You thought Red Blogistan couldn’t go any lower.

You were wrong. Dan Riehl suggests euthanizing Harry Reid’s wife.

No, really.

If anyone spots a Red blogger criticizing this, please note it in comments. So far, Memorandum shows only support.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

40 thoughts on “You thought Red Blogistan couldn’t go any lower.”

  1. oh, because euthanizing Harry Reid's wife is so much worse than supporting the abortion of babies to reduce healthcare costs.

  2. It is. Forcing people to have children when they wouldn't even have enough money for an abortion is a terrible burden on them, any future or existing children, and society. Killing a woman who actually possesses human consciousness is definitely worse.

    Also, why would you believe Stupak that someone even said that 'saving healthcare costs' is the Congressional Dem reason that access to abortion should be available? It's probably much closer to the analysis in Roe v. Wade, and Stupak is just trying to stick it to the Dem leadership for moving forward without breaking the rules of the Senate to placate him and eight of his fellows.

    Anyway, this is bound to be a stupid argument. I'm sorry to have engaged in it.

  3. Judging by the above, Mark, isn't it about time you pulled the plug on Bux's ability to soil your comments threads?

  4. Thanks for your opinion ProfessorQ, because that is all it is. You value Harry Reid's wife over a baby, I'll side with the innocent baby without a voice in the matter thank-you very much.

    I know you liberals can't handle criticism or intellectual debate. So yes, go ahead, censor me off this site. I forgot that censorship is what you liberals are all about. What a joke. This is nothing but a big group-think.

  5. Just when you thought Red Blogistan couldn’t go any lower, Bux shows up with a shovel.

    Not only are conservatives completely devoid of any sense of humanity or empathy but they are also completely and utterly divorced from reality.

    What passes for conservative thought in America these days has no place in polite society. None.

  6. Bux, you accused people who support abortion rights of wanting to kill babies to save money, an obviously inflammatory thing to do, especially with no evidence. Do you think such comments acceptable?

  7. Hey Bux, how did the stoning of the adulterers go? Sorry that I couldn't make it, was busy at the slave market.

  8. Boot Bux? And give up a constant source of illustration for my claims about the right's contempt for civility and its and moral idiocy? God forbid!

    Note that Bux, like his right-wing friends, makes no distinction between contraception (which the bill would fund) and abortion (which it wouldn't). Note also that he – like some on the left – believes that rudeness is a sign of moral seriousness, and that facts should never be allowed to get in the way of a good insult.

    Back in the debate over the stimulus bill, Nancy Pelosi pointed out that, by funding contraception, the bill will prevent unwanted pregnancy and thereby save money.

    Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those – one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.

    http://www.usnews.com/money/blogs/capital-commerc

    Naturally, the same folks who are still spreading the "death panel" blood libel have twisted that analytically straightforward and morally unexceptionable point into a claim that Pelosi and her fellow liberals are willing to kill "innocent babies" to save money. Feh.

    The RBC rules of engagement here are clear:

    * You can make any substantive point you like.

    * You can't use taboo words because they get the site filtered out.

    * And you have to be reasonably polite to the poster and to other commenters.

    I've edited out a little personal nasty Bux threw at Mrs. Tilton, but otherwise I'm sticking with Thomas Jefferson (whom Bux's friends want to banish from the history books): error can safely be allowed to express itself as long as reason is left free to combat it.

  9. Did you read the health care bill in its entirety Mark? So you don't really know what is and what is not in the bill do you. You go by what you read or hear (which I admittedly do also when it comes to this whole health care thing). You just read, hear, and choose to believe different things than I do. As far as civility, define it? You're a big moral relativist aren't you? Sounds like you want to impose your definition of civility on other people. From where I'm standing, I hardly find civility on this site or from any of the liberal ramblings I read and hear. So it's all a matter of perspective, nothing more nothing less. But hey, thanks for standing up for free speech. You're not as a bad as some of your buddies.

  10. Bux, so unless we've read the bill we can't say it doesn't legalize human-box turtle marriage? Heck, I've never read the already existing laws – maybe box turtle marriage is already legal? Who knows?

  11. Human box-turtle marriage has always been our goal. Health care reform is just a way to make it palatable to the heartland.

