for their safety and ours. Maybe we can turn Gitmo into a psychiatric hospital. I hear the Cons sure do envy detainees those awesome tropical breezes.

They're On About Food Again

Sick, Twisted Fucktards

Since the right likes to bash liberals as freedom-hating fascists, since they love to moan about how cruel and mean and what a blight on the national discourse we are, I’d like to know how they explain this:

Here is some rightwing loon named Ralph Peters:

Pretending to be impartial, the self-segregating personalities drawn to media careers overwhelmingly take a side, and that side is rarely ours. Although it seems unthinkable now, future wars may require censorship, news blackouts and, ultimately, military attacks on the partisan media.

Sounds crazy, right? Beyond the pale, right? Deliberately killing journalists? That’s something we would never do, that’s NoKo/Saddam-level totalitarianism, plain and simple.

Well, Mr. and Ms. America, I got some news for you. It’s already happened.

No one will be surprised to learn it’s the Bush regime that killed journalists. And no one will be surprised that Ralph Peters is the kind of whackaloon, murderous fuckhead that Faux News loves to parade around as an august figure of authority:

Update: from digby

This wasn’t the only wacko thing the sick piece of work Ralph Peters said today on Fox. Get this:

“We’re dealing with people who aren’t human anymore. They’re monsters. And monsters deserve to die.”

So, advocating wholesale murder of journalists and the dehumanization and murder of Gitmo detainees isn’t beyond the pale in the right’s opinion. Something we should keep in mind come election season. If America puts the right back in charge of the country, what little moral authority we have left is dead.

They have no moral authority. None.

Sick, Twisted Fucktards

Seriously? This is The Case Against Gay Marriage?

Isaac Chotiner at TNR‘s The Plank tears apart an article arguing against gay marriage that is so egregiously stupid, so delusional, and so incoherent that one would be tempted to believe we’ve been Poe’d. Alas, that is not the case. Sam Schulman appears to believe his own schlock.

A sampling:

As part of the “kinship system,” marriage has, according to Schulman, four effects. The first is too poorly presented to be summarized coherently or cogently. The second has to do with, yes, incest:

Incest prohibition and other kinship rules that dictate one’s few permissible and many impermissible sweethearts are part of traditional marriage. Gay marriage is blissfully free of these constraints. There is no particular reason to ban sexual intercourse between brothers, a father and a son of consenting age, or mother and daughter…A same-sex marriage fails utterly to create forbidden relationships.


Uh huh. Schulman goes on to fret about children losing their “status as nonsexual beings” once all the gays are allowed to marry. He also informs the reader that he has been married three times.

Shortly thereafter, Isaac unloads with both barrels. This is all to the good. It gives me time to look up a good therapist for poor Schulman. He desperately needs one.

(Tip o’ the shot glass to Steve Benen. Sorry it’s empty, Steve – I spilled it when I read the article.)

Seriously? This is The Case Against Gay Marriage?

Obama Announces The Ultimate Marvel Team-Up

There’s been a lot of pants-pissing Con hysteria over the impending closure of Guantanamo. We liberals have been quick to dismiss their concerns, but we may have been a little over-hasty. A closer reading of history proves there’s good cause for concern:

Today, Glenn Greenwald makes a completely incorrect assertion:

Take note, Chris Cillizza and friends: while it’s true that “not a single prisoner has escaped from Gitmo since it was created,” it’s also true that no Muslim Terrorists have escaped from American prisons and our SuperMax prison “has had no escapes or serious attempts to escape.” Actually, the only person to even make an escape attempt from a SuperMax is Green Arrow, who hasn’t succeeded despite the help of Joker and Lex Luthor.

Greenwald clearly doesn’t remember the Magneto incident of 2003, in which the mutant supervillain escaped from his glass prison facility after Mystique increased the iron content in his guard’s blood, which Magneto extracted using his ferrokinetic powers and then used to destroy his cell. Obviously, we need to discover if Gitmo inmates do have mutant abilities, which will undoubtedly require more waterboarding, and this has to be done before the administration gets a dime to close Guantanamo. In fact, I’m pretty sure Nancy Pelosi was briefed on the subject in 2002.

Whether or not Nancy Pelosi was accurately briefed, the imaginary threat is real. We can’t dismiss the danger of terrorists being superpowered mutants just because there’s no evidence for it. That’s why it’s so heartening to see President Obama taking immediate action to counter this dire threat (h/t):


WASHINGTON, DC – Seeking to quell fears of terrorists somehow breaking out of America’s top-security prisons and wreaking havoc on the defenseless heartland, President Barack Obama moved quickly to announce an Anti-Terrorist Strike Force headed by veteran counterterrorism agent Jack Bauer and mutant superhero Wolverine. Already dubbed a “dream team,” their appointment is seen by experts as a crucial step in reducing the mounting incidents of national conservatives and congressional Democrats crapping their pants.

