Intrepid investigative reporter Michelle Malkin is doing her best to defend America from the fraudulent propaganda forced into our pinned-open eyelids by the omnipotent Democrat Party and their Army of Twelve Year Old Stormtroopers! Leaving no stone unturned no dark alley uninspected Malkin exposes the lies and deception...
Oh, you mean she just uses her highly trafficked right-wing bully pulpit website and tv appearences to make baseless smears and charges against a 12 year old boy and his family because they dared speak up about SCHIP? That's the right-wing merchant of bullshit we all know and loathe.
Apparently while I've been too busy to post about anything but baseball, this has been a real hot topic...Well, there's no more baseball for a few days, and this the big, fat, hanging curveball I need to get my fury swing back in shape.
It seems the Democrats had a twelve year old boy make the response to Bush's radio address a week or two ago, and he told the story of his family's struggles with health insurance and experience with SCHIP. You know, the thing President Compassionate Conservative vetoed..."I don't know why President Bush wants to stop kids who really need help from getting CHIP," young Graeme Frost said, referring to the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
Always eager to please the Dark Lords of the GOP Sith, Malkin and her ilk jumped at the chance to savage these perfectly ordinary American citizens in the public arena, claiming (like Karl Rove) that they are "fair game." That's right, opening your mouth in a free society opens you up to personal destruction. I hope this wench was careless enough to tread across the line into slander and libel territory.
Update 2:50pm Eastern: I just returned from a visit to Frost’s commercial property near Patterson Park in Baltimore. It’s a modest place. Talked to one of the tenants, Mike Reilly, who is a talented welder. He said he had known the Frosts for 10 years. Business is good, he told me, though he characterized Frost as “struggling.”
[...] I also passed by the Frosts’ rowhouse. There was an “01-20-09″ bumper sticker plastered on the door and a newer model GMC Suburban parked directly in front of the house. I’ve seen guesstimates of the house’s worth in the $400,000-plus range.
Bet you didn't know Michelle's a real estate appraiser in her spare time... She "guesstimates" the house is worth over $400,000? Even if the house IS worth that much, my first question was, "When did this family buy it? What did they pay?" Did MM ponder this as well? Of course—she's not stupid, just dishonest. Better to make it sound like these Frost characters are living high on the hog in a half-million dollar "remodeled" brownstone. USA Today checked:
Bloggers said the house was worth more than $400,000. It turns out it was bought for $55,000 in 1991 in a Baltimore neighborhood where "there were drug dealers and prostitutes on our street," Bonnie Frost said. Halsey Frost, a woodworker, did most of the renovations, which are "still not done," Bonnie said.
Oh, and a carpenter who drives a truck? The audacity!
Next up? Go after the kids' school—here's Malkin:
The family is not as destitute as the MSM has made them out to be. FreeRepublic member icwhatudo (oh, so clever!) asks the tough questions the mainstream media won’t ask. Like why a “working family” in need of government-subsidized health care can afford to send two children to a $20,000-a-year-private school.
She then blockquotes "icurfullofshit":
…One has to wonder that if time and money can be found to remodel a home, send kids to exclusive private schools, purchase commercial property and run your own business… maybe money can be found for other things…maybe Dad should drop his woodworking hobby and get a real job that offers health insurance..."
Hoo boy, I'm not done with that motherfucker yet...but here's USAT on the school part:
Bloggers said Graeme and Gemma go to private Park School, where tuition costs about $20,000. Graeme gets a scholarship, while Gemma's brain injuries were so severe that the city pays to educate her at a school for children with disabilities.
Did I forget to mention that the thing that sent this family into a medical bill death spiral and put them on SCHIP was a terrible car accident? No matter, the brownshirts show no mercy.
Back to the Freeper asshat, icwhatudo: "...if time and money can be found to remodel a home"—This family home was a dump they bought sixteen fucking years ago when that part of Baltimore was a slum, and he fixed it up himself—let me state first-hand, this is not always laying around in hammock with a beer while paint dries—working on your house can really be hard and time-consuming, and I do it because I can't pay somebody else to. (I have a screen door in my garage that I primed in May that have yet to paint and re-hang—perhaps it'll be ready by the time screen season rolls around again. What's my problem? I have just two kids and none of them have severe disabilities.)
And this crap about him "running his own business"... As if this guy is some kind of tycoon or George "Arbusto" Bush running an oil business into the ground on the Saudi's dime. "Owning a business" more often equals a constant struggle than unbridaled wealth, morons.
I "own my own business."—guess that makes me "a CEO" in the eyes of a frothing pundit. At a certain point, paying for health insurance for my family became too expensive for me and my "business" to support. So, I got a day job, one I am vastly overqualified, and underpaid for, but it has great benefits. Here's the problem—it took me over a year to get it. And I didn't have a couple of my kids in the Brain Injury Clinic. And that job on its own does NOT pay our normal bills, so I still dabble with my "hobby" at night to make ends meet. This can be tough, and perhaps not a viable option for this family. Something that loudmouths in the world of subsidized opinon-spewing probably can't really relate to.
Malkin goes on to criticize the Maryland SCHIP program as lax for "not impos(ing) an asset test on applicants." But Maryland DOES means test, and the Frosts are well within range:
[USAT] The couple — who have four children in all —earned about $45,000 last year, well below the $55,220 limit for a family of six set under the original SCHIP program...
The original program. Yes, these thieving Frosts aren't even one of the new "too rich for a hand-out" families Bush likes to dishonestly use as pretext for his veto. But Michelle and others on the right think they should have to sell their home to meet an assets test even though it would destroy the family's future?
All of that said, I'm not sure I completely support the Dem's strategy here, and I do not think that there should be total insulation from any kind of scrutiny if you offer yourself up for a publicity stunt like this. But it was quickly clear this family met the requirements for the program, and found themselves even in that position only due to tragic events, and they should have been left alone at that point. They are now pawns caught in the middle of two forces much bigger than them, who are really more interested in advancing agendas than them or their particular needs, and that's the sad part.
Can we please just quit this fucking dance and get on with National Healthcare already?
MORE: Digby, Ezra, Firedoglake, John Cole. Cole follow-up
UPDATE: One of the other assholes Malkin quotes in her screed claims the Frosts could get health insurance if they really wanted it:
A check of a quote engine for zip code 21250 (Baltimore) finds a plan for $641 with a $0 deductible and $20 doc copays.
First of all, I find that almost impossible to believe. When we paid for our own insurance four years ago, it was more than that for any decent plan, and the only way we got under that amount was to decline maternity coverage—which (gasp) meant we couldn't have the baby if Mrs. F got pregnant. Probably not a position the right wing wants to support.
Also left out of this guy's "analysis" is the fact that this family has pre-existing conditions no insurer would want to touch. My daughter would put us in the same situation. IF we didn't have good insurance her medical issues over the last two years would likely have bankrupted us. And if I needed to to purchase my own insurance now her conditions would jack the rates through the roof.
Medical conditions are often genetic (bad) luck of the draw, and exactly the kind of thing a civilized society shares the burden of—not tosses to the gutter. There is no way I could have "budgeted" for the tests and procedures my daughter went through, and if they had happened while I was dependant solely on "my business" it would have ruined us. This is exactly what happens to families all over the country—medical bills are the largest cause of personal bankruptcies. And the Republican Congress in it's infinite "compassion" made sure it was even more difficult to declare bankruptcy a few years back.
I am at a berserker rage level of hatred and anger right about now.