  12. Yeah, it was satire. Granted, tasteless, and not nearly so well executed as Swift's "Modest Proposal", but still satire, and it's wrong to pretend that it was a serious suggestion.

    But I do understand that's par for the course here; No quarter given, and that includes recognizing satire and hyperbole on the other side.

  13. Brett, calling one's insults 'satire' has been a staple lie of the right at least since Limbaugh was almost new and fresh. It was a lie, is a lie and will always be a lie.

    OTOH, considering that you usually write like a satirist who was born with no sense of humor at all, I can understand the confusion.

  14. Remember from a couple of weeks back, the E. Stroudsburg prof who posted jokingly on her Facebook page about sometimes wanting to kill her students? My impression is that nobody on the right came to her defense, and several supported the school's suspending her. I wonder how they view Riehl's death fantasies. There are differences. The prof thought her FB posts were private, she did not cite specific targets, she was calling attention to her own reactions, and none of her students had actually ever suffered from anything resembling what she spoke of.

  15. Whereas Riehl suggests that Reid euthanize his own wife. Hardly a threat, even if it were serious.

  16. Brett, although this might not be universally true of all right-wing commenters whose names begin with B, you are not stupid; it would become you better to refrain from being deliberately obtuse. Nobody thinks Riehl was threatening Mrs Reid.

    What we do think, and one did not need this latest outburst to think it, is that he is a vile and contemptible man. Whether you choose to defend him is your own affair — disown him or own him as you please. Assessing what your choice says about you, of course, is our affair.

  17. I only have a minute, but, really, it isn't twisting anything to note that our host made the argument that including abortion coverage would lower health insurance rates just a few months ago. Feh all you want, it's dishonest to pretend to be outraged that someone would suggest your party would support an argument you've made right here. (And it's still a bad argument, as well as morally offensive.)

  18. Thomas, although we both come from Baltimore, I'm not actually Nancy Pelosi. So the fact that I made an argument doesn't justify the wingnuts in attributing it to her.

    But in fact I was making a rather different argument. I did not claim that the cost savings constituted were an advantage of providing abortion coverage. I pointed out that the opposite claim – that covering abortion meant using other people's money for a purpose they disliked – was false. Actuarially, a policy that covers abortion probably costs less than one that doesn't. So the only reason not to cover abortion is to be able to impose your moral standards on someone else.

  19. Brett, Swift was satirizing actual existing famine and exploitation. Riehl was apparently "satirizing" a motivation that simply doesn't exist, one that is a vile slander on abortion rights supporters.

  20. Also, I'm not Bux's biggest fan, but I doubt the latest couple of posts using his handle were by the same person, and misappropriating someone's handle, even in jest, is very bad commenting behavior.

  21. Mark, if Bux didn't exist you'd have to invent him. He is your best instrument for reminding liberals that the lesser evil is in fact lesser to a much greater evil.

  22. Warren, I said it wasn't very good satire, and rather tasteless. I simply denied that it was a threat, or a serious proposal.

  23. Uh oh, someone's trying to make a point about using someone else's name. Yes, bad form.

  24. As Warren Terra notes above, someone put up a spoof comment under Bux's handle. It has been taken down, along with a set of comments that played off it. The poster has been warned that a repetition will lead to a ban. Get a grip, people! If I'd wanted to teach kindergarten, I would have gone to ed. school.

  25. In a similarly meta vein, using multiple handles – as Bux seems to be doing above, when "It's my body" makes a comment, then Bux says "oops" and repeats the comment – is also bad form.

  26. actually that was a mistake Warren. I had "It's my body" left in the 'name' field and hit send before I could change back to "Bux". But hey, you're right on top of things. You don't miss a beat. Ok, I'm done posting for this post. This is just getting too funny.

  27. How many of those who condemn abortion rights and the availability of contraception are willing to give the Roman Catholic Church Man-Boy Lust Association a pass on its behavior regarding kiddie-diddling priests?

    Assuming arguendo that human life begins with the union of sperm and egg, an abortion prior to fetal viability involves the same loss of life as the natural failure of a zygote to implant in the uterus. A question for the rabid opponents of abortion rights: if given the choice between a zygote naturally failing to implant in your wife's* uterus, thus being washed away in her menstrual flow, and having a priest sodomize your eight-year-old son, which would you choose?

