30 July, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

So, if one day of unseasonably cold weather means global warming's bunk, does two days of record-breaking temperatures mean it's totally for real? Every global warming denier in the Seattle area should now be a true believer by their own standards of evidence. We're on hypocrisy watch, my darlings.

And I bring this up because I'm still roasting, so Happy Hour may be a little lethargic. Just so's you know.

Since we're experiencing Phoenix-quality heat here in Seattle, let's kick things off by bashing Arizona's other shame, Sen. Jon Kyl, who believes health insurance companies are already honest enough:
President Obama has explained that one of the reasons he supports a robust public option as a competitor to private insurers is to “force waste out of the system and keep the insurance companies honest.” Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), who opposes a public option, tells the Wall Street Journal that insurance companies don’t need to be kept honest:

“The health insurance industry is one of the most regulated industries in America,” said Sen. Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.) on the Senate floor Monday. “They don’t need to be ‘kept honest’ by the government.”

I'm sure all the victims of recissions, outrageous premium increases, and deductibles that destroy their retirement funds will be very glad to hear that their insurance company "doesn't need to be kept honest."

Meanwhile, back in the Senate's health care chop shop, Sen. Enzi demonstrates his remarkable confusion about the types of demands a minority party can make:
Reports vary as to just how close the Senate Finance Committee's gang of six is to some kind of deal. I'm sure they'll get back to us at some point in the future.

More interesting, though, was a statement issued by Mike Enzi, the conservative Wyoming Republican who is participating in the six-member negotiations. After explaining that the Finance Committee still has a ways to go, Enzi explained his expectations about the future of the process.

Enzi said that Reid and Pelosi would have to commit to leaving any bipartisan agreements in place once the bill goes to conference.

"I also need commitments from Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi, as well as the Administration, that the bipartisan agreements reached in the Finance Committee will survive in a final bill that goes to the president," Enzi added.

Well, I'll gladly give Enzi credit for having chutzpah. But as a serious proposition, this is almost comical.

Look, five committees in two chambers are trying to pass health care reform. Each understands that after approving a bill, their committee's work will have to be reconciled with other committees' work, before eventually reconciling the House and Senate versions.

Enzi is saying that this isn't good enough. This conservative Republican "needs" a "commitment" from the Democratic White House, the Democratic House Speaker, and the Democratic Senate Majority Leader that all of them will leave intact the work he and five other senators worked out in secret. No changes allowed.

Perhaps Enzi is taking advantage of some kind of prescription drug benefit already, because only someone who's heavily medicated would think this makes sense.

Now, Harry Reid would probably forget that minority party = in no position to make dumbfuck demands. But Nancy Pelosi's made of sterner stuff, and I have a feeling we may see her in here later borrowing the Smack-o-Matic for use in an educational discussion with Enzi. I just hope she delivers that spanking in public.

Hopefully, it will be as delightful as the spanking TPM reporter Zachary Roth delivered to Politico:

In recent days, a new right-wing scare tactic on health-care has blossomed on conservative blogs and emails lists: the notion that the reform bill making its way through the House would lead to euthanasia by requiring senior citizens to submit to "end-of-life consultations."

It won't surprise you to learn this is a lie. But President Obama just got a question on it at a public event. And the idea has now made it into Politico, where a straight news story asks in its headline, all even-handed: "Will proposal promote euthanasia?" Since Politico thinks it'll be easier to "win the morning" by misleading readers into believing there's a legitimate debate over this issue, it's worth taking a minute to debunk it.

In fact, Politico's story contains pretty much all the information needed to do that. It's just that almost none of it makes it into the headline, or the first seven paragraphs of the piece, which focus on the fact that Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and other reforms opponents are raising the euthanasia alarm.

And hopefully it will be as enjoyable to watch as a GOP doctor debunking his own party's bullshit:

As I noted below, Republican leaders and conservatives have turned the provision in the House Dems’ health care bill about Medicare-funded “end of life consultations” into a top target, banging away at it mercilessly in one forum after another.

But it turns out the idea has an unlikely supporter, though with caveats: A House Republican who is also a former heart surgeon.

Louisiana GOP Rep Charles Boustany’s spokesperson tells me his boss supports using Medicare to fund end of life conversations, in which elderly patients discuss remaining options.

