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Like most of you, I saw Senator Boxer rise and and support Representative Tubbs Jones' objection to certifying Ohio's electoral votes yesterday.

The objection forced a two-hour debate in both the House and Senate.  Although I did not expect the objection to be supported by a majority of the Congress, I was shocked by some of the vitriol and low-brow rhetoric offered by Republican lawmakers.

Neither Boxer nor Tubbs Jones sought to overturn the election, only to highlight the problems in Ohio such as a shortage of voting machines and inexplicable errors in the tabulation of votes cast via electronic devices.  Republicans meanwhile made meanspirited remarks about "conspiracy theories".

While harsh political rhetoric is nothing unexpected, there are reports that Senator Frist wants to introduce a bill classifying "Political Paranoia" as a mental illness:

When the 109th Congress convenes in Washington in January, Senator Bill Frist, the first practicing physician elected to the Senate since 1928, plans to file a bill that would define "political paranoia" as a mental disorder, paving the way for individuals who suffer from paranoid delusions regarding voter fraud, political persecution and FBI surveillance to receive Medicare reimbursement for any psychiatric treatment they receive.

Rick Smith, a spokesman for Senator Frist, says that the measure has a good chance of passing--something that can only help a portion of the population that is suffering significant distress.

"If you're still convinced that President Bush won the election because Republicans figured out a way to hack into electronic voting machines, you've obviously got a problem," says Smith. "If we can figure out a way to ease your suffering by getting you into therapy and onto medication, that's something that we hope the entire 109th Congress will support."

You might remember this as an old Soviet technique:

Soviet dissident is arrested. His crime: distributing anti-government literature. A psychiatrist testifies that the dissident is `unfit to plead' due to mental illness. The result: the dissident is put away without trial in a maximum security mental hospital for an indefinite period.

A Westerner hearing this chilling scenario will quickly come to the conclusion that the dissident's human rights are being cynically violated. The Soviet psychiatrist will seem to be colluding with the political authorities, using a false charge of mental illness - usually `sluggish' schizophrenia - to silence a voice that is not mad but politically embarrasing. The `crime', after all, is not a crime in the West. And the charge of mental illness deprives the accused of the opportunity to speak in his defence. The final blow is that, because he is `sick', he can be detained indefinitely under the implicit assumption that he is being treated. This means that his `sentence', unlike that of an ordinary criminal, does not end until his psychiatrist judges him cured.

Is this what we've come to?

This article crossposted from my my blog, where you are humbly invited to visit


Originally posted to Soj on Fri Jan 07, 2005 at 08:15 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  great! (4.00)
    half the nation can immediately start receiving disability checks. A good long paid vacation would be nice.
  •  Swift Report is Satire (4.00)
    You seem to quote it as fact here in the article. (URL )  They have other entries such as "White House Exploring 'Rapture' Contingency Plans" and "New Poll Says Fewer Terrorists Celebrate Christmas".
    •  Oops! (4.00)
      Gosh I sure didn't realize that... hehe my goodness.  Well we all make mistakes, sometimes <blush>


      Night and day, you can find me Flogging the Simian

      by Soj on Fri Jan 07, 2005 at 08:39:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  err (none)
        Soj, in light of that info, perhaps it might be advisable to remove the diary? ( feels sacrilegous to even type that about anything Soj writes.)

        Because of your reputation as a real journalist, anyone unfamiliar with the website or who doesn't read to the comments will take it as cold fact and spread it as such. Not that I'm against spreading rumors about republicans, but one that's factually wrong might not go over so well. You know how things can spread to other media outlets from blogs.

        The Soviet point is a good one...perhaps you could incorporate it into another story? (Don't be upset, you're still my favorite!)

        "I told them on Inauguration Day. I said look into my eyes: no new enhancements." - President Johnny Gentle (Famous Crooner)

        by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner on Fri Jan 07, 2005 at 09:28:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  All joking aside (none)
    Rendering citizens incompetent because they don't vote Republican could be used as a justification for all sorts of things

    1. qualification and removal of franchise
    2. rendering wills written by Democrats intestate (in which case, the Pub-controlled State gets control of the proceeds).
    3. impact on credit-worthiness
    4. impact on business and personal reputation
    5. relieving Democrats of personal property
    6. grounds for not hiring or firing Democrats
    7. grounds for relieving Democrats of custody of their children...for the children's sake, of course.
    8. Denial of passport, restrictions on freedom of movement, association, and assembly.
    9. Qualification of rights including the 2nd amendment (those crazies don't need guns! we sane Republicans can protect them!)
    10. Impact on annulment, divorce and obtaining of marriage licenses
    11. Impact on insurance
    12. Competency to manage one's own household, monies

    It's only amusing, until it starts happening.

    Beware the Frumious Coultersnatch :)

    by cskendrick on Fri Jan 07, 2005 at 08:23:18 AM PST

    •  yeah, no joke (none)
      7. grounds for relieving Democrats of custody of their children...for the children's sake, of course.

      This happens in some places in the US in regards to gay and lesbian people... removing children from their GLBT parents. This happened less than a month ago to a lesbian friend of a friend in Georgia... her own mom was the one who sued to have her three children removed to foster care, so vicious and paranoid was her attitude toward her daughter's homosexuality. The good news is that the mom eventually relented and she has her kids back. The incredibly bad news is that this only happened after the daughter's loving longtime partner blew her brains out and left a note saying she hoped now the mom would relent and give her children back. Indeed, the mom literally praised God for the suicide, and insisted on one of the conditions of her daughter keeping the kids being that she could not live with a female lover and her kids could have no contact with other GLBT people.

      All this to "protect children."

  •  brilliant (none)
    A satire of Republican lawmakers and the field of psychiatry at the same time.  :D
  •  cute (none)
    I'm not laughing as hard I should be though.  "Our Long National Nightmare" was satire too, remember?  And mandatory mental-health screening of children most certainly is not...

    The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice. --MLK Jr.

    by radish on Fri Jan 07, 2005 at 09:29:39 AM PST

  •  Lawnorder Did a Serious Diary On This (none)

     It's the scary plausibility of the whole thing that makes the satire to good.... and chilling...

    Fuzzy only works for pets.

    by NotFuzzy on Fri Jan 07, 2005 at 10:01:38 AM PST

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