Making it clear: Case 8


Two New York Times articles make it clear that protest organizers have tapped into a riptide of anger which could kill any efforts at healthcare reform.

I offer a brief synopsis of each, followed by a link to the full article. We must know what we’re up against, and these two articles are essential to that knowledge.


A lie is being spread by Republican leaders and at town hall meetings across the country.

The false “death panel” rumor – that government under healthcare reform will decide who will live and who will die – was not born, according to this Times article, “of anonymous e-mailers, partisan bloggers or stealthy cyberconspiracy theorists.”

This Big Lie has a “mainstream provenance,” according to the article. Turns out it came from the same conservative pundits and media who helped defeat President Clinton’s healthcare plan 16 years ago.

AARP Executive Vice President John Rother told the Times, “It’s people who are ideologically opposed to Mr. Obama, and this is the opportunity to weaken the president.” The AARP supports the healthcare proposals and has “repeatedly denied the ‘death panel’ claims.”

After all that I’ve read on this issue and all the right-wing comments I’ve seen on blogs, I am not easily shocked. But, the article’s quotes from conservative media shock me. A Washington Times editorial compares healthcare reform with Nazi Germany and tells me that President Obama wants to kill me, my son and my buddy Chris. Would I lie?

“False ‘Death Panel’ Rumor Has Some Familiar Roots,” Jim Rutenbrg and Jackie Calmes, New York Times, 14 August 2009: LINK


On Tuesday morning, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) made every effort to keep his Lebanon town hall meeting civilized – to no avail.

Anti-Obama (yes, that’s what they are) protesters got there at dawn and, being first in line, got into the meeting while supporters of healthcare reform weren’t admitted.

Interviewing many of the protesters, NYT reporters found them motivated by “underlying dissent.”

“Many said the Obama administration’s plans for a new health care system were just another example of a federal government that had again gone too far, just as it had, they said, with the economic stimulus, the auto industry bailout and the cap-and-trade program.”

Many are angry about “abortion, euthanasia, coverage of immigrants, privacy” – fears born of lies circulating about reform legislation.

“This is about the dismantling of this country,” one woman told Specter. “We don’t want this country to turn into Russia.”

Overall, the article shows how civil discourse on healthcare issues was disrupted by people who apparently have no idea about the legislation’s content.

Nor did they learn. They didn’t come to learn.

“Senator Goes Face to Face With Dissent,” Ian Urbina and Katharine Q. Seelye, 12 August 2009: LINK


IMHO, the greatest enemy of this country is ignorance. I’ve quoted Walt Kelly’s “Pogo” many times before, but today Mr. Kelly’s prescience seems more timely than ever:
“We have met the enemy, and he is us."


Frodo, because, just because said...

Bloomberg reports today that there are 8 lobbyists for every 2 legislators involved in healthcare-related issues. Rachel Maddow has been tireless in her reporting of the money behind the groups disrupting public meetings and running deceptive ads. The name of former Congressman Dick Armey (R-Tx) (does that surprise anybody?) is at the forefront, just as it was 16 years ago.
What is important here is to have confidence in our President. Have confidence in each other. Have confidence in our country.

When disparaging words are around you, answer back.

When discouraged, have some potato chips & dip (guaranteed to end even the darkest of moods).

When tired of the incessant ramblings of the uninformed,remember that their sons & daughters also wear our uniforms and salute our flag.

Together, once again, we march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

B.J. said...

Here we go again, Hobbit. You the dreamer, me the realist. Read the articles! I simply set them forth to show what is going on out there. I just got a Gallup poll summary (8/14) finding that in 47 U.S. states more people (by a margin of from 6 to 30 points) identify themselves as “conservative” rather than “liberal.”

Sometimes you have to get down in the trenches to know what’s going on in this country.

Some of my readers don’t watch Rachel Maddow. But neither she nor Dick Armey will come as a surprise to anyone who has read this series, since I discussed both extensively in my August 8 post.

