16 August, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

With Congressmen like these, who needs Teabaggers?
Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) is stepping up the death-panelism, with a new letter warning that President Obama's socialized medicine scheme will kill your mama with a slow, agonizing death! Literally.

In a new letter sent out from the American Conservative Union, Broun issues the following warning:

And if these federal bureaucrats decide that your treatment is not "Government Approved," then your doctor will be ordered to deny you treatment... or risk facing stiff penalties!


In other words: When mama falls and breaks her hip, she'll just lie in her bed in pain until she dies with pneumonia because her needed surgery is not cost efficient.

(Emphasis in the original.)

Rep. Broun, I have a question for you: are you playing the Deather card because you're a sociopathic opportunist who will spout any lie if it gets your party back in power, paranoid about the government killing off the elderly because your party would happily take away seniors' Social Security and Medicare if you could get away with it, or because you're just that fucking stupid? We know you're not howling about big bad guvmint denying people medical care because it's true - even the normally-clueless mainstream media realizes that's a big fat fucking lie.

Some in the MSM are even willing to call a lie a lie:

Lawrence O'Donnell actually uses the "L" word with Rep. John Culberson. This is the end of an over ten minute segment where O'Donnell continually asks Culberson whether he would have voted for Social Security and for Medicare and Culberson gets mad at him for interrupting him, which he does. He interrupts him though because he's trying to avoid giving him a straight answer to his questions.

After finally getting Culberson to admit that he would have voted for both Social Security and Medicare, O'Donnell calls him out for the fear mongering done by Republicans on the issue of health care reform, and tells him they're lying to the American people every time they demonize socialized medicine, but refuse to vote to repeal Medicare.

Culberson obviously wasn't too happy with O'Donnell for both the interrupting or for calling him a liar. His retreat was to attack MSNBC and say no one watches them, and go on the defensive about being called a liar and say that O'Donnell doesn't know him personally.

Thank you for demonstrating the playground mentality of the GOP so clearly, there, Culberson. And thank you, Lawrence, for not playing the "Cons say/Dems say" game. It's refreshing.

Others in the media, alas, are not intelligent enough to recognize a lie when they see one. In fact, they're not intelligent enough to think their way out of a brown paper bag. How can I be so certain of the deficient IQ, without seeing the results of a test or - ahem - knowing them personally? Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present you Exhibit A:
The Wall Street Journal's James Taranto believes Sarah Palin must be brilliant. In fact, he thinks he has proof -- voluntary Medicare-reimbursed end-of-life counseling is off the table in Senate Finance Committee negotiations, and it wouldn't be if the former governor hadn't launched a baseless attack.

If you believe the media, Sarah Palin is a mediocre intellect, if even that, while President Obama is brilliant. So how did she manage to best him in this debate?

This would be amusing if it weren't so serious. Consider exactly what we've seen over the last seven days: a confused conservative didn't understand a modest, common-sense idea that had already been endorsed, promoted, and approved by other conservatives. This person's ridiculous claim was then embraced by other confused conservatives. Eventually, another conservative decided to drop the modest, common-sense idea because a lot of people, he said, find it confusing.

James Taranto sees all of this and concludes that the confused conservative who helped bring the ridiculous claim to national prominence must be intelligent.
The prosecution rests.

Moving on, then. I'm a little surprised and grateful to be here today. Faux News' Glenn Beck had Ron Paul's son on, and we very nearly reached critical stupidty mass:

Glenn Beck is becoming the model for the Intentionally Obtuse bloc of America's right wing nutcases: At the very moment when it's becoming virtually unanimous -- even on Fox News -- that all this talk about "death panels" is the biggest load of hooey since black helicopters, he host a segment on his Fox News show with Ron Paul's son, Rand, proclaiming the threat of government-sponsored euthanasia real, real, real.

Of course, it came with a Beckerwockian caveat:

Beck: Tell me about – am I wrong in saying, without any inflammatory speech here, don’t call them “death panels”, just let’s call them what they are – you have a certain amount of money, you have a certain amount of people, you can’t -- they don’t -- you can’t give everything to everybody, isn’t it inevitable that you have to make tough choices?

Paul: Well, you know, the president says he isn’t going to pull the plug on grandma, but what I think he really means is, he’s not going to put the plug in in the first place, because you have to decide, some committee’s going to have to decide, what is the cost-benefit analysis for grandma? Grandma is not just your grandmother, she's a statistic, we have to decide, what is the cost to society to keep her alive? And I think she won't get plugged in. Her ventilator won't be plugged in if she's 92 years old, because society may say we don't have the money to do that.

It's not the Large Hadron Collider that'll cause the black hole that kills us all, mark my words. Someday, Glenn Beck's going to have a panel that includes Ann Coulter, Spawn of Ron, Sarah Palin, and a few of the more remarkably fuckwitted Con pols currently disgracing Congress, and the solar system will implode from the force of so much stupidity gathered in one place.