    *These loudmouths are almost always male.

  28. I did take the opportunity to peruse the blog in question after reading Bux's comments, and found the following exchange:

    "It is beneath our dignity to engage in the airing of the concept to "air freight her home" as the ORIGINAL post stated.

    Let the anti-life people to wallow in their evil valuations and judgments of human life. They will reap what they sow

    To point out their hypocrisy and their evil is one thing, but the original post did not accomplish this.

    Christians everywhere should pray for the recovery of Mrs. Reid, and that perhaps through this, her husband can see the evil that he does and repent.

    Posted by: Doc | Friday, March 12, 2010 at 10:52 PM

    Get lost, Doc – if you're as you say you are, I've been watching you high-minded twirps get your lunch money stolen by the Left for years. if you don't have the ballz to get in their face, be glad someone does. We can't all be sheep like you, content to walk to slaughter after writing a "stern" reply.

    Posted by: Dan Riehl | Friday, March 12, 2010 at 10:57 PM "

    Observe that "Doc" is in apparent sympathy with the substantive abortion views of Dan Riehl, but takes exception to the tone of his attitude toward Mrs. Reid. Then Riehl respongs with three direct personal insults: "twirps," "ballz," and "sheep." This is all in the space of three sentences.

    Also note that the insults have something to do with Doc's manhood. Men who are secure in their own rarely engage in this kind of invective. The underlying fear (walking to the "slaughter") is deep, and is very common in rightist rhetoric. The fears of an Obama "tyranny" shows up in the run on guns and ammunition prompted by the belief that he is going to take their gun rights away (even though he has expanded the rights of gun owners to carry firearms into national parks). These teabaggers remind me of people I knew back about 1969 who were afraid that if Ronald Reagan ever came to power on the national stage, he would put all the hippies into concentration camps. The difference was that the people who said these things were mostly too young to know any better and had youth as a mitigating circumstance for their paranoid ignorance.

    Bux said in his post at 7:37 pm on March 13, " I know you liberals can’t handle criticism or intellectual debate. So yes, go ahead, censor me off this site. I forgot that censorship is what you liberals are all about. What a joke. This is nothing but a big group-think."

    Bux says that he is done posting to this thread. But if he or a supporter can find where Mark or another RBC host has responded in similar terms to someone who took exception to one of his posts, then let him produce the date and time of the offending quote. Until then, the burden of proving the moral equivalence of liberal and conservative bloggers remains on his shoulders. A nasty insult from a contributor will not do; the quote must come from the host of the blog. Generalities will not suffice; specifics are required.

  29. Mark, Rep. Bart Stupak (D) is the one attributing the argument to Pelosi, or at least to people close to Pelosi. Stupak, whatever else he is, is not a wingnut; he's a Democrat who voted in favor of the House health care reform bill.

    You're comfortable talking about "Red Blogistan"; I'm comfortable talking about you and Nancy together. Yes, there's a certain looseness in attribution there, but really you aren't in a good position to complain, are you?

  30. This started as a discussion of Dan Riehl suggestion for the Reid family, a vile and despicable statement I would normally expect to hear from a KKK member or Hells Angel followed by a belch and a guffaw. In the end its menstrual blood and sperm. The original point of discussion lost in sea of response and counter response to right wing idiocy. This is something I see done more and more, right wing nut jobs make comments that are off point, or leading off point, but comments so egregious that they must be addressed, and addressed in the strongest terms possible. However we never seem to get back to the original issue, usually a moronic or mendacious statement, its left to stand as if it was correct, true or unoffensive. The same is done on T.V. I see this guys lie,or avoid a question, they spew garbage and the hosts never bring them back on point. We need a strategy to deal with this technique.

  31. Regarding the original topic, I guess I'm wondering who he is. He made an overwrought and tactless statement that fails to deliver precisely because no one will take it seriously and serious folks find no reason to defend or associate with someone who says such things. Thinking tasteless comments are the sole possession of the Right and that the Left doesn't have their share of bomb-throwers is a bit narrow, though.