“I believe a fictional threat is best met with decisive fictional force,” explained President Obama. “Jack Bauer and Wolverine are among the very best we have when in comes to combating fantasy foes.” Mr. Bauer said, “We’re quite certain that our prisons are secure. Osama bin Laden and his agents wouldn’t dare attempt a break-out, and would fail miserably if they tried. But I love this country. And should Lex Luthor, Magneto or the Loch Ness Monster attack, we’ll be there to stop them.”


Some critics have expressed concerns as to whether Mr. Bauer is the best choice to counter the potential threat of a super-villain such as Magneto, a dinosaur stampede or an alien invasion. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs responded that while Bauer lacks conventional super-powers, he can withstand extreme amounts of pain, has near infallible judgment, can teleport across Los Angeles and Washington D.C. at will, and can go 24 hours without sleep or relieving his bladder.

Should the task of protecting the country prove too difficult for the super-agent and super-hero on their own, Crime-Fightin’ Jesus has offered to lend a hand “in a pinch,” although he says he would rather spend his time helping the poor “if at all possible.” Republicans insist that a law-enforcement approach to terrorism is ineffective.

The Kimberly-Clark Corporation, manufacturers of Depends adult diapers, has already come out strongly against the announcement of the Bauer-Wolverine dream team, claiming that their increased sales are helping spur the nation’s economic recovery…

These advances are always so difficult for major corporations to adjust to, aren’t they? But I’m sure there won’t be any reduction in demand for Depends. David Vitter’s still healthy enough for sexual activity, right? And sales of Kleenex brand tissues, another Kimberly-Clark product, have increased dramatically since the press release, possibly due to the equally dramatic increase in despairing tears as Cons realize their usual gloom-and-doom scenarios are impotent in the face of this Wolverine-Bauer team-up.

Prominent Cons could not be reached for comment. Sources say they’re meeting in an undisclosed location, frantically trying to manufacture the next Big Scare. We wish them luck with that.

Obama Announces The Ultimate Marvel Team-Up

Too Many Cons Spoil the Broth

Apparently, poor people are supposed to survive on hardtack and swill:

Tonight I read a post by DougJ at balloon-juice, who linked to a post by Matt Yglesias at Thinkprogress complaining about a post by Julie Gunlock on the National Review. (that’s a lot of blogospheric navelgazing, but bear with me).

So what does Julie Gunlock, a former Republican congressional staffer who is now on the wingnut welfare circuit, complain about?

Let’s just quote Matt:

Julie Gunlock complains at NRO that “food snobs” are ruining America by serving unduly fancy food at soup kitchens. It’s actually rare that conservatives get to combined their hatred of poor people with their hatred of “cultural elites” in a single argument, so Gunlock gets so busy dishing out the sarcasm that she can’t quite seem to deliver the “so what?” point where we see who is being harmed by this alleged trend.

And one of the arguments Julie makes is:

This attitude is not limited to the shelters in our nation’s capital. A recent meal served at the Meet Each Need with Dignity (MEND) kitchen in Pacoima, Calif., included pumpkin soup seasoned with browned butter and sage, red-wine barbecue beef on handmade puff pastry, artichoke hearts with meatballs marinara, roasted-garlic-and-turnip mashed potatoes, all topped off with fresh blueberries and sour cream. No wonder these places need a bailout.

Of course research is not the wingnuts’ strongest point, since that involves education and logic and sciency stuff, so a quick trip by poster Zuzu’s Petals to the MEND website tells us that MEND is

Privately funded – NO government grants

So much for needing a bailout, then.

This culinary miracle of gourmet-on-a-budget is made possible by Richard Weinroth, a former restaurant chef who uses ingredients donated from local markets to whip up decent meals for the less fortunate among us. Despite what the Cons think, just because you’re down on your luck doesn’t mean you have to eat shit. Especially not when there’s someone like Richard there to whip up a little something nice.

The whole diary’s worth reading, but I just want to carry the motion of the diarist and one of the commenters. They pointed out that the ingredients involved aren’t expensive. We’re talking simple stuff – chicken, garlic, pumpkins, and so on. Wine good enough to cook with is super cheap. Spices, ditto. Give me twenty bucks, and I can cook for an army. Okay, merely a platoon. But still. It doesn’t take a lot of money to make good, wholesome food that’ll fill a lot of bellies, even without the generosity of the local food markets. There’s no economic reason a food kitchen can’t serve really tasty meals. It takes a little extra effort at the stove, but a caring, compassionate cook like Richard doesn’t mind putting in the time.