That was a good one. Sorry you missed it. :-)

Now, quit eating potato chips and dip and read the articles. Then, you will really feel like crossing the Edmund Pettus bridge!

You can’t just sit on your butt and expect everything to come up roses.


B.J. said...

I voted for Hillary, but I am supporting Obama. I do have confidence in the president, and I don’t might giving him a helping hand when he asks for it:

From cbsnews.com, July 21, 2009:

“Later in the day, aides organized a conference call for Obama to speak with liberal bloggers and rally them behind the White House's broad outline for (healthcare) overhaul.”

On an audio tape of the call, Obama said, “‘One of the things that I know the blogs are best at is debunking myths that can slip through a lot of the traditional media outlets and a lot of the conventional wisdom. And, that is why you are going to play such an important role in our success in the weeks to come."

Infidel753 said...

About those polls showing relative numbers of self-identified liberals and conservatives, a lot of that just reflects how much the word "liberal" has been stigmatized. See here.

sue said...

mornin BJ, thanks for stopping in to see me! I love Rachels show, she is doing a great job informing the masses! The next big LIE will be about veterans, get ready!!
On my sidebar is PLAYLIST, click on the bottom tab of it and you can have your own free music, thousands of songs to choose from! You'll set up an account with them and thn choose your music. Its kinda complicated but if I can do it anyone can LOL! I love my song choices too! Have a great weekend BJ! xo

Falzone for America said...

The day is upon us, the hour late. Our free and prosperous nation will be rendered to the level of 14th century feudalism. We will be reminded of the days gone by when malnutrition was the norm. When rulers adorned in Gold and Jewels would decree that we the people can eat Cake (bread) but man cannot live on bread alone.

What is the essence of evil? It’s not money. Money is only a graphical replica of goods. It is GREED! The never quenched thirst for others goods. Those who will lie, cheat, and steal to avoid participating in our community because it requires the forfeiture of some small portion of their wealth and/or their labor are inherently evil.

Every Democratic administration besides Jimmy Carter invested in the American middle class and grew the nation in productivity and prosperity. Bill Clinton benefitted from the burgeoning technology sector but his NAFTA legislation led to its transfer to India and China where investors benefitted from the malnourished populations of oppression. Yes India is a Democracy but only in appearance.

Every Republican administration of the past 60 years invested in speculative wealth of the 1 percent richest American and foreign populations. During all of the Democratic administrations since and including President Kennedy unemployment declined, GDP increased, the deficit and the trade imbalance improved.
Now with the latest success of Republican media control we are seeing a Jerry Springer mentality across the land. This uninformed and easily fooled demographic has become a political bludgeon mobilized against sanity and it must be reckoned with.

If the media isn’t reorganized with investigative, fact based news, and politicians have no accountability for taking bribes from lobbyists, we are doomed. Our fate will be to lose our longevity and die in our 40’s. We will start to see the majority of Americans living in poverty, losing their teeth in their 20’s, and never growing to full stature, being bent over with osteoporosis in their 30’s.

Unfortunately Republicans are not the only political force that is susceptible to greed. Many Democratic politicians side with speculative money over public money. They too have been bought. The credo of the Democratic Party in supporting the working class makes it more difficult for those members in disguise to carry out their treachery.

Our only hope lies in three fundamental power centers. The media must be returned; Term limits must be put into place; Public campaign financing and regulated small contributions from citizens must be implemented and enforced. Everyone should be calling congress and demanding a Single Payer Healthcare system H.R. 676 in addition to all three of the above requirements. White House switchboard 202-224-3121

Ezekiel 25:17
The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish, and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and goodwill shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger, those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers, and you will know my name is The Lord, when I lay my vengeance upon thee.

Frodo, at Gettysburg (sort of) said...

