fresh voices from the front lines of change







A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post entitled "Sarah Palin Thinks You Are Stupid" in which I explored her "death panel" fearmongering and what it showed about how she viewed the American people (hint: she thinks you are stupid). At one point I referenced the fact that she cited Michele Bachmann as a source, whom I identified at the time as crazy, with only a short explanation: "Do you really have to check why I labeled Michele Bachmann crazy?"

If you did need to ask why I think Michele Bachmann is a raving lunatic, let this blog serve as your case in point (one of many).

It was only about a week ago that she told a group of supporters that she asked her supporters to pray and fast for the failure of health insurance reform. She also repeated Sarah Palin's death panel lies, and doubled down, "Thank God that Sarah Palin said that. These are true."

That was mild Bachmann though, or as I like to think of it, Bachmann on her meds. This is Bachmann off her meds [For your reading convenience, I've colored coded Bachmann's statements, with orange for lies and purple for crazy]:

(via Think Progress)

During what was originally billed as a “personal legislative briefing,” Bachmann “got downright biblical” when describing her unwavering opposition to health care reform:

“This [health care reform] cannot pass…What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists1, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass. We will do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn’t pass…Right now, we are looking at reaching down the throat and ripping the guts out of freedom2. And we may never be able to restore it if we don’t man up and take this one on.3

According to the Colorado Independent, Bachmann also claimed that many Americans pay more than half their income in taxes4, adding “it’s nothing more than slavery.5

1 - Crazy - What more explanation do you need? The woman is talking about slitting your wrists and rubbing your bloody wounds on other people's bloody wounds. At a political rally! Even if this was completely metaphorical, it is also completely nutty. Worse yet, her supporters have a proven track record of not being able to differentiate between fantasy and reality, so would it really surprise anyone if some of the most ignorant among them actually try this out?

And since we are "discussing" health care, I would also like to point out how irresponsible swapping blood like that is. You never know what STDs someone is carrying, let alone swine flu, tuberculosis, or maybe rabies... And that is my public service announcement for the day. [ up ]

2 - Crazy - Again with the unnecessary and incredibly graphic and violent imagery. Reaching down the throat and ripping the guts out? Crraaazzzyyyy. See the next point on how this is also all a lie: [ up ]

3 - Lie - Bachmann seems to be trying to the make point that health insurance reform somehow equals a loss of freedom. Since health insurance reform will actually give you more choices of health insurance (i.e. more freedom), and protect you from many of the more horrible and unjust practices of the for-profit insurance industry (e.g. denials based on pre-existing conditions), it is hard to understand how she arrives at this baseless claim. Maybe it is those make-believe death panels? Who knows. Suffice to say, health insurance reform will not take away any "freedoms", it will only give you and your loved ones more freedom. If you, unlike Michele Bachmann, are actually interested in the facts, please check out this great resource for health insurance reform facts.

Oh, and "man up"? Could you be more sexist? (Yes, I'm sure she could). [ up ]

4 - Lie - Here Michele Bachmann runs with the all too familiar "poor rich people" argument that conservatives just love. She makes the interesting claim that under our current system there are some poor rich people who have to pay half of their income in taxes. This is quite an interesting claim given that the income tax rate for the highest tax bracket hasn't been 50% since Reagan. In fact, right now it is actually at one of its lowest points in history, 35% (for some context, during some of the most prosperous years in American history, the post-war era of the 40's, 50's and 60's, the tax rate for the highest income bracket was between 70-90% or so).

For a little more context, let's look at Warren Buffett, the world's second richest person after Bill Gates. How much does this insanely wealthy man pay in taxes? Well let's ask him:

Mr Buffett said that he was taxed at 17.7 per cent on the $46 million he made last year, without trying to avoid paying higher taxes, while his secretary, who earned $60,000, was taxed at 30 per cent.

If that isn't slavery, I don't know what is. Poor Warren Buffett has to pay 17.7% in taxes, and he doesn't even need to seek out loopholes to do it (if he actually tried he could undoubtedly pay even less in taxes, or maybe if he was lucky he could pay zero income taxes like 2/3 of American corporations). Of course Buffett is a rarity--he is one of the few rich people who are able to put considerations of the greater good above self-interest and greed. Buffett has famously rallied against our current tax system because it makes him pay too little!:

"The 400 of us [here] pay a lower part of our income in taxes than our receptionists do, or our cleaning ladies, for that matter. If you’re in the luckiest 1 per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent."

It should be no surprise to you to find that Michele Bachmann is lying to you, yet again. [ up ]

5 - Crazy - Lastly you have this insane and horribly offensive conflation of rich people being taxed at 50% 35% 17.7%, with slavery. Yes, human bondage. Being the property of someone else, having absolutely no rights whatsoever. Able to be murdered, raped or tortured at any time with almost complete impunity. That is what life is like for the rich people in this country. Didn't you know? Did you ever watch MTV Cribs? Yes, those palaces were just like slaves' quarters. Their country clubs, cotton fields. Their masseuse, their foreman with a bullwhip.

I can't begin to even put to words how utterly offensive and reprehensible it is for Michele Bachmann to belittle and exploit the horrors of slavery in this country and around the world (still in effect in all too many places) for her political agenda. Rich people are slaves in this country???


And I won't even get into a discussion of the racial politics involved in suggesting that the country's first black president is now enslaving white people, but I guarantee that this implication isn't lost on many in her base. (For other examples of conservatives attacking Obama's beneficial policies as "slavery", please see Terrance Heath's blog post, "Everything is NOT Slavery." [ up ]


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