So. Privately-funded kitchen. Private charity, not government welfare, just like the wingnuts tell us it’s supposed to happen. So why so pissed off? The only possible reason I can fathom is that they believe poor people don’t deserve tasty food.

Way to show off that Christian compassion, Cons.

Too Many Cons Spoil the Broth

Torture Apologists on Parade: Who's Afraid of Nancy Pelosi? Edition

I do believe Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has hit a nerve.

Newtie’s outraged:

The other day, I compared Newt Gingrich to an erupting popcorn maker, spewing incoherent talking points in every direction. Today, he offered a good example of what I was talking about.


“I think she has lied to the House, and I think that the House has an absolute obligation to open an inquiry, and I hope there will be a resolution to investigate her. And I think this is a big deal. I don’t think the Speaker of the House can lie to the country on national security matters,” Gingrich said.

He continued: “I think this is the most despicable, dishonest and vicious political effort I’ve seen in my lifetime.”

“She is a trivial politician, viciously using partisanship for the narrowest of purposes, and she dishonors the Congress by her behavior.”

I see. The Bush administration engaged in systematic torture, but our disgraced former House Speaker is outraged that Nancy Pelosi did what members of Congress have been doing for decades: she questioned the veracity of a CIA briefing.

How dare she! Doesn’t she know how sensitive CIA agents are?

The hysteria has reached new heights by FOX News as they spin the Pelosi outrage as far as it can go. How far is that? The CIA will just stop working and America may be attacked because of her. Wingnut Du Jour, ex-CIA agent and FOX Newser Wayne Simmons said that Pelosi has. What is the impact of Nancy Pelosi saying that the CIA lied to her and members of Congress? We’re doomed!!!

Simmons: The best thing about not being a diplomat or a politician is that I can tell you that first and foremost Nancy Pelosi, the woman whose third in line to be President of the United States, the Speaker of the House is a pathological liar and her attacks on the CIA, the release of the CIA memos has so sent a chill through the CIA to guys like me who were not only interrogated in our entire careers, but ran interrogations and interviews that I can assure you that we are not going to go the extra mile EVER in this climate to secure information and intelligence that’s going to protect the Untied States so understand that the American people need to, this has directly affected the National Security of the United States.


Simmons paints the CIA as one big chickenshit outfit that can’t take a little criticism from the big bad Nancy Pelosi. They will even abandon their posts and let terrorists attack the country because their itty-bitty feelings are so hurt. I say they should all quit right now if Simmons is correct.

I second that. If they’re so easily butt-hurt by Pelosi, there’s no way they’re tough enough to protect us from terrorists.

As Cons screamed over that mean ol’ Nancy Pelosi saying awful things about the CIA which they’d never ever say (oops), they rather forgot their Shakespeare. There is such a thing as protesting too much. And you know you’re protesting way too much when it shocks some sanity into Hannity’s show:

Sean Hannity couldn’t have been too pleased last night when his “All American Panel” — which he usually manages to keep nicely docile — took a decidedly liberal detour on the subject of Nancy Pelosi’s charge that the CIA lied to her.

First, Sunny Hostin, a former federal prosecutor, pointed out the obvious:

Why do we think that she is the liar?

Regina Calcaterra, a Democratic consultant, promptly chimed in:

It’s a smokescreen. I think this is a smokescreen by Republicans, because Republicans are concerned about Congress holding the Truth Commission, which you know is going to be the parallel to the 9/11 Commission.

Later, Hostin raises the really relevant point:

The issue here is that everybody knows that waterboarding is torture. And that was an approved policy. It is torture! Everyone knows that. And that was the policy of the Bush administration. Why don’t we talk about that?

Indeed. Because on Planet Wingnuttia, claiming that “Nancy Pelosi knew about it too” justifies the policy.

Aha. No wonder they’re so upset by evidence the CIA, y’know, didn’t quite manage to inform Pelosi about their hijinks. So now they have to paint Pelosi as a big fat liar and hope that nobody gets a calendar.

Oh, and on the ticking time bomb front… this is just utterly pathetic:

The Washington Post‘s Charles Krauthammer received some well-deserved flak after his pro-torture column a couple of weeks ago. He argued at the time, that “the ticking time bomb” is a reasonable excuse for torture. “An innocent’s life is at stake,” Krauthammer said. “The bad guy you have captured possesses information that could save this life. He refuses to divulge. In such a case, the choice is easy.”