Frodo remembers clearly the first time that he saw a "bag lady." From that moment on, he has never disputed that the poor and the powerless must receive a shepherd's hand. That "shepherd's hand," is a public option, and it is not served by the competition of 1300 insurance companies. What we risk is the accelerated passing of American citizens due to the elements or to hunger or to malfeasance in this, the wealthiest of all kingdoms.
To suggest that the element of competition however, should be removed from those who do not require the "shepherd's hand," comes close to crass arrogance and gives Frodo great pause.
It has been many years since Frodo has purchased a motorcar from an American manufacturer; he found the product to be inferior, especially for the purchase price. Although it would clearly benefit the American economy, Frodo would resist the "single manufacturer option". Frodo recognizes that his refusal to so participate could conceivably add to the "bag lady" population, but the option to purchase an American motorcar is enhanced by the "cash for clunkers." Frodo's point is that the art of compromise in politics brings the ideologue off his toadstool, on both sides. What we do here is for the betterment of mankind, and Ezekiel's tone is softened by both the intent and the result. Frodo believes that pleases his maker, whomever she may be.

Falzone for America said...

I was aghast to learn recently that 62% of bankruptcies filed between January and April 2007 were tied to medical costs or causes... adding insult to injury, three-quarters of the affected individuals/families had health insurance. What kind of health insurance, a reasonable person might ask? The discouraging answer is, the same kind that most Americans have, and feel well protected by.

Chronic illness. A recent study in The American Journal of Medicine found that many of the health-related bankruptcies could be traced to costs related to chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis. Other research shows a 3% bankruptcy rate among cancer patients. At present, lifetime spending caps on many insurance policies are as low as one or two million dollars, which may sound like a lot, but which can quickly be run through if you have a critical or chronic illness. New legislation has been introduced to raise the minimum lifetime cap to $10 million, with future increases adjusted to the consumer price index, but in the meantime, lifetime caps are an important variable to take into consideration when evaluating health insurance policies.

Higher deductibles. According to a recent survey by Mercer (a financial and HR consulting firm) half of preferred provider organization (PPO) sponsors have an individual coverage deductible of $1,000 or more, meaning you must pay this amount out of your own pocket before your insurance begins to contribute to your medical expenses. Many other plans, such as individual and high-deductible plans, require you to cover even higher amounts, as much as $5,000 or more.

Some employers are now dropping or limiting prescription drug coverage as a means of keeping costs down. For example, the prescription drug benefit may only include coverage of generic drugs or have an annual dollar cap on the benefit. Limitations may also include how many mental health or physical therapy visits you can have (e.g., only 10 or 12 visits each year might be covered).

Pre-existing conditions and exclusions. Getting coverage for a pre-existing condition is one of the most common quandaries facing consumers and it is especially problematic at a time when so many people have lost jobs... and with them, their insurance coverage. Frustratingly, the term "pre-existing condition" can be a movable target, since anything from panic attacks to pre-diabetes to having had a suspicious mole removed can technically be so classified. Under federal law, employer-sponsored insurance must cover pre-existing conditions after 12 months, says Libster. Those under individual plans are not so lucky, however -- if you have a chronic illness, insurers may reject you outright... "pre-ex" you for 12 months... or impose a rider or permanent exclusion stating that they will never cover a particular condition or system. Libster gave me an example: If you have asthma, an insurer may not only permanently exclude asthma but any condition relating to your entire respiratory system from coverage. Not only that, there are some cases in the individual market where an insurer can weasel out of paying expenses for a condition you are diagnosed with after your insurance begins, if they can find any related evidence in your record that might have predicted the problem. Other common exclusions are for new or experimental treatments and alternative therapies.

While health care reform is underway in Washington, chances are it will be a very long time before individuals see tangible evidence of it in their pockets. In this challenging and belt-tightening era, focus on the issues that you can control and take greater responsibility for your own day-to-day care -- eat right, exercise (this will help you manage stress as well as weight), don’t smoke and get sufficient sleep. Smart lifestyle choices are usually the simplest, most effective and least expensive way to enhance health and prevent chronic disease.

Jennifer Libster, MA, JD, senior research associate, Health Policy Institute, Georgetown University, Washington, DC.