Lemon Tea Splash wallpaper. The official beverage of the South.
I tend to like my statistics. For some reason they seem to have a liberal bias. Republicans have developed some systematic denials when to comes to facts and statistics. Some of that requires some mental tin-foil. If the facts are not in their favor they argue some supposedly grand principle – that is not what the Founders would do. Few Americans would return to the so-called “original intent”. Most of what we think of as democratic republic – the egalitarian spirit and most the freedoms we cherish would disappear. If the original intent, or their interpretation of it does not work, they also argue from studies they pay for that reach conclusions they like. Conservatives are also adept at taking anecdotal evidence, sometimes hearsay or just something someone told them once and turning that into justification for their stands on public policy that affect millions of Americans. Conservatives have ruined or are trying to ruin the real life narrative. One big example, going on four years now, individual Republicans swear their gun rights are threatened even as gun sales have been a boom industry. I can leave the house now and be back in forty-five minutes with enough guns and ammo for a small army. There are some real stories of real people suffering real hardship. Like statistics and facts, the real stories, the real anecdotes of hardship caused by conservatives are true. Something Wicked This Way Comes
A few days ago, while awaiting the Supreme Court ruling on the Obama health-care law, I called a few doctor friends around the country. I asked them if they could tell me about current patients whose health had been affected by a lack of insurance.
“This falls under the ‘too numerous to count’ section,” a New Jersey internist said. A vascular surgeon in Indianapolis told me about a man in his fifties who’d had a large abdominal aortic aneurysm. Doctors knew for months that it was in danger of rupturing, but, since he wasn’t insured, his local private hospital wouldn’t fix it. Finally, it indeed began to rupture. Rupture is an often fatal development, but the man—in pain, with the blood flow to his legs gone— made it to an emergency room. Then the hospital put him in an ambulance to Indiana University, arguing the patient’s condition was “too complex.” My friend got him through, but he’s very lucky to be alive.
Another friend, an oncologist in Marietta, Ohio, told me about three women in their forties and fifties he was treating for advanced cervical cancer. A pap smear would have caught their cancers far sooner. But since they didn’t have insurance, their cancers were only recognized when they caused profuse bleeding. Now they required radiation and chemotherapy if they were to have a chance of surviving.
A colleague practicing family medicine in Las Vegas told me about his clinic’s cleaning lady, who came to him in desperation about her uninsured husband. He had a painful rectal fistula—a chronically draining infection. Surgery could cure the condition, but hospitals required him to pay for the procedure in advance, and, as unskilled laborers, the couple didn’t remotely have the money. He’d lived in misery for nine months so far. The couple had nowhere to turn. Neither did the doctor.
The litany of misery was as terrible as it was routine. An internist in my Ohio home town put me on the phone with an uninsured fifty-five-year-old tanning-salon owner who’d had a heart attack. She was now unable to pay the bills either for the cardiac stent that saved her or for the medications that she needs to prevent a second heart attack. Outside Philadelphia, there was a home-care nurse who’d lost her job when she developed partial paralysis as a result of a rare autoimmune complication from the flu shot that her employers required her to get. Then she lost the insurance that paid for the medications that had been reversing the condition.
Tens of millions of Americans don’t have access to basic care for prevention and treatment of illness. For decades, there’s been wide support for universal health care. Finally, with the passage of Obamacare, two years ago, we did something about it.