The general response to this is that the proverbial ticking time bomb is a fantasy scenario, best left to action shows on television. Today, the conservative columnist responds by pointing to a specific example, that actually happened, to help bolster his point.

On Oct. 9, 1994, Israeli Cpl. Nachshon Waxman was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists. The Israelis captured the driver of the car. He was interrogated with methods so brutal that they violated Israel’s existing 1987 interrogation guidelines, which themselves were revoked in 1999 by the Israeli Supreme Court as unconscionably harsh. The Israeli prime minister who ordered this enhanced interrogation (as we now say) explained without apology: “If we’d been so careful to follow the [1987] Landau Commission [guidelines], we would never have found out where Waxman was being held.”

Who was that prime minister? Yitzhak Rabin, Nobel Peace laureate. The fact that Waxman died in the rescue raid compounds the
tragedy but changes nothing of Rabin’s moral calculus.

Krauthammer had weeks to come up with a real-world scenario to help prove his case for justifiable torture, and this was the best he could do.

Wow. Torture apologetics and Christian apologetics have something in common: they both cause the people engaging in them to look like a right bunch of nitwits.

Torture Apologists on Parade: Who's Afraid of Nancy Pelosi? Edition

Hilzoy Cuts to the Heart of CER

You’re going to hear quite a bit of insane frothing blather over “Comparative Effectiveness Research” from Cons. Y’see, they don’t want objective folks making scientific determinations of whether insanely expensive medical treatments, devices and drugs are effective compared to cheaper treatments, etc. That would mean that corporations couldn’t make insane profits, and we can’t have that.

So they’ll pull out all the usual stops. They’ll bring out the Big Gubmint Boogeyman:

On January 23, Representative Tom Price (R-GA), a physician, sent out an “alert” through the Republican Study Committee, falsely warning that the CER legislation would create “a permanent government rationing board prescribing care instead of doctors and patients.” The true intent of the CER provision, Price warned, was “to enable the government to ration care” (emphases in original). “Every policy and standard will be decided by this board and would be the law of the land for every doctor, drug company, hospital, and health insurance plan.”

Make shit up:

Parallel arguments appeared in a letter sent January 26 to several influential members of Congress, cosigned by more than 60 advocacy groups, and again in a January 29 editorial in the Wall Street Journal. In an op-ed by columnist George Will that appeared in the Washington Post the same day, CER had morphed from a form of research into an imaginary new federal body with broad powers. Will named the agency “the CER” and claimed that with such a system, “Congress could restrict the tax exclusion for private health insurance to ‘insurance that complies with the Board’s recommendation.’…”

And go for a Godwin:

But the Heritage Foundation is a marvel of sanity and good sense compared to John Griffing in the American Thinker, who describes the language providing for CER as “a line that would sentence millions of people to death”, and adds, by way of explanation: “If you are picturing Germany circa 1930, you’re right on. With the passing of this bill, government, not doctors, will decide who receives care and who doesn’t, in essence, who lives and who dies.” Deacon for Life, for his part, calls it “Mengele-esque”. The idea that Hitler and Mengele’s great sin was conducting research into the comparative effectiveness of various medical treatments is, shall we say, peculiar.

Hilzoy notes all of the above, and then cuts to the heart of the matter:

More seriously, there is something about the arguments against CER that I have never understood. The opponents of CER claim that it will inevitably be used to make decisions about care. Insurers will not want to pay for care that is not effective, and so people will be deprived of the care they need. But notice what “deprived of care” means here. No one is seriously proposing to make it illegal to purchase whatever medical care you want on your own.

This means that even if your insurance company decides that it will not pay for some treatment that has been shown to be ineffective, you will, under any proposal being seriously considered, still be able to get that care; you just won’t be able to get someone else to pay for it. If not having someone else pay for your medical care counts as being “deprived of care”, then 46 million people are being deprived of care even as we speak — and that’s just the uninsured; it doesn’t include people who have insurance that doesn’t cover the treatments they need. And yet, strange to say, the opponents of CER generally do not see this as a problem.

Nope. Cuz, y’know, if private insurance companies deny treatment, that’s like totally okay. And who wants poor people to have medical care, right?

What the hysteria really comes down to is the Cons’ belief that private industry should have free rein to lie, cheat, and steal. They’re terrified of government-backed scientific research because that would put an end to all the fun.

Remember that when they try to spin CER as some kind of socialist Nazi government takeover of what little healthcare you currently enjoy.

Hilzoy Cuts to the Heart of CER