    I find the whole topic of abortion and the healthcare bill interesting and disquieting. If there is no language authorizing abotion for certain folks under the bill, why did the Democratic leadership fight to ensure that clear language forbidding the funding of abortion be excluded?

    I think the sticking point is that the bill, despite it's massive size, is decidedly vague when addressing "essential health care benefits." Pro-life folks feel that the vagueness will allow the Obama administration to open that definition up to include abortion. That is why some legislators wanted to have language explicitly removing abortion as an essential health care benefit.

    We can kid ourselves, of course. We can pretend that the Obama administration would find abortion not an essential element of health care. Does anyone, right, left or middle, believe that would be the case?

    I doubt it. So, let's focus on "reality," for those in the reality-based community. Abortion will be deemed essential health care under this legislation. If you would argue otherwise, I'm willing to hear the argument. However, you've got a tough row to hoe if you want to convince Left-wingers and Right-wingers that Obama's administration doesn't view abortion as central to women's health care. It was a major platform piece, after all.

    So, let's assume abortion is covered. One arguement made by Democratic House leaders, according to Bart Stupak, is that abortion will actually lead to a cost-savings. This cost saving will allow more coverage for more ailments, since there will be X fewer people covered.

    That rests on some serious ethical grounds, doesn't it? My children are growing to be well educated and should be wage-earners and taxpayers. This is true of many, many in America. So, for the cost-saving to exist, it would require non-productive births to be aborted. After all, if a productive citizen (paying taxes, creating wealth, employing others, etc) is aborted, then we would not save money – we'd lose it. We'd lose a contributor to the healthcare base.

    So, who are the unproductive ones? It's unnerving. What criteria makes a life unproductive? I'd hope for some serious replies to that question, because it dances dangerously close to eugenics. It also seems like it leans a bit racial (a la Sanger's shocking comments regarding abortion and black Americans).

  32. I don't know who said what regarding abortion, contraception and/or cost-saving. As a purely utilitarian matter, however, an insurer's payout for childbirth, pre-natal and post-natal care would ordinarily be greater than the payout for contraception services or for abortion services.

    Cost, of course, is not the sole consideration, but the cost-saving is pure arithmetic.

  33. I'm not sure they're entirely similar systems, since the current health care plan on Capitol Hill is taxpayer funded. So, the contribution to the tax system for an individual extends beyond a basic premium, since it would include purchases of houses, cars, starting businesses, stock investments, etc.

    Just don't know if they can be compared on the same level, given the other factors.

    Some (not here, as far as I've seen) argue that the abortions will be "cost saving." That would only be the case in a taxpayer funded system if the birth would be of a non-productive tax-payer.

    So, who are the ones who would save us money by aborting them? Not neccessarily asking you, of course. The question is more for the folks that believe a fully taxpayer funded system is saved money by aborting future taxpayers.

  34. Rock Throwing Peasant, leaving aside the weakness of your claim that "some" make this case, you're assuming that the woman seeking the abortion will have fewer children because of her ability to obtain it, which I don't think is proven. She might instead have the same number of children, but in a time and a circumstance of her own choosing, when she is better able to provide for them.

  35. First, I'm not the person making the claim. Stupak makes that claim. I'm addressing the article/issue at hand.

    "If you pass the Stupak amendment, more children will be born, and therefore it will cost us millions more. That’s one of the arguments I’ve been hearing," Stupak says. "Money is their hang-up. Is this how we now value life in America? If money is the issue — come on, we can find room in the budget. This is life we’re talking about."

    Now, it is possible that Stupak invented the situation? It’s possible. Which situation is more realistic, though? Stupak needing to manufacture a discussion about costs or a fellow congressman(women) making that argument. As we’ve seen here, many don’t seem to shrug at the concept. I’m just not sure they see the whole picture when claim like that are made. So, folks like me like to explore topics more than the surface and see if there is something else that needs to be discussed when folks propose certain policies.

    Next, I am making no such assumption. I’ve put it simply. Which abortions are the kind that would “save money” in a taxpayer funded healthcare system?

    Let’s not avoid the tough questions simply because they make us face some tough realities.

  36. Way to not take the bait, ProfessorQ (no relation).

    I'm getting a littel tired of hearing about "government funded abortions".

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