Not that reality can touch a mind like Rand Paul's, but the attempt must be made: here is the horror of socialized medicine. Now ask yourself what an insurance company would've done if confronted with a family demanding the most expensive treatment for a septuagenarian's aneurism.

But, the Cons scream, look at the NHS! Proof! We have proof of the horrors! Look at these two women whose grievances we exploited for our own partisan gain!
Rick Scott's Conservatives for Patients' Rights (CPR), a rather sleazy outfit trying to rally opposition to health care reform, is airing commercials featuring criticism of England's NHS from two British women with bad experiences within the system.

The women, Kate Spall and Katie Brickell, aren't happy with the developments, and believe their words have been twisted by the far-right group. (via Atrios)

Ms Spall and Ms Brickell both agreed to appear in a documentary on healthcare reform. But neither knew that the footage would be used as part of a TV advertising campaign carried on US networks.

Ms Spall, whose mother died of kidney cancer while waiting for treatment in the UK, told The Times: 'It has been a bit of a nightmare. It was a real test of my naivety. I am a very trusting person and for me it has been a big lesson. I feel like I was duped.'

Although standing by her views, Ms Spall said she was horrified by how the CPR had used her words.

'What I said is what I believe, and I stand by it, but the context it has been used in is something I was not aware would happen,' she said. 'The irony is that I campaign for exactly the people that socialised healthcare supports. I would not align myself with this group at all.'

Ms Brickell, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer after being refused a smear test because she was too young, said her words had been 'skewed out of proportion' by the CPR.

She told The Times: 'The NHS let me down and I just wanted to make the point that people should not rely solely on it. But what I said has been skewed out of proportion... My point was not that the NHS shouldn't exist or that it was a bad thing. I think that our health service is not perfect but to get better it needs more public money, not less. I didn't realise it was having such a political impact.'

Looks like the anti-reform shysters took a page from Expelled's playbook. They're all about as honest as the day is long - if we're talking a midwinter day in Alaska, that is.

For a bit o' fun, let's ask them how that utterly horrible NHS managed to pwn the best health care system in the entire world:

[Disease and Disadvantage in the United States and England] That's the title of a study published by The Journal of the American Medical Association. The study attempted to determine whether the "considerably greater" US health expenditure of US$5274 per capita vs the UK percapita expenditure of US$ 2164 resulted in a better health outcome for Americans.

Not even slightly surprisingly it doesn't. It's bad, shockingly bad. How Bad? This bad:

The top of your American society is as unhealthy as the bottom of their British one.


US residents are much less healthy than their English counterparts and these differences exist at all points of the SES distribution ... The US population in late middle age is less healthy than the equivalent British population for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, myocardial infarction, stroke, lung disease, and cancer ... These differences are not solely driven by the bottom of the SES distribution. In many diseases, the top of the SES distribution is less healthy in the United States as well.


Oh but please don't stop there it gets better …

With the sole exception of cancer, there exists a sharp negative gradient across both education and income groups in both countries ... As a result, country differences are larger and tend to be more statistically different at the bottom of the social hierarchy than at the top. Level differences between countries are sufficiently large that individuals in the top of the education and income strata in the United States have comparable rates of diabetes and heart disease as those in the bottom of the income and education strata in England."

There's lot more very useful ammunition for the discerning firepup where that came from …

Source: Disease and Disadvantage in the United States and in England [PDF] published 2006 The Journal of the American Medical Association.

For an extra bit o' fun, let's also ask the anti-reform shysters to please explain why Remote Area Medical has to set up clinics in the wilds of Los Angeles. Maybe we could show them Dana Gould's devasting compare-and-contrast between the Teabaggers and the folks waiting in line for hours for medical care. Since they're responsible for the Teabaggers, perhaps they could answer Dana's question: "What the fuck?"



Woozle said...

I've been waiting for this, and now it has happened: they've found a scare-tactic that works even with reform proponents.

For example, this comment here:

"...just so you know, this healthcare grab is NOT for the benefit of the American people. They are trying to sell it to wellmeaning liberals. However, reading what is in the healthcare package - it is absolutely evil and dangerous.

The conservatives have read it - aren't buying the brainwashing symposiums - and know how evil it is."

And this (rebuttal) and this (brief rebuttal) cited favorably here, and this (brief response), and this (he even responds to critics), and no doubt others.

Sharpen your keyboards, folks, and keep your references well-oiled.

Cujo359 said...

It's astounding that we've achieved the medical status of a third-world nation. The Dana Gould report shows an international medical aid team visiting Los Angeles to treat people. Many have waited there for hours, and many apparently also had health insurance. Yet they needed to go all the way to this place to get needed medical services.

It's too bad the goombahs who are whining about Obama's death panels can't go down there and observe. Maybe they'd like to scream "get a job" at those people.