All of the people mentioned in this article would be helped by the Obama/Democrat expansion of Medicaid – part of the Affordable Care Act. Many Republican governors and legislators are already against it. Like the occasional conservative arguments their objections have a slight tint of truth. They claim that if they accept a few years down the road the states will be on the hook for that 10% gap – requiring budget cuts in education. The obvious problem with that excuse is provided by two conservative governors – Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Rick Scott of Florida. In the middle of a recession they cut back public sector jobs – claiming they could not afford them. But both governors passed huge corporate tax breaks - when corporate profits are as strong as ever. They could just increase corporate state taxes to something reasonable – between tax breaks and subsides many corporations do not pay any taxes. Another consequence of rejecting the Medicaid expansion is that charity hospitals and any hospital that takes poor and uninsured in emergencies will be stuck with the bill. Someone – usually everyone who has insurance – is left with the tab. Ever heard of a game called Three-card Monte or three-card carney. It’s been shown in a lot of movies and TV shows. It’s a kind of confidence game in where the mark, is tricked into betting a sum of money, on the assumption that they can find the money card among three face-down playing cards. Republicans do that with money and costs. They always seem to find the money to justify more tax cuts, tax incentives and other giveaways ( corporate welfare). Yet a cleaning lady and her husband, nope, no help for the working poor. How come we have working poor anyway, isn’t our free market system perfect. A system where anyone that works can provide for their essential needs. Apparently it’s not perfect. Until it is maybe its time for less obsequious behavior towards the well off and a little for humanity for the struggling. Related to the games Republicans are playing with the poor and Medicaid – 89,000 Children in Pennsylvania Lose Medicaid.
Another conservative trope is that the U.S. provides such a luxurious safety net it encourages people not to work. The Sharp, Sudden Decline of America’s Middle Class, They had good, stable jobs – until the recession hit. Now they’re living out of their cars in parking lots.
The next thing welfare applicants must do is disclose every possession and conceivable source of income they have. “I can’t tell you how many people come to my office and say, ‘I couldn’t get food stamps because my car is worth too much,’” Kapp tells me. “OK, you have a car. But you’ve lost everything – your house, your job, your pride – and all you have left is that car and all of your belongings in it. And they say, ‘You still have too much. Lose it all.’ You have to have nothing, when you already have nothing.”
Janis Adkins hadn’t been back in Santa Barbara long before she needed to apply for government assistance. She had never asked for aid before. At the California Department of Social Services, she filled out the form for emergency food stamps.
“I didn’t wear my best clothes, but I wore a light blouse and jeans, and I guess I was just a little too dressed up,” she recalls. “Because the woman just looked at me and said, ‘Are you in a crisis? Your application says you’re in a crisis.’ I said, ‘I’m living in a van and I don’t have a job. I have a little bit of money, but it’s going to go fast.’ The woman said, ‘You have $500. You’re not in a crisis if you have $500.’ She said anything more than $50 was too much.”
It is a shame that we cannot force all the conservative Republicans who think they have all the answers – the right-wing pundits, the conservative bloggers and their commenters, Republican politicians and members of the wing-nut welfare circuit like Sarah Palin and Victor Davis Hanson to trade places with some of the people in that investigative piece for a couple of months. WaPo columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. recently wrote a column asking the heck happened to the average Republican’s sense of community and responsibility. I wonder if they have completely lost the ability to empathize with others. It seems they cannot honestly evaluate events outside their own experience and worse than that is they cannot honestly evaluate themselves and their lives. Every Republican I know has not gotten through life without some bad luck and some help. Yet most of them still have this distorted view of themselves as totally self-contained and self-sufficient cyborgs. One of the reason that facts, statistics and real life narratives do not get through to them is not because of politics it is because of something fundamental flaw in how they’re wired makes them incapable of connecting with humanity.
John Roberts Fails to Dictate Another Presidential Outcome, John Yoo Cries. Yoo is a poster child for Republican cognitive dissonance and their lack of humility. having never been right about anything. feeling that the torture policies of the Bush administration did not pose a threat to any of our captured troops. Yoo the great legal scholar who say there is no difference between the powers of a Medieval king and those of the President – which conservatives were fine with until Obama became president keeps trying to convince the public he is not a total loon. Of course Yoo and all the conservative bloggers linking to him believe that the SCOTUS ruling in favor of the ACA makes us, according to one blogger, “We are now subjects, no longer citizens.” These same legal experts and now claim to live in a totalitarian state of Health Care Reform had no objections with the SCOTUS selecting Bush to be president in 2000, making it legal for billionaires to buy elections or doing away with habeas corpus. The CIA FactBook still lists Canada and Great Britain as liberal democracies and they both have public health care systems. I have yet to see any protesters in those countries asking the government to take their health care away so they can be “free”.
John Coltrane – Blue train