“Many seniors don’t have access to friends or family who can have these conversations,” Boustany’s spokesman, Rick Curtsinger, told me. Medicare would give doctors “incentives” to have them, the spokesman said, adding that it was critical that “both the doctor and the patient understand what the patients wants and what is available to them.”

Good on yer, Rep. Boustany. It's always nice when a little sanity wafts over from the other side of the aisle.

It would be even nicer if the WaPo would stop running opinion pieces that have nothing to do with reality:
In a Washington Post op-ed yesterday, Martin Feldstein argued, "Obama has said that he would favor a British-style 'single payer' system in which the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are salaried but that he recognizes that such a shift would be too disruptive to the health-care industry."

That is plainly false. As Jon Chait explained yesterday:

Obama has never said that he favors a British-style health care system. Britain does not have a single-payer system. It has a socialized system, where the government directly employs all health care providers. Indeed, if you follow the link in Feldstein's own column, it says, "A single-payer system would eliminate private insurance companies and put a Medicare-like system into place where the government pays all health-care bills with tax dollars." Does Medicare own hospitals and pay doctors government salaries? No. Professor Feldstein, please stop writing about topics you know nothing about.

I naively expected the Post to run a correction. It was a mistake for the paper to publish the bogus claim in the first place, but it's an error that's easy enough to correct. Especially in the middle of a heated debate over health care policy, it only makes sense that D.C.'s newspaper would want readers to know that Feldstein's claim is demonstrably untrue.

After all, as Paul Krugman explained, "Single-payer, as anyone who has paid the least bit of attention to the health care debate knows, means a system like Medicare, in which the government pays the bills. It absolutely does not mean a British-style system -- and Obama definitely didn't advocate anything of the sort.... [I]f I misstated the facts like this in the Times, I'd be required to publish a correction."

As of this afternoon, there's been no correction or clarification.

Since when did major newspapers decide that facts are optional? For fuck's sake. No wonder Americans are so bloody misinformed about health care issues.

While we're on the subject of media clowns... the National Review Online takes a moment out of its busy schedule of lies, damned lies, and total fucktardedness to bitch and moan about GI Joe's outfit:

Conservative cesspool National Review Online's John J. Miller apparently has nothing important to write about. Yesterday he expressed grave concern (warning: NRO link) as to whether or not the upcoming G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra movie will be American enough. "I keep wondering: Is G.I. Joe still an American?" he ponders.

His evidence, which is based on his viewing of a couple trailers, leafing through the book and comic tie-ins at the store, and the movie's website, is thus:

The old logo was red, white, and blue. Now the dominant image is black.

Now we all know that black is evil, but who knew that the U.S. Army isn't American any more. Neither is the U.S. Air Force. If only they had more colorful logos.

Nobody wears green Army uniforms. Instead, the good guys appear to put on silver-plated robocop armor.

The things that keep Cons awake at night really do amuse me.

And, for your special bonus fucktardedness, here's Faux News taking Iraq out of the picture:

Never try to visit the pyramids of Giza with these assclowns. It would go very badly for you, and not just because Faux News staffers are such awful company.


Cujo359 said...

Apparently, John J. Miller hasn't spent much time near our military in the last few years. What they wear nowadays isn't all that green. It usually looks like this. They also wear black on occasion.

Anonymous said...

Dana dear,
these portmanteau posts are a little much. I realise you may be knackered, but three topics in one makes it hard to respond.

'Socialized'- what sort of word is that? I never saw it before the Health reform debate. It's basically a con trick to make people think 'socialist' with out having to use the word inaccurately. The word you are looking for is 'nationalised'- like Freddie and Fanny have been.

I know its a terrible system- when I had my back go into spasm I saw a doctor the same day I phoned for an appointment, and all it cost me was two prescriptions at £7.30 ($10) each- Diazepam 5 days, three a day, and an anti inflamitory- loads! (I should really get rid of these- they only came in boxes of 'too many').

Or in January when I rushed into the kitchen to put out a frying pan fire, when the room was full of acrid smoke
Fire Brigade to come out and check
No charge
Use of Fire Brigade Oxygen until paramedic turned up- no charge
Paramedic attendence at midnight- No charge
Paramedic initial blood tests- no charge
Journey to hospital- no charge
Hospital blood tests- no charge
Oxygen 90 minutes at £0.00 per litre- no charge
Further blood tests- No charge
Consultation charges - No charge
Forms to fill out for insurance/payment purposes- none.

I did get a blog entry out of it.